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tv   The Rachel Maddow Show  MSNBC  July 7, 2017 6:00pm-7:00pm PDT

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putin in his sophisticated operation has an interest to flooding the u.s. and europe journalists with fake documents. it's a fundamental problem with democracy. >> we will see you back in new york on monday night. now, here's rachel. happy friday. tonight is one of those nights when most of the world's attention has been focused on what's happening in one city, in hamburg germany where the g 20 is happening and when president trump sat down with vladimir putin since the first time. in the past few year the united states and the rest of the world has been trying to -- also for what it did to our own elections. but today the russian time-out
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apparently ended with a full bilateral meeting between the serving u.s. president and president putin. tonight i'm very happy to say, excited to say, actually, that we've got the perfect person to take us inside that meeting and even better, more importantly, i think, to help us understand what putin has done to his oun country and what he's trying to do to the rest of the world, including to us. nbc's chief foreign correspondent, my friend richard engel has spent his dreer from reporting all around the world. he has been spending a ton of time in russia. i'm really excited for this report. here now is "on assignment with richard engel." tonight richard reporting live from the g20. ♪ good evening from hamburg
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germany. it's been a big day here and by all indications presidents trump and putin hit it off when they met. almost immediately they rolled up their sleeves and started making deals. a cease fire for part of syria, with an envoy for ukraine, a pledge of political nonintervention. they even agreed, according to one u.s. official who was there, that this whole business of russian's meddling in the u.s. election is getting in the way and the two leaders should agree to disagree and move on. make no mistake, this is everything putin could have asked for and more. today's meeting changed the world. it doesn't matter if any of these agreements hold. the syrian cease-fire probably won't if past experience is anything to go by. it doesn't matter if the ukraine envoy actually accomplishes anything. this meeting matters because putin has wanted to make russia a super pow again, a country
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that cannot be ignored in the key decisions shaping the world and today president trump gave that to him. putin trained to corrupt and bully his targets into doing his budding and today many around the world saw putin doing just that to an american president. people who know how putin operates don't think for a second this meeting didn't go exactly as he planned it. that he always wanted it to go long, that he wanted to bait president trump into trading horses. but there are cost to playing let's make a deal with vladimir putin. we spent months looking at what putin's russia is like today, a place where business deals can get you killed and where speaking out also can land you dead. we've met analysts and activists who say putin is playing trump. first there are still protests under way in this city and fires burning tonight as demonstrators clash with police. we spent most of our day here in
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hamburg on the streets covering the protests and clashes that shut down the center of the city. they were big. tens of thousands of people. from all across europe united by a shared desire to scream their frustration at all that's wrong in the world from environmental degradation to war, greed and poverty and to do it within earshot of the world leaders they hold responsible. the other thing they had in common -- what do you think about president trump? >> well, first, personally, we in germany, we just like we haze him. i personally, i think he's sexist, he's racist. he mocks people with disabilities. >> most of the protesters were peaceful. but others self stalled anarchists usually dressed in black were looking for a fight and they got it. police are now sweeping through this entire area. they've been spraying their water cannon, some pepper spray
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and just pushing people out of the way. the police came in heavy. the protesters never managed to break through a tight cordon around the massive conference center where the trump-putin meeting took place and while we reporters were allowed through the police lines, with we were corralled into a media center where we interviewed each other about the meeting happening in a room in another building. >> what jumped out to me is vladimir putin got the respect he so desperately desires. for the first time in many de decades we're saying you can run your society any way you like. we don't care. you want to beat up on your dissidents. fine. want to crush democracy. fine. what do you want and what do we want. let's draw up rules. >> and if the idea of trump and putin sitting down drawing up the rules of the world sounds frightening, perhaps it is.
