tv MSNBC Live With Stephanie Ruhle MSNBC August 29, 2017 6:00am-7:00am PDT
september 11th, we saw it during katrina. we've seen it time and time again. we're seeing it now in dallas, texas, where americans are reaching out there and they are not listening to people on that talk about how divided we are as a country and how sh e -- >> or worried about crowd sizes. >> they're worried about getting out, helping people, getting them to safety, and i think the spirit's pretty strong in texas as it is across the country. >> that does it for thus morning. chris jansing picks up the coverage right now. >> yeah, i don't think there is that natural disaster in any of our lifetimes where american have not responded valiantly and well. hello. i am chris jansing in for stephanie ruhle. this morning, harvey hovers off the coast, dumping more rain, pushing floodwaters higher and word that a reservoir may now be overflowing as rescuers work around the clock to pull people to safety. >> there's a big-time, huge rescue going on, entire families and groups of people live in the
neighborhood just down the road here just down tidwell who are walking through the water. they have just been rescued by boat. >> entire towns are under threat. the rush to beat the water. >> it's bad. it's really bad. >> and the president now on board air force one. it's just started to move bound for texas. he's promising swift action to help the state recover. >> the people are handling it amazingly well and the people of texas have persevered. >> we begin with tropical storm harvey gathering strength in the gulf poised to make a third landfall as floodwaters keep rising in houston and emergency teams work frantically to rescue rez tesidents still trapped in r homes. president and the first lady on board air force one en route to texas where they'll make stops in corpus christi and austin.
but take a look at this. the purple dots you see on the map from noaa and the usgs all though the major flood areas. look at houston. you can see that concentration being particularly hard hit. here's what we know at this hour. areas just north of houston are reporting 39.7 inches of rain so far. forecasts show the potential for 20 more inches. at least three deaths in texas are blamed on harvey and six members of one family are feared dead after the van they were in trying to flee the rising waters was swept away. texas governor greg abbott says he's deploying the entire texas national guard. that's about 12,000 members. to help with rescue and recovery. but there's stale lot we don't know, and that includes how many people are still trapped in their homes in need of rescue, the total number of people who have been displaced as thousands crowded to shelters in search of food, dry clothes, and safety. and we don't know how long the recovery process will take once
the storm is over. but experts say it could be years. we've got our incredible team of correspondents stationed in the hardest hit areas of texas and nbc meteorologist bill karins is tracking harvey's path. let's go to you first, bill. i understand we do have a breaking situation. the attics reservoir, did it go over capacity? >> by about one inch and it's still rising. here's the reservoir. the reason this is so important, this addicks reservoir and the barker were built in the 1930s to protect the city of houston from epic catastrophic floods. right now this is at max capacity at 108 feet. they said after 108 feet the water starts coming up to the north and then it will circle back down through residential areas, through the streets until it meets back up with the buffalo bayou. that is the main bayou that dumps all the water from the barker and the addicks. these gates have been opened up. they've been trying to drain these, but the water is still coming in so fast and the water is -- it's raining so hard it's
not going fast enough, the inflow is faster than outflow. the graph we of been watching. this blue line shows you the water rising in the addicks reservoir. the purple line is the top of the spillway and we of just reached that. there was a dip here, a misreading. the reason i don't have this graph from the barkers reservoir, that gauge went understood water last night. they can't use it. they're hoping to get a temporary gauge up there during the day today to figure out how high that is. this will tell us how bad and where the floodwaters are going. the little dots, we have major rivers, sea levels never seen by anyone in this region in their lifetime or ever recorded for that matter. this brazos river, the main one in south houston, to think that this silver going to rise ten more feet from where it is right now, it is already in people's houses and it's going to go up to 59 feet on wednesday and thursday and it stays there through the upcoming weekend. these people in these shelters are not going home anytime soon
to assess their damage. >> bill, we'll get back to you later in the show. thank you for that. i want to go to jacob rascon in houston. we talked exactly 24 hours ago. how has the situation changed there over the last day? >> so yesterday we were in this flooded areas and we know there are still a lot of areas that are flooded and continue to flood. in ft. ben county, the brazos river has crested. we know there are still hundreds even thousands of people still stranded. so the civilian boats will be pack out there today. we've made it to the central evacuation center, the george r. brown convention center. this is where people enter. you can see there's a lot of law enforcement, of course, many of them have been here for days. they don't know if their homes are okay. then they come over after they're checked in and led to this and other auditoriums. this is where they're getting breakfast. there are thousands of people inside there. they've got food, diapers, other things. five auditoriums packed with people and they say it's nearly double capacity.
