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tv   The 11th Hour With Brian Williams  MSNBC  October 30, 2017 11:00pm-12:00am PDT

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the breaking news tonight, a guilty plea and two indictments. a former campaign staff admits to lying about contacts with russia. plus donald trump's former campaign manager, paul manafort, and associate rick gates charged with 12 counts in a 31-page indictment. tonight while we're still learning about robert mueller's straulg investigation and where it's headed next. and new reporting this evening on the reaction from inside the trump white house from the president himself. the 11th hour getting under way on a monday night. on a monday night, good evening once again from our nbc news headquarters here in new york. day 284 of the trump administration and the special counsel robert mueller has his first guilty plea and he has handed down his first indictments in a case that is clearly just getting started. and today came the most serious charge yet. that a foreign government, russia had information damaging to hillary clinton in the form
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of thousands of stolen e-mails not yet known to the world and a member of the trump campaign worked to put the russians in touch with the trump campaign inner circle. the day started with news of two people being indicted, former trump campaign chairman paul manafort and his long-time business associate rick gates, shown here prior to the republican convention. both men are facing 12 charges, including conspiracy against the united states, money laundering and being an unregistered foreign agent. both pleaded not guilty today in court. manafort took over the trump campaign as chairman, running it for much of the summer of 2016, including the aforementioned gop convention. today his lawyer called the indictment ridiculous. >> well, i think you all saw it today that president donald trump was correct. there is no evidence that mr. manafort or the trump campaign colluded with the russian government.
Check
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mr. manafort represented pro-european union campaigns for the ukrainian. and in that he was seeking to further democracy and to help the ukraine come closer to the united states and the eu. those activities ended in 2014. over two years before mr. manafort served in the trump campaign. >> let's back up earlier in the day. tonight's reporting is indicating the administration was relieved by this morning's initial news. the president himself wrote on twitter, sorry, but this is years ago before paul manafort was part of the trump campaign. but why aren't crooked hillary and the dems the focus? also accident there is no collusion. but mueller was not done when the president wrote that. the "washington post" reports the president's celebration was short looifd. a few minutes later court documents were unsealed showing that george papadopoulos, an
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unpaid foreign policy adviser on trump's campaign pleaded guilty to making a false statement to the fbi about his efforts to broker a relationship between trump and russian president vladimir putin. the case proids the clearest evidence yet of links between trump's campaign and russian officials. before today george papadopoulos was a largely unknown, unpaid trump campaign adviser. though the president did talk about him when he discussed his campaign foreign policy team with the "washington post" last year. >> yorj papadopoulos, he's an oil and energy consultant. excellent guy. >> it turns out papadopoulos was arrested in july when getting off a plane at washington dulles airport and he's been cooperating with mueller's team. all of it kept quiet for months until today. and today the white house tried to distance the president from
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him. >> sarah, can you just explain what george papadopoulos's role with the campaign was. >> it was extremely limited. it was a volunteer position. and again, no activity was ever done in an official capacity on behalf of the campaign in that regard. >> what about the outreach that he was making to campaign officials to try to put together this meeting -- >> you mean the outreach that was repeatedly denied and pushed away and said we're not going to take any action on that in. >> can you explain what happened with his outreach? >> he reached out and nothing happened beyond that, which i think shows, one, his level of importance in the campaign and two, shows what little role he had within coordinating anything officially for the campaign. >> one answer back you heard her say his outreach was repeatedly denied. here is what the court paperwork says on that. after several weeks of further communications regarding a potential off the record meeting with russian officials, the unnamed campaign supervisor told defendant papadopoulos that,
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quote, i would encourage you and another foreign policy adviser to the campaign to make the trip if little feces elbow. press secretary sarah huckabee sanders also repeatedly said the real scandal here is about hillary clinton. >> but look, today's announcement has nothing to do with the president, has nothing to do with the president's campaign or campaign activity. the real collusion scandal, as we've said several times before, has everything to do with the clinton campaign, fusion gps and russia. >> george papadopoulos is about the campaign. it is specifically about the campaign sbloo it has nothing to do with the activities of the campaign. it has to do with his failure to tell the troou. that doesn't have anything to do with the campaign or the campaign's activities. >> that was the public message from the white house podium. behind closed doors the "washington post" reports this. quote, the walls are closing in said one senior republican in close contact with top staffers,
