tv The 11th Hour With Brian Williams MSNBC August 31, 2017 11:00pm-12:00am PDT
that's tonight's last word. "the 11th hour" starts now. and making their case that trump didn't obstruct justice. plus speaking of the special counsel, he has more help. mueller has reportedly called in the irs. and paul manafort's notes from the scrutinized meeting with donald trump jr. and russians. "the 11th hour" on a thursday night begins now. good evening once again from our nbc news headquarters here in new york. day 224 of the trump administration brings new information about the russia investigation. specifically, what evidence special counsel robert mueller has in front of him, who he is
enlisting to help his team of investigators, and how they are working with president trump's lawyers. the "wall street journal" reports trump's legal team has met with mueller several times in recent months and even submitted memos to try to make their case to him. they report one memo, quote outlined why former fbi director james comey would make an unsuitable witness, calling him prone to exaggeration, unreliable in congressional testimony, and the source of leaks to the news media. another memo laid out the case that trump had the inherent authority under the constitution to hire and fire as he sees fit, therefore did not obstruct justice when he fired comey. trump's attorney says he has great respect for the special counsel and will not be discussing incremental responses. when the white house first announced the president was firing comey it said he was
doing it because the deputy attorney general recommended it. in the following days the president explained himself this way. >> mr. president why did you fire director comey? why did you fire director comey. >> because he was not doing a good job, very simply, he was not doing a good job. regardless of recommendation i was going to fire comey, knowing there was no good time to do it. when i decided to 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 they should have won. >> "the daily beast" has a report tonight saying mueller has enlisted the irs for the trump russia investigation. they add the unit at the irs is, quote, one of the federal government's most tight knit specialized and secretive investigative entities. its 2500 agents focus exclusively on financial crime, including tax evasion and money laundering.
we also have a new report from nbc news about that june 2016 meeting at trump tower involving donald trump jr., jared kushner paul manafort and a small group of russians. that report sheds light on the notes paul manafort took in the meeting. the notes include mention of a political contribution to the republican national committee. two sources briefed on the evidence told that to nbc news. a spokesman for manafort says it's 100% false to suggest this meeting included any discussion of contributions to the trump campaign or the republican party. when donald trump jr. talked about the meeting he called it nothing and manafort said he was on his phone most of the time. >> the whole contact took how long? 20 minutes or so. >> 20 minutes. and jared left after five or ten. >> yes. >> like she said and paul manafort was on his phone.
>> on his phone. >> the whole time. >> like i said it was pretty apparent this is not what we were in there talking about. >> it does appear manafort was on his phone to take notes. nbc's reporting says nbc's reporting says manafort's notes typed on a smartphone described by one source as cryptic were turned over to the house and senate intelligence committees and to special counsel robert mueller. the panel starting us off tonight. "new york times" reporter, former chief of staff as the cia and pentagon. as well as former house intelligence committee member jeremy bash and jill wine banks. all three msnbc contributors. welcome to aol -- all of you. thank you for joining us. jill, let's start with you. i want to go back to the "wall street journal" reporting on the memos the trump legal team is
sent to robert mueller. the "wall street journal" report says in giving the memos to mr. mueller the president's lawyers hope to get a swift conclusion to the obstruction of justice piece of the investigation and potentially the exon ration of the president. the people said. what do you make of this offer to mueller's team about their opinion on james comey? >> it's an interesting approach. and it's not uncommon. many times defense lawyers come into the department of justice to give information that they hope will persuade prosecutors to drop an investigation not to return an indictment, not to ask a grand jury to return an indictment. they also hope that they will get some sense of exactly where the department is in terms of the investigation and what its chief evidence is. so it's both for giving and getting. it's very unusual to argue that a witness isn't credible because that's really up to a jury to decide. unless they have something really specific, which i have not heard anything that would amount to that, it's unusual to rely on that. their other arguments don't seem
persuasive from the reporting. they're arguing he has inherent authority. that authority is voided if he is using it for the wrong purposes. you have authority if you're a government contract lawyer to award contracts but not in exchange for a bribe. you also can do anything you want in terms of pardoning or in terms of hiring or firing, but not if it's to obstruct an investigation into your own conduct. so i don't think that any of the arguments i've read would persuade me to drop any case against the president. >> well many people were surprised to hear the president's comments to lester holt where he did tie the firing of james comey to the russia investigation. jeremy, let's just discuss you know picking up on jill's comments, the how it would be to make the case that james comey was somehow reckless or unreliable. he is typically described with words like careful or disciplined.
