tv The Beat With Ari Melber MSNBC August 30, 2017 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT
it's all we have for tonight. i'm doing my pesto taste test in a minute. b wins the aroma test. the beat with ari starts now. >> it's made out of basil, right? >> that's what i hear. >> thank you as always. now we begin with developing news on the russia probe. this is coming from the kremlin itself. it's not every day that a break in a u.s. criminal inquiry is met with a public response from an adversarial country. that makes this bad news for donald trump and could be bad news for u.s. national security. here is what we know. vladmir putin's right hand man announcing he did receive an e-mail from a trump aide asking for help making money in russia. let's stop right there and take that in. donald trump ran for president
loudly denying over and over that he had business in russia. we all already that. this week these e-mails leaked showing it was false. trump sought business and help from the kremlin with it. today, the putin government confirms they heard that digital plea for help. now, yes, there is good reason to follow the rubles. the putin aide saying i can confirm among the mass of e-mails there was a e-mail from mr. michael cohen, quote, this really happened. why is russia corroborating a story that looks so bad for donald trump? they do offer a defense within this corroboration claiming they didn't respond to that e-mail or raise it with putin. a claim bob mueller is sure to be fact checking. these are putting more pressure on michael cohen who sent the e-mail and facing calls by congress to sit for questions.
the same who pressed donald trump junior to agreeing to an interview of his own. all of these developments raise a pretty basic point. if you need an alibi in the russia investigation, it's probably better that it does not come from a key aide to vladmir putin. i'm joined,0 eed now by former m bask -- ambassador to russia. olivia, we have talked about this a lot. when you look specifically at the kremlin speaking out today, they are confirming the other side of this. they don't have a need to do that. what do you make of it? >> it's terrible for the president, obviously. there's sort of a drip, drip. it's increasing with speed every day this goes on. michael cohen is not just his
personal lawyer but he's been a campaign spokesman. he's appeared on television as a tur ga surrogate for the president. he's visited the white house. it's not just he's some random member of his legal team. he's very important to donald trump not just in a legal respect but also on the campaign itself. >> let me play for you what i mentioned so folks can take it all in with the new information. they were seeking to build a trump tower in moscow. they were seeking the kremlin's help and all the while during the same year of 2016, donald trump was saying things like this. >> i'm all over the world but we're not involved in russia. >> i have nothing to do with russia. >> i have no dealings with russia. i have no deals in russia. i have no deals that could happen in russia because we've stayed away. i have no loans with russia.
>> i have nothing to do with russia. i have no investments in russia. none, whatsoever. i don't have property in russia. >> not for lack of trying, ambassador, we reached to you to do some kremlinology. interesting wording here from a central putin figure. he said he didn't respond to the e-mail because it was outside of his job description. here is how roueuters described it. we do not react to such questions about business themes. this is not our job. we left this matter without a response. does that mean that no one else involved in putin's circle or outside business interest might have responded after prodding from the kremlin, ambassador? >> that's a good question. we don't know that. we don't know if there were other e-mails, other contacts related to this. if this was a serious business
proposition, of course, they would have had other contacts with other russian officials besides mr. peskov. he's the guy you seeputin. if you think you need to have a contact with him, he's the guy you go to. he didn't have to tell us this. why is he telling this? why is he making this public? i don't know the answer to that but it seems very mysterious to me. >> could it be gloating? >> he's going out of his way to confirm it. >> maybe he's gloating. i don't know. could be gloating. it could be there's real disenchantment with what president trump has done to -- in terms of u.s. russian relations. they had big expectations last november about lifting sanction, roll back nato, no talk about
democracy or human rights. none of that has happened. maybe they have lost interest in trying to help mr. trump succeed. >> that's very interesting. you read it as potentially a negative or a turning there? >> possibly. i don't know exactly what mr. -- i know mr. peskov well. i don't know exactly what he meant. it's very unusual to go on the record with something like this. i would remind your viewers, don't believe me. go back and look at what the prime minister said a couple of weeks ago about president trump's inability to stop that sanctions legislation. he basically said he's weak and he's given up foreign policy to the so-called deep state, the congress, the national security experts. that suggests they no longer think that trump can deliver on the promises that he made on the campaign trail. >> how does that play out in trump land? >> i think this is a real big problem because as the clip you
played demonstrated, donald trump and the people close to him have always argued, yeah, maybe russia somewhat interfered but there was no collusion. we have no interests. that has crumbled. in crumbled in relation to the june 2016 meeting. it's under question here. the russians here seem to be saying we didn't respond to that, to the e-mail from michael cohen, but that's not really the point. the point is by making this request for help, obviously the russians then had leverage of a kind whether they use it or not with someone who is known to be extremely close to the president of the united states. that's an issue. whether they responded or not, if you e-mail me, and ask me a favor that could involve millions and millions of dollars, whether i respond to your e-mail isn't the point. the point is i have -- i way to
