tv Meet the Press NBC July 30, 2018 2:30am-3:31am EDT
this sunday, turning against trump. the president's long-time personal attorney, michael cohen, is apparently prepared to say the k presidentw in advance about the infamous trump tower meeting with russians. >> it appears the president's former attorney and confidant is ready to talk. >> and cohenry leases a tape discussing buying the story of a former pla sate who says had an affair with mr. trump. >> what financing? >> we'll have to pay something. >> and we' c pay withsh. >> no, no, no, n no. >> rudy giuliani attacks cohen. >> the man is a liar, a proven liar. >> not long after praising him. >> the man is an honest, honorable lawyer. >> just how big a threatoes cohen pose to president trump? my guests this morning, former trump political advisor sam nunberg and republican senator rob portman of ohio.
plus guns and poses. maria butina loves guns, cultivated conservatives and iw jail, arrested as a russian agent. does she hold the key to an nra/russia connection? and base politics. today marks 100 dayntil election day. it's democratic enthusiasm versus trump loyalty. joining me for insight and analysis are nbc news chief foreign affairs correspondent andreami tchell, eddie glaude jr. of princeton university, peggy noonan and matthew continetti. welcome to sunday. it's "meet the press." >> announcer: from nbc news in washington, the longestrunning sh in television history, this is "meet the press" with chuck todd. goodunday morning. perhaps nothing better illustrates how president trump ponts his sers to see the world than this moment from his speech to theon vfednesday. >> what you're seeing and what you're reading is not wat's
happening. >> that's right. what you're seeing and what you're readingt' is not w happening. okay. despite his orwellian phrasing, o e bit of news president trump does want peopleow is happening is that the economy grew at a rate of 4.1% in the second quarter. it's the highest since 2014 under president obama. but beyond that, the news was renot good for thedent this week. there were increasing signs of a democratic blue wave in the midterm elections. now exactly 100 days away. we learned federal prosecutors e seeking to interview allen weisselberg, mr. trump's chief e financial ofand someone who knows as much as anyone about how the trump organization and mr. trump personallyas done business and with whom. but there were two other stories that got the most attention this week and they bothnvolve the president's now former long-time attorney, friend and fi michael cohen. not only did cohen release a tape o money payments to a playboy
model, hepa appears to be pd to tell the special counsel that mr. trump knew about the infamous trump tower msiting with rs in advance. if michael cohen tells that version of events and if he could provit, could turn changer, even game for members of mr. trump's own party. >> is michael cohen lying? >> for more than a year, president trump and his surrogates have denied that he knew of the june 2016 meeting with kremlin-connect agentst trump tower that included his son, his son-in-law, and his thenma campaign chair who is now behind bars. >> no, i didn't know anything about the meeting. >> do you tell your father anything about this? >> no. it was such a nothing, there was nothing to tell. became resident said he aware of it very recently, right before this came out, and when he was notified. >> and just this week, the president repeated, i did not know of the meeting with my son. sounds to me like someone tis tryio make up stories in order to get himself out of an unrelated jam.
that someone?th president's former personal lawyer and fixer, michael cohen, who is fating himsel as a possible witness, making it clear he is willing to tell muellercounsel robert that mr. trump knew about and approved of the meeting beforehand. >> this is about truth vsus lying, and ultimately donald trump is going to be done in by the truth. >> cohen is under investigation for bank fraud a possible campaign finance violationsfe b deral prosecutors in new york city, who are examining his ror. in trump's campaign a well. on tuesday, he released this tape through his lawyer, which appears to reference a hush money payment two months before the election to keep a former playboy model quiet about an allegedffair with mr. trump. >> we'llhave to pay something. >> and we'll pay with cash. >> no, no,no, no, no. i've got -- n no, no. >> just months ago mr. trump's lawyer, rudy giuliani, praised cohen. >> the man is an honest, honorable lawyer. >> but now -- >> he's been loig all week.
