tv The 11th Hour With Brian Williams MSNBC July 17, 2017 11:00pm-12:00am PDT
>> trump won't like the thesis. >> but it's a compelling case. that's it for the last word, "the 11th hour" with brian williams start starts now. ♪ ♪ >> the breaking news we're covering tonight, the big time and fatal defection, two republican senators have abandoned the gop health care bill. a crippling defeat for the majority party that's promised for years to repeal and preplace. also, donald trump can't stop. another day's message stepped on by the president's twitter feed. and so russia dominates the headlines. from abupeace in the middle east to the opioid crisis, what has trump's son-in-law actually accomplished as a public servant? day 179 of the trump administration.
>> on this monday night good evening once again from our nbc news headquarters here in new york. this week's white house theme is made in america. except for all the competing elements stepping on that narrative. the latest just breaking in the past few hours, the republican health care bill is again dead in the water in the u.s. senate. two more republican senators mike lee of utah, jerry moran of kansas, both together say they are going to vote no to advance the bill. they join the two other republican no votes. collins of maine, rand paul of kentucky. that means, despite having the majority in the senate, majority leader mitch mcconnell now does not have the votes he needs to move this legislation forward. a reminder, here is what the president promised about health care legislation back in may after the house passed their version of the bill. >> we're going to get this passed through the senate. i feel so confident. >> moments ago, the president
responded to this news on twitter and we'll get into this as well. quote, republicans should repeal failing obamacare now. and work on a new health care plan that will start from a clean slate. dems will join in. in a statement a few minutes ago mitch mcconnell said the senate would vote, quote, in the coming days, to repeal obamacare, quote, with a two-year delay, to give lawmakers time to come up with a replacement. more on all of this with our correspondents in just a moment. also tonight, questions are still being generated about that meeting the president's son donald junior took with the russian attorney and a former soviet counterintelligence sergeant at trump tower last june. the president this morning took to twitter again, to defend his son. quote, most politicians would have gone to a meeting like the one don junior attended, in order to get info on an
opponent. that's politics. writing about this today, maggie haberman of "the new york times" noted in her lead, quote, he ran on a promise to end politics as usual. and as the excuses for why the meeting happened have shifted over and over and over, today at the white house, another off-camera briefing, sean spicer recycled the white house's first explanation. >> on whether or not it's okay to meet with a hostile government for opposition research. >> well you know i'm not getting into the specifics of this. i will say that it's quite often for people given information during the heat of a campaign to ask what that is. that's what simply he did. the president made it clear through the tweet. and there was nothing as far as we know that would lead anyone to believe there was anything except for discussion about about adoption, the magnitsky act. i would refer you back to counsel on that one. >> meanwhile as the president nears the 6-month mark in who
-- in office, a string of new polling is out there, putting his approval rating between 36 and 40%. those numbers, 36% in the abc news/"washington post" poll, just six months in, make this president historically unpopular. no other chief executive in the mod e modern era history of political polling has polled that low after six months in office. after all that let's bring in the starting panel. reporter for the associated press, white house reporter for the "washington post," and senior affairs correspondent for politico. welcome to you al. as so often falls to the associated press, to take a breaking news story, synopsize it, sum it up in realty time.