influence it. >> who were they e-mailing you on whom's behalf? emily, a new york times reporter and former clerk to a federal judge with some legal expertise and how these thing ks be interpreted, michael cohen is a senior business representative of the trump organization and a lawyer for trump. we have been told over and over this is a lien organization that moves quickly and represents the boss. is it plausible or likely that he was writing with the no knowledge of donald trump on donald trump's behalf or would he has a lawyer do this on freelance and tell his boss after. >> it seems rather implausible that cohen was out there doing this on his own. on the other hand we don't have the proof yet. this is the bred crumb of these trail that were watching as we get more and more information drip by drip about what these
e-mails show. >> what we hear over and over from the trump organization is that they do things that donald trump orders that is hands on and perhaps if it was a tiny country and a tiny deal or throw away licensing deal, but here is a trump tower in moscow is where it's slated to be. you're now seeking the help of an aide to vladmir putin. not someone you want to trifle with. there's no backsies with putin. you ask for help, you're asking. >> this is a deal that trump and his children had talked about, played up and made a big deal about. that can add one more shred of evidence, perhaps, to what you're pointing toward. >> this comes as there are top democratic investigators saying it changes the calculus. some real news here from representative swalwell. he's saying it in response to these developments and the
kremlin statement today. telling the committee might want to have witness testimony from the president himself. >> people have thought of that as unprecedented or an implausibility. it's not entirely without presence. gerald ford was called in 1974 to testify. the previous example before that was woodrow wilson. this does point to the fact the house investigators finding out in the interview that you call, they talked about things proceeding at a dizzying pace. i think that does get to this point that there are a lot of interesting pieces of information being excavated at the minimum. >> on the trump side of this, i
want you to join me and take a journalistic risk on live television. join me in the supposition that donald trump has not tweeted about this since we went on air live, which is a risk because he tweets a lot. we're not seeing the president lash out at this particularly part of the russia news the way he has on so many other parts. what i notice, i want your view, wow, if the kremlin is talking, suddenly he clams up. >> right. he's exercising a kind of caution that is unusual for him. he normally tweets what he thinks when he thinks it. we don't know him to be somebody who ever holds back. the fact he's not tweeting the last couple of days about this being a witch hunt is very out of character and makes you wonder is he starting to get worried. what does he know about this invi investigation that we don't know. you read the e-mails, testifies at the trump organization where they were making these connections between the campaign and between his real estate deal. his potential real estate deal
in moscow. they are really doing a lot of work for us here in terms of k connecting these dots. you don't have to speculate the way donald trump has accused journalists of speculating. >> a lot of clues out in the open. thank you all for joining me. emily, stay with me. i want to talk about another big story. coming up, the russia inv t investigation and the pardon issue. if trump were to pardon enough people in the wrong way, he could create a new federal crime. donald trump no stranger to testify under oath. this democratic lawmaker pushing for that. we have the reporter who broke that story on the beat and later, how trump struggles with power. robert green is here to discuss the 48 laws of power. he's a guru to many familiar faces. he'll explain trump on the beat. . nobody's hurt, but there will still be pain. it comes when your insurance company says they'll only pay
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donald trump made a pitch today on the one idea republicans now say could save a first year in office with no legislative achievements to date, taxes. trump failed on health care and hasn't built that wall. he tried to tackle policy in missouri using himself as an example. >> eliminate special interest loopholes. i'm speaking against myself when i do this. i have to tell you. i might be speaking against mr. cook and we're both okay with it, is that right? it's crazy. we're speaking maybe we shouldn't be doing this, you know. they've been the forgotten people but they're not forgotten any longer. i can tell you that. >> we are unable to confirm trump's claims about the impact on his own taxes because unlike every recent presidential candidate, he refused to release them. bringing up his own secret tax
returns in his policy speech does take a certain hoopspaw. there is a one page summary that suggests people in the top 1% will get another quarter of a million dollars from the federal government. that's per an independent analysis while raising taxes on far more people in the middle class. so, does that benefit you? according to our financial colleagues at cnbc, you're this the national 1% if your family makes over $600,000 a year or in a city like houston you have to make $1.6 million to be in the top 1%. if that's more than you make, this plan doesn't help you. with me is the former chief of staff to speaker paul ryan and has first hand experience in all of these battles and negotiations with donald trump as well as julian epstein. i'll start with you.
