tv Deadline White House MSNBC July 2, 2018 1:00pm-2:00pm PDT
investigation is not a witch hunt. but of even greater significance, cohen will break a joint defense agreement with the president as soon as his new lawyer is fully on board. that's according to abc news. it's a move that could suggest cohen's plans to cooperate with federal investigators. for the nonlawyers among us, national security advisor mike flynn broke his agreement with the president and became a witness in the mueller probe. there are more signs cohen is willing to stand up to trump. he tells abc news, quote, i will not be a punching bag as part of anyone's defense strategy. i am not a villain in this story, and i will not allow others to try to depict me that way. but if cohen will not be a punching bag, that's going to represent a change in the dynamic between cohen and trump. "the new york times" reported back in april, for years mr. trump treated mr. cohen poorly, with gratuitous insults, dismissive statements and at
least twice threats of being hired. here to help us understand the significance of the latest news from cohen and what it means for the man he once served, some of our favorite reporters and friends. joining us from the washington post, senior political reporter aaron blake. and with us at the table mara gay, journalist and member of the "the new york times" editorial board. mimi, assistant attorney for the southern district of new york. and charlie sykes, contributing editor for the weekly standard, host of the daily standard podcast and an msnbc contributor. aaron, you write about this interview, great interview george stephanopoulous did off camera with cohen. what leaps out at you in blinking red lights for the president and this white house? >> well, he really kind of ticked every box as far as signaling a willingness to cooperate, a willingness to maybe flip against president trump if it came to that. there have been a number of indications of this over the last couple weeks. there were people talking
anonymously to a couple outlets about how michael cohen was not happy with how the president had been treating him. maybe wanted some money for his legal defense in this case, that he hadn't been getting. there was, of course, michael cohen stepping aside from the republican national committee and not just talking about it being because of the investigation, but also talking about it being a result of a policy difference that he had with the president. that seemed really conspicuous given michael cohen doesn't generally talk about policy and, in fact, had pledged such loyalty to the president. so, i think the totality of it and the fact that we now have michael cohen on the record here just speaks to the fact that he's getting perhaps somewhat desperate. he wants the president to understand where he's coming from, and now we see exactly how the president and his team might respond to this pretty outward political threat. >> and also from that abc news interview, michael cohen says, once i understand what charges might be filed against me, if any at all,ly def i will defer
new counsel guy for counsel. what is he like? >> i worked with him in u.s. attorney's office. a very high up person. he's a man of integrity. he's an excellent lawyer. he's going to do, honestly he's going to counsel michael cohen to do what's in michael cohen's best interest. that's what makes him a good lawyer and lawyer of integrity. so, that's why i don't think donald trump can buy his way out of michael cohen cooperating if michael cohen is so inclined to cooperate. i do not think the impediment to that would be donald trump paying his legal fees because i don't think that a lawyer like guy petrillo would counsel his client any differently. there are ethical rules around that and, one, i don't know if he would even take the money from donald trump. even if he did, he could not take it if it would cause him to give different advice to his client. so, if that's what this signal is about, you know, it's not going to go very far.
>> it's not going to work. let's go down memory lane and look again at how donald trump reacted on the day of the search and raid of michael cohen's home and offices. attack on the country. >> it's a disgrace, a real disgrace. it's an attack on our country in a true sense. >> i wanted to put up from our friend jennifer ruben, potential financial crimes, financial ties to russia, any meetings between trump and russians or meetings cohen took on trump's behalf with russians and either campaign contacts -- someone close to cohen described what michael cohen could be sitting on is potentially nuclear for the president. >> there's no question about that. this guy has the crown jewels. now, this interview is extraordinarily interesting because he's clearly signalling a new tack. but it's kind of a charm offensive from one of the least charming individuals am american politi
politics right now. he's trying to rehabilitate his public image, kiss himself up to the prosecutors or present himself in a more favorable way. is he basically saying to the president, i am out here, i'm waiving the hand that i'm not going to take a bullet for you? it's hard for me to imagine what the president could do in response to that, especially going into the supreme court nomination fight, that wouldn't be disastrous. but i mean, this is something -- i'll be honest with you, a few months ago after that raid, if somebody would have said, you know, michael cohen will actually flip over on donald trump, i would have been very, very skeptical. >> what i'm interested in is so far the trump white house has been pretty successful at controlling the narrative because the mueller team can't respond yet. so this is actually a huge threat, i think, to that, that control because essentially, when you pull back, you realize you have the president's former lawyer coming out and saying, and certainly under duress, this is not a witch hunt, this is real. there is something here. >> and why would he do that?