i want to play you a sample of the way in which james comey has responded to questions before congress. >> i don't want to answer that question, senator for reasons i think you know. i'm not answering about any particular investigations. i can't talk about that in a classified setting. >> i want to be careful in open setting. i carefully chose the words. like look i've seen the tweet about tapes lordy, i hope there are tapes. >> jeremy, they're making the case this guy who chooses not to comment publicly in front of congress is somehow reckless and a leaker. >> james comey is cautious, he is a professional, a career law enforcement officer and a career prosecutor. he of course served as assistant u.s. attorney. the idea he is unreliable i don't think goes far with, particularly with bob mueller. after all of course comey replaced mueller as fbi director.
they're sort of sympatico on the outlook of law enforcement. just coming back to the original point about undermining the argument about obstruction. the statute says who ever by threat or by force tries to impede a federal investigation. it doesn't say who ever in brackets unless you're the president, no president is above the law. and of course the firing was not the only basis upon which someone might investigate the president for obstruction. he of course took jim comey to the oval office and said please drop the investigation. it wasn't just the firing. there are multiple avenues to pursue with respect to obstruction of justice. >> michael they are pursuing multiple avenues. we know your last by line reported that mueller's team is interested in talking to senior trump administration officials. we have seen reporting that mueller is working with the irs.
we learned last night that he is working possibly with new york attorney general eric snyderman to have state charges brought that can't be pardoned by the president. in your opinion what thread of the investigation are they pulling the hardest on? >> i think what we are seeing is a very aggressive prosecutor, especially on the manafort front. we saw him last month execute a search warrant to go into manafort's house. that is a very -- that's a big move for a prosecutor to take, especially at a time when manafort said or was trying to say publicly that he was cooperating. so i think what we are seeing a a lot of -- a lot of things here. we'll see a lot more of this in the weeks and months to come. the president is going to have a lot of stories come out about subpoenas, about interviews, about people going before the grand jury, and there is just going to be a lot of these as we go forward. the interesting thing will be when does new information that moves our understanding of what happened changed? it's one thing learning about a subpoena or someone being interviewed. it's another thing when we learn of actually new information about things that we didn't know. and sometimes we're able to do that.
and sometimes we're able to break through and provide new context to things sometimes we don't. but i think this will go on some sometime now. >> jill, to michael's point, the pressure that has been brought to bear on paul manafort, his business associates, his family, there is some sense that the -- the investigation is leaning on him heavily. and there are others who think that the pardoning of former sheriff joe arpaio might have been sending a message to paul manaforts or michael flynns saying hold tight i'll pardon you if it goes wrong. do you read that into it? what do you make of the fact that possibly robert mueller is working with new york attorney general eric schneiderman. >> i think it is a message. i was appalled by the pardon in and of itself.
you are forgiving a contempt of court which cannot enforce judicial proceedings if it can't hold a witness in contempt or a defendant in contempt. and it was for violating civil rights. it's bad in and of itself. but i heard it definitely as a message, hang tight, don't worry. you may lose the fifth amendment privilege because i'll pardon your original crime. but i'll also pardon you if you refuse to testify. i think it was a very bad thing. i think it is a very good thing that the state attorney general is now involved because that is something the president cannot obstruct. and he cannot impede it because he has no power against the state. so that's -- that's a good thing. and i think that they should work together on that. >> jeremy -- that's really the first salvo of that sort. because there are a number of states that can claim some sort
of harm if this is still having to do with the russians attempting to intervene in american elections. there are a number of states targeted by the russians according to reports we've seen. so robert mueller has a lot of ammunition if he wants to start partnering with state attorneys general in guaranteeing donald trump either can't fire him out of this thing or can't pardon his way out of it. >> this is clearly as my -- michael said a sprawling, wide-ranging and aggressive investigation by the special counsel. he has built a strong team, a large team, experienced team. and it appears from everything we are learning that working in a careful hurry to figure out whether or not charges ought to be brought and figure out what to report to congress which with will ultimately hold the impeachment decision in its hands. >> michael is to too wide ranging? you know the president did warn that robert mueller will cross a line if he starts getting involved in donald trump's financial affairs. well robert mueller is getting involved in paul manafort's financial affairs.