that's because they only had 5,000 cots. and so when they got more than almost double that, they had 4,000 people sleep ong the floor so they need cots, they need blankets, they need towels. otherwise the director of this operation, who's with the city of houston, says they believe this is a controlled thing. they've got plenty of food, plenty of water. he says they have doctors, an emergency center, a pharmacy, everything they need to take care of the -- we of got an incident here. there have been minor incidents they of said but despite that they said things are going pretty well. when somebody makes a scene, they have plenty of law enforcement, at least for right now, to make that go away and make sure everybody else is comfortable. we've met people from all over the greater houston area, and we need to clarify and make it perfectly clear that although this is the main one, there are probably hundreds, even more evacuation centers all over the greater houston areas. that includes elementary schools and just pop-up makeshift places, even people's homes,
people's church facebook pages, they're asking for volunteers to house people in their homes. the effort is just enormous and social media is a digital megaphone here that allows people to connect through twitter and facebook with their neighborhoods weather their churches, with other pool they play basketball with or whoever. we've seen it all over the place to connect and find a home to live in, a friend to stay with and that sort of thing. chris? >> as far as where you are, and you said there's plenty of food and water and understandably they'll have to figure out what to d with the cots and the blankets, but people are safe, they're warm, they're fed. how long are they ready to be there? do they have enough food and water for the long haul? do they have enough personnel for long haul? >> that was one of our questions for the director. he said, look, we're planning in 12-hour shifts. we plan for the next 12 hours. we're just trying to keep up right now and we don't know how
long, you know, they'll be staying here and we just -- basically, we expect to get reinforcements of food, of water, of other things. that's why he says we have plenty. he expects to continue to get more. but we asked how long can people stay here and there was no real answer and that's partly because it change so fast and there are a lot of people even outside of houston and outside of texas who are willing to help and donate. so far he says they believe they'll be in good shape. >> jacob, thank you for that. just let folks note v know later on we'll be talking to a representative from the red cross who, as usual in disaster, plays a very big role in all of this. we want to head south to corpus christi where president trump will be arriving in just a few hours and where katie beck is this morning. pretty clear skies. they wanted to make sure the president came to an area where he wasn't going to be disruptive. give us a sense of the plan. what are we expecting once the president gets there? >> reporter: good morning, chris.
yeah, the president is going to be landing here in corpus christi at about 12:30 this afternoon. we're told from there he's going to go boo a briefing with fema and national guard representative, he'll get some tour of the damage here. then he'll head back to austin going through same routine, sometime late in the afternoon 5:00 or 6:00, heading bab to washington around 8:00 p.m. this evening. president trump made clear he did not want to disrupt any rescue efforts going on. houston obviously still largely under water and expecting more rain today, having a presidential visit there was number one too dangerous and two, a bit of distraction for all the local leadership there on the ground that are trying to coordinate efforts. he was very clear that he did not want to disrupt any of that. he has made mention of the fact that he may make a second return visit to texas on saturday as well as a visit to louisiana depending on what the weather does there. over the past two days the
president has made very clear he's inspired by the people of texas and their will to persevere. he's mentioned the human spirit and coming together multiple times. i think sentiment on the ground is also one of enthusiasm among local leaders for president to actually see just how bad the damage is and how many billions of dollars they're going to need to get back to where they were. chris? >> thank you for that. we will be back there when the president lands. dallas has its hands full opening a megashelter at the kay bailey hutchison convention center 200 miles from houston. dallas officials say it can hold up to 5,000 displaced victims of harvey. msnbc correspondent mariana atencio is in dallas at the convention ecenter. it was expected to open this morning. tell us how the city is preparing and i guess a big question is will a capacity of 5,000 be enough?