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who spoke on the condition of anonymity to speak candidly. every one is freaking out. the white house also repeated today they think this investigation will be over soon. but this is what one of mueller's attorneys has told the judge about this case. your honor, the criminal justice interest being vindicated here is there's a large scale ongoing investigation of which this case is a small part. to our lead-off monday night panel now. robert costa, ashley parker, upstairs at home with the tv on trump fumes over russia indictments. more on that in a bit. and jeremy bash. welcome to you all. counselor, you get the lead question because i need legalese
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translated into english. three people today mentioned. who has been charged with what? >> manafort and gates were charged, indicted by a federal grand jury with multiple counts, 12 counts of money laundering, tax revags, conspiracy to defraud the united states, all related to a covert russian influence operation in an effort to lobby washington and other clals secretly, hide the payments and exert influence over policy. manafort has been doing this for about a decade. now, let's go to the other legal case. that was a case against george papadopoulos in which he pleaded guilty. so he is now a convict. he's been convicted of a crime. sl usc is 001, lying to the feds. you can't do that. he did that in two interviews to the fbi in january and february of this yoerment he was picked up, as you noted in dull has airport on july 27thment and he has been turning states evidence, cooperating with the feds, possibly wearing a wire, telling all he knows and he
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pleaded guilty in secret on october 5th. and that's given the feds and bob mueller's investigation multiple opportunities to learn further what he knew. and importantly about him, he's the one who was offered, quoted, dirt on hillary clinton in that april 2016 meeting with russian intelligence. >> and just to follow-up quicklyment manafort was the name sky written for us today. papadopoulos, though, was the headline from today because of the potential damage he could cause to the trump circle. >> and he was in the trump campaign, again, let me just unpack the russian intelligence. they spotted, assessed, recruited him. offered him dirt on hillary clinton to support trump and to interfere in the election. and did he cut off ties? he told the supervise, did he say no, did they report it to the feds? no, he didn't. they actually continued the conversation of the they used skype, in tern meetings and they tried to see whether or not this relationship would go further.
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>> robert, you and ashley and our friend philip rauker have published this fascinating piece tonight on what started as drama in the residence portion of the white house and spilled out into the corridors of the west wing of the you quote 20 sources talking about the president's reaction. how did this go over in the residence? >> what we learned, brian, during the course of our reporting was that the president spent much of this morning up in his residence at the white house, playing legal analyst, television critic as he digested these bomb shells of news stories about people who had been affiliated with his campaign. he's of course unhappy being associated with in kind of vefgts. but it's really telling that he's listening to his lawyers and his own instipgs to try to guide him through this thorny process ask this difficult moment in his presidency. >> ashley parker, muscle memory
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took over programs after the first two indictments, reached for his phone, tweeted out what he wanted to be his message. the problem is the story changed when we learned about papadopoulos and it will be interesting referencing robert's point to see if lawyers or reflexes win out by, way, tomorrow morning. >> that's exactly right. one thing that was so striking is we learned that the president and the white house today were following along with this just sort of we were and the rest of america was kind of trying to make sense of it in real time. the white house didn't have any heads up other than the news reports friday that said indictments were likely coming monday. and as you saw, even monday the president didn't really know what to expect when he sent that tweet. that was a tweet, you know, our sources told us where he felt vindicated. he felt that the indictment against manafort and gates, you know, it didn't mention him. it didn't mention possible collusion between russia and his
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campaign and that was sort of the end of it. what was striking was to see him tweet that out and just moments later the president learns again that just like the rest of us that there's more and it looks a lot worse for him. >> jeremy bash, if you are on the president's legal team, how did your world just change as opposed to friday? what are you preparing for now? >> well, you have multiple people now who can basically turn state's evidence and testify against members of the trump inner circle, members of the trump family and maybe even the president himself. not just manafort and gates but this individual papadopoulos who is going to go for a more lenient sentence. i think the other thing that's on the table, brian, are pardons. there's discussions tonight about whether or not they should pardon the individuals who were indicted or pardon and commute the sentence of the individual who is convicted. >> what happens if that happens because mueller is not going to stop. i don't assume he'll be intimidated by net of pardon on