he's been lying for years. he's lied all his life. >> mr. trump is desperately trying to kea the russi issue from consuming his presidency. just 26% of voters approve his handling of the relationship between the united states and russia. secretary of state mike pompeo was grilled this week even by skeptical republicans after mr. trump's two-hour privatemeeting and press conference with russian president putin. >> it's the president's public statements that create concern amongst senators on both sides of the aisle. >> some of these statements actually achieve important policy outcomes for the united states of america. >> some of them do. >> yes. >> and some of them are very damaging. >> and now mr. trump is ducng questions from the press more frequently, refusing to questions ten times since the release of the michael cohen recording on tuesday >>night. mr. president,o will go to -- >> let's get more insight into this relationship between the president and michael cohen. i'm joined now by sam nunberg,
he was a political advisor to president trump before and then ain during the 2016 campaign. welcome to "meet the press." >> it's an shonor. let's start with this. just a simple question, right, which is you'vseen thesewo interact quite a bit, president trump. help us understand the relationship between president trump and michael cohen. >> michael was one of the closest people i've seen wi the president, highly devoted to him, a sense of loyalty that i thought, at least, until th ek when i learned that he was taping him in person, a sense of loyalty that was, yes, he would take a bullet for him. he would doanything for him. >> and is it your sense that michael cohen basically just handles things? is that -- when you hear the term "fixer" if the president has a problem he handles them? is that hown he was k around trump tower? >> yes. this was in michael's purview. issues like this were. these are michael's responsibilities. >> i want to play an excerpt of the tal that michhen's legal team released. here it is.
>> i need to open up a company for the transfer of all of that info regarding our friend david. >> yeah. >> you know, so that i'm going to do that right away. i've actually come up and i've spoken to allen weisselberg about how to set the whole thing up with -- >> so what are we gonna do? -- funding. >> that exchange, i know you weren't there for it. i'm not going toit there and assume you were there for it. familiar, though, that style ofe exchback and forth between the president and michael cohen? >> on,e ag the idea michael was taping him in that office, whenar i h that i felt like i was in the 26th floor of trump tower. remember, they never consummated this transaction so there's no idea there is an fccla vion. yes, these sound like the conversations you would hear in private. ae >> you said micohen was very loyal and devoted. >>right. >> -- to mr. trump. did you ever ser. trump be
loyal to him? >> ultimately i felt he hasnt. i sympathize with michael. i understand the way michael feels. i have felt like that. with that said, chuck, with somebody l he me wh defended michael publicly, when he takes lanny daths out o clinton crypt and decides to start talking about watergat releasing these tapes, it's a bridge too far. >> are you saying you no longer count yourself as a friend of michael cohen? nu did just a couple of days ago? he is a friend of mine. i like him personally. once again, i feel bad for what his family is goingthrough. but vis-a-vis his professional relationship with the president, it's hhly unethical, if not -- if not getting disbarred for >> who's telling the truth? >> in terms of? >> who's telling the tru here? whose word should we take here, michael cohen intimatinghat e president knew about these various payments or the itesident's word that he knew very little abouall? >> but there was no payment. but let's say we hear this conversation, but ultimately if you're asking me who do i believe, the president or
michael cohen with what michael cohen may say, forinstance, what michael cohen says now that the president knew about the russia meeting in advance, i would believe don jr. and the president in leht ofning that michael was taping conversations, the way michael wasconducting himself behind the scenes and in front of all of us. >> so you're saying -- you brought up this infamous trump tower meeting. wouldn't it be unusual if donald trumjr. never to his father about it at all? >> look, under normal rcumstances, if you have -- in general i would think the president was told about it, especially because this was a relationship, everybody can t understas was done through the ogilarov family, they had hosted the president perfectly legally in moscow for miss universe and talked about a trump tower moscow for many years. tand trump tower, you worked through it. but the e-mail was sent directly to don junior from goldstone. it was not sent to then mr. trump's executive assistant,
rona graff. so if you had to ask me specifically, and in light of learning that, one, michael was taping the president, two, he doesn't have a tape of this, i would believe the president. >> you say you're shocked that michael cohen staping. michael cohen had this reputation among every single trump person i've ever dealt with, oh, yeah, michael cohen, he tapes everybody. >> correct. i thought he was taping all phone conversations. you know, for ie, if he had an iphone and it just taped all conversations, he taped , everythiu know, plays them back to the president, that would be something. but to tap people when you're sitting in the office with them? that was highly suspect. i never thought that. never thought that if i was sitting across from him in his fice i was being aped. >> why do you think the president -- some of this decision potentially by michael cohen may have to do with one of two things. number one, no one seems to be wanting h pay legal bills and that is bothering
>> why do you think the president didn't want to offer him a rdon? i don't think the president has obstructed this investigation? he understands n that he can not fire robert mueller, he cannotfire jeff sessions, he rosenstein rod because that would go down the watergate model and that's what they're going down to ultimately get his impeachment. >> michael cohen ever tell you who knew about tis trump tower meeting? >> remember, i was fired in 2015. i had not been in trump tower.