>> reporter: in fact, this megashelter, it opened just five minutes ago, and it is prepared to house about or up to 5,000 evacuees from the most devastated areas of texas. in fact, the mayor of dallas just wrapping up a press conference here talking about just what kinds of services will be made available to these people coming from such devastation and with every need imaginable. i want to play some sound for you but what the mayor said will be available in this convention center. let's listen. >> hopefully it's going to be a little city with everything they've got, places to eat, we of got a medical facility with doctors if there are any issues. >> reporter: so chris, basically, the mayor saying hopefully that will be enough in terms of what will be provided and the number of beds that are being provided as well. but he also said we just don't
know because the highway from houston is impassable at this point, so once 250 buses move from houston and make their way out and make their way here, they will know just how many people will need to be sheltered here. he also said that lives have been devastated in houston and his fellow texans were hoping to help them out. he told me he is hoping that president trump today sends a message of unity during this very difficult time for the state of texas. chris? >> mariana with dallas pitching in there, we'll check back with you as well. let's go to nbc meteorologist bill karins once again who's tracking tropical storm harvey. what's the latest? >> we need to get rid of all this rain so we can start to watch the rivers receding or getting to their crest. we just keep raining with downpours. ridiculous totals, league city, 47 inches of rain, one automated gauge near there reported 49 inches. we're first to having our first location hit 50 inches. you can see the storm spinning
down by my finger and still throwing rain from galveston, lighter amounts in the houston area, but heavy between livingston and the beaumont area, targeting the heavy yst rainfall for the duration of the storm. the path does accelerate it. we'll get it out of here. by this time tomorrow we'll see the storm having made landfall and heading into louisiana. that should end the heavy rain in areas that have been hit so hard. again, the possibility of up to 10 more inches of rain in this region doesn't mean it's going to happen, especially the western edge of this, but in the port arthur, beaumont area, you have to best bet of another 10 inches on top of the totals. when does houston dry out? this is the next 12 hours. notice by about 4:00, 4:00, 5:00, 7:00, we try to start getting houston on the dry side so there are some positive trends but beaumont is right in the middle of it. one of our other models houston has this heavy rain even through afternoon, not what you want to see, a bad sign, 4:00, 5:00,
7:00, not even ending until this evening. again, it will be a little while. our computers are hinting it's on its way out but not yet. this computer model has an additional 20 -- painful -- additional 20 inches of rain in the next 36 hours in beaumont. this just updated. never ending with this storm. note the west side is drier. again, we'll have more destruction, more rivers reaching their maxes, areas like beaumont, you still have probably three or four days until you'll see your river that goes through your downtown have its max crest and that should be a record breaking flood for the houston area, looks like a lot of rivers will be cresting in the next two days. just painful. this amount of rain -- >> unimaginable, really. >> unless you're on the ground and witnesses it, right? for everyone else, we work here and we walk outside and it's sunny and nice and you can't imagine living and going through this. >> and it will continue as you point out. bill, we'll check again. i know you'll be us throughout the morning.
these are live pictures from richmond, texas, in northern harris county. you saw them sort of saging there. there was a boat they had. you can see how deep the water is there and those efforts just keep going on and on and on. and people really doing herculean things, herculean efforts under way by everybody including the red cross. shelter, supplies, rescue, you name it, and the red cross is providing probably as much as they have in recent memory of the road to recovery ahead is going to be long. we're going to talk to a rep from the red cross when we come back. ♪ if you have moderate to severe plaque psoriasis,... ...isn't it time to let the real you shine through? maybe it's time for otezla (apremilast). otezla is not an injection or a cream. it's a pill that treats plaque psoriasis differently. with otezla, 75% clearer skin is achievable after just 4 months,...
