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tv   MSNBC Live With Craig Melvin  MSNBC  April 16, 2018 10:00am-11:00am PDT

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what evidences for michael cohen is covered under attorney/client privilege? the president and his team think so. and storming the court. stormy daniels, the woman who started it all trolling the president's attorney when he appears in court in less than an hour. why she's there, and what she plans to say. plus, war of words. the president done leashing a tirade against former fbi director james comey after comey says the president is morally unfit to serve and possibly obstructing justice. why doesn't the white house end this, by saying nothing, instead of helping comey sell books? plus, starbucks outrage. another day of protest in philadelphia after police escorted two black men who allegedly refused to leave is starbucks apology too little, too late? to those stories in a moment. we start at u.s. district court in low are manhattan this afternoon. president trump's personal attorney michael cohen will walk into that courtroom there very soon. cohen will be asking a judge to
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block government investigators from reviewing documents that the fbi seized from his office and residence last week. cohen is expected to say that he should be allowed to determine which documents might be covered by attorney/client privilege, and if that's not the case, it should be a special master who should be appointed to review the material. other than attorneys on the president's payroll sent a letter to that same judge arguing that president trump should be the one to decide. in addition to cohen, adult film star stormy daniels is expected to attend. cohen paid daniels $130,000 as part of a non-disclosure agreement. daniels claims she was paid to keep quiet about an alleged sexual relationship with the president. the president has consistently denied those charges. nbc's tom winter is outside the federal courthouse in new york for us this afternoon. tom, tell us a little bit more about this -- this letter that michael cohen sent to the judge this morning. >> reporter: so, craig, this was
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a letter the judge asked for late in the day on friday. it essentially outlines what clients mr. cohen has and what specific issues he may have as relates to those clients and attorney/client privilege. one of the things cohen brought up, an idea if the u.s. attorneys that are part of this privileged team or filter team if there's some way those u.s. attorneys were able to get access to communications involving other people. actually, right behind me mow, michael cohen. i step aside as he enters the courthouse. see him with the umbrella in his right hand and going through the turnstile, main entrance of 500 pearl. asked by the judge to be here in attendance, and -- he's here obviously and expected to be here as well as stormy daniels is expected to be here. we've seen her lawyer already here today, craig. this hearing getting under way in about an hour from now. as i was saying before, really, this is a question about privilege, and what cohen says
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the u.s. attorney should be able to look at versus what he says are the privileges that he has to protect some of the material. that's kind of the core argument today. craig? >> all right. we just saw michael cohen walk into that courthouse there. this hearing, again, expected to start early next hour. there had been some talk, tom, of michael cohen representing himself. where does that stand? >> reporter: so a little tough to hear you, craig. we're in the middle of a crepre scrum here in new york city. you asked i think what cohen is further arguing about with respect to a special master. basically he wants a third party to look at the documents before the u.s. attorney can look at them to be a third-party person to decide whether or not the u.s. attorneys and investigate ish team should be able to have access to these documents. >> all right. tom winter outside the federal courthouse in lower manhattan. tom, we'll check back in later, sir. keep us posted.
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>> let's bring in msnbc legal analyst joey savalas and former u.s. attorney for the northern district of alabama. just saw michael cohen, again, go into the courthouse, danny savalas. again, stormy daniels expected to be in that same courthouse here when this hearing starts. why is stormy daniels there? >> i can't answer that question, other than as a show of support for herself, and for avenatti's cause. >> is she there -- there's to troll the president. >> the reason they would probably give is that some of the documents that were seized likely relate to the daniels claims that cohen was part of a payoff scheme. where they would buy people's silence with these very harshly written non-disclosure and settlement agreements is probably her reason for being there. is she a necessary party? absolutely not. not even an underlying party but is there to give herself moral
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support. >> okay. joyce, again, as we continue to look live here outside the courthouse. president trump, there are other attorneys on his pay roll. they've outlined a number of reasons, four reasons, the president should make this decision regarding who gets to look at this evidence. attorney/client privilege must be scrupulously protected. a so-called taint team to review documents. not a common procedure in cases like this. even an appearance of fairness is compromised by the government use of its own attorneys to release attorney/client information and point out the president should be able to conduct initial review of seized material to ensure his privilege is safeguarded. michael cohen's the president's personal attorney. why was it deemed necessary, joyce, for these other attorneys to weigh in on behalf of the president? >> it's unusual for the president to attempt to intervene in this case at this
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point. the privilege that's being asserted here is the privilege that mr. cohen has, and he's asserting it in the context of the fbi searching his residence, and his place of business. so whether the president even would have standing to come in at this point and assert that he has a privilege that the court should consider, i think it's highly questionable. beyond that question of whether it's the president or mr. cohen who has standing to challenge the process that's used, this is a well-established procedure. it's been used many times. courts have approved it, and we're hearing the term "taint team" bandied about a lot. that means a separate group of prosecutors and agents conduct the search, review the materials, and make sure that the investigative and trial team of agents and prosecutors don't see any information that's controlled or that should be kept away from them because of the privilege. there's a lot of protection that goes into this process.