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it sounds like putin got a lot of what he wanted out of this meeting. >> it feels like he got a lot of what he wanted out of this meeting. apparently according to tillerson, the two guys hit it off, had a lot to talk about and they could have kept talking except they have a concert to get to. now he said there were no more meetings scheduled but i think it's the beginning of what putin hopes to be a beautiful relationship. >> donald trump is not the first president to try to build new relations with vladimir putin. here's what our last two presidents said after they met putin for the first time. >> i looked the man in the eye, i found him to be very straightforward and trustworthy. we had a very good dialogue. i was able to get a sense of his soul. >> i found him to be very smart and i found him to have a
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practical bent. >> but it's pretty clear from the body language at his last meeting with putin that obama didn't manage to build a working relationship with the man he called very smart. american presidents come and go but putin has outlasted them all. he's perfected the art of controlling every detail to achieve his own goals. all you really see when you look putin in the eye is exactly what he wants you to see. so far he's been winning every round in the long game he's playing against the u.s. but what is that game. foreign policy analysts like to say that trump is playing checkers while putin is playing chess. but that according to the world's famous chess master is an insult to the game. >> putin is a dictator and dictators by definition don't play chess, that's why i believe i have to defend the integrity
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of my game. he's playing a poker game. >> he's a poker player. >> a card player, a gambler and he knows his cards are not good but he also as a kgb guy, he's a good mind reader. >> is president trump playing with vladimir putin or being played by vladimir putin? >> he is playing into putin's hands. whether he pushes a pawn or playing a card. >> he's also a vocal critic of putin's regime, after years of protests, a failed run for president and multiple threats on his life he left russia and went into exile. we met him in paris where he told us that any meeting between presidents trump and putin is a victory for putin. >> in trump believes in handshake, putin believes a handshake is way to fool his counter part.
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>> do you think putin tried to get trump elected? >> absolutely. we have evidence he wanted trump to win. >> why would he want trump to win? >> many many many reasons. the simple one is trump psychologically, with his massive ego, rejection of the rules would be the ideal counter part. putin beliefs he's calling the shots all over the place. we know it's from history that the power corrupts and absolute power krup eer corrupts. >> you believe he's absolutely corrupted? >> it's the greatest danger being faced by the free world because the man has intentions. >> do you think putin is the greatest danger -- you don't think that's an exaggeration? >> any other immediate threat that the free world is facing like isis or terrorist groups, it's incompatible to what putin can do. >> do you think he's an
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existential threat? >> militarily and economically. but putin has a lot of money. he knows that playing this game by under mining democracies an ens tugss. by creating chaos. >> and putin seems to have a unique skill when it comes to creating chaos all over the world. he used stealth and misdirect to carve up eastern ukraine and annex crimea. and he sent jets and gun to syria to stop what he feared was going to be a u.s.-backed regime change. >> let's remember what's happening in syria. obama said assad mous go. putin said no, assad must stay. putin won this battle. we can stop counting many reasons why it's happened. but psychological putin has an advantage. americans wanted the guy out. he's a bad guy. who cares.
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at the end of the day he works for me. as long as you're with me, you will protect me. >> so the more he can show he's playing in other people's back yards and getting away with it, people say -- >> it's the -- >> -- we're back. >> the first oh, how dare you to accuse me, i'm a man of peace. no russian troops in crimea. then a few months later, the brave people who fought. >> look how clever we were, we got away with it. >> one year later, full recognition, bragging about it and pinning medal to russian troops part of the evasion. and we're like, so what. >> there's ample evidence that russia tried to interfere in the u.s. election process. how would that help him stay in power. >> challenging the coldworld, t united states. he can go to syria, kick americans from here to there. he can challenge europe.
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he violates all of the rules and he's still in the game. >> we'll hear more from gary later in the show. a lot has changed in russia since of yet days but much has stayed the same. the might of the state now serves one man and a circle of very powerful and wealthy people around him. >> the russian mafia is the government of russia. it's a mafia running a sochb state with nuclear weapons. >> we've spent months investigating a single case and multiple murders in russia and around the world. that story is ahead. we are live in hamburg. at panera, a salad is so much more than one thing.
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welcome back to hamburg where just a few hours ago president trump and president putin met for the first time. to understand russia today, to understand the rise of vladimir putin -- ♪ -- you need to go back to the early 1990s when a turbulent violent transition was under way. ♪ in 1989 the berlin wall was torn down. and the soviet union began to fall apart. ♪ to try to hold the empire together, of yet leader mikhail gosh chof announced sweeping reforms. but it was too little too late and one soviet republic after another began to break away from moscow and declare independence.
