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tv   The Beat With Ari Melber  MSNBC  August 31, 2017 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT

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these great communities recover and rebuild to be even better and stronger than ever before. with that, allow me to recognize the secretary of the department of homeland security, elaine duke. >> good afternoon -- >> vice president mike pence telling texans that he and the administration are with them today. they will be with them tomorrow. and they will be with them every day for this storm effort and for the recovery afterwards. ari melber takes things over. how are you doing? >> i'm well, thank you, katy. and we're be monitoring that and the other developments out of texas. but we begin with breaking news on bob mueller's russia investigation. they are closing in. new prosecutors now involved in this inquiry. mueller coordinating with new york attorney general eric snierd man. this opens up the prospect of prosecutions that donald trump could not pardon. a story we first brought you on the beat on tuesday.
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and that comes amidst reports that bob mueller has become putti putting people on the stand, including a key russian who attended that trump tower meeting. mueller is using the secret grand jury in washington. and tonight we know he's using it to gather key evidence on the eight people this that trump tower meeting last june. a russian lobbyiest is the first person who has been publicly confirmed now as a grand jury witness. and tonight we can tell you he's spent hours before this grand jury this month. that's according to a new report in the financial times. well, that's the biggest news we've gotten on the mueller probe in a long time. and it's important for legal reasons that some people may not immediately grasp. remember, mueller can start anywhere. you know, he can bring in campaign staff or white house staff or he could start with no witnesses at all and look at evidence and e-mails and documents. what we know tonight is that bob mueller is digging in to that
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june 9th meeting. and according to what we know about investigative order, we can also infer that mueller does not view that russian lobbyist as the criminal target. you don't start with the target. you start with the people who may have the goods on the target. so we know mueller is moving his focus from one room in the trump tower to another room, this grand jury room. and we know mueller runs exhaustive investigations. he won't just hear one version of the story of what happened in that room. there are seven other versions potentially to be told, and it's quite likely each of those seven other people are going to ultimately join that lobbyist in the grand jury room unless they're targets or face letters of indictment. and while trump may have recently lrnd about the pardon power, there are signs here that mueller is way ahead of him. more news tonight on a story that we first broke here on the beat on tuesday. we can report new findings from an msnbc investigation into the
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other way this russia probe could continue even after pardons, through prosecution for state crimes. the source with knowledge of one state attorney general's preparations tells me that office is already looking at its potential jurisdiction for russia related crimes. >> that was tuesday. now politico reporting new york's attorney general is coordinating with his investigation with mueller, and this is the same attorney general who sued trump over trump university, many remember that civil case. we've heard a lot about bob mueller and that's probably not going to change, but today the legal russia focus turning to new york attorney general. tomorrow it could be an ag in another state or another local prosecutor like manhattan district attorney who also has jurisdiction over potential crimes in new york like if a potential crime was planned out of trump tower. we have more on that prospect later on the beat tonight. but for those developments and investigation i want to directly bring in right now the wault
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journal's brett forest. he broke that new man tort story as well as harvard law professor mark turn man who has constituted yid how pardons could impact this case. welcome to you both. brett, you look at all this, you look at bob mueller wanting to bring in someone from that trump tower meeting which also included manafort that you've been reporting on. where does this head from here and why do you think this money trail is so important and reechgs so far back? >> those are all very good questions and they just basically add to the mound of questions that remain unanswered. i mean, this is a case that stretches obviously from russia to ukraine to jurisdictions like cypress and onward from there. and obviously in our own country. that meeting at trump tower has always been intriguing for us because of the natalia veselnitskaya true intentions and her connection with russian
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general prosecutors. so those questions you raise are important ones to answer and we continue reporting them out. >> let me read from your report as well as folks digest all this because one of the questions when you have millions of dollars floating this direction, right, is well, what's it all really for? there is a benign theory of the case that paul manafort is simply an incredibly good international advocate, spokesperson, strategist and thus is paid millions upon millions of dollars. the other theory that the investigators p ato be looking at in more than one jurisdiction would be that there was something else going on with the money. manafort's work also involved the principle figure voes adventures have aligned with putin's objectives and you say he has offered to give testimony about russian meddling in the election to those congressional