i was sued earlier -- understand. then you were brought back and forth. you've had a weird relationship in trump world. >> i never discussed this with michael or anyone, by the way, about the meeting aftewas reported. what i did say, what i did say was when i saw that statement "thewas given initially to new york times," i was like, oh, no, just please put it all out. i was happy to s when don put the entire e-mail chain out. >> you had a feeling t president had misled? >> i had a feeling they weren't being clear and were going to make a mountain out of a molehi molehill. li>> has the president eve to you? >> ever lied to me? directly about an issue, no. has ever lied to me about whether or not where i stood within the trump organization, no. e were -- obviously there were issues that i wouldn't ask him, so there was no reason for me, let's ay, to explain this, there's no reason i would go in and ask him what about this accus ion orthat. it was none of my business and i didn't know to know. >> i underand. but as character witness, at the end of the day, and i know
what you said about miusael cohen beyou seem to think the fact that he would secretly tao someone, that to his character. would you be comfortable to say president trump tells the truth isn't. >> vis-a-vi this investigation and ultimate collusion? >> be that specific, yes. >> yes, i would. >> tells the truth ove you're not comfortable saying? >> when i worked for him --hen i worked with him, he works people off everyone. that was his motivation and management style and, frankly, he enjoyed it, chuck. with that said, he never, ever lied about anything when it came to, for instance, business. and, for instance, when they call in allen weisselberg now and if they're calling him in because of the tape that lanny davis played, then theirip relationith michael is certainly done. i would tell you very quickly w everythi done on the up and up. the president would always shi ever has got to be legal, i don't want a fine, i don't want anything going on here. >> you just brought up allen
weisselberg, the cfo. is he the guy who knows heverything? knows every single financial transaction, he's responsible for creating the business system they had there. and i thinkuln fact mately, and i've said this to everyone, i've said this to you if you ever aed me. ultimately he'll be a character witness for trump org and itll ome out positive because they have not -- trust me, donald trump knew he was under the limelight. he had --yoknow, he had a contract with nbc. everything that was done was on the up a. that's what i believe, at least. >> all right, sam nunberg, i appreciate your coming in and sharing yourviews and helping me out. thank you very much. now, let me turn to the o elected si things. joining me now is republican senator rob portman of ohio who sits o foreign relations committee and was one of the senators who grilled secretary of state mike pompeo this week on the rump/putin relationship. senator portman, welcome back to "meet the press,"sir. >> chuck, good to be on with you again. >> let me start with the michael cohen situation, because he is
now contradicting something tha donald trump jr. said under oath to congress. w whether under oath or nat, lying to congress is a crime. trump jr. told the judiciary committee that he did not tell his father about anything of the trump tower meeting before or after. michael cohen is apparently contradicting him. should michael cohen be called before the judiciary committee and clear this up, sooner rather than later? >> i think the mueller he estigation is probably place this should be cleared up. but, you know, that's up to the judiciary committee. >> if this is something that -- let me ask you this. you ep alican senator, would you want to see the judiciary committee sort of clean this up since they have gone down this road, or you would say punt? you would tell senator grassley d ur advice wo leave it alone? >> well, i think it's going to be a he said/he said issue so i think it's t probably bettt this goes through the regular process, which is ongoing, chuc
i think th mueller investigation ought to be brought to an end also. i meanwe need to have the facts lead to the right conclusion and so i support the invei igation, ve from the start, but we do need to wrap it up and, you kn, i'm not an expert on michael cohen, never met the guy. i have been on mme judiciary tee, i haven't been involved directly but it's important to get to the bottom of it but do it expeditiouslot we've got a of other issues. >> let me move to the subject you were grillg secretary pompeo on, on the issue of ssia. it seemed to be that he wasn't -- his comments didn't senators, and it was pretty contentioucontentiou particularly on the issue of policyla let me a mash-up. >> policies are statements and statements are licies. >> no, that's not true. i makelots of statements, they're not u.s. policy. >> i want you to think about the suggestion that what the
president says is not the policy of the united states. >>mi spoke. it is the case. the president calls the ball. his statemen are in fact policy. >> are you as confused now as inu were before the he about who's in charge of policy with russia, the enpres the administration, are they contradicting him? do statements serve as policy? what was your interpretation of what you heard? >> well, first, i thought pompeo did a terric job. i was there for practically the entire hearing and it lasted severahours. what i liked about it is that he laid out very clearly and consistently what our issues are with russia, the fct that we continue to have policies in place that are very tough, klugher, fr than the previous administration, toughest sanctions since the cold war. we're arming the ukrainians, which is somethin as you know i pushed the obama administration and the trump administration on. we're finally doi it so they can defend themselves. we just gave them another $200 million. we're sending more troops to europe. we're doing exercises in eas
europe, not making the kremlin happy. and we're pushing back in other ways. we tald about the global engagement center, which pushes back on disinformation and propaganda coming frrussia, which i think is long overdue and i commend secretary pompeo because he put that in place and is using it aggressively. so chuck, it's interesting, there are concerns, as ite expressed helsinki, of an inconsistent public posture as to russia, but i terms of policy, i think the administration is doing things that are appropriate and very tough. i think that came out clearly at the hearing as well. >> i want to go back to the helsinki summit, because now you have vladimir putin saying he'd come to washington, he's offered another invite, he talked aut the -- t they seemed to have a lot of constructive conversations. moscow essentially looks like ey were pretty ha with the summit. you were pretty unhappy. what does that tell you? >> we don't know what happened behindlosed doors so i don't know whether to be happy or not.
