tv MSNBC Live With Craig Melvin MSNBC March 9, 2018 10:00am-11:00am PST
mitchell reports." remember, follow us online on facebook and on twitter @mitchellreports. craig melvin is up next here on msnbc. hi, craig. >> good to see you. we start with that breaking news we've been following. the saga of president trump and porn star stormy daniels. nbc news has exclusively obtained an e-mail that appears to poke a hole in that carefully calibrated story repeated often by trump attorney michael cohen that the $130,000 that he sent daniels prior to the election was totally walled off from president trump and his business empire. let's bring in kelly o'donnell. she has more on this. kelly o., what more do we know and have we heard from the white house yet about the newest chapter in this ongoing story? >> no response from the white house yet but this will certainly provide the basis for some new questions because michael cohen, a longtime personal attorney for president trump has always described this
situation as facilitating a payment to stephanie clifford, also known as stormy daniels. and that it was not the work of the trump organization. but in so many ways, e-mail that is so ubiquitous in our lives, sometimes provides some details that on its face could open a new door. what we find here is nbc news obtained an e-mail where michael cohen uses his trump organization address, along with a gmail address and it is a communication regarding a bank transaction where funds were put into cohen's account. one would see this as possibly one of the steps in a long process of agreement between cohen on behalf of presumably president trump or simply as acting on his own as an ally of the president through the attorney representing at the time stormy daniels. and that this was a part of the chain of events to provide this payment $130,000 which cohen
acknowledges, and in return, a nondisclosure agreement not to talk about anything between a relationship, what she knew, did or what access she might have had to the president. so then we go back to once we've seen this e-mail which clearly has @trump.org there, michael cohen had said neither the trump organization nor the trump campaign was a party to this transaction. that is so critical. that's been cohen's statement all along, that neither the campaign nor the privately held trump organization was involved. and he says the transaction with ms. clifford, he was neither reimbursed for that payment of $130,000, either directly or incorrectly. that is critical. what we now know is that stormy daniels wants to be able to tell her story, even though she had agreed, one presumes othe face of it to not disclose anything she had known about the president or any interactions she might have had with him back
in 2006. accepting the $130,000. we don't know why she wants to speak out now except that her attorney says she wants to tell the truth and wants the public to evaluate these facts on their own and the legal case they have made is the nondisclosure agreement is not valid because it lacks the signature of donald trump. here is daniels' lawyer just a short time ago with andrea mitchell explaining what they want. >> it shows at all times during the communication process relating to the negotiation surrounding this hush payment that mr. cohen was utilizing his trump organization e-mail in those communications. not just when communicating with mr. davidson, ms. clifford's attorney at the time, but also internally when he was communicate with the bank about the specific issue of transferring the money. >> reporter: so one of the questions was it done knowingly
with the trump organization e-mail, inadvertent? is there something more to this or was it a mistake? we just don't know yet but what it does do is it opens new questions about the involvement of the trump organization and the president by extension in this now new push for truth on the part of stormy daniels as she likes to frame it through her attorney. a chance to tell her story that the trump organization, the trump campaign, the white house say has nothing to do with the president. >> we should note as you just noted that we are expecting that this will be the bulk of the press briefing that's set to happen roughly 55 minutes from now. we'll hear from sarah huckabee sanders. danny savalis and matt mcclarty was chief of staff under president bill clinton. ken dilanian is the intelligence and national security reporter and sarah fitzpatrick is an nbc investigative reporter who broke this story. she along with tracy o'connor.