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the old communist guard was watching it all in horror. in a kgb bath house in moscow, six of yet officials hatched a plan to topple gorbachev. >> we still don't know the whereabouts or the condition of mikhail gorbachev tonight. >> mikhail gorbachbachev refuse step down. showing surprising medal cri climbing on a tank to deliver a speech. the hard liners failed. mikhail gar ba chof wasn't toppled but he resigned and just like that the soviet union was no more. the russian federation took its place with boris yetson at its
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president. he soon discovered that leading the democracy was much harder than standing down a coup. russian tanked, corruption was rampant. the country was in trouble and so was yetson. he came to depend on a kgb agent, a name by the name of vladimir putin. but the summer of 1999, boris yetson fired his prime minister and announced putin in his place. almost immediately bombs tore through apartment buildings in russia killing hundreds. putin blamed terrorists from check chi that. but evidence emerged that the check chans might not have been behind the apartment buildings. many believed that the whole thing was orchestrated by putin to consolidate his power and boost his popularity. by 1999 boris yetson was a
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shadow of his former self. his administration in corruption, corruption that could send him to the state prison. he needed a man he could trust so he turned to his prime minister and struck a deal. >> translator: on new year's eve, just in time for the new millennium, yetson took to the airways to resign, naming vladimir putin in his place, on his very first day in office president putin signed a decree granting boris yetson immunity from future prosecution. to save his own skin yetson struck a bargain. optimism that followed the collapse of the soviet union was replaced with putin's russia. he surrounded himself with loyalists and cracked down on dissent. the stage was set for russia to become what critics call a criminal state. next up from hamburg, a
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story that shows what happens when the power of the state is placed in the hands of criminals. stay with us. oh, millies. trick or treat! we're so glad to have you here. ♪ what if we treated great female scientists like they were stars? ♪ yasss queen! what if millie dresselhaus, the first woman to win the national medal of science in engineering, were as famous as any celebrity? [millie dresselhaus was seen having lunch today...] ♪ [...rumors of the new discovery...] what if we lived in a world like that? (crowd applauding) ♪ we know a place that's already working on it. ♪
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welcome back to hamburg. you've heard tonight from people who consider russia to be a criminal state. but what does that mean. it means that the power of the state is at the service of one man, vladimir putin. it means that a select group of officials and businessmen, his inner circle had become incredibly rich.
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that's because putin is the law and members of his inner circle can operate with impunity. it means that sometimes corruption can lead to homicide. for american born investor bill browder, it all comes down to three words. >> greed, money and murder. these people are so obsessed with money that they're ready to kill anyone who gets in the way. >> sounds like a mafia. >> it's a mafia that's running a sovereign state with nuclear weapons. >> browder didn't start out as a campaigner for clean government. quite the opposite. the hedge fund manager first went to russia more than two decades ago in the free forall days after the fall of the soviet union >> here in moscow, the fight for now is an economic fight as this country struggles to rebuild after the fall of communism. >> the nation's entire economy was being privatized on the cheap. >> the stuff was being effect e
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effectiveeffectiv effectively given away for free. all you had to do was show up. >> when vladimir putin took off, he promised to stop the gold rush. >> he came in at a time of total chaos. the allah garices had taken over russia. 150 million people eating dirt. putin said we're going to get rid of these 22 guys and we're going to clean up russia. >> and you believed it? >> i clapped along with everybody else. we thought oh, this is going to be so much better. >> he cheered and made a fortune as one al lo gark after another was jailed, or muscled out until of course they came for him. >> aarrive at the main moscow airport and four heavily armed officials said follow me, sir, in russia. i had officially been deported because iz was considered a threat to national security. >> putin was tightening his grip on power, getting rid of the
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people he considered dangerous to his regime and making the rest an implicit offer they could not refuse. work with me and keep your money. that left browder out in the cold. >> 25 police officers from the moscow police department raid my office in moscow. and they're specifically looking for the stamps, seals and certificates. >> a lawyer for browder was tasked with finding out why. he quickly figured it out. someone was using those stamps, seals and certificates to defraud the russian treasury out of $230 million in tax refunds. and it worked? >> it worked remarkably. it was the largest tax refund in the history of russia and approved the next day and paid out one day later. >> he sent the evidence he was gathering back to london where browder was building a case against the judges, tax officials and police officers
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who he says were in on the heist. they retaliated by going after mag nis ki charging him with fraud and locking him up in one of moscow's most notorious prisons. >> they wanted to break him down, wanted him to withdraw his testimony against the police officers and wanted him to sign a false confession that he stole the $230 million and he did so on my instruction. and sergey refused to buckle. >> he detailed torturous conditions. the cells smaller, the treatment harsher, his health fading. but according to browder, that wasn't enough. >> they chained him to an bed and eight riot guards with rubber batons beat him to death. >> if he was dying any way, what i would they do such an act, why chain him to the bed and beat him with batons. >> because that's what they do in russia.