is he trying to get a better deal? there's been some anecdotal evidence he's prepared to be charged. and the pardon isn't on the table until you've been convicted of a crime, right? >> right. but i also -- i don't think again like the legal fee issue, i don't think a pardon here is going to save michael cohen because there is state exposure, civil exposure, we saw the attorney general filing civil suit against donald trump and that's moving quickly. so i don't view this as a call for help to the president. i think probably michael cohen is a man who really wants to talk. he likes to be in the spotlight. it sound today me from what he didn't say in the interview that he is listening to the advice of his lawyer. this is a little bit of speculation, but i think probably guy petrillo didn't want him to do any interview and michael cohen was determined to. he said, fine, off camera and don't answer any factual questions because those are the questions that can get him into trouble. >> do you ever dissolve a joint
defense agreement with someone if you're not going to flip? why else would you do that? >> well, if there is real acrimony in the relationship amongst defendants or subjects. i mean, it's really -- it's an agreement that allows lawyers to share confidential information that would otherwise be protected by the attorney client privilege in order to work towards a common goal. it means your goal is not the same any more. >> right. >> that can be because one person is cooperating. there are some other circumstances where it could happen, but you're right. as you said at the beginning, when i heard that, assuming it's true -- it hasn't happened yet -- that would be the biggest flag that he's getting ready to cooperate. >> aaron, i see you nodding on my monitor here. it was also the sign when mike flynn dissolved his joint defense agreement with the president's lawyers. that was the sign -- that was one of the last things we knew about before news that he had pleaded guilty and had become, as one former federal prosecutor said, a member of team america, working for bob mueller. what is the degree of alarm that
you and your colleagues at the post are picking up from the president and his inner circle? we've played that sound of him calling the cohen raid an attack on america. it rattled him at the time and i understand from you and your colleagues that it still angers him. >> yeah, it's been clear that, you know, there was that roger stone quote from back in april and that "the new york times" story that you mentioned where he basically said the president has treated michael like garbage for all these months and for all these years. michael cohen has always seemed like somebody who has been trying to get in donald trump's inner circle. apparently wanted to work in the white house. that never came to fruition. had this consulting business on the side which of course has been the subject of lots of probing here. i do think that joint defense agreement part is a key point here. this is not just michael cohen coming out and saying, i may flip on the president or hinting in that direction. this is actually his legal defense going in a different direction. this is not necessarily a hint that there will be a flip
involved here, but it's a necessary component of going down that road. it's necessary, but not totally sufficient. so i think that this is him sending a message and actually kind of putting his money where his mouth is as far as his legal strategy, and now we have these two defenses, at least heading off in divergent directions if not adversarial ones. >> let me pick up on aaron's point. he also said in that interview, i don't agree with those who demon eyes orville identify the fbi. i respect the fbi as an institution as well as agents. he also refused to criticize the mueller investigation. his other client was sean hannity, who is the quarterback of the bash the fbi team with all of the house republicans sort of playing supporting roles. he's now at odds with the entire sort of public facing trump bash justice and fbi. >> that was a real guide point before. this is very much off message. you have trump world who have been very, very consistent in
demonizing and degrading this investigation and here you have michael cohen who poses a unique threat to donald trump. remember -- >> let's put that up again. >> this is not a publicly held company. >> women, financial crimes, financial ties to russia, any meetings between trump and russians and meetings cohen took on their behalf. that's the whole enchilada. what's missing? >> what does the fixer do -- he does the dirty business. he does the stuff that needs to be taken care of for a very, very secretive organization, a very secretive man despite his public profile. so, we have no idea what sort of a box we're opening up here, but donald trump does. >> exactly. let me put up donald trump doing the old coffee boy trick. distancing himself from michael cohen. >> well, as a percentage of my overall legal work, a tiny, tiny little fraction. but michael would represent me, and represent me on some things. he represents me like with this