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his work product. what happens? because that's an absolute power we give our president. >> it is and i think if the president does use the pardon power to these individuals who so clearly violated the law, the trust and national security, i think it evokes the ultimate stl rises can it's up to congress of the united states to determine whether or not our demander in chief remains fit for office. >> so costa, that brings us to what has normally been your pete. and that is the building, the dome behind you. how is this going to play with the lawmakers with an r after their names on capitol hill and what of the trump presidency as of tonight? >> you see two camps emerging within the republican party. one is mor combative. they're urging the president privately and their allies within the white house to be moron taking alwith the special counsel to question his team's
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credibility as this process moves forward. and the other camp, prien, is those who think this process has to move forward on its own and the republicans should stay away from politicizing the special counsel. focus more on trying to pass a tax cut package and that really seems to be the split that i see in my reporting. i'm not sure yet, based on my conversation today, which side will whip out in the gop. >> ashley, i don't know if you've seen this. it will be the first time we're seeing it. john kelly sat down tonight with laura inning ham on fox news and apparently engaged in some perhaps wishful thinking regarding the timeline of mueller's effort. we'll watch together and talk about it on the other side. >> it should wrap up soon. i mean, it would seem that they're towards the end of the witness pile and i don't know how much longer it could possibly go on, but we're in great hopes that it wraps up. it is very distracting to the president, as it would be to any citizen to be investigated for
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something while staim trying to carry the weight of what being president of the united states means on hits shoulder. >> i'm quite certain it is distracting to the president, but when you think about the fact that no one was talking about papadopoulos on friday or saturday and this is the new thing, it does indicate the percentage of the stuff we all know. >> i think that's right. i think it is a little bit of wishful thinking on kelly's part. i will say it's wishful thinking shared by a number of west wing staffers. i heard that a lot today. i heard that ty cobb the president's lawyer also has been telling the white house that he expects and hopes that this will be over soon. but i think what you saw with mueller, these indictments was an opening salvo. it was very forceful and he's clearly done a lot of research and is well into his investigation. but as much as these indictments were indictments in their own right, it was also sending a
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message to other people who he's yet to talk to potentially that he's not messing around. and if you especially look at the manafort and gates charges, russia and collusion is not mentioned, but one of the theories we've heard is that he's sort of getting them on other issues like, for instance, money laundering, with the hope of flipping them or getting them to cooperate in a manner in which they haven't so far, which again could lead to more people and more questions and more sort of surprises like papadopoulos we saw today. >> hey, robert, right quick. you guys wrote tonight they were relieved it wasn't flynn. why is that? >> because, brian, general flynn remains under investigation with his own grand jury at the moment, and he was the national security adviser, albeit briefly in this administration. he was also someone who was a true confident of then candidate donald trump, and so they believe he was part of the inner circle in a way that mab fort and rick gates and george papadopoulos were never part of
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the trump orbit. and so they were on edge today about what's next with general flynn, what's his level, if any of cooperation. never want to speculate about a grand jury, but it still sits out there, ominousel for many people in the west wing. >> and finally, jeremy, i want to talk about a public serve ant, someone whose salary we all pay as taxpayers and that's sarah huckabee sanders. do you have any problem with some of the answers coming from that podium in that room? >> she's a u.s. government official. she swore an oath to the constitution to up hole the constitution. she stands in front of the seal of the white house and behind that important podium communicating on behalf of our government to the american people. she should say very clearly that what russia did during the election was intolerable, floshl and that we will cooperate with the investigation. period. >> our thanks to our first segment guests here tonight. a lot to react to. and journalists are -- have been busy this evening we'll put it that way. thank you all.