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it's a very deliberate one. it stems from protecting fourth amendment rights to avoid an unreasonable search and seizure, but this search was conducted pursuant to a search warrant where tht convinced a judge there was probable reason to search. and for this in the way we proceed cases is startling. >> sounds like, joyce -- correct me if i'm wrong -- sounds like you think that based on established practice and precedent, that michael cohen faces an uphill battle next hour. is that a correct assessment? >> i think so. the suggestion of using a special matter to review materials is -- i won't say novel. it's unusual, but it's done in some cases. the judge might do it here simply to preserve this sort of appearance of fairness that everyone talks about. but a taint team process is done in a way that really does preserve the rights of the defendant, and i think it's a
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difficult argument mr. cohen's team has to make here. >> this is the scene just a few moments ago. again, for viewers who might just be joining and livers as well. michael cohen, president trump's personal attorney walk into that courthouse in lower manhattan. >> let me play devil's advocate. i do believe that cohen's argument and trump's argument in this situation is a valiant one but one not likely to succeed. courts approved the taint team procedures but not glowingly. not necessarily with just complete approval. they do raise special issues in the case of a raid on an attorney's office, because you have situations -- and this is different than this situation -- but there are situations where you raid a criminal defense attorney's office and if abused that could be an end runaround obtaining that attorney's client's information. so that is why the procedure has to be so safeguarded. the difference here is that cohen is not a criminal defense attorney. cohen is primarily a business
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person. that's why you see the filings today building up as much as his attorneys can. his legal practice, and the existence of current and former clients. so they can say that cohen the person is practicing law. these are documents that if viewed by the taint team, the privilege will be defeated. their argument is an interesting one if not a novel one. it's that, this is a situation similar to a subpoena. the documents have been seized. they're in a place. they're somewhere. so at this point going forward, why not let us review it just as if this was a subpoena? the problem is, they, the government had the subpoena option and specifically opted for something a little more serious. >> joyce, again, as we continue to look outside this courthouse. at some point we're told stormy daniels will be making her way into the courtroom as well. we know that her attorney according to tom winter, her attorney michael avenatti is already there. joyce, the fbi reportedly seized
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audio files, audio recordings, during that raid of michael cohen's residence and law office last week. what are the legal implication of that move? . so new york is a one-party kent state. that me -- consent state. one party can choose to make a recording of it. there's wrong per se with those recordings. what they may turn out to be in the long run is some of the most compelling evidence that the fbi may come across in the investigation that they're undertaking. one suspects part of the reason cohen is so vigorously trying to challenge the search warrant is because what he fears might be contained on those recordings. it's very difficult for people when confronted with their own words on tape to deny what they said or meant what they clearly
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mea meant. >> it's true that taping in new york it is a one-party consent state. if one party con sense, an attorney can record conversations so long as he con sense to the recording of either the phone call or the conversation. ethically, however, and it's important, because cohen is now building up his sort of presence as an attorney. ethically, it's been a very, very condemned procedure in new york for many, many years. yes, the rules relaxed somewhat, but the general rule in new york is that if you have a really, really good reason, it might be ethically permissible to record phone calls and conversations but as a routine practice, it is not acceptable. that is something that cohen needs to be mindful of, as he goes forward and makes about argument to the court that, yes, i am not only an attorney. i have all of these clients, and all of this burgeoning legal flax should flax -- that should be
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considered. >> how commonplace is it for attorneys to record conversations? >> it really depends on the context, and danny make as great point. there's a big difference between surreptitiously recording and recording with the consent of the client. sometimes you record a conversation so that you can refer back to it and make sure you're accurate in your pleadings and legal advice. we're not really sure what the reason that cohen was making these recordings was for this series of tapes we know that he possesses. so that poses a very interesting issue, and will likely we'll hear as he makes this effort to buff up his credentials and prove he's nor lawyer than lawyer-ish, we'll hear, i think, further discussion about why and how this all came about. >> joyce what do you mean by that? more lawyer than lawyerish i il? you sound skeptical -- go ahead. >> is he a lawyer or a consultant?
