tv Andrea Mitchell Reports MSNBC October 31, 2017 9:00am-10:00am PDT
>> check us out on social media. check out our show. we would love hearing from you unless you're a bot. >> we don't want to hear from you unless you're a bot. regulators, today is your day. google, facebook, twitter. right now we hand things over to andrea mitchell for "andrea mitchell reports." aftershocks. president trump reportedly privately fuming after the mueller indictments shake the white house. >> they were indicted long before i ever met donald trump or had any association with the campaign. >> but publicly they are in denial about any close ties with their former campaign officials. >> can you talk about what president trump's role with the campaign was?
>> it was ex teamtremely limite. it was a volunteer capacity. nothing was done in an official capacity on behalf of the campaign in that regard. >> if that was true, why did george papadopoulos sit with jeff sessions and president trump around that campaign table? asking the campaign manager on the "today" show. >> are you the campaign official who received three or four e-mails from george papadopoulos during this april, may, june time period during the campaign? >> it's a great question, savannah, and i don't know the answer to it, because as you know, as the campaign manager to the trump campaign, i was receiving thousands of e-mails a day. and russian reach. top officials from facebook, twitter and google are called to the carpet on capitol hill to explain what they are only now making public. the enormous scope of the kremlin's penetration of social media during the 2016 campaign. >> it really is time for them to
step up and recognize that we have a problem. and these companies are going to have to adjust what they do to meet the national security concerns of this nation. >> and good day, everyone. i'm andrea mitchell in washington. president trump is tweeting today the fake news is working overtime in response, of course, to the indictments from the special counsel. but reports from the white house are that the staff is freaking out about the guilty plea from cooperative witness george papadopoulos. our team is in place. nbc justice correspondent pete williams in our washington bureau, national correspondent peter alexander at the white house, msnbc contribute to brkbl fall, ambassador to russia and matt miller here on the set with me. as we talk about this, the
president has just had a photo opportunity. we'll be getting that tape and hearing it in about a minute. we understand he was asked questions about this but did not, in fact, answer any questions about all of this. first to you at the white house. peter alexander, let's talk about the tweets today and the initial white house response. >> reporter: quickly, as we wait to hear from the president in his own words as he just wrapped up this visit with tax reform industry representatives where the president was asked specifically about george papadopoulos and that guilty plea didn't take that question. also asked whether he would consider pardoning paul manafort, another question he ignored, simply saying thank you to reporters. let me show you the tweets very quickly, the president speaking out on twitter like he does, saying the fake news is working overtime. as paul manafort's lawyer said, there was no collusion and events mentioned took place long before the came to the campaign.
few people knew the young, low level volunteer named george, who has already proven to be a liar. check the dems. >> this was just moments ago when the president was meeting with industry officials on his tax proposal. you can see he is sitting down there. it's the roosevelt room. >> thank you very much for being here for the incredible work you're doing to help us pass the really historic tax cuts. there's never been anything like this in the history of our country. it's cuts and it's relief and it's also reform. and frankly it's also simplification. so we're covering everything. there has never been anything like it and it's so important. the economy is doing very well but can do much better. a lot of jobs are going to come from this and a lot of companies are going to start pouring back into the united states. in fact, we'll be announcing one big one sometime very shortly. a very big one coming back into
the united states. all of you have done a tremendous job mobilizing your members, talking to the members of congress which is very important, and making a strong case for tax reform in the media. the media is not all fake, so therefore we can get a fair shake. now is the time to redouble our efforts. your country needs you now more than ever before. you are leaders of this country and certainly leaders on this subject, and you know more about it than anybody. we need you to be united, committed and proactive in order to overcome the forces fighting. and there are forces fighting out there that very much benefit by the way it is now, but that's bad for the country. they know that, but they're fighting for themselves, they're not fighting for the country. in a few days, i'll be traveling to asia to advance america's economic and national security priorities. i'm counting on all of you to be back here working to maintain