my concern was about the public statements not being consistent and clear with our policies. you know, frankly, again, our polies are a lot tougher than previously and probably not making the russianspyvery h but look, i think it's fine if we have these conversations. i think talks are appropate. you need to be prepared for them, so the president chose to posthe potential meeting here in the united states that he had talked about. y that's -- know, that's appropriate because i assume that we were not going to be prepared to have those discussions. so let's be prepared., lo supported talking to north korea as long as wepwere ed. of course we should talk to them. we are two superpows and have nuclear weapons and need to talk. if you're going to endingp with a better relationship, it's only going to happen about being nsistent and clear and realistic about the issuestw n us. >> you asked secretary pompeo how come the sanctions don't seem to be working, it hasn't changedru sia's behavior. you want more sanctions. why do you think it hasn't
worked, is it the prident's rhetoric? >> well, it's a great question because we do havece unpnted levels of sanctions, certainly since the cold war, and we're talking aboutth increasing e, which actually i support. but my question was very simple, which is they haven't backed off in terms of the illegal annexation of crimea. they haven't backed off in terms of hat they'reing on the eastern border of ukraine, which is a hot war,s you know. they haven't backed off in terms of supporting the murdasous d regime. so are the sanctions effective or not? now, some would say been effective to get the kremlin's attention but they obviously have not resulted the kind of actions and reactions that we would expect. so my question is how can we more effective and targeted in the sanctions. my sense is, chuck, that the better way to approach this is to actually go after folks in russia who are influential, including some of the oigarchs who support president putin and reallyreo be effective in targeting those sanctions. but i am interested hearing
back from the secretary fory question. >> i want to move to the supreme court and i know we'll begin -- start the confiation process beginning. there's a bit of a fight over what papers in the archives should be there.cr des believe republicans are asking for a limited amount, only looking at brett kavanaugh's time in the white house counsel's office. since brett kavanaugh himself has talked about his time as staff secretary in the white house, thhat's important too. shouldn't the answer be release all theapers of his time in the bush administration? >> well, i've served with brett in the bush administraon. by the way, incredible guy, humble, a good listener, as coonate. i think he's going to do very well at the hearing. as you've probably seen in some ofbehese poll n in some of these states that are red states where you've got a democratic senator, he's ry popular. people want to see him confirmed. so i think in the end he will do very in terms of the issue on document production, it ought to be documents that are relevant in other words, when you're staff secretary, which was his
job, there are millions of documents literally that go through your fice. you're the gate keeper, you're the traffic cop. it's not substantive. so i think whenas hessociate counsel to the president ser certainly. his 200 opinions are important so those are the relevant documents. but to go on a fishing pedition into millions of documents that he had nothing substantive to say abowo i think d be a mistake. frankly, it's not in the democrats' interests to do that because it's going to postpone oser to the election, which i'm not sure that they want. >> rob portman, republican senator from ohio, i'm go ng to haveave it there. thank you for coming on and sharing your vieap, much eciate it. >> thanks, chuck. when we come back, the panel and what the breakdown with the trump/cohen relationship could e an for the russia investigation and ture of the trump presidency. ♪ i was able to turn the aircraft around, and the mission around, and was able to save two men's lives that night. my first job helped me to grow up pretty quickly.