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committees. do you think we will hear from this person? >> we're not going to hear from him. at least in the context of the house and senate intelligence committees or in the context of mueller's investigation. at least i don't believe so. principleel because he's not a trut worthy guy in the eyes of american authorities. he had a roller coaster ride, history of getting visas to the u.s. and then having them rescinded. because the fbi has always been very interested in interviewing him about his alleged ties to russian organized crime which he has steadfastly denied over the years. but, you know, he has promised to give the fin information. the state department grarnts him a visa. he comes over and he doesn't tell the fbi anything. so investigators on the committees, they don't take his offer seriously. >> don't take it seriously. >> no, they don't. and they also don't want to get in the way of robert mueller's investigation. >> right. >> so, yeah, i mean -- although this is a guy who has a mountain of interesting and valuable
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information, you know, he's not really going to share it and he's not really trust worthy. >> right. professor, what does it mean that there could be these local jurisdictions, local prosecutes effectively looking into the russia issues as well? >> the primary thing, i think, is that it takes off the table the possibility that central figures like paul manafort will be able to go off scot-free with pardon from the president. the president's power to pardon extends only to federal crimes, and so the possibility of a state crime will remain always open. that means, in turn, that investigator mueller and attorney general snierd man have something to deal with to place pressure on manafort that he can't expect to be relieved by president trump.
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>> i want to bring in to add to this conversation a very special guest, kathryn rum her. was a former white house counsel to president obama and a former federal prosecutor. i want to speak to you for several reasons on the news of the day. but starting with where we are right now, your view of how it works when federal prosecutors may actually be coordinating with other local or state investigations and what that means here tonight. >> well, it can be a really effective way to proin investigation because you can leverage the resources not just of the special counsel's office but also of in this case as reported the state attorney general's office. and so, you know, we don't exactly know what level of coordination is going on, but, you know, it can be very effective if the two teams are -- you know, are collaborating and not stepping on each other. >> i want to show you the way we learn a lot about what's on the president's mind. and i think this is a difference
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between the president you worked for as a lawyer, president obama and the current president, president trump. and that is a social media platform called twitter. these are his tweets mentioning russia. you can see almost every other day in the months of june and july. here we are at the end of august and he's drastically fallen down to five tweets. the most recent one wasn't about the investigation itself but rather two weeks ago he wrote in a new report apparently obama new about russia interns but he didn't want to anger russia. do you view it as a potential shift that donald trump's criminal defense attorneys seem to have finally after months got him to stop tweeting about this investigation, at least over the last few weeks? >> oh, gosh. i'm sure they hope they have. i think that's really hard to tell. i mean, the sort of twitter habit seems to be really episodic, you know. i haven't been able to predict any sort of pattern through it.
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but, you know, i certainly am sure that they are hoping that, you know, that he's decided to dial it back on the twitter and, you know, if he were the president i were working for i think i'd probably be pretty heavily med indicate at this point. >> professor turn net, i won't ask you about what it would take to get medication here in a stressful investigative environment, but at a certain point it seems that a lot of the other key figures are going to go into that grand jury room and talk about this july meet -- june meeting and talk about what looks like a problem when you're meeting with russian people promising hillary clinton but that may not make for a criminal conspiracy. what is mueller going to look to do if those folks are going to try to come in and offer their most benign investigation? >> he's going to probe the accuracy of what they have to say by comparing what one says
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to what another says. and he will also be in a position to in some ways start offering deals to them, most obviously to paul manafort, who seems to be in rather severe legal jeopardy and might not be able to escape it through the hope of a pardon by placing pressure on manafort, he can get a story about what's going on and what went on and then see whether other people confirm it, what the details are, how stories converge or diverge. basically he wants to find out what happened in that meeting. >> and kathryn, let me playel a little bit more again from donald trump's past conversations and statements about attorney general snierd man because while not everyone in the country is obviously thinking about an individual ag, donald trump has thought about him a lot of the they've tangled in new york.
