tv Andrea Mitchell Reports MSNBC July 11, 2017 9:00am-10:00am PDT
what you say, i love it, especially later in the summer. all this last year during the campaign. keir simmons tracked down the russian lawyer who is tasked to bring that information to trump tower. >> they had the impression, it appears, they were going to be told some information that you had about the dnc. how did they get that impression? >> translator: it is quite possible that maybe they were looking for such information. they wanted it so badly. >> connecting the dots. as the president's older son calls it a nonsense meeting, top democrats are pouncing even before the e-mail is dropped. >> there is a lot more in the public domain, but, of course, the evolving accounts from don jr. don't inspire a lot of confidence. >> we're now beyond obstruction of justice in terms of what is being investigated. this is moving into perjury, false statements, and even potentially treason. >> we'll talk to senator tim
kaine, the former vice presidential nominee coming up right here as some republican leaders are also chiming in. >> there is an e-mail from a russian suggesting that the russian government wants to help, that would be very problematic. and good day, everyone. i'm andrea mitchell in new york where we have major breaking news. donald trump jr. facing an expose has released what he says that e-mail exchange with the trump family business associate last year during the campaign. the e-mails make it clear that the trump associate, publicist rob goldstone, specifically offered what he described as information from the kremlin. russian officials quoted in the e-mail saying that goldstone said offered to provide the trump campaign with some official document sent information that would incriminate hillary and her dealings with russia and would be very useful to your father. this is obviously very high level and sensitive information, said the e-mail, but is part of
russia and its government support for mr. trump, closed quote. donald jr.'s response, 15 minutes later, thanks, rob, i appreciate that. he went on to say, if it is what you say, i love it. especially later in the summer. peter alexander is at white house. peter, an extraordinary e-mail chain. he says it is legitimate and the new york times said now from its managing editor they were about to publish it and that is why they say he released it at this time. >> that was the first question, why is donald trump jr. doing this, we knew yesterday he had hired an attorney, as far back as march. he had said there was no such meeting, the story evolved over the course of the weekend and as a result of the new york times reporting and ultimately their obtaining the e-mails, donald trump jr. himself decided to provide the information. you nailed it on the head in demonstrating some of donald trump jr.'s willingness to accept this information, he said i love it.
even as part of the tweet today, it seems his story doesn't line up entirely. he says of the woman, the woman who was supposed to be providing this information, that she was not a russian government official, in any form, but in one of the e-mails, dated june 7th, the letter from that trusted intermediary, the e-mail says that she was a russian government attorney. so this appears to have occurred in haste in some form, that the story even after the release of the e-mails doesn't entirely line up right now. it raises a lot of other questions about whether or not in fact this is a crime, but for the white house, the west wing is on its heels right now. they have said throughout there was no collusion. donald trump at his only news you conference in february said there was no ties to russians and no one as best he knows had any ties of any kind to russian officials. but now on a day that we know, june 9th, of 2016, that president trump was in fact at trump tower, no information that indicates he was in attendance
for this meeting, we know an individual, who was work on behalf of the russian government was there, meeting with his son, meeting with his son-in-law, and meeting with the campaign's chairman at the time. >> when we look at the players who were involved, it is very clear that this was a high level trump command center meeting, he did not bring minor officials, he brought jared kushner and paul manafort. >> yeah, what is striking is in these e-mails, and obviously we have to peel them back a little bit, it is unclear what the forwarded e-mail was, but this information was directed to jared kushner and paul manafort by e-mail, saying the meeting in effect is going to be at 4:00 as it describes it. now, it doesn't say whether that e-mail was a forward, so it doesn't necessarily indicate that all the back story was include ed in it. but it would make sense that there would have been some indication that they knew anything to be taken to this meeting. you can't imagine in the heart of the campaign, the son-in-law to the candidate, the campaign
chairman would say, hey, sure, we'll take a meeting with someone you don't know anything about, about a topic you don't know anything about. why would they have time for such a thing. that raises a lot of its own questions as well. >> peter alexander, thank you so very much. joining me now is, first of all, nbc news justice and security analyst matt miller, chief spokesman from eric holder's justice department, rick stengel and undersecretary of public diplomacy in john kerry's state department, joining us on the phone, bob bower and election law expert previously white house counsel under president obama. first, to you, matt miller, let's talk about the legal implications if any here. donald trump jr. is putting this e-mail chain out according to the new york times, about to publish them and said these were, by tweet this morning earlier, this was a nonsense meeting, the meeting with the kremlin connected lawyer who was offering this through the trump associate now, we see the e-mail, dirt on hillary clinton.
