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tv   Deadline White House  MSNBC  August 23, 2018 1:00pm-2:00pm PDT

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president's legal woes. the bull market has hit a milestone. these things aren't going to last forever. they have to deal with the fall out from the trade war. there's the bell by the way. how long will bull run lasts is anybody's guess. that wraps this hour up for me. "deadline white house" with nicolle wallace starts right now. /s >> hi, everyone. it's 4:00 in new york. dropping like flies, another trump ally leaves the trump fox hole. david pecker, the head of a.m.i. which publishes the "national enquirer" is now cooperating with federal prosecutors in exchange for immunity. donald trump's week from hell took another dramatic turn today with news that pecker has provided evidence related to the investigation into president trump's hush money payments during the 2016 campaign. that's according to reporting from the "wall street journal". the news is sure to send more
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shock waves through the president's already shell shocked west wing. "the new york times" reports, quote, the agreement adds another unusual aspect to a case never seen before in the alans of presidential campaign finance history. it means that a company that operates as a news organization is cooperating with federal authorities on an investigation that involves its work with the campaign. today's development was likely put in motion by tuesday's guilty pleas from michael cohen, the president's former fixer who existed at the intersection of hush money and tabloid brush fires. the times explains the role of david pecker's media company in what could turnout to be an investigation into something that looks a lot more like a conspiracy. quote, the court documents filed tuesday in connection with mr. cohen's guilty plea provided a far more detailed account than previously known about the payments made to suppress women's stories about mr. trump that could have threatened his election prospects. for his part, trump got on the
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record about his views about people who help federal prosecutors. you know, the ones who work at the department of justice, the one that donald trump ostensibly heads as the american president. >> this whole thing about flipping, they call it, i know all about flipping. 30, 40 years i've been watching flippers. everything is wonderful, they get ten years in jail, they flip on whoever the next highest one is or as high as you can go. it almost ought to be outlawed. >> almost ought to be outlawed. the associated press ties all the threats facing the president at this hour together like this. quote, what's known: the president who demands loyalty from his allies can't depend on them for it. what's not? from whom and where in the trumpian landscape another bolt might strike. joinling us now, associated press white house reporter jill colvin, frank figliuzzi, former fbi assistant direct forecounter intelligence. chuck rosenberg is back, former u.s. attorney and former fbi
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senior official. with us at the table nick, "the new york times" political reporter. frank, i have got to start with you. if you are investigating campaign finance violations, it doesn't -- this feels bigger than that. is it? >> oh, it's so much bigger than that. let's not forget that we've got money laundering, bank fraud. we still have russian collusion. that's what this is all about and what it started with. and now today we have the president of the united states suggesting that maybe cooperating with prosecutors should be outlawed. this sounded -- i'm struck continually by how much some of this conversation sounds like wiretaps in an organized crime case or an episode of the sopranos where some coppo is talking about whacking somebody who is flipping and cooperating. we're getting very close to that. >> chuck, it's chilling, frank. we have to cut that and maybe replay that before this hour
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ends, what you just said. chuck, i want to ask you to drill down on these violations, these crimes that cohen pleaded guilty to, the fact that he testified in court on tuesday during that guilty plea that they were payments directed by donald trump, and now this news today that the head of the "national enquirer," the owner of it, has accepted immunity to agree to help with the prosecution. tell me what that means. what have they discovered and what are they still looking for? >> let me take the last part first, nicolle, because i think there's a really important unanswered question about david pecker and the immunity that he received. so, did he receive it a while ago, a few weeks ago, a month ago in order to help prosecutors make the case against michael cohen? or did he receive it recently, even as recently as when cohen pled to help make a case against others in corroboration of