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he said light weight snierd man driving business and jobs out of new york. then on october 2014 i had a great victory against light weight ag smierd and most of his case was thrown out. the nickname changed. read about my victory genz sleaze bag shierd man. in the long run he ultimately had to personally pay out 25 million in the total related trump university litigation. but do you expect that donald trump and this state attorney general are going to continue to tangle here or is this in your view based on the public evidence a back-up insurance plan for mueller but not one that they may act on? >> well, i think it's very hard to say. i mean, it certainly seems to be at the very least that, meaning that as professional turn net said, you know, president trump cannot pardon anybody for state crimes. his pardon authority is limited to federal phones, and so, you know, there's really nothing he
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can do there. i think, you know, attorney general snierd man, who i know personally, you know, he's a very experienced lawyer and he is -- has pretty thick skin. and i think understands that these are just sort of personal taunts and i wouldn't expect that in any way, shape or form to affect his policy judgment. >> that's my follow-up. you do know him. a lot of people don't. do you think he has a background toll deal with in the manafort case what are very complex, even potentially, you know, international shell corporation chains and real tough stuff, some of what you did on enron task forgs kind of stuff, which is not what frankly ag's usually focus on? >> but he does have a number of people in his office. you know, he's the leader of a large team of lawyers and prosecutors and in his office, many of whom do have that kind of experiences. and, you know, some of whom p spent prior parts of their careers in u.s. attorneys offices developing those times
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of skills. the new york ag's office also has a very broad set of authorities that they can use, subpoenas and the like. in some respects even broader than what the feds have. so, you know, i think he's got the team, experienced team to work on this kind of a case. >> yeah. here is what i want to do. bred forest and mark turn nut, i want to thank you both for your analysis analysis on this story. kathryn, i want you to stay with me for a second conversation i want to have with you. ahead, more on this breaking stories. president trump's attorneys now tonight in contact with special koungs mueller and they're sending memos making their case. the trump defends against obstruction of justice and they say jim comey is, surprise, not reliable. meanwhile, the big question we were just discussing is there enough pressure to make paul manafort flip? i'm going to bring kathryn recommend her back and talk about her experience. she worked with a man who is currently on the mueller team and is a specialist in flipping
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witnesses. plus, later a beat exclusive. a former kushner employee joins me to discuss what she calls a hit piece that was on, guess who? eric snierd man. we'll explain on the beat tonight. rethink what's possible. rethink your allergy pills. flonase sensimist allergy relief helps block 6 key inflammatory substances with a gentle mist. most allergy pills only block one. and 6 is greater than one. flonase sensimist. ♪
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there is even more developing news tonight on bob mueller's russia investigation. new york's top prosecutor working with mueller on the paul manafort angle while mueller is now pressuring manafort's family and his lawyer who drew an unusual subpoena from mueller. according to wall street journal report, tonight there are signs that trump's lawyers, though, are pushing back. they want to change the topic from these stories about russia's in the grand jury room, about manafort's struggles to a new topic. they want to debate jim comey and they're leaking their opinion that trump had the power to fire comey and that it had nothing to do with obstruction. now, mueller's team will
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certainly assess those defenses. they're going to read anything that trump's lawyers send over, but they're not backing an inch on manafort. flipping witnesses in the famous enron case. that was the complex fraud case. another key prosecutor on that team who you just met moments ago on the beat, kathy he's willing to take risks to secure witness testimony that other prosecutors might not. rum her helped secure the enron convictions and went on to serve as white house counsel to president obama. you can see there the former president, a talented lawyer himself said he picked rum her as his top lawyer because she had an uncan any ability to see around corners that no one else anticipates. back with us is that lawyer. appreciate you being here on such a busy night. let me ask you, barak obama thought you had this skill, and
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i believe him, what corners do you think mueller is looking around now? >> well, that's a great question. and let me just say at the outs that i have absolutely no information at all about what evidence they've actually collected, you know, what they're really looking at other than what i've read in the papers. so my observations and opinions here are really based solely on publicly available information and knowing a number of the players involved. so i will say that at the outs. >> it's a modest way of saying while you don't have any secret grand jury material, you're drawing on your experience overseeing 45 lawyers in the white house working for a president. i get it. >> yes. so, you know, look, i think that what you have embodied in the special counsel team, led by bob mueller, is just an extraordinary amount of experience and probably more experience, you know, within a single team or group of prosecutors than we've seen in recent history. working on a single matter.