that's your job. what did mcconnell say about the now dead health care bill in the senate? what's next? >> this is by any measure a stunning defeat for the republicans. they have the white house, both houses of congress. president trump on the campaign trail last year said night after night, day one of my administration we will repeal and replace obamacare. tonight in his statement mitch mcconnell says in so many words, the dream of immediately repealing and replacing is dead. so now they have to move forward. they're saying just repeal. a plan that they -- was raised months ago and discounted being -- as being unrealistic and unpopular. the president seems to want this. mitch mcconnell is saying, let's move forward. this is no guarantee. there's not clear they'll have enough votes for the motion to proceed. they would need some of the republican senators who said no to sign on to the idea of repealing obamacare without immediate replacement which some believe would plunge the insurance markets into chaos. so where in goes next is unclear. but there is a theory in mitch -- if mitch mcconnell wants to
make one final push almost to get it over with, and if it can't happen now, they move on to something like tax reform. >> let me ask a follow-up right there. one of the stories we're covering tonight is the recovery of john mccain from a brain surgery to remove a blood clot from behind his left eye. the folks at the vox news organization are estimating that $76,000. that's a rounding, an estimate based on their knowledge of his surgery had he been uninsured. luckily he is not. but for folks in our audience who may be facing that challenge and that kind of amount of money when they hear repeal without the word replace next to it what about the anxiety? >> i mean these are real world consequences. we know that the republicans plan, that the bill was wildly unpopular in polling the last few weeks. there's no reason to think this would be any better. one of the senators coming out tonight to vote against it, held
some town halls over the july 4th weekend and got an earful about people who were concerned if obamacare went away. the republicans would be facing potentially some real issues if they moved forward. also let's think about the house republicans who already went to bat for their bill which is unpopular who the president himself called mean, and they're the ones who come election day will -- you see the ads already put together. >> ashley, can it be said clinically, without bias, that this president did not own this bill, this round of health care? >> i think that's fair to say. i will say part of the reason he didn't entirely own it was because leader mcconnell specifically having watched the process in the house, asked the president, asked the chief of staff to stay out of it and said, let me handle it. so a lot of this -- most of it on is on leader mcconnell but a lot is on the president even though he wasn't deeply involved
in the arm wringing when he was trying to get it through the house. he did step on his own message with this russia investigation clouding everything. and when mcconnell did think he could possibly get a deal by having the president actually be the first one to float on twitter this idea, well, let's just repeal now and deal with the replacement later. let's sort of get this repeal in, which i think was not particularly helpful in that moment when he was trying to whip votes. >> ashley, in real world terms, what does this do to the view in washington which is everything of the president's perceived or real clout or lack there of? >> well, that's the key issue, which is what president has understood intrinsically is that he needs wins. you saw that even with the house health care bill as john mentioned. the president, it turned out later, thought it was a mean bill. but what he desperately wanted in that moment was a win, a deal, and a rose garden signing ceremony, which he got. so for a president who measures
everything in victories, in deals, in what he can message to the public, this is going to be incredibly hard to message. although i do think you saw on twitter tonight just a few hours ago him trying to say that it's a perfectly good idea to repeal obamacare now and replace it later. that said i think a lot of reasonable people would disagree. >> as we were saying that could spell anxiety for too many people across the country. lest we forget, mr. crowley, before we come to you, because it's just too easy. we talk about establishing this in the original issue, repeal and replace, let's take a look back at just how important it's been on the trail. >> on my first day in office i am going to ask congress to send me a bill to immediately repeal and replace -- i just said it -- obamacare. >> also on my first day i'm going to ask congress to send me a bill to immediately repeal and replace disastrous obamacare. >> when we win on november 8th
and elect a republican congress, we will be be able to immediately repeal and replace obamacare. have to do it. i will ask congress to convene a special session so we can repeal and replace. and it will be such an honor for me, for you and for everybody in this country. because obamacare has to be replaced. and we will do it and we will do it very, very quickly. >> so, mr. crowley, as you know when we say this was elemental, when we say this has been the gop rallying cry through two terms of an obama presidency and the election to office of donald trump, that's kind of what we mean. >> absolutely, brian. it wasn't just donald trump. if you remember republicans in
congress, you know i think literally dozens of times held votes to repeal obamacare during barack obama's presidency. i mean it wasn't like donald trump came along and dreamed this up. it wasn't like nobody had thought, or had time to think about how to do this. so that makes it all the more astonishing. i would add something else, brilliant. another interesting thing happened today. donald trump clearly for the moment is not able to do this legislation which is to repeal and replace obamacare. the other thing he promised he would do many times as a candidate was to scratch the -- scrap the iran nuclear deal. well, today, donald trump recertified to congress that iran is abiding by the iran nuclear deal, and the iran nuclear deal will stand for now. so increasing his frustration is the fact that he's not able to do this health care legislation. he's also not able to undo the iran nuclear deal.