one assumes about the moscow hotel in donald trump's moscow affairs. >> there's been questions in the past about special prosecutors before. what we had before is the prosecutors were appointed for an indefinite period of time and they had the ability to go on and investigate whatever he wanted. but based on the politics, what's going on in the country, mueller could investigate a lot of things for a lot of times and there would be few things to stop him. at the end of the day the acting -- the deputy attorney general acting as the attorney general because the attorney general recused himself from this stuff will have the say in
whether there are prosecutions to be made here. but mueller has the power to look at different things. and what usually happens with the special counsels is that they look at things and find things because they dig through a lot of things. they get a lot of information back. they subpoena things. talk to people compel them to talk to them. when you are doing that you're going to kick stuff up. it happens. >> let me ask you then because you made the point that we have to wait until the next thing that shows that we made progress in this investigation. what are you look for? is there some direction in particular that you are looking for to happen next. >> no we're just looking for new information that gives us a better understanding of things that happened before and a better understanding of you know database, look there was a meeting that happened in june of 2016 between the trump campaign and the russians. we only know so much about it. we only know the emails we had about it and the differing explanations we got from some of the folks there. you know if we were to learn what other folks in the meeting, the russians had to say about that or what you know direction they got, or or anything like that that expands our understanding of things. we are looking for things that expand and can provide larger context to the facts. that's what we are searching
for. >> jill back when we first learned of the meeting you said while we only find out what other people leak or what people publicly put out as donald trump jr. did with the emails robert mueller has more power to get more information than what we are learning today about things found on paul manafort's phone indicate that he is using some of that power. >> absolutely. and i want to point out in terms of the timing that we were appointed in may for the watergate case. and we returned indictments in march of the following year. so that's about nine months. and we were looking at a very narrow set of allegations. i think here the mandate that mr. mueller has is quite broad and can allow him to look at a lot of other areas. so it could take way more than the nine months before you would ever have any kind of an indictment. and also, i want to point out he has the power to give a report to the congress which can be as we did a road map to
impeachment. it was decided by our special prosecutor at the time that we should not indict, that impeachment was the correct procedure for the sitting president. since then, the case with ken starr took years and went from a real estate deal to a blue dress, so showing how broad the investigation can be, he has a memo that says it would be perfectly proper to indict a sitting president. so mr. mueller might be able to do that. but he also has the option of
despite the president's continued reluctance to single out russia as a threat to the united states, today more diplomatic shots were fired over the kremlin interference in the u.s. election. the state department is forcing russia to shut down the consulate in san francisco and scale back staff at annexes in washington and new york. the move? retaliation for vladimir putin's order last month to have the u.s. cut 755 diplomatic personnel from russia. but as "the new york times" reports tonight, quote, the state department's response seemed calculated to avoid deepening the rift with russia. the administration is not expelling any russian diplomatic personnel from the united states. nor did it touch the staff at russia's main embassy in washington. vivian, let me start with you. in august earlier this month, the president said this about the russian decision to cut that -- the 755 u.s. staff members in russia. let's listen.