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welcome back. the panel is here. eddie glaude jr., chair of the center for african-american studies at princetuniversity, peggy noonan, nbc news chief foreign affairs correspondent, andrea mitchell, who is celebrating 40 years at nbc this week and matthew continetti, editor in chief of the free beacon. let me put up president trump's tweet about the michael cohen situation. this isasically the only response he's given. i did not know of the meeting with my son d junior sounds to me like someone is trying to make up stories in order to get him lf out of an unrelated jam, taxicabs maybe. he even retained bill and crooke llary's lawyer. gee, i wonder if they helped him make the choice. cohen versus trump, peggy no an, what do you make of this? >> i thought it was very interesting when you said to sa nunberso, who's telling the truth here? i think his answer was more or less i think trump. do you know what i mean?
could that be a fair interpretation? >> it felt like l put a of caveats in there. well, on this -- yeah. >> one of the things i'm curious about is where theeck does this go? you have a sense, as you watch the story, that more tap will come, more testimony, more this, an e-mail, whatever, and we'll nd out, yes, the president kind of knew about the trump wer meeting. someone wanted to share information against hillary clinton. he said sure, let me k how it goes. if that is true, where does that get what is our end point there?at doesn't prove criminality. it proves poor judgment. it proves ra lack of sophistication within his campaign organization. normally these russians would come in off the street and meet with extremely low-level people, not top level -- oh, my gosh, it's out of a daniellva novel, it's so unsophisticated.
>> that's high praise. >> which is what i keep -- yeah, it is high phrase. but that'see what i thinking of it as. but still if the moment comes oere we findin trump knew about this meeting, wat does at mean? >> you know, first of all, we've heard this kind of denial, right? so on air force one when he denied the payment to stormy daniels and then giuliani comes out and wee realize lying. so he lies a lot, donald trump. so to ask who's telling the truth between cohen and trump is like askingho's the more trustworthy in the mob, right? sammy the bull ors ty. that's not really the issue. the issue is the evidence, that's the question, the evidenng. what is b put on the table here. and what i think cohen's tape reveals is intent. and the difficult part about the llusion claim is the intent claim. and if there's intent here, then we have a stronger case around collusion. i talked to a few republicans this week who the combination of
the disastrous helsinki summit with this news, matthew, is starting to make capitohill republicans very nervous. i'm sorry, senator portman, he didn't like those michael cohen questions. he didn't want -- he didn't wann to have any to say. there are a lot of other republican senators, they don't seem to be as ready just take the president's side as they were even two weeks ago. >> they like the trump administration would rather robert mueller go away. and i think cohen's claim that the resident knewout the trump tower meeting is basically a message to robert mueller and saying that this claim, given the evidence, if he has any, which he has n produced to date, would help you, robert muelior, in your construof an obstructionas of justice ce against the president. that's where it seems to me the mueller investigation has been trending for someti . this would be another bullet point in thua eve report to congress where robert mueller
dent say, yes, the pre interfered with this investigation. >> but from what we know of robert mueller,e either has evidence already to corroborate he will not be relying on michael cohen as a key witness. one has t to thinkat a lot of people, people including in the trump orbit, say, look, thiset g took place one floor in trump tower away from where the president wast that time, the candidate trump was that day at thattime. then went to a fund-raising lunch with don junior. the possibility -- the probability that the son did not tell the father before or after thting or both is just so hard to believe,lus the two blocked phone calls, one before, one after, that the republicans on the house intel committee would not letoc the dts subpoena. so mueller either has those one records and aot of other corroborating information or not. if this is going to go any place, it's not going to rely on michael cohen. >> just a smallthought.
in a funny way, i think the cohen stuff and the meeting and the payoffs, check or cash for the playboy person, that has had a funny way of obscuring the really bigory of the moment, which was helsinki, a hotw meeting about which we know nothing. no american note takers. >> exactly. >> and then an obsequious and fawning for me as an american to watch embarrassing joint press conference with president putin. that is huge historicnd scandalous. >> what about the mike pompeo hearg after? was surprised that senator portman thought that secretary pompeo did so n well. >>ct for three hours almost unanimously thebe m, republican and democratic and not just bob corker who's retiring, went after pompeo because not on but because he was giving the party line pretty much and not
explaining what happened in thai two-hour me. and their fear is that he does not know, that mattis does not know, that no one knows what happened. and they are saying do not -- and that's what the leaders said to theheresident when went and got him to postpone thern reisit right before the midterms. they do not want him going into another private meeting. first of all, no president, especially one as unschooled in foreign policy, the kremlin is putting out that he agreed to a referendum on ukraine, the kremlin is giving us the readouts. >> i thought susan glasser put it well. she said for hours pom to insistt trump's tweets and incendiary comments were not the sum total of those policies,itut a tough argument to make about a prickly boss. the policy has not changed, pompeo insisted, but t real question remains what the policy is in the first place. >> yes. >> and in this sense cohen news came as a relief, i think, to a lot of republica. it's t case that when the spotlight is on russia, when the spotlight is on michael avenatti
and stormy daniels, the m.esident's base rallies to i was struck by the week that donald trump was elected president, his peonal favorability rating according to gallup was 36%. glast monthlup asked the same question. donald trump's personal favorability rating was 36%. nothing changes. >> that's what i always say about everyweek. everything happens and nothing changes. i'm going to pause the conversation here. when we come back, the curious case of a woman named maria butina. was she a russian spy and could she be the key to a connection she be the key to a connection between thit was here.