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>> browder's crew said now had a martyr. he went to washington and asked congress to pass the mag nis ki act which became law in 2012. >> the bill is passed. . majority leader. >> it placed personal sanctions on the people said to be accused of the crime. putin took that very personally. >> translator: do you think that no one ever dies in american jails or what? of course they do. and so what. do i have to make a story out of each and every one of these cases. >> yes, we should according to this activist. >> strikes at the heart of the system of corruption and hypocrisy that we have in power in in our country for the past seven years. >> a russia also testified in support of the act. that put him in the kremlin's cross hairs.
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>> people who are opposed to the current government like my colleagues like me, are denounced as traitors. but of course slander and even imprisonment are no longer the biggest dangers that face those who dare to oppose vladimir putin. >> despite the dangers, information about the case kept trickling out of moscow. browder abe his lawyer had a cloak and dagger meeting in a london par with a man who said he could tell them exactly where some of the stolen money was stashed. >> it was so specific as to say these tax inspectors have a villa on fraund f of the palm island. it was unbelievable. >> in dubai? >> in dubai. >> not just dubai. he was able to account for another big chunk of the loot which ended up in switzerland and because he was an insider he had the bank statements to prove it. >> did you think he was putting himself at risk talking with you? >> frankly we're at risk,
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anybody who engaging in helping this opening is at risk. >> he rented a house in an exclusive well-guarded gated community outside of london. he went jogging one day and dropped dead. the reported cause of death was a heart attack. but now five years later a classified u.s. intelligence report leaked to the website was feed purports to show that american spies had high confidence that he was ordered on orders from the kremlin. forensic tests found what could be tiny traces of an exotic and toxic plant in his stomach. the poison is easily hidden in food and causes death by asphyxiation. >> it was 5 o'clock in the morning and i woke up because my heart was racing. and then i started sweating really badly and feeling suddenly really weak and then i started having trouble breathing. >> when he met in washington earlier this year, he was still frail.
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doctors say he was lucky to survive poisoning. what's remarkable is this is the second time doctors managed to bring him back from death's door. >> of course i knew straightaway what it was because this was the second time in two years this happened 37 a happened. and it began almost identically in the same way. and within six hours all of my major organs shut down one after another. >> who do you think was responsible? >> i can only presume this was done by people with at least with connections to the russian special services. >> the second poisoning happened while kei morts so was touring russia, screening a documentary on his friend, boris nemtsov. >> the most popular opposition leader since putin came to power was also the most prominent supporter of the act. >> the mag nis ki act directed against groups and abusers.
