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tv   Up With David Gura  MSNBC  December 16, 2018 5:00am-6:01am PST

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you're in the business of helping people. we're in the business of helping you. 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. this is "up." i'm david gura. this morning, after one of the worst weeks in the trump presidency, the walls seem to be closing in and does the president even care? >> what a crowd, what power, what beautiful people. it's been an incredible two years. we've done things that nobody would have thought possible. and i say it often. >> a flipped fixer, a jailed former campaign chairman, now a
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former national security adviser set to be sentenced in a couple of days. it's all the president's charged men. and all of this seems to be taking a toll with new exclusive polling out. what americans are saying about donald trump and robert mueller. plus, the revolving door at the white house goes around and around and around. >> multiple scandals taking down another member of the president's cabinet. >> the big question now, who could be next? >> well, it's sunday, december the 16th. and if you feel like a year's worth of news has been crammed into one week, well, you're not alone. >> everyone, check your cards, because you might have impeachment bingo. this is a lot of legal trouble for any president. i mean, i'm no lawyer, but neither is trump's lawyer. >> up with me this the hour, ken dilanian, nbc news intelligence and national security reporter, midwin charles, an attorney, legal analyst and contributor to "essence" magazine. nbc legal analyst, danny cevallos with us, and leah
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wright regura, an assistant professor at harvard university. so mounting investigations threaten to imperil donald trump's presidency. this week, we learned donald trump was in the room with his then-lawyer and now former fixer, michael cohen. his inaugural committee is under investigation, reportedly for misspendi ining funds, pay-to-p schemes, and illegal contributions from foreign donors. this is what we learned this week. but if we step back, we now that nearly every aspect of the president's life is under investigation. his business, his charity, his campaign, his transition team, his inaugural committee, and his administration? that broadly is what's under scrutiny. let's tick through actual investigations and lawsuits. robert mueller's russia investigations, of course, allegations of obstruction of justice for firing james comey, investigation into the inaugural committee spending, charges of
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tax evasion, fraud, campaign violations, the new jersey attorney general is looking into claims of harassment and immigration fraud at a trump golf course. stormy daniels' nondisclosure agreement is still continuing interest to lawyers. the defamation was settled, there were the emoluments cases that were brought by maryland and washington, d.c. nearly 200 congressional democrats, self-dealing and mismanagement of trump foundation being overseen by the new york state attorney general. new york state tax law violations. that's the department of taxuation and finance, looking into violations by the trump foundation. there is racketeering by trump. eric, ivanka, and don jr. for possibly promoting get-rich-quick schemes. and all the while, summer zervos, defamation lawsuit, lawsuits alleging violation of the first america by panamerica. lawsuits alleging violations of the 14th amendment, lawsuits alleging violations of the presidential records act. i won't go on. we haven't even talked about the
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house of representatives. come january, the president will undergo a whole new level of scrutiny. these are the 85 things they plan to investigate. i would read them to you one by one, but that would take the entirety of the hour. ken dilanian, let me turn to you first, if i could, laying out there with some drama what's happening there. what is this laying on the president? >> you said imperiling. i think it remains to be seen whether these investigations imperil him in the sense that they drive him out of office. but they're clearly going to overwhelm his presidency. particularly because he cannot help himself, but engage on twitter. you know, most presidents in this position would sort of put it aside. the way bill clinton did with that massive investigation, which is still bigger than where we are now. and bill clinton was kbreecimpe. he did not talk about it. they said, talk to my lawyers over here. trump is allowing it to infect his presidency. and the interesting thing about the litany that you just read is even if robert mueller delivers a report in two months, and it's less than we all anticipate, the
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investigations will continue. and particularly, the federal prosecutors in new york, who now seem to be digging into the trump organization, that is so dangerous for donald trump and his children. >> midwin, when you look at all of that, the litany, what is from a legal perspective most perilous for him? what should he be most worried about? >> i think he should be most concerned about the mueller investigation. >> still? >> absolutely. and the reason being is because mueller has done, i think, a terrific job of boxing him in by going after all the president's men, for lack of a better term. you know, you're going after flynn. he's gone after manafort, he's gone after papadopoulos. and you have so many guilty pleas. you have so many cooperation agreements. and you have, which is one thing i think that has justified this investigation, a jury verdict for paul manafort, being found guilty of eight financial crimes. so that gives him legitimacy. and i think what we do is we have all of these people who surrounded trump on many different levels, who are all closing in, so we get to the point where mueller comes out
