tv Morning Joe MSNBC January 18, 2019 3:00am-6:00am PST
organizers. >> thank you, jonathan. we're going to be reading axios a.m. in just a minute. that does it for us. i'm ayman mohyeldin alongside louis burgdorf. "morning joe" starts right now. >> you wrote a president persuading someone to commit perjury -- you also sid a president convincing anyone to change testimony would be obstruction, is that right? >> yes. >> and on page 2 you said a president deliberately impairing the delivery of evidence would be obstruction. is that correct? >> yes. >> that was attorney general nominee william barr on tuesday confirming a memo he wrote about what he considers to be
obstruction of justice. then last night a report that describes president trump doing exactly that. welcome to "morning joe" this january 18th. joe is off. we have me and this big team to react to this big news. editor of commentary magazine and columnist at the new york post and editor and chief of "law fair," benjamin wittis. we're going to get to the shutdown 28 days in and incredible dynamics between the president and nancy pelosi as americans worry about their next paycheck, president trump and the house speaker are taking their fight to the next level. but first, a major story broke late last night which some
members of congress could be the most serious allegations yet about donald trump and russia. buzzfeed news reports that president trump directed his then attorney, michael cohen, to lie to congress about negotiations to build a trump tower in moscow, citing two federal law enforcement officials involved in an investigation of the matter. nbc news has not independently confirmed this report. buzzfeed sources go on to allege that the president and his children, ivanka and donald trump jr. received regular detailed updates from cohen, who they put in charge of the project, despite trump's repeated claims to have no business in russia. after the election, the president personally instructed him to lie by claiming that negotiations ended months
earlier than they did in order to obscubscure donald trump's office. they learned of this from multiple witnesses from the trump organization and internal company e-mails, text messages as a cache of other documents. cohen then acknowledged those instructions during his interviews with that office. it will be fascinating to hear michael cohen testify before congress on february 7th, willie. nbc has not confirmed this but buzzfeed is talking about two law enforcement officials involved in the mart. so ma -- matter. so many implications to consider. >> benjamin wittis, you tweeted last night you had a lot of thoughts about it but you weren't prepared to say them publicly until you gather your thoughts in the morning. here we are in the morning.
we knew michael cohen lied about this deal. he pleaded guilty in november to the special counsel's office to lying to congress about this deal. what we suspected but didn't know is he was directed to do so by the president of the united states. how significant if this is reported out and the report does say these federal investigators, law enforcement officials say that mueller has it backed up not just by michael cohen but by e-mails, texts and other documents by the special counsel's office? >> the story is a big deal for i think three independent reasons or maybe interrelated reasons. the first is that as mika's introduction suggests, this is, if true, an obstruction of justice by anybody's standard, including the relatively restrictive ones laid out in bill barr's memo. there's a big debate about the parameters of the how can you apply the obstruction statutes
to things like valid presidential power exercises like firing the fbi director. there is no debate about whether directing somebody to lie under oath is a crime, right? so the first important element of the story is that it is a direct allegation of criminality by the president with respect to obstruction of the russia investigation. the second important element as you also alluded to is that the story contains a whole lot of additional detail about the degree of involvement about the president and his family members in the underlying trump tower moscow deal. and so the aggregate suss is that this is lying about collusion. that's getting kind of close to the molten core of the
investigation subject. the third key element here, and this is different from other stories, this is attributed to law enforcement sources. i suspect that probably does not mean that it's a leak from the mueller investigation, but it is sure likely to be interpreted that way and that is going to open up a new front for in the fight between the special counsel's office and the president as it gives the president's forces significant new ammunition to, you know, accuse the mueller investigation now of leaking. >> so mike barnicle rudy giuliani did say, quote, if you blow cohen, i can get you a great deal on the brooklyn bridge. going after michael cohen. the buzzfeed report seas the special counsel's report learned about the directive to lie to congress through interviews not
just with michael cohen but multiple witnesses from the trump organization and internal company e-mails, text messages and a cache of other documents. bob mueller is not taking michael cohen at his word, he's conducting an investigation. >> and as ben pointed out, willie, the buzzfeed report is attributed to law enforcement sources. this is the first example of trump on the record being accused of telling a lie with something to do with russia. i would like to you play then and now. the then would be the three articles of impeachment against richard nixon and the now, the elements of this story. there are an awful lot of similarities between a couple of the articles of impeachment against nixon and the elements of this story. >> so there are. it is also the case that this is at this stage one news story, not the developed record by the
investigation. but, look, i agree with you. if this story is true, it is a very, very serious matter and it would take this whole story to a different level. and the other this evening ng i story is true, you have to ask the question what else is true. one of the questions we've all been struggling with the past year and a half is how the collusion story relates to the obstruction story, right? and if mueller believes that the president and his family were intima intimately involved in the trump tower moscow deal, presumably he's not interested in that in isolation from the larger question of russian interference in the 2016 election. so it really does raise the question of what the relationship is between the
obstruction component, asking michael cohen to lie, the trump tower moscow component and the other collusion components. >> as willie mentioned, president trump's attorney rudy giuliani said the ap, quote, if you believe cohen, i can get you a good all cash deal on the brooklyn bridge. so many different ways to break down that line given that it's from giuliani. democratic members of congress are seeking answers. adam schiff whotrote "the allegation that the president may have subborned perjury before our committee in an effort to curtail the investigation and cover up his business dealings with russia is among the most serious to date.
we will do what's necessary to find out if it's true." >> and john, how can they act at this point. when schiff says we'll do what we can to find out if it's true, do they have new powers to do that? what do they mean by acting now? and a third question, if anyone on the set has the answer, raise your hand. is cohen able to talk about this on february 7th? go. >> he may well not. one of the problems with congress investigating at the same time there's an independent counsel, there's also a traffic jam where congress needs answers but someone is testifying, cohen's already been sentenced so it might not be as much of a problem in say earlier
independent counsel investigations. what's happened here that does involve the new democratic congress is the russian collusion story is very complicated, hard to follow. there's always a question whether collusion is conspiracy and what happened, what was in the president's head. none of that matters here. this is a very simple question. did the president suborn perjury or didn't he? if he suborn perjury -- one of
the key details was mueller approved the cooperation through indemnification of attorney weiselberg and if there's independent from another trump lawyer that they were getting all this information and somehow trump knew that cohen shouldn't share it, that's open and shut. there's no question at that point and he will be impeached. that's not to say he'll be removed by the senate because then you have this political question of whether or not 17 or 15 republican senators join the democrats in removing him from office. if the buzzfeed story is correct, we are not only at another level, we are at impeachment. >> just to be clear, i actually largely agree with that. but i don't think they're quite as severed, the underlie story
from the subornation of perjury allegation are quite as severed. not that i disagree with him but i think we severed those as a society in the clinton impeachment matter where there was a very clear subornation of monica lewinsky's perjury and a lot of people reacted to that by saying, come on, it's just about sex. the underlying subject matter to the way it was received by the justice system. that bar is pretty clear because it's not a trivial mart underlying it, it's actually the whole thing that we've been talking about for two years. >> i want to respond to your question is michael cohen going
to get away with this when he testifies and answer is no. there is nothing he can answer as it pertains to the russia investigation. that does not mean that's not going to be must-see tv and i think a lot of people's heads are going to be spun in many, many, many circles. let's remember this is one nugget. let's that i about 70 hours of michael speaking. let's think about the dozens of hours of hope hicks and none of these people are going to be lying to bob mueller to save their on hide. it's going to be stunning, this level of lying and obstruction. it's on a day later and i don't want to leave the story because of all the things that trump has done it's one of the most heinous. two days ago when trump went on tv and threatened michael cohen's father-in-law, i'll tell you why it's obstruction, i was
on the often with him and he was like i'm not going to testify, they're going after my family. the fact that he told trump to lie to congress about the tower, there is nothing he wouldn't do. you saw it on display when we went after his father-in-law. so this is the tip, tip, tip of the iceberg of a president that is going down hard. >> at the center is president trump's business deal with russia, particularly this trump tower moscow. michael cohen had new details and trump was made aware of cohen's contacts with creme leng -- kremlin officials and this is what the president told the american people in january of 2017. >> i have no deals in russia. i have no deals that could happen in russia because we've stayed away. i have nothing to do with russia. to the best of my knowledge, no
person that i deal with does. >> i have no investments in russia, none whatsoever. i don't have property in russia. a lot of people thought i owned office buildings in moscow. i don't have property in russia, and i am in very -- i'm in total compliance in every way. >> so at least the last of those two claims were him as president of the united states, february and may. the first was during the transition in january of 2017. go back to the date in 2016 when he said in response to hillary clinton's claims, he said i know nothing about russia, i have no business there. >> according to this story, i would bet this piece of reporting will definitely be
verified, donald trump was even considering taking a trip as a candidate after the republican debate to russia to oversee the completion of this project and to get this on the books and to go forward. so this was certainly a priority with then-candidate trump who was running for president of the united states. if he was considering upeneding his candidate travel schedule, this was a priority. i think that looking forward, donald trump has chipped away at his strongest support with so many chips falling. you have paul manafort, you have mike flynn, you have his lawyer, michael cohen, and even donald trump's strongest supporters who want to stick with him, you start to look at how many people are in trouble and politically it's getting more tenuous for donald trump. >> jonathan swan of axios is with us.