>> i want to thank him because we're trying to cut down on payroll. as far as i'm concerned i'm very thankful that he let go of a large number of people, because now we have a smaller payroll. there is no real reason for them to go back. >> vivian, there is a journalistic term for that. i think it might be weird. that was just a strange response that the president had to another country ordering 755 staffers to not do their work. >> the president has always seemed to do this tap dance with russia. whether with the russian investigation, whether it has to do with the diplomatic relation was russia. he has never outwardly accused russia -- he has never outwardly embraced the intelligence community in the country that feel confident that russia was behind the hacking of the u.s. election in 2016. he says that it was probably maybe russia but also probably other players involved.
and so the diplomatic rift that we've seen kind of manifesting itself over the course of the administration's time in office has been fascinating but it hasn't coming from the white house. a lot of it is coming from the other members of the administration, whether the state department, u.n., ambassador nikki haley. they're the ones who have gone after russia tried to take the tougher stance while the president distances himself not touching the hacking thing except for shortly after the first meeting with president putin of russia. and so it's really fascinating to see all of this going on with the back drop of the investigation taking place where the president kind of gives a little bit of leeway to russia, not wanting to get involved but still insisting he had no collusion. a lot of people concerned about this. they say if he didn't collude if nobody in the campaign colludes,
if he is absolutely confident about it why doesn't he just come out and take a tougher stance. that's what we saw with the clip is that he doesn't quite do that. he falls short of that. and that raises so many questions where a lot of people say, well is there something he is trying to hide? what is the issue with the president not taking the strong stance. >> that is the question. jonathan, let me ask you, to vivian's point he is getting advice from somebody -- he had to do something, right there had to be a response to the 75 a -- american staffers. this is a small portion of that. it's a very measured small response to it. but to whose pressure did he bow on this? is it rex tillerson, the state
department what's going on. >> certainly the state has suggested that some sort of response was necessary. but the president, to vivian's point, has never gone there. i was part of the small group of reporters traveled with the president when he made the comments. and later the sarah huckabee sanders suggested he was kidding. no one thought that. it was odd. what we know about the president is this when he feels pressure he goes the other way. he does not like the idea of being managed. we see that in the white house now with the new chief of staff all the story lines the west wing staff in line but yet seems to have no control over the president himself. in fact, in recent weeks it feels like the twitter feed from the president has become more lively, as if to prove a point that he can't be controlled by the chief of staff. and when it comes to russia in particular he seems to lash out particularly when there are developments in the investigation that seem to come close to home. >> robert, to vivian's point that he is getting guidance from someone and to jonathan's point that he chaffs at the control. you had a by line on the story
published in "the washington post" unless something changed since last i read it -- where it says donald trump resists being handled says roger stone, a former trump adviser and long-term confidante, no one tells him who to see what he can say. general kelly is trying to treat him like a mushroom, keeping him in the dark and feeding him expletive. >> we're seeing the generals around the president, general mattis at the pentagon, trying -- and of course general mcmaster, foreign policy adviser. that includes russia. they adopt more of the traditional foreign policy view in the republican party and even in the democratic party when it comes to the hawkish position towards russia. you see in this administration a balancing of that traditional hawkish view with the instincts of the president and perhaps the secretary of state tillerson when it comes to having a bit of
a softer touch with russia. all of these forces are combined in how the united states is responding to these types of questions. >> and vivian, to that point, this business of russia and sanctions on russia, and taking a harder line on russia, is the one area that the president splits so clearly with his own party on. when it came to the sanctions against russia and iran and north korea in congress, there was a veto proof majority. this is not even an area that the president had the smallest bit of influence amongst republicans and certainly zero amongst democrats. this is not a winnable road he travels. >> that's right. actually when the sanctions took place, he actually came out very strongly against them in a statement put out that day that was really surprising where he supported the actual notion of sanctions, the legislation itself but said that -- the bill was problematic.