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with an investigation, you almost have to come to the conclusion that he had to have something. he had something to do with this, for sure. >> do you agree with that? i go back to that list. te mo the emoluments cases are of particular interest to me. how worrisome would this be for the president? >> all this aside, cohen is the number one problem for the president. this summer, michael cohen stood up in court and pleaded guilty to violations of campaign finance law. before that moment, there was a decent argument that these very difficult crimes to prove. they require a high level of intent. but when michael cohen pleaded guilty and last week, when the government filed a brief, saying essential that they agree that the president directed michael cohen to commit those crimes. for the first time, we saw that the government has stopped just short of saying, the president committed a crime. or, it may be that they do believe that he has committed a crime. that is the greatest present
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threat to this president. the belief that he has committed a crime, because now we get into, was that a high crime or misdemeanors? which, again, is a discussion, a debatable issue. but the accusation of criminal conduct is still the greatest threat to this president. >> and when you look at that list, there is a systemic and geographic complexity to all of this. this is happening in so many jurisdictions and so many courts. how does that make things more difficult? >> i think it makes it more difficult for him and it makes it more difficult for this administration, right? at the end of the day, this administration is supposed to govern. they are supposed to run their agencies and we hope, not run them into the ground. because what we've seen so far, in the past few years, is an administration that has been incompetent. and we've seen it with puerto rico, we've seen it with what's going on at the border. uh i think it's definitely problematic for this administration, because they're going to have to be dealing with so many different things. and one other investigation or one area in which you haven't even mentioned yet is the new new york attorney general,
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letitia james, who's going to take office in january. and she has made it clear that she will not be leaving, you know, anything on the table, with respect to investigations. she's going to be looking hard into trump. and we know that any sort of convictions flowing out of the state of new york are not pardonable. so that's another area that we have to look into. >> the other thing, david, is they don't appear to have a competent white-collar defense. danny can speak to this. we've all seen rudy giuliani. first of all, it starts with the client. he's unmanageable. >> that's because they can't get anybody on the a-team to represent them. >> but given who they have, they don't appear to have lawyers who know what is being turned over to the special counsel and prosecutors. they didn't know their own white house counsel was meeting with the special counsel and potentially incriminating the president. >> there's a great piece in "the washington post" about the degree to which this is weighing on the republican party. we have a new chief of staff
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coming in, an acting chief of staff. >> another one. >> another one. >> the third in two years. how much of this is going to occupy his time, you think, having to deal with this? having to quiet this so that political capital isn't spent, if not entirely, mostly on this issue? >> so we know that it's occupying trump's mind, because he's telling us over and over again, that this is the only thing that he can think about. and we see that when you're juggling ten plates in the air, that you have very little time to actually governor and be presidential. we see that he is more interested in kind of defending himself, throwing out conspiracy theorys, talking about things that he clearly has no actual background in saying these things on television or in press conferences, over twitter, which seems to be his main method of communication. but we also know that things are going to change dramatically in january, as the house changes over. >> i mentioned those investigations, i think we might be able to put them back up on
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the wall behind me here. that's going to be a huge change. >> it's going to be a huge change. but one of the things we're also going to see, we know that americans hate gridlock. we know that they do not like it when they go back and when the president is going back and forth and can't seem to get anything done. and we know for certain that that is going to be one of the outcomes of a house that is constantly investigating the president. so he's not only going to have to juggle actual investigations, but the fact that people are going to be very angry at his performance and we already know, even in an economy that seems to be working in his favor, but may not actually be, that this is going to be incredibly hard for him, come january. >> can we talk about the reality tv presidency. are we going to see a shift in january to a reality tv congress. a lot of these hearings will be public and televised, a lot will be on more than just c-span. there is going to be a -- not entertainment, but a factor with this that makes a lot of people want to watch what's going. >> absolutely. but the democrats have a plan. they -- because there's a lot of competing committees and
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everybody wants a piece of trump's scalp, but they are coordinating these investigations. and you have the chairman of the house ways and means committee who says he's going to try to get donald trump's tax returns. you have, as you said, the emoluments clause. even this question of, did trump improperly intervene in the decision whether or not to relocate the fbi pilbuilding, wh is across the street from his hotel. >> i was looking at that post piece. tim o'brien, who we often have on the show, a donald trump biographer, had this to say about how this investigation is different from anything donald trump has faced before. he said, this kind of legal scrutiny they're getting right now and the potential consequences of that scrutiny are anything unlike donald trump or his children have ever faced. he's described finances as a red line for him, but it seems quite clear to me that as this moves closer to his family, that's causing him to squirm more and panic more than he has. >> and with each squirm, they create more potential legal liability. consider the fact that a number of the convictions and prosecutions to date revolve around false statements.