i want to know what you're hearing about this story. it's still unfolding from late last night. if the story is right based on two federal law enforcement sources, this doesn't implicate just the president, it implicates his son and daughter. that would then raise the question of why mueller hasn't spoken to them, wouldn't it? >> there's a few things here. one thing i've been chasing for a while is has mueller spoken to don jr. or ivanka. it's often stated as a fact that he hasn't. i don't know one way or another and neither to defense attorneys to are close to the matter. i don't want to say definitively he hasn't. the two things intriguing people the most, number one is the very specific sourcing note at the present time, two federal law enforcement officials. it's not just that. it goes on to say involved in the investigation of the matter. so i listened to benjamin wittis
before saying he doesn't think it from mueller's team. i'd be curious to think what else that could encompass. and the second is the very critical paragraph, because it talks about e-mails and text messages. i know from my own reporting president trump doesn't use e-mail, he doesn't text. it's one of the things that helps him most in all of this. i'd be curious to know and i'm sure we all are, what that e-ma e-mail traffic involves. is it the children discussing things with others? john mentioned alan weiselberg. i know he's talk to the southern district of new york but i don't have any evidence that weis weiselberg has stopoken to mueller. >> we also have to factor in the
human element, the relationship that michael cohen and donald trump have on a personal level. this is another reminder, as was the stormy daniels payment, that michael cohen does not freelance for donald trump, that he takes his order from donald trump, he takes the payment and passes it along. michael cohen 's not out here making business deals without the president telling him what to do and checking in on the process. >> for example, the story about the polling he was involved in. mike michael is going to show proof of that. they are all for trump, directed by trump. trump in business is one of the number one microman injuries. ru -- micromanagers. there will be proof. this is not a freelance
operation. >> before you go, give us a sense as we follow this story what are the questions we're looking at going into today? >> first of all, look for other news organizations to match the story. you know, one of the sure signs of when a story is going to pan out and when it's not is when multiple news organizations get it. when you have one hanging out here like that, it always causes you to raise the question, hey, are we sure this is right? i have a lot of confidence in these two reporters, but i do want to see other news organizations validate their reporting before i conclude for sure that this is true. number two, i do think, you know, a key question going forward is going to be the one you guys were just talking
about, which is is this michael cohen's word that this happened or is this something that is michael cohen val didating whats clear from a documentary record and a record of interviews with other witnesses. >> all right, benjamin, thank you so much for coming in this morning. >> pleasure. >> now to the latest front in the border wall and shutdown battle. president trump abruptly cancelled nancy pelosi's military travel to afghanistan after she requested he postpone his state of the union address until after the government is opened. the president wrote "due to the shutdown, i'm sorry to inform your trip to brussels, egypt and afghanistan is post pond.
in light of the 800,000 great american workers not receiving pay, i'm sure you would agree that postponing this public relations event is totally appropriate. the president said he'd rather speaker pelosi stay in washington to negotiate a way to reopen the government adding, quote, obviously if you would like to make your journey by flying commercial, that would certainly be your prerogative. the speaker's office responded saying that the trip to afghanistan required a stop in brussels for pilot rest and that while there the delegation would meet with nato commanders and u.s. military leaders and key allies to affirm the united states' commitment to the nato alliance.
it was not seen as an excursion or a p.r. event. so it's been said president trump fears two thanksgiviings. we said bob mueller is like no adversary donald trump has ever faced, relentless and dangerous. now with the speaker gavel, nancy pelosi is demonstrating she's a lot like mule aeller. she has seen it all. she gets how the system works better than he do. nothing trump does will make her afraid or rattled. also like mueller, she knows more than she is saying publicly. she's gotten inside trump's head. she uses her experience and leverage to keep the upper hand and like bob mueller, she confident she will win the end.
what the shutdown has made clear is trump is now fighting a two-front war against two tough, wylie and very similar threats. mike barnicle, your thoughts. we talk about mueller's history and service and commitment to country. nancy pelosi's not far behind in this respect. and she's right up there face to face, head to head against the president of the united states. >> unlike donald trump, nancy pelosi knows how to make a deal. cease ma she's made a lot of deals. in is what nancy dalesandro talks about, raised in baltimore, she's tougher and a lot smart aer than the presiden of the united states. the whole thing about cancelling the flight and the trip to afghanistan, i mean, it makes you wonder on the desk of the president of the united states, does he have like play-doh and
juice boxes? this is just about a third grade level what he's doing here. jonathan, in washington i don't know what kind of talk this engendered, the tit for tat but at its bigger than that. i think to a lot of people nancy pelosi can truly outmaneuver the president. he has no team around him and seemingly no sense of strategy. >> they went into this shutdown fight without a clear plan. and to the, te extent to which had a plan, it was based on a misreading of nancy pelosi. some of them didn't share this view but i would say a majority view from the conversations i've had was that they believed she was politically ham strung before her speaker's vote in january and they thought, okay, she can't deal until that, she's under all this pressure and then after the vote the rivers will
part and we'll be able to do a deal with her. it was a fundamental misreading of how she viewed this issue. so you're in a position, the conversations i was having last night with sources who have been in contact with the president in a few days, he's as dug in as ever, he believes if he relinquishes slightly, he'll alien eig ali alienate the people still with him. some people think there's something darker in the deal, some amnesty description but i don't see it right now. she really involves and seems to have leverage. >> i want to register a dissent.
to me the day of the president's letter is the day he became president. he has a real argument, which is there's a crisis in the united states, she's going away for a week. theoretically if there's going to be a deal, how is he going to make a deal with her if she's halfway across the world and she shouldn't be flying around outside the united states while there's a big crisis. if you want to call it childish,s that fiend. it's exactly what lyndon johnson would have done. he's playing hard ball. the letter is kwquite shockingl witty. >> you're kidding. >> no, i'm not kidding. >> she's going to afghanistan. >> she thought she had a week off. it doesn't matter. >> trump owns this shutdown. now there's a narrative that
they're both doing stupid childish things. i like personally that she did it. but the fact now what will stay now in voters' minds -- they're both playing childish kind of stuff. that's why i wish nancy hadn't done that. >> there's good politics but does it get us an inch closer to a deal, elise? >> i don't think so. i think they're both just locking horns. these codels can so frequently be dog and pony shows that are going on on the ground. i think if something this important is happening, like 800,000 federal workers aren't getting paid for doing an honest day's work, nancy pelosi should be in washington. i think trump behaved in a childish way but that's par for the course. >> i have to say, the state of the union, not just security, i think there is a serious concern if i were nancy pelosi that the president would use the platform
of the state of the union to take advantage of the situation, be incredibly abusive toward the shutdown and use it toward feeding his base. i think she made a great decision pulling that platform away from him. we already saw what he did with the presidential address from the oval office. he's not trustworthy on this level. i think she's trying to deny him a platform he would abuse. thank you very much. there's a whole batch of new poll numbers. plus, a troubling new report on the trump administration's family separation policy. there is a new tally on how many kids were pulled from their parents and it is thousands more than previously reported. we've got a lot to get to this morning. you're watching "morning joe." we'll be right back.
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a new federal audit reveals that the trump administration not on began separating children from their parents at the border months before the policy was publicly announced but separated thousands more kids than they previously admitted. an investigator with the department of health and human services inspector general's office told reporters, quote, how many more children separated is unknown by hhs. due to failures by the administration to track families as they were being separated, although officials estimate the additional number is in the thousands. >> all of this comes, mika, as nbc news has learned that the trump administration wanted to speed up the deportation of migrant children by denying them their legal right to asylum hearings after separating them from their parents according to a late draft of trump's separation policy.
it shows the administration wanted specifically to target parent and migrant families for increased prosecutions since it would be reported by the media and have a substance deterrent effect. julia ainslie joins us now. walk us through your reporting. how much different are the numbers we were told from what you found in your reporting? >> sure. so yesterday a watch dog for health and human services told reporters there were thousands of children separated before zero tolerance policy even went into effect last summer. this started in 2017. we we pressed them for a more specific number. they said they got these estimates from interviewing staff members at hhs and the staff member didn't have more specific numbers because dhs
doesn't always tell them whether they came over with their parents. the biggest problem is they don't know what happened to these children because they weren't identified as such when they came into the system. it's a mess. >> so, julia, is there some sense of a coverup that when this story blew up and reporters like you started digging into it and shining a light on what was happening on the border that they knew they had a problem and deflated the numbers in some way? >> it is true that reporters for some time were asking about this uptick. we heard more children were being separated than previously. there were some separations that even occurred under obama but that was if a parent posed a real risk to a child. but we knew there was an uptick and starred asking questions and didn't get a lot of aunnswers. nbc reported there was a pilot program in el paso before they
started zero tolerance. part of the reporting we broke last night gets into that pilot program, something they were also keeping under wraps. >> nbc's julia ainsley, thank you very much. house democrats want steven mnuchin to testify about how the shutdown is affecting his department and the irs. apparently mnuchin thinks someone more knowledgeable should speak with them. that story is coming up on "morning joe." i hear it in the background and she's watching too, saying [indistinct conversation] [friend] i've never seen that before.
