tv Andrea Mitchell Reports MSNBC November 30, 2018 9:00am-10:00am PST
speak with any strength on the matter. when he was first asked about this earlier in the week, he said something like either way, and attributing the blame it seems to both sides, and so hopefully we can see president trump stick with the g 7 counterparts to condemn russia's actions here. >> thank you my friend. ben white, thank you, and ned, always good to have your perspective as well. president trump again in buenos aires continuing with the g20 summit, and that is going to wrap up this hour of "msnbc live." "andrea mitchell reports" is starting right now, and you are here in new york. >> yes, in new york. and the president with a dark cloud as he meets with the world leaders and his secretary acknowledging that the mueller probe is undermining his missions with rush sharks but he insists that the canceled meeting with vladimir putin is because of ukraine and not michael cohen.
and more troubles for former campaign chairman paul manafort who they say lied to him and double-dealing with the trump administration after signing a a plea agreement. and brothers in a arms, two of the the president's favorite strongmen have a connection today. they are both pariahs at the g20. goodday, everyone. i'm andrea mitchell in new york. the president at a world summit in argentina, but judging from the tweets theday, he started the day thinking of the dramatic events in the russia probe. sworn testimony indicating an active cover-up by former lawyer and fixer michael cohen about the trump organization's effort to get a trump tower in moscow well into the 2016 campaign. the president tweeting this morning that he had quote only lightly looked at a business deal while frequently denying it on 2 campaign trail, and sarah sanders is is now referring to the mueller investigation as the russian witch hunt hoax at an
ish -- statement she issued from the summit. and now joining us is peter alexander and ben wallace. and peter, let's talk about the dissonance and we saw the bilateral with the prime minister of japan abe shinzo, and they are saying that they hope they can work it out with vladimir putin, and where does that stand? >> andrea, an interesting point. be clear here the man representing the united states at this global summit the g20 is individual one, and that tweet from the president, and the fir first the thing that he communicated on twit ther morning reinforced that point that the challenge for any leader, any american leader is to not allow domestic troubles impact some tof the foreign policy interests here, but that is the backdrop for this. as we heard from the president a short time ago trying to insist that the reason for the las
last-minute cancellation of the scheduled sit down and the marquee meeting of the summit for vladimir putin saturday was because of russia's aggression toward ukraine and the seizure of the ship and the sailors and the last point to the reinforce here is that nothing changed on that issue since sunday when it took place, and on tuesday, the president said that he had been briefed and the only thing that changed in that period of time is the fact that the president's longtime lawyer michael cohen we learned of the guilty plea that he had lied to congress, a there is great suspicion that this is the reason that he called it off, but there in the visit with shinzo abe, it is the issue of ukraine and we hope that it can be resolved quickly. sarah sanders insisted a short time the ago among other things that the russian witch hunt hoax is hopefully near the end, but it is doing very well. apparently sarcastically, and again, emphasizing the point that it is impacting america's
ability, and its relationship with russia here. and what is notable here a short time ago as there is to be some reaction of the bilateral meeting that is not to take place, they have a din wer other leader where is it is likely they will encounter one another, and the russian spokesperson told the russian media, there would be something on the sidelines and impromptu meeting on the sidelines and an american official saying no scheduled meetings, but we will be watching for interaction between the two men certainly given the events over the last 24 hours. >> as you referenced h he did mention the putin meeting and claiming it is ukraine. we will play a little bit of that for you and ben rhodes from the bilateral just now. >> you crane. we don't li-- ukraine, and we a happy about what happened, and
with respect to what took place with the ships and the sailors, and that is the sole reason. >> so ben rhodes, as you and peter both know, president obama had some complicated relationships and in mexico where vladimir putin and president obama were facing off against each other, and the difference of that and the way that president trump has treated vladimir putin, and so the sudden cancellation of this summit by the white house without any prior notice to the kremlin, the kremlin claimed is the so different from the way the president has dealt with so many relationships, and so if they were talking and if there is a summit, and this is the first time that the kremlin was caught off guard. >> but andrea, an important point here is do the words of the president and the spokespeople have any credibility whatsoever? because if you are going to lay down a marker about an issue like ukraine, you have to make the world believe that you believe what you are talking about, and i don't believe that