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section 1001. in other words, the cover-up is the crime. the genesis of the crime is the investigation. so the more the trump team backpedals and spins, some of that spin, if it's told to a federal agent, becomes a lie that is prosecutable. and now, if you'll excuse me, my wife has a few requests, if you don't mind. honey, they don't have any banana nut bread. so i'm just going to have to -- >> what is he doing?! >> sorry, she's pregnant. she says, no broccoli, all pastries. sorry, go ahead. >> well, david, if i could just add to that -- >> take more. >> danny makes an excellent point. and i think one of the reasons why we are here is because i think donald trump, his family, the trump organization, for a long time, they've operated a private company. they have never been under scrutiny, the type of scrutiny that an elected official would find themselves under. and so the idea that he chose to
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run for this position, not recognizing that he would be under a microscope is telling. and i'm not even sure if he thought he would ever win. but the idea that they are facing this level of scrutiny with respect to how their foundation operates, with respect to how the trump organization operates, with respect to how they do business in general. and they see it carrying out in the manner in which he deals with saudi arabia and the manner in which he deals with russia. any place he has a business, he thinks he needs to make a deal. like he's still running his business and not the united states of america. i think that's telling. >> i was speaking to somebody close to the trump organization last week about this. and he was pointing out that, look, donald trump was a real estate developer in new york. he lied all the time. it was part of doing business. and it never mattered. people understood he was going to lie. now all of a sudden his lies are meaningful. >> but who thinks they can run for president and still behave that way? >> donald trump. >> he didn't think he was going to win, that's the bottom line.
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>> last question. we're going to get this new polling from "wall street journal" and nbc news a little bit later in the hour. but i want to ask you how the president shapes his message, from that polling will deal with the degree to which americans think this investigation is a good thing or bad thing. we see the president tweeting "witch hunt" wing he's done it more than 130 times. what's your sense of how he's shaping the conversation around this investigation. he's trying to shape the message and perception of this investigation. how is he doing at that, in your sense? >> so this is actually -- when we look back at the history of donald trump, this is what he's always done, which is instead of retreating, instead of staying quiet, that kind of thing, he actually goes on the attack. even when he he is in the wrong. even when he is grossly in the wrong, it is more so, i'm going to fight and i'm going to turn the tables. so part of what he's doing and kind of using this message, using the medium of twitter, in particular, is saying, i'm going to invalidate, delegitimize any
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source of what we might think of, as objective fact. and that includes, say, news media. that also includes the investigation itself. now, one of the things that we do have to be careful about is that, one, he's the president of the united states, so he has a massive platform. but we have seen in the past, that sometimes these things can backfire. and in particular, when it does -- when the public does begin to feel like the president is being attacked, that there is a witch hunt, that things -- tides begin to turn in the president's favor. we've seen that a little bit with bill clinton in the 1990s. but with that said, there's an enormous amount of dislike for donald trump. he has to be very careful in the medium. right now what it looks like is he's flailing wildly in an attempt to really cover up some pretty bad things. >> all right. we're going to come back here in just a moment to bring your own tongs day here. coming up, taking a toll. as i mentioned, we'll have new exclusive nbc polling on the president and robert mueller's
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investigation out in just about an hour's time. and what's making interior secretary ryan zinke dash out of d.c. on the horse he rode in on. we'll be right back. our dad was in the hospital. because of smoking. but we still had to have a cigarette. had to. but then, we were like. what are we doing? the nicodermcq patch helps prevent your urge to smoke all day. nicodermcq. you know why, we know how. the united states postal service makes more holiday deliveries to homes than anyone else in the country.