our momentum on tax reform and tax cuts, and that will be a short period of time i'. i'll be away for ten and a half days, and i'll be back very quickly. we're meeting in china, south korea, in japan, we're going to vietnam, we're going to the philippines, which is a strategically important location where the previous administration was not exactly welcome, as you probably remember. the democrats will say our tax bill is for the rich, but they know it's not, and what they will do is they don't even know the tax bill. the tax bill hasn't even been really put out yet. it will be over the next short period of time, but they immediately say, oh, it's for the rich, it's for the rich, because that's the right thing to say for them, but it doesn't work, and they know that. in fact, i think we'll have some democrats joining us and voting for us for the reduced taxes because it's a tax bill for middle class, it's a tax bill for jobs, it's going to bring a lot of countries in, and it's a
tax bill for business which is going to create the jobs. we'll bring it down from 35 to 20. members of my cabinet will be traveling around the country talking directly to taxpayers and focusing on the regional media which we find to be a credible media, to be honest with you. in fact, i find it to be incredible how good they are. my entire economic team will remain entirely focused on tax reform. they'll be staying here and will continue to work closely with all of you. they've had a great relationship with most of the people in the room. we need your continued input to make sure that the final bill gets all of the details right and that we get that approval. i want the house to pass a bill by thanksgiving. i want all the people standing by my side when we get ready to sign by christmas, hopefully before christmas, you'll all be in the room standing front row center. i think we'll be able to find a place where you can all stand
front row center. it will be the big event. it will be the biggest tax event in the history of our country. thank you all for being here today. we have a couple of folks that i would like to have say maybe a couple words while we relieve the media. tom donahue has been president of chamber of commerce for a long time, t. tom, do you have anything to say? >> the business community has been waiting a long time for an administration and a president and a willing congress to do what we haven't done for many decades, and we think we were lucky to arrange a budget, so we're going to have a better opportunity in the senate. i think you're right, there are some members of the democratic legislature that will come around on some of this, particularly if the numbers are as promised.
and you've hit it right on the head, we got to work on it, we're going to have some differences amongst the business community on what should be the takeaways in the ads, but we'll just have to work on that and i think your planning is really quite good. off to asia and everybody else get it worked out and come back -- >> and we'll see what we have, right? we did get the budget passed, and that was a big event because that doesn't often happen. we had it fairly easily pass. i think we had a couple extra votes if we needed them, and more than a couple votes if we needed them. there is a great spirit for this. the republicans have tremendous spirit. we'll have no democrat support. we will on the tax cuts because i think it will be hard for four or five or six of them to run successfully. the democrats want to raise taxes and really create obstruction, and the republicans
want to lower taxes and we want to get rid of regulations. i've gotten rid of more regulations in the first nine months than any president has for their term in office. that's a big statement, but we've really just begun. i would say we have at least another 50% that we want to do. so that's going to be fantastic. in some cases it's statutory. we have to give a notice and you have to give another notice and you have to wait 90 days, but we've gone along in that stat to her -- statutory process and you'll see relief that's killing our country. the gdp was shocking to a lot of people despite the hurricanes which could be considered to be -- we were at 3. we were at 3.2 last quarter, but we were at 3. to be at 3 with one point, that
would mean we would have hit 4 or thereabouts. those are numbers that have not been seen for many years. so we're doing well and we'll continue to do well. the big thing is we have companies that really want to move back into the united states now because of regulation, because of what we're doing with taxes, and some big ones are going to be announcing very soon. derek, could i ask you to say a few words from the national association of wholesaler distributo distributors? that would be great. >> i thank you for the opportunity to be here. a few of us are old enough to remember being in this same room when president reagan was working on tax reform. >> you and me. >> the two of us. tom was here. 30 years or so passed. the tax bill doesn't resemble what was done in '86.