it's your work, sarah. perhaps we should start with you. other outstanding questions that we have at this point. we just heard a few from kelly o. what are some of the other questions that are hanging out there right now? >> the real question for everyone is, to what extent did michael cohen inform trump? how much was he acting on his behalf? it's not clear mean was using a trump organization e-mail. it's very unlikely, especially because he, as a lawyer, his responsibility is to inform his client. he needs to keep imappraised of anything going on. that's a major outstanding question here. and i think the larger question, too, is, is there other cases throughout similar to this? >> for viewers and listeners who perhaps have not been following this story as closely as all of us have been following, what has the white house said to this point about the payment? did the white house know about this $130,000 payment? what did they say? >> it's my understanding the white house said they were not
aware any of payment but there's been a lot of looking at the accounts. hopefully we'll hear more today from the press briefing. >> did the president sign a nondisclosure agreement? >> stormy daniels' attorney claims he did not sign the agreement but that's an important part of his case. because he did not sign that nondisclosure agreement is no longer valid. >> danny, the significance of all of this, these developments that have unfolded over the past hour. the significance from a legal aspect? >> the mere granting of an e-mail domain name or address alone in the law will not, by itself, bind the principle. and the rationale, it makes sense. the night watchman might get an e-mail address with the company name on it. he can't enter into contracts. michael cohen is no night watchman. so the issue becomes what we call apparent authority. did stormy daniels reasonably believe, based on not just what michael cohen said but what trump said or did or how he
behaved? did she reasonably believe that michael cohen acted on behalf of the trump organization or trump himself? because that will create authority in the law, even if no express authority existed. >> when you were chief of staff, from time to time, you had to deal with some crisis management. there have been a number of folks who have said that this is how it started for president clinton. >> i'm michael. >> do we have michael -- we don't have him. sorry. we'll come back to mack in a second. let me bring in ken dilanian. let's say for the sake of argument the trump organization did okay this payment. what significance would that have for the president? >> i think it's unclear, craig. it would depend on the purpose of the payment and there's some issues here around whether this payment could be construed as helping donald trump's election.
and you know, that's been an issue in the past with john edwards when he was running for president and payments were made on his behalf to a mistress. that was charged as a federal crime. this goes back to henry cisneros who was investigated by a special counsel for many years and ultimately pleaded guilty in connection with payments to a mist ris. this is a dicey scenario here which is why everyone is paying close attention to it. >> ken, if you were in that briefing room at 2:00, what questions would you be asking sarah huckabee sanders? >> the major question is why would michael cohen -- what is michael cohen's role here? why is he using an e-mail associated with the trump administration? he's a colorful character. he's been donald trump's personal fixer and consulary going back more than a decade. there was talk he had been sidelined because he's never had a job in the trump administration. but one of his longtime roles has been to deal with women who have alleged affairs with mr. trump.
more than one of these cases. and that has risen him to prominence again. even though he's been a registered democrat who said he voted for barack obama in 2008, he's been a loyal and fierce defender of the president and what exactly was his role here and did he pay this with his own money? did somebody else pay the settlement? that's the crucial question. >> back to the significance of the difference between a trump organization e-mail address and a gmail account, for folks who may not understand why that would be so important? >> because if it is a trump e-mail address, that is one factor that tends to show that michael cohen may have been acting with the authority of the trump organization. such that he could bind them to contracts like the contracts we're talking about. the nondisclosure agreement and perhaps even more importantly within that agreement, the arbitration close which is going to be a huge battleground in this case. >> i want to come back to you, sarah because it's your
reporting that we're talking about here. in terms of the next step, this story and its evolution. where do we go from here? what do we expect to happen next? >> there's a couple elements still outstanding. it's been reported that the bank that transferred this money to stormy daniels' attorney, that it generated a suspicious activity report. the question is, what generated that report and what about those funds rose questions and they felt they needed to inform the government on that? i think going forward, the larger question is, you know, where did this money come from and, you know, who knew about it? and i think there's a lot more that we'll learn today, i hope. >> today? >> perhaps. >> from the press briefing or other investigative reporting? >> we're always working here. >> yes, we know you guys are always working. michael, let me bring you in. we're waiting on mack mclarty, former chief of staff to president clinton because you did report on this story back in january. the white house at the time told you these were old recycled