anybody at that summit believes for one second that the reason that dr. canceled this meeting is out of some principled stand. and it is believed obviously that he gave putin a pass, and also that putin has had compromising information on trump for the last two years, because he would have been aware of the trump tower relationship in moscow, and which he denied and so i don't believe that nobody believes donald trump cares about ukraine and that is dramatically going to the undercut the credibility of the united states. and andrea, as you mentioned, i have been to is um mitts and there are dinners and a leaders lounge, and i will bet you that trump will have an interaction with putin, but he did not want it to be in front of the cameras, because of the awkwardness because of the recent revelations by michael cohen. >> and other awkwardness, peter, because he does not have a whole lot on the schedule, and he has the president with president xi and that is saturday night, and
huge trade issue, and he has signed the new nafta agreement with canada and mexico today, but usually, when the president of the united states, the leader of the free world goes to these meetings as what happened in paris when he was in paris recent recently, he did not have any bilateral meetings and he stayed in the hotel room and he did not go to the scheduled scemetery visit and not as if they are knocking down the doors to meet with the president. >> and to the emphasize that, we saw the president sitting at that large round table waiting for g-20 liters there waiting for others to arrive and not communicating with anybody else, and one of the flashpoints and the focal points this week, the t the crown prince of saudi arabia and mohammad bin salman would with be here, and john bolton, the national security adviser and not time for the two to
meet, and even though he was telling me and others that i would make an effort to see him, and john bolton said that the schedule was full to overflowing and not time for that, and there was an interesting meeting of mohammad bin salman in room today earlier, and the remarkable handshake and grabbing hands and mohammad bin salman grabbing the hand of vladimir putin, as they greeted each other all of that in the backdrop of the assassination of jamal khashoggi, and the president has effectively said, i will look past the cia's asse assessment with high confidence that the crown prince was effectively behind that, and that he ordered that killing. president trump would have an opportunity to stand up to him side by side in front of the world stage and say something critical and similarly, having that with vladimir putin if he chose to meet with him in front of the cameras, because president trump was critical of barack obama blaming him for the annexation of ukraine and yet
for f forfeiting an opportunity here to call him out to his face in this forum. >> and in response to the statement from sarah huckaby sanders, and given the timing of the michael cohen guilty plea yesterday, but she put out a written statement calling it the russian witch hunt hoax, and why do that at a world gathering? >> well, andrea, it is going to show that they don't care about the actual responsibilities of the office of the u.s. presidency. take a step back here. at this g20, we have a lot of issues on the table. we have that crisis between russia and ukraine, and a trade war between russia and the united states that threat ens te global economy and the crown prince of saudi arabia showing up weeks after he reportedly ordered a brutal murder in a third country of a journalist,
and lot of business to do, and what is happening with our president? he is tweeting out right wing book recommendations, and juvenile tweets on the investigation of american democracy and referring it to as a witch hunt and hoax, and that is the degradation of the presidency, and they are not issuing with people that deal with the american people of global prosperity and security, and the leader of the free world is vacant and when you see that chilling handshake between putin and salm maman and two dissiden you see two people who have immunity and something on trump. so you are seeing two countries on widespread reports of potential quid pro quo and financial interests from saudi arabia and from russia in trump's businesses, and so to make all americans worried about
who is representing us. >> and ben, to put a bow on, that and that is a really bad metaph metaphor, but the fact is that the human rights folks and the prosecutors in argentina are taking steps towards action and not that it would be taken while he is there, but action against mohammad bin salman and very much in the press, and in the conversations downb there in argentina since he arrived. >> yeah, and what is remarkable, andrea, and you have been to is um mitts for a long time, and others are having to step up to fill the void that was led by the united states, and look to argentina and other countries to step up about basic human rights for journalists to report from the fear of being brutally murdered from another country, and so we are looking at what happens when the president of the united states vacates that moral leadership and others have to fill the void.