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cohen? and so not knowing the answer to that, it's entirely possible that it was the former that they used mr. pecker to sure up the case against mr. cohen. to thank's point, and i agree with you, frank put it chillingly but also accurately. prosecutors rely all the time on the information we receive from cooperateers. i don't call them flippers. i think that's a ridiculous word. i find it curious that the president knows so many. people who work in law enforcement tend to know folks who cooperate, but for the president to say he's been surrounded by that for 30 or 40 years, i think underscores frank's point that it sounds a bit like a mob family. but this is in many cases the building blocks of criminal cases brought by the fbi and justice department. so this is a sad day when the president is basically saying that cooperation with federal prosecutors in pursuit of the
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truth is a problem and perhaps should be outlawed. >> let me read you something, jill colvin, from vanity fair's reporting on this story this afternoon. pecker's apparent -- we should just stipulate pecker is a friend of the president. he also aided him politically and personally by making embarrassing things, like sexual affairs with porn stars and play boy play mates go away. i believe karen mcdougal is on this month's men's journal or men's health as part of what i understood to be her arrangement after her deal from the president. this is from vanity fair this afternoon about pecker. pecker's apparent decision to corroborate cohen's account and implicate trump in a federal crime is another vivid example of how isolated trump is becoming as the walls close in and his former friends look for ways out. holy bleep, i thought pecker would be the last one to turn a trump friend told me when he
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brought up the news. trump and pecker have been friends for years. according to the trump friend, pecker regularly flew on trump's plane to florida. pecker should become ceo of time magazine. he'd make it exciting and win awards. just how isolated is this president and what are the public facing signs of that, jill? >> this is arguably the most isolated that this president has been. he is somebody who really puts a premium on loyalty. he expects it from the people who are around him. and again and again he's had people who are close to him now turning on him. take michael cohen as the prime example. this is a guy who said he would take a bullet for trump. he would do anything to protect his family, operated on his own trying to crush stories trying to up had the president. he made this dramatic admission in court, accusing the president of ordering him to make these hush money payments to influence the election. you have everyone from him to pecker and now a long-time friend of the president who kind much played this key strategic role apparently including during
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the campaign, to even omarosa who is somebody who had known the president for more than a decade and starred in his reality show. the president talked about how he made her a star. people around the president, whether it is for their own legal survival or whether it's just omarosa's case, apparently to make a buck, are willing to sell out this president. and that's made him furious. you know, you can see just from watching this white house, from even watching cable television, how few people have come out to defend him. there's been frustration among people who are close to the president who are close to the white house, that there's been very little kword nagcoordinati. there's been little effort to get them on the same page when it comes to talking points to help guide them through what the president would like them to say. and you just see from sarah sanders' statements on the podium yesterday, very little, coordinated defense to help the president. >> frank figliuzzi, one of the reasons i understand to be the cause for that is that there is no defense. the president didn't tell his
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own lawyers what the facts were in the cohen case. they didn't understand his legal exposure in the cohen raid and in all the days since they haven't been brought up to speed. so why would anybody defend this president? and do you find it surprising -- you know a little bit about this relationship between mr. pecker and the president. why would immunity be given to someone like mr. pecker? what does he know about donald trump? >> well, you don't just handout immunity, as chuck knows. it's something that's done when two things are present. one is you believe someone may be exposed criminally, and number two, you believe someone has value in adopting. and so what cooperation could there be here? this relationship with the president dates back easily approximately 20 years, and so pecker has ridden on trump's private jets. they hang out with the same women. he also, by the way, goes way
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back with rudy giuliani. remember that it was giuliani's joint venture, a firm called bio one that remediated the anthrax in the a.m.i. headquarters building in boca raton, attack occurred in 2001, remediation in 2004. so giuliani goes back with david pecker. and so we don't know where mueller is carving out the walls of this cooperation, but if mueller goes there, and if mr. pecker is willing to go back as far as that, then we can talk about historical crimes. we can talk about establishing a predilection, right, that the president does this and directs these types of payments to silence people going way back. and there's value in that. >> your paper and your colleagues have done some major reporting on how the trump organization operationalized the national enquirer as a p.r.