without a strong border, america is defenseless vulnerable and unprotected. i also want to thank the military for helping us out during the big caravan period. we need strong barriers and walls. nothing else is going to work. >> knows it. the federal government remains shut down because congressional democrats refuse to approve border security. while many democrats in the house and senate would like to make a deal, speaker pelosi will
not let them negotiate. the party has been hijacked by the open borders fringe within the party, the radical left becoming the radical democrats. hopefully democrat lawmakers will step forward to do what is right for our country. >> wow. president trump speaking yesterday at the pentagon in a speech on missile defense. cnn's veteran pentagon correspondent barbara starr noted, quote, today at pentagon in front of top commands are, trump blamed what he called democratic fringe and radical left and speaker pelosi for not acting on his border plans. entire room stayed silent and did not applause partisan remarks. mike barnicle, that must have been a thing of beauty to watch for those who feel this president has abused the presidency. >> it came down to the integrity
of the united states military, mika. there's a legitimate concern within many elements that this president has gone out of his way to attempt to politicize the military. he did so in his trip to iraq with the hats he was passing out and signing. yesterday at the pentagon, they voted with their silence actually. no other president in our lifetime would have made such a speech, such a statement in front of the assembled military at the pentagon as donald j. trump did yesterday. it would not have happened. >> by the way, it started one day after he became president of the united states when remember he went to the cia and made a political speech and talked about his crowd size. >> he's never good when he's reading. i sensed something in him yesterday. am i seeing a little giving up? he seemed beaten yesterday, even when he was saying what he was
saying. when he reads a speech, he's -- he seemed different yesterday. >> i want to point out something i have learned over the years as a female anchor in the news business, when you've lost to the people around you, your lighting is terrible. >> what i'm struck by is he's seeing everything that people who follow politics closely is seeing, which is this is not helping him. he's down six or seven points in the polls, it's four weeks in, he's dug in and there is no evidence that the theory that has been animated in a lot of people on the right that the longest this went on, the better it would be for him because all he wants is $5 billion is give him the $5 billion and we can
open the government up again. the public doesn't seem to be believing this is the narrative he's believing in. we hear he's yelling at mick mulvaney and having temper tantrums in the oval office because this isn't going the way he thought it was going to. >> it would have been really great if yesterday donald trump would have explained his policy in syria, explained his policy in afghanistan, explained what the strategies are for the u.s. troops that are deployed overseas, but instead he talks about the border wall in front of brass who are so trained that they are not going to -- >> exactly. >> and to john's point, the american people are not buying trump's argument about the border wall, whiand they don't believe it because of evidence and data that shows it's not
true. >> and this is the first president ever that in two years never had one positive day of ratings. >> and those affected by this shutdown, they are feeling it and they are not happy. up neb, congressman ted deutch our guest. we'll get his take that president trump directed michael cohen to lie toongress about building a trump tower in moscow. we'll be right back. moscow we'll be right back.
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officials involved in the investigation as saying that the president, donald trump, directed michael cohen to lie to congress about the construction of this trump tower moscow. if true, if confirmed and there is a lot of backing up in here talking about what the special counsel knows, not just testimony from michael cohen but inner witnesses and e mal-mailsm the texts from the trump organization, if true, what does this mean now? >> if true, it's more evidence that the president violated his oath of office. the president doesn't take an oath to be above the law, if he s s suborned perjury. we asked whether it was how bad it was when he allegedly
committed a felony in order to win the white house, well, this is more evidence the house j judiciary committee is fully ready to start holding hearings to explore these issues. mueller has a head start on this but we have an obligation to do our job to determine exactly what happened here. >> you say it's as serious as it gets. does that mean impeachable? >> if the president violated the oath of office and obstructed justice, ultimately the question is what is congress going to do about it? we have -- and the follow-up question, which is the one we've all been asking, if it's clear that he broke the law, will there be republicans who are willing to stand up for the constitution and the oath of office that the president appears to have violated. >> that's the republicans. but if the mueller reports reveals that the president s
suborned perjury, should he be impeached? >> if the president violated the law, certainly that's going to go into the whole discussion we have about whether or not he, the president, should continue to be in office. >> that alone does not warrant impeachment? >> what we have to realize is that alone is not all that we've got. when we say we have to wait for the mueller report, this is damning and it's terrible. the fact that the president told michael cohen, his cover-up lawyer, to go and to commit a felony in order for him to get the presidency and then tried to cover that up, those two things are awful enough, that's before you even get to the mueller report and russia and all of the huge news that's broken on russia. >> what about the stormy daniels snamts. >> so pa-- payments.
>> part of the problem from somebody who is not looking to tear trump apart. there were two problems with the preceding stories. the stormy daniels thing appears to be a campaign finance violation. comey fired the preside, the pr within his constitutional authority to fire officials of the exit have branch. subornation of perjury on a question of whether or not he was having conversations about an office building in moscow does not rise to the level of the president exercising his constitutional authority and is not the sort of thing that no one has ever been successfully prosecuted before. >> can i just push back a little on this suggestion that there are laws that the president can violate that aren't that serious, which is essentially your argument. when people try to write off,
well, it's just a campaign finance violation and we shouldn't overturn an election, remember it's a violation that the president committed in order to win the white house. when you talk about it's just s suborning perjury, shouldn't we tell the people -- >> i'm just making a political argument. the republicans have a strong arm case to make you don't overturn an election for a campaign finance violation. >> let's take a brief break from that. can you give us an accurate readout on our policy in syria. we just lost four americans two days ago. >>i wish i could. >> you can't? >> i can't. and it not for la's not for lac.
we have spent the last two years trying to understand what this administration's policy is in syria and we were specifically told by the administration at a hearing just weeks ago, we were specifically told that we weren't going to quickly pull our troops out and risk having the iranians and the russians have their way in syria. the president made that announcement, others in the administration made other announcements. we don't know. and there's so much at stake for the united states there and the tragic loss of these brave americans is a reminder of how serious this is. >> i have to fit in a quick break. we'll talk more with congressman deutch in just a minute. e with n deutch in just a minute. searching for a way to help stop your cold sore?
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yeah, that procedure seems right. & that one too. at&t provides edge to edge intelligence. it can do so much for your business, the list goes on and on. that's the power of &. & when your patient's tests come back... federal workers will not be receiving their paychecks, and what that means in their lives is tragic in terms of their credit rating, paying their mortgage, paying their rent, paying their car payment, paying their tuition and the rest. the president seems to be insensitive to that. he seems to think maybe they can just ask their father for more money. but they can't. >> let's pay the employees. maybe he thinks it's okay not to pay people who do work. i don't. and my caucus doesn't either. >> that was house speaker nancy pelosi last week and again yesterday hitting the president
where it hurts. welcome back to "morning joe." it's friday, january 18th. we're still speaking with senior member of the foreign affairs and judiciary committee, democratic congressman ted deutch of florida. we have violated our no-two-deutch rule and brought back johnny deutch. and we have editor at large of the web site the bulwark, bill kristol and msnbc political analyst eugene robinson. joe has the morning off. congressman deutch, before we get to our major story of the morning, which broke last night, the shut down, which is in historic lengths at this point with so many american citizens hurting and the economy really at risk, do you see any cracks developing toward an end, any signs of hope of how this ends?
>> well, the question is how much pain do the american people have to endure before the president of the united states recognizes it. we -- i come from florida where we're used to natural disasters. we have hurricanes. and when a hurricane comes through, it's inconceivable to cause 800,000 people to be out of work but if that happened, what would happen is the president of the united states would make the federal government's resources available to them and in this case it's the president that's responsible for making 800,000 people being out of work. do we have to see something awful god forbid to happen in the air because we're not paying tsa? we're having trouble with our air traffic controllers who aren't getting paid? how bad does it have to get? all day long we see stories of people rationing on insulin and
starting gofundme pages just to pay their bills. we should be outraged. our hope is when we continue to send bill after bill over to the senate, mitch mcconnell will stop being the lackey for the president and will actually take action on behalf of his constituents and the senators will show some resolve and send the president a bill to reopen government. >> let's pull back the curtain a little bit. we have smart people and the table. business kristol, the president, he can't back off his wall, $5.7 billion he wants for the wall. he promised to his base in chant after chant after chant. congress has no incentive to give him a nickel. they feel they're winning. what's the way out of this? >> florida has two senators. real government workers in florida are not getting their paychecks, real businesses in
florida can't get an epa permit to get something that's supposed to go online or farmers can't get an agriculture permit. it's not just vendors or groups that deal with the government in one way or another. some of those groups are republican-leaning interest groups. i think more pressure has to be put on republican senators. they're hearing some people from florida, i think. if i was running a huge democratic super pac, i'd go on air with ads from people in florida saying i'm a republican, i voted for you, rick scott, why is the epa shut down? why is faa shut down? i think the senators and mcconnell are the weak spot, not trump. >> willie, isn't the issue the republican party having to act without the president, perhaps
override a veto? at this point we just heard two extremely impassioned descriptions of the people getting hurt. how much hurt to people have to get, how bad to things have to get? i'm dealing with a president, i'm dead serious here it has been discussed, proven, seen over time, doesn't have empathy. he's not going to respond to people hurting as something that would make him move. it's going to be his bad branding or bad p.r. for him or something that insults him. >> or senators i would say. mcconnell is keeping the government closed, not the president. 67 senators and 200 thousands members could open the entire government. >> this is a fight between the white house and the democrats, i'm sitting this one out, i don't want anything to do with it. >> how can he do that? how can the leading republican on capitol hill say i'm out, i
want nothing to do with this? >> and i won't even let a bill come to the floor. he won't even let his colleagues vote on a bill. >> since we've sworn in this new congress, all we've done in the house is pass spending bills to reopen the government to ease the suffering of the american people and send them to the senate and mitch mcconnell says the president won't allow me to bring anything forward. that's not how government works. we can't allow him to get away with that. he's got some responsibility here, too. the president shut the government down, but mitch mcconnell is his accomplice in all of the pain that's being caused to the 800,000 americans and their loved ones and all the contract employees who provide services to the government who aren't getting paid. >> along those lines, i thought this was going to happen last week. what happens if trump, nor wean
week, two weeks go by, i have to declare a national emergency, i have to open the government. i don't know why he hasn't done it at this point. it would be reprehensible for all the reasons we've talked about but i think that's the judo move. let's role play. they won't do it, wouldn't budge, i'm opening the government. thank you very much. now you guys are on the defensive and say let's reclose it? >> i can tell you. he's going to have to explain to the american people why it is -- you're saying two weeks from now -- >> or tomorrow. >> he's going to have to explain why they refuse to sign a bill that the senate republicans agreed to in past so we can have further discussions about border security when he can do that today? >> bottom line, i can do that, i need to reopen the government, democrats can't do it.