what is the legal jeopardy for him? >> this is the digital equivalent of a smoking gun left at a crime scene. it is a violation of campaign finance law to solicit or accept a thing of value from a foreign national, bob bower can talk more about this. if you were ever to take this forward, a jury would look at the fact that you knew not only was it from a foreign national, but from a foreign national working on behalf of a foreign government trying to steer the election. that is potentially a crime. it also raises serious questions about the other potential crimes that happened, the hacking of the clinton e-mail, hacking of john podesta's e-mail, the dnc e-mail and whether the trump campaign knew about it. think about what happens with this e-mail. donald trump jr. gets an e-mail from an intermediary from the kremlin that says the russian government wants to help elect your president. your father president. he signals back to that intermediary, yes, i love it, we are happy to accept your support, have to think that message made it back to the kremlin and what did they do
with that information? they proceed to hack e-mails and release them to the public. >> in terms of the -- according to adam schiff last night on rachel maddow's program, the hacking had taken place in 2015. they have not weaponized or released the hacked e-mails, but had penetrated dnc at least. we don't know exactly the timing of john podesta. bob bower, let me ask you about the legal issues if any and we know this is very early on, just looking at these e-mails and the lawyer for donald trump jr. said there is nothing to it, less there than meets the eye. >> i don't know how anybody familiar with the campaign finance laws can say there is nothing to it. i'm not sure where in the world that comes from. matt correctly stated, there is a clear cut prohibition on federal law on accepting support. anything of value for that matter from a foreign national, accepting it or soliciting it or for that matter even providing substantial assistance to the russian government and trying to influence the election. and these e-mails reflect
knowledge that the government supported the trump campaign, and knowledge that the russian government was prepared to take action through intermediaries with the assistance of the trump campaign and bringing about that result. >> now, rick stengel, you've been an official at the state department and you have a deep knowledge of russia as well. first of all, this lawyer, this woman, who was arguing in favor of -- lobbying very extensively, went to washington later in the week, days later, to present her case to members of the house foreign affairs committee, and others, against sanctions, human rights sanctions have been leveled, amid the sanctions, which came up during the meeting with don jr., she was clearly carrying water for the putin regime. >> i think the distinction we make here, andrea, between government and nongovernment, private sector and public space is not a distinction made in russia. that is basically an oligarchical mafia state. and the government uses private
citizens who are beholden to the government. so when -- by the way, it almost doesn't matter because in the note, from rob goldstone, he says that she is a government official, a government lawyer. donald trump jr. knowingly accepted that meeting, thinking that it was a government lawyer, which as bob will tell you, because he's the world's greatest expert on this, constitutes solicitation, violation of federal election law . >> the lawyer in question was interviewed exclusively by our own keir simmons in moscow. he sat down with her and talked to her about the circumstances of this and got her side of the story. keir? >> andrea, natalia veselnitskaya is a russian lawyer who has been alleged has close links to the kremlin and to the russian government. i asked her directly about that, whether that was the case. she absolutely denied it. and denied the suggestion that she had information that was part of the russians trying to
help the russian government, trying to help the trump campaign. so how did she end up in a meeting with the trump campaign? she says that -- in part of lobbying the u.s. government over particular piece of legislation, she had a whole bunch of research on many, many different topics and in it included some allegations about the clinton campaign. and now what she says is that she was trying to meet with any part of americans and somebody here in moscow who she knows was able to connect her with donald trump jr. fast-forward what she says is she got a phone call, in -- got a phone call in new york, saying be at trump tower at this time, on this day, she went there, she's met the publicist called robert goldstone, who takes her upstairs to a room where there is jared kushner, donald trump jr. and paul manafort. she doesn't know who those people are at the time, and she says she only really realized in recent days. she says, though, donald trump jr. led the meeting, and that it