crazy stormy daniels deal, he represented me. and you know, from what i see, he did absolutely nothing wrong. >> the crazy stormy daniels deal. i remember that sound came before or after rudy giuliani told america and the world through fox news that michael -- that they simply funneled money through michael cohen from the president. >> it's funny that you would bring up rudy giuliani because he's been quite quiet. >> he's on vacation. >> he might be on vacation legitimately. but the silence from the white house, i mean, usually i feel like when the president is a little anxious about something, the rest of america knows and is made to feel anxious as well through his tweets, his tweet storms. >> right. >> but their relative silence on this, i wonder if that means -- what does that mean? >> let me ask you a second question. he did signal to i believe it was mike flynn, stay strong through his twitter feed. he has been oddly quiet in recent days, at least since this
interview popped up this morning on michael cohen. >> yeah, we may remember the last thing that he was kind of conspicuously quiet about also had to do with cohen. that was when the whole stormy daniels thing was, was really beginning there. he didn't tweet at her for a number of months. he didn't seem to want to talk about it. we all assumed maybe this was because the situation was pretty personal for him, having to do with his personal life, his family life. maybe it was just because he didn't like talking about this particular legal issue as well. you know, having somebody like michael cohen come after you and say that, you know, i may turn on you essentially like he did in this interview, then having the president not fight back at all, not at least send some kind of message in response, you know, it's a conspicuous lack of engagement on this, but then again, you know, trump's attitude towards cohen has been somewhat odd from the start. we've been talking about his
legal team has talked with paul manafort about pardons. talked with michael flynn about pardons according to our reporting. pas apparently we haven't had those kind of conversations with michael cohen according to roger stone this. may include multituds we may find out soon here. >> the story, mimi, aaron and i both reference, was one of the stories donald trump got on twitter the day that it ran. maggie haberman and her colleagues had a bite of the story and he attacked them. that's a trumpian tell, not that the story is fake, but it struck a nerve, it's too true for donald trump. i want to ask you a question, though, about how much of this is public facing and how much of this is unknown to us. this case was referred to the southern district because bob mueller either viewed it outside his scope. could there be any other reason? >> no, i mean, sounds to me from everything i've read like he legitimately reviewed this as
right now not having to do with the russia question. >> what might have bob mueller kept for himself when it comes to michael cohen? >> if michael cohen came in and talked to, did he have meetings -- did he have meetings with russians or does he know about them -- >> he did. he was working on the trump tower moscow. he e-mailed the public affairs person. >> that could easily go back over to the mueller camp. there might be sort of -- i think mueller did the right thing by sending sort of the bulk of it, if you will, what they had at the time, which sounds like it related most to stormy daniels, to bank fraud -- >> taxi medallion. >> wire transfer. that would be weird for him to be doing. he did absolutely the right thing. sent it here. but to the extent that there is stuff that now comes out especially through his cooperation, there may even be stuff in the evidence, right, we don't know that and that could have already been shared. there is, as you say, stuff that could be going on already beneath the surface where
southern district has given mueller, i don't know, things that were taken in the search that might have to do with russia. you know, i use that broadly. but, you know, and one other thing. i think that's interesting to note he said in his interview, michael cohen said, i'm not the villain here and i'm not going to let someone else paint me as that, as if there is a villain here. we keep coming back to this, but michael cohen is not saying, no one did anything wrong. he's not saying that any more. he's saying i didn't do anything wrong. >> we'll find out. >> hope springs eternal. mimi rocah, thank you for getting us started. was donald trump duped? new reporting from nbc news indicates north korea is proceeding full steam ahead despite the pomp and circumstances in singapore. if he can't wrestle one
man's dictatorship to the ground, how is he going to hand handle vladimir putin? he offered to do so in a public one, but republicans won't release those transcripts. what are they hiding? one of these before, even though geico has been- ohhh. ooh ohh here we go, here we go. you got cut off there, what were you saying? oooo. oh no no. maybe that geico has been proudly serving the military for over 75 years? is that what you wanted to say? mhmmm. i have to say, you seemed a lot chattier on tv. geico. proudly serving the military for over 75 years. you ok back there, buddy?