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our first break and still ahead, what does today's news mean for a twitter enabled president who likes to be in control of his own message? might have heard us refer to that earlier. and next, what could be the legal exposure for the president now is that one of his campaign advisers has pleaded guilty. we'll talk about mueller's investigation with two veteran attorneys when the 11th hour continues on a monday night. building a website in under an hour is easy with gocentral...
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today's announcement has nothing to do with the president, has nothing to do
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with the president's kpan or campaign activity. it has nothing to do with the activities of the campaign. it has to do with his failure to tell the truth. that doesn't have anything to do with the campaign or the campaign's activity. >> what leads you to believe that this will conclude soon, the mueller investigation? have you been given a heads up? what? >> those are the indications that we have at this time. i can't give you further than that. >> indications from who or where? sarah, indications from somewhere? >> as i said, i can't go any further. we still expect this to conclude soon. >> it is called the nothing to see here defense, and if you only watch the white house briefing every day you might think there is nothing to see here. sarah huckabee sanders trying to make two things clear. there's no connection between the trump campaign and russia and robert mueller's investigation is inconsequential. the "washington post" is reporting today, however, this. quote, with a guilty plea and a
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31-page indictment, special counsel robert mueller spoke volumes more than months of heated public debate about the russia probe. without saying a word, mueller's message was clear, according to veteran lawyers. he isn't bluffing and witnesses are talkel the here with us just happened to be two veteran lawyers. i say that because i was around for both of them and record on them at the time. sol, can you go first and tell us what you learned today about the mueller investigation. >> well, that it's what we always suspected, that ts very serious, that it's here to stay,
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that it's ruthlessel efficient and doing really substantive work. that manafort indictment, even though the press secretary is correct it didn't mention the president at all, it's a very substantial alleged crime. ist the kind of indictment that any u.s. attorneys office in any district in the country would mack a very big deal of. there would be a press conference irrespective of who the -- very serious with very substantial allegations. >> what does this mean to you that papadopoulos was nowhere on anybody's radar when we left work on friday night. >> well, what it says is the special counsel has been working appropriately under the radar. and it's both the ethical way to do his job without leaking, but it's also extremely effective in
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that not -- for the other defense counsel for other witnesses. not knowing what's going on makes it much easier for the prosecutor to make his case. papadopoulos being under the radar means that the investigators were able to go out and question persons one two and three, the senior campaign advisers that were identified in the plea agreement. and they were completely unaware that there was already an accounting in the record under oath from this guy george papadopoulos. >> so, sol, the feds walk into dulles airport at the height of summer in july. somehow quietly they grab an adult male and get out of there. nobody knows nothing. he goes back to his work and life, we are to presume. today he is called a proactive
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cooperate or. does that mean, as has been speculated all day, that he was wearing a wire? >> it's certainly possible that he was wearing a wire. and peter makes a very good point about the other individuals who would have been questioned, not knowing that papadopoulos was cooperating, but also he could have very easily called them and done consensual monitoring. wouldn't even need a court order for that. keep in mind he's arrested in july. the plea is not signed, finally signed and filed under seal october october 5th. that's plenty of time to do undercover work for them. and by the way, the actual plea itself and the information is very, very simple. it wouldn't have taken long to finalize that. it's a simple one count information to a false statement. very simple plea agreement. >> peter, there's something in
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your line of work called a superseding indictment where basically it's an add on, a bolt on with more charges. how are they coming after manafort? do they say to him, look, this was just to get you in here, to get you tht criminal justice system. we have this many things we're looking at. how would you like to make our job easier, because if you get nicked on some of these charges, you're going to die in prison. >> well, it's entirely possible, but i don't personally think it's likely. the indictment that has already been brought doesn't need any extra weight in terms of inducement to plead guilty and cooperate. it's extremely detailed and the amount of money involved is what drives the sentence under the stej guide liejs. so he is looking at many years