he was -- he cited a lot of issues with it, particularly the effort by congress to essentially clamp down on the executive power. he said that it gave them too much power and took away his power to have any authority on the issue of sanctions in particular. this raised a lot of concern because it was a three-part package with north korea and russia and iran. in particular the russia sanctions caused a lot of issues with regard to the language of the bill et cetera. so the president came out strongly behind closed doors where he was pushing back hard on congress trying to limit the ability to pass this or actually just slowing the process down. it was interesting to see after it was passed, signed into law, this statement by the president where he says you know i'm still not happy with it. it's not a good bill but we have to go forward with it for the sake of national security and the best interests of the country. he is not making it a secret
that he takes issue with it, even after it's law. >> at last, jonathan, the president has work to do. he has a harvey aid bill that has to get passed. we're seeing reporting tonight that the initial effort is going to be about $5.5 billion but could be in the tens of billions of dollars. there is a budget or continuing resolution to get done by the end of september, or else there is a government shutdown and then the tax cuts. he has work to do with congress and that's not been successful so far. >> not at all. he himself has suggested he might be in favor of a government shutdown if it means freeing up funding for the border wall which is the single most signature campaign promise from his run for presidency. but this is a president repeatedly has had a hard time marshaling his own party. which includes both houses of congress to enact his legislation. his leadership during the health care bill was spotty at best. at times it seemed he was
getting in the way of the republicans trying to pass the bill. sending mixed messages in meetings or on twitter. eventually it was down in defeat. what has that led him to do? turn on members of his party even further. calling them out. suggesting perhaps that senate majority leader mcconnell should resign if he can't get health care done. to this point, as much as they outsourced the health care plan it seems they may be going that way with tax cuts as well. >> sounds clearly. >> and we may find a similar lack of executive leadership to get things done. >> bob costa, in fact the president in unveiling the not really tax cut plan, the president said the word -- the name congress many times. he kept on talking about how he doesn't want to be disappointed by congress. maybe congress will come around on this thing. but in the efforts to get this border wall done, the harvey aid may come in the way of that. because the border wall the president says is $10 billion. other estimates republican
estimates are 15 to 25 billion. i've seen estimates upward of that. that harvey aid may eat that up. >> and that may actually be a blessing in disguise for republicans because the sources i was talking to today on capitol hill. they say the harvey aid package is likely to be bipartisan in support and also likely puts the border wall fight on the shelf at least until the next fiscal year budget fight later in december. it's easier to pass the budget by just having the harvey aid package be the sole main addition rather than the border funding. instead of having wall funding i think we can expect border security funding. something with democratic votes that's not the concrete of the wall. >> robert costa, vivian, jonathan, thanks to all three of you. coming up is there a rift between the president and the top man at the pentagon? "the 11th hour" back after this. s real ice cream, without that annoying lactose.
and i am a senior public safety my namspecialist for pg&e. my job is to help educate our first responders on how to deal with natural gas and electric emergencies. everyday when we go to work we want everyone to work safely and come home safely. i live right here in auburn, i absolutely love this community. once i moved here i didn't want to live anywhere else. i love that people in this community are willing to come together to make a difference for other people's lives. together, we're building a better california.
you're a great example for our country right now. it's got some problems. you know it and i know it. it's got problems that we don't have in the military. and you just hold the line, my fine young solars sailors with airmen, marines. you just hold the line until our country gets back to understanding and respecting each other or showing it, being friendly to one another, you
know that americans owe to one another. we're so dog gone lucky to be americans. >> welcome back to the 11th hour rgs. defense secretary james mattis took steps today to squash reports of a growing rift between himself and president trump. in an impromptu q and a session with reporters at the pentagon mattis called the idea that the speech you saw to soldiers had showed disagreement to the president, if i say six, and the president says half a dozen they're going to say i disagree with him. the executive director of defense, and msnbc national analyst among the reporters with secretary mattis today. kevin great to see you. this has definitely piled on to a list of things that people are
talking about in terms of some of the closest people around president trump breaking with him. we of course know about the departures from the white house, gary cohen, the senior economic adviser made comments not agreeing about how president trump dealt with charlottesville. then we saw rex tillerson say something on fox news. then this tillerson video was shone. but it wasn't the only thing made people think -- that mattis and trump are not on the same page. you believe he is trying to fix that. >> right. so the -- a couple of things happening here. mattis -- he walked into the press bull pen today not the briefing room. which he has done throughout the year. it's been his thing. he just kind of shows up. we might get some word he was there. he wasn't specifically walking down to make some grand statement about what's going on with him and trump but it was the first thing he was asked. that was what we spoke about. a few things happened in the last week. one was the video you showed which was a pep talk. a walk up to the troops and gave them the mattis speech he does. a lot of us heard that many times. in that he references we're divided back home and hope we can get back together. a lot of people took that and ran with it, probably too much.