the fo reform is long, long overdue. i represent an industry with very high effective tax rates. frankly they're tired of paying the other guy's taxes. unstated, but i assume the kind of price of admission for being here today is that you support the process going forward. obviously each of us have to see the details and there may be one thing or another that we would like to see different, but the broader perspective is that for the good of the economy, the good of the country, and frankly, the good of our members, you have to support the process going forward. you have our commitment to do precisely that. >> that's great. thank you. that's really great. i appreciate it. you know, we talk tax cuts, which is really to me the very big thing, the tax cuts we desperately need. but so many other things are happening, including bringing $4 trillion back into the united states and that money is going to be put to work in our country
for our people creating our jobs and factories and plants. i think the number could be higher than 4 trillion. it's been 2 and a half trillion for so long, everybody said 2 and a half trillion, but it obviously has gotten bigger. i think the number will be well over $4 trillion will be coming back into our country and so many things. one of the other elements that are important, karen, and you're going to say a few words next because i'm dying to hear what you have to say, but one of the things so important is simplification. too complicated, and we're simplifying it greatly, and i want to thank all of my folks for being here and working on it. gary, steve, everybody. the process is complicated but the end result will not be that complicated. it's going to be -- people are going to pay less tax by a lot. companies are going to pay less tax by a lot. that's a big difference. and companies are going to start rebuilding, and they're going to stay here and they're going to
expand and build new plants in this country. they won't be going to other countries like they have been for many, many decades. karen, can you say a few words, small business entrepreneurship council? >> sure. thank you, mr. president, for your support and leadership on this issue. this is really one of the most critical issues for small business, and they know if they get tax reform through, we're going to have more capital to put back into their businesses, they're going to invest more, they're going to provide higher wages, better benefits for their employees. these business entrepreneurs are also leaders back in their communities and they do see the lack of dynamism, the lack of business dynamism. they don't see new business creation in their communities, and that's a really serious problem in this country, the lack of weak entrepreneurship. according to our numbers, 3.2 million missing businesses in our country because of people not taking risks. >> right. >> so we're very excited about
tax reform in terms of growth it will bring, the investment it will bring, making the u.s. a haven for capital again because we need to get that edge back. we need to encourage more people to start businesses, particularly millennials, starting businesses again which will add again to our competitiveness. thank you. >> one of the things we've been talking about and that we've seen and there's never been anything like it is the level of enthusiasm, the enthusiasm for business, for manufacturing. it's the highest level it's ever been. highest level since the charts started. and we have a tremendous level now of enthusiasm for business and for manufacturing and nobody has ever seen anything like it. of course, the stock market sat an a -- is at an all-time high, historic high. it's going up -- i think it was 54 times since i was elected. we hit the record 54 times and i notice it's up again a little bit today and that's always
good. but we'll try to keep it going up. we've created almost $5.5 trillion in stock market wealth. think of that, $5.5 trillion since november 8. we're very honored by all of that, but a very big part of it will be tax cuts and tax reform, and we'll work on that together. thank you all very much. thank you. thank you very much. thank you. [ everyone talking at once ] >> we're not looking for that, no. hopefully not. some people have mentioned that. hopefully not. >> are you going to pardon manafort? >> thank you. >> what's your reaction to the guilty plea of papadopoulos? >> a very disciplined president trump on the subject of whether or not he would pardon manafort. robbest robert acosta, you've been
reporting today that republicans in the white house say the walls are closing in and people are freaking out at the reports of cooperation, particularly from george papadopoulos. what can you tell us? >> reporter: there is tension in the republican party and the west wing based on conversation nz t in the last day on where this could all lead. it's not the moment of the indictments themselves, what mueller subpoena to with tis up special counsel, who could say what and the fear of the unknown. who is acting with papadopoulos? a lot of searching of people's e-mail in boxes over the last 24 hours. >> and pete williams, when you talk to investigators and those close to the investigation, where does mueller go next? or what does he signal so far in this very carefully correspo choreographed first step? >> anyone who thinks they know where bob mueller is going next, i ask where were they in
predicting the guilty plea of george papadopoulos. >> that's the big one, right. >> i will say this. it seems pretty clear from various court documents that have now been unsealed in the papadopoulos case that the government has now -- mueller's team has now finished talking to anybody that papadopoulos was in communication with at the white house. why do i say that? because he was in court on october 5th, papadopoulos was, and pleaded guilty then in a secret hearing. we did not know he had been arrested in late july, we did not know he pleaded guilty in october. and the government asked the judge to seal or keep private, secret, the fact that he had been arrested and the fact of his guilty plea, and in explaining why they wanted the judge to do that, they said, we don't want other people that he talked to to know that he's pleaded guilty and is cooperating with us, because we don't want them -- their memories tainted by whatever becomes public, and we don't want the massive publicity about