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in this pleading we see indication for a period of years he represented clients in the capacity of a consultant. the lawyer/client privilege only attaches if you're in a formal legal relationship with your client. it only applies to providing legal advice and it does not apply if the conversation is in furtherance of any kind of criminal activity. so the key for cohen will be very narrowly describing his practice, his relationship with these clients, and the substance of these conversations in order to substantiate the existence of the privilege here. >> and danny, how might -- again, and maybe i'm playing devil's advocate here to a certain extent, but the line or the area joyce describes there, it sounds extraordinarily gray. how might a judge be able to discern whether michael cohen was acting in the capacity of an attorney consulting the president? or a fixer who happens to be a lawyer, who was helping the
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president? how is he going -- how is this judge going to go about making that distinction? >> your question goes to the heart of the matter today, because it may be the case the judge has nothing to do with deciding what is privileged and what is not privileged. that's what the battle's about today. cohen and trump want co cohen a his lawyers to review the seized documents and decide what is and is not privileged. the argument, their concern, if the government, even with a taint team, reviews these documents, they might accidentally think, oh, this is not privileged, and hand it over. there's no unringing that bell and also not know what they're looking at in terms of documents and hand it over to the main team of the sdny, something they can never come back from and something that is an understandable concern. the pob froblem for cohen and t, the procedure, as question as it is, has been approved for some time, although grudgingly. >> michael cohen, the
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president's personal attorney is inside that manhattan courthouse. we saw him go inside a few minutes ago. michael avenatti is also there. avenatti said at friday's hearing he had "every reason to believe that some documents seized from cohen related to his client." his client in question being stormy daniels. cohen addressed reporters outside this courthouse just a few minutes ago and here's what he said. >> we're going to let the judge control the courtroom as she always does. she's you know, a very capable and able and -- phenomenal judge. be careful now. be careful, guys. >> is ms. daniels going to enter -- is stormy here? >> be careful, guys. i don't want anybody getting hurt. >> is she going to have a message for michael cohen?
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>> we don't want anybody having to find a lawyer or something. >> now that you -- >> michael, why is it important for her to come today? >> i think it's important, because she's dedicated to the cause and wants to make sure that the american people know all the facts and get all the information and documents at their disposal to make a determination of who is telling the truth. >> [ inaudible ]. >> what do you think is going to happen to michael cohen? >> i think michael co-sn hen isa lot of trouble. >> were you aware of the -- >> be careful. >> do you think the statement mr. cohen made of -- >> any recordings michael cohen made without people's permission is a big, big problem for mr. cohen and possibly the president of the united states. >> guys, be careful. i don't want anything to get hurt. >> does stormy, did she request
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to come or do you convince her to come? >> i don't have to convince ms. daniels of anything. ms. daniels is her -- she calls the shots. she's the client. >> does she have a message for michael cohen? >> i think her message has been consistent. she wants everyone to tell the truth and stop lying to the american people. >> you all right? be careful. i hope that's -- >> that guy's not going to appreciate that. >> counselor -- >> what do you expect to happen today? >> does ms. daniels have any message for the first lady? >> sorry. >> be careful. >> something to say? something, sir? >> i think i've said a lot. we're going to have a lot to say later. what's that? >> catch up with you.
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talk to us a little bit? say something. >> anything. >> counselor -- >> does your client, does stormy daniels, does she have a message for the president and perhaps for the first lady? >> not at this point in time. no. >> should michael cohen be representing himself? >> there's an old saying that any attorney that represents himself has a fool for a client, and i think that would be certainly true in this instance. >> does michael cohen have anything to be afraid about if he has recordings of him or his client or you -- >> if michael cohen was making recordings of anyone without their permission that could totally seriously -- >> materials seized first -- >> i'm sorry? >> are you going to weigh in on who should look at the seized materials first? the taint team? somebody appointed by the judge or mr. cohen or mr. trump? >> we may weigh in on that and see how things progress as we go. >> why do you think the
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president -- see the documents first? >> no question this matter should be handled by similar to any other matter nap is the taint team should review the documents. >> all right. michael avenatti there outside that federal courthouse in manhattan. avenatti has made his way inside the courtroom now. one would have assumed also, joyce and danny, there might have been a shorter route than the one that he took. but he spent about three minutes taking questions from reporters as they back pedals down the sidewalk. one of the points, joyce, that came up more than once there. avenatti insisting if michael cohen reported someone without permission, that could potentially be a big problem for michael cohen, and a big problem for the president of the united states. why would that be, joyce? >> i think the problem he refers to is a problem from an evidentiary point of view. we've already sort of rehearsed