>> it's a dangerous precedent he's setting for the future. he can reopen the government. all he needs to do is sell mitch mcconnell to bring up the bipartisan legislation we've sent over there. we can have discussions about bored are security. the last point i'll make, though, this is not really about border security for the president. if it were, he would understand we should be investing in technology. it's about politics for him and his base and a campaign promise that he cannot fulfill. >> you can see more of the deutch brothers thursday night on msnbc, the new comedy the deutch brothers. >> let's get to the details of the major story which some members of congress say could be the most serious allegations yet about donald trump and russia. buzzfeed news is reporting that president trump directed michael cohen to lie to congress about negotiations to build a trump tower in moscow. two former federal law enforcement officials are
involved in the investigation of the matter. msnbc news has not individually confirmed that report. donald trump and his children received regular updates about the real estate development from cohen, who they put in charge of the project, despite trump's repeated claims to have no business deals with russia. cohen told the special counsel that after the election, the president personally instructed him to lie by claiming negotiations had ended months earlier than they actually did in order to obscure donald trump's involved. the special counsel's learned about the directive to lie to congress through interviews with multiple witnesses from the trump organization and internal company e-mails, text messages and a cache of other documents. cohen then acknowledged those instructions during his interviews with that office. sam stein, let's bring you into the conversation here. as i said, nbc has not independently verified this yet but this is not, according to
the report, based on on michael cohen's testimony to the special counsel but also on all this information, including documents from the trump organization. >> there's a legal term for this story and it's called not good. the obstruction part is fairly obvious. we don't have to think hard for an example of trump doing this. we know, for instance, that he was responsible for the erroneous statement that was drafted on air force one as well. so there is some precedent for trump pushing false testimony so i'm not shocked by the buzzfeed story. i think what gets lost in this conversation is not just the obstruction element but what was the underlying story here. during the primary and the campaign itself, trump was pursuing a for-profit venture in a hostile country and obscuring it for the voting public to see. that is a pretty alarming thing
in its own right. on top of that, russia knew he was hiding his involvement with them so they had leverage over here. so those facts are damaging in their on right. again, it comes back to what the republicans want to do. i think we know where democrats fall on this but what do republicans want to do? in this case the report says they were lied to at the direction of the president. they are the victims in some respect here. are they going to say i haven't seen the story so i can't comment on it, are they going to say this is an unconventional president, he does things weirdly or are they going to say this is unacceptable and we need to call trump or the trump kids to explain what was going on. what will republicans say in reaction to the breaking news. >> the president has said time and time again even as a candidate before that he had no
dealings with russia during the presidential debate on october 9th in the presidential debate, he said i know nothing about russia, i know nothing about the inner working with russia, i have no businesses there, i have no loans with russia. he was clear there was no business between him and russia and now we're learning that's not true. >> he doesn't even know where russia is but yet he was in the middle of this deal. i mean, we know from previous information, we know that he was deeply involved in this trump tower moscow project, that this seems to have been a really big deal for him and that he hoped to make, you know, in one report hundreds of millions of dollars from this somehow, which is more than you'd usually make from an office building. you know, branding an office building. so one wonders what that deal was. but this report is a huge deal.
and, you know, these are very credible reporters and what they say about the sourcing, that sequencing is tremendously important that mueller's team found out about this through documentary evidence and other witness testimony and then asked cohen about it and he confirmed it and owned up. so it's not just cohen raising his hand and saying i know this thing. there's actual evidence backing it up. that is a huge deal. we are talking subornation of perjury. we're tacking we'lking we're de realm now of credibly impeachable offenses. there's no excuse for this and no way to talk your way out of this. if this is true, the president's
in deep trouble. >> and another rare glimpse into what bob mueller is investigating here. >> he has texts and e-mails. i come back to the trump tower meetings. the president dictates a false account of it since day one. notes being taken away from the translator and so forth. if he told cohen not to tell the truth about the trump tower construction in moscow, was he not involved in the falsehoods about trump tower meetings? the degree to which this opens up and mueller probably has access to documents that opens up obstruction and subornation of perjury in many areas. it not going to be, well, it's one office that never got built. but let's see about the whole question collusion, how much trump knew. he's a micromanager. the idea he was like i don't
know what they're doing two floors below me in trump tower. >>michael cohen said there was nothing that happened in the trump corporation that donald trump did not know. >> i mystery i still don't understand is why jared kushner sought out secure coms with russians. why? >> his own back channel. >> his own back channel. so we have the one concrete today, the great reporting from buzzfeed about donald trump encouraging his lawyer, michael cohen, to obstruct justice, but there's so many other bizarre questions when it comes to russians and donald trump and the rnc and the convention where why were there so many russians swarming around and hanging out in cleveland? >> why did the platform change at the convention? >> so the questions we will be following on this buzzfeed story today will continue. also we'll see if nbc news and
other news organizations can corroborate it and develop upon it. i want to end with, gene, your latest piece in the "washington post," which is entitled "nancy pelosi steals the spotlight." you write "house speaker nancy pelosi is driving president trump nuts, a very short drive indeed by doing something he simply cannot abide, she's stealing the spotlight. she's also seizing the initiative in the trench warfare over trump's government's shutdown and imagery border wall, telling the president the state of the union address should be postponed or forgone because of reasons of security. trump retaliated by denying pelosi military aircraft for her planned trip to afghanistan. it's an illustration how deftly
she is wielding her power. democrats should be thankful that they didn't get their wish. it is hard to emergency anyone better matched to the moment and the task. gene, i couldn't agree with you more. you know, there is a certain inability of trump to be able to handle her the way he bullies others with their little names that he gives them and bullying. i think he's flat footed on this one. >> yeah, he is. he is. first of all, he doesn't have a name for her, right? he hasn't quite come up with a way to try to belittle her. he seems sort of flummoxed by her. in part i think it's because she's a woman. i think he's challenged by a strong woman and she's just so much smarter than he is about government and how it works. >> exactly. >> in this tit for tat, in his
extremely juvenile and somewhat effective cancel aulation of th flight, what he set out to do yesterday and in some sense succeeded to doing is dragging this down to his juvenile level. he always tries to drag people down into the mud with him. but he has no appreciation of the cards and the power that nancy pelosi has. remember, she came up in congress as an appropriator. she knows how to move the levers of budget and funding and all of that, to make his life miserable if she chooses to do so. she will just run rings around him in terms of that relationship and i think democrats are lucky to have her there right now. >> you're going to hear from your constituents when you get
back to florida. they may tell you you look like a bunch of clowns. i don't man you specifically, i mean the entire process. what hope are you going to give tho the workers working without pay? >> i'm going to tell them that they're right to be outraged. the focus was on the speaker and the state of the union. why do we need donald trump to come to the house to tell us the state of the union? the state of the union is closed. for 800,000 workers, state of the union is miserable. it miserable because he refuses to reopen the government because he refuses to take leadership after he shut the government down. we're going to keep fighting for them and eventually the hope is that the president will start to see the same things i'm going to see this weekend when i go home, which is people that are angry and suffering and expect him and mitch mcconnell to actually pass the legislation, the bipartisan
bills we've sent them. >> and ted is going to tell them call marco rubio and rick scott, they are your representatives in the senate. they are going along with mitch mcconnell. they're supposed to be representing those citizens of florida and they are sitting there passively while mcconnell -- i'm so obsessed with this because i was in washington for a while. he's not even letting the bill come to the floor. if the house doesn't pass, fine. mitch mcconnell's attitude is i'm not even let being people vote on that. >>. >> i want senator scott and senator rubio to go talk to a
woman i talked to that a woman whose father died, she's just not sure she's going to be able to afford to go to the funeral. >> so you shouldn't give a little to president trump to get the government back open and running? >> we are ready to discuss all of the ways to security the border. and if we're willing to move beyond, if we can stop talking about the wall and start talking about border security. this is not about building a wall. it's about how to prevent drugs from getting into our country. it about how do make sure we address human tracking, about all the things that can be done, not this idea that if we build a wall, it will stop this. it's not realistic. it's not rational.
we are ought to be talking about real bored are security and we are talking about it and the president is casting the agreement aside to try to get his own way. >> thank you for being on this morning, ted deutch, eugene robinson and bill kristol. still ahead, there are plenty of democrats thinking about running for president. monday them, julian castro who officially launched his bid. he joins the conversation next on "morning joe." versation next on "morning joe. ♪ ♪ means to fight the hardest battle, which any human being can fight and never stop. does this sound dismal? it isn't. ♪ ♪ it's the most wonderful life on earth. ♪ ♪
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[ neighing ] [ screeching ] ♪ [ sigh ] it's bring your own phone, not pony. so i could have taken the bus? yeah. bring your phone. switch your carrier. save hundreds a year with xfinity mobile. plus get $100 back when you bring in an eligible phone. call, click or visit a store today. . joining us now on "morning joe," democratic presidential candidate, julian castro. mr. mayor, good to have you with us. we're joking a couple weeks ago you were sitting in that seat sort of smug lily grinning at u when we asked if you were going to run because you couldn't say. no you're in. welcome to the race. >> thank you very much.