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welcome back to "up." i'm david gura. president trump has yet to acknowledge fully that russia meddled in the u.s. election. russia may not have gotten everything it wanted, but the division internally and western
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allies has been to vladimir put putin's benefit. and his former national security adviser about to be sentenced for lying for contacts with russia. and maria butina has committed to conspire to infiltrate conservative groups here in the u.s. this week, michael mcfaul put it more succinctly. >> it was a comprehensive strategy on multiple fronts, trying to influence the outcome of the election. the chaos that president trump has caused to the western democratic world, not only within our own country, but within the alliance, within the eu, that is, you know, that is exactly what vladimir putin wants. >> all right, ken, i'm going to turn to you first and use maria butina as a jumping often point for this. ambassador mcfaul talking about how widespread this is. put her in that galaxy. what does her involvement speak about the effort to which vladimir putin has been successful to some degree? >> i'm not sure it says a lot. butina is the kind of an
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operative the russians would always try to foist on us. remember, ten years ago, there was a case of the russian illegals who were caught, you know, spies sent to live here. she is a version of that. she's kind of an independent operator who said to the russians, hey, i can infiltrate the nra and make friends with these republicans, and they said, great, here's some money. that's always going to go on. there are two levels to this. what did putin get? he hasn't gotten sanctions relief. in fact, the trump administration has levied sanctions on russia, including with respect to this -- >> that's always their counterargument, they've done this. >> right. and the republicans have their talking points and they're right, but the larger picture is that trump has been undermining nato, he has not punished russia for the crimea seizure, and vladimir putin is laughing at the way, at the chaos that trump has foisted on our allies and on the united states. in that sense, it's been a huge strategic win. >> and leah, this is a week where we've seen that kind of balance in full effect. it's the protests in paris,
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what's happening in the uk, as well. we're seeing the ripple effects of this happening around the world. >> absolutely. this is one of the hitting points, this has destabilized a lot of the relationships that in the past we've been able to count on. one other thing that i do want to point out, too, is that when we look at the impact of russian meddling, and a lot of this data starting to come out as well in the united states, we know that it's destabilized relationships within the united states, which it was designed to do. when we look at the investigation into facebook, into social media more generally, when we look at the various relationships, these kind of groups and these uprisings that have come out between 2016 and today, including these various political organizations on the left and the right, and always in between, we do know that as a function of democracy, you know, working democracy, we need to have somewhat good relationships in order for things to move forward. what we've actually seen is the destabilization of that, and increasing tensions that are a direct result of, you know,
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russian interference and meddling in various ways and the united states not putting clamps down on that. >> danny, what does the michael cohen sentencing tell you about that effort from vladimir putin? he's cooperating with prosecutors. we heard that from them in their sentencing memoranda, he's offering information on the russia investigation. what's it tell you broadly about the plan that vladimir putin cooked up? >> michael cohen is offering information, michael cohen is not exactly a cooperator, as that term is used in criminal defense and criminal prosecution, because he wasn't fully, fully disclosing things to the government. >> didn't have the full agreement. >> didn't have full agreement. didn't have the 5k1, but still got three years, well below the sentencing guidelines. what says about the prussia investigation and the events of the last week is a little more opaque. you take butina, for example. she did not plead guilty to being a spy in the conventional
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sense. she pleaded guilty to being an unregistered foreign agent. what her guilty plea does mean is that there's the potential for foreign money involvement in the election. that is what the butina guilty plea really tells us. not cold war era spy activities, but rather, the influx of russian money. and it is a crime for foreign nationals, and that includes foreign governments, to contribute money to an election or to a campaign. and that's really where the easiest, most obvious direction is of the investigation. >> midwin, you agree with that? >> i do, i do, because the allegation here is, or what she's saying is that it's possible that russia was funneling money to donald trump to the campaign, through the nra. and so, as this continues to unfold, we're going to find out whether there are facts there to support that. and if so, this is a huge deal. this is a huge deal. but to kind of go back to the point that we were talking about earlier, about whether or not putin is successful here, absolutely. if anybody is winning in any of
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this, it's putin, in sum. based upon all the things that leah just articulated and everybody else on the panel, he's winning. there's discord here in america and discord abroad, as well. our allies are now not even looking like allies anymore, at least the way trump treats them. >> ken, i want to pivot here to another report that we got from the special counsel's office this week, that's about the budget for the office and what they spent over the last few months. the president over these last many months has tweeted about the cost of this investigation, tweeting it was $30 million, $40 million. so there's been some plasticity to these figures, as there often is when it comes to this. here we see the total cost, $25 million. these last few months have cost about $45 million. explain the import of. give us the context of this, about the way robert mueller is running this investigation. >> the first thing to say, it's less than the amount he's obtained in forfeitures.