and there is great reporting in "the new york times" times that says he had a fight in the white house with his national security advisers. trump wanted to pull out of the iran nuclear deal basically scrap it and h.r. mcmaster and rex tillerson were able to convince him to stay with it. that must be compounding frustration, his sense he is not getting things done he vowed to do. and the overall image of impotence that is shrouding the white house tonight. >> jonathan, you cover the white house. you wake up on a monday morning expecting that white house to want very much to turn the page on the donny junior meeting last week which could not have dominated the news more -- instead they open a new book with the president's tweet again, saying, most people would have taken that meeting. >> that's right. this white house from day one has been unable to get ahead of this story. it has been a constant drip, drip, drip of bad news. it has overshadowed good news
cycles, it has prevented them from turning the page. and there may be people in the white house with competing legal interests. there may be a point where don junior's attorneys think is good for him, may not be what jared kushner's attorneys think is good for him. the white house has struggled. they've not had a war room succeeding in combatting this narrative. there are questions raised about attorneys in new york who the president hired. now he brings in ty cobb, who is supposed to be more of a centralized figure. the white house is realizing they can't just punt everything to the legal team. but they have yet to come up with a coherent battle plan to get back to the business of governing and overshadow this probe. >> and one thing on television, one of the president's lawyers, briefly raising up the flag the idea that the secret service was
somehow ultimately to blame for that don junior meeting happening, but of course as cooler heads prevailed, everyone learned no one puts the u.s. secret service in the corner. >> that's right. jay secula was incorrect on two counts. the first was that don junior was not a protectee at that point. so he didn't even have a secret service detail as jay secula claimed. and the secret service came out in a stunning rebuke and corrected him. and the second area where he was incorrect is that the secret service's job is to protect these people from threats on their lives and bodily harm. their job is not to protect them from themselves or from possible bad judgment. so it was a brief theory he floated. and i think again, it just raised questions about how much this white house and now this legal team will sort of throw anyone who comes in their path under the bus in a potential attempt to protect their client.
>> what a terrific leadoff panel tonight, of all nights, with breaking news just moments before we came on the air. our great thanks as always, to jonathan, ashley, and michael. coming up after our first break, the question of asset or liability, surrounding the man closest to the president. tonight, jared kushner, son-in-law, white house aide, at the six-month mark, when "the 11th hour" continues. chances are, the last time you got a home loan,
and i got robbed. that's why i started lendingtree-- the only place you can compare up to 5 real offers side by side, for free. it's like shopping for hotels online, but our average customer can save twenty thousand dollars. at lendingtree, you know you're getting the best deal. so take the power back and come to lendingtree.com, because at lendingtree when banks compete, you win. hey you've gotta see this. cno.n. alright, see you down there.
mmm, fine. okay, what do we got? okay, watch this. do the thing we talked about. what do we say? it's going to be great. watch. remember what we were just saying? go irish! see that? yes! i'm gonna just go back to doing what i was doing. find your awesome with the xfinity x1 voice remote. jared, get up here! jared's a very successful developer and he just loves politics now. >> jared is a very, very
successful real estate entrepreneur in manhattan. >> jared is a great young man, went to harvard, very smart, great, doing a fantastic job in business. he's in the real estate business, done an amazing job in his own right, just incredible. >> long before conferring upon jared kushner, the title of senior adviser to the president, his father-in-law donald trump praised him regularly on the campaign trail. jared kushner has now served a few days shy of six months with the most elaborate policy portfolio in the modern history of the presidency. he's been asked to streamline and overhaul the federal government. serve as the primary contact for more than two dozen countries. reform veterans' care, solve the opioid epidemic and come up with a plan to create lasting peace in the middle east, and there are others. he has attracted a whole lot of attention and not all of it good. the question being asked tonight is, is he an asset or a
liability at this point in the presidency? with us tonight to talk about this, rick stengel, former undersecretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs at the state department. also the former managing editor of "time" magazine. and philip rutgers is back with us, white house bureau chief for "the washington post." philip, i'd like to ask you to describe the kushner/trump relationship and as a sub set of that, do you believe with any seriousness, we're looking at a possible loss of his security clearance? >> well, to describe the relationship, i mean, these two are family. jared kushner is the son-in-law, but he's also in some ways, trump's protege, he's risen up in trump's field, real estate. he's now in trump's new field, politics and policy. and he's really the adviser that i think the president turns to the most inside the white house when it comes to foreign policy. he almost function says as a
shadow secretary of state. he's taking the lead on the middle east. he's taking the lead on the u.s. relationship with china. he's also taking the lead on the u.s. relationship with mexico and canada, and trying to help re-negotiate nafta, a very important trade deal, but he's in the oval office when he wants to. he comes and goes as he pleases and of course he and ivanka have the president's ear in a way that other staff in the white house just don't. >> rick stengel, no one has ever said our presidents aren't allowed their guy, their man or woman, comfort level, someone close in, realizes the pressure and can get stuff done, as fdr had harry hopkins. but into your area, when it involves diplomacy which still matters a lot to our allies overseas, that can be something different. >> yes. there are some allies oversees -- overseas that understand the
president and the president's son-in-law. they feel good because he has the ear of the president. a lot of these issues are intractable, there's a reason they haven't been solved for a long time. i'm told jared kushner looks at the middle east issue as a real estate issue. and real estate is part of it. but president obama says, you can't want it more than the negotiators want it. you have to persuade people to take risks, bb, the palestinians. and that isn't about reali estate. it's about understanding the kind of courage it takes to make deals that could potentially hurt you. >> philip, i'm wondering if you believe that this set-up in the white house is ultimately kind of designed to fail. i keep saying we've never seen a flow chart like this, and you could say that times about five.
