tv The 11th Hour With Brian Williams MSNBC January 26, 2018 1:00am-2:00am PST
worker he was -- >> a porn star. >> my apologies to stormy. >> thank you both. that is "all in" for this evening. don't forget to like us on facebook. thank you all for joining us in that last hour of important tonight the "new york times" out with a big story that donald trump ordered the firing of robert mueller until his white house lawyer said, if he goes, i go, too. tonight what it means that it apparently came to close to happening. how will fellow republicans react, and is the president really looking forward to sitting down with mueller under oath? this also makes for another huge story here while the president is over there. hours from now he starts his day in davos against the backdrop of big news from back home. "the 11th hour" on a thursday night begins now. and good evening once again from our nbc news headquarters
here in new york. day 371 of the trump administration and we have breaking news tonight first reported by the "new york times," later confirmed here by our own kristen welker, and it involves the president and special counsel robert mueller. the "times" broke the story that the president ordered robert mueller fired and then backed off. it was reported by michael schmidt and dan haberman. michael is standing by. it says, quote, president trump ordered the firing last june of robert mueller but ultimately backed down when the white house counsel threatened to resign rather than carry out the directive. the west wing confrontation notes the first time president trump has tried to fire the special counsel. mr. mueller learned about the episode in recent months as his investigators interviewed current and former senior white house officials and his inquiry into whether the president obstructed justice.
after receiving the president's order to fire mr. mueller, the white house counsel, donald mcghan refused to ask the justice department to dismiss the special counsel, saying he would quit instead. mr. mcghan disagreed with the case. he also told white house officials that firing mr. mueller would have a catastrophic effect on mr. trump's presidency and would incite more questions about whether the white house was trying to obstruct the russia investigation. mr. mcghan also told white house officials that mr. trump would not follow through on the dismissal on his own. the president then backed off. we want to remind you now of what the president said when he was asked about mueller back in august. >> mr. president, have you thought about, considered leading the dismissal of the
special counsel? is there anything bob mueller could do that would send you in that direction? >> i haven't thought anything about it. i've been reading about it from you people. i'm not dismissing anybody. >> and it comes after expressing his willingness bordering on eagerness to speak to the special counsel. here was the president just last night. >> are you going to talk to mueller? >> i'm looking forward to it. i would do it under oath, absolutely. >> do you think robert mueller will be fair to you in this larger investigation? >> we're going to find out. here's what we'll say, and everybody says, no collusion. there's no collusion. now there's saying, oh, well, did he fight back? did he fight back? you fight back, john. you fight back.
oh, it's obstruction. so here's the thing. i hope so. >> joining us by phone tonight, one half of the by-line that broke the story, michael schmidt, "new york times," washington correspondent and nbc contributor who was with us here in the studio earlier this week. michael, walk me through your reporting starting at this initial point, trump's initial fury apparently comes after he learns that the investigation has followed a prong of obstruction of justice. you also make a point to say the first known attempt, my wording and not yours, that the president tried to fire mueller, i'll start there. were there others that you're aware of? >> we're not aware of any others -- well, we are aware that it was june, a month after comey had been fired and the president realized that mueller was looking at him, looking at his conduct when he was in office, had he obstructed justice, and he had come up with different reasons for why mueller should be dismissed. one of them being there had been a dispute when mueller was a member of his golf club in northern virginia about membership fees and that mueller had left. and he said that was a conflict
of interest and that he should not be able to be the special counsel because of that. >> these three reasons the president came up with these three conflicts he cited, were those tasked out? do you have evidence that the president said to an attorney or a staff member, find us some cover, find us some reasoning for why mueller shouldn't be in this role? >> look, the president was looking for any type of reason to get rid of him. the two other reasons, one of them being that mueller had worked for a law firm that had represented jared kushner, and because of that, he couldn't represent -- he couldn't be the special counsel. and the other reason being that mueller had interviewed with the fbi director the day before he was appointed special counsel. the president thought that was a conflict of interest, and that
should disqualify him completely from doing his job. >> and mueller himself learned about this, learned in effect how close he came subsequently in interviews with senior and past senior officials in this white house. >> i don't think that's the thing most people appreciated, that mueller has been interviewing all these white house officials about the president's conduct. he's been looking at why the president did the things he did. why did he fire comey? why did he ask sessions to not recuse himself from the russia investigation? and mueller has developed all of these different threads from that, and he has learned more about what was going on inside the west wing in that first six to eight months of the presidency and how the president
was dealing with the russia investigation. >> i now get to ask you the unusual question of why your own work took so long to come out. and by that i mean another journalist said on twitter tonight, this is proof these guys can keep a secret. your friend, colleague and co-author maggie haberman said tonight, this proves they were really good at lying to us for a long time. why did this particular story, do you think, take so long to get out? >> i'm not sure. there is a lot of things that went on inside of this white house that we still don't know about, but every day we go out and we try and figure out as much as we can, what are these people telling mueller? what is mueller looking at? why is mueller focusing on certain issues rather than others?