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the breath of cases that they have investigated and prosecuted over many years is really unpair held. and so that -- it's that experience that allows somebody to really see around corners, so anticipate the types of defenses, the times of legal challenges that might be brought against invest active actions that they're taking, but also, you know, to really understand how people who are trying to conceal potential misconduct go about doing it. you just -- you couldn't have, you know, just a greater wealth of experience than this team has. >> right. and then you look at these leaks "the wall street journal" which my legalize didn't have anything really new this them. i mean, people are going to be hearing approximate this tonight and tomorrow. it was basically a leak saying that trump's lawyers think that he has the power to fire comey. they've met with mueller in recent months, submitted memos arguing that the president has that power basically.
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that he didn't obstruct justice. and necessity also which is standard operating procedure. what i don't see here in the report is anything new or even necessarily newsworthy. other than that it's coming from them and i'll decode this for you know this, but you know, they then say to the "journal," we have no comment, we would never comment on anything. the leaks from their memo. so obviously they either lost them in a park in washington or -- they gave them to the "wall street journal." your view of that part of the strategy, because my understanding, yours being far more important. my understanding is the question isn't whether you have the authority to fire comey. that's not in kout. the question is whether you abuse the authority to fire him in a manner that might obstruct or impede justice under federal law. >> that's right. the motive, the why, why was he fired is incredibly important here. that's what in part i think what the special counsel will be investigating and looking at. so the fact that he had the
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inheri inherent legal authority is relevant, but not dispositive. >> we've been mentioning mueller and the attorney general of new york looking into the financial transactions. paul manafort having received $40 million from this russian oligarch over several years. and we're going to show you how to follow the money. $12.7 million from political work in ukraine over two years. since then, manafort then you see there in new york, purchases four properties, three of them in cash. and he purchases a mansion down there in florida. now some of those properties bought under shadow companies linked to manafort. which then transferred the properties back to him, for a zero-dollar transaction. manafort reportedly taking out loans on several of those properties. which can look odd, if you are flush enough to have originally bought them in cash. looks like he may be facing legal jeopardy. a former prosecutor in illinois u.s. attorney's office saying quote if i represented paul manafort, i would conclude my
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client has significant criminal liability. and this is an area where the liability may be for both the federal and the state crimes. money-laundering a key example. so walk us through this, kathy. if manafort is being pushed on all of this, he puts down a card and says, i have a get out of jail free card from the president, i think i can get it. now what seems to be new today, is these investigators pushing back and saying here's another card. you could go to jail in new york. it could be even tougher. and then the question is, what card does manafort's legal team play after that in. >> we don't know exactly what cards are being played. but it's a pretty weak card to play with the prosecutor is that i might get a presidential pardon in the future. and i know there's been a lot of speculation that you know, president trump was sending a signal to everybody in the russia probe with the arpaio pardon, that he was going to hand out, hand out pardons like
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trick-or-treat candy on halloween. but from your, from a prosecutor's perspective, if someone comes in and says that's not an enormous amount of leverage, i'm so glad you said follow the money. what the team, the prosecution team is investigation team is really going to be doing, in significant part is following the money. that's how you investigate these cases. and asymmetry of information is the power that the special counsel and the prosecutors have. pawn manafort or any other individual who is caught up in this probe, they have no idea what evidence the special counsel has gathered. so you know, they're in a way, they're sort of flying a little blind. and that's really where the true power comes from. and the leverage and the ability to get a witness to sort of come to the table and tell the truth and come clean. and that's really the goal. >> you make such an interesting point. what you're calling the asymmetry of information, right.