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>> very nice, they have t-shirts, plan kets and stuff. >> everyone has been really good. fresno stateful. >> shelters filling up fast, rain still coming down but you can hear how dpratful the people who have made their way to those shelters. groups like the red cross are bracing for a long relief effort. tony briggs is a spokesman for the american red cross and joins us on the phone. first of all and foremost, thank to you and all the folks at the red cross who are working extraordinarily long hours to the what you do pebest. give us the lay of the land in texas. what's the red cross dealing with now? >> right now we're still opening
shelters as needed, working with local officials to make sure that we have safe places identified for people to come and, you know, get dried off, get warm clothes, get a meal and then have some place to stay to ride out the storm and the floodwaters. >> do you have good numbers, how many shelters, how many people? or is it such a fast-moving situation it's impossible to keep up? >> right now it's a very fluid situation right now. at last count, we had 17,000 overnight, and we know that's what's going on around the country number is probably going to g up in the next few days as more people get to safety. >> yeah, how does that coordinate? you have a couple of convention centers in houston and in dallas, obviously, we've been calling them these sort of megacenters, but then you have red sox shelters that you're setting up all over the place. how does that coordination effort work? does it go through fema? >> it goes through the local officials. the local county officials have shelter agreements with the red cross and what happens is when
we have the call to open up a shelter, we have our volunteers show up with the cots and the blan kits and the meals and within two hours we're usually ready to g. >> i was talking yesterday to one of the leaders of the katrina response and he said the big difference is katrina was a 24-hour weather event and this is going on for days, a third landfall forecast for harvey. how much does that complicate you folks getting the help that you need in there, both personnel and supplies? >> well, right now we know that since houston is cut awe, right now we have folks who are stationed in austin and as soon as we can get more folks in, we will. and we've been working, you know, around the clock to make sure that we have people, you know, taking the time off when they need it to get some sleep, making sure that we of got all the supplies stand big and ready go. right now houston is good and we just want to make sure that the need is going to continue to grow and we've got folks coming
from all over the country just ready to stop what they're doing to come help people they've never even met. >> lot of people around the country are writing checks to the red cross. what else can they do? >> something people don't think about is they could help donate blood. if grow to redcrossblood.org, you can type in your zip code and see blood drives that are close to you, and there's need that is always there. and because there are a lot of people who have had scheduled donations and they can't get to that location to donate blood, we know we'll have that need and that's great way for people to help. >> never ceases to amaze the great work you folks do but also just everyday americans who pitch in, whether it is with their time, their expertise or being able to write a check or in this case also donate blood. tony briggs, good luck and thank you to is much. >> thanks for having me, chris. >> and time to fit in a quick
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stephanie ruhle. time for your "morning primer," everything you need to know to start your day. we begin with tropical storm harvey as emergency teams work around the clock. harvey is expected to make landfall over texas again this week. potentially dumping another 20 inches on the state. gas prices around the u.s. are rising as harvey pummels the country's oil refinery hub in texas. more than ten major refineries have been forced to shut down and that could drive prices at the pump up by as much as 15 cents in the coming weeks. the aclu is suing president trump over his transgender military ban. the lawsuit was filed in maryland monday on behalf of several transgender members of the military. two people were killed and four injured in new mexico after a gunman opened fire on a library in a small town. police say the suspect is in custody. and the u.n. security council will meet later today in response to north korea's latest missile launch. kim jong-un's regime fired the missile over japan early tuesday morning as tokyo warned citizens
in the north the take cover. hans nichols is as the pentagon for us. what can you tell us about the latest test and the pentagon reaction to it? >> reporter: the pentagon as always has ready options to present to the president. i just asked someone, an official, what those might be, and they said that ranges anything from moving assets into the region or actual kinetic action, kinetic in military speaks means something that goes boom. now, that said, they have not moved any assets into the region. however, we can expect some sort of response from the pentagon, whether or not that's flyovers, whether or not it's firing artillery. we saw into safe zone, we saw this yesterday overnight from the south korean side where they went ahead and dropped some bombs on a test range. so they're preparing options here. they're taking it very seriously because when they saw this happen last night, and they almost watched this, chris, in real time. they see it take off, see the trajectory, the direction it's headed over japan, a serious
provocation. here's what president trump said and i think the language is quite striking because he has said it before but given the context it does seem to be stronger. he said, the threatening and destabilizing actionings only increase the north korea's regime's isolation in the region and among all nations of the world. all options are on the table. that's as much of a message to kim jong-un as it is to the chinese they need to increase their pressure. >> hans nichols, thank you. president trump en route to texas where he'll be arriving in corpus christi less than three hours from now. the visit comes as the situation in the houston area grows dire by the minute with historic flooding devastating the region from tropical storm harvey. jimmy kendrick is the major of fulton, texas, right next to rockport chfshgs hit by hurricane harvey as a category 4 storm. he joins me live from corpus christi. thank you so much. a very different scene behind you than what you escaped from. how are you ding this morning and what do you know about what happened to your town?