>> thank you, ben rhodes, and former national security adviser and peter alexander, thank you both. and what other charges? what could be in store for former president's campaign chair paul manafort. we will break it down. stay with us on "andrea mitchell reports" on msnbc. plaque psoriasis. with tremfya®, you can get clearer. and stay clearer. in fact, most patients who saw 90% clearer skin at 28 weeks stayed clearer through 48 weeks. tremfya® works better than humira® at providing clearer skin, and more patients were symptom free with tremfya®. tremfya® may lower your ability to fight infections and may increase your risk of infections. before treatment, your doctor should check you for infections and tuberculosis. tell your doctor if you have an infection or have symptoms such as: fever, sweats, chills, muscle aches or cough. before starting tremfya® tell your doctor if you plan to or have recently received a vaccine. ask your doctor about tremfya®. tremfya®. because you deserve to stay clearer. janssen wants to help you explore cost support options.
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morning, prs coutures did not rule out more charges to be leveled against paul manafort with the judge tentatively setting the sentencing date in march. the michael cohen guilty plea is raising questions of what other evidence he may have given robert mueller in more than 70 hours of testimony. joining me is pete williams and msnbc legal analyst daniel goldman, a former u.s. zorn in the southern district of new york and emily jane fox, a writer for "vanity fair." and welcome all. and pete, tell us about the plea deal that is blown up, and there are accusations back and forth as to what the feds are claiming that he lied and he claiming that it is not true, and manafort, and now, how vulnerable is he to being recharged? >> well, the question is how blown sup the deal? the government said yes, he has lied and the lawyer, and manafort's lawyers said no sh,
has not, and they did not get into the specifics of it, but the judge did order the government to file by next week a document explaining in detail what it was that manafort said and why the government says that was not true. and as they were leaving today, the lawyers for paul manafort said they look forward to litigating this in court. and so, you know, a plea agreement is like a contract and so i guess that the judge is going to be deciding if the contract is now null and void or whether the government is stuck wit if he was telling the truth, and that is first question to be decided. and also, the government putting a club over his head saying they reserved the right to put him on trial again, and it would be surprising because they have and conviction and i don't know the advantage of pitting him on trial again, but i think they want to make it clear that they are holding the cards on this, but the judge did set the sentencing date not for january
or february as we thought, but march. so, that at least this part of the special counsel is still going to be going when we get to march. >> and so, we also, one more question, pete. we also don't know about this communication. did the government know that he was back channeling the white house after the plea deal? >> well, so what we are talking about here is the joint defense agreement that was structured by probably 30 or so people who were under investigation by mueller who are all sharing information and the agreements are basically going to allow the lawyers to tell other people what their clients are telling them without violating attorney/client privilege. and whether the prosecutors knew about that, we don't know, but i think that there is a very good chance that when they found out about it, they were not too happy with it, and that may be one of the provisions under which they say that he didn't, and was not truthful with them,
and especially if he denied it, but we don't know the details of it yet. >> and of course, the drama yesterday before we get to manafort today was yesterday the michael cohen e plea, andmly jane, you were in court with him yesterday and we know him well. he was at ease and went out the dinner last night, and presumably, he is not a man in the grips of, you know, all sorts of hamlet-like turmoil of what he has done, but he is totally cooperating, clearly with mueller. >> sure. i think that he feels resolute in what he has done over the last few months, and this is coming after several years of doing things that were we now know were illegal. and so he is feeling like he is now doing things that are the right thing to do, and that could potentially lessen his sentence in two weeks bu, but hs facing sentencing on december 12th, and perhaps as relieved as he was yesterday to stand up there and say, this is what i did wrong and i did it because
of my loyalty and because of the political messaging that president trump set forth, he still is facing what could be a sentencing that would be harm ful for him and his family. >> and so, 70 hours of time that he has spent, he could be doing a lot of damage and a lot more than we could imagine to the trump circle and the organization and the president himself. >> right. i mean, we believe that 70 hours is split among the special counsel, the southern district of new york, and the attorney general's office, but what it means is that there is a lott more information that he has provided them the details of the trump organization's foray into trump tower moscow, and that is the beginning of it, and it may be the one thing that they, michael cohen really lied to congress about, but you can be sure that they are asking him everything from the trump tower
meeting of june of 2016 and whether he knew about it and a what he heard about it, and anything else related to russian financial interests and russia's involvement in the campaign and in cord nation with the campaign. so there is a lot more than what we learned yesterday about what cohen has told the special ko couns counsel. >> and we are also told that matt whitaker was told in advance by the mueller team about the michael cohen guilty plea, and what do we know about that? would he have shared that with the white house? >> well, two parts. we know, andrea, from our own reporting that mr. whitaker was advise advised of this, and that is the key word. no indication that he was in a position to act, you know, to in essence reject it. i don't believe he was asked to. and the special counsel does not have to raise his hand and have
p permission to file indictments and that is thing one. and thing two, the white house was advised about this in advance and told about it day before yesterday. who at the justice department actually passed that word al along no the whito the white ho. won't tell us, and to the extent he was involved in this. >> but this is the first the test that we know of that he has taken over from jeff sessions who of course was recused and had no role in this we are told, but no indication that he had any impact on it or tried to do anything about it. >> correct. >> okay. what about michael cohen and what happens next with him -- not the sentencing, but what more could he know? you know this family so well, and you written about them, and we now know so much more about what was going on with just the trump tower project in moscow, and the disconnect of what the president, candidate trump was saying at the time.