became quite clear that they did not agree with each other in terms of what the meeting was for. they were looking for information about the clinton campaign, she says, and she had different objectives to do with this u.s. legislation. take a listen. >> translator: i never knew who else would be attending the meeting. all i knew mr. donald trump jr. was willing to meet with me. i could recognize the young gentleman only present in the meeting for the first 7 to 10 minutes and then stood up and left the room. it was mr. jared kushner and he never came back, by the way. and the other individual who was at the same meeting was always looking at his phone. he was reading something. he never took any active part in the conversation. that was mr. manafort. >> they had the impression, it appears, that they were going to be told some information that you had about the dnc, who did
they get that impression? >> translator: it is quite possible that maybe they were looking for such information. they wanted it so badly. >> she says ultimately she considered the meeting to be a failure, because she was hoping for some pledge to help her change u.s. law, and she simply didn't get that. and she got the impression that the other side, the trump campaign, felt the same way. >> thanks to keir simmons and clearly from this e-mail chain, from rob goldstone, former business associate and well known to donald trump jr. and his father, the family, the father of this man, represented, he represented people in russia, who were in the real estate business, and had some business relationships with trump in the past before the campaign, so bob bower, getting back to this whole issue of how this evolved, i want to clarify something from the new york times, the new york times checked with donald trump jr., they said they were about to publish this content of the e-mails, and instead of
responding to his -- to their request for comment, he then tweeted out the e-mail chain in response. so that's how the chain of events that led to him releasing these e-mails voluntarily. bob bower, what, again, did the committees do, what is bob mueller do, how does this affect the ongoing investigation? >> one key -- i apologize, one key issue that has been raised here as it appears in the reporting is that somehow donald trump jr. had a uniquely individual legal problem and he'll have to account for solicitation issues here as donald trump jr., but bear in mind, they're acting as agents of the campaign. this takes the case to the trump campaign. this s this is a meeting to which come also the campaign manager and one of the candidates most
senior advisers. so i think it is important to see that this sort of enlarges the scope of liability significantly. >> there is still no way, rick stengel, to connect this meeting with what ended up being an e-mail dumped through wikileaks, which could be traced back according to u.s. intelligence to the russian government. we don't know what motivated the russian government to weaponize that -- those hacked e-mails. >> that's the kind of thing that the committees are investigating, that bob mueller is investigating, and i do want to throw up one kennard, one thing that donald trump jr. has said is that we got no information from that meeting as though that was a legal defense, according to federal law, to solicit or ask for any substantial information or contribution, whether it is given or not is in itself a violation of the law. so the fact that this woman had nothing to say is not exculpatory in any way. >> matt miller, you look at the political landscape in washington, we had a number of
republicans not only the members of the committee but certainly also john mccain, lindsey graham, raising alarms about donald trump's attitude towards vladimir putin and the g-20 and before. now, are more republicans, do you think, going to begin to be concerned and nervous about the posture of this white house? >> i don't know how anyone can defend what is in the e-mails, whether republican or democrat. this really is a time, something that people say all the time, look, we have to put country ahead of party. what you see in the e-mails is someone putting their party before their country. willing to work with a foreign government, whether it actually consummated that relationship or not, willing to work with the foreign government, to subvert a u.s. election. anyone that defends that is potentially -- is basically defending that action and saying that they also will put their party over the country. it is time for republicans really, you know, to look at this and say we need to get to the bottom of what happened.
we're going to stop going off on side shows, asking about susan rice and unmasking or stop asking about what loretta lynch did in the middle of the campaign and support real investigations to get to the bottom of that. it is the right thing to do. you have to think it is the politically smart thing to do. every day we see a new shoe that drops in the investigation. and it seems we are nowhere near seeing the final shoe. >> matt miller and, of course, rick stengel and bob bower, thank you for joining us by phone. coming up here, senator tim kaine, the 2016 democratic vice presidential candidate, joining me here next with his reaction to what you just heard about donald trump jr. and him knowing about the kremlin's attempts to help his father's campaign against clinton/kaine. you're watching "andrea mitchell reports" only on msnbc. tech: when you schedule with safelite autoglass, you get time for more life. this family wanted to keep the game going. son: hey mom, one more game? tech: with safelite, you get a text when we're on our way.