>> well, i made it through last night, only cried about three times, but our town is about 80% destroyed and houses are and our infrastructure is really shaky right now. we're just trying to rebuild ourselves. you know, there are three ds to life we deal by, i've disability with in my life, first, the desire to work hard at what i do, second is the discipline to restructure and the last one is the devotion, the devotion to our scitizens to make our town better. we pull our bootstraps up and start again. we have our seafood company up and running again. if we get water to them, we'll be cutting fish and packaging it to you and sending it to you on the east coast. >> extraordinary resilience in face of unimaginable disaster. if i can go back for a second, it was so bad and we of heard some of these harrowing stories of escape.
i understand you and other officials had to use an armored s.w.a.t. vehicle to escape the wind? >> yeah. we're not real bright. we jumped into one of the bearcats and went driving around town to see if our homes or other e homs were still established and it's one of those dumb moments you the in your life, like going on spring break. we weren't real sharp about doing it, but it was fun, but i won't ever do it again sfoop yeah. and you lived to tell the tale which makes you able to smile. how much contact have you had with other residents? do you have a good sense of where everyone is, that everyone's okay? >> well, we had mandatory evacuation. we figure probably 40% of people stayed behind. we have out with search and rest cue teams. we've basically checked all the structures that have collapsed. they've seen us out there. the cal vary showed up, the texas disaster program, police, deputies, border patrol, like
john wayne with the yellow bandanna coming over the hor rison for us. yesterday i drove through my community and anybody standing outside, i wbt and talked to them to let them know it may be four to six weeks before we get any type of electricity. >> four to six weeks. >> no water, food, sewer, or electricity. we don't have anything right now. >> i know you can't see a monitor, but we are watching from richmond, texas, four children who appear to have just been rescued, being taken off a boat and being carried by rescue workers to a safe place where they can get dry, get food and make sure they're safe, part of the heroic work going on as this storm continues to threaten. i realize this has just happened, mayor sox i don't expect a full answer here, but where do you even start to think about rebuilding a town that as you say may be 80% destroyed?
