tv The Rachel Maddow Show MSNBC September 20, 2017 6:00pm-7:00pm PDT
to drive extra two hours. even if someone else was paying for it, not comfortable with that. lot better for me. having said that. i like charter planes, no question about that. but at the same time there's a tick that goes off. >> should be a tick in your head even if someone else other than taxpayers is paying for it. that's all. "the rachel maddow show" starts now. thanks chris. live report from puerto rico in just a moment. secretary of state in puerto rico is sound ago larm about dangerous conditions there. 3.5 million american citizens without power and struggling with severe damage and worries about what is going to happen tomorrow and into the next day. live report with the secretary of state from puerto rico coming up in just a moment this hour. that's a very serious situation. >> before we get there though, this is one of those days when
the power of american journalism deserves appreciation. it's one of those days when the power of american journalism is like a klieg light in a dark sky. look at what we have just learned. if you were able to follow each of these paving stones as they were laid down one by one by great american journalists and published by free american press, if you were able to follow this one story all along from the beginning, today was a day when righteously, you should just take a second and look back at where that path has led us to today and behold what good journalism can do and how valuable it is to us as country. what we have learned tonight in reporting is stunning enough in bottom line but all the more stunning -- all the more civic
appreciation for it when you see where it came from. started in july, last july. 2016, in the republican national convention. doing something that usually the national press doesn't care that much about. beat reporters cover it, political activists tend to cover it. but usually at convention doing the boring work of hammering out the planks in the party platform that year, it's usually low profile thing. covering it, not a glamour job. but every once in a while reporting on something that's not glamorous reporting gig, something that run of the mill and predictable and ordinary and boring, dogged reporting on some unsexy topic like that can sometimes start to uncover the small edge of something that eventually crescendos into the biggest political scandal in a generation. in our case, biggest in more than a generation.
july of last year started really boring. josh rogen at "washington post" first person in national press to report out and write up fact that trump campaign had let almost everything else slide during the fights for party platform in 2016 but did insist on one thing and one thing only, see it in campaign. guts gop's antirussia stance on ukraine. had not given one whit about anything else in the republican party platform but mysteriously showed up in force and without warning to insist that russia language was weakened in regards to the ukraine. early on. on the surface inconsequential story. who knows what is in the party platform and abides by it, not
binding document. arkane at most. but josh rogen found out about it, reported it out. described what was known to see the campaign intervene for that change. interviewed subject matter experts from inside normal republican politics bewildered by the change that trump campaign made. and the post published the story. we did a little segment and i remember because my dad called and said whoa that story was scary, what do you think it's all about? hi dad. mid-july last year. josh rogen at "washington post," noted in explaining that strange thing with the party platform, noted that donald trump's campaign chairman paul manafort had in fact worked as lobbyist for russian-backed former president of ukraine for more than a decade.
stuck out as strange thing. less than a month later, "new york times," august 14th, byline from kiev in ooukraine, long ti empl employee for the times. said that political party in ukraine had secret ledgers of off the books payments not accounted for outside ukrainian politics and one of the people earmarked to get these dollars, turned up in the black ledger was paul manafort. times reported in august 14th of last year that manafort, was apparently due $12.7 million. based on the listings in the ledger. four days after that report was politico.com, story from ken
vogel, aged remarkably well in the years since it was published and vogel moved to the "new york times." published basically a profile of paul manafort's man in kiev. profiled the guy who ran paul manafort's operations in ukraine, brokering deals for paul manafort with russian oligarchs like gair pesk ka. one of the richest mans in russia. hasn't been able to get visa because of concerns of ties to organized crime. close to putin. matter that he can't get to the united states is brought up by russian officials, something the putin government wants addressed by the united states. paul manafort's man in kiev.