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in newsrooms we're just learning who was brought before the grand jury. secretly, weeks ago. it's new because it's newly revealed. but it was weeks ago that the first individual, a russian lobbyist went into the grand jury room to talk about that meeting. we don't know the next two weeks, paul manafort's lawyers and he probably don't know what other people from the meeting probably went in. you usually don't want to be the last one in, the seventh or eighth person to talk to. but you say it's asymmetrical. what i want to ask you is to build on that point. i'm going tout to put on the screen for the viewers' benefit, the shell companies linked to manafort. you've got the purchase of a trump tower apartment. that's how he got to know trump tower initially, in 2006. a new york condo in 2007, florida mansion, 2007. few years later, a new york city loft, and a cash purchase and in 2012, a brooklyn brownstone for about $3 million in cash.
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and who wouldn't want a $3 million brownstone in brooklyn, it's a great thing. a lot of properties, how do investigators look at this and say are you just a super successful businessman who puts a lot of money down in cash? or do you exposure yourself to criminal liability for money-laundering? >> it raises a lot of red flags, making big purchases with cash it might be completely legitimate, but it might not. as a prosecutor what you would want to say is where did that money come from? that's the key question. so that's why when we talk about following the money, you want to trace it back. where did it come from? people don't usually carry around $3.65 million in cash. it's somewhere in a bank and how did it get into that bank. what was the originating bank. >> i don't think scrooge mcduck had $3.65 mine in coin, that's a
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that's a lot of money for cash. >> particularly in manhattan, people do make large purchases of real estate for cash. but nevertheless these are questions that you would want to ask and you would want to know. and there are probably a whole lot of bank records that give you a very substantial trail about where the money originated from. and when you're talking about money-laundering, what, what gives rise to a money laundering violation, is if the money came from you know, particular types of what the statute says unlawful specified activity. so if there's an underlying criminal activity that you engaged in. and then you tried to conceal it, through you know, putting the proceeds of that into real estate deal and to a condo or something, that's a separate offense. separate and apart from whatever you know, whether it was a narcotics deal, where you got $5 million from selling however
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many kilos of cocaine and tried to put it into an apartment in order to conceal the source of those funds, that's a separate offense of money-laundering. >> that's where you get the crimes stacking up to your point. >> as a former federal prosecutor who worked under mueller's enron task force on complex fraud and a former counselor of president obama we're have you lucky to have a lot of your expertise tonight, kathy ruemmler, thank you. thank you. coming up, a new report that indicates jared kushner is under much greater financial pressure than ever previously known. what does that mean for the russian querrey. and the former editor in chief for the new york observer paper said kushner tried to go after trump's political attorneys, including the new york state attorney general, eric schneider. caused by reduced tear production
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donald trump and his family members in the west wing said
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they'll forgo or donate the salaries on the idea they don't need the money. but it turns out it's the opposite for jared kushner, according to a new report in bloomberg, kushner's family company is failing a stressful debt, nearly $600 million from a skyscraper his company bought in 2007. at that time, 666 fifth avenue command the highest price ever paid for a single building. and it's not aiminging well, the bill is due in two years and the building doesn't make enough to cover the rent. bloomberg reported that kushner unsuccessfully sought investors from all over the world. meanwhile, federal investigators want to know if the fifth avenue building's finances came up in that post-election meeting kushner had with the head of russia's state-controlled development bank with me is caleb melby who broke the story
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for bloomberg. what did you find? and does any of this increase pressure on kushner that could affect the way he governs or meet with foreign officials? >> yeah. pressure is definitely mounting on both kushner and his family. this debt is due february 2019. and look, they've looked a lot of different places. and it's the sort of situation where they don't have a lot of potential investors. the plan they have to save the building involves raising it and a building -- razing it. and building a new fancy one. with a mall on the bottom, hotel on top of that. condos that would go from $,000 per square foot. >> can i ask you about that? your report is so exhaustive. right in the middle you're like, their plan to make up the $600 million debt as i understand it, and i'm not a financial expert, their plan was to go billions more in debt, do i have that right? >> yeah. yeah to look for financing, to help them pay off their current