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>> and another victim. on the night of february 27th, 2015, nemtsov was walking home from dinner with his girlfriend, the most popular critic of the putin regime, the man who was calling for sanctions on some of the most pufl people in this country was walking across this bridge completely unguarded. this is after all the center of moscow. there are always plenty of people around. and there are cameras on every corner. but according to russia officials, that night around 11:30 when nemtsov was shot in the back at least five times right in front of his girlfriend, none of the cameras captured the moment. nemtsov bled to death right here in the shadow of the kremlin. there was one camera that was recording that night but it didn't capture the assassination. a city truck happened to block the view. five muslim separatists were convicted of the murder last week but human rights groups suggest that they are just
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patsys. either way, another powerful russian voice against putin and for the mag nis ki act was silenced. >> this is the most pro-russian law ever passed in any foreign parliament. and if you were to ske many what is the most likely reason for somebody trying to kill me twice in two years, i think it's that. >> because you supported u.s. sanctions against russia, the -- >> please don't say that. these are not sanctions against russia. they're sanctions against crooks. i am russian, my colleagues are russian. boris nemtsov was a russian. >> even if standing up is the definition of russian patriotism, then there still are patriots left in russia. this law representing mag nis ki's family. he happened to find in a moscow court a cashe of documents which
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appeared to show that stolen money ended up in dubai and switzerland but also in new york city where it was used to buy high-end property. he could have looked the other way but he didn't. >> translator: i photographed all of the documents and then traveled to london where the american prosecutors copied them. >> that was enough for a federal prosecutor to seize the new york properties and launch a case against the russian owners. his testimony and the documents he provided were kept under seal for his own protection. and yet soon enough he had a strange accident. >> and you fell down there? >> translator: yes, i woke up in the hospital and the doctor said it was a miracle i was alive. i fell four stories. >> do you think this was just an accident? >> translator: this could not have been an accident. someone planned this. but unfortunately i do not remember the details.
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>> he is lucky to be alive. is this what happens to lawyers in this country if they push too far? >> translator: many things happen. when the state starts covering up for fraudsters, anything is possible. >> do you think this is a campaign organized by the kremlin? >> there's no doubt about it. of course. i mean if -- there seems to be an extremely high mortality rate for some reason among independent journalists and political opponents of mr. putin in the last 17 years. ♪ >> everybody when they hear of the russian mafia they think of guys with gold teeth and leather jackets. but now russia is the mafia and putin is the boss.
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that provide all-day comfort to keep him feeling more energized. so he even has the energy to take the long way home. keep it up, steve! dr. scholl's. born to move. the meeting today here in hamburg between president trump and vladimir putin will naturally raise questions about how each side handled it and what it means for future relations. one thing that did not come up, at least as far as we're told, is human rights. i wanted to take a minute to go back to something we just heard from vladimir car morts za, the human rights activist poisoned twice. he says and i quote there seems to be an extremely high mortality rate.
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but in almost each case there is no conclusive evidence that these people were killed by the russian government. sometimes it isn't clear if they were murdered or died of natural causes. the only thing we know is that putin's enemies have a way of turning up dead and that evidence has a way of being meticulously covered up. so we thought we'd take a moment to remind ourselves of that body count. like anna, the investigative journalist who wouldn't stop, despite death threats, despite being poisoned, shot to death as she was getting on the elevator of her building, or the russia spy who deflected. poisoned by radioactive material slipped into his tea at a meeting in londolondon. and of course boris nemtsov, the fiery leader of the opposition in russia shot five times in the back right in front of the
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kremlin. but these are just the famous ones. according to research by a british journalist, in last three years more than 40 people, critics, untrust worry insider and those who knew too much about what happened inside the kremlin have been murdered or died in mysterious circumstances. the member of parliament who slipped in the batting, the scottish property developer suspected of laundering the money of russians, fell from the fourth building of his home. two of them were senior members of the russian anti-doping agency which was allegedly involved in a state sponsored doping program for russian athletes and two, a general from the service and a businessman who died in a new york hospital may have been sources for leaks about the alleged ties between the kremlin and the trump campaign. most of the murders are unsolved. many of the deaths are
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attributed to natural causes. but when you put the whole list together, it's hard to ignore the pattern. and that's what makes alex say that value any the most prominent surviving leader of the opposition so impressive. he's seen what happens to putin's critics and yet he won't stop fighting. he was released from prison today after 25 yoo dadays. that's welcome news to his followers. that's next. invitation is on. now get our best offers of the season. on the agile mkc. on the versatile midsize lincoln mkx. or go where summer takes you in the exhilarating mkz. the lincoln summer invitation sales event. ask about complimentary pick up & delivery servicing. right now get zero percent apr plus 1,000 dollars summer savings on the lincoln mkx, mkc and mkz
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welcome back to hamburg. as we said, the most prompt leader of the russian opposition alexei navalny was released from prison told. authorities didn't want that moment caught on camera. they snuck him by the reporters and released him somewhere else. so he went on youtube to tell his supporters that together we have broken the wall of censorship and lies that mr. putin has been building for the last 18 years and managed to bring our ideas to millions. he defiantly promised to hold new rallies even though they will try to ban them. there are rallies going on in hamburg tonight. dozens have been arrested. but most if not all of them were fighting with police in this country. in russia it's a different story. navalny was sent to prison for the crime of calling for an unauthorized demonstration.