he hadn't had a chance to talk about it today. and exactly what you said. he comes back to say, look he actually told us it's in the transcript, that he was thinking of trump's own speech. he had been up early that morning to watch the afghanistan speech where if you remember trump tries to bring unity to the country. he said we need to come together. he said that is what i was thinking of when i said. i was actually thinking of the president's own words, and people said i was coming out against the president. >> let's give him that. >> yeah. >> we also had an instance -- i'm going to play this to you when reporters were asking him about the president's tweet on north korea that where he said the time for talking is over. here is what general mattis said. >> the president this morning tweeted that talking isn't the answer. are we out of diplomatic solutions for north korea? >> no. we're never out of diplomatic solutions.
>> so that was wednesday. that was just after the president tweeted that the time for talking is over. one could say that was bad cop good cop but that was within hours direct contradiction what the president said. >> and here is how mattis explained it. he said i was asked about the diplomatic solutions, i was not asked about the tweet. we said did you see the tweet and he said i did what you did you think. >> he said look the president tweeted we shouldn't be talking to north korea. i agree with the president. we aren't talking to the north koreans. there are other diplomatic actions. at the same time nikki haley was in the u.n. the security council was meeting. there are economic means. that is on the table. he said i agree with the president but on the tweet i wasn't asked about that. people in the press spun it the wrong way again.
all of that led to the bigger question, is he at odds with president trump and should he do something about it? i asked him directly about this idea of every time trump does something that half the country disagrees they all said the generals should resign. i know the answer i've heard it from mattis i asked him to say it on the record. he laid out his own reasons why he serves and is there. it's an answer you can imagine. he was asked to serve the president. that's what he does. people are way ahead of themselves if they think mattis, kelly or mcmaster are going to resign in protest over anything. it would have to be a real dereliction of duty kind of thing. not just carrying out trump's orders or legal policies. >> all right kevin we will watch closely. interesting story that we continue to follow. kevin thank you. >> hold that line. >> coming up from harvey to charlottesville and the president picking fights on capitol hill. august 2017 was anything but quiet. we look back at 31 wild days in trump's america.
welcome back to "the 11th hour." typically in washington, august is a sleepy summer month, but august 2017 has been nonstop, headlines just this month have included robert mueller and the russian investigation. the president's widely panned many-sided reactions to the riots, and the attacks in virginia, the attacks on the republican leaders on capitol hill. the senior white house staff departures and the first solar eclipse to pass the united states in many years. and the president to make his speech as hurricane harvey struck texas. joining me now, the national political reporter for bloomberg, and the tweets who reminded us just what happened this past month, i have them back on the screen. put them back up. there were 12 things but
actually they were a combination of different things, which of these many events that have happened in the last 31 days do you think are the most impactful, the most important? >> other than that, ari, a pretty slow news month, there are a lot of things that president trump does will get washed away in the tide of history but there are a couple of things that happened this month that will never be forgotten. the top of it is charlottesville, and the neo-nazi protests, and this goes to the heart of what the country stands for. will this be a country that gives a stand to the people that only look like them, or will it stand on the american values, equal protection regardless of background? i certainly think the president's reaction to this, the lack of an unequivocal clear condemnation opened up the
pandora's box of racial wounds that the country has had for a very long time. the second thing i think will be very important down the road is the president's attack on republican senators, starting with leader mitch mcconnell, four others, he needs these people to get the legislative agenda through that stands the test of time that can't be reversed so he risks becoming a legislative lame duck early in the presidency. >> let me ask you about the failures, the things that haven't happened, over a longer period of time. and then mike had this thesis that had the president done something differently in charlottesville, we would be talking about a president who did the right thing there, and then when hurricane harvey comes along he gets a second chance to do that and it actually could have changed the way we looked at the entire presidency, do you buy into that?
