tv All In With Chris Hayes MSNBC December 8, 2018 5:00pm-6:00pm PST
at the end of the day we're collectively into it and then no longer. >> no longer. well, for a while anyway. thanks to my panel. that's "hardball" for tonight. lots more on this story coming up tonight. it's a news bombshell, the president directing criminal activity. that's starting right now. good evening from new york, i'm ali velshi in for chris hayes on an incredible night of news. three new court filings tonight. two of them sentencing recommendations concerning former trump fixer michael cohen, one from the office of the special counsel robert mueller, the other from the united states attorney for the southern district of new york. co-hen is set to be sentenced next wednesday and the sdny is recommending he be put behind
bars for years. but the fate of michael cohen is not the biggest news tonight. not by a longshot. for starters the memo from the southern district of new york includes this passage concerning cohen's illegal hush money payments to two women who had affairs with trump. as cohen has now admitted with respect to both payments he acted in coordination and at the direction of individual one. as a result of cohen's actions neither woman spoke to the press. prior to the election. okay, let's be clear. individual one is donald trump. federal prosecutors, not robert mueller's team, the sdny, are saying that donald trump committed a serious felony, that he was intimately involved in the illegal scheme to pay the hush money. actually, he was more than intimately involved, no pun intended, trump directed the hush money scheme. think about that. faced with this reality, trump decided to create his own, the president tweeted.
totally clears the president, thank you. no. that's not just a lie. that's the actual opposite of the truth. federal prosecutors are saying in black and white that donald trump broke the law, that he directed his fixer to make an illegal payment, which is a felony. and that's not even close to how much we have to cover tonight, including this passage from the mueller filing, "cohen provided relevant and useful information concerning his contacts with persons connected to the white house during the period of 2017 to 2018." wait a minute. 2017 to 2018? that's not during the campaign. that's once trump was president. so you've got mueller for the first time revealing that cohen was coordinating with the white house while he was preparing his congressional testimony in which he perjured himself. so that's huge. and i haven't even gotten to the russia stuff yet. start with this, from the mueller filing "in or around november 2015 cohen received the contact information for and
spoke with a russian national who claimed to be a trusted person in the russian federation who could offer the campaign political synergy and synergy on a government level." "the defendant recalled this person repeatedly proposed a meeting between individual one -- that's trump -- and the president of russia." the person told cohen such a meeting could have a phenomenal impact, not only political but business dimension as well. referring to the moscow project. there is no bigger warranty than any project than the consent of the president of russia. cohen didn't follow up, but there you have the trump campaign interacting with a russian national claiming to have influences in putin's circle who wanted trump to meet with vladimir putin and who was
promising to get the russian government to clear the way for trump tower moscow in exchange for political and business considerations. synergy. there's also a footnote in which cohen admits he lied when he said he had never talked to trump about trying to set up a meeting with putin. "the defendant admitted this account was false and that he had in fact conferred with individual one about contacting the russian government before reaching out to gauge russia's interest in such a meeting." but i'm not done yet. there's one more thing. mueller also released a heavily redacted document involving paul manafort, the former trump campaign chair. as you recall, unlike cohen, manafort formally agreed to cooperate with the government, but mueller pulled out of that agreement and said manafort had been lying to prosecutors while feeding information to the trump legal team. that document says manafort told multiple discernible lies about five major issues after agreeing to cooperate. including "his contacts with
administration officials." now, just to keep us all orderly, i'm going to get to the manafort stuff in a bit. but let's begin tonight with what we learned in the michael cohen filings, two different ones. here to help us go through the incredible details, including what we learned about trump and the russians, i'm joined by the guy i always turn to for this stuff, nbc news investigative reporter tom winter and matt miller who is a former chief spokesperson for the department of justice. gentlemen, thank you for being with me on a friday night. tom winter, let's talk about this. you followed this very closely. you and i have been together when everything to do with russia and cohen has come out. what did we learn tonight that we didn't know? >> so, specifically to the russia aspect of this, ali, i think one of the key things we learned tonight was that there were contacts that occurred in november of 2015 involving michael cohen, involving russian national so this appears to be an individual that we haven't heard about before which is a bit of an interesting part of this investigation. the other thing is, this isn't that there were discussions that
were occurring that we've heard about in 2016, this appears to me to back up the time frame quite a bit here, ali, to november of 2015. so that means that by the time the president says in a press conference in july of 2016 russia, are you listening? with respect to getting somebody's e-mails. they're already eight or nine months in here of knowing that russia wants some sort of communication, they want some sort of "political synergy." i think it's important that that phrase, political synergy that you talked about,al li, is referenced here in quotes. meaning there's some sort of a documentation or some sort of specific quote or testimony or something that occurred here that allows them to make that statement in this court filing. so i think it's significant from that standpoint. i think it's also significant that passage that you read just a few moments ago, there's a paragraph that follows it which i'll read, it's very short. it's the second -- cohen provided the special counsel's office with useful information concerning certain discreet russia related matters, core to its investigation that he