this case making them reluctant to talk to us. so, judge, seal this case and then we'll unseal it once we've done what we have to do and we've talked to those people. so, therefore, it would seem logical to conclude that the special counsel has interviewed the people that papadopoulos has talked to. in fact, we know that some people who worked on the campaign have now been interviewed by mueller about these contacts with papadopoulos. so that part of it would seem to be over. >> and just to nail something down, by describing him as a proactive cooperater in the court filings, it's possible he was wearing a wire, it's possible that he was recording his conversations on the telephone with some of these people. because only one person in the district of columbia, only one person needs to grant permission, it's not two people as it is in some jurisdictions. they could have tapes of some of these people. >> i guess. i'm not sure -- i've not found
anybody who reads a lot of significance into proactive. maybe that means something to some prosecutors, but we do know how much of a deal that the government gave papadopoulos for his guilty plea, because he was initially charged with two counts: lying to the fbi which has a five-year maximum sentence, and destroying evidence. remember the court documents say after the second time the fbi talked to him, he got rid of his facebook account which had some of these encounters with the russian cutouts memorialized and deep-sixed his phone and got a new cell phone. so he has been charged with obstruction of justice. that's a 20-year max. but the judge threw that out and let him plead guilty to the lesser offense. >> let's take a look at sarah sanders, the way she was describing these interactions yesterday in the briefing. >> the only interaction i'm aware of that deals with this individual was him reaching out and being repeatedly denied. so that's all i can tell you is
he asked to do things, he was basically pushed back or not responded to in any way, so any actions that he took would have been on his own and you would have to ask him about those, because i can't answer. >> but in contradiction to that, there is a footnote in the filings that says, in statement of offense for papadopoulos, quote, the government notes that the official forwarded defendant papadopoulos's e-mail to another campaign official without including defendant papadopoulos and stated, let's discuss. we need somebody to communicate that dt, meaning trump, is not doing this trips. it should be someone low level in the campaign so not to send any signal. there is a lot of talk about what papadopoulos may have been doing. there he was at the table with sessions and donald trump during the campaign. >> that's right. not only did he have a meeting with the candidate, now president, himself, but if you look at the rest of that plea agreement, it completely
contradicts what sarah sanders said at the briefing yesterday. >> how so? >> yes, it's true they never pursued a meeting between him and donald trump. he was encouraged to pursue his own meetings on behalf of the campaign with these russian officials and what appears to be cutouts of russian officials. that is on behalf of the campaign whether sarah sanders likes it or not. it's clear as day in the plea agreement. >> and the russians today, lavrov, the foreign minister, denying this, denying the social interaction which we'll get to coming up. the fact is, who were these russians, the mysterious professor, some of the other contacts that papadopoulos was in touch with? >> i don't know the mysterious professor. i just read about him yesterday. he's not someone well known in my circles in london. i do know the alleged organization that they
contacted, riac, the russian international affairs committee, i believe is what that acronym is. i know them well. i used to deal with them as ambassador. i'm not prepared to say this was a conspiracy because it all seems kind of unprofessional to me, to be honest. it's really striking to me that they're poking around in strange places. if you're trying to set up a meeting between vladimir putin and candidate trump, that's not the place i would go, but the smoking gun here is the word dirt. when they floated that, we have found some dirt on hillary clinton, that then suggested it's not just about setting up meetings, it's not just foreign policy ald vizers talking to other foreign policy advisers, but it's actually about trying to obtain information that the russian government had and that, therefore, means russian intelligence had, and recall what's very important about all
of this. there was some obfiscation back in 2016 about where wikileaks got this data from. our intelligence team said where it was from. they said, no, they had an inside source and several commentators said they had an inside source. i think this now puts that to rest. we know that the original source goes all the way back to the spring well before we knew that wikileaks had contacts with the russians. that means that the russian intelligence had information that they were trying to give to somebody to influence our election. >> they were trying to peddle so-called dirt on hillary clinton from e-mails from whatever hacks had taken place before wikileaks dumped that out, before we knew publicly about the hack. >> exactly. and that's really important. my theory, of course, i'm theorizing, i'm speculating, they probably thought it was best to use as a kind of insider data transfer to someone, and
maybe this particular gentleman, papadopoulos, was the one. then they changed gears and decided to go public with it. the fact is they were trying to use this information to influence the outcome of the presidential election, and one of their strategies for achieving that was interacting with trump campaign officials. >> let's just button this down. when we talk about wikileaks, also the podestas. the person who had been hacked was john podesta. his brother tony podesta, a well-known lobbyist, was
also manafort in charge of backing the ukranian government. and the trump tweet saying the biggest story yesterday was podesta running from his firm, what he knows about crooked dems, and he his brother could drain the swamp which would be another campaign promise fulfilled. fake news weak! and this has prompted today a