is this plan any good for the middle class as trump claims? >> well, i think as you just said, it's impossible to evaluate because president trump during the campaign and since he's been president has not given us any details. his secretary of treasury and chief economic advisor said this would be done by august. they don't even have a plan by august. they have the bare outlines of plan. this shows this is plan for the elite and the well connected. the majority of the benefits will go to the top 1% of the earners. i think leaving aside what the substance of the plan, the idea that donald trump has the temperament to get something that's more complicated than health care through capitol hill right now has the team on the ground, i don't think he has the treasury secretary or gary cohen.
he continues to alienate those that are important to him on capitol hill. this august has been a month for him where he has offended everybo everybody. >> let me play for you these are some trump supporters who are frustrated not with his ideas in theory but the fact, as you know, working for speaker ryan, he hasn't dug in and passed major legislation yet. >> you voted for him? >> yes, sir. >> okay. why check disappointment? >> because regardless of what he truly wants to get done, whatever that may be, he has got
to be his own worst enemy. he couldn't be any worse at achieving goals in politics. >> david, your view on results. >> well, at this point the biggest result is the supreme court justice that was put in. they have not accomplished what they wanted to on health care. no doubt about that. that's a failure. right now they are looking at the fall as the opportunity to do taxes. the tax bill will be written by the members of the ways and means committee and will be taken over to the finance committee. that's what they are doing. those are the people who know taxes best. they want to make reform. the reforms they want to make are to start giving some money back to the private sector. so much money is taken out of private sector by the government that the people who want to use this to build their businesses, if you're looking at family businesses, those are some of the key people in this country. they have having to spend, give, 39% or more of their taxes to
the government instead of putting it back into their business. it's range of things they are trying to do here and the ways and means committee, the finance committee members will be the ones who put pen to paper on this to put details together. the details are much more difficult in the long run. in taxes you have a million details. >> point of personal reference in law school tax law was my least favorite course. it's truly complicated. i wonder, as a fellow congressional veteran like david, if you can analyze his theory is health care and they failed. taxes is harder but they're going to use the same legislative approach and try to have congress lead tr behind and this time it will be a win? >> i think you put your finger on it in the question.
david, i think outline the congressional process very well. he worked for a guy who is not just an honorable guy, speaker ryan but a master at this. that said, there's a reason you haven't had tax reform in 30 years because it takes very, very concerted leadership from the top. the top being the president of the united states. we're looking at a president now whose numbers have slipped down into the low 30s. the number of americans that have enthusiastically support this president is down in the low 20s. you look at the fact he's alienating congressional republican, ceos won't sit on his business council, his military leaders rebuked him,
members of his cabinet want to distance themselves from him. you know you just continue to see whether it's north korea. >> let me give david the benefit of the response. >> everybody is blowing this president off. >> to build on julian's part. charlie sykes was speaking about your old boss on this point saying i long admired paul ryan but he's made a bargain but for tax cuts paul referring to the support for white supremacists saying i imagine ploes of the elected officials are privately horrified. >> they have peek and speaker ryan and chairman brady on the house side.