and in the process of that, we kick up different things. we're just trying to follow the facts and understand as much as we can about this presidency. >> michael schmidt, good work tonight. you know you're always welcome on this broadcast, michael schmidt, co-author of the "new york times" story. eli stokels, kimberly atkins, chief washington reporter for the boston herald, and gerald bash, also former counsel to house intel. kimberly, as both lawyer and journalist and a unique dual role in this conversation, how big is this? >> this is very big. i mean, this is an important piece in what we've been seeing over time which looks to be a concerted effort by this president to push back or stop efforts to investigate what is going on in the russia investigation. we saw first the pressure on james comey to get him to publicly say there was no investigation, then the firing
of comey, then the pressure on other officials including members of congress, to message the frustration about this investigation and ultimately an attempt to fire robert mueller, which he was told would be, at the very least, politically catastrophic and then an apparent shift back. i think it's also interesting that the story said that the president mulled the idea of firing a deputy fbi director rod rosenstein. so i think all of this together is evidence -- it could be evidence that shows intent, an intent to stop this investigation, an intent to get in the way. and as this obstruction aspect of the investigation moves forward, this is going to be something that's very important to robert mueller and his investigators. >> gerald bash, who admits to being a harvard-educated lawyer himself, how big is this? >> the code does state someone who does endeavor to try to impede or stop an investigation is guilty of an offense. so there is an intent in the statute, brian. but i would think the prosecutor would not bring charges on that basis alone, but i agree with kimberly, it does go to the state of mind of the president of the united states, and he concocts pretense, he concocts phony arguments. first it was, hey, i was looking
out for hillary clinton's interests. then it was golf fees. nobody is going to believe that. he is trying to impede this investigation. practically speaking, the most important aspect of this is if bob mueller's team did not know what michael schmidt and his company reported tonight, they'll have to go back and interview all the witnesses, bring don mcghan back in, reince priebus back in, bring others back in and find out what they can learn about this episode. >> any minute now, donald trump is going to emerge in his hotel in davos, switzerland, and any reporter within shouting distance will ask him about the story. what if his instinct is to fall back on past practice and say, never thought about it, fake news. >> he's thought about it, and i think this report makes it very clear this is just another example of a president who is pretty indifferent to the truth. he looks at reporters with a
straight face and says things that we now know were flat-out false. and, you know, obviously, as kimberly said, he keeps doing these things. he's obviously nervous, he's twitchy. he fires comey, that brings on the special counsel investigation. that's what started the whole thing. then he wants to fire the special counsel. seven months later that comes out. that's another brick in the wall, perhaps, in the case of obstruction of justice. he keeps making things worse. i don't know at this point whatever he says, whether it comes in a tweet, whether it comes as a brush-off with reporters who follow him in davos to give a speech, i don't know whether it matters now in terms of the mueller investigation. mueller probably knows a lot more than this and that's the ball game at the end of the day. >> i want to play something interesting for you. for our viewers who aren't familiar with his name, chris ruddy runs an organization called newsmax. he's part of the palm beach crowd around the president. they've known each other for years. chris ruddy is an insider in the trump world. he had a media appearance back
in june of the summer where he made this point and then was roundly attacked for it. let's listen. >> i think he's considering perhaps terminating the special counsel. i think he's weighing that option. i mean, robert mueller, there is some real conflicts. he comes from a law firm that represent members of the trump family. he interviewed the day before, or a few days before he was appointed special counsel, with the president who was looking at him potentially to become the next fbi director. >> so you see the talking points there, eli, and i was reminded of this moment. i heard an interview with maggie haberman of the times tonight