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from a y movi or a reboot of "the americans."a young russian woman accused of conspiring to influence american politics on behalf o russian intelligence of the 29-year-old maria butina was arrested last weekend in washington whe she had recently graduate wed a master's degree in international relations from ameri university. on paper she was a student and a gun rights advocate known around campus for i having prin her homeland and defending russian interests in class discussions. at the same time, investigators claim she was a covert agent funded by alexander torshin, a russianh, oliga with close ties to the kremlin. at his urging, investigators say, she worked to gain access to american political operatives, conservative politicians and political groups, including the trump campaign and more importantly in this storyhe nra. joining me now is someone who has done a lot of reporting on butina and russian intelligence efforts in this area, michael isikoff, -author of "russian roulette." of course a former colleaguet
here nbc news. welcome back to "meet the press." all right. you are facebook friends with maria butina. >> that's true. >> i know you did it for your po ing. >> yes. >> so how did you first discover her? >> i started hearingabout her during the 2016 election as somebody who kept showing up at conservative political even cpac conferences, national prayer breakfasts, nra meetings, conventi s. she met winra leaders when they went to mscow and hosted them. as it struck a lot of people odd. what is this woman doing here? she wasxtmely flirtatious. she tried to maintain contact with aot of influential republican lobbyists, activists. she had this very close relationship withthis guy, paul erickson, conservative activist in south dakota. but what really got my attention was the alexander torshin
connection. alexander torshin, who mentioned, was a deputy governor of the russian ntral bank. he was a close ally of putin. most importantly, he was under investigation bye spanish national police for money laundering. act he had these ties to this organized crime money launderingng n spain. the spanish national police had him on wiretaps -- >> he was going to be arrested. as they were going to arrest him. heeferred to by the organized gang leader as el padrino, the godfather. they were all set to arrest him in for was going to fly a pirt day party. he got tipped off and didn't go. all this tiin he's f in and out of the united states with butina meeting with nra leaders and re blicanactivists. >> so in the criminal complaint against her when they decided ug because they t she was going to flee, i want to read this e-mail. it's a bit -- some rou english t it's in her words. it's an e-mail they put in there that essentially explains i
guess what her plan was. it says here that she h scovered the central place and influence, and they refer to in the politirty one meaning the republicans, plays the gun rights organizion here is nra. the nra is the largest sponsor of the elections in congress as well as sponsor of the cpac conference and other events. again, a little broken englishe from but this was all part of this plan. it was an e-mail she sent to paul erirksckson. this was an infiltration plan. >> exac wy. th very savvy insight. the way -- the goal here was to change the republican party's attitude towards russia. traditionally hostile -- >> but it wa so of the john mccain view of russia is what they assumed all rublicans re. >> and the way to do it was through the nra. who has morenuence with republican members of congress especially than the nra. they spend more money, they're the most powerful special interest group. so the idea was butina sets up
this russian gun rights organization to forge this alliance with nra members as way of influencing the republican party. >> let's go back to paul ickson. >> yes. >> she's been now romantically linked with him. i guess the lived together in south dakota perhaps or shared some sort of -- >> right. apparently not totallyillingly on her part but she felt this was part of her obligation and duty. >> she wrote this e-mail to him at the time to sort of like ask him am wordinghis correctly? it was sort of to get his he witting or unwitting here? >> we don't know. there's good r to believe he's under investigation himself by federal prosecutors and i ink one goal is to get her to flip on him about what he might know. but i do think torshin is the key. i think he's the ultimate targe here. he's been sanctioned by the u.s. one other thing we s mention, remember, butina, for all the work she's doing, did
one big serv for the kremlin. after015 just a few weeks trump announces his candidacy, in goes to freedomfest, this libertarian even las vegas, and takes a question from the floor from butina. ulwhat wbe his position on sanctions that are damaging both countries, and trump gives this full-fledged ive-minute answer in which he says if i'm elected, you won't need sanctions. know putin, i can get along with putin. ict a top issue in the republican pol debate at the time but very important for the kremlin. they had him on the record saying he would roll sanctions. >> you've been doing investigations a long time, a couple of decades let's raise up to 30,000 feet. we'll focus sometimes on the russia/trump angle or the nra. this larger investigation is going to be wown as t? it looks to me like a russian infiltraon campaign on a levels of the conservative movement on this country. is that what happened? >> that's exactly what seems to be happening.