dealings with pro-putin oligarchs, explained that and manafort's close working relationship with main guy in ukraine. constantine kilim nick. costa. he had worked closely with paul manafort for more than a decade. known by lots of people in the region, including americans who worked on and off in moscow. he openly bragged about the fact he was russian military intelligence. told people that's how he learned good english, gru. favorite line, quotes this guy who worked in moscow with manafort's guy saying quote, it was like kostya, the guy from the gru, how we talked about
him. unsubtle. that guy from russian military intelligence is paul manafort's man in kiev, who he works with in ukraine. august 19th, very next day, paul manafort resigns from the campaign. lot of things happen thereafter. trump won the election and intelligence community releases findings on the russian interference into the election. and lot has happened and easy to get lost but follow this one narrow path. started with report from rnc changing plank in their platform. if you keep following that path, next stone in that path got planted march 8th. because ken vogel at politico.com was still reporting on paul manafort's man in kiev
all the months after he quit the campaign, he stayed on the story about the russian military intelligence guy who manafort was involved with and did business with and for all those years. including all the business with putin linked oligarchs. march 8th of this year ken vogel is still on this story. reports based on multiple sources that manafort was still dealing with this guy throughout the campaign. not just from the past, lasted through the election. and kostya from the gru had taken two trips to the united states to visit with paul manafort while he was working for the campaign. upon returning home from one of those trips to the united states, the guy from the gru reportedly started bragging around kiev that he had been the one that got that plank changed
in the republican party platform. after a late summer trip to the united states he suggested he had played a role in vetting a proposed amendment to the republican party platform that had staked out a more adversarial stance toward russia. that's who did it. russian intelligence guy is bragging about this in 2016. that's who did it or at least who is bragging about it. two weeks later the associated press pounding another stone into this path. direction they took it? suddenly made it seem very serious. associated press reported in late march that paul manafort and his russian military intelligence sidekick from the gru didn't just do business deals with putin linked oligarchs but manafort signed an
annual contract with him that committed paul manafort to work around the world to promote the interests of vladimir putin's government. that work started in 2006, contract said to pay $10 million annually. said that 2006 is when it started, didn't say when it ended. so that was march frrks associated press. jeff horowitz and chad day were the reporters on that piece. following month in june, "the washington post" again, flushing out that reporting that paul manafort had kept meeting during the campaign. at least twice during the campaign with russian military intelligence friend and "washington post" in june breaking the news that special council robert mueller investigating had issued subpoenas through a grand jury
in virginia demanding things between paul manafort and costia from the gru. all the paving stones pounded into this path. and now today, having followed this path, step by step, with all that good, subtle, dogged reporting over the past year plus, now we see where that path leads. because today "the washington post" breaks the news of where this ended up. tom hamburger, rosalind helderman, carol lane ig and adam entuesday on the report. what appears to be what turns out with paul manafort. followed down the path and what is at the end of it? headline, manafort offered to give russian billionaire private
briefings on the 2016 campaign. less than two weeks before donald trump accepted the republican national nomination, campaign chairman offered to provide briefings on the race to russian billionaire, post noting this means before trump accepted the nomination, campaign in direct communication with russians closely linked to vladimir putin, offering them private, secret access to the trump presidential campaign at the highest level. post reporting, also raising the prospect that access may have been provided for money or in lieu of money, not clear which. according to the post, amid what we now know were months of exchanges between manafort and kilim nick that took place, discussed money that manafort believed he was owed by eastern european clients.