reports. that's correct? that's the statement you got from this administration? >> correct, yes, they tried to just basically use a kind of denial approach from the beginning. >> where do you see this story heading next? >> as has been noted, the pressure seems to be on the white house now to address the question. it's in the legal forum now. so i think it's -- there's going to be more and more pressure on the white house, on michael cohen and harder for them to separate each other, separate cohen from the president. and i believe that ultimately, there will be more pressure for answers to come out. >> walk us through some of your other reporting as well from last month. >> well, we reported the existence of this agreement and that it went through this company in delaware that michael cohen created to try to conceal the nature of the payment. that's the one the money was transferred into at first republic and earlier this week, we reported about the suspicious activity report that was just mentioned. which could have come just
because the bank thought it was an unusual transaction, putting $130,000 into an llc. that could cause them to report that to the treasury department. or it could have been a result of a subpoena if some government agency were investigating and asked for michael cohen's bank records. that could have caused a bank to file a suspicious activity report and those are questions as to why that happened that we're still looking for the answers to. >> gentlemen, stand by. ken dilanian down there in washington, d.c., you still with me as well? >> yes, sir. >> ken, just to be clear here, our understanding is at this point, critics of the president see this as a basis for possible campaign violations. how far away are we from that? >> unclear, craig. it would depend on the source of the funds and the motivation and what various people say about it. as i said, look, in the case of
john edwards, democratic candidate for president. that was the case that was made. supporters of his paid a woman with whom he was having an affair and it was construed as an illegal campaign contribution. the reason for the payment was to cover this up during his election campaign. if that is found to be the purpose here, and this suspicious activity report does raise a question in some minds about whether this whole affair is going to draw the attention of special counsel robert mueller. we have no evidence that has happened yet, but it is a question that many people are asking because it involves, you know, the movement of money. large sums of money that has drawn some questions. and michael cohen shows up in the trump/russia saga. named in that christopher steele dossier. he completely denies that and has actually sued buzzfeed which published that dossier over that issue. but it's interesting that he shows up in both stories. >> mack mclarty is here.
sorry. thought you were down in d.c. didn't know you were here in the flesh. >> you spent some time in your days in the clinton white house, a number of folks over the past few days who have commented on how this story on a number of levels resembled the early days of the paula jones scandal which then turned into the monica lewinsky scandal. do you see those parallels here? >> some of that was after my time as chief of staff, but there are some parallels. i think the real issue, craig, is any white house is going to have some ufos, some unforeseen occurrences. we're seeing this with the north korean development. a much different issue in a different type of way. the real point is the white house has to be organized to deal with these unexpected occurrences. try to manage them as best you can. get them on a separate track but to have a cohesive white house, a cohesive cabinet to manage the government. that's the key to it. >> how nervous should this
administration be about these new developments? >> on this particular matter, it's really hard for me to say. they are going to have to deal with them. i think the white house counsel's office will probably be the point person here. >> the white house has not been forthright about a number of issues related to the story and some other things as well. can they continue to ignore the story in the way that they have? >> it's hard to predict that. i think likely with the press continuing to follow this story, they will have to deal with it in some shape, form or fashion. >> if you were chief of staff right now, what would you be advising the president to do or say? >> i would be certainly coordinating closely with the white house counsel if you had outside counsel. of course, they would be included, too. it has to be handled in that manner. in some of these controversies, we'll see how this one develops, craig. if you -- if they are going to
be long but running like the mueller investigation, you have to get them on a separate track where it doesn't interfere with your agenda you're trying to get accomplished for the american people. the real issue here, this white house needs to be externally focused. >> ken, do we know at this point where whether the stormy daniels part of this story has drawn the attention of the special counsel? >> we don't know that, craig. we don't know that. certainly elements of it that -- again, judging by past cases, could seem likely to draw the scrutiny of prosecutors. especially when you're talking about suspicious activity report about the transfer of the money. there are tax implications, election implications but we don't know if robert mueller is looking yet. >> ken dilanian in washington. thank you for being here on set. sorry about the confusion. the white house says that president trump is now ready to meet with kim jong-un. so what kind of work needs to be done before that meeting can
happen? also -- a total 180. former trump campaign aide stan nunberg will be making no statement after today's grand jury appearance after he told anyone who would listen there's no way he'd even show up. >> i'm not going. >> so if you're not going, are you prepared to be held in contempt and potentially go to jail? >> yes. >> what prosecutors likely want to hear from him.