they've been a part of this before. they've done some of these things before. for republicans they have also had much more work with the white house with mr. cohen and secretary mnuchin than they did on health care. they are further down the line than they were on that. i think that's the reason for optimism here. >> i don't want to give you a hard time but i want to point out for the benefit of our viewers, you're not requesting the question that charlie sykes puts there. >> go ahead. >> paul throughout the campaign on a number of different occasions, he said that's not the direction republican party. that's not what we believe. remember paul is really a disciple of jack kemp. jack, i worked for jack for four years that we were doing the tax
reform in 1986. i was jack's dhechief of staff. i know jack well. he iunderstands this is the pary of lincoln. >> i'd love to have you both back on. thank you gentlemen. ahead, movement on the issue of trump pardons. why democrats now demanding a new investigation into trump's unusual pardon of sheriff arpaio. patrick woke up with back pain.
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his former key watergate figure warning trump trying to use his power to stop aides from cooperating, that could obstruct the administration of justice, a potential felony. the question is whether trump would abuse it in a way that's a crime. third, the exclusive report we brought you on the beat, how mass russia pardons could backfire on trump by making local inquiries more likely. a key democratic investigator saying it should be on the table. thank you for being here. tell us the context for this interview and how a member of congress might go about that unusual pursuit.
congressman asked him about felix. he's the russian convicted felon turned fbi informant who is a long time real estate add visor to the trump organization. was involved in deals. showing that he was pitching the trump tower moscow project during the presidential campaign and saw it as a way to help get donald trump elected. those were pretty fascinating e-mails. we haven't seen it before.
he first told me he wanted to see him as a witness. to get to the bottom of what those e-mails were about and what happened. you have to talk to the principals and here we have one. this is about donald trump and what he knew and when he knew it. we know that donald trump signed, personally signed a letter of intent for that trump tower project in october of 2015 after he's been running for president since june. >> you raised he sign the letter of intent. why did he lie about it? >> well, there's a lot of statements that donald trump has made about his relationships with russians and we felix that have womcome into question.
>> let's go back. that was early enough before the presidential primary voting started where a different response would have been, yeah. i am exploring business dealings in various countries. maybe if i become president it will change. the hacking had not been exposed. the other issues had not come to the fore. the changes to the gop platform. all the benefit of hindsight hasn't happened. it was weird to make that the thing you hide. >> fair enough. trump has a track record of not being forthcoming about his relationship with mr. sader. he was deposed under oath in 2013 and said that he wouldn't know him if he walked into the room. this despite the fact there's multiple photographs, one i see you're showing now of the two of them together that he had this office.
sader had this office in trump tower. the chief counsel was questioned during the campaign, because there were legitimate questions about what the relationship was with felix given his background the business card was from 2010 and the arrangement lasted six months. that was in new york times story of april of last year. we see these e-mails that he's pitching this trump tower project started in the fall of 2015 and continuing into january of 2016. there's a lot of reasons to be skeptical about the comments that trump and his senior people have made about this.
>> michael, thanks for sharing your reporting with us. when we come back we have some developing news on the entire issue around that key aide. michael cohen who asked the kremlin for help and an interview with robert green. stay with us. where, in all of this, is the stuff that matters? the stakes are so high, your finances, your future. how do you solve this? you don't. you partner with a firm that advises governments and the fortune 500, and, can deliver insight person to person, on what matters to you. morgan stanley.