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the unsanctioned rally in moscow last month lasted only a few minutes. we were there. this is what happens when you try to demonstrate against vladimir putin in today's russia, these demonstrators come out, they've been denouncing putin, calling him a criminal. now the riot police are pushing them back. they're making it very clear that they are not going to put up with this demonstration for long. they didn't. the demonstration was crushed soon after it began. and navalny wasn't even there. he was arrested right outside his apartment building. and yet all across russia's 1 is time zones, people answered his call and took to the streets. 1700 of them were detained by police. anti-putin, anti-corruption demonstrations like these are usually broke unup with force. what's remarkable about these demonstrations is that they took
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place at all. the world's most famous chess master believes that shows that things in russia are finally starting to change. >> it's a brand-new trend in russia when you have young people, almost teenagers with, those who are not poisoned by putin's propaganda machine. they're not brainwashed by tv because they don't watch tv. they noll low navalny. >> that volny wants to run for president nooex year but the government charged him with financial crimes which he says were trumped up to stop him from running against putin. he's been arrested, been beaten, had green liquid thrown at his face which nearly blinded him but he and his supporters fight on. the putin has a backing of a vast majority of russians. they see him as a strong man, the only man who can revive russia's power in a world full of enanies. that's why putin loves making
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enemie enemies. >> putin cannot afford peace. he needs con flick as the only atmosphere where he can survive. >> it's the never ending conflict with the whole world that gives putin cover for a never ending crackdown on anyone who speaks out against him. and no one speaks out as loudly as this group. this stunt made this young profane women in ski masks world famous and landed two of them in prison. >> this man says that you can't criticize your government. >> they're out now and whatever lesson the system was trying to teach them, they didn't learn it. we asked one member, who everyone calls masha, about the group's provocative name. >> it's just funny. >> so it's a joke on politicians that every time they talk about you they have to say pussy riot.
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>> yeah. >> you're getting a little dig at them? >> kind of. but now i think we have enough politicians pronouncing pussy. >> she's talking, of course, about president trump. she and her friends watch thousands of mirn take to the streets in pink hats. it was their kind of protest, but she thinks it should go further. >> very simple. i think riot and do not be afraid. >> don't be afraid? >> i think it's already happening. it's important just not to stop. >> just in case anyone missed the message, pussy riot has a new video out, and this one is not about putin. ♪ >> no more abortions. ♪
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>> one of the most surprising things we learned while putting this show together is the word russia is getting some love in places that will probably surprise you too. here's nbc's kelly cobiella. >> in america tonight, almost half of republican voters, 49%, consider russia an ally. russian dolls, russian books. russia everywhere here. have you met him? >> i've not, no. >> would you like to in. >> absolutely. he's fantastic. >> what does russia think of us? >> russia considers us to be the main enemy. >> the full and bizarre story after the break. stay with us. ♪
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you're not taking these. hey, hey, hey! you're not taking those. whoa, whoa! you're not taking that. come with me. you're not taking that. you're not taking that. you're not taking that. mom, i'm taking the subaru. don't be late. even when we're not there to keep them safe, our subaru outback will be. (vo) love. it's what makes a subaru, a subaru. she pretty much lives in her favorite princess dress. but once a week
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i let her play sheriff so i can wash it. i use tide to get out those week old stains and downy to get it fresh and soft. you are free to go. tide and downy together. we are live in hamburg at the g20 summit where president trump met today with russian president vladimir putin. one of the people thinks often ask me when i'm back in the states is what's the big deal about russia? why does it matter if people around the president have business or personal ties with moscow? well, consider this. many russian officials and prominent businessmen have close relationships with the intelligence services, a business meeting can be a recruiting opportunity, and a pleasant russian official who shares your values may turn out to be a wanted man. as kelly cobiella found out when she went to the last place on earth where we expected to find a story about russian influence. ♪