meeting between u.s. and north korean leaders that at least as of 1:00 p.m. march 9th is expected to take place in two months time. a lot of palace intrigue about how this whole thing came to be. who even knew about it, where it's going to happen and frankly just about everything else. we'll get to those details later. right now the reaction even to the idea of talks can besting described as mixed. >> so much in order for them to succeed have to be prepared. and this one was hastily agreed. >> if the result of this meeting is not verifiable, concrete steps to denuclearization it will be a failure. nk it's very risky. very unorthodox. i'm worried that kim jong-un is setting us in a trap. but i support the president. >> the other thing that might be happening is he's luring us into these negotiations but then he will make demands that he knows we can never agree to. >> adam mount is a senior fellow and korea expert at the federation of american
scientists which studies threats to national security. where do you stand on the spect rum of what we just heard there? great idea? or huge gamble that poses tremendous risk and can ultimately be a diplomatic disaster? >> well, every day north korea is not testing nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles is a step that we're not -- is a day that we're not sliding towards war. so this opportunity is really too big to waste. that's why it's absolutely critical that the trump administration does not rush this. they take it slowly. prepare it with staff work and we have a limited leverage here. we really don't have the ability to give away anything for free. so we need to be prepared. can't be rushed. and we need to approach this methodically. >> it sounds like you're skeptical that two months is going to be enough time to marshall all the resources needed to do this thing.
>> where is it held? what's the agenda? do we have time to coordinate with our allies? we really don't have many cards to play here. and one was a presidential summit. i would have liked to have seen the north koreans make more progress before we play this card and put it on the table. for example, why didn't we condition the summit on release of the three remaining american prisoners in the north korean gulog. it's hard for a president to meet with the northern korean dictator without that having happened. if talks are going to succeed, we need to maximize the little leverage we have. >> to be clear, this is not the first time that the north korean regime has extended an invitation to the president of the united states to sit down for talks. what's different this time around? >> well, what's different this time is that the north koreans have advanced their programs remarkably. they have much more capable missiles. the program is dispersed more throughout the country.
the price is higher now than it was ever before. and so that increases the need to prepare for this methodically. we need to have an agenda set. if trump feels embarrassed, feels like he's being outnumbered and talks collapse, that puts us right back on the risk of war which is higher in this administration than in any before it. >> the idea that the president of the united states and the president of north korea would even sit down face-to-face is this proof that the sanctions have worked? >> i think the sanctions have added some leverage here. i think a lot of the credit goes to the south korean president moon jae-in who has been deft about shuttling between a reticent american ally and north korea which showed unexpected flexibility. they've been wonderful about opening this opportunity for talks and now it's up for the u.s. delegation to put together
an expert set of officials. make sure we have the staff in place that have done these negotiations before. they are prepared to negotiate jointly with our allies. and to really drive a hard bargain. >> victor cha's nomination as ambassador to south korea was withdrawn, as you know. joseph eun, the top envoy just recently announced his retirement. who is going to be informing the president's decision? who is going to be coaching president trump as he gets ready for this face-to-face summit, again, assuming that it happens? >> this is an administration that does not have a very deep foreign policy. they don't have experience with these types of international negotiations. this isn't something jared kushner can do out of the back of his car. so they really do need to staff up. ensure we're doing this coordination work. negotiations with north korea
are all about phases. you move step by step. if they make a material progress towards limiting their nuclear and missile programs, they get a cookie. each step needs to be veri verifiable. each step needs to be mutually acceptable and each step needs to aim at the next step so you don't lose momentum. that's a very heavy lift and hard to do in two months. >> when you have the presidents of two countries who have never met face to face, you have them sit down for a meeting like this, and it fails, where do you go after that? what would that mean for diplomacy moving forward? >> that's a real risk. and so the united states needs to be prepared for setbacks. they need to be able to roll with the punches. donald trump, despite his best assertions does not have a reputation for being a very tough negotiator. his positions veer all over the map. we've seen when he talks to democrats in the united states that he's manipulatable, impressionable.
when he get offs the plane, the north koreans will try to take a bite out of him. he can't get offended. he has to remain committed to talks. don't give away anything for free but don't dump the board and allow them to collapse. >> enjoyed your perspective and insight. enjoy the weekend. >> thank you. former trump campaign aide sam nunberg in front of a grand jury right now. more than a thousand workers are starting their day building on over a hundred years of heritage, craftsmanship and innovation. today we're bringing you america's number one shave at lower prices every day. putting money back in the pockets of millions of americans. as one of those workers, i'm proud to bring you gillette quality for less, because nobody can beat the men and women of gillette. gillette - the best a man can get. i'm the one clocking in when you're clocking out.