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debts and take out a $4 billion construction loan. $1 billion to buy back the stores and half the office towers. >> how is that different than being at the blackjack table and being down and saying but if i keep gambling i'll make it all back? >> i mean in some ways it's not. it's definitely a moonshot development project. it's a big plan that they have to save themselves on this building. >> at this point would you say as a financial matter, they are desperate? or super-desperate? >> they're facing some very steep challenges and they're only going to keep getting worse until february 2019. >> caleb melby with the story everyone is talking about today, thank you for coming on the show. we turn now to a beat exclusive, kushner facing heat from mueller as news breaks that the new york attorney general eric schneiderman was coordinating with mueller on potential russia inquiry. schneider previously sued trump over trump university.
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as kushner warned that trump threatened more reaction. within three months an aggressive report on schneiderman did come out in a paper owned by jared kushner. alleging that schneiderman had been heavy-handed it featured a cartoon depicting schneiderman from clockwork orange as a sociopath. back story may be more interesting. "the new york times" reporting that the observer's editor at the time asked a 28-year-old ice cream store manager, to write the article and he wouldn't do it. and gifford said kirsten described schneiderman as a bad guy and a phony and send in a negative article about schneiderman. elizabeth spires ran "the observer" for a year and says she says no serious reporter would touch that piece on schneiderman and it reflected an agenda by kushner to attack schneiderman all as pay-back over the trump university suit.
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a back-story that's more interesting, given that schneiderman is now working with mueller. elizabeth spires is here along with "slate's" michelle goldberg. what was going on a? >> one thing that's important to remember is that the editor of the newspaper at the time was a family friend of the kushner's, a former political operative. he didn't have a traditional journalism background. and so i think he understood what jared wanted to happen or what would be in the best interests of donald trump. so if you read the story, which is a fairly long profile, 7,000 words. i was counting on my phone how many times mr. trump or donald trump appears in that story. it's 47 times. it's possibly more times than the story mentions eric schneiderman. >> if you put it on the screen, there's about 3,500 words in the
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"observer" article and a lot of them were sentences defending trump in one way or the other. >> and the article explicitly states that the most important thing that schneiderman was working on at the time was the trump university case, which is preposterous. if you understand what the new york attorney general actually does. and it really reflected a world view that i think was coming from the kushner camp. >> i want to ask you and then go to michelle. did this reflect a desire to change the legal outcome? or just an emotional desire to hurt eric schneiderman, who is now working with -- >> i think it was just a reactionary thing. i don't think a, it would have affected the legal outcome. i think it was just an emotional backlash to what was happening. i think it's important to mention that at least before schneiderman went out after trump university. he had a seemingly good relationship with jared and ivanka. i went to breakfast in 2011 that jared and ivanka hosted for schneiderman. i didn't get the impression that
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they knew each other well, but they seemed to be on good terms. before schneiderman went after trump university. >> and jared and ivanka had a lot of good relationships with democrats as his father did. you said jared's father in law is donald trump, given the family relationship, "the observer" took great care to ensure fair, unbiased journalism throughout the reporting. >> i just think it shows how ethically slippery these characters are. which matters in regards to the bloomberg story, because this is somebody who is so deeply indebt and deeply compromised that even if he had the most bullet-proof ethics in the world, it would be very problematic to have him in this position where he's at once kind of the main interface between the u.s. government and various foreign leaders, with this massive portfolio that