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so he's paid for himself. but there is this notion, people who criticize the independent counsel, any special prosecutor will say, look, this is not normal to have a prosecutor with a team that has one case. and you have an incentive to look for crimes and keep going and prosecute cases that otherwise wouldn't be prosecuted. because the normal fbi, the normal u.s. attorney has other cases they have to weigh priorities. here's the thing, robert mueller would not be in place if donald trump had not fired james comey, plain and simple. trump made his bed and this is what he's got. and mueller is a marine combat veteran, a republican who led the fbi and is widely believed to be doing this by the book. he does have some aggressive gun-fighting prosecutors on his staff. but his integrity has not been questioned sw questioned, so the idea that this is a witch hunt, misspending, it's not taking hold with the general public. >> we'll come back here in just a moment. coming up, cue the music. there you dgo. it's beginning to look a lot like 2020. the very first iowa caucus poll
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has been released and to say it's a packed field is an understatement. leave it to "saturday night live" to cram even more contenders into the mix. >> a new poll shows that the front-runner for the 2020 democratic nomination is beto o'rour o'rourke, yeah, followed by joe biden, then bernie sanders, then oprah, then lena dunham, then the porno lawyer, then a cheye latte in a pantsuit. then a dvd box set of "the west wing ", and personal favorite, barack obama in a mustache. here we go.
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welcome back to "up." no secret here. democrats have their sights set on taking back the presidency. a crowded field of potential candidates are looking to take on donald trump in 2020. and the first iowa caucus poll is out. 32% of likely caucusgoers say they want former vice president joe biden to be their nominee. in second place is vermont senator bernie sanders, trailed by congressman beto o'rourke and senators elizabeth warren and kamala harris. vice president biden has not officially announced a run for the white house, but reports say he's already looking into a running mate. o'rourke is one name that's
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already being floated and here's a report of biden running into senator harris in d.c. these are early days yet, two years out from the general election. but what do you make of that, of joe biden running and at least acknowledging the fact that there needs to be some nod to or involvement of a younger faction from the democratic party? >> i think his time has passed, to be quite honest. i understand that he's highest on the polling right now, but i don't see how he's going to play into what we've seen or what we've seen from the electorate with the past midterms. you know, you've seen a lot of excitement with younger candidates. i'm surprised that andrew gillum wasn't on that list. i'm surprised that stacey abrams wasn't on that list. you know, they are two people who i think were able to run on really progressive platforms and yet still get a huge number of people to vote for them. they can articulate the issues well. and they're really good at snapping back at some of the things that republican can throw out, which i think is a problem for democrats. i think most people want the democratic party to have --
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hell hello! -- a spine. and i just think that biden is troubleso troublesome. we talked about this during the break, the anita hill aspect and the crime bill. so not that excited about him, to be that honest. >> what's supposed to be happening at this point? we're two years out here, buts there somebody like joe biden who has a ton of international name recognition. there are these others who do not. but already we're seeing trips to iowa. what's supposed to be happening in terms of campaigning or as we have all of these prospective would-be candidates saying they're running. >> everybody's right now trying to set up shop and trying to sell their wares to the public. so who is going to be that magical person? we already know it's way too early. a dark horse, clearly, a dark horse could come out at any point in time. but we also know that these candidates are trying to drum up interest. they're trying to drum up support from donors, because
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money is everything in politics and the political game. if you don't have support from donors, you really don't have a chance. i do think part of what we're seeing and part of what these candidates are trying to tap into is this idea about the new democratic party. so democratic party with a spine, but also democratic party with an agenda. democratic party that speaks to the various alliances, coalitions, and even fractures in the party. so how can you get a message across, be charismatic enough, and have enough money to push you to the finish line in the democratic primaries. >> ken, this is outside your beat, but you're in washington, so i'm going to ask you a zeitgeist question, the degree to which, this is something that's occupying democrats in washington. you mentioned andrew gillum, tom perez invited him to speak at a big event with 300 democratic donors, seemingly giving a nod to the influence that he had in florida and nationally as well, >> that's right. just broad sense, to the degree