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this legal argument which suggests that although it could be a questionable practice under bar rules, it's not an illegal practice in the state of new york. so what matters here is the substance of these tapes, and in the context of what we now know to be the unfolding criminal investigation, there could be information avenatti is aware of on those tapes that would be damaging to cohen. >> i want to bring in charlie sikes. a contributing eder to the "weekly standard" and an msnbc contributor. thanks for your time here. i am not going to ask you to play lawyer, but let's talk about the politics of this. if you are in the west wing right now, how concerned are you about this particular hearing? >> extremely concerned about this hearing. in fact, you know, i think that the president is clearly wanting to, you know, take dramatic action. firing rod rosenstein, firing bob mueller, but the one thing that might appreciate him from
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doing it is somebody pointing out to him even if he fired those two gentlemen, it would not bring an end to this investigation, and this is the investigation that i think has gotten into his head. the investigation that's crossed the red line, and what i'm hearing from folks, even people who have not been that concerned about the russia collusion thing, the fact they have now raided the office of the lawyer or the fixer who has the crown jewels, who has everything about donald trump, that has got to frighten them. but if he takes the action of firing the deputy attorney general, that doesn't bring an end to this. this does not provide him any -- this is a separate criminal investigation. >> michael cohen again, inside that courthouse there. seeking to ask a judge to limit the federal prosecutor's ability to look at some documents that were seized in raids on his home and office last weekend. these raids were based partly on a referral by the office of the aforementioned special counsel
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robert mueller. on the right side of the screen, president trump's personal attorney walking into the courthouse a few moments ago. left side of your screen, reporters camped out waiting for the arrival presumably awaiting the arrival of stormy daniels. daniels also set to be inside that courtroom as well when this hearing gets underway. joyce, i'll pose the same question to you that i posed to danny, and perhaps you won't dance around it the way that he did. why would stormy daniels be in that courtroom? >> well, she has the same right that every citizen has to be present in a courtroom. listening to a case that interests her. that doesn't answer your question -- the answer to the why question seems to be that this is involving public relations that she wants to be available to the press, depending on the outcome of this hearing, and ensure that her case remains separately in the public eye. this case, of course, involves
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the southern district of new york's prosecution or investigation into mr. cohen. it doesn't directly involve ms. daniels. she remains, i suppose, relevant by being present today. >> one of the core issues as i understand it, danny, attorney/client privilege. president trump weighing in on this via his favorite mega phone, twitter. he did this yesterday writing, attorney/client privilege is now a thing of the past. i have many, too many lawyers and they are probably wondering when their offices and even homes are going to be raided with everything including their phones and computers taken. all lawyers are deflated and concerned. danny savalas, hyperbole or is the president on to something? >> he's partially on to something. partially hyperbole. he's on to something in that he has too many lawyers. what is hyperbole in this case is saying that the attorney/client privilege is dead. it's not. i'm a biased criminal defense attorney.
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even i have to concede that the department of justice's procedures for obtaining a search warrant, convincing a judge and then assembling a taint team, although, really, they are -- you can criticize the process, because you ultimately have u.s. attorneys even though they're separated from the underlying investigation, reviewing documents to see whether or not they are privileged. if they accidentally see something privileged, we may not have a lot of confidence that they're going to keep it privileged, keep it confidential, and hope they don't turn it over to the underlying team, but i wouldn't say that means that the attorney/client privilege is dead. to get to this stage, the government had to make so much of a showing in order to search, or raid an attorney's office and home, that we don't need to worry about the death of the attorney/client privilege. >> the bar is high. >> the bar is high. especially in the case of raiding a lawyer's offices. but the government will make the point today as they have over
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the last few days this is not so much an attorney. this is a businessman who to borrow a phrase is an attorney-ish, but primarily a businessman whose records we can safely search. >> joyce, walk us through what could happen next. if the judge in this case, if this federal judge decides to -- to side against michael cohen, then what? >> sure. so danny's made, i think, a remarkable concession for any defense lawyer. that the government actually does walk through significant steps to where they get -- i say that lovingly, danny -- but the next step here is the government having made that high showing of probable cause and having properly executed a search warrant. one would typically expect the taint team process to go forward, and that means that those lawyers and agents will look through meticulously everything gathered during the search.