that while he was attacked in realtime for those remarks, it turns out he was right. >> chris knew this because he was one of the people talking with the president in realtime and perhaps putting those ideas in his head. i talked to chris ruddy a lot. he's consistent in his belief that he's talking with the president and that his lawyers have not been defending him enough in fighting off the special counsel and challenging enough in the courts in considering terminating him. so this may be something chris ruddy thought was a good idea, going out and talking about it publicly. this took place in june, apparently. don mcghan last summer, there ever been other reports that he threatened to quit for other reasons. before the president brought in outside counsel to represent him in the russia probe, the white house was a mess, and there were a lot of things mcghan was
concerned about in terms of who was meeting who. were jared kushner and donald trump meeting together? were they scheming together? there just wasn't a process in the west wing. this was before john kelly came in, and don mcghan, there were reports that he, at that time, was considering quitting at that time sensing the possible legal culpability. >> and remember, white house counsel doesn't mean you're the president's lawyer, you're the lawyer for the institution, the presidency itself. kim, let's talk about the building behind you and what the
reaction is likely to be especially among members of the president's party. >> yeah. i think, look, there was some effort some time ago to float legislation that would protect robert mueller, that would limit the ability of the president to fire robert mueller and that sort of fell by the wayside for a while. i think we're going to see that come up again. and i think it very well could be a bipartisan effort. i think -- look, i talked to lawmakers in both parties who are concerned about the president firing robert mueller. they don't think that it's a
good idea, they think it would be bad. not only republicans think it would be bad for the presidency, but all think it would be bad for the institution of the justice department of the special counsel's office. so i think there is a desire to stop that from happening. and i think we're going to hear a lot more about that. of course, they can't pass a bill without the president's signature. it's unlikely to have enough support to be veto-proof. but in itself, just that effort will make it more politically unpalatable for the president to fire robert mueller if he is, indeed, still ponderring that. >> jeremy, just to go over from a legal angle, if the president decides to deny this story, are there legal ramifications? we saw what he said in august, never gave it any thought. >> he may have e-mails, he may have documents, he may have other witnesses to describe this episode. if the president does give testimony whether under oath or not, the president will have to tell the truth about it. but it's hard denying that this is now the third official of the president of the united states asked to engage in unlawful conduct and they threatened to resign. now we have his own white house counsel refusing to engage in unlawful and unethical conduct the president asked him to do, and the white house counsel had to threaten to resign until the president backed down.
>> unbelievably, a domestic story has overshadowed a foreign trip. it's like when air force i is wheels up, something else very bad comes down. >> it's also like when air force i is not wheels up, something else comes down. it's overload in terms of the news cycle, and it's one of the things that has enabled the president to get past some of these things. there is always something else. the distraction, the sort of, you know, fog that they create, the fog machine, i don't know that those things distract bob mueller and his investigation and where this whole thing is going here, but you do have to wonder why this came out now, who the sources were, what their angle was, was it steve bannon just sort of lighting matches, was it somebody inside worried about the president, maybe possibly considering firing mueller again and trying to stave that off by boxing him in publicly? we don't know but those questions are also important to ask as you sort of consider this story and what was the reason that it came out tonight. >> as we said, our thanks to our starting panel as we deal with what is still this breaking news story. eli stokels, kimberly atkins, jeremy bash, and before all that, michael schmidt. thank you all. coming up as we approach our first break. we're going to keep going on this story. this major development tonight
from the "new york times" originally, this story of just how close robert mueller might have come to being the former special counsel. and when we come back, how mueller is likely to view all of this. also, how this fits in a well-documented relationship donald trump has on the subject of loyalty. with most of an hour left to go, we're back with more after this. sometimes a cough gets in the way of a good night's sleep.
this bombshell report from the "new york times," president trump actually tried to fire robert mueller comes from the president himself is likely to be called to answer questions. just yesterday, again, prior to leaving for europe, trump expressed his willingness to cooperate with mueller. >> are you going to talk to mueller?