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>> reporter: for decades, russia was seen as the enemy of freedom. in reagan's america, they called it -- >> an evil empire. ♪ >> reporter: in trump's america, land of god, guns, and country, christian conservatives are falling in love with russia and vladimir putin. have you met him? >> i have not, no. >> would you like to in. >> absolutely. he's fantastic. >> reporter: g. klein preston the iv, a successful family man, christian, and conservative. >> russian books, russian everywhere here. >> preston, born and raised in the south, believes russia shares his values on same-sex marriage, gun rights and terrorism. >> we're very similar people. in fact, you could take many russians and you can put them in a room with people that are from nashville, tennessee, and everybody would kind of look the same. >> he does business in russia and has built some very close
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ties with power players like the deputy head of russia's central bank, a former senator and putin ally. you consider him a friend? >> absolutely. senator torson is a gun enthusiast and a big proponent of the right to bear arms. >> reporter: that's why for the first time this year, when american gun lovers went to russia to compete in a shooting match, torson was right there, sharing a table with team russia at the medal ceremony. he's a regular at n prrks a meetings, tweeting pictures with the former nra president. they were introduced by klein preston. other christian conservatives are having the same change of heart, inviting a delegation from the russian orthodox church to the first ever christian persecution summit this spring, organized by another putin fan,
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evangelist franklin graham. the two met in 2015. >> i think he's, again, an honest person, a direct person. and so he's going to do what's right for russia. >> reporter: former cia officer daniel hoffman spent five years in moscow and much of his intelligence career studying how russians operate. >> they devote a tremendous amount of resources to understanding us, what makes our political system work, where the interest groups are located. and then in certain situations, seeking to influence us as well. >> they're looking for information and joint interest so that we're not adverse to each other. >> do you ever suspect at all that there's more to torsion than just a great friend and a public servant? >> do i suspect that? well, you know, i don't live with him. so i couldn't tell you, you
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know, everything about senator torsion. >> reporter: in fact, preston knows torsion was a wanted man in spain. spanish judicial sources say they were investigating allegations that in 2013, torsion was directing a money laundering operation for the russian mob. spanish police tell us they were ready to arrest torsion the second he stepped off a plane. they say they had teams here at the airport, and the prosecutors were on standby around the clock for days. torsion never showed. >> we hope that he come hiere, but at the end no come here. >> can't do anything? >> reporter: torsion did not respond to our request to comment on the allegations. klein preston believes he's innocent. >> he's a brilliant man, but he's not a mobster.
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i've never heard a bad word about him. >> the russians are experts at finding common ground. >> if there's a guy who we know has a top-level job in russia and he's hanging out with the nra in the united states -- >> sure. >> -- is it possible that it's just because he likes guns? >> it is. it's also possible that he may be collecting information about a person, understanding what makes a person tick, and then feeding that information back to russian contingency. >> reporter: both conservatives and russians we spoke to said there's nothing sinister about their newfound friendship. in red state america today, a poll taken in may found almost half of republican voters, 49%, consider russia friendly or an ally. is russia allctually our ally? russia considers us to be the main enemy.
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>> the g20 summit has another day to go, another day of demonstrations on the streets and high-level meetings in well-guarded rooms. but everyone here knows that the main event is now over. so that does it for us from hamburg tonight. rachel will be back on monday, and i will see you again next friday live from iraq where we will take you to the front lines for the final push to drive isis out of the city of mosul. now it's time for "the last word." ari melber is in for lawrence tonight. good evening, ari. >> good evening, richard. thank you for all that reporting. but you go, i do want to ask you given everything, do you think putin got what he wanted out of president trump today? >> i think he absolutely got what he wanted. i think he came in with this intention to have a long meeting. i think he wanted to overwhelm the president, presenting him lots of options, lots of things they could discuss, put some mate


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