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create a privilege log. they'll exclude from evidence that will be turned over to the investigative and prosecutive team anything that rings that sort of a privilege bill. they may even submit in camera to the judge anything they're not sure about to get a ruling on it and at the end of whatever it takes, depending on the amount of documents, it could be a few weeks, they'll turn over that evidence to the prosecution team so that they can move forward with their investigation. >> joyce, it's also my understanding that this judge here, judge kimble wood, the u.s. district judge, ordered cohen to appear today to answer questions about his client. questions like what? >> she may have a variety of questions that she needs to hear a response from in order to determine whether a privilege existed an what the best process is. it was remarkable last week to have lawyers for cohen in court unable to answer some of these basic inquiries she had. surprising that he was just
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apparently going about his day in public while those proceedings were going on in court, and it appears that she was a little bit put off by the fact that the defense team wasn't fully prepared to come in and respond to inquiries they had to have known she would make. she's ensured his participation this morning. she'll get answers to the questions that she needs so she can make a decision about how this moves forward. >> one of the attorneys for cohen said friday that thousands of documents that were seized last week were likely privileged and that these documents, many of them, were related to clients other than donald trump. again, right side of your screen, u.s. district courthouse in manhattan. that is where a hearing is set to get under way. roughly 30 minutes from now, michael cohen, president trump's personaltarian, is going to be asking this federal judge, judge kimble wood, to limit federal
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p prosecutors' ability to look at documents seized last week in the raid of his home and his office. left side of your screen, reporters waiting for stormy daniels to walk into that courtroom as well. we'll continue to keep a very close eye on this. we're going to take a quick break. this is msnbc. and so should you. midas has a lifetime guarantee on these parts. that's right. on things like struts, brakes, shocks. all kinds of automobile parts. guaranteed for life. does he turn everything to gold? not everything. luckily he's not a dog person. always a touch better means limited lifetime guarantees on every brake job. now get $100 back on a 2-axle brake service with your midas credit card.
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expected to ask a judge via his attorneys to limit prosecutors' ability to look at those documents seized in raids on his home and office last week. cohen expected to say either she should be allowed to determine which documents might be koved by attorney/client privilege. if not him, a special master. on the left side of your screen you can see some of the reporters who have gathered outside that courthouse. they are there because we expect that stormy daniels is also going to be walking into that courthouse any moment now. we don't expect that she's going to be making a statement or taking questions before, but we have been told that her attorney michael avenatti and/or stormy daniels may have some comments or a statement after the proceedings. we're keeping a very close eye on that courthouse. also on this monday, president trump is a staining his twitter attack against former fbi director james comey and his ousted deputy andrew mccabe this
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morning. he accused the two of "committing many crimes." just the later in a series of tweets after comey's tell-all book. they are locked in a war of words it seems. the president calling comey a proven leaker and liar. comey calling donald trump, "morally unfit to be president" suggested the president may have ob strustructed justice when as about his ex-security adviser michael flynn. >> his words were, i hope you can let it go. i took the term of hope as this is what i wanted you to do. >> the president didn't say that? >> no. he did. >> was president trump obstructing justice? >> possibly. it's certainly some evidence of obstruction of justice. >> and former fbi assistant director now the coo of ets risk management and an msnbc national
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security analyst. charlie sikes still with me and peter baker, the "washington post" chief white house correspondent and he is in msnbc, a political analyst. mr. baker, start with you. as i understand it, you are one of the few individuals who saw the raw tape of that interview, roughly five hours of jim comey and george stephanopoulos and other folks there at abc involved in this interview. is there anything from the hours of footage that you saw that you glean that perhaps folk whose have watched and listened to this over the last ten hours may not have been able to deduce? >> you get from the transcript of all five hours is a more expansive version of what you saw last night. so where abc by virtue of the fact they have a limited amount of time ends up cutting answers and trying to get to the essence of things quickly. in the original interview, of course, comey takes a while to
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sort of outline his expectations, his reflections, his rec collectiollections for did. the highlights were all there last night. you got the gist of what he wanted to say. a man who wanted to unburden himself after the year from the time he was fired, finally has a platform to say what he really thinks. >> they didn't leave highlights on the edit room floor it would seem? >> nothing that would cause a headline for sure. but there's plenty other things on it. an annotated version on our website, take a look. and abc has some on theirs. a fellow in the interesting minutes long before donald trump came along. prosecuted martha stewart, and in a fight with the bush and cheney white house over surveillance. it was well covered last night, but he's had his hand in many major events in washington over the last generation. >> frank, you saw the
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president's tweet accusing comey, mccabe, of committing crimes and suggested jail time for his former fbi director comey over the weekend. the big questions in comey's book, how come he gave up classified information? why did he lie to congress? why did the dnc refuse to give service to the fbi? why the phony memos tweeted by trump? $700,000 and more. seen it before. president trump mentioning jail time and the need for investigations. he did a lot with hillary clinton. do you expect, frank, that this is a president who is going to be calling for an investigation into jim comey? >> i think we will see that. we essentially are seeing the seeds planted for that, and what's going on here essentially is that trump is appealing to his base. he's getting them fired up, and for those who only listen to trump or get their news only from say, a single source or from president trump, they're going to buy into this, but
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there's no evidence of any crimes having been committed. there's no evidence that there's a need for a separate investigation and i think people need to understand that they should listen to the comey interview. they should read the book. they should make their own impressions and decisions about what jim comey did, what he stands for and some of his decision-making that went through his head at the time. >> frank, i know you know james comey. what did you make, in general terms, of that interview last night? >> so it serves to reconfirm some of the things we know about the inner workings of jim comey and his mind-set and personality. he operates from a high moral ground, high integrity and views the world through that lens. almost a black and white lens that sometimes to his own detriment places him in these positions where he feels that only he can make the right call. only he can be trusted to do the right thing, and so that came out last night as we heard him describe his thinking about the first press conference where he
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announces that there's no charges to be made against hillary clinton. even though that's not the role of the fbi director to make that call and more importantly, his decision the second time around to announce on the eve of the election that he's reopened the case on hillary and did that, why? because he felt hillary was poised to win and it wouldn't really materially impact the results. we have an fbi director who's inserted himself in these decisions and for he'll who now perceive the fbi as a political entity, that's going to confirm what they already think. i'm concerned about that. i'm concerned that the perceptions of comey and his thinking is going to cause the public to continue to view the fbi as political in nature, and that's simply not true. >> irreparable damage to the reputation of the fbi. charlie, in the interview. do you think it threatens at all jim comey's own credibility as a potential witness in the mueller probe? >> it might.