oh boy. wi-fi fast enough for the whole family is simple, easy, awesome. in many cultures, young men would stay with their families until their 40's. kim jong-un who i despise because of how he's treated his people, he's duped president trump. >> it turns out the former cia director was right. north korea has expanded nuclear production.
nbc news writing, quote, u.s. intelligence agencies believe north korea has increased its production of fuel for nuclear weapons at multiple secret sites in recent months and that kim jong-un may try to hide those facilities as he seeks more concessions in nuclear talks with the trump administration. this news from u.s. officials stands in stark contrast to trump's announcement right after last month's summit in singapore that there is, quote, no longer a nuclear threat from north korea. according to reports, secretary of state mike pompeo will head to pyongyang later this week. joining us now are two of the nbc reporters who broke the story, courtney and ken dilanian. congrats, you guys. this story woke me up over the weekend and got everyone's attention. take us through some of what you're reporting. i want to read hey little more of this. the intelligence assessment which has not been previously reported before you guys broke this story seems to counter sentiments express bid donald trump in the tweet we just read. analysts at the cia and other intelligence agencies don't see it that way. according to more than a dozen
american officials familiar and spoke on condition of anonymity. this seems to be a story of everything that's wrong with the creation of foreign policy, the clash between the president's twitter feed and the people who craft and carry out the policy at the cia and pentagon. courtney, do you want to start? >> that's right, nicolle. basically what we found in the course of our reporting last week was not just that north korea was not decreasing its production or its enrichment of uranium, but one place it was increasing it. u.s. was confident north korea was already working to deceive the united states. you know, that is particularly interesting given the news we're getting this week that secretary of state mike pompeo is going back to north korea later this week. one of the next steps in this diplomatic process, of course, would be for north korea to hand the u.s. a document or a declaration that would include locations or information about their nuclear program. and now if the u.s. knows or is
confident that north korea is already working to see receive them, what will that declaration look like? it's possible, you know, that they won't include everything that the u.s. knows that they already have, so the fact that the deception part, that in and of itself this week is really, really striking to me, nicolle. >> let me play the president on just how much he trusts kim jong-un on june 12. let's watch and talk about it on the other side. >> it's in the first paragraph. it says complete total denuclearization. without that i wouldn't have been interested. i believe that he wants to get it done. >> you trust him? >> i do trust him, yeah. >> so, has kim jong-un made a fool of donald trump, ken? >> it's hard to know what's going on here, nicolle. is there some grand strategy behind this? is trump acting like a real estate developer and touting a project before it's built? but it's really unclear whether he has come to grips with reality of the situation.
look, if there is good news here, it's that the u.s. has clearly improved its intelligence collection capabilities against what's always been the hardest target, north korea. hermit kingdom, closed society. they have some really interesting insights into their nuclear program and found, as courtney said, that they are enriching nuclear fuel at secret sites. and more importantly, that they're working to deceive actively the trump administration about that. and this is evidence that was recently garnered, we understand, including in the weeks after the summit. and so the question is, is the intelligence community conveying that to donald trump and is he acting on it? i mean, john bolton the national security advisor suggested on television yesterday they are well aware north korea played games, but donald trump doesn't seem to be saying that. he seems to say that there is no more nuclear threat from north korea, he believes what kim is telling them, this is all proceeding in good faith. there is even a report they are talking about a second meeting between trump and kim between trump and kim at the united nations. that would be incredible if it
goes forward given the evidence we reported u.s. intel jebs is gathering. >> courtney, you and i have talked at other moments. you broke a great story about secretary mattis being out of the policy making decision -- making loop. is there any indication in your reporting the cia director gina haspel may be out of that inner sanctum in terms of what the president says in tweets from the oval office? >> you know, that's actually not something we focused on. that would be a great idea for a story we should pursue. >> see, i'm here to help. >> give me a gift, nicolle. it would be a great one to pursue. one thing that has become very clear and ken brought this up, is the intelligence gathering on north korea really has picked up under the trump administration. we know that the cia created a north korea mission center, of course. but the officials we spoke with last week said that it's really paying dividends. the question is how is that
translating into policy or is it translating into policy? ken mentioned john bolton yesterday. senator lindsey graham was on the show yesterday saying it's no surprise, we all expect north korea to deceive, we expect them not to hold up their end of the bargain. it seems to be coming from all the people in the administration and the government except for president donald trump. the question is are -- is the intelligence community actually sharing this information with him or is he even listening, nicolle. >> it's a great parallel to what happens when it comes to russia. his cabinet goes out, think testify, christopher wray, admiral rogers, they all testify under oath before congress. they say yes, vladimir putin remains intent on meddling in our elections. they asked under oath if the president asked them to do anything. christopher wray, no, they had not. admiral rogers slumped over the table, what did we do to deter putin, nothing. we're about to face a man in a