>> let me ask you the roger mudd question. what's your best answer for why you want to be president of the united states? >> i want to be president because i believe that we need new leadership and new energy and because have i a very strong vision for our country's future. i announced we need to be the healthiest, fairest and most prosperous country on earth. >> great resumé, super smart guy, a lot of experience, dedicated public servant, good guy. >> just stop right there. it's all great. >> here comes the comma. but maybe too nice of a guy to fight donald trump over the course of a two-year presidential election. how would you approach donald trump? how would you get in his face if you believe that's the right approach? >> i may have said that last time i was here. i'm convinced we're not going to
beat donald trump by trying to be donald trump. all of us who are running i think can stand up to donald trump but you're never going to outgutter donald trump. i want to give people something to believe in. i've always believed that if you're going to run for office, you need to tell people if they elect you what you're going to do for them and their family. i'll stand up to donald trump and of corse i'm goiurse i'm got out where i think he's falling short but i'm not going to try to outgutter donald trump. i don't think that's what people want in a candidate or in a president. >> marco rubio learned playing trump's game with him doesn't work. >> and you have to be yourself at the end of the day. since this is so early, we have a little luxury on going big picture. i would love to hear how you rue america's role in the world and what would be your approach to
syria, to russia, troops in afghanistan? >> especially in the post world war ii era, the united states has struck alliances that have helped keep or nation safer over the generations. the number one thing would i do, the first thing i would do is to repair those alliances, whether it with nato or some of our allies that donald trump has kept in the dark, has insulted, we live in a world in which the united states i think has a role to play, should continue to play a role in making sure that things like democracy and opportunity and freedom are expanded around the world. >> so democracy promotion would be at the forefront of your agenda as president? >> i think that's part of it, sure. we have actors in the world that want to take us in the opposite direction the united states should play a leading role in championing the values that made our nation the greatest on earth. >> i have two questions.
the first is a simple yes or no. based on last night's report about the president instructing the lying to congress, do you believe congress should impeach our president? >> i believe they should wait for the hearings and probably the mueller report. >> there's a debate on the left happening now about how to judge the obama presidency holistically. what things do you think obama did right but what things would you do differently? >> i think president obama did a lot right. you know, his signature issue was health care, the affordable care act. 20 million more people were able to get health care because of the president's leadership and seven presidents before him tried to get that done and they didn't. when he took office, we were losing more than 700,000 jobs every month and by the time he left office, we had had the
longest streak of positive job growth that we'd ever seen. so i think he did a lot right. obviously i take an issue like immigration, i think it's fair to say the administration got better and better about that. eventually they did daca -- >> but the early deportation do you have problems with? >> i said that at the time in 2014. so of course there are things that, you know, any of us might do differently, but overall that was a very successful administration and that's why, as you see just recently, people say that he was the best president of their lifetime. so i don't think that we need to walk away in any way from the great things that president obama did for this country. >> mr. mayor, you are now the czar of solving the shutdown. i'm not going to give you the option of an answer to say, well, everybody has to get together.
simple solution, we'll give trump another $2 billion and he can say he build part of the wall. you have cart blanche, how do you solve it? >> the democrats and republicans in the house and senate passed identical legislation to get past this shutdown. >> we're past that. you can't just give political answers. you now have to get us out of this. that's not happening. give me a specific thing knowing we got to give trump a limb something, as painful as that is or it's not going to get done. >> first of all, if i were president we wouldn't be in this situation. but to answer your question, the democrats have said that they're willing to give on border security and i think they should tell the president, look, what else is on your plate? they will invest in technology, they will invest in personnel but they're not going to invest in a concrete wall. i believe that they should stick
to that. >> 2020 presidential candidate julian castro, we'll be hearing a lot more for you. >> a former navy helicopter pilot joins us next on "morning joe." "morning joe. i'm off to college. i'm worried about my parents' retirement. don't worry. voya helps them to and through retirement... dealing with today's expenses... while helping plan, invest and protect for the future. so they'll be okay? i think they'll be fine. voya. helping you to and through retirement.
over three weeks ago the paychecks stopped coming in. >> we're kind of prioritizing what we have to pay. we have to pay our electricity, we have to pay for groceries. >> no paycheck, now leading to stress. >> i'm feeling completely hopeles hopeless. i have control over my life right now. >> i'm a federal law enforcement officer, and we have allorked throughout this and we're not getting paid and there's nothing american about that.
>> for the hunter family -- >> how does it work when you have seven kid and no paycheck? we'll be okay for the first chunk but as of february 1st, i don't know where we go from that point, you know? when is the end in sight? >> joining us now a new member of the house armed services committee, democratic congresswoman mikie sherrill of new jersey. it's great to have you back in the show. we had you back on in studio 8h the day after you won. former federal prosecutor among or things and here you are now. i want to ask you about the learning curve in washington, your pro owes al. but i have to start with this buzz feed support that the president asked michael cohen to lie to congress. what are the implications of that? and are you in agreement with other members of congress who believe that perhaps mueller should release this information
now if it's true? >> well, you know, as a form er federal prosecutor, i generally didn't direct prosecutors how to build their case. i think he'll know when he should release it. >> having said that, if it's true, don't members of congress need to act on that? and perhaps need the information sooner rather than lart? >> we do. and so it become being critical. and from what we're hearing from that session investigation, we're getting to the point where it will be time to act on different things when he comes out with it. but i still maintain that we've
got to let him finish his investigation. if the president of the united states has suborned burj perjur that's something that the congress has to deal with. >> i would take it at this point the democratic party and speaker pelosi holding firm that we don't need a concrete wall, but what are you willing to give on? how do we end this to get federal employees back to work? >> as you know, the house of representatives has really do done yoman's work. they passed a bill unanimously a couple weeks ago. then we broke it up so we could pass bills and get as many people back to work as possible while leaving home raund security. then we passed a continuing resolution to open government up for three weeks so we could
negotiate homeland security. but that still hasn't been on the floor of the senate. i think what has to happen now is the senate has to take its responsibility in congress seriously and start to vote on these bills. it's not an arm of the executive branch. we are a co-equal branch of government. so the senate has the responsibility of taking up these bills, voting for these bills and then giving them to the president to sign. >> congresswoman, we were joking when we came on the air that you have actually never sworn on an open government. you came in to a government shutdown and we remain there. what do you think democrats can offer president trump? more than they have so far? he's mr. art of the deal. we know there are some holes in that argument. he does know that someone has to give a little bit. what do you think democrats can do to push this along, to get all those people back to work. >> certainly. that's why i'm so proud of
members of the house. we vau a bipt, a bipartisan and what that might mean. so i think the house of representatives is really leading the way. not just democrats but other members of the house as well. bipartisan groups trying to find a way forward. >> so what's it like to walk into this, as someone who spent her life and career getting things done, whether in the united states navy or as a prosecutor to walk into a place that is completely paralyzed ond nothing is getting done? >> welfare reform, i'm glad i'm there. to know that the familiar less aren't getting paid and to know what this fighting to get government reopened. in that as soon as i'm glad i'm there. can is really difficult to feel like, look, the way our
government works has a huge responsibility on congress. i do feel like we in the house have taken our responsibility seriously in pacing eight bills so far to try to get government op open. everybody agrees we need strong border security. it just what's effective. as you mentioned, are walls effective? we have calls in san diego, in el paso, they're affected there. but areas why ais snow. >> the personal harm is already piling up and credit for something catastrophic to say,
nothing is day. what is. a lot of us are so concerned about the people who aren't working and we look at how the numbers rack out about how it hurting o our economy. if you believe in the institutions of this government and how the government should work and you don't want to see us brought to the brink given and again with dwft shutdowns and every time a negotiation doesn't work well, i think that's what we're concerned about. if we just kind of throw in the poll -- >> what if you did a $5 billion deal attached to legislation that said you can no longer have government shutdowns you would eliminate the idea of cliffs and you would just get over this hump. i think i just solved the shutdown. >> i would love to look at
legislation that would pro had been it government as sart of this art pan ploy. whether it i've not heard talk of that right now but that would certainly be interesting to me. >> the stein act, as we'll call it. >> clearly the shutdown has dominated your first days in congress, you have a bill that eco-sponsored and it for universal background checks. can you explain what exactly is in this bill sp. >> so 97% of the people in this country agree that we need universal background checks. i'll tell you, when i started running for congress, some of the frustrations i had were with bills just like that, that we had the will of the american people that wasn't being executed by t executed.
i have my first by, hr-8. hopefully with can have university background chks for gun purchasers. >> so my father hats been a dealer at gun shows for antique german hunting rifles, he'll say while will are all these rules for certain percentages, you can go and working with atf agents and trying to track where firearms are coming from and trying to hold people accountable for use of firearms. it very hard sometimes to track where they're coming from. this will close some of those loopholes and make sure we can better understand and also
making sure that people on the terrorist watch list and the future people that are domestic abusers, these are other loopholes that i want to close, doesn't have access to firearms. >> congresswoman mikie sherrill, great to have you on the show. thank you very much for being on this morning. >> thank you, mika. >> and up next, mike pompeo is personally urging the secretary of state to run for u.s. senate ahead. that's ahead on "morning joe." ♪ ♪ ♪ hey, saved you a seat.