>> sure. what we will find out after michael cohen was sentenced and perhaps after a mueller report comes out or further indictment comes out, we will learn the extent to which the family knew about this trump tower deal in moscow, and what else they were doing in russia or what other real estate deals they were doing, and cohen had a front row seat to a lot of what the family was doing in the trump organization. it is a very small office and mom and pop shop, and the building where all of the adult children grew up as children. their offices were all right next to each other. so it is very difficult for me to believe that if the trump children were involved in some sort of real ess state deal that michael cohen didn't know, and what is harder for me to believe is that if michael cohen was involved in real estate deals that the trump family didn't know what he was doing. >> and pete, the president went out of the way to say there is nothing illegal about this, and he was a candidate and he did
not have to stop doing his business, and he didn't know that he was going to win, and you made that point clearly on our program yesterday, but the conflict of interests, and if you are negotiating with the right-hand man of vladimir putin, you are negotiating with the kremlin and that is the way that you get business done in russia, and you are running for president, and it seems that the conflict is extraordinary if not illegal and that the american people voting for a candidate should know that he is negotiating with vladimir putin. >> well, certainly donald trump understood what it was like to do business in russia, and he had said previously, and i can't believe if it is in a book or a speech that he made, but doing business with russia is tough, and more difficult than any other country, because you had to grease palms and get people's permissions, and so he knew that it was a rough neighborhood to do a business deal there, but you are right, it is not a legal matter, because political issue.
>> to be continued. pete williams, thank you so much. dan goldman and emily jane fox, thank you for your reporting. and coming up, common knowledge, and the president says that everybody knew about the dealings in 2016 and we will do a deep dive on the facts only on "andrea mitchell reports" on msnbc.
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short ly after michael cohe pleaded guilty yesterday, the president claimed that everyone knew in 2016 that he was negotiating for a moscow real estate deal. >> he put out a statement talking about a project which was essentially, i guess more or less of an option that we were looking at in moscow, and everybody knew about it, and it was written about it in newspapers and a well known project. it was during the early part of '16 and even before that. >> it is not exactly true, and in fa in fact, it is not true at all, because this is only one of the frequent comments that the president made at the time completely distancing himself from any dealings, and financial dealings with are russia. >> you know the closest, i came to russia, i bought a house a number of years ago in palm
beach, florida, and palm beach is very expensive from a man who was bankrupt and i bought the house for $40 million, and i sold it to a russian for $100 million including brokerage commission, so i sold it. i bought it for $40 and i sold it to $100 to a russian and that is a number of years ago and so i guess that i sell condos to russians, okay. >> i am trying to get my head around that deal. let's go to the inside scoop, and a deeper dive from shannon pettitte and jonathan ramire and for him to bring that up, jonathan, there were questions about that deal, and it is a shady deal, and why would a russian come in to say, here is $60 million extra. >> that is quite the profit he cleared. >> nice tidy profit, and some people would call it money laundering, but i would not call
it that. >> questions have been raised. >> yes, questions have been raised and you have a real takedown of everything that you have witnessed covering him in 2015 and 2016 when he was constantly saying no financial dealings. >> and the statements yesterday defy the truth, because this is not something that was open, and that he was openly discussing, and it is quite the opposite, and it was time and time again that he had no business with the russians and he said so in one of the debates with hillary clinton, and nightly on the campaign trail when asked about it with reporters following him around, and the only time that we found him to openly speak about it is 2013 in moscow when he tweeted something about it afterwards trump tower moscow next. and it was something that came out after the election, but it is not something that was out there denying during, and i talked to a senior aide and former campaign aide who said that it is not something within the halls of the building that he was publicly discussing.