dictatorship. on the eve of a summit with vladimir putin, ken? >> not with the all all, nicole. the bizarre thing about this whole north korea situation is you can't argue that they have violated the deal because there really is no deal. that's what analysts keep telling us and the only person who doesn't seem to understand that is donald trump because he told the american public there was a deal, that they have agreed to denuclearize. they have agreed to no such thing. and there are many smart analysts who have been following this program for many years who say that that is -- this just isn't going to happen. this regime is not going to give up its weapons. they are certainly not going to do it in a year as john bolton suggested on television yesterday. retired admiral james said that is about as likely to happen as mexico is going to pay for the wall. >> i know a lot of republicans were not fans of the iran deal, but there was certainly more in place to protect american interests in the iran deal. there was evidence they were complying. there's what evidence the program had been halted. either the president has been played for a fool, or they're
lying to their 40% of the country that's going to believe them no matter what happens. >> what is amazing about this again is how bad donald trump is at this. you know, the art of the deal coauthor, whatever. clearly he has been played. the question is whether he has been duped willingly or unwillingly -- >> back to witting or unwitting. >> exactly. and whether he's going to correct this. you asked the key question. you know vladimir putin is watching this. >> of course he is. >> all the world leaders are getting the measure of the man. we are going into the summit with putin where the president is floating all sorts of concessions again without getting anything in return. clearly having wanted a deal so much with north korea that is he willing to turn a blind eye? this stuff really 34matters. that tweet north korea no longer presents a nuclear threat. hiss to historians will look back at that as a low point in american
diplomacy. >> he's alienated our traditional allies, fight ing with canada. it's very hard to fight with canada. by alienating the e.u. and angela merkel and friends in the u.k. he's now cozied up to dictators who are playing him like a fool. >> yeah. i mean, vladimir putin has got to be looking at this and he can declare victory already really. they don't even have to meet. the victory -- the goal for putin is to do exactly what he's managed to do with the aid of donald trump, which is break up the alliances that have kept him from being a major player in the world stage. and it's also just a little bit scary just pulling back a little bit to think about what the plan b is here for someone like john bolton. i mean, the president does not like to be embarrassed. we can only hope that this is not some kind of perverse set-up for john bolton who is extremely hawkish, to find some excuse to take this to the next level. i mean, the stakes were already
high and we can just hope that tensions cool down. >> all right. in and out of the white house, right. congrats on the scoop, thank you so much. ken is sticking around. after the break, slow walking justice. why are house republicans trying to stop the probe in the russian meddling in the 2016 election? (vo) this is not a video game. this is not a screensaver. this is the destruction of a cancer cell by the body's own immune system, thanks to medicine that didn't exist until now. and today can save your life. ♪ ♪
the department of justice has until this friday to turnover to the house extremely sensitive internal documents having to do with the russia investigation. that's a deadline set chiefly by the president's conservative allies in congress who have been accusing the d.o.j. of withholding information. but today those same republicans are being accused of withholding information themselves, namely, the private testimony of fbi agent peter strzok. they didn't have any problem alluding to his testimony during thursday's explosive hearing on capitol hill, but that private conversation with strzok in which he defends himself and his actions to lawmakers behind
closed doors has not been released in full. the washington post reports, quote, strzok certainly doesn't act like someone with anything to hide. he offered to testify publicly and without a subpoena. he didn't take the 5th or demand immunity. unlike the president in his dealings with special counsel robert mueller, strzok did not haggle for months over the terms or scope of an interview. nevertheless, congress first threatened to subpoena him unnecessarily and then chose to keep his testimony under wraps. these congressmen who claim to be interested in transparency and full disclosure should be eager to make strzok's testimony public, particularly since the president claims that testimony will provide evidence of the witch hunt against him. so, what are they hiding? ken is still with us. ken, you have some reporting of your own. i want to you bring to all of us. there is no one man who has served as a larger or more badly beaten punching bag for the president's sort of conspiracy theory of a witch hunt than fbi
agent peter strzok. >> that's true, nicolle. in fairness, he brought it on himself. and i think he would acknowledge that. >> and he did. >> he did. my sources, two democratic sources familiar with strzok's testimony last week said he said he regretted those inflammatory texts and was sorry that he sent them. but he said at the end of the day, he was operating in pursuit of evidence, not out of bias. and even if he was biased and was trying to steer an investigation one way or another, he wouldn't have been able to do it because he was part of a large team. he wasn't the leader. he was a senior team member and he was not in a position to hold sway over either the clinton e-mail investigation or the russia investigation. interestingly, i asked these sources why are the republicans hide thing testimony, why won't they release it. is there something particularly damaging to their cause. they said they didn't think it was that. they think the republicans want to have strzok back in a public hearing and they don't want to dilute the record and have his testimony out there in writing.