>> i'm looking forward to it, actually. >> you want to. >> there's been no collusion whatsoever. there is no obstruction whatsoever, and i'm looking forward to it. >> do you have a date set? >> i guess they're talking about two or three weeks, but i would love to do it. >> here to talk about it, frank fagluizzi, who in the past has
worked for robert mueller, he's our national security analyst. and chuck rosenberg worked under both robert mueller and james comey when they were running fbi. he's also a former u.s. attorney himself and a current msnbc contributor. gentlemen, welcome to you both. frank, you went to law school. how does this possibly add to an obstruction argument? >> yeah, so a key element of an obstruction of justice charge is intent. so tonight in the long string of conduct that we've had the president play out that all point to obstruction, it's this one, this intent to fire someone because you've learned they're looking at you for obstruction, it actually sounds like a bad law school exam question, you know. so you fire someone because they're looking at you for obstruction, is that obstruction? tonight that gives us a glimpse into the president's intent deeper into his head, and it helps shape the way we perceive all the other things he's done. the firing of comey, pressure on sessions to not recuse himself from the russia inquiry, the drafting of the letter that says the trump meeting was all about
child adoption. tonight in case you need any more shading of what his intentions were with those, we now have clear intent to fire the guy who is investigating him. >> chuck, every profile i've ever read of robert mueller indicates hes made of between 10 to 30% kevlar. he may find this information more useful than hurtful. what will he do since he is special counsel, and how does this fit into the negotiations for what form the questioning testimony will take? >> in terms of allegations, it's like standing on a street corner and looking up and seeing a piano about to fall on your head and trying to negotiate with the piano about the laws of gravity. there is not really a negotiation here. mueller holds the cards. they can talk about a voluntary interview. they might talk about where that takes place, but in the end, if the president doesn't agree to that, he's going to get a
kagami is. this comes after what he called most of africa or all of africa a nation analogous to la treens. he isn't worried about that. he's a businessman, he's been a supporter of trump a long time. he's the head of the african union for a term. img it is going to be a positive meeting. >> the president is also very wary of foreign aid. i know rwanda back in 2016 the last information available received $238 million in foreign aid. back home he is alternately seen as a strong man, people claim he helped the economy. where do you think these two will find common ground, rather, excuse me? >> well, you know, being a dictator doesn't necessarily mean you're not doing good things for the economy. he's brought -- kagami has brought the country back from genocide a little over 20 years
ago into a very prosperous little country. and so a lot of people give him enormous credit for that. but he's also ruthless in cracking down on the press. he gets reelected again and again and again with 90 plus percent of the vote. any other leader almost anywhere in the world, when you see them get 93, 95, 96% of the vote, we say that's a dictatorship. but even people who are sensitive about the issue of dictatorship are reluctant to say that about kagami. obviously christopher what's happened home is reaching switzerland. you heard him fielding questions from the press about that north county times article. how much do you think he will be dogged by questions of that at davos as he goes ahead? >> well, i think it's going to be a problem for trump throughout davos. he wants to send this very positive message about the stock market, unemployment, growth, all of which he takes credit for even though all of it was on its way to happening long before his
election. so, that's his message. but he's going to be asked again and again about "the new york times" story that said he was on the verge of firing robert mueller in june before his white house counsel said he would resign if that took place. a lot of people are speculating that, in fact, the white house counsel, mcgahn, is the source of the leak of this information because he's concerned, once again, that trump may fire mueller because the mueller investigation is getting closer and closer and closer to trump and to his top officials. >> he has a number of balancing acts going on during this conference. the picture right now that we have up is during his meeting bilaterally with theresa may, he met with prime minister benjamin netanyahu. there are things he canceled his trip to england based on the problems at the u.s. embassy. many people suspect it was because there would be widespread protests.