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machine. there is -- fox news often promoted the stories when they appeared in the "national enquirer." a classic planting of stories and campaign benefits from said stories. can you talk about that operation and how it's being investigated now as a campaign finance violation? >> look, we talked on this show a few months ago, nicolle, about how stormy daniels and a.m.i. media could be greater exposure for president than the mueller and russia angle. and this is why. it is an important cog in the president's business and personal machinery of business. how he does business and gets around the world. he has affairs. he has payoffs and cover ups. he wants to call in a political hit on somebody, he plants a story in a tabloid. this is how he did business -- >> story in the campaign -- >> for years and years he did business this way. we now look at the enquirer as -- if you want to see who is up and who is down in the trump world, you can read it. now the prosecutors have that
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entire empire by the short hairs. they can see it and have a cooperating witness who will tell them all they want to know about it. we are going deep inside trump world here, and deep inside his vulnerabilities -- just entirely apart from russia. this is how he did things for years and years, and now the cover is off. >> chuck rosenberg, it seems like two things are happening in the same moment. that what this week has exposed is donald trump's extreme anxiety and paranoia over the special counsel and investigation as well as donald trump's really sort of rotted under belly of his personal and professional life before he became president. the president has not coincidentally really upped the ante on his attacks on the mueller probe. where do you see the intersection of these two investigations, and do you think it gives bob mueller a little breathing room, that all the action in this week seems to be in the southern district of new york? >> it probably does give him a
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little bit of breathing room, small pea politically speaking. legal and factually, the mueller team investigators and prosecutors keep chugging along as they should. they're probably paying less attention to these political dynamics than we are. what's interesting to me is that the president does seem cornered and he is lashing out, including at his attorney general who for the first time seems to be pushing back, which i think is an encouraging sign. again, i would caution people, though, to be a little bit careful with the analysis of the immunity given to mr. pecker. it could have been just for the limited purpose of corroborating the case against michael cohen. of course, i mean, there are probably other folks he knows about including others in the trump orbit, you know, donald trump, jr., jared kushner, roger stone, and he might be helpful there. but at least immediately, his
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knowledge and his information may have been used only to sure up the case against cohen. >> i guess the reason we draw the president into it, chuck, is that in the most dramatic moments when he red counts 7 and 8, implicated the president as the person who directed those payments, i don't mean to overstate the president's involvement, but the president is on tape as well talking to michael cohen about what they would do if pecker got hit by a bus. they needed a plan because if he got hit by a bus, they had to bring all of that work in-house, was the nature of the conversation, partial conversation we heard on tape. so, you're not saying that the president isn't exposed here. you're just saying that the immunity deal with mr. pecker may have been narrowly focused on what cohen was charged with this week? >> that's right, nicolle. i don't think you're overstating it. i mean clearly there is a possibility, very real possibility that mr. pecker is being used both to help sure up the case against mr. cohen resolved by his guilty plea and
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ongoing kalss against the president, you're absolutely right. also the mueller team can use anything mr. pecker says if they decide one day only to write a report to the deputy attorney general that could be used in an impeachment proceeding so there could be lots and lots of stuff that comes from mr. pecker that's valuable to prosecutors down the road. i just don't -- i would just like to know the timing of the immunity that he received so i could help assess who it was really for the limited purpose of mr. cohen or something broader than that. could be both. >> and, jill, at the heart of this news is the fact that cohen and pecker both dealt with the things that most embarrass the president. he's known to be a little frugal, but he threw money at people who could make the most embarrassing episodes of his life go away and it may have been to help his campaign. it certainly seems to be the sense this week. may have been to keep him out of trouble with melania. that is a known unknown. i want to read you a tweet from "the new york times" reporter plag i haberman who reported
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last night, he gets the seriousness about what happened to cohen but they're waiting for him to fight back and lose his cool. it would seem he did that, even woke up at 1:10 to give us a preview of what he was going to say on fox and friends. i believe this is the only 1:10 a.m. hour tweet i've seen. no collusion, rigged witch-hunt. what are the concerns about the president's state of mind at this hour in the west wing? >> that tweet, i feel like it sort of had this almost shakespearean theme of the president raging in the middle of the night there, shouting this out to whoever was awake. the president is clearly rattled. i want it make clear the president sat down for the interview yesterday. they just aired it today. so we kind of got a little bit of time gap there. the president is undeniably furious, scared about what michael cohen might be talking to prosecutors about. you have his attorney lanny davis out there kind of making suggestions that cohen is willing to talk to mueller's team about a whole host of
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things including things to do with, for instance, the trump tower meeting with that russian lawyer. but i also want to say that sources in the white house are also pushing back on that narrative. something you would expect. but here they're saying that you have got a white house that at this point is so numb, that is so used to the incoming every single day, that they have dealt with now for a year and a half, that there is not the kind of, you know, alarm that they used to feel early on in the administration when that flynn -- michael flynn news was breaking and things like that. they're just sort of used to now how this president operates. they're just kind of -- wait and see how he's going to react and figure out how to contain the damage. >> it's also a white house where the person they work for tells his supporters not to believe what they see or they hear. so it's hard to accept any push back at all. i'm sure your reporting is spot on, jill. but it's hard to believe anything they say. i want to bring you in, nick, on news that broke 12 minutes before we came on air. trump sought advice on pardoning manafort but they counseled against it.