they want to ask these questions and try to make them as embarrassing as possible out in public, nicolle. >> you agree with the reporting that ken dilanian has about the testimony, the ig report, donald trump likes to wave around as evidence that most of these people work for former fbi director jim comey or somehow a lot against him. this doesn't hold up. it's uranium one. it is part of the bogus clown show that happens on fox news every night. >> right. but it's been effective as a weapon. he is the pin i can't teata and it on himself with the behavior. >> this was one tweet, one text he sent to somebody he was in a relationship with. if you look at the body, he is sort of the typical -- not typical, but one of the typical profiles of an fbi agent where they don't like politicians in either party. he was also very critical of eric holder, of bernie sanders, of chelsea clinton. there were plenty of democrats
who were on the receiving end of insum insults sent to the same individual as this one. >> i think this highlights two disingenuous arguments the house republicans are make. number one they have been posing for holy pictures, everything that needs to be out in the open. we are in favor of transparency which is why they're unmasking all of these folk. the second is we're just doing our job of oversight, except this republican congress is not exercising oversight over the trump administration and virtually any other field aggressively. so there are two kind of big lies here. one is we want everything out in the open, and that we are simply doing our job, you know, under the constitution when, in fact, when you think about all of the things that have happened under the republican congress, their willingness to go along and to be complicit in this undermining of this investigation i think is one of the low points. >> let's play donald trump trying to field some answers coming up with nonsense about
the documents you've been reporting on, ken. >> why don't you just direct your subordinates to get those documents over to congress? are you going to do it? >> the one thing i want to stay uninvolved in, at least for now -- i may get involved, but i've been told by so many people, don't get involved. >> congress wants those documents. >> it's not good -- and they'll get the documents and it's getting and they're getting and they're great people. i didn't like the scene the other day where everybody was screaming at each other. i don't like that because it's bad for the country. if russia is, in fact, looking to sow discord or chaos, they've got to be saying, this is the greatest thing we've ever done. >> on that we agree, mr. president. ken dilanian, i'm told by senior justice department official that they refer to the process as accommodating these document requests. they brought in a former u.s. attorney whose only job is to accommodate these document requests and everything they have asked for has either been turned over or in the process of being redacted for national security purposes or otherwise
reviewed. but there is nothing being withheld from this noisy faction in congress. the only thing they find is the public nature of this debate. >> it is a sad state of affairs because what is turned over is unpre unprecedented. it is going to set a negative precedent for years to come because it is documents about a pending criminal investigation which until now congress was not entitled to and did not ask for. these members know that. james comey set somewhat of a precedent when he turned over fbi 302s, detailed notes of interviews in the clinton investigation. he turned over classified e-mails. that was closed. that was used as a press department to open this do you remember door and now we're down a road, where does this end? if congress starts demanding files in an open fbi investigation, what if the defendant is innocent and then stuff gets leaked suggesting, for example, they were involved
in insider trading and they're not guilty, or what if they are guilty and witnesses change their story because that stuff was leaked because it was turned over to congress? it's a sorry state of affairs. but donald trump gave a very shrewd answer there i thought because he doesn't want to appear to be demanding these documents directly from the justice department. >> what he wants done and what rudy says on fox news and what these guys do in testimony with their own appointees, these are donald trump's appointees in the justice department and the fbi. >> and that certainly is the way it appears. these members of congress are doing donald trump's bidding and they're making these demands of career trump appointees, but justice department trying to preserve the integrity of the justice department. they know at the end of the day donald trump is not going to back them so they're turning all this over but it doesn't look like the president is forcing them to do it but that is exactly what is happening, nicolle. >> ken comes back and i have to refill my ambien prescription. scary stuff. the president set to announce the supreme court nominee in a week.