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and joining me now from capitol hill, democratic senator tim kaine, a member of the senate foreign relations committee and running mate for mill r hillary clinton, the vice presidential nominee. your initial reaction to the e-mail chain that has now been released by don jr. as the new york times was approaching him for comment since they already had this e-mail chain, indicating that the providence of all this was the kremlin. >> andrea, these e-mails are very explosive. a june 3rd e-mail that says we want to meet with you to share dirt about hillary clinton and
even says this is part of the russian government's effort to help elect your father. and then a few days later, i think the 7th of june, the e-mail to donald trump jr. says the russian government attorney is flying over from moscow to have the meeting. this should have set off alarm bells and red lights and instead what it seemed to do is it activated their sal vary glands. we got to get more. they should have turned this over to law enforcement immediately. instead, they had this very, very troubling meeting, and this is just wheelbarrows full of new evidence for the special prosecutor and the senate intelligence committee. >> do you agree, bob bower was just on, saying this connects it to the campaign because they were acting as agents for the campaign. or is don jr. separate from the campaign, separate certainly from the white house, since he's not part of the administration? >> well, we have to find out the whole context, but apparently from what i read, that the meeting was not just with don jr., but also paul manafort, the
campaign chairman, jared kushner might have been there for part of it. so this is all material that needs to be investigated. i'm not on an investigating committee. i use the intelligence that comes to the investigation as member of armed services and foreign relations, but this is intel and especially for the special prosecutor to get to the bottom of it. i think these e-mails are very e explosive. >> as part of the ticket running with hillary clinton what is your visceral reaction to all of this? >> i sort of have a visceral reaction in a little bit of a different way. i'm on the armed services committee and one of my kids is in the military. we have thousands of american troops deployed on the border with russia to protect our allies against russian aggression. my son was deployed during the campaign. there is american troops deployed there now. the notion that we would be deploying our best and brightest in the military thousands of miles away from home to protect against russian aggression, but
then you would have campaign officials excited about meeting with the russians who were telling them we have an official governmental effort to affect your election, this is very, very disturbing. remember, general dunnford, the head of the joint chiefs of staff who is the current head, not only president obama, but president trump reappointed him, he and others have testified before our committee that russia is the principle state adversary of the united states and the world right now. and so why you would be engaged with them over discussions about their effort to influence an american election, there is no good answer to that question. >> and that context, how did you feel when the president said he was honored to meet vladimir putin at the g-20? >> this weekend was one shocker after the next. i think, you know, the fact that under -- by most accounts he was not vigorous in challenging vladimir putin for attacking america's election. he sent out the highly bizarre
tweet saying we can work together with putin on cybersecurity issues and to protect elections. i mean, i just felt like there is either a level of naivete, that is stratospheric or he's trying to cover his tracks in some ways. i thought the interactions between he and vladimir putin over the weekend just add a whole additional set of questions to what is now a very, very serious ongoing investigation. >> and i want to ask you about health care. one more question about the military, because it is also reported, first reported by the new york times, and confirmed by nbc that there was a meeting on saturday at the pentagon with steve bannon from the white house, jared kushner, and general mattis, the secretary of defense. according to the times, the proposal from bannon and kushner was to privatize our military in afghanistan to have eric prince and another former contractor -- contracting firm take over the
war in afghanistan instead of sending more -- 4,000 more u.s. troops to try to continue this fight in afghanistan. how do you feel about that? >> well, we have to get a readout of this and understand, first, steve bannon and jared kushner have no business suggesting military strategy. bannon was pushed off of the national security council for a very good reason. he doesn't have any business monkeying around in this area. and jared kushner doesn't either. and second, the notion that you would privatize efforts in afghanistan in the armed services committee, we have been asking the administration can you bring to us a strategy about afghanistan? and they have not been able to do it. they haven't brought to us a strategy about isis. they haven't brought to us a strategy about syria. we're waiting for a strategy and the notion that you would privatize it, by handing a contract to a guy whose earlier career with blackwater was very controversial, who is a family member of betsy devos, the secretary of education, this
raises many more questions. i do have confidence in general mattis. i think he could -- he could spot a crazy idea a mile off and people could make a pitch to him, but i do have great confidence in secretary mattis that he's not going to compromise what we need to do to be effective. >> let me ask you about health care, i know you're one of those who have been waiting for the call from mitch mcconnell for a bipartisan meeting. do you expect to see the newly tweaked republican bill? whatever amendments are coming from ted cruz and others? do you expect that democrats will be brought to the table? >> i don't kn, andrea. there is only one way that democrats get to the table and that's if the republicans fail to get their 50 votes plus vice president pence to cast the tiebreaker. if they can't get their votes, i think what they will do and frankly this is what they should have done in january, when i asked them to do this, let the