>> sure, but i think the president had four opportunities to correct himself on charlottesville and he did not want to. that theory of the case is assuming a completely different presidency of who donald trump is -- >> let me ask you another question, what we've seen since charlottesville, was the departure of steve bannon, and a lot of people said when steve bannon is gone we'll get to see a lot of what donald trump's instincts are on his own. >> we all spend a lot of time writing about the factions in the west written and who is influencing the president and i do wonder how the stories will age, when we see the did epartu of those in the west wing, that at the end of the day a lot of this is trump being trump, and the influence of the aides at some level could be overstated.
there has obviously been a huge outpouring of support from people around the country since hurricane harvey, you see people lining up donating tens of millions of dollars. can you speak to what the president and his family has done with regard to donations? >> yes, i can, i spoke with the president earlier and i can tell you he would like to join in the effort that we've seen a lot of people in this country do. that he will pledge a million dollars to the fund. >> sarah sanders said the president would take donations from groups and supporters that would help provide aide to those affected by the storm. this is not something the president has a great reputation with. he doesn't pledge all that much
with charitable donations and that that he has pledged he has had in some instances, a tendency not to follow through. i guess that is not an option this time. >> right, this is something people will make sure he does. it's a noble gesture if he does follow through with it. and it sends the right message to his base of supporters and encourages people to help out. like i said though, the people want to make sure he does it. but if so good on him. >> and it has been a sort of no-win week for the president on how he dealt with harvey. he went earlier than some said he should have, went to places some say he should not have gone to. criticized the hat he was wearing, sort of not empathizing with folks. and today we saw vice president pence go down to rockport and do things we usually see presidents do. he had his gloves on, jacket
off, hugging survivors. what do you make of all of this? >> no win is overstating for donald trump, he avoided a george bush situation. if the recovery effort goes well this is not going to go down in history as a giant crisis of his presidency or a giant flub. he messed up the optics by not meeting any victims of the storm. we'll see if he goes back saturday and has a compassionate moment since the storm. and if vice president pence has that empathy. the president has not messed up a critical recovery so far. and i think that for the most part, aside from criticism on
i'll make a really clear point right now, gouging will not be tolerated. jeff sessions and the president will not tolerate gouging. anybody who is going to go out and take advantage of a hurricane victim will expect law enforcement to come down on them with a hammer. >> that is the security adviser warning today that price gouging will not be tolerated in response to hurricane harvey. a similar warning issued by the texas attorney general.
i spent my career covering the economy, lauding the benefits of a healthy free market system. but the capital market which rests on supply and demand is not the best when it has the chance to profit from catastrophic incidents. others have apologized after there is images of price gouging for things like gasoline and water. their business ends at the door of disaster in times of crisis, one not only sets aside the potential of profit but the best of us share our wealth with those who have lost theirs. the images of those who squeeze what they can out of their neighbors stands in stark contrasts to pictures like this. the remarkable heroism of those
who rush to the aid of those americans. from those who donate the privacy of their phones to the striking images of people waiting in line, not for aid but to offer their valuable time, in the service of their fellow citizens. that is what you see here. we've seen so many images of the absolute best of america, in what can be accomplished when people put aside differences and work together of t. it will be a long road for the recovery of texas but these people, these heroes prove that in the end our better angels will prevail. that is our broadcast tonight, thank you for joining us. i'll see you back here tomorrow morning at 11:00 and 3:00 eastern time. good night from our headquarters in new york. tonight, on "all in".
>> how long was the meeting? >> 20 minutes or so. >> paul manafort was on his phone? >> the whole time. >> the exclusive report on what trump's campaign manager was doing on that phone during the talking to the special counsel about obstruction of justice. >> i said to myself, i said, you know, this russia thing with trump and russia is a made-up story. it is an excuse. >> then, new dangers in texas as the floodwaters cause explosions at a major chemical plant, and how to get rich in donald trump's washington. the story of how the man who promised to drain the swamp created an entire new ecosystem. >> drain the swamp! >> "all in" starts right now. ♪ good evening from new york. i'm chris hayes. we have a lot, a lot of breaking news t