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business. >> national intelligence and national security reporter ken dilanian is back with me. ken, thank you. nunberg was offered immunity. what does that tell us about what he knows? >> it tells us they want something from him. the most predictable thing in the world he end up complying. he had no way out. you can't defy a grand jury subpoena as much as he was wanting to grumble on national television. but he told us in interviews that one of the lines of inquiry, one of the things he thought mueller and his team was trying to get out of him was incriminating information about his longtime mentor roger stone, a trump associate who has proclaimed no wrongdoing and said he didn't collude with russia but there were questions b about his interactions with wikileaks. we can also be confident he's going to be asked about roger stone and also asked about whether he knew anything about donald trump having advance
knowledge of the russian -- the e-mails the russians hacked and leaked because this is the whole ball game. this whole issue, remember, george papadopoulos, former campaign aide who pleaded guilty, has told prosecutors that essentially a russian agent came to him and said the russians have these democratic e-mails. now the question is, who else in the campaign knew about that and sam nunberg may have knowledge of that. he was certainly in the inner circle talking to these people. this is very much an active part of the robert mueller investigation. >> could anything that he said in that odd series of interviews that he did on monday come back to haunt him this afternoon? >> absolutely. this has got to be a really intimidating situation for him. you're not afforded a lawyer when you go in before the grand jury. it's just you, the grand jurors and the prosecutor asking you these questions. and they have all these e-mails and other supporting information and they're asking you specific questions. if you lie you can go to jail.
so absolutely they may be confronting him with statements that he made on our air and in other places and there will be a lot of pressure and you know what? the other thing is that he may give them information he's not even -- he doesn't really understand the significance of it because they're building a puzzle and taking different pieces from different witnesses. not every witness understands the significance what they're providing but robert mueller's team understands it. >> ken dilanian, thank you. ned price, former special assist to president obama. ned, should the trump administration be worried? >> well, craig, i think what the special counsel is most interested in when it comes to sam nunberg is less about donald trump directly and more about as ken dilanian was saying, roger stone. the question is, was there any coordination or what level of coordination existed between roger stone and the trump campaign? and the reason roger stone is so
interesting here, as ken dilanian alluded to, is because he had fore knowledge of the release of the podesta e-mails by wikileaks a couple weeks before the october 7th release of these e-mails. he tweeted, roger stone did, about it being john podesta's time in the barrel. so clearly there was some communication or coordination between roger stone and wikileaks. the question is, did -- was roger stone in cohoots with the trump campaign and what if any, knowledge of that relationship does sam nunberg have? nunberg has called roger stone a mentor, a father figure. and so the question will be just how much of these details did roger stone share with his mentee? >> as you are probably aware, yahoo! news is reporting that the obama national security staffers were ordered by susan rice to stop developing options to retaliate against russia's election interference. you worked for the nsc, you
worked for president obama at the time. any truth to that? >> well, craig, i obviously can't speak to any covert measures, specific covert measures in development or may have been taken, but i would remind you of what the obama administration said at the end of december 2016 when he announced the punitive measures against vladimir putin. we announced a whole series of steps from sanctions to releasing some of the forensics data of these hacks to removing russian spies, to closing compounds. and we also says there were measures both announced and unannounced that would be part of this package. so -- but beyond that, craig, i don't think you'll find anyone who is in a position to speak to those measures. i would also note that what this article makes clear was the profound concern on the part of the obama administration in the summer of 2016 about the intent of the russians to meddle in the election, manipulate voter