this was every much as part of u the russian ice campaign as the cyber attacks, the phony facebook ads, he twitterbots, all of that. i've got to say just one thing -- >> i know you have a hobby horse. i'll let you go. >> dereliction of duty on ngress' part. why every major political scandal in the last half centaty, wate iran contra, you name it. public hearings by the congress, key witnesses testify under oath before the tv cameras. none of that has happened here. all behind closed doors, including butina by the way. we should be seeing these witnesses. they should be hauled up. stein could fe call michael cohen up tomorrow, subpoena him, have him testify in n'ublic. >> let lawyers spin. let's see it for ourselves. it's a good point to end on. chael isikoff,anks for coming on. good work, sir. don't forget his ssbook, "rn roulette." roulette." when we come back, the hi, kids!ca i' and i'm a broker.
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we are back, data downloadme president trump loves to mock the big blue wall that pundits said he could not scale to reach 270 electoral votes in the 2016 election. as we all know,e did. he won in places like wisconsin, michigan and pennsylvania. presidt trump forged a new path to the presidency for republicans in 2016, albeit a very narrow one, because he won michiges by the sli of margins, something a republican hadn't done since 1988. hesc clinched sin by less than a percentage point as well, a state that hadn't gone red since 1984. in minnesota he got well within striking distance, losing the state boy lesshan two points. no one had gotten that close nce ronald reagan in 1984. now, president trump's success in those midwestern states was fueled by his appeal with rural and working class voters.
nowc new news/marist polls show him slipping in the midwest. president trump's approval rating in those three states deep underwate he did not break 40% in any of those states and his disapveoval is a 50% in all of them. this could be as much about tariffs, by the way, as it is about his overall job performance. tariffs are hitting those three states particularly hard. of course the president has reo ears to make up for those numbers, but the midterm election is just 100 days away. republicans are facing uphill battles in elections for the hoe, senate and forgovernor. in fact in our poll voters in each of those states say they prer democrats over republicans in this year's congressional races. and guess sewhat, t states have a lot of big races to watch this fall. theye home to nine republican held house seats currently listed as battlegrous by our friends at the cook political report and there are four senate races all with democratic incine mben incumbents, one each in michigan and wisconsin and two in
minnesota. plus each state has a governor's race. right now our pos show support for democrats in those races as well. esident trump has right field at that -- traveled to all of these states but the numberssu est democrats may be rebuilding their big blue wall, at least for the midterms. when we come back, president trump says he plans to spend six or seven days a week campaigning in the fall. why that cou really help some republicans and really hurt others. >> announcer: coming up, end game and postgame, you by boeing. continui
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learn t cancercenter.com/philadelphia appointments available now. >> announcer: end game, brought to you by boeing. continuing our mission to connect, protect, explore and inspire. >> back now with "end game." believe it or not, it's not still e 016 election. we are 100 days until 2018. i knowe'll be fighting the
2016 election for the rest of our lives at this point. but here's the presidentbout what he says he's going to do in the last 60 days of this election year. >> i'll go six or seven days a week when we're 60 days out, and i will be campaigning for all of these great people that do have lta diffi race. >> all right, matthew continetti, all thest people that have the most difficult race, do you think they want donald trump campaigning for the i depends on where they live. the closer they are to a city or a suburb, the less likely they are to want the president to come campaign for them. the president, of course, is not one to be cede the argument to his opponents or to allow them to voice their criticism, so i think he plans t take a very active role in the midterms. make the argument as it already is of the midterms about him. the truth is that may actually lead to the republican advantage, because the big danger for the republicans is, one, those never hlary moderates vote democrat, but
two, the trump base doesn't show s up. esence may actually inspire them to vote if he nationalizes the e election. >>ve a bunch of polls the last ten days we came out with, andrea, and what's interesting it does seem to be this intensity on he left andright. the trump intensity is there too, but the gulf with the middle. rit now independents look like democrats. >> they do. i think the biggest issue could be the tariffs because you look at that so-lled blue wall that didn't appear that collapsed for those tariffs are really hurting farmers, soybeans prices down, wheat. they're going to go to those grain elevators the end of september an beginning of october and they're going to see those prices and other industries around them, john deere and oths, they're all going to be affected by this. i just was interviewing pat toomey from pennsylvania where the tariffs started just to win that special election, steel and aluminum, and he saide've got so many more manufacturing jobs that rely on the price of steel and aluminum than the steel workers. he's against them, as are other