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the more interesting way to get your protein. in the morning, during the morning i interviewed and met with four potential justices of our great supreme court. they are outstanding people. they are really incredible people in so many different ways, academically and every other way. and i had a very, very interesting morning. very interesting was my four meetings. i'll be meeting with two or three more and we'll make a decision on the united states supreme court, the new justice and that will be announced on monday. >> president trump kicking his supreme court justice decision in high gear. it could spell doom like senator collins of maine. >> candidates for this important
position who would overturn roe v. wade would not be acceptable to me because that would indicate an acvift agenda that i don't want to see a judge have. >> the president interviewed four candidates for about 45 minutes today and the washington post reporting on some of the qualifications he might be looking for. they write, quote, one advisor said, trump insists upon an extraordinarily well qualified nominee with a sue perfectlytive resume. the president is especially drawn to contenders with name brand degrees such as ivy league universities like harvard or yale. he also wants to see a portfolio of solid academic writing. i'm sorry. though this advisor acknowledged trump doesn't want to read it -- of course he doesn't. let me see that again. let me see it again. he wants someone with a portfolio of solid academic writing though he doesn't want
to read it. that's awesome. i love the washington post harry litman is here, former attorney general and deputy assistant attorney general. go. >> go me? >> go you. i don't even know what to say. we're back to central casting. he wants someone who looks the part -- >> yeah. but let's talk about neil gorsuch because i think actually you played that clip from susan collins right. won't vote for anyone who will overrule roe v. wade. i hate to be relentlessly negative, but the flipside of that interview she said a couple sentences later, she was confident that justice gorsuch wouldn't. why is that? in his confirmation hearings he described roe as law of the land, just as justice roberts had described roe as settled law. i think it's 100% clear that whoever the nominee is is going to follow that same script. and if collins really believes
that gorsuch passes that test, and she's unconcerned about a fourth person there, it lays the groundwork for her to say, whoever it is, oh, see, they've expressed respect for the precedent of roe and it makes it very -- it's foreboding that she would then have her own established test passed by this new nominee. >> so, harry, first of all, your relentless negativity ties us together. don't ever stop. let me ask you, are there any other names on that list that don't that sort of gorsuch test as you just defined it? >> who would say outright they would overrule? >> who wouldn't have to. your point is gorsuch didn't have to say outright that he would overturn roe v. wade. you're making a more nuanced point. there are people on that list who may say the right things to get a collins vote. on the bench they may not be
protecters of roe. everyone on the list, right? >> depending on what you mean by protecters and there are many, many ways to basically demolish roe without having to say the words. there are some on the list who have actually been -- had some hostile statements in the past, but everyone -- i think of alison and joe, brett kavanagh, i think they are in the poll position. all of them will be careful to say roe is, quote-unquote, settled law. all of them also won't commit 100% to never overturning settled law. there will be a stalemate there. and you'll have to hope for the best and that's not a very good, you know, position for people to be in as far as abortion rights go, especially because it's just not a question simply of overruling roe. it can be really essentially asphyxiated to nothing without having to expressly overrule it,
which likely chief justice roberts would not want to do because of the cost to the court. >> you agree with that? >> that's exactly right. i was talking with a senior senate aide over the weekend who said the number one goal right now is to convince susan collins that justice roberts would never be the 5th vote to overturn roe because he is so institutionally conservative. that it would simply be too radical from a legal point of view, but also socially and politically. and that's just not his judicial philosophy. so, a lot of it is not necessarily focused on the nominee because they've all been prevetted, but is to say the court as it is constituted would not do this. but that doesn't mean that they would not shrink it around the edges, that they wouldn't stop the expansion, and that it would not be as many applied decisions not favorable to pro-choice interests. >> how is this threat to roe v. wade not enough to light every democrat's hair on fire and --
the response since kennedy's resignation has been tepid at best. >> it's remarkable. i'm beginning to wonder if democrats just don't know what to do with themselves. they don't know how to organize around this issue. >> this is potentially the most fundamental change. it would sort of be before and after. i mean, this is potentially another generation of young pipe people, boys and girls, young men and women, growing up with -- it represents such a social regression. >> it really does. i don't know exactly what the problem is, but one issue might be that it's actually been a generation or so since this has been -- since abortion has been not legal. and so i think -- >> two or three. >> we might be missing that sense of urgency. >> gosh. all right. when we come back, the story breaking the last hour, potential new evidence linking paul manafort to russian intelligence and what it could mean for robert mueller's investigation. that's next. i drink boost optimum. boost optimum with 5 in 1 advanced nutrition helps support muscle, energy,
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brand new reporting from the associated press may provide evidence that former campaign chairman paul manafort was operating as a pawn of russian intelligence. as we learn more about constantine kilimnick, the russian official just indicted alongside manafort in bob mueller's probe. during the special counsel's russia investigation, constantine kilimnick has been described as a fixer, translator or office manager to trump's ex-campaign chairman paul manafort.