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you know, and even if you think that james comey is kind of a showboater and showed questionable judgment in the handling of the clinton e-mails and perhaps went into areas he shouldn't have gone into, just step back for a moment and think about how remarkable that scene was last night. the former fbi director deputy attorney general, u.s. attorney, a republican appointee, talking about the president of the united states as a mob boss. talking about the president of the united states as being ethically unfit to be president. now, we've had these conversations. it feels so many times over the last couple of years but this is not normal. this is an extraordinary moment, and frank is absolutely right. one thing that came through to me was that james comey could be wrong about a lot of things. he may have made a lot of mistake but is a man of extraordinary integrity who cares deeply about the rule of law and the principle that no one is above the law. i think that's the chapter we're about to go into now, where
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we're going to decide whether or not the president of the united states is going to declare himself above the law, and take steps to put himself above the law. so it is really an epic clash between two different world views. >> charlie, thank. frank, a big thanks to you as well and mr. baker, always appreciate your time and insight as well. we continue to watch this federal courthouse in new york city as michael cohen gets ready to go to court. why he is arguing that the feds should not be able to read those documents that they took from his house during a raid last week, and his office as well. also ahead, access denied for chemical weapons inspectors in syria as the u.s. takes steps to punish russia over its support of the assad regime. we'll take a look at some of the proposed new sanctions, next. we're putting ai into everything, and everything into the cloud. it's all so... smart. but how do you work with it? ask this farmer. he's using satellite data to help increase crop yields.
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the portuguese citizenship you lost. i'm joshua berry, and this is my ancestry story. combine the most detailed dna test with historical records for a deeper family story. get started for free at new developments out of syria this afternoon where chemical weapons inspectors are being denied access into duma. the site of that suspected chemical attack by the syrian government on its own people killing women and children. britain united states and france launching air strikes friday night targeting three syrian chemical weapons facilities.
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two of the sites were located southwest of the city of homs. you can see here. the other, just north of the capital of damascus. the research center, 76 missiles, 76 used to attack that particular facility. this is the preliminary damage assessment showing the before. showing the after. a little difficult to sort of glean the damage, but you can sort of get a sense there. this is a chemical weapons site a storage facility just west of homs. 22 weapons used to tart tget th site. the second before and after picture and nearby at the bunker, seven scout missiles used to destroy the facility there. you can get sort of a sense, if you look closely, at the before and after. the pentagon says that the bunker itself was successfully hit. i want to bring in ambassador christopher hill now. of course, the ambassador, former u.s. ambassador to iraq,
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currently dean of the school of international scudhool of studi at the university of denver and a diplomacy expect and with me, retired four-star general barry mccaffrey. an msnbc military analyst. i want to play what the president said a short time ago. this is president trump in florida last hour talking about the strikes against syria. >> the equipment didn't work too well, their equipment, and -- think den shoidn't shoot one. you heard, shot 40 down, then 15, did they hit -- no, sir. every single one hit its target. i didn't expect that. i'm a little jealous. are you giving him all the credit? you know that means the end of his job. you know? >> president trump joking there at the end. before that, though, talking about -- by the way, making references national security add vid -- adviser john bolton there.