committees do their jobs. there is a health committee, a finance committee, we're there to work on health care issues and make improvements. i had a round table yesterday with families of kids who were disabled. when you cut medicaid as this bill does, by total of about a trillion -- three over ten years if you add up their bill and president trump's budget, 16% of medicaid recipients in virginia are children. i met with children and their families yesterday and the stories they told me about how medicaid cuts would affect them are heart breaking. if we get this in committees, we can have a hearing and let the family members testify. but the effort to do it behind closed doors not only doesn't include democrats, but more importantly doesn't include the public. >> senator tim kaine, thank you so much, sir. thanks for being with us today. >> you bet, thanks so much. coming up, more on our breaking news, donald trump jr.'s e-mail exchange with the business associate offering, quote, russian dirt on hillary clinton. you're watching "andrea mitchell
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hillary clinton to help his father's campaign. before meeting with a russian lawyer, these new revelations said he was offered that information coming at a crucial time for russia and u.s. relations and only days after the president's first meeting with vladimir putin, a controversial one at that. joining me now is the dean of the fletcher school of law and diplomacy at tufts university, james devrides. we need you today, for sure. please sort through this. the president's elder son, just days after his father nailed down the nomination for all intents and purposes, gets an e-mail from a former associate, a representative of some russian business people, who they knew the trump family knew well in moscow during the miss universe pageant and elsewhere in real estate world and they offer incriminating evidence, basically dirt, on hillary clinton's relationship with the kremlin from the top, from kremlin officials, the chief prosecutor in moscow according
to the e-mail. and don jr. e-mails back, i love it, as you describe it. what do you make of this? >> big trouble ahead. i think for the administration. this is not small beer. and, you know, i'm remembered, one of shakespeare's plays, i forget which one, at the end of the act, the stage direction is exit pursued by a bear. and i feel like, you know, the russian bear is just almost chasing the trump administration around the stage at the moment. and where i come at this andrea, how does this look internationally. the sense of pervading confusion is now exacerbated by an extremely elevated degree, based on this latest round of revelations. buckle up. i think we'll have many challenges both internally as you've been discussing, but externally as our credibility continues to be shredded. >> already at the g-20, the
president had this controversial meeting with vladimir putin, mixed signals, no note taker, no news conference afterward, a briefing by three cabinet secretaries that were then countermandered about backing off of that joint cybertask force. after seeing the television reactions, certainly on "meet the press" from lindsey graham and others, john mccain. so the other world leaders are now looking at it as one of our colleagues in australia said so memorably as the g-19. >> yeah, another construct is to say we fit the g-0 as in there is really nobody trying to lead the orchestra. and that's very worrisome. the institutions that have worked in favor of the united states and in favor of the values that we cherish over the last 50, 60 years, since the end
of the second world war need a conductor of the orchestra, not a world policeman, but a conductor of the orchestra. we're ceding that ground, china is very happy to take that conductor's baton, russia will continue to be a troublemaker, and geopolitics 101 looks extremely diffuse at this point. i worry deeply about how that will affect american interests going forward. >> and as a former nato commander, i'm wondering how you view the whole notion from jared kushner and steve bannon to general mattis this weekend that we should outsource the war in afghanistan to contractors like the former blackwater boss, eric prince. >> yeah, this is in the category of dumb and dumber. it is a dumb idea because of the obvious conflict of interest, with those two particular individuals. it is a dumber idea when you take people with very little to no strategic knowledge and try
to shoehorn them into what is a very nuanced and tightly structured series of developing recommendations for the president, led by the secretary of defense, jim mattis, who has forgotten more about afghanistan than all four of the people you just mentioned combined. we run real risk of this nato mission, starting it really fall apart. this is not a good idea. those are not the right people. we need to rely on secretary mattis not a pickup team from inside the white house. >> well, tell us how you really feel about this, admiral. thank you very much. thanks for your wisdom. so good to talk to you. we are learning new details, terrible details about a deadly crash, a marine corps cargo plane in mississippi, officials are now confirmed all 16 people on board were killed, including 15 marines and one sailor. the aircraft took off from marine corps air station in cherry point, north carolina, monday afternoon. transporting personnel and
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they should have turned this over to law enforcement immediately instead they had this very, very troubling meeting and this is just wheelbarrows full of new evidence for the special prosecutor and the senate intelligence committee. >> senator tim kaine, vice presidential nominee running with hillary clinton, reacting to the reports today as don jr. himself put out that e-mail chain, showing that he was offered by an associate kremlin-based information, dirt on hillary clinton, in a series of e-mails that, as i say, he disclosed after having been told by the new york times that they had the e-mails and were about to publish. joining me is paul butler, former federal prosecutor and msnbc contributor. thank you for being with us. what are the legal implications for don jr. and also for jared kushner and the others at this meeting? >> this is a smoking gun evidence of collusion, andrea. it is collusion itself is not a crime. but what is a federal offense is