days after named as campaign strategist, manafort referred to press and glowing reputation and asked how do we use it to get whole? one way to interpret that is how do we use new-found fame and political power in the presidential campaign to get me my money those bastards owe me. that said, since oleg has brought legal against manafort claiming he owes him money, it's not inconceivable that he meant how can i use new-found fame and political power in this presidential campaign to pay off my debt to my eastern european contacts? what can i do for this with this presidential campaign to make them forgive my debt in is all started with what looked like small ball report on bizarre out
of the blue nonmaterially consequential political oddities in the bam room at republican national convention, ended with trump campaign making contacts with intelligence officials close to vladimir putin, implying exchange for providing that access. the other big story broken by "new york times" and "washington post" today is line item list of documents and information that robert mueller special counsel inquiry has now demanded of the white house. we knew from the times's reporting this weekend that lawyer on the issues ty cobb received so many requests he organized them into 13 different categories. i don't know what the p touch labels are on the 13 different
files, what he's called all the different categories, but tonight "the washington post" has listed at least 11 different categories that mueller has asked the white house about. it's pretty stunning. this is the list we can extract from the new reporting, most of this is just using "washington post" language directly. robert mueller has asked for number one, all internal communications and documents related to the fbi interview of trump national security adviser mike flynn in january just days after the inauguration. number two, any white house documents that discuss flynn's conversations with the russian ambassador in december during the transition. three, what happened when sally yates came to the white house to meet with don mcgahn to warn him mike flynn was not being honest about communications with russia
and might be compromised by the government of russia. number four, mueller asked for anything related to flynn subsequently getting fired by white house. although technically he was allowed to resign. five from the "new york times," also reports that bob mueller has requested that all communications about the trump foreign policy team, controversial and nonconventional foreign policy team that trump announced during the campaign, asked about them. carter page, jd gordon, keith kellogg, george pap populous and -- not all famous but george papadopoulos has been involved in setting -- with putin. ca carter page considered possibly
a knowing russian agent. two of the names. can see why looking for information related to them. six, documents related to meetings between president trump and james comey at fbi. and 7, records of discussions in the white house about james comey getting fired. number eight, this is interesting, reportedly asked for white house documents related to the statement issued by the white house the night james comey was fired. "washington post" saying that mueller wants documents about the statement that sean spicer made about the comey firing on the night he was fired but "new york times" adds that, number nine, bob mueller also wants documents on a different statement sean spicer made a week before comey was fired an may 3rd.
mueller looking for information on two different statements about the comey firing made by sean spicer, a week apart. sean spicer is not yet known to have a personal lawyer on the russia issue. this would imply that he should get one. number ten, reportedly demanded any documents relating to the meeting trump held in the oval office with the russian foreign minister and ambassador the day after comey was fired. that's the meeting where trump told them firing james comey quote relieved great pressure on him over russia. 11. all records related to the trump tower meeting. paul manafort, jared kushner, eldest son and clown car of putin connected russians. reportedly all documents relates to the white house's response
explaining the trump tower meeting. white house and president himself obviously shaped misleading statements about what happened in that meeting. robert mueller reportedly wants to know how those statements came about. it's quite a list. had to go down a font size for what we're usually allowed to put on tv. feel free to pinch and scroll. it's quite a list. this is what mueller has reportedly demanded of the white house. what we can surprise hemise he'g into it. tells you what they're investigating. how the white house responded to dire warning about mike flynn, lying about the russian meeting at trump tower, trump complaining to the fbi director about the russia investigation, then firing him and saying after he fired him, maybe it was related to the russia investigation. all the demands tells you a lot
about what the mueller inquiry is looking for and what potential crimes they may be investigating in the white house. i think that's 11 points there, no that's 12. i will tell you, there's one more. my favorite one. all these -- this specific information and specific requests about all the things they're looking for. but according to "the washington post" tonight, one other thing they say robert mueller is asking for in their words is any e-mail for document the white house holds that relates to paul manafort. all these other things about event, action, explanation for white house behavior. but with paul manafort, want anything that has anything to do with paul manafort. thank you american press corp. since last july at least known with increasing specificity and frankly increasing alarm that donald trump didn't go out and
find a normal republican or radical republican to run his campaign last year, for some reason the guy he picked works with the russian military intelligence guy and putin linked oligarchs to promote the russian government and unexplained debts and russian payments to pro-putin political parties. we know investigators are all over him, we still don't know why trump hired him. only reason we know any of this at all is america has great reporters and free press. today of all days, if you don't subscribe to local paper, fix that. going to play a commercial now. get online, pay to get behind the pay wall at your local paper. seriously, your country needs you. but at home. she thinks she's the boss. she only had me by one grade. we bought our first home together in 2010. his family had used another insurance product but i was like well i've had usaa for a while,
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so today we got a whole lot of new reporting about the trump campaign's dealings with russia and trump russia investigation. if you stopped for dinner tonight, missed whole new chapters in the story. two of the biggest scoops less than an hour apart. "washington post" reporting specific details on the records that robert mueller has requested from the white house and russian meddling in the u.s. election and that donald trump's campaign manager paul manafort offered to give a kremlin linked russian billionaire information about the election. joining me now, carol loennig,
bylined on both stories. >> i don't know how you have time to master a knowledge of every properreporting piece goik to july. >> hyperlinks on my skin, just all memorized. terrible. you are reporting tonight a very detailed list of what robert mueller has asked for from the white house. one of those things appears to be give us anything you've got related to paul manafort. want to ask you a big question about where all the reporting is going on manafort. there's been so much reporting on manafort's potential legal jeopardy. to your mind is it becoming clear yet if that legal jeopardy is just his own? or are paul manafort's legal problems also problems for the white house? >> i don't want to prejudge what bob mueller knows.