>> and we have put together some of the highlights, jonathan and shannan and take a look at some of the things that he said in the campaign. >> i have nothing to do with are russia. i don't have any jobs in the russia, but we are all over the world, and i have not been in russia. >> i have not dealt with russia. >> i have no business dealings there with the russians. >> what do i know about the russians? what do i know about the russians and they say that he borrows money from the russias.s i promise you they don't have any deals with russia, and i had miss universe there a couple of years ago, but other than that, no. >> i have nothing to do with russia, folks, okay. >> shannon, your reaction to that? >> well, he might be technically correct because the deal did fall through and he does not make public comments until 2019, and that is because nobody was asks about it until 2016 when it was reported that the russians
had hacked the dnc servers and so the point that he started to talk about it, he did not have a development there, but he does convenient conveniently omit, and a talking about the closest ties to russia were this palm beach mansion that he sold, and he conveniently omits that from early 2017 until june 2016, where he was in talks with this trump tower deal, and by the way, we were told that the only reason that trump tower deal in moscow ended up fall iing throu and michael cohen pulled out there at the end was because of all of the news about the russian hacking of the dnc and otherwise, they could have potentially carried through and had this business dealing going through, but they realized the political repercussions would have been so bad after this dnc hack by the russians became
public. >> and it was the public story of the dnc hack by the russians that it was that day that the deal ended. it is a clear fact that it was going on. >> yes, that is the moment that it fell apart, and listening to trump's denials and maybe the intention or not, but he talkts tab the present tense, and i don't have any present dealings with russia, and suggesting the now, and maybe in the past, but discussion of deals that fell through. >> and jonathan, it is great to have your firsthand are recollections of the campaign and also you, shannon. and a quick update on the story that we are following here on capitol hill at least, a second republican senator coming out against the second judicial nominee thomas pharr, and s sinking his chances since tim scott has said that he will not vote for pharr who is accused offed aof offed a -- advocating for policies that disenfranchise.
and senator flake is bringing up a bill to prevent any action against stopping the mueller investigation. and you are watching "andrea mitchell reports" right here on msnbc. with my hepatitis c, i felt i couldn't be at my best for my family. in only 8 weeks with mavyret, i was cured and left those doubts behind.
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and back to buenos aires where we are waiting for comments from president trump where he is going to be meeting with the indian president, and japanese prime minister as you can see him with abe and modi there. and should we listen in for a moment? >> andrea, yes, i can hear you and we are about a little less than five miles away from the g20 site and the -- >> we are going to the president for a moment. so sorry. >> and we will have military purchases, and now we will have a little discussion between the three of us for purchases and now have a little discussion between the three of us. and so, thank you very much. thank you.