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the democratic party in the face of its criticism is not into it. >> somewhat, but i still the thing that's right in front of them is oversight of the trump administration. taking power in congress and the subpoenas that are going to fly and what's going to happen with the mueller investigation. that is front and center and this is kind of in the back of their mind. >> to my legal analyst here, as well. putting everybody in an uncomfortable position, but you have these political and legal tracks. do you see them intersecting when it comes to this campaign? you watch this as a more casual observer, the politics side of things? but do you see the intersection happening? >> i do, when you talk about going back to the dark horse comment, i think when you look back, there was probably an identical show like this, several years ago, that showed 20-some potential republican candidates. and then some guy gets made fun of at the white house correspondents' dinner. he takes a ride down a golden escalator, and all of a sudden, everything is thrown in disarray and that man is sentenced to the presidency. so when we talk about dark horses, i think there absolutely
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is the possibility the lesson to be learned is, you don't have to be one of the people mentioned years in advance. you can roll in at the last minute and have a lot of buzz and actually beat everybody else. >> and leah, when you look at polling, there was so much in o introspection, so much reev reevaluation of the way we poll. what do numbers like this mean? what is that telegraphing to you, other scholars and public policy about the contours of this race? >> so, there are a couple of different things. on the one hand, they mean absolutely nothing. this dark horse contender can come out of nowhere and get a lot of support, get a lot of money, get a lot of donors, and really thrust themselves right into the spotlight. but one thing that we do know that i think is important to pay attention is what is the base of the democratic party saying that they want? one of the things that donald trump did, and this is not letting him off the hook for the other stuff, is that he actually articulated something pat base
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of the republican party had been saying that they wanted for a very long time. and that elites had kind of danced around or dabbled in, but then quickly retreated on. so things like, you know, taking on health care, saying, you know, immigration and, you know, being tough on immigration. so these were things that donald trump captured very early and spoke to, that everyone thought would really sink his chances. and in fact, the base responded strongly to that. now, what the democratic party needs to do and part of what these polling numbers are suggesting, especially with the support for bernie sanders up there, despite what happened in 2016, is that the party really has to speak to what the base wants, and the base is saying, explicitly, there are things we care about, things like health care, things like the economy, things like, you know, progressive reforms and policies that we want on the agenda. and that's really what
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politicians should be paying attention to. >> there was this great moment on the "late show" with stephen colbert. you had julio castro with his twin brother being cagey about whether he's going to run, but i was struck by something that julian castro said to the ap, he said, i'm very mindful that there's a particular meaning to my candidacy. so we start out talking about joe biden, this legacy figure within the democratic party. your sense of the import of that meaning that he's talking about? >> i think we've seen the leeato community take a beating, from policies, from the day he rode down that escalator and called mexican rapists to the manner in which this administration has disastrously dealt with what happened in puerto rico, i think the latino community will be the one to watch, the community to listen to or at least be a part of, selecting who the nominee is going to be. and i think that their issues are going to be front and
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center, especially when you see what's happening on the boater. and the manner in which those people are being treated. and i'm there are latino americans who are saying, i look just like those people. so what does it mean to be living in a country where we have candidate who is don't address my issues and don't address my concerns? >> all right, just ahead, he now says he was duped by the feds, why robert mueller is not buying mike flynn's newest argument. how it could affect his sentencing, which is just days away. ♪ be right back.