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if not decades in prison. and frankly, in looking at that indictment, i don't think it's defensible. i think most defense attorneys would like at that indictment if they had a client come in and say we're going to have to milwaukee a deal. you can't try this case. so is a superseding indictment possible? yeah, it's possible, but i don't think it's necessary in order to flip paul manafort. >> wow, that focuses the mind. and sol, how are flynn's lawyers looking at what happened today? >> well, there's nothing directly related to flynn. but again, it's consistent with the way mueller is always operated and the way andrew wise man has always operated. these are very serious people who are extremely aggressive. to i would say they're going to be very worried if they weren't already worried. i think it is worth mentioning that there is absolutely nothing in the manafort indictment about
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trump or the administration and that even in the papadopoulos criminal investigation, even though the press secretary is wrong, it clearly talks about the trump campaign and campaign officials, there's nothing whatsoever implicating the president himts. >> an important point that we need to note. thank you both. gentlemen, so much for being on with us and explaining a lot of what happened today. our thanks. coming up, as ween it the white house has repeatedly said the president has no plans to fire robert mueller. did that change at all today? we'll look tra question among other things when we come right back. when i was a navy seal, i trained as hard as i could to stay alive. i have more than 30 pieces of shrapnel still in my leg. but i still push myself to the limit. if it weren't for my tempur-pedic, i wouldn't be able to sleep on my left side at all. ♪ the tempur-pedic veteran's day savings event is here,
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repeatedly dismissed the russia investigation and robert mueller's investigation as a witch-hunt or a hoax, but as today's new york times put it, mueller's first indictments send a message to trump. their chief white house correspondent peter baker writes, quote, the first charges filed by robert mueller the special counsel did not implicate mr. trump but collectively amounted to a political body blow to a president who has spent months insisting that mr. mueller's investigation was nothing more than a witch-hunt. based on a hoax invented by democrats and the news media. that author, peter baker of the
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new york times, is with us now. peter, to borrow from a bumper sticker phrase, today is the first day of the rest of his presidency. but put a final point on it. how did president trump's life change as of today. >> well, you played the clip earlier much john kelly saying how distracting this is. now we have in fact a possible trial of his former campaign chairman. now that we have the knowledge that witnesses are in fact talking to robert mueller and they're telling him things that we didn't know publicly before. you've already said on your show already tonight george papadopoulos's indictment and guilty plea, you know, came as a shock. a shock to most of washington and certainly the white house, which had thought that they were going to get off today with just these financial charges against paul manafort and they'd be able to say this has nothing to do with the president. what george papadopoulos admit today in that statement offense
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that he signed is in fact he did make an effort on behalf of the campaign to reach out to russia to get dirt on hillary clinton and they kept top campaign people add viegs of his progress. >> two or three news organizations are reporting tonight that bannon is now urging his old boss donald trump to go after mueller more aggressively. donald trump is at if you want to reduce it to math between 33 and 38% in available polling. it would be interesting to see after today where mueller is on approval polling. but what is fraught about mr. bannon's calculus? >> well, look, president trump tends to do better when he has somebody to attack. that's the way he conducts his politics. he feels more comfortable, more confident when he has an enemy. that's why he is so frequent on twitter creating new ones even when he didn't have one at the beginning of the day. whether or not that would work
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with the public is a different thing. we've seen this script before. attacking a prosecutor is something politicians tend to do when they're in trouble. you saw not just what steve bannon is saying. you saw roger stone and other sometime adviser to the president saying that he should create an investigation that would get robert mueller conflicted out. you saw some conservative activists saying that the president should fooir robert mueller saying he's he can seeded his mandate. i think any of those tactics would simply inflame an already flammable situation and it would definitely cause a storm on capitol hill, not just among democrats but certainly among at least some republicans. >> peter, use a wider lens and tell me about washington. what happened to the trump administration accident the trump agendas of today and wider still, he leaves at the end of this week for the most consequential trip of his presidency and by the way, it may include a visit to the dmz.