okay. richard, outside, if you could tell us what is going on there? it sounded as though they were talking about trade and business deals inside. what are the protesters doing? >> well, the protesters are still gathering, and some of the protest leaders complaining that they are not getting the numbers they had been hoping for. there are a few thousand people where i am right now, and we are a few miles away from the g20 site, and there is an extraordinary security cordon put in place not just to protect the g20 location which is as the crow flies just under five miles here, but there are restrictions all across the scity to prevent the protesters from congregating. the subways have been stopped. the trains have been stopped. the buses are not running service to downtown. the local airport is closed. the seaport is closed. this has been declared a national holiday. so people are not just being encouraged to stay away, but the
government has put a number of restrictions in place to make it very difficult for protesters to reach downtown. they are still expected to the gather here for the nextt ha ha hour or so, and they might wait longer considering not that many people have showed up so far, and the schedule is that they will march towards the g20 location, and they are not going to be getting close to it, and just about a mile down the road from where i am, and there is a big police barricade at that point where there could be some clashes or it could just stop and peaceful protesters, but they are definitely not getting the numbers they were hoping for, and it seems that the extraordinary security measures to keep downtown buenos aires free of the protesters is so far protected. >> and is there a mix of issues or what type of protesters? >> a mix of issues, but
generally anti-capitalists, and anti-world order protesters and people who are protesting the way that the world is run. the g20 is the group of the biggests economies most industrialized economies around the world that represents about 80% of global trade and the people outp on the streets now, they say that the world is rigged against them, and is rigged gaiagainst poor people, is rigged against the environment and is rigged against people who are not thriving in society. so they are generally against what you could describe as the world order. >> richard engel in the middle of the action as always. thank you very much from buenos aires and also from the summit as we see the president there just now with prime minister abe and modi of india, and he did according to the white house pool, he did exchange, quote, pleasantries with mohammad bin salman, the crown prince of saudi arabia who is under a cloud to say the least there in
argentina, and they are ak at lea -- at least looking at charges against him because of of of course the jamal khashoggi murder that is connected to him by u.s. el intelligence and most people around the world a conclusion or assessment at least that is denied by the president, the secretary of state and in testimony to the senate, the secretary of defense as well. con tr controversial decision by all of them. meanwhile, michael cohen's guilty plea about the trump organization's efforts to cut a deal in moscow involve iing oto kremlin organization does explain trump's bromance with putin and listen to him defending him to mika and joe on september 15th, when those talks were at a peak. >> he is also a person who kills journalists and political opponents and -- >> invades kcountries.
>> and invades countries obviously, a concern is it not? >> he is running the the leader and running his kcountry unlike what we have in this country. >> and remember that? ambassador wendy sherman former secretary secretary of state in the obama administration and global affairs contributor, and wendy, you have dealt with vladimir putin, and certainly, you know a lot about the negotiations and the g20 summits and how different is this one with the president going just after the indictment of his former personal lawyer and fixer and all of that clouding him as well as the developments in ukraine and the horrific developments in saudi arabia? >> well, it is really quite extraordinary, andrea, and i really wish that we had a leader of the free world which used to be the president of the united states. our president goes to the g20 in a really weak position. there is not a leader at the g20 who doesn't believe that he canceled the meeting with vladimir putin because of the michael cohen plea.
and they are all going to be quite weary. under the normal circumstances, he would have been meeting with president prin ster abe and modi and that try lat -- prime minister abe and modi, and that tri-lateral was set up by president obama, and so we would be dealing how to standup against the russian aggressors burk instead, we have likely mirrors putin and mohammad bin salman ordered the killings in both skirpal and turkey. and so they are looking like buddies and running around defining the context of the g20
and this is backwards. this is not the way it ought to be, and no surprise that probably in the leaders' lounge mohammad bin salman and the president not only stood up and had a kconversation, but i expet that might happen with vladimir putin as well. all of this krcreates a very toh context for the meeting with gee sh -- xi jinping which is fundamental about the world security that is going to be happening saturday. and xi has to understand that the president is in a weak position, and generally the president doubles down and stays tough in these situations, but i think that he is so concerned about what is happening with the mueller investigation that i will not be surprised if some deal does come out at least putting a process in place for us not to have a really es ka a la -- es ka la or t-- es calato