theresa may needs as they exit the european union to build trade negotiations with places like the united states of america. how is he going back and forth with, a, being seen as a protectionist, and b, at a conference where there are many global perspectives as he tries to say america first, but not america alone? >> well, his argument and the argument that they've been hearing at davos from steve mnuchin, the treasury secretary and wilbur ross the commerce secretary the last couple of days is that american growth is good for the global economy. if america is growing strong, then the global economy will grow along with it. and that's not an a unreasonable argument. you know, davos is a kind of a divided group of people. on the one hand you have the world economic forum and what it organizes and it's got a considerable social consciousness. it believes that globalization is good, that the rising tide of the global economy will
eventually raise everybody. but you have to pay attention to things like climate change and a lot of issues that president trump isn't comfortable with or doesn't believe in. on the other hand, you have a whole big collection of billionaires and ceos from around the world, but a lot of them american. and frankly, they love the tax cut, particularly the corporate tax cut that trump has pushed through and the republicans have pushed through. so, they feel very positive about him. they feel a lot richer. davos is the kind of place where billionaires sit around and talk about inequality and then leave in their private jets. >> all right. with just a couple seconds left, christopher, quickly what do we expect to hear from donald trump in his keynote today? >> what we'll hear is america is doing great and that's great for the world. while he's not really a protectionist, you know, but he wants to renegotiate everything. >> christopher dicky, we have to leave it there. thank you. that is our coverage. we'll bring you remarks later on
you know, loyalty is very important. loyalty can be a good thing. through loyalty to our country, we will rediscover our loyalty to each other. but i don't think it would be a bad question to ask. i think loyalty to the country, loyalty to the united states is important. you know, i mean, it depends how you define loyalty. >> the same month "the new york times" reports donald trump was asking for ordering robert mueller to be fired, we heard from former fbi director james comey who was also fired by the trump administration. about one of the more disturbing experiences he had with donald trump. >> he asked specifically of loyalty in the context of asking me to stay. >> despite you explaining your independence, he kept coming back to, i need loyalty, i expect loyalty. had you ever had any those of
those kind of requests before from anyone you worked for in the government? >> no. >> once again, in the breaking news from "the new york times" tonight, donald trump's focus on loyalty was on display here in this piece saying, quote, mr. trump has long demonstrated a preoccupation with those who have overseen the russia investigation in march after mr. mcgahn failed to persuade attorney general jeff sessions not to recuse himself from the inquiry, mr. trump complained that he needed someone loyal to oversee the justice department. here to talk about it with us tonight, eugene robinson, pulitzer prize winning columnist for the washington post and an msnbc political analyst. jackie calms is with us, white house editor for the los angeles times. and matthew miller is with us, msnbc justice and security analyst and former chief spokesman over at the department of justice. jackie, walk us through at least your view of the modern history of donald trump on the subject of loyalty. >> well, he's a man who
literally grew up with expectations of loyalty to family. it's almost like the core ali owns. he grows up in the family business and he's been in family business his entire career. and his children now work for him. he's never had to answer to a board of directors. and so he's used to just having sicafans and loyalists around him tault. as president comes in and seems to expect the same of not only everyone in his cabinet including the attorney general who has a role to be very independent of the president, but he expects it of members of congress of his party, too, and treats them not as an independent branch of government, but as an arm of his presidency. and so it's just affected -- he doesn't operate in any other way. >> eugene, as you may know, my theory of life is that all of
life comes back to the godfather, and i swear that was not a set up when jackie mentioned the coralione family. >> absolutely. >> you localize it to godfather, too. explain. >> yes, godfather part 2, when michael coraleon. he just has to lay down the law and it's absolute loyalty to the family or else, right. and that's kind of the mind-set of donald trump. i mean, look at, look at what he has done. you had that clip from jim comey. he asked his fbi director for a pledge of loyalty. when he didn't get the pledge of loyalty, he fired the fbi director and then he asked the director's replacement how he voted in the election. again, this is an obsession with donald trump. it's a fundamental misunderstanding of how the government is supposed to work. but we kind of knew that. you know, i don't know how this