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this is according to his lawyer rudy giuliani. i'll read you the first couple lines here. president trump sought his lawyer's advice on the possibility of pardoning manafort. the subject of the pardon came up while manafort was on trial on multiple charges of bank fraud and tax evasion and the president was expressing his anger at how federal prosecutors had beat up and mistreated the former trump campaign manager. there's no understanding that federal prosecutors work for him. they work with the department of justice. he appointed the attorney general. chuck correctly points out that we had a rare and welcome push back from jeff sessions to the on the attacks against the department. what is going on that the president is so eager, so reflection reflexively desperate to let criminals be pardoned from their crimes? >> he doesn't see the department separate from himself. he sees the government and his powers as the president as tools to punish his enniz, reward his supporters, make things happen, make problems go away. he seems very willing to use the
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pardon power for his own personal political benefit. the fact that he was willing to consider it before there was even a verdict in the case shows a certain contempt for the process of justice that he is supposed to oversee as the nation's chief law enforcement officer or commander in chief, i should say. it's astonishing but not surprising. the white house was saying at a press conference, sarah huckabee sanders, i had no knowledge of these discussions. well turns out there were discussions. >> there were discussions. sarah huckabee sanders with no knowledge of much. jill colvin, thank you for spending time with us. when we come back, the open warfare between the president and the justice department escalates. is a high-level firing next? also is donald trump the branding guru gets rebranded as an unintentional co-conspir store? a member of the house intelligence committee joins us to discuss whether the president's fixer will make a return trip to his committee. and republicans go there. the "i" word getting thrown around more and more. stay with us.
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in this new world order where trump's closest allies are now cooperating with the prosecutors investigating him, trump is hitting back hard, taking on his own attorney general in a new interview out this morning. one of his most aggressive attacks yet. >> rosenstein signed the last fisa report. >> it bothers me. >> will you fire him? will you fire sessions? >> i'll tell you what. as i've said, i wanted to stay uninvolved, but when everybody sees what's going on in the
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justice department, i always put justice now with quotes, it's a very, very sad day. i put an attorney general that never took control of the justice department, jeff sessions. never took control of the justice department. even my enemies say that jeff sessions should have told you that he was going to recuse himself and then you wouldn't have put him in. he took the job and then he said, i'm going to recuse myself. i said, what kind of a man is this? and by the way, he was on the campaign. you know the only reason i gave him the job because i felt loyalty. he was an original supporter. he was on the campaign. he knows there was no collusion. >> what kind of man is this? someone who follows the law as you should find more for your west wing staff. this time jeff sessions isn't taking trump's attacks lying down. he hit back just this afternoon in a rare rebuke of trump's comments. quote, i took control of the department of justice the day i was sworn in. while i am attorney general, the actions of the department of justice will not be improperly influenced by political
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considerations. i demand the highest stand ards, and where they are not met, i take action. joining nick and me at the table, mara gay, "the new york times" editorial board. chuck and frank are still with us. i want to come back to you, chuck, you started the conversation in the last block. jeff sessions taking, as you said, a rare hard line against the president. has the president crossed some line for sessions, do you thin ? >> oh, dear god, nicolle, the president has crossed only lines so often. >> for you and me. sessions doesn't often rebuke the president he serves. >> right. hallelujah. so, what the men and women of the department of justice look for is leadership. and whether or not they personally like mr. sessions, they respect the office of attorney general. this is a person who has to stand up for the rank and file. and today he did. i'm not a huge fan. i think you know that. but today he did the right thing and it is heartening to see the attorney general -- it shouldn't