i like to say he knows a lot more than i do and his team, they've got subpoena power. don't want to prejudge any of that. but what we're seeing in our reporting and interviewing witnesses gone before the grand jury or gotten questirequests f documents, woor seeing manafort in jeopardy personally because of his byzantine financial records, what he disclosed and didn't share about consulting contracts with companies that appeared to be interested in things that would benefit foreign governments and that he did not report. also issues about personal finances and whether or not he reported some of this material. that could run afoul of federal law. this story we broke today, with my colleagues, we're seeing part
of the answer to the question, is there a connection between russian government, people tied to the kremlin, and the campaign? here you have the campaign chairman, days and weeks before donald trump is the gop nominee saying, you know, i would really like to find a way to get paid and fix my debt problems that relate to this billionaire in russia who has a connection to the kremlin and vladimir putin, the president. that's a vulnerable place to be if you're head of a presidential campaign in the u.s. talking about trading on that role with a foreign official with connection to a foreign government. >> and when he talks about how can i use new status to make us whole, there's this dramatic fragment of a phrase we've got from that e-mail, is it clear
he's talking about recovering money he believes he's owed versus having his own debts relieved somehow? if he has something to offer in terms of the behavior of the trump campaign, you would think could trade that for money, you know what i'm saying? trying to figure out which direction the leverage goes here. >> clearly we don't know for sure. paul manafort's spokesperson told our reporters today very close to deadline i believe that it's no secret that paul manafort had a lot of outstanding debts he wanted paid by foreign clients and deripaska was one. it's complicated though. could interpret the other way as well. deripaska had sued manafort over tens of millions of dollars he was supposed to invest for
deripaska, the russian billionaire. there was dispute between them. we don't know. but he was with somebody he trusted privately saying let's see how i can use this campaign role and see if i can give deripaska something he wants. that's a strange place to be. >> and it's remarkable to have that level of clarity in terms of what was going on. specificity in terms of us seeing that exchange and knowing it's in the hands of the special counsel. carol leonnig, congratulations for being bilined on these stories and helping us understand it. >> thank you. coming up, live report from puerto rico, incredible direct hit from hurricane maria today, stay with us. hat. do you have things you want to do before you retire? oh yeah sure... ok, like what? but i thought we were supposed to be talking about investing for retirement?
puerto rico is big. 3.5 million people live there. more in puerto rico than iowa, arkansas, more american citizens in puerto rico than in both dakotas, alaska and montana combined and tonight all 3.5 million american citizens in puerto rico are in total darkness. 100% of the power was knocked out when hurricane maria made la landfall. the power grid is old and frail.
officials making dire estimates, could be up to six months to get power back on. puerto rico not hit by storm this big since 1932. lots of wood frame homes, especially inland in center of the country vulnerable to storm this fast and big. hit with 155-mile-an-hour winds and lucky we know that. they broke two national weather service radar arrays. brought down cell phone towers on puerto ricos. first responders themself couldn't get out. people who called for help told they had to wait for wind to die out so first responders wouldn't need rescuing themselves. to give you a sense of how tenuous it is. urging residents to stay inside until at least thursday because flash floods and mud slides could be even more dangerous than the hurricane itself.