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well, president trump's former national security adviser michael flynn will be sentenced this tuesday. flynn pled guilty over a year ago for lying to the fbi about conversations with russia's ambassador to the united states. robert mueller's team of prosecutors recommended flynn get little-to-no jail time after his cooperation, 19 interviews. flynn's lawyers say their client should have been wandrned about the consequences of lying before he was questioned by the fbi. the implication was followed by a blistering response in another filing from the special counsel's office. quote, a sitting national security adviser, former head of an intelligence agency, retired lieutenant general, and a 33-year veteran of the armed forces knows he should not lie to federal agents. they say michael flynn repeated the same false statements to multiple members of the presidential transition team, including vice president-elect mike pence, incoming white house chief of staff, reince priebus, and incoming white house press
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secretary, sean spicer, who then repeated his statements on national television. the folk is on this interview on january the 24th. and in this filing, there is so much good to read. fbi interviews flynn. but we get a picture here of a relaxed michael flynn, peter strzok, infamous peter strzok was one of the agent who is questioned him and comments object fact that mike flynn seems to have a ton of time for him, walks him around the white house, point outs what he thinks is cool about the place, the agents go unnoticed. and in the knonotes, the agent' remarks on how unguarded he seemed to be. >> and some people suggested that this has body language indicated that he wasn't saying. but what they were saying, he was so comfortable with the story he was telling, which was a lie, to senior officials in the government, they rattled it off in his presence, even when they tried to prompt him, hinting that he had transcripts of the conversations. and what we still don't know is
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why? why did he lie? the mueller sentencing documents on flynn indicated he was very helpful to the investigation, half of it was blacked out. now you see this filing where he almost was trying to suggest that because he wasn't warned, that's exculpatory. one thing to remember about mike flynn, that timeline goes back even further. mike flynn was one of the four original people who was under investigation in june 2016, that started this whole thing. that's little understood. and in part, it probably related to his decision to go to russia and sit next to vladimir putin and take money at that r.t. dinner. he was in the crosshairs of the fbi for a long time. by the time they had got to his office, they were investigating things we still don't know to this day. >> so why include this in this filing, in this sentencing memorandum? why would they have made this allegation against the fbi? >> i served as a law clerk to a federal judge on the appellate court. and i've read a ton of these sentencing memos. and usually what it is is, you
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have -- you know, you're a prosecutor and then you have your defendant fighting to get the best story in front of the judge who's going to be the ultimate arbitrator, in coming down with the sentence. so you have one person making sure, listen, this is exactly what they've done, look at all the circumstances, and we think that you ought to do "x." and you have the defendant saying, listen, this is who i am. i didn't know what i was doing. and it's all about competing stories. but what flynn, i think, is doing here is not convincing, given the things that mueller has said in the report, ie, his background. and at the time he was interviewed, he was the national security adviser, 33-year veteran from the armed forces. so it is not convincing that someone of your stature, who is so sophisticated, would think that perhaps you wouldn't want to tell the truth when you're talking to who? the fbi. >> so this goes before judge sullivan on tuesday. what's he going to be weighing
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here? >> consider this. it's possible this was a clever gambit by his defense attorneys. from the outset, michael flynn's sentencing guideline range was zero to six months, the lowest range in the federal sentencing guidelines. part two, the government had already filed a memorandum saying, hey, we'd be okay with a straight probation sentence. now you're the defense attorneys and you figure, what's the worst that can happen? zero to six months? the government isn't going to completely backtrack and now ask for a sentence, if we go a little too far with our recitation of the facts. they took a gamble in the public arena, it probably didn't play well, but ultimately, for his future employment prospects, it may have been rather clever. >> all right. up next, the clock ticking. and they have limited time to lead. why a handful of female world leaders are facing a time crunch. ♪ it's the time of the season for loving ♪
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vote, may made a deal. she promises she will not lead her party past 2022 in the next election. in germany, chancellor merkel announced she will not seek re-election. and here in the u.s., the incoming house speaker, we presume nancy pelosi, also made a deal with members of her own party. if she is elected house speaker, she would leave that position in 2022. what got me thinking about all of this was a letter to the editor i saw in "the new york times." i went to bed in 2018 and woke up in 1975, the year i graduated from college, this reader writes. i do not remember a single male population who was forced to compromise on the length of service. the world may have changed more women, but not enough. leah, let me turn to you and ask about this trend, this imposition of term limits. what do you make of it? >> i think if the american people had its way, donald trump would have an imposition of term limits that starts tomorrow. but i think there is something about this to gender.