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did the attack have any measurable affect on bashar al assad ability to use chemical weapons in the future? >> no. i think it was a significant military strike, competently carried out with no losses. for an allied group, including our two most important nato allies france and the uk, and in that sense it was good. it was strong statement that we cannot permit the relegitimatization of these terrible weapons, chemical warfare, against civilian targets in particular. on the other hand, look. scientific research on creating. sarin gas, the old soviet gb, is easy to manufacture if you've got a third tier chemical lab. so -- and i can't believe they didn't already move substantial amounts of munitions to populated areas.
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so we're not talking hundreds of metric tons of chemical weapons, such as were used in the iran/iraq conflict. artillery delivered, et cetera. i think it was a statement, not a significant military strike. >> ambassador hill, what is, as you understand it, at least. what is our strategy in syria? >> if has nothing to do with syria. this attack. this had everything to do with trying to reimpose some kind of deterrence and frankly, to punish the regime for using these banned weapons in combat, actually not even combat. attacking civilians. so what does this have to do with syria? very little. because had he pitchforked to death children in syria, there would not have been an attack on them. so this speaks to the fact that the president is prepared to deal with the issue of the -- of breaking the rules with banned weapons, which i think is a very good thing, but he has not
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engaged on an obvious problem which is, we don't have a syria policy. we don't have a syria strategy, and, in fact, from the president's perspective, it's to go out and get isis, which we've done a very good job of, and then to get out. >> ambassador, you make a good point. here's a conflict. and, you know, conservative estimates for the death toll at a quarter million people. some estimates as high as half a million people. the lion's share of those folks killed using conventional weapons. >> right. >> here's the other part of this, and we heard this from ambassador haley last week. we know that bashar al assad has used chemical weapons dozens of times on his own people. we struck last april, struck this past weekend. how are we deciding when to launch military strikes? >> well, good question. i mean, this was pretty overt, pretty clear. we -- it was in a pretty concentrated area, and we found out about it pretty quickly, and i think the president took this as a challenge to himself,
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because a year ago he had done a raid and said they're not going to try this again, 0 are if they do, we'd come back at them. there wasn't much question he would come back at them. i agree with general think it wo do this with allies. that's a nice sign. but i think the real problem we have going forward is we don't have a syria policy. this issue is getting worse and worse. we're seeing iranian encroachment in these sunni-arab lands. there is a lot of concern right now where the middle east is going and we need an administration that knows how to pay some attention. >> we learned there is going to be an all-senators briefing tomorrow by defense secretary mattis. what might we learn from this all-senators meeting, if anything? >> probably very little. i think ambassador hill's entirely right, there isn't a strategy. i'm sort of sympathetic to the administration. it's hard to know what we could do. assad is on the verge of
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winning. the country is devastated. the regional arab co--religion as sunni muslims, syria being a primarily sunni muslim nation, 70%, 75% of the population. they're not willing to act. you notice the european today said yeah, we'll consider additional sanctions against syria, but not against russia. none of us had really amped up pressure on the iranians. so our turkish ally in nato is about to finish off the kurds if we withdraw. it is really tough to see any political will in the united states to do something significant. i wish we would do something visible on helping syrian refugees along the jordan and turkish frontier. millions of people we need to try and get a humanitarian element to this policy.
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>> it is quite the sight to behold. i was actually at one of those refugee camps last year, along the border, the jordanian border with syria. ambassador, as you know, there is talk of more sanctions now being imposed on russia. the sanctions could be announced as early as today. is it reasonable to believe that these sanctions are going to have any sort of measurable impact on russia? or syria? >> it's probably not reasonable to expect these sanctions to have an effect on russia. but i think we really need to hold the russians accountable. after all, back in 2013 they said don't bomb the syrians, we'll take care of these chemical weapons and they claimed with such fanfare that that he had evacuated all these weapons. and sure enough, the syrian regime is back at it. so i think we have to throw the book at the russians. but i think we also need to understand that this is probably not going to solve the problem of syria, nor the perception that the russians stepped in and
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helped this terrible person, assad, keep hold of that country. >> ambassador chris hill, always good to have your insight. thank you. glad you are here in the flesh. general mccaffrey, good to see you as well, sir. thanks for your time this afternoon. as we wait for stormy daniels outside this new york city courtroom, let me bring back msnbc legal analyst, danny savalos. joyce advance has stayed with us. former u.s. attorney for the northern district of alabama. and eddie glaude, an msnbc contributor as well. joyce, what are you watching for? what are you listening for during the course of this hearing that's set to get under way as early as seven, eight minutes from now? >> the most interesting question here is seeing whether the judge is inclined to give michael cohen and his client, donald trump, any sort of leeway as against the typical practice that would permit the justice
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department to conduct its own internal review of these documents. and it is important -- we can't overstate how unusual these proceedings are, the effort by someone who's under criminal investigation to say that you can't trust the government to move forward with the practice that it conducts day in and day out, that it does very well, especially when it's the president who heads the executive branch saying you can't trust my own justice departme department. we're really in uncharted waters. >> again, michael cohen here, the president's personal attorney, is expected to be asking this federal judge to limit federal prosecutors' abilities to review the documents that were seized in the raids on his home and office last week. again, we are watching and waiting for stormy daniels to walk in to that courtroom. so any time one of those cameras turns to one of the automobiles that pulls up, that's what we're
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looking for. dr. glaude, let me bring you into the conversation here. joyce just alluded to. i would assume by activity we are seeing now -- reporters are jumping over themselves and trying to get a clean shot -- there she is -- stormy daniels in the pink. we just saw her walk in through what appears to be some sort of side entrance under heavy guard. she took, we should note, a much shorter route than her attorney, michael avenatti, who we saw at the top of the hour take roughly three machines worth of questions from the reporters who were there outside the courthouse. again, stormy daniels at the center all of this. michael cohen paid daniels $130,000. daniels insisting it was for hush money for a sexual relationship with the president. the president, for his part, has denied any such relationship with daniels.