>> that's exactly right. it's messy, and there's a reason, looking back through history, there are very few examples of presidents who have brought family members into the white house in staff government positions. this is risky. it's unusual, the dynamic is very different. and i think there's -- it's unclear what's going to happen here. clearly jared kushner has a lot of exposure when it comes to the russia investigation. he and his business interests and his financial dealings in the past are said to be a subject of what robert mueller, the special counsel, is looking into. jared has his own legal team advising him through all of that and helping him navigate that, but it creates complications within the white house, not only with the other staff, but also with the president who has his own legal team, guiding him on his own problems with the mueller investigation. and at some point, inevitably, these could potentially be competitive legal strategies of some kind. >> rick, we were looking at the
assorted newspaper headlines. there's no better time than during a headline war. here's three of them, "the post," "new york times," and "usa today." to philip's great point, think of what mueller has to look at, all the various cross-currents and areas where mueller's been hiring up deputy counsels, in some cases, real veterans like him who know their way around these subject matters. >> i'm curious about what the pie of jared's time now is taken up in this russia investigation. it's gotta be at the very least a distraction. but one of the other points, the larger point is, you have a president who has no political experience, has never been in the military and you have his chief adviser with no political experience and has never been in the military either. it's not a great combination. john kennedy and bobby kennedy, they both had government
experience. these guys, neither of them do. >> and last question, institutionalist, it's not always a dirty word and sometimes it's changed to mean establishment types. but sometimes when you're working with a vast, unwieldy and new-to-you organization, aka the federal government, it's good to have an institutionalist around. >> that's right. i don't think anybody could call jared kushner an institutionalist of the government. but he's trying to navigate it and remake it at the same time here. that's going to be challenging in washington. there's some resistance to that. but he's burrowing in and trying to get this work done. i can tell you in talking to people close to him, there's chatter on the outside, should he just give up and go back to new york, is it easier to quick, and he and ivanka are said to be completely determined to stick this out, gut it out, deal with russia on the side, but continue to advise their father and father-in-law. >> terrific discussion, gentlemen, thank you both. >> thank you. coming up, in the wake of
historic low poll numbers for president trump, steve kornacki at the big board with us to walk us through all those numbers. we're back right after this. "got a minute? not for me, for you." new aveeno®... ...positively radiant® 60 second in shower facial. works with steam to reveal... ...glowing skin in just one minute. aveeno® "naturally beautiful results®"
new numbers is our national political correspondent, steve karn kornacki at the big board. steve? >> brian, maybe a different way of looking at the poll numbers, everybody has seen the headlines. these are the four out in the last day or two. as you said hovering around 40%. if i didn't tell you who the president was, and i just say a first-year president, these are the numbers in the middle of the first summer, we'd say, that's a disaster. as you can say historically that's what what it looks like at this point donald trump lowest numbers of any of the modern press sesors, basically by far. this is terrible terrain to be in, if you're a president, except, is this really what we should be comparing donald trump to? here's what i mean. one year ago tonight, july 17th, 2016, when it was candidate donald trump, we, right here at nbc news and "wall street journal," we had a new poll come
out. historically terrible numbers, the worst we'd ever seen for a candidate. a year ago tonight, the headline about donald trump as a candidate, never had a nominee of a major party been as unpopular, only 27% of americans had a positive view of him. only 38% of his own party, republicans, said they were satisfied that their party was nominating this guy for president of the united states. only 27% of people said they had a positive view of the republican party. the democrats' numbers, much higher than that. and 57% of voters said they thought donald trump's views were outside the mainstream. we looked at these numbers last year, and we saw numbers like this throughout the entire campaign and we said, this is a dead candidate walking. more importantly, republican elected officials last year, looked at these numbers, they concluded the same thing. remember, a couple weeks before election day, after that keas hollywood tape, speaker of the house paul ryan, he cut donald trump loose.