obtained by virtue of his regular contact with company executives during the campaign, company believed to be the trump organization. so you have here the special counsel saying, hey, it wasn't just the trump tower -- excuse me, the trump tower moscow project here, this was -- these were other matters tied to russia that are part of the special counsel's investigation that he provided insight to just through his day-to-day communications with people in the trump organization. i think those are two very specific russia kind of russia matters, if you will, or russia specific parts of this. and, you know, all along there's been some criticism of this investigation that's being led by the special counsel's office saying, well, hey, they're indicting people or getting people to plead guilty to things that don't mention russia in them. and now we continue to get
closer and closer to this idea of russian contacts as it relates to individuals that are very much in the trump orbit as michael cohen was. >> so, matt, and i'm going to deal with the hush money and michael cohen and the implications that the president might have been involved in that felony a little bit later. let's stick with russia for a second. it's back in the spotlight. i think we've learned, as tom says, three things we didn't know all that well. the contacts with russia started earlier than we thought in 2015. that there was stuff going on between michael cohen and the white house in 2017 and into this year, 2018. and that cohen was in touch with the white house while he was preparing for his testimony in which he perjured himself. so the idea that donald trump wanted to put out there that michael cohen was insignificant to him, his operation and the contact with the russians seemed to have disappeared with this filing. >> yeah, i think you can
complete ly set that aside. this filing says my col cohen when he was having these contacts with the russian government, he had done that with the full knowledge of the then candidate, now president of the united states, donald trump. i think the thing -- the piece -- the new information in the timeline is so significant. if you look at all of the contacts we know they started contacts with the russian government where they asked for synergy at a government level, started in 2015, they, of course, continued with this june 2016 trump tower meeting. the same time in august or just after that in august paul manafort was meeting with kilimnik who is a russian intelligence agent and they continued through the transition when sergey kislyak was meeting with mike flynn. and the president's son-in-law jared kushner, said, you know, the special counsel, you're looking at a long timeline of outreach from russian government officials, russian intermediaries, russian
intelligence assets to the trump campaign. and we don't know the full substance of that outreach. we do know bob mueller knows a significant amount about it. so the 2015 outreach, one of the things i thought was significant, the filing notes that michael cohen ultimately decided not to sort of return the call or get back in touch with that person, but it doesn't say anything about did he do anything else with that information? did he pass it on to anyone else in the organization? did me make anyone else aware of it? was donald trump aware of it? we don't know. maybe the special counsel is silent on that fact. it's relevant to the investigation and we wants to keep it quiet. >> we have hardly scratched the surface. we appreciate you both being here. stick around, matt, and i'm going to talk with you about the manafort filing. i need to stick with cohen for a while here, though, to talk about the legal ramifications of tonight's russia revelations.
i'm joined by kim waleigh, elliott williams, deputy attorney general in the united states under president obama, and msnbc legal analyst and former assistant special prosecutor -- special watergate prosecutor, in fact, nick akerman. let me start with you, nick. you and i have been talking about this for a long time. i went in close to the ground on this one in my conversation with those two guys. now let's pull this back, take it in its entirety and tell me where you think we are. >> we've got a very powerful legal juggernaut that mueller has put together that is going straight at donald trump. it's not just that cohen is providing information about russia and the conspiracy between the campaign and russia, but you've also got flynn, michael flynn, the former national security adviser who is also providing information and according to mueller has been cooperating fully. which means that he's been providing information about the sanctions and the lifting of sanctions, which was the quid
pro quo for the russian help during the campaign. and, again, if you look at the facts surrounding that, donald trump is right in the middle of that. he's in mar-a-lago, and flynn is calling him to talk about having this conversation with the russian ambassador. he calls back after he has the russian ambassador. there's no question that donald trump had to know exactly what went on in that conversation. >> yeah. >> and then flynn lied about it. what happened was, by pure coincidence, president obama put a monkey wrench in the system by imposing more sanctions because of the russian interference. then you've got to take into account rick gates who also knows a lot of what went on with the russians. and so when you put all of that together, you're coming up with a pretty powerful case and you're going to also find out that it's not all over with paul manafort. he is going to get a pretty significant sentence as a result of his lies. but that doesn't mean that he
can't cooperate after that. >> right. >> because under the rules, he still has a year to go before a federal district court judge and get his sentence reduced if he cooperates. >> right, although i don't know what a sentence for paul manafort means. kim wehle, talk legal stuff for a second. three filings tonight, one is the united states district of columbia, about manafort, put that aside for now. and then two filings, the thinner of the two is from mueller's team, this is the special counsel's report about michael cohen and his sentencing. this big thick one, this one's seven pages, this is 38 pages and this is from the united states attorney for the southern district of new york. so this is not the -- however many angry democrats donald trump talks about and ending the mueller investigation, this is united states attorney's office. what's the distinction? why should we care about this? by the way, the u.s. attorney's report is much harsher than the special counsel's.