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gut the one policy she touted during the campaign. >> at my father's company, there are more female than male executives. women are paid equally for the work that we do and when a woman becomes a mother, she is supported not shut out. politicians talk about wage equality but my father has made it a practice at his company throughout his entire career. he will fight for equal pay for equal work and i will fight for this too right along side of him. >> but reports in the wall street journal newsweek she backs plan to gut obama rules that show the disclosure of gender pay gaps. telling nbc news she believes the policy intention was good but it wouldn't yield the intended results. i'm joined by new york times
magazine reporter. >> they were beautiful words. i remember as a young center right conservative who is really concerned about the future of the gop has it pertains to engaging the next generation of young women. this was really exciting to me. i thought we were going to see some change. maybe we're not. it's a real missed opportunity. >> is she buckling to pressure? >> i don't know if the intention to begin with was serious to follow through. as a conservative, i think that conservative women have transitioned from saying i want as little government as i can at whatever cost to say if we truly want to conserve the family unit and waennt to see more prosperi for women owned businesses and equal pay from the time they enter the work force until the
time they leave, we need to make sure we leverage the power to push companies to pay their women fairly. >> which is what she's not doing. >> which is what she's not doing. >> missed opportunity. the striking to see her back on this type of thing. michael moore predicted a trump victory. he's warning trump could bereelected if his opponents don't get tough. we already have the majority and he predicts a majority will oppose trump but american vs to reform the electoral college to follow the popular vote. this comes amidst a big new york times report showing how hardball republican tactics turned a 47% loss into over 60% majority in a key legislature in a business that would be called fraud. in today's politics emily explains it's called data innovation.
her piece on the war over democracy over war versus math and how obama aides are trying to turn it out, what did you find? >> i find the tools exist. the computer modelling is sophisticated enough for whoever controls the redistricting to be extremely precise in targeting how they distribute voters. if you are a legislature that wants to do this in a way that benefits your party significantly over the other party, you can do that. then the question is will courts step in? the supreme court is hearing challenge to the wisconsin redistricting plan that we're talking about. >> it's the case in the popular vote and sochl these key states that democrats win not only more votes but win sometimes a majority and then they're the minority. >> we should say in states democrats control, they cangerr
themselves entrenched in power. should courts take a role. >> this is one of those things where the internet was brand new and everyone was like this is so awesome and between the freak outs of the president of the united states on twitter and things where big data runs into old school anti-democratic efforts you feel like this is really run amuck. i think a lot of judges haven't caught up with it. >> obviously, tech snonology is tool that can be used for good and evil. i think both republicans and democrats who have been burned by jerry hamands hand -- we kns
a lot of a pathy. we need to have way to get a chance to run on the ballot. this will help that too. >> is donald trump using the power of the residency to make money for himself? under fire for et iks group of what he was wearing on tour to texas. you see the usa hat. nothing wrong with that except in the official photos of the trump meetings about the storm that's a cap he's selling for $40 on the re-election campaign website. my colleague bearing down on this. >> donald trump never thought he was going to win the presidency. >> that's it. >> this was all a money making scam. he thought jeb bush was going to beat him. he was going to take the money and run. let me use the position i'm in right now and try to get that tower in moscow. >> talking about the issue broadly. the hat being one example. this is the president of the united states. he can wear a usa flag.
he can wear the presidential seal. instead he's wearing merch. >> there's a shamelessness about this that seems it should be surprising. that's one expensive hat. >> it wouldn't pay $40 for any hot. >> it is a lot for a baseball cap. thank you so much for talking politics. ahead, president trump and theories of power. he says he likes it but is he any good at it. the laws of power author is here. he's going the explain why trump fails some very kwee laws of power. that's next. plap
. we've been covering some big legal developments in the russia inquiry today. while donald trump blames other people for his failures, the only reason there's a special counsel for russia is because of trump himself. one of the nation's experts on power, robert green, says while this is unusual for most presidents, trump has a poor grasp of strategy evidenced
through his failure to follow most of the famous 48 laws of power that distinguish this strategic from the impulsive like law four, always say less than necessary. there's a russia probe because trump said more than necessary including why he fired jim comey. >> in fact, when i decided to just do it, i said to myself, i said, you know, this russia thing with trump and russia is a made up story. it's an excuse by the democrats for having lost an election that h they should have won. >> trump fails law 16, use absence to increase respect and honor. he seems obsessed with being in control. obama had a much better law of the power including disdain to dismiss things beneath him including trump's race baiting birther campaign. here was obama dispatching trump and a reporter that would waste time about trump's birther
attacks. >> i have to reason. i'm shocked that a question like that would come up at a time when we got so many other things to do. i'm not that shocked, actually. it's fairly typical. we got other business to attend to. >> we also asked green whether trump follows the laws of power. he says he follow the law keep others in suspended terror and have an error of unpredictability. >> i said i have a great plan. it's going to be great. what is it. i'd rather not say. i want to be unpredictable. >> we must be more unpredictable. we're totally predictable. >> now the laws of power are drawn if historical text which range from sun soo.