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be heartening. it should be absolute baseline. but it is heartening to see him stand up for the rule of law and to say that political considerations have no place in his world. hallelujah. >> let me come back to you with one more, chuck, because i think there is a tie here to the president and this concept of his definitions of loyalty. in that tape he said the only reason i gave him, sessions, the job, i felt loyalty. he was an original supporter. he was on the campaign. he knows there was no collusion. he also said in an interview with nick's colleagues -- actually everyone's colleagues. interview with "the new york times," what he wanted at the justice department was his own roy cohn. and he admired eric holder because of this idea that holder protected obama. what does that sound like you to? >> well, so, he embraces and he values loyalty, yet when jim comey said that the president asked for my loyalty -- in fact, it's the name of jim's book, higher loyalty. when the president asked for his loyalty, the .president dispute
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that, said he was making this up. comey is not making this up. you can see the emphasis this president puts on that trait. he wants loyalty from everybody else. he expects loyalty from his attorney general. he wants a roy cohn. how can we possibly dispute the fact that he asked comey for comey's loyalty? >> i don't think clear minded people do. frank figliuzzi, let me bring you in on this. the president also said i put an attorney general in who never took control of the justice department. my understanding is that by recusing he actually got himself in with the career law enforcement people who advise on recusals and i'm sort of -- with chuck, i'm not a big fan of the zero tolerance child separation policy or other things that he's done there, but the idea that he didn't take control of the justice department, he seemed to in that act of recusing himself, fall in line behind the public servants who gave him that advice. >> we have to give jeff sessions credit for doing the right thing. we don't know all the reasons
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for it, but clearly he's earned the respect in speaking out today and in previously recusing himself. look, it's kind of -- there's another motivating factor going on here i think for mr. sessions, which is it's a little bit like someone who is not allowed to read the weather forecast but looks out the window and sees the storm clouds forming. he's been emboldened by the recent events the last couple weeks. he sees what's happening. he's not getting briefed in but he knows they're closing in. he's feeling emboldened and he's doing the right thing. the other thing is with regard to the president, the know, demanding loyalty, he continues to be all about the president. the merger of self-interest with national interest being the exact same thing is what we're seeing here. it's all about him. >> what the president demands is not loyalty. what he demands is craviness. we should check our impulse to feel any sense of sympathy with jeff sessions. certainly the people at the border who have suffered so
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grieve usually at his hands should know that very, very well. look, one of the things i find so striking here is that here is an attorney general who supported trump from the beginning. i think he was the first senator who came out and endorsed trump. he has stood behind trump on policy after policy after policy, and he has remained attorney general even when last june or july the president began dumping on him publicly and viciously and in the most humiliating fashion. there is a great benjamin franklin line. he who lies down with dogs will wake up with fleas. that's the story with jeff sessions -- >> i agree with you 100%. i guess the reflex, though, is not one that -- elizabeth warren, i think it's under the category, the enemy my enemy becomes my friend. it was stunning one of the days he was under harsh attack, now i believe he's under investigation for some of those public
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statements about sessions, was the day some of the democrats in the senate took up after him. but your point is a good one and well taken. what do you make of the fact that jeff sessions and rod rosenstein are trying to run the department of justice, they work for a guy in president trump who is looking for a roy cohn, who is looking for a fixer, the current fixer pleaded guilty to eight felony counts this week. what do you make of just the paralysis that must be underway there? >> well, what i am interested in is -- and i'm no jeff sessions fan either, but -- >> i think he was just at the white house. i think we have some grainy video of jeff sessions at the white house today where this, according to jonathan swan of axios, didn't come up. there he is. >> oh, yeah. >> leaving. not exactly a profile and a ton of courage. he didn't say take this job and shove it. >> actually, having written about politics for a long time, even locally in new york, you see the same thing in washington. the individuals matter greatly. so it's not just about party.