for people who go out in the day, they have to be in by nightfall. curfew. hurricane maria kill at least nine people on the way to puerto rico. dominica appears to be levelled like hurricane irma levelled barbuda. the u.s. virgin islands. hurricane maria hit the big island of st. croix with 175-mile-an-hour winds. maria, as you see there, continues across puerto rico right now. eye has passed but still hitting them. weakened, fluctuating between category 2 and 3. dominican republic then turks and caicos. in puerto rico it's dark, considerable damage, thousands in shelters and more than 3 million americans in the start.
secretary of puerto rico joins us. sorry for what you're going through tonight. >> it's tough times but knew dealing as you well summarize with the rainy weather that's still with us. because of irma, we had soils saturated. i'm currently dealing with a situation where we have around 40 families on the rooftops in low-lying town. currently trying to get the national guard there. i did get a call from one of the residents that knows me. and this is happening around the island as you well said. communications is becoming a challenge. and we of all the wireless
carriers in the island, only one that luckily having this conversation but very fragile. and the rain is going to be an issue for the next coming days. and couldn be more dangerous evn than the rain itself. >> you're saying as the rain is falling, families are on the rooftops tonight still calling for rescue because of the flooding in smaller cities and towns? >> correct. it's not only the rain. we've had to open some of the flood gates for some of the dams. and one metropolitan area, which combined with the rainfall, some of the tributaries are overflowing. and now the flood front zones are becoming an issue.
as we're speaking, i'm heading to this part of town. just spoke to major of the town to get some equipment there. and in the dark with all the did he -- debris in the road, it's hard to get through. but luckily because -- made a very specific warnings regarding going all these living in the areas to move to safe haven, to our shelters, we've had no casualties. because people were wandering around and making first responders' jobs a little more difficult, governor and i signed a curfew order whereby from 6:00 today to 6:00 tomorrow morning, no one is allowed outside. this will keep going until the
emergency is under control. >> mr. secretary, talking about people in shelters, it's remarkable and a blessing that nobody has been killed, i know you have thousands of people in shelters now. do you think you've got adequate shelter capacity? do you think there is going to be a need to evacuate people? >> i don't think so. being an island, we have challenges regarding the logistics in terms of the food chain and having proper amounts and supply of water. bottled water. and food. but that's been taken care of. we have some shipments coming down, specifically fema has barge that was diverted because of the water that coast guard didn't allow it to dock, but it's coming in tomorrow.
we cleared the dock and it's coming with 1.6 million liters of bottled water together with some generators as well as cots for our shelters. so being in hurricane alley, we get this process going every year but nothing like this. this year it's been a combination of wind and rain and the worst. this is when the governor said this is the storm of the century, it really was. last night while spending time in our shelter, like a jet liner, like a jet engine whistle, the force, concrete building in the shelter shaking. it's something that's hard to describe. and we have communities that i went to a community this
morning, their buildings are wood shacks with tin roofs. 80% of those houses were flattened, completely lost. so it's going to take a while to restore, come back to normality, but we're really trusting god and trust in all our friends getting calls from all over. and support and certainly the governor has requested that president trump signs a -- an emergency disaster for puerto rico and that should allow some federal assets. we have an aircraft carrier that was in guantanamo with helicopters on the way. we're getting great support from the government. >> luis rivera marin in san juan
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trump campaign chairman's russian military intelligence connected fixer in ukraine. this guy involved with manafort while manafort worked for the pro putin dictator in ukraine and involved with pro putin oligarchs there and offered private briefings on the presidential campaign and manafort was running the campaign. reporter ken vogel doesn't work for politico anymore. he is at "the new york times." tonight, this hour, he's dropped a new scoop about paul manafort. and it's not about the sketchy, not exactly in america's interests international dealings that manafort was involved in in the past. it's about sketchy not exactly america's interests international dealings that he's involved with right now. do you know anybody who served in the iraq war? know who has an iraq war veteran in their family? after our government finally admitted that war was not to get weapons of mass destruction that didn't exist, our military's