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>> right. that's exactly right. and today he -- you know, my colleagues at the new york times report, i think some others reported as well that he's made a choice for who is going to be the chairman of the federal reserve of the that may be the most consequential appointment he makes in his first term of his presidency and yet it becomes over shadowed by controversy and scandal. he wants to have this tax reform bill sprousd to committee on wednesday. that's the biggest legislative initiative he has left in this first year of his presidency. and as you say, he leaves friday for asia. these are big things. these are things any president would want to focus on and instead the focus of this week will almost certainly be on the question of this russia collusion and what we've learned now and what these various indictments hanging over them might mean. ep won't let it go. other presidents might find a way to move the product backs to taxes. president trump is likely not to
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mention this during the rest of the week. that it is not his style. >> thank you so much for coming on the broadcast after such a busy day for all of us. thank you, peter. another break for us. the coming up, trump warned a president hillary clinton would face vechgsz. remember, at a protracted constitutional crisis. that was during the campaign. wheel contrast it to now. that and more when we continue. n prepare you to hear those words from a doctor: stage 2 breast cancer. i have three little kids, my baby's seven years old - i can't have cancer. we really wanted a cancer team, that would care about not only my cancer but you know, how is my husband doing through all of this? and what about your three kids? so we thought that we would travel to cancer treatment centers of america and see what they had to offer. i think the hope for us came in the form of knowing that these doctors were experts, and that they would help us decide the best course of action in
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this is the biggest political scandal since watergate. if hillary clinton were to be elected, it would create an unprecedented and protracted constitutional crisis. hillary is likely to be under investigation for many years. probably concluding in a criminal trial. hillary has engaged in a criminal massive enterprise and cover ups like probably nobody ever before. >> a year ago this week then
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candidate trump was delivering his final pitch to voters about why a clinton presidency was bound to run into legal troubles and then some. and while republicans in congress look to move forward with their agenda, questions remain about whether or not the white house can give law marngs any kind of assist. david reason heart writes in a new york times opinion piece, quote, i encourage you to keep in mind just how weak a president donald trump already is. he's probably weaker than any first term president in more than a century. based on his standing with the american pun, his own party members in congress and even his own cabinet officials. just today news broke that the gallup tracking poll taken over a three day period prior to today's news had president trump earning a new low in his approval rating. 33%. even before those news pugh research found that global confidence in the u.s. president plummeted at the beginning of donald trump's term.
quote
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with us now, cornell belcher, worked on both president obama's campaigns of the and david jolly, former republican member of congress the great state of florida. congressman, i'm going to begin with you because we looked something upment we looked up a quote from you the day mueller was appointed. you were on the air with us, and you said -- >> that's right. that's right. >> -- donald trump's done. he's done. there is no question about that. he's done. i doment to show you the front pam of tomorrow's washington post. and this is bracing. you don't see this kind of tall type face. you don't see that much of a newspaper front page, especially that newspaper, given to one story. it is day 284, and that is the headline of this administration. i'm guessing, congressman, you didn't see anything today to dissuade you from your conclusion. >> no. look, this is a president that
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will continue to survive week by week if you will, but his presidency and the long lens of history is crippled and we know that. bob mueller is six steps ahead of this president. we saw that today with the papadopoulos confession or agreement, indictment. and listen, this president is going to be subjected to the tightening of the noose, if you will, in this investigation. and so while some republicans might think that he won today because there was no smoking gun, this is really just the very beginning. and his agenda is krim. it's crippled on capitol hill. the leverage that bob mueller has right now is remarkable in terms of the presidency itself, but that leverage will be excruciating for republicans on capitol hill to deal with in the weeks and months to comement this is a president whose agenda is over. >> well, that gets our attention, as it did the first time back when mueller was