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seems to span all of american interests all over the world. that he's both doing it on behalf of the u.s. government. at the same time his family is desperately scrounging for foreign investments to rescue their company and their legacy. even if you had someone who was willing to make the strongest possible ethical division, between their personal interests and their professional role this would still be a mess. this is just a story about how he used the observer as you know, sort of an attack dog against his political enemies shows that he has none of those ethical boundaries. the potential for corruption here is so incredibly strong. >> elizabeth, you were working with jared kushner, at the time trump was getting more politically vocal. did you ever talk to him about the birther attacks and those kinds of things? >> trump was running in the
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2011-2012 cycle, but didn't have the traction he had in the last cycle. the paper had to cover trump in the sense that as much as we ever cover national politics, we were aggregating stories. this would come up routinely. at one point we aggregated a relatively neutral story from the "times," but it happened to have negative information in it and jared wanted to discuss it. i said you know we're just taking the neutral summary of it and he said, elizabeth if you spent time with my father in law, you'd really like him. i said that might be true, but it wouldn't change the way the paper covered him. i said i have to be honest with you your father in law has done some things that i find morally repellent and he said like what and i i brought up the birther stuff. i brought up it's categorically racist. he looked at me and said, well elizabeth, he doesn't mean those things, he's just saying it because he thinks republicans are dumb and they'll buy it. >> kushner said that donald
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trump thought republicans are dumb. >> and there's a possibility that jared is lying to me because he thinks that's a more palatable answer. either way it says something about both of their characters, regardless of which version is true. >> was there anybody unless the room or is this just something he said to you? >> he just said this to me. >> coming up, could president trump actually have to testify under oath in the russia inquiry? live? i have a democratic congressman with an idea about that, next. here's to the safety first...
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welcome back. i'm joined by congressman eric shawlwell, a key figure in the democratic side into the investigation in the russian probe. do you think that at this point, it's important for your investigation to have donald trump himself testify? >> i thank you, ari. as we see the images in houston, that are breaking our heart, we're going to be back in washington in a few days and congress must pass aid immediately. we shouldn't do anything else. we always speak with one voice in a disaster. but moving to the russia investigation, ari, we need to hear from all relevant witnesses. what we know now about the president is that he sought to do business in moscow when russia was interfering in our elections. we know that his team was willing to receive information from the russians in the midst
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of the presidential campaign. and so at this point it's too early to say whether he is called in or not but if he's a relevant witness, it shouldn't be taken off the table. >> you're saying it's on the table to potentially try to compel him to testify? >> and i speak for myself. it's ultimately a call of mike conway our chair and ranking member schiff. i do believe that bipartisan concern should be that this is an exhaustive investigation. that understands completely the personal, political, financial nature of this relationship. >> congressman you site the disclosure that donald trump's aides were seeking help from the kremlin to do business in moscow during the campaign. he said the opposite. turg the campaign, was he lying? >> yes. i hate to say it, about our president, but the evidence is clear. he went from saying there were no russians, we found out there were a lot of russians, a constellation of russians. he said there was no collusion. now we know that the aides sought to have a working relationship with the russians
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and the president has essentially taken this, i believe, ari to a point of so what? that's politics. who wouldn't have taken the meeting? that's a very destructive and i think just pessimistic attitude. i don't think americans are going to go for it. they care. >> based on these disclosures, do you think it's more likely that his tax returns reflect some deals or debts linked to russia? >> you have to assume that people are forthcoming in their tax returns. i don't see how we could conduct this investigation without fully understanding donald trump's personal, financial and political contacts to russia and would include tax returns. >> with all these disclosures and these reports we've had tonight on local investigations, is your view that that is okay? or that with mueller going and your investigation going, state ags should not be pushing forward? >> it happens all the time. ari, to be efficient, when multiple jurisdictions are