mission in iraq became shoring up and standing up and defending the iraqi government. right? keeping iraq intact country, governed by a national government which we supported. well, here's the headline in "the new york times" right now about the new job paul manafort took right around the time the fbi raided his house in the russia investigation. manafort working on kurdish referendum, opposed by the united states. this is a referendum for the kurds to break off northern iraq from the rest of iraq to break up the national iraqi government that referendum scheduled for monday. the united states and other nations oppose it strongly because it fear it will break apart and destabilize iraq. where incidentally the united states has more than 5,000 troops serving right now. joining us now is ken vogel, "the new york times" reporter out of the d.c. bureau. i'm sorry i'm talking about you so much tonight. i hope it hasn't made you feel weird. >> no. thrilled to be here with you. >> good. i want to make sure we spell out
the time line. the kurdish independent referendum next week on monday. you write that paul manafort engaged in the work since this summer. so, so he started working for this at a time when he was really at the center of this -- the russia investigation. >> yeah. he was at the center of the investigation. he was starting to accrue the huge legal bills and he was realizing that it was going to become increasingly difficult for him to leverage what otherwise would have been this golden ticket that he had. he was a -- the lobbyist who had international experience, who was closest to the president of the united states and that could have been a very lucrative opportunity for him. he could have continued this type of foreign lobbying he'd done for decades without really attracting much notice. and incidentally without filing what we now know to have been required foreign agents registration act reports and made more money but instead he was toxic and so he was looking
for opportunity to sign that one big last deal to potentially be able to pay off some of these legal fees he was beginning to accrue. this is one that arose and i should point out to tie some of this stuff together you have been talking about the guy who he's working with, his guy on the ground right now in ir bill is phil griffin working with him and constantine clinton administration -- klimnik and then ambassador kislyak to ksz at the time he met jeff sessions and one of the undisclosed meetings that mueller is so interested in. so you have a full circle of sort of the life and associations of paul manafort in this one story. >> so, all of the stuff we have been trying to extricate and figure out and sort of tear apart and understand about the way paul manafort did business in the lead-up to trump hiring
him to run his campaign, one of the ways we can look at that is to look at what he is doing now and operating that way. ken, you mentioned that the sort of toxicity factor of this kind of a job, forgive my inspector general ignorance but the united states government doesn't want the kurds the hold the referendum and break off and advising to not go ahead with this. is it legal for a u.s. private citizens to undermine u.s. stated foreign policy including in foreign countries like this? >> i think what he would argue as he did with victor yanakovic trying to bridge the gap of the position that was sort of outside of what was acceptable of u.s. foreign policy and the u.s. and the west. obviously with victor, that didn't work out. he tilted more towards moscow in the end and ended up fleeing and under the protection of vladimir
putin. we'll see what happens with the kurds. >> ken vogel, "the new york times" reporter, thank you for the reporting, thank you for doing such good work for so long that i get to talk about you in all the different phases of this story. appreciate it. thank you. >> fun talking with you about them. >> all right. we'll be back. stay with us. when it comes to heartburn
the wreckage, the clock is ticking. and a disaster like this, responders talk about a rescue window that might be five days and common to switch over from rescue efforts to recovery efforts after 48 hours. and again, right now we are in hour 33. so far, at least 52 people have been dug out of collapsed builtings in mexico city alone. thousands of soldiers deployed to help in the search for survivors and also regular people jumping in to help, digging through the rubble. people directing traffic. people opening up their homes to strangers. been incredibly heartening to see the civilian efforts but even still that doesn't stop the clock. remarkable time watching the american disaster in puerto rico and the virgin islands and closest neighbor to the south, as well. just incredible time for this all to be happening. we'll see you again tomorrow. now it's time for "the last word with lawrence o'donnell." good evening. >> good evening, rachel. trying to go live to mexico city