he told members of congress, you don't have to say you support him, just save yourself, because it's getting ugly. this is the x factor in american politics right now. it's not just that donald trump after all these poor numbers won the election, it's that he did it with 90% republican support on election day. and this is why. for all the scandals in the air with russia, all the controversy, we haven't seen republican defections. why is that? because if you're a republican member of congress, you woke up after the election and you said, i had no idea my party was going to stick with him, and this could work. maybe he knows the base of my party better than i do. and so all these poll numbers you're seeing now, republicans look at this and say, i've seen this before. i gotta see something different before i behave differently. >> what a great breakdown, great way to start our next conversation. thank you, steve. a pleasure to have you here tonight. a new poll from monmouth university, here's one more
number, shows 41% of respondents believe that president trump should be impeached or compelled somehow to leave the presidency. when the gallup organization asked that question in 1973 around watergate, just 24% of the public supported nixon's impeachment back then. so what do all of these numbers and the history mean for the trump presidency. jonathan lemire is with us. kelsey snell is with us. and we welcome perry bacon from 538.com. okay, perry bacon, you get the first question. this math has never made sense. what family would want to leave on summer vacation with 36% of a full gas tank? you always shoot for a hundred. you shoot in politics for as close to a hundred as you can get. so given the history, as steve
just ran through it, can you continue to be, having lost the popular vote, 36, 39, 40, 41% president? >> i think there are two things to understand here. first of all, there's this view that the trump base is pretty solid. but our data shows, and my colleague as well, trump is down in the polls about 2% every month. he's won with 46. he had at some point in the upper 40s. he's down to 39, 36. he could be down at 30. so the idea that trump's support is stable and his base is unmoving, we don't know that yet. a second thing, though, most presidents spend a lot of time trying to improve their approval ratings. in 2000, george won without the popular vote majority. he tried to govern from the center. it is interesting to note that donald trump knows that tweeting about mika or the things he's doing are not unifying. he and steve bannon, i think,
have decided to have a war with the press, to be very divisive. and they're not seeking to be very popular. they're sort of trying to run a base presidency. so it's not always surprising that his numbers are not that high. >> and kelsey, there's also the fact that your story on your beat changed in a substantial way just late tonight, with this headline on health care. that will move the numbers and that will make running as part of thiss ticket in '18, a toughr consequence? >> absolutely. i think it's going to be fascinating to see how the vote shakes out. because it's a calculation that maybe mitch mcconnell needs to prove that the president is wrong. he needs to give conservatives a chance to say, take this vote, speak to your base, speak to trump's base, but also speak to these people and say, this is
not what gets passed for making policy in washington. it's not as simple as saying, go all the way to the right. it's much more of a complicated calculus. i think trump's been trying to say that, and people just aren't listening. >> there are more numbers, you've seen them. this is "the washington post"/abc news poll. sencht% say the president has acted unpresidential. 68% don't view him as a positive role model. 67% disapprove of his twitter use. and 57% can be summed up as the more they hear, the less they like him. sooner or later, these are going to start to be dangerous numbers for a presidency. >> i was just thinking now that during the primary campaign, then candidate trump would start virtually every rally reciting the poll numbers that would have him above his republican opponents. i don't think he'll be quoting these poll numbers anytime soon. these are troubling numbers. the white house has settled on a base play. there's been next to no outreach
across the aisle. it's just attack tweets or interviews against democrats. there's been no attempts to actually work together. we'll see if that can hold their base for now. there's some questioning whether that's working. but in the meantime, forgetting looking ahead to the next election, are they going to have any political capital, momentum, to get anything done in washington. >> we'll pause the conversation. when we come back, we'll pivot full on to health care and the two defections that have sunk this latest gop bill on the senate side. that's when "the 11th hour" continues.