>> well, you just sit back and start pulling the cover back one layer at time. my home was destroyed, everything around my house. i can barely live in my house. part of my roof has to be e re placed. good example, i got $160 in my checking account, i have nothing left do but start rebuilding. do this by my own pocket and that's what the town will do is help our citizens as much as we can and we'll start rebuilding. we'll bounce back. >> you don't have insurance? >> we have insurance but they don't give you the insurance money until you get things going. so it's not fast relief. one thing i want to say and people say the government doesn't help you, i appreciate the federal government and the state government of texas and the federal government, they've been here for us every sense of the word. they showed up right away. just walked up, one of your producers said we're one nation. that's true. we're one community and we're one nation. we stand under one flag and we
show that respect to anybody comes in and one thing about texas, i came from arkansas and texas got a big hold heart and they of showed it this week with us. >> jimmy kendrick, the mayor of fulton weather fulton, with a long road ahead but the right attitude. we're glad you're safe. thanks for taking the time to talk to us. >> thank you. god bless rich monday. we'll pray for richmond and houston because they're about go through what we've gone through. >> we are watching rescue pictures which continue dom in. it's just extraordinary that day after day after day under the most trying of circumstances and what must be growing exhaustion for these folks they're just continuing to go out and answer the call as the mayor says, we show as a country time and time again in times of need we are one nation. (vo) more "doing chores for mom" per roll
as tropical storm harvey brings unrewill wanting rain and catastrophic flooding to texas, the first thing on peems minds is safety, survival. but what will they have to return to? authorities are saying file claims before friday until a new law goes into effect making it harder to dispute claims. it boggles the mind to think
people who are in a shelter who have absolutely no idea what's happened to their home and may not have any access to computers, whatever, are expected to file by friday? >> reporter: yeah. it's crazy. there's a new law that goes into effect at the end of next month, and that new law here in texas basically limits a homeowner's ability to challenge an insurance company adjuster estimate of damage. so let's give this a real-life scenario right here in victoria. you see a house behind me. it's boarded up and things look fine. however, we have here in victoria a slow-motion disaster that's under way. see down there? they just closed this road because that's the guadalupe river and the guadalupe river is rising. now, let's take look at the map because in cuero, just north of here, the electricity was on yesterday, things were just fine. then overnight and this morning
the guadalupe river began to flood. so let's take look at the aerials here. this is from our drone of the guadalupe river down here in victoria. as you can see, it is over its banks. but since caro is north of here, all of that water is moving south and making its way down here no victoria. so as i walk through right now, this yard, it leads me first, you know, to a home that's over here, there's some sheds, take look at this shed over here, and as we take a look at the shed over here, i'm going to show you where right now it's dry. but look, the water is beginning to creep up. now, this doesn't look like it's going to be a huge loss here, but that's because the water right now is, you know, maybe going to hit that shed. it's going the get a lot worse. the best way to look at it is look at what the national weather service has been posting on their prediction of what's happening with this river. it's rally a dramatic graph. take a look at that. that is before -- and look where it's headed -- it's going up --
hang on a second. i messed it up. i'm going do it again. hang on. there's the cell phone for you. here we go. there we go. take a look at that. see that graph that goes up? that's the water that is headed here, and so while it has been a slow-motion disaster with the water rising here, since we know cuero is flooded, people are abandoning their homes, there are rescues there, the people in this area have been informed they should be ready to evacuate. some have left, some have stuff in cars ready to leave and a lot of them only know about this, because there's no electricity here and they're too busy to listen to radio, a lot of people know this because the police went door to door, saying, guys, you better recognize what's coming and make plans to get out. >> i'd be so gone, but that's me. has there been any talk in local media about them putting a delay on this -- the start of this new law given the circumstances