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invoked, that they work together. i don't think they should treat donald trump any differently. but if you know there were state laws that are implicated, they certainly should work together to avoid redundancies. our investigation, we just want to have independence, credibility and make progress and hopefully do everything we can so when we go to the ballot box in 2018 we are never in a mess like this again. >> as a member of this investigative body, i think you did make some news here tonight. saying number one, donald trump could be called as a witness, you may potentially look to coordinate with your colleagues to have him testimony. number two, you think he was lying about not seeking business deals in russia. congressman smawwell, thank you for joining us. i want to turn to the "daily beast" spencer woodruff and what do you think we just heard there, cornell? >> i want to hope for the best. but i got to tell you, i find it hard to believe that a republican-controlled congress is going to allow that to
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happen. i think it's the right thing, i think most americans probably think it's the right thing when you look at the polling out there now with americans concerned about russian meddling. but in the end i think politics is going to win out. i think it would be tremendous for republican leaders in congress in congress to in fact allow that to happen. >> betsy? >> what stood out to me is what he said about the possibility of president trump talking to congress. i don't think that's likely in congress, but i'll honestly be surprised if mueller doesn't try to question president trump. i spoke a while back with jack danforth, the only other person who's been his special counsel under the same authority under which mueller is working. danforth investigated the waco crisis during the bill clinton administration. and he told me that while he was running that special counsel probe he called bill clinton and they talked and it was a conversation for the purposes of his investigation. even though bill clinton didn't have a huge involvement in what happened at waco. so there's absolutely precedent for special counsel
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investigators to ask questions of the president about the issues they're investigating, and i'd be surprised frankly if that's not on the table for mueller. >> cornell, doesn't that also depend on whether republicans ultimately long term in the congress learn enough that they want to take a more adversarial approach based on what's exposed? >> well, we're talking politics, right? and you're looking at the mid-terms coming up where there are already challenging political environment out there. are republicans in the house really going to put the president front and center in this conversation and have for weeks or months on going into the midterm election where they're already real nervous about this going into a midterm election and then particularly with the base of -- the core of trump supporters. house republicans and senate republicans really need the base of the republican party to come out in force for them. if we see any drop-offs in that and they see them coming after their guy or helping democrats come after their guy, it is
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tough politically for republicans to do that. >> and the other thing i wanted to cover, stepping away from russia, cornell, this is some police audio. i don't know if folks have -- do we have this in the control room? we're going to cue up this. this is basically something folks may not have heard about yet but would be a really big story if we weren't covering everything else. this is dash cam audio that's been exposed. an investigation has been ordered. but i want to play it for you here so we can assess it and get your reaction. >> listen to me.
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>> in georgia there. what do you make of that, cornell? >> i almost don't know -- i'm speechless. right? it it is an acknowledgment by a police officer of what's happening in this country. and for all the people who want to say this is black people whining and making this stuff up, no, it's not black people whining and making this stuff up. this stuff is real. and the police out there on the force know it as well. that's basically an admission that there is two standards in america. there is a standard for when you pull over white people where they probably will -- likely that you can reach for things. and a standard for black people where you cannot reach for things or you in fact may get shot. and i've got to tell you, as a black person i don't reach for anything when pulled over by a cop. right? i don't reach for anything. i tell my kids not to reach for
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anything. that's as real, and it's scary, and it's disgusting. >> well, looking at that video and seeing an officer say that in the line of duty under the cover of law, it is shocking even if you know these stories. betsy and cornell, thank you both. we'll be right back. delicious. only one egg with better nutrition- like more vitamins d, e, and omega 3s. and 25% less saturated fat. only one egg good enough for my family. because why have ordinary when you can have the best. eggland's best. the only egg that gives you so much more: better taste. better nutrition. better eggs. better nutrition.
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