>> it reads like good cop, bad cop. the southern district of new york is giving its reasons for why they're not recommending a 5k1 letter for mr. cohen, saying it's not a good guy, he's done bad things and they walk through it with great care. i think the key one is the campaign finance violation that i know you want to talk about later. and then -- but they say, listen, we're not so to speak throwing the book at him because he is actually cooperating with robert mueller and then robert mueller weighs in and says yes, there is our two cents on it and our seven pages, but that's -- that's a blockbuster of a document in and of itself. that is -- it's more telling in the broader picture than the longer 28-page one from the southern district of new york. >> and the southern district of new york is saying the normal range for the crimes of my col cohen is 51 to 63 months. what they are asking for is that the court impose a substantial term of imprisonment, one that
reflects a modest guideline for the applicable range. elliott, they're still recommending a good long prison term for michael cohen, as kim just said, he's not considered a cooperating witness. what do you think this has done? >> well, it's all about the pattern of dishonesty he's exhibited with these crimes. you're talking about crimes on our campaign system, he was lying to banks and it was a series of crimes of dishonesty. they make notes of that. they actually talk substantially about privilege. like and white collar criminals feeling like they will be reputationly harmed and he will be punished to the extent as anybody else because we can't deter people from future crimes if people like you are punished. it's fascinating toward the end of this. this is about getting at this pattern of dishonesty that you saw from him in the crimes he committed before. and, you know, ultimately lying to federal investigators later on. this pattern of dishonesty that pervades all aspects of this investigation. lying was a common theme. you held up the three documents,
both manafort's documents and both cohen's documents, it's all about honesty and it does not pay to lie to the federal government. and michael cohen is going to see that. they tweaked him a bit by saying he was asking for a sentence that was 99.5% lower than the federal guidelines would have contemplated because he was asking for just the couple days of time served. and it's just -- they're just night and day in different places with respect to what he's done. these are considered very, very serious crimes. you're talking about lying under oath, or to federal investigators. that's what this is about. >> kim, the president cease it differently than you do. he tweeted out not too long ago, i want to put that back on the screen because it's kind of about the most remarkable tweet i've seen all week. it says totally clears the president. thank you. okay. just file that thought for a second. in the southern district of new york sentencing report it says as cohen himself has now admitted with respect to both
payments, he acted in coordination with and at the direction of individual one. we know individual one to be the president of the united states now, then donald trump candidate. tell me about how these two things connect, the president's saying totally clears the president and sdny saying the president was involved in a felony with -- or at least implying the president was involved in a felony with michael cohen. >> the connection is a bit of a mind bender. to say it totally clears the president, i think just blinks reality. he's at a point of his pr campaign, saying it's a witch hunt, none of it means anything, going by the wayside. this sentencing is beyond -- it's a lot about lying but it also -- when i was reading it, it struck me how it's drafted in a way it's almost a message to the american public. you could actually put trump in the position of mr. cohen here, starting at page 23, talks about why do we care about campaign
finance? >> yes, this is important. >> it's really important. while many americans who desired a particular outcome in the election knocked on doors, toiled at phone banks or found any number of other legal ways to make their voices heard, cohen sought to influence the election from the shadows. a lot of people are overwhelmed with all this information. why should we care? we should care because we do want free and fair elections in our democratic process. this document is speaking potentially on what should come or what could come, either the criminal justice system or through impeachment process, why we should care. >> i'm glad you brought that up, kim. because in this very long document that part can be understood by a guy like me who's not a lawyer. where you finished off, it went on to say it is this type of harm that congress sought to prevent when it imposed limits on candidates. very direct line to the offense to democracy, not just under the law that michael cohen in his words, of individual one, donald
trump. kim wehle thank you, elliott williams, thank you. one of the key takeaways from the sentencing memo filed -- does read like a menu, actually. filed by michael cohen is the conclusion by federal prosecutors, not by mueller's team, but by the southern district of new york that the now president of the united states, donald trump, directed michael cohen to make illegal campaign payments. >> this filing that you just started to highlight, that was made today in the michael cohen case really does, for the first time, you have federal prosecutors essentially saying that donald trump committed a felony. >> i'm joined now by former congresswoman liz holtzman, author of the case for impeaching trump. liz was a congresswoman who was
in on the watergate hearings, voted for impeachment and helped draft the rules, the guidelines for what was then a special prosecutor. former deputy assistant attorney general harry litman, also joins us, and nick akerman is staying with us. nick was a former watergate prosecutor and is an msnbc legal analyst. thanks to all three of you, liz, let's start with you. you have written a book called "the case for impeachment," i believe it's called. this is as close as it's gotten. it's not new information in that we knew from michael cohen's earlier testimony and the information against him that he said he was directed by individual one, but now the sdny seems to be saying they believe that to be the case. >> right. i mean, i think you see something very serious. the real question that comes out is what is the implication of the prosecution, the conviction of michael cohen for president trump? >> right, that's the question. >> during watergate the grand jury secretly indicted richard