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and it's actually not even just about policy. i personally disagree with jeff sessions on many of his policies including the family separations and some civil rights issues. but it does matter when you have integrity. and i think this is a moment where we can really see, you know, from jeff sessions to bob mueller and everyone in between, and frankly on the other side as well, you know, with some of the folks that the president has surrounded himself with, you really see where individuals can make a huge difference in history and this is one of those moments. and i think that, you know, we'll see what happens going forward. but every single member of congress, the light is on them and the own nus is on them to b profile in courage. i'm trying to be hopeful here. >> right. all right. frank figliuzzi, thank you for spending the first half hour of the 4:00 hour with us again. we appreciate you. when we come back, in the wake of michael cohen's guilty plea tuesday, we'll ask a member of the house intel committee if
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76 days away from the mid terms, hard to believe. if the democrats take back power, do you believe they will try to impeach you? >> well, you know, i guess it's something like high crimes and all -- i don't know how you can impeach somebody who has done a great job. i'll tell you what, if i ever got impeached, i think the market would crash. i think everybody would be very poor because without this thinking, you would see -- you would see numbers that you wouldn't believe in reverse. >> this thinking. even for an administration infamous for moving the goal post this is a hoot. the is not even trying to make a case for his own innocence. instead of i didn't do anything wrong, we got, if you impeach me, everybody will go broke. but in recent days the question
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of impeachment has gone from hypothetical to a concrete possibility. so the focus now shifts to what congress will do, if anything. and mike many cone's lauryn cysts his client is ready to talk. >> i'm just telling you that michael cohen has told me that he's going to tell the truth to whoever asks him, whether it be a congressional committee, a prosecutor, or somebody in washington. and as far as i'm concerned, the truth is the word rather than cooperate. >> democratic congressman eric swalwell now joins us. thanks for being with us. i want to ask you about something senator chuck grassley said, senate judiciary chairman. he said his committee wants to talk to michael cohen's attorney lanny davis as a first step before deciding whether his committee will investigate cohen's claims about donald trump. do you want to see michael cohen back before your committees? >> absolutely. and good afternoon, nicolle. it is clear that michael cohen was not truthful with the house
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intelligence committee which is all the more reason that we never should have ended our investigation. it now sounds like listening to mr. davis that mr. cohen does have information about what candidate trump knew about the russians offering dirt on hillary clinton in the trump tower meeting. bring them all back because none of them were faced with tough questions or any subpoenas. as for the president's claim that the economy would tank and markets would crash, this country, nicolle, is greater than one small man and the corrupt people around him. so that's not much of a defense. >> explain to me, congressman, why democrats flinched when asked about impeachment. you got brett stevens who is at the table with me today. lifelong conservative steve schmidt, campaign veteran from the bush and mccain eras who are more bullish about the need to engage the public in a conversation about impeachment about high crimes and misdemeanors. we have a president who doesn't
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proclaim his innocence. he simply says the markets will tank if i'm out of here because i've done a good job. why are democrats so go shy about having this debate with the people? >> which don't want to be as reckless with the facts as donald trump is. we are promising the american people, put us in the majority. we'll protect health care, protect paychecks and address corruption. addressing corruption means all the investigations whether it's on russia, whether it's on tax rrnz, whether it's on cashing in on access to the oval office, doing all the investigations republicans have been unwilling to do and promising the american people that no person is above the law. if the president has crossed red lines, and we can put that case to the american people, we'll do the right thing. right now we're not in the majority. so running on that i think misses the issues people care about at home. they connect the corruption and washington reflects our ability to solve paychecks. >> congressman, was a red line crossed for you on tuesday in
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the 4:00 hour when you heard michael cohen plead guilty to counts 7 and 8 where he said the president directed him to make payments to -- he didn't say her name, but to -- they were actually went to karen mcdougal right around a window that was very obviously meant to impact the election? >> yes, i don't see how you can separate what michael cohen did and the person who directed and coordinated him to do that in donald trump. that's why if the republicans were responsible, if they cared about this country, if they put our democracy above one person in the president, they would have hearings immediately. you won't believe this, though, nicolle, maybe you will. tomorrow the house judiciary committee is meeting to interview witnesses around hillary clinton's e-mails so we have an opportunity after this revelation has been made to tell the american people just what michael cohen knew and what donald trump knew and instead we're going back in time to look at hillary clinton's e-mails. so until we're in the majority, we can't fully investigate this. but those days are coming. 74 days away. >> let me bring chuck rosenberg