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appointed. corner el, come will argue that the real issue the whole time that we're not focusing on is hillary clinton. witness the next piece of video, cory lewandowski, fox news, saturday morning. we'll talk about it afterwards. >> the speculation is so insane right now. what we should be to come using on right now is the continued lies of the clinton foupgs, the da -- >> so now it's an administration. you may not have noticed it, but there was a clinton administration involving hillary clinton, who was not elected. i kid, but what do you do now? what do democrats do now? >> well, i think it's kind of startling at how overt the bait and switch routine that they're playing is now. it's kind of frightening, right. they're clearly trying this bait and switch and it's all about
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hillary. but to the congressman's point and to the front page of the "washington post," this is really serious, rights? i would argue that his -- most of his agenda was already in trouble from repealing obamacare which you didn't have a majority in favor of repealing obamacare and you certainly have a majority of americans in favor of the current tax plan. so you have a very unpopular president, you know, putting forth, trying to push forth things that are quite frankly broadly unpopular. i think there was problems with that. democrats have to be careful, though, not to over play their hand too much, right. at this time, frankly, democrats probably need to step back and let some of this unfold and not get too aggressive and over play their hand and look too political in all of this because i think that could possibly hurt them. the thing that's playing for the democrats right now, when you look at the latest polling out there right now, democrats are now preferred by 7 points. i think that will continue to
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grow in some of the battleground states the democrats numbers are holding up and improving. i think democrats have to be really careful and not look to overly political and over play their hand in this thing. so i think, you know, caution but, you know, it's looking like a midterm with an unpopular president, house and senate that hasn't accomplished very much. it's looking like, you know, perhaps 2006 again for democrats, although democrats do have some work to do around talking about what they man to do for the country. >> congressman, when do congressional republicans start sounding more like you, more serious and perhaps more concerned? >> there will be a fatigue that sets in as mueller continues to move on with this investigation. but the big question is whether or not this administration moves to cut mueller's authority. and we saw the administration today say the president does not intend to do that. but if the president of the united states or frankly, if republicans in congress begin to
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rally around this idea that they are going to cut off mueller's authority or even the president might fire him, not only would that be likely the end of this presidency, it could be the end of the modern go. there's a reason that jimmy carter swept in after watergate and it had much to do with president nixon's handling of the investigation. listen, there are very far questions about hillary clinton and the democrats. we saw the investigation move potentially to podesta today, but it is not a binary choice one or the other. no distraction about the republicans about fusion gps and hillary distracts from the fact that mueller is playing chess while the president is playing on twitter and eventually mueller is going to get this president. >> do you have any doubt the parties would come together, forget everything else in the effort to save the job of robert mueller because of the crisis that would pose? >> i would hope that they would. i will say one cautionary thing is that, you know, the bannon stuff, i take that seriously. i think, you know, there is a
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real sort of rousing in the base of the republican grassroots anti-establishment, anti-mitch mcconnell, anti-speaker ryan that's going to challenge some of these members in the primaries. and some of them could possibly lose. so i hope they do the right thing, but i think the political calculation is a little different. >> a serious conversation tonight because today it seemed to take a serious turn. gentlemen, thank you. appreciate you both very much being on tonight. coming up after our next break, the white house was asked about the president's promise that his administration would have the best people. steve submit weighs in on that when we come back.
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he promised to hire only the best peoplement is this an example of the best people to hire? >> look, again, these go back to these were activities that took place outside of the scope of the campaign. i can't comment on anything -- >> are these the best people to hire? >> look, the president hired paul manafort to handle the delegate process which he did and he was dismissed not too long after that. >> and sarah, to just follow-up on the point of hiring the best people, the top top people, does this not at the very least raise questions about president trump's vetting process and judgment when it comes to bringing on these people? >> i don't believe so. >> paul manafort was chairman of the campaign, by the way.