years-plus talking about repeal and replace? jonathan, kelsey, perry remain with us. we have more news just handed to us. this came out with our going on the air tonight. it's a leak, a read-out to politico of a dinner for republicans tonight at the white house, a quick attendance list for fans of the senate. alexander blunt, cornyn, danes, shelby, and thune. trump said the party would look like dopes if they couldn't pass this bill. quote, if the republicans have the house, senate, and the presidency, and they can't pass this health care bill, they are going to look weak, said trump. the piece in politico goes on to say trump had no idea defections were coming tonight. why would we have a dinner like that if we knew people were going to drop out, the official asked. johnathan, your take on tonight at the white house? >> two things. first of all, you hit a key word
there. they. >> they. i noted that. >> that it's about republicans in defeat, perhaps not the president in defeat. we know he's not good at accepting blame or failure when things don't go his way. this is also a president who throughout his political career, his business career, prizes above anything else, the idea of winning, of looking tough, of looking strong. of hating the idea that someone else might be laughing at him. that's the phrase he uses all the time. you're saying that you fear your party are going to be called dopes. this is clearly not going to sit well with the white house. i suspect he will find a way, if it goes down in flames, to blame mcconnell and the senate and have very little responsibility end up in the white house. >> what do you do tomorrow if you're chuck schumer? >> i think there are two different ways of thinking about this. one is to go out there and remind moderates of how bad the
2015 bill was for coverage. so we saw with the senate bill, the one they've been discussing for weeks now, the cbo said about 22 million people would lose coverage. the 2015 bill, repealing without replacing, the number was 32 million. and that does a lot to make moderates scared. you go out there and remind susan collins of maine and you remind capital of west virginia and rob portman of ohio means repealing without replacing means no money for opioid addiction coverage, and no money for medicaid expansion states. you hammer that home, or you gloat a little bit and remind republicans that it was very easy to say repeal, repeal, repeal, when there wasn't a chance of it actually happening. a lot of the people who voted for the bill in 2015 did so because they were sending a message to voters, not because
they thought it would happen. if you're schumer, you go out and remind people of that every chance you get. >> well put. and perry, here's another example of the fact that the town hall meetings we were seeing were as good and hard as data. that was something happening. this happened a couple years back in a different way. but the old song lyrics, there was something happening here. >> there was. and the town halls support the data, that this is one of the most unpopular bills in modern history. we saw 12%, 16%, and i should add here, a lot of things the republican party has trouble with are probably donald trump's fault. this is not the case. the republicans on the hill wrote this bill. they had seven years to come up with an agreement on this kind of issue. and you've seen these last few months, even in the house, there was very little basic agreement about what should be in the obamacare repeal. you've seen, they basically had to write a bill from scratch, even though they had seven years
to plan for it, and you've seen throughout the huge divide between the left and the right of the caucus, you saw it tonight where jerry moran and mike lee opposed it, rand paul on the left, kyle's on the right and they can't really get together. that's not really trump's fault. he's not writing this bill, mcconnell and ryan are, and they haven't been able to write an effective one so far. >> and you get the last word, jonathan. this same point, the people across america, repeal all alone is a scary thought. >> there's no question. you heard the numbers. it could be 32 million lose their coverage. premiums could double by the next decade. these are folks already who they themselves know people who are battling opioid addictions or have other health conditions, whatever it might be, who are faced with a loss of coverage that will cost tens of thousands of dollars to combat various
illnesses. these are the folks that these lawmakers are going to have to look in the eye and say, we voted for something that's going to take away your coverage. those are going to be real consequences and it will be interesting to watch whether they have the stomach to go through with them. >> our thanks to the panel members for riding the wave of this still breaking story tonight. a terrific segment. jonathan, kelsey, and perry, thank you very much for coming on with us. coming up tonight, tracking the flow of money from russia to trump properties, an extensive investigation, when we come right back. i got a mortgage offer from the bank today. whuuuuuat? you never just get one offer. go to lendingtree.com and shop multiple loan offers for free! free? yeah. could save thousands. you should probably buy me dinner. no. go to lendingtree.com for a new home loan or refinance. receive up to five free offers and choose the loan that's right for you. our average customer could lower their monthly bills by over three hundred dollars.