tallies and results through a series of public and private steps. the obama administration was able to deter that. that was our ultimate goal, and that we were ultimately successful in fulfilling that. >> so this idea that the response was scrapped to a certain extent because there was a concern with president obama that it could potentially box the president in. there's no truth to that. >> no, there's absolutely not. the point here is that, of course, we -- as we have said, we wanted to do more publicly when it came to warning the american people about the russian meddling? we took this to conference. republicans in conference, namely mitch mcconnell who could not go along with a plan to make this a bipartisan whole of government effort, but the response of the obama administration mounted was aggressive and ultimately it was effective. >> as you know, megyn kelly sat down exclusively with vladimir
putin. she asked him if his citizens should be concerned that he had no idea russians were involved in a cyberwarfare campaign against the u.s. take a listen. >> translator: listen, the world is very large and very diverse. and there is a fairly complicated relationship between the united states and the russian federation. and some of our people have their own opinion about this relationship. you mentioned a number of names. some individuals. and you're telling me that they're russians? so what. maybe being russian they are actually working for some kind of american company. perhaps one of them used to work for one of the candidates. i have no idea. these are not my problems. >> not his problem, ned. is this not vladimir putin's problem? >> craig, i think the only two people who are gullible enough to go along with that are
vladimir putin who said that line and donald trump who has said that he believes what vladimir putin has told him. look, we -- the obama administration released a statement in october of 2016 attributing these attacks to highest levels of the russian government. in january of 2017, the intelligence community came out and named vladimir putin personally as directing these attacks. this was a high confidence assessment on the part of the intelligence community. any denials on the part of vladimir putin is just that. it's pure russian propaganda. we've heard it before and i'm sure we'll continue to hear it. >> ned price, thank you. tune in to megyn's full interview with vladimir putin. it's a one-hour special. it's called "confronting putin." tonight, 10:00 eastern only on nbc. the man accused of killing students at marjory stoneman douglas high school back before a judge. we'll go live to florida for the latest on that case.
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ft. lauderdale. walk us through this court appearance. >> reporter: hi there, craig. good afternoon. nikolas cruz appeared in the broward county courtroom through closed circuit television. he said virtually nothing. head cast down, speaking only briefly to his lawyer. he's being held without bail. as you mentioned, these are new charges a grand jury indicting him on 17 counts of attempted murder. that's in addition to the previous 17 counts of murder. now the arraignment could come as early as next week. and this is all part of an ongoing legal maneuvering that is going by his defense team. earlier this week, he had withdrawn his not guilty plea now standing mute on all the charges. and that could be part of a legal strategy to perhaps set him up to plead guilty as his attorneys -- as the public defender has said in change for the death penalty being off the table. something prosecutors here in broward county are considering. they still have not said whether they will take the death penalty
off the table. that is something this community, some debate in this community whether to put the m families through a trial and bring all that gut-wrenching testimony. we heard all the 911 calls that described the horror inside that school during the massacre. >> to be clear, governor scott's intentions about signing this bill. is it safe to say that he's decided he is definitely going to sign it? >> well, that's the big question on everyone's mind. within the next hour or so, governor rick scott is set to meet with families of the victims of some of the students up in tallahassee. his office officially has given no indication whether he'll sign this bill but we're expecting media availability around 3:00 this afternoon. and he could announce that he is signing the bill. of course, that would be hugely significant. controversial gun control legislation that just passed
several days ago narr lowly in e florida house and senate. his office has not said he plans to sign it. he has in the past said he'll take a close look at this. >> gabe gutierrez, thank you, in ft. lauderdale. unprecedented. the president of the united states preparing to meet with kim jong-un amid a promise of denuclearization. how will this administration get a deal done, and is this an attempt by the president to turn the page? t a tip that'll crack this case wide open! turns out the prints at the crime scene- awwwww...did mcgruffy wuffy get a tippy wippy? i'm serious! we gotta move fast before- who's a good boy? is him a good boy? erg...i'm just gonna go. oh, you wanna go outside? you gotta go tinky poo-poo? i already went, ok? in the bathroom! as long as people talk baby-talk to dogs, you can count on geico saving folks money. fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more on car insurance.