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into this conversation. chuck, i heard the congressman say he believes michael cohen lied before congress. is there a potential in the future for some sort of global cooperation agreement where michael cohen could say, we'll let you off the hook for lying to congress which i believe is a federal crime if you are helpful to any investigation ongoing in the mueller probe, helpful to any future or current investigations in the southern district, helpful -- i know he picked up the phone and called some state law enforcement officials. is that something -- is he a candidate for something like that? he a i think that's plausible, nicolle. i could imagine that a lot of folks would like to talk to him again, or for the first time. let me tell you how i would have analyzed it when i was u.s. attorney. i'm not sure i would prosecute cohen again even for the lie to congress. i'm not saying that's not important. it is important. but the question to me would be were u.s. interests adequately or fully vindicated by his guilty plea in manhattan? he pled guilty to eight counts.
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he's facing significant jail time. and so i'm not sure that the u.s. government, the justice department gets much more out of sort of an additional count of conviction. i'm not sure it's worth it. you need to tell congress the truth. they have an important oversight function, but i don't think he'll be prosecuted for lying to congress. i would like the congressman noted see michael cohen called babbli back and answer a whole bunch of questions because he has more to tell. >> thank you both for spending some of the hour with us. we're grateful. when we come back, republican leaders give their candidate a longer leash to trash the president. but that doesn't exactly add up to a profile in courage. we'll track the leadership vacuum on the right. stay with us.
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they say pictures are worth a thousand words so check out time's latest cover. a third in a set which started
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last february shows a white house totally flooded by chaos and scandal as the water rises around the president. are republicans going to finally say, enough? "the new york times" reports, senior republican party leaders began urging their most imperiled incumbents. tom cole campaign chairman warning, quote, where there's smoke and there's a lot of smoke, there may well be fire. the panel is still here. brett. >> look, it's too late. this is something that the republican party should have been doing from the earliest days of the trump presidency when the lies began to accumulate, the kind of psychopathic behavior if that's the right word on the part of the president. the bullying and abuses of his members of his own
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administration, the d denigratetion at charlottesville. the republicans prevaricated. they closed their eyes in increasing evidence of malfeasance, misfeasance, lunacy on the part of the president. they allowed their long held views to be completely perverted and distorted. they started sounding like people who would have been unrecognizable to themselves just a few years earlier. so now they tell us, maybe you can have in a limited way a throat-clearing session about what appears to be the criminality or borderline criminality of a president who, were he a democrat, you would be calling for his impeachment. >> right. >> so i'm glad they're starting. >> you know, what's wrong is the shallowness of it. it's not giving republicans permission -- and the fact -- let's just say, i have a 6-year-old. he wouldn't need permission to distance himself from a crude
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crass lying bully. it's pathetic they're waiting around for a green light to say, go, you can distance yourself. to your point, it's not from a plates of moral outrage. it's not because he backed roy moore. it's not because he saw good people on both sides of the kkk rally, not because he talked about grabbing women in the bleep. in 64 days they're on the ballot. >> it's to give themselves enough distance from the president to get through the election. >> so they can carry his water and whatever else -- >> i doubt we'll see much on this, right? and the issue for them is he's obviously a load stone. and the president doesn't realize it. and he thinks he's a force multiplier. he is in some places. they are looking at a demolition of their house majority and they will do anything to protect it. but i think it's tactical. it's not that deeply held. because if it was we would have heard more of this in the past. instead we see the house intelligence committee turn into a de facto arm of the white house. >> de facto, nunes, paul ryan
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green lighting it, is running absolutely as an arm of the white house. it shows the most sort of sacred part of our national security oversight role as being corrupted by donald trump. >> two things here. first of all, you are both exactly right. there is no honor here. nobody is doing the honorable thing. but i just think that, you know, when you talk to these members of congress, they say oh, well, it's what the base wants and i need the base. but you know, it's so convenient because these same members of congress were participating for years in whipping up -- whipping the frenzy within that base and feeding into the fox news, the conspiracy theories, all of that stuff, and so they've played along and then now for them to turn and say, oh, well, this is a bridge too far. i think it's a little too late. >> a-- for that. >> you can make an argument in some policies it wasn't state-run media, but state had
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an impact on fox news. to your point it's media-run state, fox-run state. >> we get things out of those interviews, he's relaxed. he says what's on his mind. what he said, i expect the person who runs the justice department to shutdown investigations into me. >> it's stunning. i hope bob mueller gets fox. up next there is still integrity in washington. the one running against ted cruz shuts down -- who players protest.