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there is definitely a gender component to this. because we're not seeing the same deals being made with men. at the same time, there are elements of this that are very much, you know, very much, with respect to the individual, about these kind of, the wars or the coalitions that are going on with these individual people and the decisions they have made. in the case of someone like nancy pelosi, this is all about her trying to navigate this new guard, this new generation, including a group of new -- young women in the house, who have said that they are uncomfortable with her leadership or have challenged her leadership, or want the expectation of some direction in terms of this leadership. so it's both gendered -- yes, this does not happen with men. but there are also elements of it that are very much about the politics of the policies in leadership that are going on in that moment. and the two can coexist. >> do you see them coexisting together? do you see them in a vacuum?
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>> i think they can coexist, but to your gender point, i think you're right, the idea that nancy pelosi would go through this, and face a challenge at least from people who don't want her to be the speaker, given the fact that she has demonstrated success. she led the democrats to victory in the midterm election and was the person who decided that everyone should focus on health care, that was the winning issue. she was the one to do that. and she was the one to get the affordable care act passed. so she has a demonstrated record of success, and yet she was challenged. chuck schumer, mm, you know, he wasn't challenged. he sailed into a leadership position, despite the fact that we lost seats in the senate. he appeared to be very, you know, blase. >> so you're talking about how these investigations are being very well kor grachoreographed democrats in the house. there is more method, less
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madness here. when you look at what's happened here with nancy pelosi, there was this debate, so much as it was early on, should she be house speaker once again, she has rather masterfully pulled people on to her side, made concessions to get people to come into the fold. can you extrapolate what that tells you about the way the democratic side in the house is going to be run next year? vis-a-vis the investigations or much more? >> i think of adam schiff who's been a huge supporter of nancy pelosi. >> the incoming come of the intelligence committee. >> exactly. and i would also point out on pelosi, i think everything you guys said is right, but people also complain about steny hoyer, who is the number two democrat, who's in his '80s. >> and to be fair, they are both part of this agreement. so, yes, that part of the guard is still there, as well. >> that's right. so there's definitely a hankering for a younger generation of democrats to move into these -- and adam schiff is a great example of that. but he, though, will always be pelosi because of the way the alliances have played out. >> thank you all for being here.
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i appreciate it. ken dilanian, danny cevallos, leah wright rigeur, thank you for your time. we have our exclusive nbc news/"wall street journal" polling on the president, robert mueller's investigation, and just who americans say should be in charge, next. take your razor, yup. alright, up and down, never side to side, shaquem. you got it? come on, get back. quem, you a second behind your brother, stay focused. can't nobody beat you, can't nobody beat you. hard work baby, it gonna pay off. you got this. with the one hundred and forty-first pick, the seattle seahawks select. alright, you got it, shaquem. alright, let me see. our because of smoking.ital. but we still had to have a cigarette. had to. but then, we were like. what are we doing? the nicodermcq patch helps prevent your urge to smoke all day. nicodermcq. you know why, we know how.
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welcome back to "up." i'm david gura. for nearly 18 months of donald trump's presidency, special counsel robert mueller has been on a mission trying to establish if trump or his campaign coordinated with russia in the 2016 election. and the president has used twitter to attack back, by my count, tweeting "witch hunt" 143 times. and according to the "washington post," his deflection that democrats colluded with russia is one of his most-repeated falsehoods. but are his attacks working? after being sentenced to three years in prison, after admitting to covering up trump's dirty deeds, as he calls them, former trump lawyer michael cohen spoke to george stephanopoulos who asked a question at the very heart of robert mueller's investigation. >> the special counsel did say that you were doing your best to tell the truth about everything related to their investigation, everything related to russia. do you think president trump is telling the truth about that? >> two letters, one word, "no." but


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