movie ends, but there was a lot of blood shed in the godfather and this is going to be a rough year. >> i want to play for all of us donald trump on the subject of his own hand-selected attorney general who happened to be the first sitting senator to get on board the trump campaign, jeff sessions. then we'll talk about it. >> i am disappointed in the attorney general. he should not have recused himself. almost immediately after he took office. and if he was going to recuse himself, he should have told me prior to taking office and i would have quite simply picked somebody else. >> so, matt miller, the question is, is that ignorance of how the levers of government and the presidency are to be pulled? >> i think you could ascribe it to ignorance the first couple months in office. but by that point he'd been through a number of series of events involving the justice department. you have to think someone sat him down and said, look, there
is supposed to be a wall between the justice department and the white house. and you have to respect that wall. it's clear that it's not just that he doesn't understand that need for the justice department's independence, but that he's hostile to it. you mentioned of course jeff sessions and jim comey, the famous incidents. we see it infect his relationships with all kinds of senior leaders at the justice department. he asked andrew mccabe the interim director who he voted for. when preet bharara was the attorney for the southern district of new york he called him and spoke to him. he said he thought he was trying to ingrash ate himself and make preet loyal to him. he interviewed the attorneys for eastern district of new york, all districts that would have jurisdiction over either his activities in the white house or in new york. something that in the obama white house and in the bush white house, the president never interviewed u.s. attorney candidates. so, he has this need to try to, you know, demand loyalty at all levels of federal law
enforcement in a way that we've not seen from other presidents and a way that is inappropriate. >> jackie, i spoke with a source familiar with this white house who used the word toxic to describe the atmosphere that kind of who can you trust atmosphere where multiple people know that multiple people have gone in to give their testimony, but no one knows what the other has said. there are predictions of a coming staff exodus. does that match up with what you're hearing from the same folks? >> well, absolutely. and, you know, that's really been true of this administration from the start. you know, we lose sight of the fact that this investigation has been going on since before donald trump was elected or inaugurated. and so what that means is that robert mueller has talked to a lot of people, and even before he took over the investigation, he inherited a lot of material
from people who had been talked to. and it's just all of this, you know, you look at this news scoop today, that mueller -- he had ordered mueller to be fired and that he only backed off when don mcgahn threatened to resign. mueller has talked to so many people already. reince priebus who was chief of staff at the white house at the time. and sean spicer who was the press secretary at the time. and don mcgahn, and there's just many others that we don't know. we just simply don't know how many people mueller and his team have talked to. and so that just -- every day it's pins and needles. people at the white house -- and they have to hire lawyers. i saw this in the clinton administration. but there you didn't have that same sense that, looking over your shoulders to see who might have been telling something that could directly be countered what you might be telling and that you could each be hurting the other. it's just -- it's much more
different here. it's much more personal. >> eugene, should we spend a moment talking about don mcgahn who, as we said earlier in the broadcast, knowing what we know tonight, just may have averted something of an early constitutional crisis last summer. >> well, he may well have. and, look, i think we would expect frankly someone, a lawyer who was able to rise to the level of white house counsel to react in that manner, to see the president about to commit an act that is deeply unwise and undemocratic counter to our system, and throw himself on the tracks in the path of this rampaging train and say, you know, i'm out of here if you do it. so, i think that's an admirable thing. that's the kind of thing we would expect from someone in that position. one thing i would add just
to point out, somebody leaked these stories. people leaked the stories to "the new york times." people are confirming it to the washington post and other news organizations. so, clearly this is an attempt by >> it may be another name for the robert mueller preserve and protection act of 2018, we don't know yet. our guests have agreed to stick around. we're going to sneak a break in here. we'll be back. we'll talk about what was going on in june of last year.