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the white house press briefing is about to start. roughly ten minutes from now. all of this with the startling news for the president's decision to plan a meeting with kim jong-un. the president is embroiled in controversy. allegations by adult film star stormy daniels, the issue not going away with today's breaking news that michael cohen, president trump's personal attorney used a trump organization e-mail to deal with stormy daniels. ann, let me start with you.
sarah huckabee sanders is going to have to address this. reports are out there that the president none too happy with how she handled it a few days ago. what can we expect to hear from her and what can we expect not to hear from her? >> i think sarah's, certainly, going to get a lot of questions about how this offer was made and the whole question of whether president trump was eager to seek out the north koreans or the other way around. so i think she'll get a lot of questions on that. she'll certainly also get a lot of questions on the russia investigation and the stormy daniels matters. she inadvertently confirmed the fact that there at least were discussions with trump's personal lawyer on the stormy daniels affair. these two huge stories are
breaking, plus the trade tariffs story this week, all happening over three days. i expect all those will be probably the first five, six, eight questions she'll get. >> 20, 22, assuming. >> something like that. >> assuming she answers the bulk of the questions in the briefing room. mack, let's talk about north korea. this is an issue you the democrat with when you were in the clinton white house back in the early to mid '90s. how surprised were you by the announcement yesterday, and what about this idea that this is an administration that is going to be able to in just the span of two months, if we were to believe south korean diplomats, able to create a team to deal with arguably the most significant high-stakes diplomatic meeting in the last three or four decades? >> you're right, we're only at the early stages here. i think everyone was surprised.
craig, one thing here the president, the white house, the team need to catch up with are allies, particularly japan. i don't think there's any question the sanctions played a role here. china played a modest role, but definitely the south korean president made overtures during the olympics and beyond that. so i think now the opportunities at hand to at least begin talks to see where they may go. these are serious talks, hard to know. you're dealing with a very kind of uncertain adversary here. but this is a positive step. >> you don't think this -- >> first step, though. >> if you were advising president trump, would you have advised him to accept a meeting with kim jong-un? >> first of all, we would have had a process with the national security, the secretary of
state. but, yes, you would certainly car meeting, but you would want to set the ground rules in the right way. >> ann, let's go back to stormy daniels for a second. what are you hearing there about how serious this administration is taking this story? are they? >> yes, they are taking it seriously. i mean, not on the outside, and i expect that's what we'll see more of today and in the coming days. sarah sanders has at least won out here, which is that she can continue to refer detailed questions to the president's private attorneys. certainly that has n-- there is no legal prohibition for her to discuss this, but by calling the president's lawyer, she can deflect questions. that's what she'll continue to do, but underneath that, yes,
the white house knows this lawsuit, if it goes forward, will open a door not unlike that opened during the bill clinton administration in what appeared to be unrelated lawsuit that allowed a lot of questions, questioning of him, questioning of aides, and we know how that turned out. >> mack, the president's advisers, the folks who surround him who are in his ear every day over the past week or two, especially, a lot of attention, a lot of ink devoted to these folks and how they may not necessarily be doing the best job in terms of getting solid advice to the president. is that what you see from the outside? or do you see a president who isn't necessarily keen on listening to people around him? >> well, i think any president would be well served to listen not only to those in the white house and members of his cabinet, but members outside the administration and certainly members of congress. i think no one has a monopoly on
wisdom. the president is the ultimate decision maker. what we're seeing with the trade issue, there wasn't the process to go through the national economic council to come out with a consensus decision. even if you lose those arrangements, at least you had an opportunity to weigh in. i think the president would be illy served not to use those around him, particularly when you think about these matters where secretary mattis is weighing in, secretary tillerson, that's crucial. >> enjoy the weekend, folks. >> thank you. stormy daniels, north korea, russia, tariffs. we could sit here for the next five minutes and talk about what's going to be talked about in this briefing that is set to start in a few minutes. when we come back katy tur will joins and sarah huckabee sanders as well. in a chevrolet for the first time. trying something new can be exciting. empowering.
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