nixon -- i'm sorry, secretly named richard nixon as a co-conspirator. was that done here? we don't know. that didn't come out right away. >> you didn't see that, did you? there's no reference to anything that's been done with donald trump as a result of this. >> no, not at all. being an unindicted co-conspirator is an evidentiary fact so you can get statements in in furtherance of a conspiracy. you're not going to really see that until you see other people indicted and there's a trial. and the prosecution decides they're not going to indict donald trump. >> and both of you were there in watergate so you remember how this unfolded. there was one key difference, and you, as a lawyer and a former member of congress, know what that was, and that was that legislators at some point decided enough was enough, they decided that richard nixon was an albatross, that it was going to cost them. does anything that happened tonight, do these documents influence american legislators
in any way? >> american legislators in congress were very much influenced by the american people. that's what started the impeachment process, when the american people said, we're not a banana republic, congress, have you to do the right thing, and they really forced congress into action. that could happen here. i mean, i think the fact that we have all of these different tentacles surrounding the president of the united states, it's closing in on him. we now have his fixer, his lawyer, personal lawyer -- >> his campaign chair, his national security adviser. >> right. now being said -- the prosecutors are saying directed and coordinated with the president, now the president of the united states. we have manafort who's been convicted of lying, former campaign manager, national security adviser, now we have other russians who apparently
were contacting the campaign. and i believe, as i read the documents, that michael cohen discussed that november approach by the russians with donald trump. or maybe it was the u.n. but trump has been advised about these -- from the russians. we know he's part of this. >> that's the thing. harry litman, that's the thing that comes out as you parse these pages. if you thought that michael cohen was a shady businessman, you're pretty clear on that from these documents. if you thought that paul manafort was a shady businessman, your clear on that from these documents. the important thing, the degree to which donald trump is referred to as having known of, been involved in and having directed things, despite the fact that he is constantly denying all of these things since before he was president and well through his presidency. >> that's it, exactly. and remember, ali, what we have here is a seven-page document with sort of bland and
elliptical statements from -- >> that's the mueller document. >> right. but they stand in. and also, sdny, you know, in terms of the three crimes you set out. but what underlies them is seven -- is dozens of hours of detailed conversation from cohen, so we now know he was sitting there giving chapter and verse not just about his own involvement, not just some of his own financial high jinx, the very crimes that clearly the president was involved in. the stormy -- the campaign finance crimes. and now we know the russian -- what they call the moscow project, the trump tower overture that connects both political and commercial misdeeds. we know all these -- all the statements in the filing are magnified to a degree we just don't know yet, but has to be
substantial by everything that cohen actually said. >> so nick, let me just ask you here, there are people saying, well, how does this all affect trump, and what does it all mean? what does the narrative start to look like? and it looks like there was some contact with russians, there was some desire to do business in russia, there was some quid pro quo possibly offered to vladimir putin in the reports of a top floor apartment at trump tower, there were e-mails that were leaked. there may have been a couple conspiracy theorists who were talking to wikileaks. and the adoptions were discussed, sanctions against russia, the mangnitsky act. >> the narrative comes out of the russian indictment in july of this past year, the conspiracy to break into the democratic national committee, steal the documents, steal the
e-mails, and then releasing and staging the release of those documents right through the campaign. you can take everything that's in these documents and fit that right in. it's clear from the cohen papers, from the special counsel that there was a conspiracy and contact with the russians. it's clear also from the flynn plea and his cooperation that he's testifying to that. and so if you take it right from step one, right from the time when -- if you take it back to november, i mean, that's roger stone, supposedly got fired by trump and he goes under cover to work in a situation, of plausible deniability, to have nothing to do with the campaign. but yet he's the only person in america that speaks to the russian operative who releases the first of the stolen documents. and happens to also speak to julian assange, who is releasing the rest of the documents. but it all goes through to trump tower where don jr. gets the june 4th e-mails saying the russian government is supporting
trump in the campaign, that they've got documents to bring to trump, first offering them to trump's secretary, but in the e-mail states better to bring it in person. we don't know if they actually brought the e-mails in person. probably not. but we do know that donald trump, on june 7th, after winning the new jersey primary with don jr. at his side said he's going to release the next week all this information about the clintons. and he doesn't. but yet, a week after that you've got guccifer 2.0, the russian operative releasing information and on and on. up to the point of the access hollywood tape where they're actually using those documents to deflect attention from donald trump and put it on hillary clinton. >> trump better hope you're not working with mueller on this one. that was a pretty good narrative. i've got to wrap this up. thank you to all of of you. thanks for the time you've put in to helping us understand these complicated legal issues. much more to come on the lies,