intelligence, the dni and the head of the nsa has part of that inquiry. the very next day president trump took to twitter writing, quote, you are witnessing the single greatest witch hunt in american political history led by some very bad and conflicted people. make america great again. back with us, eugene johnson, jackie combs and matthew miller. look at this graphic. june 7, comey releases memo detailing interactions with trump, june 8th, comey testifies before senate intel committee. just looking back at his twitter account is kind of a
play-by-play of where his head was and where we knew the investigation was. >> right. you had had on june 14 that "washington post" story which was characterized -- the mueller trump himself and obstruction of justice. and remember, one of the things he was obsessed about earlier in the year with jim comey was the fact that he personally, donald trump, was not under investigation and jim comey reassured the president but that was only good for as long as james comey was in the job. and you subsequently had these things that donald trump had done, not least firing jim
comey, that invited looking into obstruction of justice. and so at that point the post characterized this as a major turning point in the investigation and this was exactly donald trump's worst nightmare. so june 15th and june 16th, the days after that "washington post" story, you had virtual tweet storms both days by donald trump reacting and repeatedly calling this a witch hunt. he clearly was obsessed at the time with this. >> matt, just looking down the list of names because i worked so hard on these graphics tonight, we're going to use them, don mcgahn, sean spicer, home hicks, jeff sessions, reince priebus, imagine the case file on the other side when and if the president goes in to talk? >> it's incredible. we thought until today the critical period was from january 20th from when donald trump took office and several days after when mike flynn had his interview with the fbi and may 9th when he fired jim comey. we know is extends further because he was taking acts as
late as june in trying to fire robert mueller. all of those key aides that were around the president are able to talk to his state of mutual fund, which is keep to proving any obstruction of justice case. why was the president taking the actions he did. so whenever one of them goes in to talk to bob mueller, he has talked to other aides beforehand, they're going to find out he knows about meetings they were in, if steve bannon comes down, he'll say we heard you said in this meeting so and so. if steve bannon wants to give a different recollection, you know, he risks a false statement charge. it's a very difficult situation. it's most difficult for the president because he is the last one to come in for his interview. bob mueller has the benefit of piecing together every other piece of the puzzle before that sitdown. >> eugene, in plain english, the mooch has surfaced.
he is in davos for the president's trip. and in his defense, he gave a live interview on cnn tonight, it was 3:30 in the morning in switzerland. he was asked to react to the "new york times" story. we'll play it and talk about it on the other side. >> it's totally irrelevant because he actually didn't fire mueller. i find it very ironic this information is coming out while he's here in davos, while he's had great fanfare. i would love to get a look at somebody like steve bannon's phone records to see how he's talking to and how this information is out there. >> so interesting tri-part defense there. by the way, i'd look at steve bannon phone records. >> going to blame bannon. it was a trifecta, very quickly. just journalism should be happy that the mooch is back, i guess. the thing about this investigation that we're hearing
is, again, sources who have been interviewed by mueller, presumably some of the people you had in that graphic is saying that those investigators have not just accounts of meetings and who said what and this and that but they have e-mails and documents that people go in there having no idea that mueller has. this is just an indication of what we all suspect, that mueller knows a whole lot more than we know he knows. and i think that's the essential imbalance in this investigation. that's what has to worry not only trump but all those who work with trump and will continue to worry them, i think, for some time because i think this investigation has a long way to go. >> our thanks to our guests tonight for a fantastic
conversation of our breaking news story. a break for us. we're back with more right after this. hi, i'm the internet! you know what's difficult? armless bowling. ahhhhhhhh! you know what's easy? building your website with godaddy. get your domain today and get a free trial of gocentral. build a better website in under an hour.
depressions. we had the united states on our side supporting us. supported our economy, trade, investment. we see a lot of support from united states to rwanda and, president, i wanted to thank you for the support we have received from you. we are looking forward to working with the united states and the african union where we are cutting out reforms of the african union so we get our act together to do the right things and that helps in cooperating with the united states to be more than official when we are organized to know what we want from united states. >> sure. >> for that corporation. so i thank you very much. >> well, i thank you very much. and it's a great honor to have all of you here.
and we'll speak for a little bit longer and thank you very much. >> thanks, everyone. >> thank you. >> any comments about african countries? can you discuss your comments on african countries? >> thank you. >> thank you. >> good morning, everyone. it's friday, january 27th. i'm ayman mohyeldin alongside yasmin vossoughian and louis burgdorf. we want to start with the big news that developed overnight. source with firsthand knowledge confirms to nbc that donald trump ordered mueller be fired last june. ft. backed down after the white house counsel threatened to resign.
according to people told of the matter, "the washington post" went on to say he did not deliver his resignation directly to trump. within the last hour, the president responded to the report as he continues to meet with world leaders in davos, switzerland. take a listen. >> mr. president, why did you want to fire robert mueller? >> fake news, folks, fake news. >> so this after a white house statement from one of the president's lawyers last night who said they declined to comment, quote, out of respect for the office of the special counsel and its process. two sources told "the times" what they saw as three conflicts. first, a dispute years ago over fees at the washington golf club that prompted mueller to resign his membership. >> the president said mueller could not be impartial because he had most recently worked for the
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