right now? >> reporter: you know, because everybody is dealing so much with the ongoing disaster, it is such a back-burner issue. >> until it's not. >> reporter: the challenge of course -- of course. of course. and it's absurd to thing people have to put in claims by friday. it's just not going to happen. you don't have a cell phone, you dent have a place to live, no documentation of what's happened to your house, you fled within moments. it's just silly. but at the end of the day, what is going to happen is, and we can use sandy as an example, and let's talk about flood insurance. there are two different types of insurance, homeowner's insurance and flood insurance. people can get confused by this, but flood insurance may be sold to you by the same agent who sold you your home owner is insurance, but flood insurance is a federal program, and that federal program is ultimately administered by the insurance
agency. so here's the challenge, okay? you have the agent come out to your hos and you say here's the damage and he says okay, you have flood insurance, you're lucky because your home owners doesn't cover this. in houston, only 1 in 6 homes as flood insurance, so that's another story. the insurance agent comes out, they do the adjustment and say, you know what, you have $200,000 worth of damage and you stand there and you go, well, that's absurd. i think it's more like $400,000. the problem is because it's a national flood insurance program, but it's administered by an agent for the insurance agency, the insurance -- the adjuster has it in his mind as if he is working for private company. and the private company always wants to limit how much money they give you. the federal government, it's a very different story. as we look at sandy, five years after sandy, and there are people in new jersey and in new york who are still fighting for what they say is the just amount of damage that they deserve. so it's going to be -- the hassle right now of getting out alive is huge, but the hassle
that comes next is just as brutal and frustrating, chris. >> and continues on as you point out, sometimes for years. kerry sanders, always just incredible live shots and information. i want to thank you for that. we of got to take another break, but next, it could be the closest clue yet, new reporting and what it reveals about the trump campaign's contacts with russia. hundreds of dollars on my car insurance. huh. i should take a closer look at geico... (dog panting) geico has a 97% customer satisfaction rating! and fast and friendly claims service. speaking of service? oooo, just out. it was in. out. in! out. in! what about now? that was our only shuttlecock. take a closer look at geico. great savings. and a whole lot more. i knew at that exact moment, whatever it takes, wherever i have to go...i'm beating this. my main focus was to find a team
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a lot-people think it was the right thing to do, john, and actually in the middle of a hurricane, even though it was a friday evening, i assumed the ratings would be higher than normal, the hurricane was just started, and i put out i had pardoned as we call -- say, sheriff joe. >> president trump speaking yesterday before his trip to texas today. he's in the air right now. the disaster in texas not interrupting a wave of new reports that involve the russia investigation. nbc news talked with three sources familiar with the matter. they tell us that special counsel robert mueller is now focusing on what exactly trump knew about his son's meeting with that russian lawyer in trump tower during the presidential campaign and whether trump tried to conceal the purpose of the meeting. "the washington post" reports that trump's longtime aide michael cohen e-mailed the
personal spokesman for russian have the vladimir putin during the campaign to try to revif 'vooif deal for trump tower in moscow. according to the post, "cohen's e-mail marks the most direct outreach documented by a top trump aide to a similarly senior member of putin's government." nbc's kristen welker is at the white house. a lot of news coming out about russia. help us go through all of it. >> reporter: lot of news and the administration is pushing back forcefully against both of those headlines, so, chris, let's take the last one first. what's being reported by "the washington post," the fact that you now have this revelation at the top trump adviser to his real estate company reached out to a spokesperson for vladimir putin about a potential deal. michael cohen pushing back forcefully in a statement to nbc news saying the trump moscow proposal is simply one of many development opportunities that the trump organization considered and ultimately rejected.
to best of my knowledge, mr. trump was never in contact with anyone about this proposal other than me on three occasions including signing a nonbinding letter of intent in 2015. so there's the forceful pushback on that report. pushback on that report. then to our nbc news reporting, which shows that investigators who are working with special counsel robert mueller are looking into president trump's role in crafting a statement about his son, donald trump's junior meeting over the kremlin linked attorney. the first statement said that that meeting was about russian adoptions and then later revealed based on e-mails that were produced and made public themselves that actually donald trump jr. was promised dirt on hillary clinton. cobb the president's attorney and liaison here at the white house for all things russia said this in a statement, it was true at the time. it was written and true now. saying the statement was not a bible of events leading up to and after the meeting, but it was not untruthful.