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there was an intriguing line in the special counsel's memo about michael cohen tonight, including or among the information that prosecutors found helpful, along with his contact with russians, was his contact with the white house and his contact with the trump organization. "cohen described the circumstances of preparing and circulating his response to the congressional inquiries while continuing to accept responsibility for the false statements contained within it." among the congressional bodies, michael cohen testified before was the house intelligence committee. one of whose members joaquin castro of texas joins me now. great to see you, thanks for being with us. there's so much news tonight, it's hard to separate the important threads. but one of the important threads that stood out to me is that in preparing for testimony to congress, to your committee, in which michael cohen lied, in
which he perjured himself. in preparing for that he was talking to the white house. >> yeah, that's right. it's remarkable because throughout the process we got word back that different lawyers for different witnesses were communicating with the white house and perhaps with each other. so it's quite possible that, if one or more of them lied to our committee, in other words if they all coordinated their stories, that they basically may have told the same lie and may now be on the hook for those falsehoods. i have to say, ali, it is remarkable to read that cohen sentencing memo, and to realize essentially that the only thing keeping donald trump from being indicted and being charged with a crime beyond wealth and privilege is that he occupies the office of the presidency, and that he's in the white house. and that if he didn't, it's very
likely that he would be in court right now as well. >> what's the thick that stands out to you as a member of congress? kim wehle pointed out on page 23 of the southern district of new york's memo that they speak specifically about the harm done to democracy that congress has specifically worked to protect americans from by rich people buying the silence of other people in the influence of an election. there's that. there's the fact that michael cohen says he was directed to pay this hush money by individual one who we know to be donald trump. there's that. but there's so much more. what stands out to you and what are you going to do about it? >> well, the first thing, you asked the question as a member of congress. and as a member of the intelligence committee. the first thing that really
stands out in reading these sentencing memos is how much further along the mueller investigation is than anything that the senate or the house has been able to do. that's the first big thing. but also just the vast basically collusion that went on to undermine our democracy. in the manafort sentencing memo there's further indication that there are even deeper ties between trump's former campaign manager, manafort, and russians, including somebody that's believed to be a russian spy, or possibly a russian spy. so in each of the areas of collusion, possibly of money laundering, and certainly as we've seen before, obstruction of justice, there continues to be more developments in each of those areas. and it is incredibly remarkable to see how far we've gone from a president who said none of my people talked to russia, i never talked to russia, had no business in russia, to where we are now. >> your committee, the intel committee, because of the leadership of that committee that seemed to be somewhat compromised on the republican side didn't get the job done that it was supposed to do. there were people left unintervieweded, things that
were not investigated. is that going to change in january when democrats take control of the committee? >> you'll see a different direction under adam schiff, i'm confident. you'll see a fair but very thorough investigation. we're not going to reinvent the wheel, not bring in every single witness again, but there are somewhere between a half dozen and ten very important unanswered questions that we want to get information on. and it was surprising to me that throughout the last two years under devin nunes, the committee basically conducted a take them at their word investigation, the witnesses would come in, they'd be asked questions for a few hours. it's as if we accepted them at their word. there wasn't a single subpoena that was issued to go and verify anything that was told to us. and that's going to change in january. >> so, congressman, castro, let me ask you this you've been in congress for a while. there are a lot of people elected on kitchen table issues, on health care, things like that. the fact that they're way
further ahead than many people think and yet there's going to be more, and nick akerman created a narrative around what's going on, are you in a position to consider discussing impeachment in congress? >> i think we have to be. you know, look, nobody runs for the house of representatives or the u.s. senate because they want to go impeach a president. and i think that people are sobered by that thought. that is the most serious thing that you can undertake in a american democracy. people go to congress, as you mentioned, to deal with issues of education, of health care, of economic prosperity. but when the evidence becomes so clear that you very likely have a criminal sitting in the oval office, what is the congress left to do at that point? we do have to wait for bob mueller's report. there's got to be a fair and thorough process here. also, the american people have to be convinced. it's important that they're also