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recorded mike pompeo to consider running for an open senate seat in kansas. in a resent cell phone call, mcconnell urged the candidate to consider it. according to the post, mccon eel's overtures could royal his cabinet. what's the strategy with that and where is mitch mcconnell as it pertains to the shutdown? >> he's more concerned with the 2020 map and political preservation than dealing with the shutdown that right now is severely impacting the country and about 800,000 federal workers but also the ripple effect throughout the economy and i'm curious these days, you know, mitch mcconnell's passion for confirming judges is certainly admirable but there are other duties to and he really just seems to be staying
away from this political hot potato and self-inflicted crisis that donald trump has ensnared himself in and there gets to be a point where we look to mitch mcconnell to help sort out this mess. >> i think that's absolutely right. i would be curious to see how pompeo reacts to this. how people inside the trump administration view the future of the trump administration. you know, if he feels like the train is coming off the tracks and he does decide to leave the administration, not only does it leave him without another senior official but it would also suggest that even the big loyalists are not there for the long run. >> it also shows you how worried he is about the senate recruited secretary of state. worried about kansas as a red state. >> i wish we would hear from him about the shutdown. still ahead, much manufacture on
that buzz feed report that claims donald trump directed his former lawyer, michael cohen to lie to congress. the timing is unfortunate for the president considering what his attorney general nominee said just days before, plus, the president's latest move between the president and the house speaker over the border wall and the shutdown. "morning joe" is back in just a moment. ng joe" is back in just moment i don't keep track of regrets. i never count the wrinkles. and i don't add up the years. but what i do count on, is staying happy and healthy. so, i add protein, vitamins and minerals to my diet with boost®. boost® high protein nutritional drink has 20 grams of protein, along with 26 essential vitamins and minerals your body needs. all with guaranteed great taste. the upside- i'm just getting started. boost® high protein be up for life.
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>> you wrote on page one that a president writing an perjury would be obstruction. is that right? >> well, any person who persuades another -- >> you also said that president or any person convincing a person to change testimony would be obstruction. is that right? >> yes. >> okay. and on page 2 you said that a president deliberately impairing the integrity or availability of evidence would be obstruction. is that correct sf. >> yes. >> okay. >> that was attorney general nominee william barr on tuesday confirming a memo he browrote at what he considers to be obstruction of justice. then last night a report that describes president trump doing exactly that. welcome to "morning joe" on this friday, january 18th.
joe is off the morning, but we've got willie and me and a big team to react to this breaking news this morning. msnbc contributor mike barn cic is with us. editor of the new york post and nbc news and nbc law analyst, so in a moment we're going to get to the government shutdown now 28 days in and some incredible dynamics between the president and nancy pelosi. as americans worry about their next paycheck, president trump and the house speaker are taking their fight to the next level. but first, a major story broke late last night which some members of congress say could be the most serious allegations yet about donald trump and russia. buzz feed news reports that president trump directed his
then attorney michael cohen to lie to congress about negotiations to build a trump tower in moscow citing two federal law enforcement officials in the investigation of the matter. nbc news has not independently confirmed this report. buzz feed goes on to allege that the president and his children received regular detailed updates about the real estate development from cohen whom they put in charge of the project despite trump's claims to have no business deals with russia. cohen also told the special counsel that after the election the president personally instructed him to lie by climbing that negotiations ended months earlier than they actually did in order to obscure donald trump's involvement. in buzz feed reports that the special counsel's office learned
for the directive for cohen to lie to congress from interviews from multiple witnesses in the trump organization and internal company ee-mails and a cache of other documents. cohen then acknowledged those instructions during his interviews with that office. it will be fascinating to hear him testify before congress on february 7th. nbc news has not confirmed this reporting but buzz feed is talking about two federal law enforcement officials involved in the matter. so many implications here to consider. >> without question, this is a big one. both declined to comment on the story. i want to go to you on this. you tweeted last night that you had a lot of thoughts about them but you weren't public about 'em. here we are in the morning. we knew that michael cohen lied about this deal. he pleaded guilty in november to the special counsel's office to lying to congress about this deal. what we didn't know, we suspected but didn't know was
that he was directed to do so by the president of the united states. how significant, if this is reported out, and the report does say that these federal investigators, law enforcement officials say cohen is backed up by e-mails, texts and other documents from the special counsel's office. >> so the story is a very big deal for three independent reasons or maybe interrelated reasons. the first is as mika's introduction suggests, this is -- if true, an obstruction of justice by anybody's standards including the relatively restrictive ones laid out in bill barr's memo and so there's a big debate about the parameters of the how can you apply the obstruction statutes to things like valid presidential power exercises like firing the fbi director. there is no debate about whether
directing somebody to lie under oath is a crime, right? and so the first important element of the story is just that it is a direct allegation of criminality by the president with respect to obstruction of the russia investigation. the second important element as you also alluded to is that the story contains a whole lot of additional detail about the degree of involvement by the president and his family members in the underlying trump tower moscow deal and so the aggregate suggesti suggestion is this is lying about collusion. so that getting close to the core of the mueller investigation subject. the third key element here and this is, you know, different from other stories. this is a attributed to law
enforcement sources and i suspect that probably does not mean that it's a leak from the mueller investigation, but it is sure likely to be interpreted that way and that is going to open up a new front for -- in the fight between the special counsel's office and the president as it gives the president's forces significant new ammunition to, you know, accuse the mueller investigation now of leaking. >> so mike barnicle, rudy giuliani did respond quote, if you believe cohen, i can get you a great deal on the brooklyn bridge. so again going after michael cohen. the special office learned about the directive to lie to congress through interviews, but through multiple witnesses of the organization. text messages and a cache of
other documents. bob mueller is not taking michael cohen at his word. he's conducting an investigation. >> as ben pointed out, the buzz feed all right is attributed to law enforcement sources. this is the first example of someone who publicly on the record trump being accused of telling someone to lie about something being accused of russia. i would ask you to play the then and now. the then being the three articles of impeachment against richard nixon and the now. there are a couple of articles against nixon and the elements of this story. >> so there are. it is also the case that this is at this stage one news story, not the developed record by the investigation, but look, i agree with you. if this story is true, it is a very, very serious matter and it
would take this whole story to a different level and the other thing is if this story is true, you have to ask the question, what else is true? because you know, one of the questions that we've all been struggling with over the past year and a half is how the collusion story relates to the obstruction story. right? and if mueller believes that the president and his family wor intimately involved in the trump tower moscow deal, presumably he's not interested in that in isolation from the larger question of russian interference in the 2016 election. so it really does raise the question of what the relationship is between -- between the obstruction components asking michael cohen to lie, the trump tower moscow components and the other
collusion components. >> so as willie mentioned president trump's attorney rudy giuliani told the ap quote, if you believe cohen i can get you a good cash deal on the brooklyn bridge. so many different ways to break down that line given that it's from giuliani. in late night social media posts. democratic members are soaking answers. house intelligence chairman wrote this. the allegation that the president of the united states may have done perjury before our committee in an effort to cover up his business dealings with russia is among the most serious to date. we will do what's necessary to find out if it's true. >> and if mueller does have multiple sources confirming trump directed cohen to lie to congress, it's about time to show congress his cards before it's too late to act.
okay, first of all, how can they act at this point when schiff says we'll do what we can to find out if it's true. do they have new powers to actually do that? and what do they mean of acting now and i'll give a third set. if anyone has the answer, is cohen able to talk about this on february 7th? >> well, i think he may well not and offense one ne of the probls often a traffic jam that happens where congress needs answers, but there's someone is still, you know, testifying, cohen's already been sentenced so it may not be as much of a problem as it was say in earlier independent counsel investigations. i think what -- what's happened here that really does involve the new democratic congress is the russian collusion story is
very complicated, hard to follow and there is always that question of whether or not collusion is conspiracy and collusion is a crime and conspiracy is a crime and what happened, what was in the president's head. none of that matters here. this is a very simple question. did the president suggest perjury. it's almost an academic exercise what the connection was to the trump tower, moscow collusion, putin, trump, none of that matters. either he suggested perjury or dehadn't. he was going to be impeached by the democratic congress without question. i don't know how you prove it except for this. remember, one of the key details is the mueller secured the cooperation through, you know, indemnification of trump's lawyer allen weisselberg and if
he's telling mueller that there -- if there's independent evidence from another trump lawyer that cohen -- that they were getting all this information and somehow that trump knew that cohen shouldn't share it, that's open and shut. i mean, that's not -- there's no question at that point and he will be impeached. that's not to say he'll be removed by the senate because then you have this political question about whether 15 republican senators join the democrats in removing him from office, but we've taken this -- if the buzz feed story is correct we are not only at another level, we are at impeachment. >> so just to be clear, i actually largely agree with that, but i don't think they're quite as receivered -- the underlying story from the perjury allegation are quite as receivered as john says.