effectively saying, yes, they did discuss russian adoptions during that meeting, as well. despite the fact that so much more was discussed during the meeting. bottom line, though, chris. the russia-related questions and headlines continue tapersist and loom over this administration even as the president is dealing, obviously, with the crisis. the natural disaster in texas and even as he prepares to fight for his legislative agenda in the fall, which is going to produce a number of tough battles, chris. >> kristen, thanks. i want tabrio bring in my panel steve kornacki. with k can we start with this article. the top real estate person and we're talking about potentially one of the, if not the biggest real estate deal that has ever been done in moscow. but donald trump really didn't know much about it, matt. >> it's in 2015/2016 and we are
thinking about the collusion investigation and all this kind of stuff. imagine it was any other large, important, strategic country with nuclear weapons and everything like that. and during a presidential campaign, you had the long-time consig leof the president becoming the nominee shaking down deals with people right adjacent to the heads of governments that don't have a long, great history of relationship with the united states. the amount of recklessness that goes in that. the sort of work a day conflicts of interests that the trump organization at large. the michael cohen defense is like, hey, we had a lot of deals going on. that's kind of the problem. >> give it time. and then "new york times" publishing these e-mails between another associate and cohen. "buddy, our boy can become president of the usa and we can engineer it. i will get all of putin's team to buy in on this. i will manage this process." what does that tell us about these relationships? >> well, yeah.
that character is an interesting story in and of itself. i don't know what the connection is between getting a deal like this done and donald trump elected president. putin's people ended up not being that interested in it. one possibility this raises to me or one that occurs to me is the timing is interesting when you talk late '15 early '16. think of what we were saying about donald trump's chances of being elected. he certainly won't be the president and i do wonder if there is an element of this in trump world where even donald trump himself and the people around him and sort of the trump business side of things didn't really think he was going to win. thought this whole presidential race thing would be over in a few months. they're off there pursuing deals in places like russia. >> definitely people within his campaign who never in a million years thought he was going to win. i don't think there is any doubt about that. they could read the polls as well as anybody else and then you have this other meeting with the adoption that turned out not
to be an adoption and donald trump jr. is the one who let us know with his e-mails that it wasn't about adoption. it was about getting dirt on hillary clinton. ty cobb's phrase, not a bible of events. which does bring to mind some other things. but what does that tell us, matt welch. that is legalies potentially at its finest. >> misleading. when you say it's not untruthful and you're operating in double negatives here. you're hoping that there isn't anything that was deliberately untruthful there. the president of the united states took hold of this messaging at a moment which he knew more than he let on about the meeting itself and totally tried to downplay the significance of it. >> at the time, they said as any father would do. >> no, my dad wouldn't to that. >> he wouldn't do that? >> wouldn't take over the messaging of my meeting with
translators. >> steve, when you look at all of this and a lot has happened in the last couple days and we have important things that are also going on in texas right now. what is the most troubling or what is of the most interest to robert mueller is maybe the key question. >> according to the reporting from our colleagues here at nbc news, it is that statement. at that moment they're looking closer at that statement. the interesting thing there, that was a public statement saying sort of being misleading about the nature of this meeting. again, this is getting into the legal question. this wasn't a statement to investigators. this wasn't under oath. this wasn't under congressional testimony. it looks like they're interested in the possibility that it was a misleading statement, not because of that in and of itself is a crime, but it raises the bigger question of why would he have wanted to produce misleading information there. does that lead you to more if you keep digging? >> steve, matt, thank you, guys. our coverage continues next. but, first, what people who have spent a lifetime in the great state of texas think about this storm.
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. before we leave you, a quick note to help people displaced or stranded by harvey. this is a look on your screen of numbers you can call or text to donate to the red cross and valivativa salvation army. both agencies have been working around the clock to help victims food, water, clothing or just help finding shelter.
you can find all this information and more on our website, nbcnews.com/harvey. and that's going to wrap up this hour. i'm chris jansing in for stephanie ruhle. coming up right now, more news with hallie jackson. >> hi, chris, thank you very much. we have all been watching that slow motion disaster devastate parts of texas taking aim at louisiana. but right now this hour we're watching a quickly developing situation. one dam now overflowing, putting even more people at risk. and in 30 minutes from now the mayor of houston will give an update during this show. president trump on his way from washington to see it for himself. look at this thing by the numbers. all 123 memb members of the nat guard activated in texas. more than 3,000 people rescued by boat and chopper. four feet of rain in some spots with three people killed so far. many more missing, including that family of six in their van swept away by the water, according to their family