convinced. but i think that you're seeing that more and more. so, yes, you know, there's no -- i know that i'm sure that many conservatives, many republicans would say that we've got a partisan grudge, that we want to go after the president. that's not the case at all. folks are very reluctant to go down this path and are sobered by it. but at the same time you can't ignore the evidence. >> congressman, good to see you tonight. congressman joaquin castro of texas, thank you for being here. >> thank you. >> we've been talking about -- the congressman just mentioned the third document. tonight, this is the one i haven't talked about yet. this is the united states district court for the district of columbia, about paul manafort. i just want to flip the pages of this to show you some things you might find interesting. this document is heavily redacted. there is stuff in here that you can't see and i can't see. in this heavily redacted filing, special counsel robert mueller says that paul manafort, what we can make out from here, says
that paul manafort braeched his plea agreement by lying to the fbi and to the special counsel's office about several issues. these include, number one, manafort's interactions with kilimnix, his russian business associate, who's already been charged by mueller. he was charged in june. number two, kilimnik's participation to get two witnesses to tailor their testimony. number three, a wire transfer to a firm working for manafort. number four, information relating to another department of justice investigation, number five, remember these are just lies. these are the lies manafort told mueller's people. manafort's contact with administration officials, he continued to have contact. according to the filing manafort said he'd been in contact with a senior administration official up until february of this year. joining we now, the other guy i always rely on for these things, ken dilanian, national security reporter and as advertised msnbc justice analyst matt miller
remains with us. thank you guys. make sense of this, ken. we've talked about michael cohen and two of the three reports but this one's juicy and interesting. what does it tell us that we didn't know? i wish i could make sense of it, ali. it's a strange predicament paul manafort has himself in. he lied, according to this document, about things that were provable. either that or he didn't realize, perhaps -- some of these things he's said to have lied about, including interactions with this guy kilimnik, the special counsel has documentary evidence, emalts, text, phone communications to prove his lies, did he not realize they had this capacity by now? >> talk about kilimnix. >> he was manafort's right-hand man in ukraine when manafort was representing that russian-backed ukrainian politician. he spoke the language, manafort didn't, he made the trains run on time. there is some suspicion he was a russian operative the entire time. and the role that he's played in manafort's interactions with russians during the campaign and
his role with the trump organization, that's always been a mystery. as you said, he is indicted as part of this obstruction conspiracy, but he's in russia now, so he's out of reach of justice, that's the most intriguing thing about this filing. the second most intriguing thing is this ongoing contacts that manafort had with senior administration officials in the trump administration. you know, while he was under indictment and up to may of this year. it's just bizarre. >> he was texting. he wrote an op-ed. one doesn't -- living in paul manafort's head is an interesting experience. matt miller, people can understand that michael cohen stuff. it's pretty basic. donald trump directed him to do lots of things, including way two women off to they don't talk to the papers. the manafort stuff, given the narrative around how this is all coming together, where do you place the manafort stuff? >> the question coming into this filing, ever since we found out paul manafort lied according to the special counsel and violated
the terms of his cooperation agreement. did he lie about personal criminal liability, lobbying, finances, or did he lie about things that related to the president? the answer is both. he lied about all of them. it's interesting because if you look at the specifics of his lies about kilimnik. remember what that appears to be about. remember what happened when paul manafort was the campaign manager, constantikonstantin ki flew into the country, had a meeting with paul manafort. talked about how manafort would make good with a guy he owed money to. he clearly lied about that. >> he could give them intel on the election. >> that's right. access to the trump campaign. the thing i find so interesting about the filing is the that is correct all of that is blacked out. what that tells you is that relationship with kilimnik while he was the campaign their are something still relevant to the
russia investigation. we have heard from the president over and over again, i think we heard it from sarah sanders tonight, that the things paul manafort has been prosecuted for have nothing to do with the president. all about his business before he came to work for the president. we found out tonight that is absolutely not true. >> i'm looking at this document. and the redactions, this number one, the interactions with kilimnik, this whole thing is redacted. it's almost impossible, i don't know, ken, when you're reading this, what you can make out. >> well, there is a reference to a meeting between kilimnik and a third individual, not manafort. that's a huge target right now is finding out who that person was. why it's relevant. here's another way to think about this. the filing also tells us manafort met 12 times with the special counsel. just because he lies doesn't mean that they didn't get interesting and relevant information out of him for their investigation. we're not seeing that in this filing. we may see it when ultimately he faces sentencing. to what extent he corporated in a useful way, 12 meetings, many
hours, two testimonies before the grand jury. that to me is very significant. >> what an interesting night. thank you for your analysis, ken dilanian and matt miller. just ahead, talking about that in light of tonight's revelations, coming up. ♪ ♪ hi. this is peggy. (vo) you do more than rescue pets when you share the love. you build families. get a new subaru, like the all new forester, and charities like the aspca can receive two hundred and fifty dollars from subaru. (avo) get zero percent during the subaru share the love event.