but kilimnick was far more involved in formulating pro-russia political strategy with manafort than was previously known. ken is still with us. ken, first of all, a whole lot of finxers in donald trump's orbit, one. two, this certainly inches back closer to the questions and answers, possible answers about russian collusion. >> yeah, because it really suggests -- it offers further evidence that paul manafort may have been acting as a pawn of russian intelligence. let me explain. this man, constantine kilimnick is a former military officer and has been identified by robert mueller as having ongoing ties to intelligence during the campaign. he was called person a which has been widely reported as kilimnick. he was manafort's manafort. he was the right-hand man, the fixer for ten years as manafort was earning tens of millions of dollars from these russian-backed ukrainian politicians. if he was actually a russian intelligence asset during that
time, then you have manafort coming to the trump campaign, by this time badly in debt, including to some of these russian oligarchs, offers to work for free, and is in the middle of all these russian contacts offering to brief the russian oligarch during the campaign on the trump campaign. and so it really paints a disturbing picture and also raises a question of how did manafort get hired in the first place? this wasn't a secret these russian ties that he had coming into the campaign, this was well known in any fbi or sort of private detective back ground check would have turned up even more disturbing evidence that trump either wasn't interested in or never asked the question. >> harry, i believe it was the trump family that brought him in. i don't want to insult any writers of thrillers but this is like the bad plot that doesn't get published. what would bob mueller's interest be in this kilimnick/manafort/trump campaign connection? >> well, what this reporting does really is confirm what
we've kind of already known. manafort and kilimnick were thick as thieves literally, and he worked with kilimnick and this is who he was and this is how he got rich. but it also means that they were so closely aligned that any action looking for an actual connection between russian especially government and action especially in the trump campaign. so you think about manafort, say, an integral role in changing the republican platform to make it -- to change the position on ukraine. you think about his role in the june 2016 meeting. if kilimnick, who's his man in moscow, is sort of right behind there, is prompting things with manafort, that makes the link clear and sets up a conspiracy case. we do know if there is going to be any bridge built between the u.s. and russia, manafort and
kilimnick are going to be central pillars to it. >> harry and ken, thank you so much for spending some time with us. we have to sneak in our last break. we'll be right back. it's pretty amazing out there. the world is full of more possibilities than ever before. and american express has your back every step of the way- whether it's the comfort of knowing help is just a call away with global assist. or getting financing to fund your business. no one has your back like american express. so where ever you go. we're right there with you. the powerful backing of american express.
our thanks to mayra gay. kasie hunt joins us right now. if it's monday, should the president panic? tonight, is the president's fixer preparing to flip? or does michael cohen have another motive for breaking his silence? >> he said he wanted to respect the process. >> plus, supreme interviews. the president closes in on his pick for the supreme court. >> we'll be announcing it on monday. i think the person that is chosen will be outstanding. >> and the best words, the so z sounds of making america again. >> nobody, nobody, nobody does it better. >> this is "mtp daily" and it starts right now.
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