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so two seem as if all parties right now are inside that federal courthouse. stormy daniels, who we just saw go in just a few moments ago -- we got a glimpse of her. her attorney, michael avenatti is already there and so is michael con, as well. dr. glaude, let me come back to you. i think joyce made a point here that's worth making. every day multiple times a day that these are not normal times in which we are living. >> by no stretch of the imagination. we're witnessing every day, craig -- every single day -- the executive branch, the presidency, diminished in some sort of way. here we are spending our time with stephanie clifford, with stormy daniels, kind of paying attention to the salacious dimensions of that story. and also trying to wrap our minds around perhaps a level of corruption we haven't seen in the modern era of this country. i still think that we have two things lurking in the background
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here. we have the michael wolf book which we kind of threw away for a while after that hullabaloo around his publication. he talked about michakchael cohs the fixer. it is not just stormy daniels. there are all sorts of ndas out there. there is the steel dossier. there is a reporting out there that michael cohen was in prague. the intrigue only gets deeper and we slip into darker and darker times. >> we caught the glimpse of stormy daniels going into the side entrance of the courthouse. we also just saw her doing what we all do when we walk into many of these buildings now, taking off our shoes, going through the metal detector. and that is her attorney, michael avenatti, who has become quite the fixture of late here over the past few weeks. danny, same question to you that i just posed to joyce advance.
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when this hearing gets under way in a few minutes what are you watching and listening for? >> i'm listening to how the judge is responding to the filings in this case. if i'm going to make a prediction, this is it -- i think the judge will grant the request to provide a copy of all documents seized to the cohen team. at minimum, that's sort of a safe way to allow them to monitor, and then later on be able to complain and identify documents that they claim are privileged. secondly, i don't think cohen's team ever expected -- or trump's team -- that they would be allowed to have that first pass review of these documents. it was an ambitious goal, just not a very reasonable role. what they often do is ask for the sun, the moon and the stars in litigation and hope that the judge will land you severe weather in the middle. maybe not what you originally asked for, but somewhere in the middle of what you requested. and in that case, that is the appointment of a neutral third party, a special master. or the judge could fall back on
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what is established practice and allow the government to use their taint team, their filter team, to do all the review of the documents, the first pass, and then go to the judge with any close calls. >> again, we continue to watch stormy daniels there inside the courthouse. her attorney is there inside the courthouse, as well. again, this hearing is set to get started at 2:00 p.m. here on the east coast. you can see the reporters who have been camped outside this federal courthouse for hours now. this was the scene just a few moments ago as stormy daniels walked in to that side entrance of the manhattan federal courthouse. again, just to be clear here, joyce, for viewers and listeners who might just be joining us, she has standing inside this courthouse for what reason? >> she's in this courthouse as a private citizen. she's not a party to this particular case, but she's
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obviously interested in the outcome and we've discussed the fact that there may be some public relations strategy involved in letting her make a statement to the press after we know how this court rules. whether she'll permit michael cohen and president trump to have any -- >> i think we just actually lost joyce there. we'll try to get joyce back up. for now, let me turn it over to katy tur. we'll keep watching this, michael cohen and stormy daniels in court, the president's attorneys in court, all arguing over who should see michael cohen's documents, communications, all of his stuff raided by the fbi first. obviously cohen wants to see it first. president wants to see it first. if there's no cohen seeing it first, they're talking about a special master that could potentially see it first. we are going to live in this right now. any moment the president's personal attorney, michael


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