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unstopand it's strengthenedting place, the by xfi pods,gateway. which plug in to extend the wifi even farther, past anything that stands in its way. ...well almost anything. leave no room behind with xfi pods. simple. easy. awesome. click or visit a retail store today. the memos we've been talking about all night, from the special counsel, the united states attorney for the southern district of new york, these were dropped on the same day that the president announced his brand new pick for a permanent attorney general, william barr. you may know this guy's name, you may remember him, he was the former attorney general under president george herbert walker bush. he's trump's nominee to replace jeff sessions. what is trump up to with the department of justice and all of
this news breaking tonight, here's richard painter to talk about it. richard, welcome, thank you for being with us. the president has been carrying on with news all day today, or whatever he calls it. he's been tweeting some pretty crazy stuff. i want to just, before i back into the william barr conversation, the president put out a tweet not long ago in which he said in reference to these reports, these sentencing reports, totally clears the president, thank you. wouldn't mind getting your take on that. >> i just think the president's out of control on twitter. today he's attacking robert mueller, yet again. he's completely out of control. he thinks he's going to shut this investigation down. either through twitter or through appointing an attorney general who's going to shut it down. that's not going to happen. >> let's talk about this new attorney general who he's appointed. interesting because this was an attorney general under george herbert walker bush. he was confirmed by a
democratically controlled senate in just a voice vote overwhelmingly. what's the president thinking with william barr? >> well, i don't know what he's thinking. he probably thinks he wants to kill off the mueller investigation. let's start william barr, people with different opinions of him. i happen to have a very high opinion of william barr. he was a very good attorney general and could be a good attorney general in any administration. but he must recuse from the russia investigation and all the other investigations of the trump campaign, including the investigation of the southern district of new york. let's look at the facts. just today we've learned the prosecutors in new york, they believed the president of the united states has committed felony campaign finance violations. robert mueller has already obtained convictions of guilty pleas for the president's lawyer. we have the president's former campaign chairman, paul manafort, the vice chair of the campaign, mr. gates. we have the former national security adviser, michael flynn,
a number of other guilty pleas, a bunch of them are cooperating with the prosecutors. president trump fired the director of the fbi, james comey, in order to stop this investigation. he's repeatedly tried to fire robert mueller. he fired jeff sessions because jeff sessions wouldn't shut down the investigation. there's just no way that william barr can come into this job and oversee the investigation. he has to recuse. he's been appointed by the president at this juncture. if he thinks he's going to shut it down or control it in any way, it's not going to happen. if william barr does not recuse, he's going to be spending almost all of his time sitting in front of the united states house of representatives judiciary committee explaining himself. and that's no way to be the attorney general of the united states. >> let me ask you this. because when attorney general jeff sessions recused himself, rod rosenstein took over the russia part of the
investigation, and appointed bob mueller, the president constantly talks about the 12 angry democrats and however many and mueller and all that kind of stuff. but i think there's an interesting distinction in these two reports, one filed by mueller's team and the much harder, tougher, bigger one filed by the u.s. attorney of the southern district of new york. who i suppose the president could fire also but that's a different thing. that's not what the president would call a biased investigation. this is the united states attorney for the southern district of new york. and they are coming down harder on both cohen and the president, than the mueller investigation did. >> well, for the moment, yes. and robert mueller's investigation is very sensitive to the national security of our country. and that investigation is going to continue, and it's a serious threat to donald trump, that's why he's been trying to fire robert mueller.
and referring to robert mueller and his team as a bunch of angry democrats is crazy. robert mueller is a republican. see a type of republican that i was for 30 years until the party was turned over to a bunch of people who want to collaborate with the russians. this is nuts. the president cannot bring in an attorney general who is going to try to control this investigation. we're fine with rod rosenstein supervising and robert mueller continuing his investigation, and the prosecutors need to continue in the southern district of new york and we need to get to the bottom of this. >> richard, good to talk to you as always. thank you for joining us. richard painter is with us tonight. he definitely always has some good views on this thing there seems to be enough evidence right now that not only suggests that the president acted in a way that is contrary to the interests of the country, but that he committed a crime, which gives one the impression that the incoming democratic house majority might be forced to think about impeachment proceedings, but before they really wanted to. to talk more about where things might be headed, i'm joined by
elie mystal, executive editor for "above the law," and michelle goldberg. a little earlier i had a conversation with texas congressman joaquin castro. i was actually surprised by his answer. he said at some point while no member of congress gets elected to impeach a president, it's complicated, it's not what they want to, do you can't keep denying this sort of information. and in this document it talks about the fact that the president may have conspired with michael cohen to commit a felony that influenced an election. michelle, what do democrats do about this? because so many of those democratic votes were about fixing the economy and fixing health care and things like that. do the democrats have a mandate or the backing of the american people to pursue impeachment? >> i think that absolutely a lot of those democratic votes you're right were about health care, were about sort of pocketbook issues, but they were also a rebuke to donald trump, right. the reason that you have such an unprecedented outpouring of volunteer, the reason that you had such an unprecedented increase in turnout was because people wanted to stand up to the lawlessness of this administration.