green's following is actually so intense kanye west who has said he's proud doesn't read books once rapped there's real stuff f once wrapped there's stuff i i never read, the only book i could have read i could have wroe. >> he's joining us now. it is such an honor to have you on the show. >> it's an honor for me being on the show. thank you, ari. >> you say trump fails most of these laws, what are other examples? what do you mean he fails at the laws of power? >> a lot of power are the signals that you send to people. you mentioned the law of always say less than necessary. when you talk without a filter, you're showing people that you really have a lot of weakness. you have no self-control.
when you get involved with petty battles, like the charlottesville or anybody who disagrees with him, his famous counterpunching strategy. it makes you look weak and insecure. you compared that to obama who didn't want to get involved at all in that argument. these are signs that a powerful sends to others that he's strong, he's controlled him or herself. and, you know, trump is -- it's amazing that he's gotten as far as he has by signaling so much weakness. >> so much weakness. you mention that and think about a recent example where ceos are leaving his business council and he went after them. let's take a listen to that. >> why do you think the ceos are leaving your manufacturing council? >> because they're not taking their job seriously as it
pertains to this count. they're leaving out of embarrassment. >> what law is he beaking there? >> he's doing the same thing as -- that the obama law that we mentioned. but, you know, basically to be good at power you have to be good at strategy, you have to think ahead, you have to think several moves in advance. you can't react emotionally to everything that happens. so, you know, he has a plan or a goal in mind, such as tamping down the russia investigation, which he's clearly obsessed with, and he reveals that to comey early on, in january at some point. sort of not understanding basic human psychology that when you're so overt and show your cards so clearly you cause a counter reaction. >> you think that the way he talks about and conducts himself
on russia, backfires on him? >> completely. you know, he definitely wanted to get rid of the investigation and everything he's done has only -- he created the whole robert mueller council, independent council. for instance what he did with senator me mur cue ski when he wants to strong arm her voting for the health care bill that the republicans are. he's very aggressive and it's his usual bullying tactic. and he didn't understand the power tactic that she's in charge of a committee that has much more power that he has. the secretary of the interior was trying to bully her as well. so on and on and on he democrats an inability to think ahead, plan ahead, think about psychology, and he creates continue wall unintended consequences. >> one of the criticisms of your
work is if people take you literally they can make you ruthle ruthless. i mentioned fidel castro, i don't know how proud you are of that. you said do not commit to anyone. looking back at this, donald trump did follow that law. when he was pressed on this, by of all people a fox news moderator in a debate. >> do you make the same commitment that you will absolutely accept the result of this election. >> i will look at it at the time. >> what's going on there? >> well, he's trying to keep all of his options open. you know, he's -- he's very obvious when he's lying about something. so the do not commit to anyone strategy is really more about keeping your options open. and trump is not about that at
all. everything he does is geared towards his base, towards strengthening his base. one of the laws of power that he's completely violating there is win the hearts and minds of people. which is basically a powerful person is always trying to exband their base. that's what a president does the first six months in office. so as a strategist, his fault is he's always sort of narrowing his options. now he can only appeal to his base, he has no ability to widen his support. he's trapped. >> robert green, you are such a deep thinker to explain some of this, and i loved reading your book. thanks for coming on the show. >> thanks for having me, my pleesh sure. ahead, george collie knee on president trump and why he's
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something a little different tonight, george clooney not holding back saying it's becomes increasingly clear how in over his head he is and how incapable he is of being president of the united states. he spoke to the a.p. today but also added, the good news is our other institutions, press and judges and senators, have proven the country works. as they might say, good night
and good luck. we don't have george clooney monday but a special edition of the beat, bob mueller. that's monday night, labor day here, as always you can e-mail me at ari at the beat. hard ball starts now. >> harvey on the move. this is "hard ball". good evening, i'm in for chris matthews. harvey is continuing to wreck havoc across southeast texas and into louisiana now. dumping rain on boment and port arthur. two feet of rain fell in