soliciting a campaign contribution from a foreign national. like a government russian operative. it is defined as anything of value, so it could be money but it is also a service like opposition research, like dirt on hillary clinton. so right now, at this moment, there is probable cause to charge donald trump jr. with a federal offense. >> well, that is legal -- that's from a former prosecutor, obviously, we don't know what bob mueller is doing, whether or not there a grand jury, whether or not he's getting close to that. you're talking about serious issues. what about jared kushner and the others not having disclosed this. not important legally for don jr., not in the administration, but, again, we had late additions to their disclosures from people like jared kushner
who has a security clearance, a top security clearance. >> yeah, that's right. so donald trump jr. does not have a security clearance, he doesn't have a record of making statements under oath because he doesn't have an official white house position. so a couple of questions for kushner, who has had to fill out forms, we know in the past he's conveniently, we could say, forgotten things like meeting with the russians, so one issue is whether this meeting was disclosed, another is if he went into this meeting, with the same intent, as donald trump jr., that is seeking out dirt on clinton, then he's -- he has the same kind of criminal exposure that trump jr. has. so when you solicit a campaign contribution, you don't actually have to get it. so his defense may be, well, i got up and walked out of the meeting. that's not a legal defense. if he went into the meeting, hoping to get some information,
that was derogatory, that counts under the law as a campaign contribution and you're not allowed to do that with the foreign national. >> now, according to the e-mail chain, he was on one e-mail that we have seen, which is just telling them when and where the meeting was going to take place. we don't see kushner copied on the other e-mails which have all this information saying it was from the kremlin, that the government wanted to help his father don jr.'s father. so there is no proof it would have to wait for testimony and we do know that don jr. will be called before both of the intelligence committees. >> he's in a difficult position there. his lawyer, who he cannot be listening to now, because if he was listening to a lawyer, he would never have done this e-mail dump this morning. but if he does listen to his lawyer, his lawyer will say, you have a difficult choice. you should seriously consider taking the fifth. the problem is if you tell the truth, the truth may well imp implicate you in a federal crime. the question is, whether
politically it works for the president's son to take the fifth and in an investigation of his dad's presidential campaign. >> in a meeting that took place in trump tower on a day in june when we know that donald trump sr., that the president, the candidate himself, was at trump tow, but tow,er, and we should point out from a statement from vice president pence's press secretary, he knew nothing about it and, of course, had no connection to the campaign at that point, he had not been chosen as a running mate until after the convention. >> we do know that candidate trump was obsessed with hillary clinton's e-mails. it is hard to believe, frankly, that his son, his son-in-law, and the campaign manager would go to a meeting about e-mails and not tell the president. that's also a subject for mueller's investigation. >> paul butler, thanks so much for coming in. we really appreciate your legal expertise today. and coming up, more from nbc's keir simmons' exclusive
interview with the russian lawyer who met with donald trump jr., setting up those e-mail exchanges. >> have you ever worked for the russian government? do you have connections to the russian government? he country i came across this house with water dripping from the ceiling. you never know when something like this will happen. so let the geico insurance agency help you with homeowners insurance and protect yourself from things like fire, theft, or in this case, water damage. cannonball! now if i had to guess, i'd say somewhere upstairs there's a broken pipe. let the geico insurance agency help you with homeowners insurance. call today to see how much you could save.
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they had the impression, it appears, that they were going to be told some information that you had about the dnc. how did they get that impression? >> translator: it's quite possible that maybe they were looking for such information, they wanted it so badly. >> more of keir simmons' interview with natalia veselnitskaya. did it again. at the center of a storm after meeting with donald trump's son in june of 2016. so let's get the inside scoop from "the washington post" deputy editorial page editor and nbc's katy tur, covering the donald trump campaign from the beginning and still does and has written a book about her experience called "unbelievable: my front-row seat to the craziest campaign in american history," released september 12th. available for preorder. first of all, ruth, you've just
been blogging about this e-mail chain. as an attorney and a journalist, what is your take? >> what is the opposite of nothing burger? this is staggeringly incriminating evidence that has just come out. i agree with everything that paul butler said previously. how you could receive an e-mail like this and not go run to your campaign lawyer, who should then go to the fbi with it, how you could invite the russian government attorney into your campaign to provide evidence incriminating to your opponent. maybe that's the way the trump organization works in new york. it is not the way a campaign organization can work consistent with u.s. laws that are very clear about how you can't accept anything of value from a foreign national.