so i don't think that they're going to go in there and start impeachment proceedings in january, but what they're going to do is start other sorts of investigations that simultaneously with mueller i think are going to keep revealing new evidence of criminality. and it may well become a place in which you kind of it's so overwhelming that it becomes absurd not to start impeachment proceedings, although at that point you might also see trump's political support begin to crack. >> this is interesting. that's an interesting point. >> right. it's unfair to put all of this on the democrats, right? at some point, and we let them off the hook all time, at some point republicans of conscience have to stand up. >> which they did in watergate. in watergate they said this is too much. >> right now today what we've seen, robert mueller is coming out here like the ghost of christmas future, right? and the republicans are still screaming fake dream, fake
dream, like at some point they have to wrestle with what's happening to their country, to our country. and if they're not willing to go along, like i think it's at some point unfair to just put this all on democratic strength. >> i don't think we're going to see republicans acting out of an outbreak of consciousness and patriotism. i think that what might happen is trump's approval rate also really crumble. >> but they don't move. >> they move a little bit. they move a little bit, right? they move from 42 to 38. >> right. >> i think if we enter' are session -- >> they don't get to 30. >> you're right. trump is already a much diminished figure, and i think as the evidence of his failures become harder and harder for his supporters to explain away, i mean, you saw that happen. it took longer. but you could very tangibly see it happen with george w. bush where there was this sort of macho hero worship and cult around him that eventually faded away as people had to reckon with the obvious failure of the
iraq war. and so i think it might happen on a slightly more rapid timetable with this administration just because the failures are eventually i think going to be -- you're probably still going to have a third of people who are apologizing for this president. you had die-hard nixon supporters until the very end. but i think that you might see republican support go into the 70s or even the 60s. >> i don't know that that's a good enough answer. i don't know -- i don't know how many more susan collins press conferences i can take while she plays hamlet. i don't know how much more i can hear from marco rubio or lindsey graham or all these people who want to get on tv and act like they have principles. >> right. >> so at some point, when you're saying the approval ratings, what you're really talking about is at some point the american people have to start taking this stuff seriously and the left is already there. at some point the independents, the people on the right, the people who are watching basketball games right now
instead of the news, at some point these people have to stand up and say we're not going to let the president of the united states commit crimes and do nothing. >> right. and is the weight of this kind of stuff and what comes out of the mueller investigation, is that what's going to do it, michelle? again, go back to watergate. it was when it became irrefutable. >> right. >> it was when republicans no longer had a leg to stand on to stand up for president. he is talking about fake dreams. it's when you can no longer say these are fake and these are angry democrats and these are made-up things. >> you know, i don't know what it's going to be. i feel like we have these moments every once in a while. >> a lot of people thought we crossed this line two years ago. >> right. and we should have. and in a remotely healthy functioning country, impeachment proceed position have started his first week in office. but what you see with this president is we kind of lull ourselves into this sort of miasma where everybody sort of muddles along, and the screens fall from people's eyes and there is this sort of panic as everybody reckons with what kind of monster he is. you see it after the helsinki conference.
you see it at john mccain's funeral. and as the evidence of collusion or as it's called in one of these filings, one of the russians that they meet with, political synergy, which i feel is a pretty good synonym for collusion. i think eventually he's still out there tweeting no collusion. i think that eventually the evidence of collusion, mueller has left a lot of breadcrumbs that it's there under those black bars. and eventually i feel like it will become undeniable. whether republicans continue to deny it -- >> we hope that happens before i grow an afro. >> i think you got flip the kids. i think you got to go after the kids and i think you got break the kids. i think that one of the more interesting things in the sdny stuff was withholding something, and we don't know exactly what that is, but since it's sdny, it probably involves new york, which gets us into the trump organization itself. it would be interesting if what cohen was withholding was stuff
on eric, stuff on don jr. i still think as much as roger stone looks like the next shoe to drop, i think eventually this needs to come to donald trump jr.'s desk and eric trump's desk, and we're going to have to see the president make a decision whether or not he is going to admit the truth to save his children or whether he is going to keep lying. >> i can't imagine he would ever do that. the more interesting question is whether his children would ever fold on him. >> let me ask you this, elie. one of the reasons why joaquin castro was saying we don't want to rush head long into impeachment, one of the reasons it hasn't been done since donald trump's first week in office sits really hard. the constitution designed it to be really, really hard. and if you thought the country had ground to a halt, that will grind it to a halt. >> and well i think the other reason that congressman castro weren't as forthcoming about is that you need 20 republicans to come with you to convict, right? democrats have the power to impeach in the house, but to
convict him you have to take him thought the senate. and because we went further behind even in the senate, you're going to need 20 or so republicans to come on board, and i'm still waiting for ben sasse to grow a conscience. the math of it all makes it -- >> right. so what gets us to that watergate place where 20 republicans or however many republicans are able to say this is not right. >> like i said, the only thing that gets us to that place is when they feel like their reelection is in trouble, right? when the republican party and if not the base, enough kind of republicans drift away that they feel like it is in their own self-interest to break with this president. >> right. >> when he becomes a millstone around their next. >> and that is not happening. that has not yet happened, despite everything this president has done, we haven't gotten to that point. >> nope. >> you see it coming any time soon?
>> i think the democrats in the senate need to start thinking more creatively about corrective action and a kind of protest movement to start this. i want to see chuck schumer hold a hunger strike in the middle of the senate, right? let's see if that gets some people to understand how serious this is. >> thank you to both of you for being here on a friday night. elie mystal, michelle goldberg. that is "all in" for this evening. happy to have you with us. this is a friday when we knew we were going to get a lot of information today on the ongoing russia investigation. that has become the defining crisis of this presidency. we knew this was going to be a big day, and the news gods did not disappoint. so let's just jump right in.
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