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peaceful, nonviolent protests, including taking a knee at a football game to point out that black men, unarmed, black teenagers, unarmed, and black children, unarmed, are being killed at a frightening level right now. and so nonviolently, peacefully, while the eyes of this country are watching these games, they take a knee to bring our attention and our focus to this problem to ensure that we fix it. that is why they are doing it. i can think of nothing more american than to peacefully stand up or take a knee for your rights any time, anywhere, any place. >> amen. that was beto o'rourke running against ted cruz.
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responding to a question about whether players taking a knee during the anthem was disrespectful. lebron james called it a much-watch. i agree. it looks like cruz should watch out. a brand new poll has o'rourke behind pie only four points. i want to hit pause on the poll and i just want to ask you, every time i see somebody like that, and i'm glad that lebron was in there too, there's such a vacuum of moral clarity. why was that answer hard for republicans? why do we treat patriotism like it's so fragile that black players can't protest what is undeniably true, that black men face more danger, unarmed black men get killed by cops all the time in this country. >> because patriotism far too much on the right has become a matter of symbols and totems and forms and anthems and not the exercise of freedom. it's funny when you talk to
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republicans, the word that's always on their lips is freedom. freedom to dissent, freedom to build businesses, the freedom to speak your mind. and yet you see these football players exercising exactly that freedom in the most respectful way possibly on a cause that matters deeply to them and should matter to millions -- to all americans, and this is -- this is the way they respond. it's part of trump's effort to turn what ought to be genuine patriotism, love of what this country is really about as a set of ideas, into a kind of blood and soil nationalism, a place, a people or i should rather say a race among -- a race among those people and a set of institutions and mechanisms that would be more recognizable in certain early 20th century european countries than it should be in the united states. >> he also seemed to call on people's better angels, which made me link of the line that
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people are so desperate for american leadership that they'll crawl through the sand and when it's a mirage they start eating the sand. that looked like the real deal, real leadership, real moral clarity. >> first of all, you're absolutely right. he showed us as a country kind of the way forward and i think that's important. but you're absolutely right. i think this is a very old debate and very old issue about who is allowed to be a citizen. and who is allowed to protest, about who is allowed to fully take on the rights and responsibilities of citizenship. and it really does to me, the protests -- excuse me, the criticism, a lot of the criticism of these players who are protesting sounds like it's coming from a place of, you know, white nationalism cloaked in the flag. and i think all americans should be offended by that. >> really quick, do you think he has a shot? >> look, i'm bad at predictions. sure, he has a shot.
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>> okay. >> i think what makes that effective is that as a democrat he has learned to speak in a language of values and patriotism. that has eluded some democrats in the past. it's whatever language has not evolved too, he speaks that language and it will play well in texas. >> we have to sneak in our last break. we'll be right back. the line between work and life hasn't just blurred. it's gone. that's why you need someone behind you. not just a card. an entire support system. whether visiting the airport lounge to catch up on what's really important. or even using those hard-earned points
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