republic. whether trump knew it or not, russian mobsters and corrupt og garks use trump's property not only to launder vast sums of money from -- >> that is a weighty charge. and with us tonight, the author of this piece, craig unger, a contributor at "the new republic." before i even let you say a word, i've got another paragraph i want to read to you that you wrote. over the past three decades, at least 13 people with known or alleged links to russian mobsters or oligarchs have owned, lived in, and even run criminal activities out of trump tower and other trump properties. many used his apartments and casinos to launder untold millions in dirty money. some ran a worldwide high stakes gambling ring out of trump tower in a unit directly below one
owned by trump. so weighty charges indeed. when i ask you when i meet you on the street, the basic question, what is it about trump and the russians, which may be even harder to answer, how do you answer? >> well, there's been a lot of great reporting about trump and the russians lately. but if you want to know when he was first compromised by the russians, i go back 33 years, 1984, and at that time, a guy named david boeinga din sat down with donald trump and he bought not one apartment, not two, but five condos in trump towers. and the state attorney general later ruled that that was laundering money. and trump towers, in many ways, have been set up as a perfect vehicle for money laundering. at the time it was one of only two buildings in new york city where unanimous people could use shell companies to buy
condominiums. >> is there a quid versus a pro quo, with trump having been accused of being so transactional, is there a long debt, this reason to bend over backwards to show russia and putin the benefit of the doubt. what's the active extortion, compromise, threat, that you allege that you've found? >> i think in the early days it was simply a matter of money laundering. the russian mob laundered their money and trump sold condos and made a lot of money. in 2002 things changed dramatically. trump was reeling from his expansion in atlantic city, he ended up owing $4 billion to 70 banks. those are not the kind of things you want on your resume if you're running for president of the united states. in 2002, a company called bay rock moved in to trump tower, a
real estate company and it too alleged he had ties to the russian mafia. and they made donald trump an offer he could not refuse. they were going to put up about a billion dollars in financing. trump put up zero, and yet he got 18% of the profits on their joint ventures. >> was he aware of all this all the way along, and we recommend to our viewers it's a long piece, but set aside some time and read it -- was he an unwitting participant? >> you know, i have no idea what was going through donald trump's mind. but i think you can see that from the way the building was set up and the massive amounts of finding 13 people, frankly, i think that's the tip of the iceberg. the reason i think that is that a huge number of people who buy the condos use these shell companies, since the election, about 70% sales in trump-branded
condos have been through shell companies. so there's no way for reporters to penetrate that. a special counsel, though, is another matter. >> especially one who has hired first-rate attorneys, especially in this area of financial crimes. again, an exhaustive piece, we recommend everyone read it and reach your own conclusions. we thank craig unger for stopping by our studios tonight. >> thanks for having me, brian. coming up after a final break, how the mccain/trump relationship got even more strange today, with senator mccain recuperating from surgery in arizona, when "the 11th hour" continues.
our friend from arizona is a pretty tough guy, as we all know. he'll be back with us soon. and we will continue to offer him best wishes for a speedy recov recovery in the meantime. >> there's no one who has done more to serve his country in this chamber than john mccain. >> john's tough as a bald owl. he'll make it through this. >> tough as a boiled owl. senators from both sides of the aisle sending wishes to john mccain. the president used his own language to wish the senator
from arizona well. >> and i can tell you, we hope john mccain gets better very soon, because we miss him. he's a crusty voice in washington, plus, we need his vote. [ laughter ] >> and he'll be back, and he will be back sooner than somebody else would be back. he'll be back soon. >> the word he used there is crusty. it's the word in the white house transcript of the event. the president has had, shall we say, an interesting relationship with john mccain, the former p.o.w. in vietnam, long-time senate icon, former gop presidential candidate. in fact, it's two years tomorrow since trump said this about john mccain, and it was a jaw-dropper. >> he's not a war hero. >> he's a war hero. >> he's a war hero because he was captured. i like people that weren't captured. >> remember how some in the moment thought that would be the moment that would end the trump campaign, two years ago tomorrow. we want to join the millions of
americans wishing senator john mccain a speedy recovery. and that is our broadcast for tonight, as we start off a new week. thank you as always for being with us. >> tonight on all in, donald trump tries to turn the page but the russia questions keep coming. >> there was nothing as far as we know that would lead anyone to believe that there was anything except for discussion about adoption. >> tonight, new white house spin and a new defense by the president of attempted collusion with russia. then new reporting on the kremlin connections of the russian lawyer who met with trump jr. and as the resistance take it is hill and the president cheers on john mccain -- >> he's a crusty voice in washington, plus we need his vote. >> the ver latest on the fate of trum