i don't think we severed those as a society in the clinton impeachment matter where there was a very clear subor nation of lewinsky and some people saying it's just about sex. so in other words, the underlying substance of the matter did matter to the way it was received by the political system rightly or wrongly and here all i'm saying is that -- that bar is pretty cleared because it's not a trivial matter underlying it. it's actually the whole thing that we've been talking about for two years. >> still ahead on "morning joe," the buzz feed report puts a bright new spott light on this. >> i have no deals in russia. i have no deals that could happen in russia because we've stayed away. >> we'll talk about what then
candidate trump had to say about his financial links to russia during the 2016 campaign. but first, here's bill karins with a check on the weekend storm. >> we're going to take this storm all the way through areas of the east. today it's not too bad in the east. we're okay in the middle of the country. here's the snowfall map. the heaviest total from the ohio valley in the next two days into saturday and saturday night and sunday to the northeast. the blue is 3 to 6 inches. that's enough to cause you travel concerns. just north of st. louis, indianapolis, to toledo to detroit, up to cleveland and then the really heavy stuff from western ap, mostly north of i-70 all through northern new england. that's where you'llgo get into snow. the problem is who's going to get this ice storm. as of now it looks like we'll go
to 2 to 4 inches of snow, then over to sleet and freezing rain. so we're talking northern maryland, eastern p.a., from about philadelphia north wards right through southern portions of new england. some of these a areas if you're lucky will stay mostly sleet and if you're unliucky it b will freezing rain. indianapolis airport, chicago, detroit, pittsburgh and then on sunday the storm moves out quickly. a big tip and head's up to everyone in the north east. get out there and shovel and clear the snow and the ice because monday is going to be frigid, one of the coldest days of the winter. we leave you with new york city. right now about 2 to 4 inches of snow. a little bit of sleet on top of that. hopefully new york city will change over to rain to wash it and clean it a little bit.
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law enforcement sources tell president trump and his family was made aware of the contact with the newly officials but yet this is what the newly elected president told the american people in january of 2017. >> i have no deals in russia. i have no deals that could happen in russia because we've stayed away. >> i have nothing to do with russia. to the best of my knowledge, no person that i deal with does. >> i have no investmentes in russia. none whatsoever. i don't have property in russia. a lot of people thought i owned office buildings in moscow. i don't have property in russia and i am in very -- i mean, i'm
in total compliance in every way. >> so at least the last of those two claims we saw him as president of the united states, february and may of 2017. the first one was during the transition. let's go back one further to the debate when he said in response to hillary clinton's claims and her curiosity about what his ties were with russia, he said i know nothing about the interworkings of russia i don't deal there. i have no loans there. that's candidate trump. >> if i had to bet i would bet that this piece of reporting will definitely be verified. donald trump was even corpsing taking a trip as a candidate after the republican debate to russia soover see the completion of this project and to get this on the books and to go forward. so this was certainly a priority with then candidate trump who was running for president of the
united states, so if he was considering upending his candidate travel schedule, this was a priority. and i think that looking forward, donald trump has chipped away at his strongest support with so many chips falling. you have paul manafort. you have mike flynn, his lawyer, michael cohen and even donald trump's strongest supporters who want to stick with him, you start to look at how many people are in trouble and politically it's getting more tenuous for donald trump. >> it's still unfolding. broke late last night, but if this story is right, based on two federal law enforcement sources at this point through buzz feed, this doesn't implicate just the president, jonathan, it implicates his son
and daughter but that would raise the question why mueller hasn't spoken toe them. >> there's a few things here. so firstly, one thing i've been chasing for a while is has mueller spoken to don jr. or ivanka because it's often stated as a fact that he hasn't and i don't know one way or another and neither do defense attorneys so i don't want to say that he hasn't. the true things that are in this story that are intriguing the most, number one, is the very specific sourcing notes at the top. two federal law enforcement officers. it goes on to say ovl involved in the investigation of the matter. i listened to ben main, i'd be curious to know if we take buzz feed on that source, what else that could encompass. and the second part of it is that very critical paragraph which is the corroboration paragraph at the trump
organization because it talks about e-mails and text messages and obviously we know -- i know from my own reporting president doesn't use e-mail. he doesn't text. so i'd be curious to know and i'm sure we all are, what that email traffic involves. is it the children discussing things with others? i don't know for example, allen wieselberg, i know he's talking to the southern district of new york but i don't have any confirmation that he spoke to mueller. there are many questions circulating about this report. >> there are plenty of senators jumping into the presidential race. steve joins the conversation next on "morning joe." to look at me now, you don't see psoriasis.
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>> there's no way i would ever high jack the process and say my way or the highway. i wouldn't be able to do things like what we did massing laws on kicking dark money out of our elections and what we've seen in montana, black feet indian reservation, 3,000 square miles, one snowplow operating on the lands. areas like this, it not only impacts monotanians directly, but he is selling some of his own items on facebook just to dry to get by during this. >> so i'm interesting in how states are having to plug those holes. you all are speeding up and giving advances on february snap benefits to people. >> there are parts of our state government that's impacted by the federal government and that's why democratic and
republican governors came together and wrote to congress and said open the government now and then, you know, you can work across the aisle to address policy impasses, but you don't use gvt shutdowns as a negotiation tool. kborn no governors it's us on the front line and the state relies on the federal government. >> if this goes on for another month, let's say, what happens in the state of montana? what's more of the fallout? >> we'll see over 100,000 man t -- montanaians, and we have literally individuals paying out of their own money to clean toilets and they're changing toilet paper. we need to be training our firefighters getting ready for
the next season and that's ground to a halt as well. environmental work, our department of transportation highway work that relies on federal permitting, it's all getting held up so this is not -- this is a failure in governance, not just for the federal government. the impacts the state and the impact to our overall economy. >> as the governor reminds us this is not a washington, d.c. problem. this is a problem in national parks and states and towns across this country. >> it's interesting because governor -- you know, the united states government data shows in terms of this so-called border crisis that more terrorists come into the u.s. from canada as opposed to mexico. so my first question is, where's your wall and do you need one? and what do montanaians think about this crisis at the border which is not their border but it is if you look at data. >> we have a border between
montana and canada. certainly we have never suggested we should build a law on that. i believe in border security but i also think you don't shut down a government basically, you don't use individuals, 800,000 people as negotiation tactics and that's why i think drem cats and republicans have said let's open up, get government back open and then you can continue negotiations. >> you have a republican congressman in montana, you've teamed up with larry hogan on this topic. lot of federal employee es and how do you apply these pressure points to republican lawmakers but predominantly mitch mcconnell to vote and have you been working bethe scenes to get him elected. >> so every governor in this country by governor hogan and i
saying let's get this thing open. because the real word impacts. >> maybe talk to matt, the governor of kentucky. your senator happens to be playing a crucial low. can you help us out? >> whether you're seeing it on the fresz and on tv, the impacts are real for us. my daughter's middle school basketball coach is furloughed and families all across this country are living in many respects paycheck to paycheck and you've already now, 28 days in the longest government shutdown we've ever had, the impabi impacts are real. >> the problem is obvious. we keep restating the problem. let's deal with certain facts f we have a flawed president, he's not going to move off of it. we have mitch mcconnell who's not going to bring a vote to the floor. you have to solve the problem
and democrats have got to give a lit little bit. give me the solution to the problem that would get potomac bo parties -- >> that's when you see the dysfunction in washington weigh between democrats and republicans. that's where governors are saying get it open. >> i'm saying, the reality is it's not open. you solve the problem. i need $5 billion. we've got democrats saying i'm not going to say to that. what do you do knowing you have that human being as the president. nancy pelosi's personality and what do you do to fix it? >> you keep going to congress and say we should expect more. i can't solve what necessarily -- >> nobody's talking tactics. we get dhaaca. let's -- let's make a deal.