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after campaigning on the promise of, as you heard, hiring the best people, the trump administration is now publicly, as you saw, down playing the connections and importance of people like manafort, gates and papadopoulos. "washington post" opinion author famously the former speechwriter for bush 43 wrote today to what circle of hell are republican officials about to con sign themselves? it would be useful for members of congress to declare that they will never enter the fourth circle, the demolition of the integrity and independence of the fbi. if only to deter trump from forcing a constitutional crisis. to speak to that very point, i am joined tonight by our friend steve smith a veteran of the bush white house. steve, what changed today in your mind? >> well, the investigation has
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borne fruit. we have a conviction with a guilty plea. we have two indictments. and the two indictments and the guilty plea move this story much closer to the white house than it was yesterday. and not for nothing, brian, i think it's important to remember, paul manafort indicted for conspiracy against the united states is one of the parties in the room meeting with officials of the russian government for the purposes of receiving dirt on the democratic nominee for president of the united states and of course, also in that room are the president's son and the president's son-in-law. and we know that the president was directly involved in an effect to mislead the american people materially about that meeting. donald trump jr. lied about it. lied about it on the sean hannity television show. his lies unraveled very quickly. and so what we see today is the accumulation of all the lies
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over the first months of this administration about the campaign's dealings with russia. and we see the fist tangible evidence, the first links today. >> steve, what would have happened back when you were with the mccain campaign if i had come to you anded i've got bud i didn't see overseas and they have some dirt on barak obama and i really don't like this obama character and i'm looking to defeat him. would you be interested? >> yeah, i would have called the director of the fbi. >> that simple. >> that simple. any loyal american does that. this meddling, which is acknowledged by our intelligence services, this attack on our election systems, it seems to difficult for so many republicans to understand this, but this was not an attack on the democratic party. this was an attack on the united states of america. if a foreign adversary reaches
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out trying to interfere in our election process by trying to did he leverage, to hurt the nominee of one of the two parties, in this case i'm a republican, so it would be the democratic nominee, you call the fbi. full stop. >> steve, this calls for total speculation, but i'm curious how you'll answer. how does this end? does this end with a two-term, 79-year-old president relaxing, enjoying the rest of his life at one of his golf resorts or does it end earlier than that and how? >> look, i think that if you were just to bet, one, i think there's a much greater likelihood for a lot of different reasons that he finishes sooner than he signed up for. that being said, the chances are still much greater that he'll serve out his full term. we don't know what's going to happen in the future. we don't know, for example, what
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will be of general flynn. is he already cooperating with the investigation for the purposes of speculating openly. we do know this. the president goes to china as weak as he possibly can be. his legislative agenda completely stalled. no members of his party out there defending him today. the white house engaged in a misinformation campaign supported by media allies, the likes of which we've never seen in the united states of america. sheer propaganda. the chinese leader after the chinese communist party conference is now the most powerful chinese leader since mao. the threat of the situation in north korea continues to escalate. and donald trump is the least popular president this early into his term in the history of polling in the united states. so there are many, many issues to be concerned about. what we do know about this
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investigation, as robert mueller is holding it close, we're going to find out what's happening on his terms and nobody else's. >> steve smith who has a way of summing up what is right in front of us steve, thank you so much for joining us and for your voice on our broadcast tonight. the last thing before we go this evening, not the most important development from today, but certainly a curiosity. today's 12-count indictment of paul manafort alleges that he laundered tens of millions of dollars through foreign entities to enjoy what they called a lavish lifestyle here in the united states and because a federal indictment can have the effect of a living autopsy of your life, we know what he's alleged to have spept on certain things. like over 9d hundred,000 at an antique rug store. like the $6 hundred,000 plus spent with a new york antique dealer. and the staggering $1.3 million
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on clothing. all of it spent at amen's store in new york and another one in beverly hills. again, 1,369,000 and change on men's >> that's what he said. that's what i -- that's obviously what our position. >> the man who ran donald trump's presidential campaign is charged with conspiracy against the united states.

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