>> and according to our own hallie jackson, it was a friendly meeting and pull aside, but thank you, wendy sherman for giving us a con ttext of what these meetings are supposed to be about. and also, german chancellor angela merkel whose plane had to make a unscheduled landing after complete loss of the communication, and they had made an unscheduled stop in cologne, germany, which should have brought them to buenos aires, and they were flying commercial,
but that means she is missing a numb ber of meetings, including the meeting with president trump. they dot no believe there is anything criminal, but they are investigating. you've got a good record and liberty mutual won't hold a grudge by raising your rates over one mistake. you hear that, karen? liberty mutual doesn't hold grudges. how mature of them! for drivers with accident forgiveness, liberty mutual won't raise their rates because of their first accident. liberty mutual insurance. liberty. liberty. liberty. liberty. ♪ if your moderate to severeor crohn's symptoms are holding you back, and your current treatment hasn't worked well enough it may be time for a change. ask your doctor about entyvio®, the only biologic developed and approved just for uc and crohn's. entyvio® works at the site of inflammation in the gi tract, and is clinically proven to help many
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to send a message to paul manafort when he was talking about michael cohen's cooperation with robert mueller? take a look. >> he was convicted of various things unrelated to us. he was given a fairly long jail sentence. and he's a weak person, and by being weak, unlike other people you watch, he's a weak person and what he's trying to do is get a reduced sentence. >> joining me is contributor jill winebanks. jill, i was really struck by him saying he's a weak person, unlike other people you watch. to me he's describing manafort s. that dangling for a pardon or dangling a pardon for manafort? >> i think you're exactly right. he has been probably even more in some secret way communicating to manafort, and that's why manafort's lawyers were reporting back to the white
house why he had all that information and his sorrow for how badly he says manafort is being treated which, of course, has no factual base is another thing this he's doing to say, oh, he is treated badly. i could pardon him and he refused to say he'd take a pardon off the table. >> bill kristol was tweeting about the president's comments. the president said he was lightly involved in talks with russia and bill kristol tweeted back that, quote, it was a third-rate burglary attempt. certain elements may try to stretch this beyond what it is quoting from 1972. you remember it well. >> i remember that well. and it is not a third-rate burglary. it wasn't then and it isn't now. saying it was sort of a light relationship in light of all the documentary evidence we now have and the testimony of mr. cohen
so that's delusional. they had signed agreements. they were talking to the kremlin. it was not a light agreement. that's like saying you're a little bit pregnant. he was clearly in business with the russians. >> what is the -- what are the legal implications of him even suggesting that a pardon isn't off the table? he said that yesterday. he said that the day before to "the washington post." how do we judge when this gets into an obstruction area? >> well, it all depends on the specific facts. when you pardon someone who is testifying or could testify against you, who's part of an investigation of your campaign, you're treading very closely on what is obstruction. and i think that there's plenty of circumstantial evidence that a pardon to manafort could be seen as obstruction.
and it certainly should be politically toxic and so it's something he shouldn't do but that's never stopped him. he does whatever he wants to do and so he might go ahead with offering a pardon. even though the consequences should be severe. and i think that there would be some evidence to link it to an obstruction of justice. >> you know, the president's branding of the mueller probe as a witch hunt is effective. we have seen the polling that pretty much 46% in 1 one of the poll -- in 1 of the polls believe that mueller's probe is inappropriate. and is a witch hunt. >> i am still a believer that facts matter, and that the more the facts come out the more the people will start to see that this is not a witch hunt. it has never been a witch hunt. it is a search for the truth. whatever that truth turns out to
be and you can't say something is a witch hunt when you have so many people indicted, so many people in jail, so many people convicted, so many people pleading guilty. and the evidence that's been laid out in all of the indictments and the informations that have been published so far really make it clear that this is not a witch hunt. it is true. >> jill wine-banks, thank you so much. more ahead. we'll be right back. is now in session. and... adjourned. business loans for eligible card members up to fifty thousand dollars, decided in as little as 60 seconds. the powerful backing of american express. don't do business without it.
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and that does it for this edition of "andrea mitchell reports. "follow us online. here's stephanie ruhle for "velshi & ruhle." >> hey there. we have a lot to cover. good morning. excuse me. good afternoon, everyone. my partner ali velshi on assignment. it is friday, november 30th. let's get smarter. president trump in argentina for the g20 meeting but his mind deep into the mueller probe. >> the president's former fixer pleads guilty on a charge of lying to congress about a plan for a trump tower in moscow. the president yesterday as you heard denying he did that at all. >> it has essentially proven that trump lied repeatedly if not under oath 0 the american public throughout the general election campaign and after that. >> i have nothing to do with russia. we are not involved in russia. >> for president trump it seems the deal at the top of the agenda and he