when i fist heard about this terrific story our friends at "the new york times" did and it was clear the meeting was not about russian adoption, but i could hardly have imagined that it could have evidence so bad and so voluntarily exposed and provided by donald trump jr. this is serious. >> and the adoption issue, we should point out, is also a major issue for vladimir putin. >> yes. >> this was the issue of trying to get congress to cancel the sanctions, the magnitsky sanctions for human rights abuses in russia, after which he retaliat retaliated, putin did, katy tur, by canceling the adoption program. >>'s no small matter. >> something that was front and center on foreign policy for the kremlin at the time. >> it would have been a big coup to get any sort of assurance from the trump campaign they would try to change that. >> you've just written your book, so this is fresh in your
memory, just a year ago what was going ot trump tower? you were there. >> it was a fascinating time many the campaign. june 9th donald trump was in trump tower in new york city for the majority of the day. he left for a brief period to go to a fund-raiser a few blocks away at the four seasons. in fact, from our notes he left at 12:25, that's when he left trump tower, got to the four seasons at 12:34, then left the four seasons back for trump tower at 1:07. donald trump's lawyer has said that he did not know about this meeting and he was not in this meeting, but we should note that he was in trump tower while this meeting was taking place. this meeting was happening on the 25th floor. that's where don jr.'s offices are. one floor above that is where the future president of the united states has his office. to put that in context. but june 9th was fascinating because donald trump had won the nomination but he was facing a potentially serious delegate fight at the convention. there was a never trump movement that was trying to take it from him. the campaign needed somebody that could make sure the
delegates would stay in place, that donald trump would seize the nomination at the convention. hold on to it. and for that they brought in somebody who knew how to do this, somebody who had a lot of experience with campaigns, and that person was paul manafort. corey lewandowski was still the campaign manager. they were butting heads quite a bit because he didn't like the idea of somebody coming in and superseding his authority. while this was happening the children were amassing quite a bit of power. remember, this was a very small pretty disorganized and naive campaign. they didn't have the same infrastructure that normal presidential campaigns did. that allowed them to be kind of savvy and kind of wily, but it also allowed potentially problematic things to happen. so the kids have the power, the staffers want to find any way to get a leg up on the other in order to curry favor with the kids and to curry favor with donald trump, the candidate. so when don jr., you know, puts out a note and se we're going to have this meeting, it's very
likely according to sources i talked to that no matter who you are in the campaign you're going to go to that meeting. there's problems right now, because don jr.'s story has evolved, let's put it that way, he has said he didn't tell kushner, he didn't tell paul manafort who the meeting was with, but now we have e-mail evidence that he did do just that. who knew what they were going in to see, what did they find out at the time, and did anyone leave? there are a lot of questions about that. one year ago don jr. knew that the russian government wanted to help his dad. >> ruth marcus, what are the implications for jared kushner? >> well, that depends on the answers to some of the questions that katy just raised. what did he know about who this woman was? did he see any of the e-mail trail that suggested -- didn't suggest, that stated very explicitly this was information from the foreign government? how could he have not put this
information on his disclosure form? lots of questions for him and questions, too, for the president about what he knew because that possibility is raised in the e-mails. i could get this information to your father. >> we have to leave it there. ruth marcus, katy tur. more ahead. thank you so much. thank you! so we're a go? yes! we got a yes! what does that mean for purchasing? purchase. let's do this. got it. book the flights! hai! si! si! ya! ya! ya! what does that mean for us?
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here on msnbc. hey, craig. >> hey there, andrea. good to see you. craig melvin live at msnbc headquarters in new york. breaking news this hour. for months there's been smoke. this afternoon, some believe a fire may be starting. donald trump jr. releasing a trove of e-mails detailing the lead-up to his meeting with the criminally linked attorney. what they say about the russian government's support, that kremlin-linked attorney speaking out. an nbc news exclusive interview with the russian attorney whom donald trump jr. met last june, her account of that meeting with the president's son, son-in-law, and steve bannon. and kushner's clearance. the e-mails, jared kushner cc'd on the plans for that meeting. why didn't he reveal he had communications with a russian attorney in