republican senators. h i just spoke to a government official in sokota who said we're worried about our farmers here. however, one number we haven't said this morning, 4.1%. >> i said it at the beginning of the show. >> all right, at theof beginnin he show, but in this conversation here. you know, i know it only one hearter. we had last such quarter in 2014. but the white house made the most of it. when people hear 4.1% growth, maybe we're on target for 3% this yr. people have a little more money in their pockets, consumer confidence is up, taxes are down slightly. when you've got all that, that's going to have an impact too. a general sense apart from tariffs that there's a certaino of economic push-up that's going on. >> perhaps, wages are still flat line. what's interesting to me, though, it's not so much the middle, it's those new voters, those folks thatou don't ordinarily count. so you have an excited
democratic base,lks who are motivated because of trump. and then you have folk that usually don't show up. usually don't show up to vote. ocasio-cortez is interesting because of who she got to the polls. we'll see the same thing inge gia with abrams and kemp. 40% of georgia, many of them don't vote. her job is to get them out. >> that's a big job, though, getting them out. >> matthew, i want you to comment on something else. vie koch network had its -- has been h a meeting this weekend. wow, i want to put up this quot from brhooks, president of the charles koch foundation. thees divisiv of this white house is causing long-term damage. when in order to win on an issue someone else has to lose, it makes it very difficult to unite and solve the problems of th country. there was even some hints among some at the koch network meeting that, you know what, maybe this partisan strategy isn't working. >> the kochs are greatly opposed
to the tariffs as well as to some elements of more hawkish foreign policy that donald trump embraces so it doesn't surprise mehere would be a l of criticism at this meeting. this argument about where libertarians fit in, where do social conservatives fit in, where dorbmoderate su republicans. the backbone of the george w. bush coalition, right, are they even still republicans? these are all questions that ard going to be so out in the next two years. >> yes, and in the two years beyond that. evolving.ll >> we'll see how it plays out, as if trump plays the culture war card. >> i don't know if the young people will come out, the new voters will come out and productivity is reallyflat. that 4.1 is a great number for now. we'll see how it >> it's the second quarter and those are always the best quarters. nally before we go we have a little anniversary to celebrate. one of us at this table is ce nbrating 40 years at news. i'm not going to say who it is but she's appeared on "meet the press" 211 times, not including today. >> and joining me for our
interviews, andrea mitchell, white house correspondent for nbc news. andrea mitchell of nbcews. nbc news chief foreign counter andrea mitchell. >> should clarence thomas be willing to take a polygraph test? >> you've said what you're against. what are f y. >> with all due respect, there e is a perception that peo power, particularly her in washington, are a closed club. >> take a look at the e-mail trail -- >> that is just factually not correct. >> andrea mitchell. >> andrea mitchell. >> if it's sunday, it's "meet the press." >> andrea mitchell, fort years. >> started as a kid. >> how is it possible?gh >> a hchool reporter. >> yeah, i was just going to say. how does it feel? >> it's been -- this show above all shows, above a programs is the heart and soul of nbc news. i have beenroudest of appearing here. my folks always watched it. i watched it as a kid through
all of our wonderful moderators, and the legacy continues with you. >> some of the best, most uncomfortable questi you have made male senators -- it's been very interesting you were asking some questions about the culture beforenybody else was doing it. >> the culture has been so toxic lately, forget that we've had previous difficult times here. the resilience of this country and of the news media is extraordinary and profoundly moving. but the factis that we've got big problems still to solve in our society. which meansou're not going anywhere. up got a lot more stories to report. >> thank you >> and we've got cake too. that's all we have for today. we've got some wnk to do this cake. thanks for watching. we'll be back next week, because if iy,s sun it's "meet the press." >> announcer: you can see more end game and postgame, sponsored by boeing, on the "meet the press" facebook page.
a desperate fight against the flames in california. the new trouble for crews battling the infernos scorching the state as the death toll rises. drawing a line on border policy. the new threatrom president trump that could spark another shutdown showdown on capitol hill. locked and loaded at the click of a mouse. the growing 3 concern ove printed guns. taking the plunge. death-defying competition takes the high dive to new heig"s. "early todtarts right now. good to be with you on this monday morning. i'm frances rivera. >> and i'm phillip mena. deadly wildfires continue to rage in california and have now claimed two more lives. 33-year-old firefighter bri k hughesilled when he was struck by a treehen he and h