>> but wouldn't it make a heck of a lot moreceps to turn around and say, all right, we're impacting people. open it up. >> but in order to make sense -- if it doesn't make sense that's the reality. so now that's a reality, what do we do for those 800,000 people. that's the key -- i'm a business guy. i know that. it's like a wall. i can't keep saying you don't like purple. i have to take that as solving the problem. >> solving the problem is getting the government open, but fundamentally, look, we can solve the problems if we need to do comprehensive immigration report. we can do that but let's not leave individual lives as a bargaining chip. when governors say this is not
the way we could ever operate, it's because the real life impacts hit the stage. >> is it politically palatable for democrats to gifz the president half of the money? >> i think it's both sides out soid of washington agree to say letters get the government open and then we can talk about what things we might want to do. there's already 700 miles on border wall woe ear fencing. in many respects entries into our country for 2017 was down, the lowest it's been and it's been declining over the next two decades and we aught to be talking about the best way to go forward. but that's where the international governor association chair, the govern nors are saying you can have these, because the impact on what services i can provide, i
mean, the montana dp of transportation will not be able to do road work that is so eessential over the winter. fires are not be trained and be prepared for this next season because of what's happening and the services that i can provide that are relying on the federal government. >> i know you've heard the talk because of the record you just laid out, a democratic elected and re-elected in a red state who's worked a republican state house and gotten through things like medicaid expansion and you're talking about getting universal. they would love to have a guy like you in the 2020 presidential race. i know we've asked you the question before, i don't expect you to declare a candidacy today but what the are circumstances you would get into the presidential race? >> i have traveled a lot and there's an appetite for someone
that is new and bridge divides and also hoping for something the economy and political system is working for them. i'm in my second week of my legislative session and i've got a lot to focus on back home right now and that's what i'll be doing over the next 90 days but still listen to people, still trying to get a sense of when this world looks like, this ever changing world, willie. >> the attractive candidate as you just describe it is you. >> well, and there are others. >> what i'm saying is you just laid out the credentials of a candidate. >> just announce, come on. >> are you thinking about getting into the presidential race? >> right now i'm triing about getting the budget passed back home. making sure that medicaid, we went to 20% uninsured and we're at 7% today. >> do you feel the clock ticking as all. >> the race is filing up
quickly. >> i don't. i think more than trying to decide quickly, democrats are going to try to decide correctly. even this last week you eve had tlie our four entrants. in many respects i think that energy speaks well to not only the pafrty but the county's opportunity for this next election. i think your smile is a little bit of a tail. >> you call this a snowstorm here in new york. >> wow. >> okay. i feel like this whole segment has been a massive flirtation. all right. governor steve bollleck, thanks for much. when asked to testify about the treasury shutdown steve mnuchin declined to do so. that is next on "morning joe." frap
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. treasury secretary steve muchen is decided not to testify. ahead of tax filing season, much mnuchin was expected to travel but that trip was cancelled. now that he will be in the country, he decline to testify saying that the committee would be best served by questioning treasury and irs officials with knowledge of the shutdown plans. with us we have cnbc's dominick
chu. and form ore undersecretary of state. we'll start with you. we've been talking about the last few days about the impact of the shutdown. maybe you can fill us in where mnuchin can't. there are plenty more headaches to come if a deal isn't reached. >> there are a lot. here's what we do know right now. a slate of important milestones coming up for the federal government as many as many americans who rely on that government aid. if you have in the food stamps program, january 20th is a big date. it has asked many state to make those february benefit payments on or before that date to advantage of a funding technicality that allows the government to pay those until that date. the next missed way check comes on january 25th.
that's also the same day the administrative office of the u.s. court system runs out of money itself. then you fast forward. january 28th. the first day that the irs will accept tax refunds. if you are filing early on, the irs recalling workers to help with the tax season. who knows what what happens on the u.s. report of economy. gdp is supposed to be released on january 30th and all those hypothetical missed paychecks and the deadline for a trade deal with china. the u.s. office of the trade representative only has around a third of its staff after it ran out of money on monday. >> we >> well, you raise good questions. the impact on the overall
economy on growth? what do we know in terms of the impact this shutdown has had so far or will have in months to come? >> there's a bit of a divergence here wean the consensus and the numbers released tuesday by the officials from the counsel of economic advisors. i think the consensus needs to be the gdp growth will be cut for every week that the shutdown goes on, by something like .05 of a percentage point and we got this couple of days ago that the officials had upped that estimate essentially to take into account the fact that government contractors are not doing what they're supposed to be, you know, what they would be doing if they were being paid, if there wasn't a shutdown. >> right. >> so the estimate of what the government isn't doing all those services that it would be providing that's essentially
what's contributing to the hit to the gdp at this point. you know, those numbers are climbing. i would say though, that those numbers are fairly narrow estimates of the overall estimates. they don't really take into account all the extra spillovers, all the things that people going into parks or people stend spending more because they have a paycheck. >> so let mesofollow up. a little worst case scenario question here. if this continues for weeks, months, i guess i have to ask that, because this really does appear to be at a stalemate and this president is very different than others in the past in terms of his ability to empathize with people who are hurting. what are we looking at in terms of impact on the economy if this progresses for months? >> i think if this progresses for months, those small impaktss that we've seen so far, they're
likely to look like very severe underestimates. take for example the tsa agents at airports. absence rates are around 6%. supposing the airport system was to shut down because tsa workers weren't able to go into work and they're not getting paid and they can't cover their bills, you could see much bigger ramifications for the economy if something like that were to happen. you might see spillovers for the rest of activity. you might see confidence, you know, consumer confidence going down and that would essentially have its own snowball effect downwards. >> so let me put the same question to dom chu. we don't have a sense of when this is going to end. >> i think we hit in a big part
of the whole process. the reason why it's important is it's not just the consumers they may start to feel the pimplg about this. it's not agents and contractors, it is the idea if businesses start to fuel, that impact -- what does that do for other consumers and customers as well? >> one of the things weave been tracking is less optimism trending among ceo's in america. they don't want to hire as much t they don't want to put their plans on hold because they don't nose what's going to happen. so if if all of those things start to play out the real impacts on gross domestic product will be a lot bigger because all of these thing it is will feel confident enough to go outnd there and hire and invest in equipment. >> all right. that's dom. thank you very much. there's so many different angles to this. the state department has
encouraged employees to return to work. they've found enough money to cover half a month in salary. the state department can pay most of its beginning sunday or monday for their next pay period but employees will not be paid for time worked since the shutdown began in december until appropriations are enacted for 2019. in a letter to congress last night, the state department said it intends to reprogram and transfer resources to fund payroll if the shutdown drags on. rick stengel, talk to me about the state department and the impact this is having and this latest news, but also overall, it's not like the department was fully staffed to begin with. >> that's true. in fact, i'm going to start with the big picture mi, mika. we're the only functioning big democracy in the world that has government shutdowns. you've been reporting open wh i
happened with brexit. the government is still running. we go airplaround the world preg democracy and they look at us and go, you guys can't even play this game. you have a president who everything underneath him is falling apart. when we talk about how it's affecting us economically, the state department wants to send people back where there's natural security issues. let's remember this, the state department processes all the visas of businesspeople coming to the united states to do deals. if the consulate services are not working you don't have people coming across here for business meetings. it also slows down the economy, but i have to say, you know, the foreign service office of the state department, they want to be working. they want to be working for the american people and for the role of america and the world. >> i'm going to go bigger on global economy impact in just a moment, but, rick, doesn't this
sound like the goal is to journal mine america and wouldn't that, again, be serving someone like vladimir putin? can this be something we can conceptualize or talk about as a possibility? >> yes, in the sense that, you know, every morning when vladimir putin opens up his newspaper and sees the united states government is shut down, he smiles inwardly. this is exactly his whole policy for the past two decades, undermine the way america works, the way democracy works, so we can't go around the world and say our system works better. and so i don't know if he's supporting the government shutdown but he takes a lot of pleasure from it. >> putin loves to equate democracy with chaos. from the 2016 election chaos to present day talk about just playing into that narrative.
>> he's got president chaos. >> i'm just listening to all of this. i can't help go there in my mind just a little bit. final word on impact of the global economy, given what rick was saying in terms of how ceos are thinking and the undermining of consumer confidence and even confidence to hire. how does that then branch out to the global economy and our relationships around the world? >> yes, i think for now foreign investors are probably slightly more focused on what the federal reserve is doing in terms of interest rates. i think the -- what we could start to see though in the future is there's a big question about what all this dysfunction means for what's going to happen for example with raising the debt ceiling. the dysfunction now does not bode well for generally the government's a buibility to funn and that fight coming up.
if that fight were to look dicey, then i think international investors would start to look extremely concerned. and, you know, that's -- you know, the question is what that says about this future fight and it doesn't look good so far. >> it makes you wonder exactly what the president's angle is. sorry, got to ask. thank you very much. we're back in three minutes to try and put this week into perspective. hey, darryl. would you choose the network
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final thoughts this morning, rapid fire, rick stengel, we'll start with you. just this week, just this week, we started the week with "the new york times" reporting that the feb's investigating whether or not donald trump's a russian asset. then "the washington post" reporting donald trump tried to conceal all the information with his meeting with vladimir putin. then "the new york times" talking about all the times he wanted to pull out of nato. all the while, this shutdown, crippling the u.s. economy. isn't the question at this point how is he not a russian asset? >> well, the best story you've already been talking about connects all the dots. the way you laid it out, those are all the dots from this week. the trump tower/moscow hotel was sort of his mcgufen, his thing he was straining for. he asked people to lie to
protect his own interest, something he has denied. >> mark stein. >> my thought, this is only going to get worse. we don't have anything really from mueller minus these court filings. once we get hard evidence of this stuff, what we're witnessing now will be amplified to ten. i shutter to think how nutty are programming will be at that point. >> we focussed this morning on the president obstructing justice, but this headline, report says thousands more children taken, many families split at the border, more than tallied this is the human cruelty of this administration. this is the utter incompetence. >> it's getting overshadowed. >> donald trump spits on the constitution by closing down the government. mcconnell doubling down by not even allowing votes. you're not doing your job. you're killing our democracy. >> all right. we'll leave it right there. and before we go, we want to wish elijah cummings a happy
birthday. thank you for your service. thank you for marrying me to joe. that does it for us. stephanie ruhle picks up the coverage. >> thanks so much, mika. hi there, i'm stephanie ruhle. starting with a bombshell report from buzz feed. stating president trump directed michael cohen to mislead congress about a tower project in moscow. the story, which has not been confirmed by nbc news, further states mr. trump encouraged his attorney to set up a meeting with vladimir putin during the campaign to discuss that very project. and perhaps most importantly, mueller reportedly had the documents to prove it. >> i never directed him to do anything wrong. michael cohen is lying. he's a weak person. >> shut down, day 28.