john podesta tweet, the campaign chairman, saying, not bad enough that i was a victim of a massive cybercrime conducted by the rusian president. now i'm the victim of a big lie campaign by the american president. 10 years of his e-mail account were dumped out in public view as part of this russian campaign, according to the u.s. intelligence community. we'll have to leave it there. thanks so much, peter alexander, pete williams, of course our friend robert acosta, matt miller and michael fall, former ambassador to russia. there are startling discoveries about russia's covertness as well. facebook saying 80,000 russian-backed ads potentially reached an estimated 126 million americans. that is nearly a third of the country. the testimony by facebook officials today submitted to the senate judiciary subcommittee
ahead of today's hearing with other executives from google and twitter, part of a congressional investigation into russia's meddling into the election on social media. joining me now, the running mate of hillary clinton, part of the ticket that was potentially damaged by this, tim kaine. how big of a factor do you think social media interference by the russians was? >> i think the interference was massive, social media and other ways. the news from facebook, i'm really happy that the intel committee has finally forced facebook, twitter, google to come clean about the extent of the russian social media presence. they were not doing this quickly, and it took a lot of pressure from my colleague mark warner to get them to do it, but i think it will be very shocking to the american public to see the extent to which russia was using these social media platforms. >> we should point out that the
intelligence committee under warner and richard burr have been investigating this now for three months, going after it. now we had a judiciary subcommittee jumping in and getting ahead of the line of lindsey graham and others today. but the real focus has been the senate intelligent committee. >> the senate intelligence committee on the house side, andre andrea, as you know, one of the best investigators there is is adam schiff, but he hasn't had a partner on the republican side. here in the senate, mark warner and richard burr, it has taken time, it's not been easy, but they have been very dogged about this. the social media wasn't looking forward to sharing this story but the senate intel committee has stayed on them, so now the american public is going to learn about the massive extent and how many americans received information that was part of a foreign adversary's propaganda campaign. >> sarah sanders at the briefing yesterday, and continuously the president on twitter, blaming all of this on the democrats
rather than on what republicans did in 2016. i want to play a little bit of that for you. >> the big difference here is you have a meeting that took place versus millions of dollars being sent to create fake information to actually influence the election. you compare those two, those are apples and oranges. what the clinton campaign did, what the dnc did was actually exchange money. they took a meeting. those are far different. and one is pretty common practice in any campaign to take a meeting, the other is actually paying money for false information. that's a big deal and a big difference. >> so the apple is taking a meeting with russians trying to influence our campaign. the other is opposition research, the payments made to fusion gps. >> well, look, that's why you pay a press spokesperson to say something when there really isn't anything you can say. i tell you, andrea, if you want to know where the two parties stand on this, democrats are supporting the investigation by
director mueller. get to the bottom of what happened in the 2016 campaign. get to the bottom of all of it. let's hear it all. it is republicans attacking director mueller, it is the president engaging in early morning tweet fests to change the subject. there is only one side that's nervous about this, there is only one side that is trying to demean the investigation and that's the president's side. the democrats are perfectly comfortable with director mueller following every fact to where it leads so that the american public will know what happened in 2016 so people get prosecuted. there were indictments and one guilty plea yesterday. and so we can protect future elections. >> toipi wanted to ask you aboue chief of staff john kelly who last night with laura ingram on fox had these comments about the civil war, robert e. lee, the statue, all stemming from charlottesville and the related protests. if i could get you to respond on this.
>> robert e. lee was an honorable man. he was a man that gave up his country to fight for his state, which 150 years ago was more important than country. it was always loyalty to states first back in those days. now it's different today. but the lack of an ability to compromise led to the civil war. >> your comments to that? >> andrea, ifrs t was the mayor richmond and the governor of virginia and i have to respectfully disagree with john kelly. the civil war was because of a war of compromise with virginia declaring it was about equality, put a constitution in place that enshrined the institution of slavery and said a slave was equal to three-fifths of a person. that was a compromise, but it was an immoral compromise and
the civil war was fought to to eradicate that compromise that lincoln spoke about at gettysburg. we're dealing with north korea right now. if the chief of staff had some big issues, why he would wager in that opinion about the civil war, it really made me scratch my head. >> you are the father of a marine and you have been many a lone voice on the operation of force of the longest war. we now have new information about what's happening in afghanistan. you just gave a speech. you heard from general mattis and secretary of state tillerson yesterday. are you satisfied with their testimony before foreign relations? >> not completely satisfied. i would say generally. it was a very good hearing. they were really straightforward in some of their answers. they were taking the position that wasn't that much different from the obama administration and the bush administration administration that, hey, we don't need authority from
congress. president trump launched a missile strike against syria in march and still hasn't provided us any legal justification for doing so. i believe what congress has done is given a key to the president to wage forever war anywhere in the world against anybody that they can call as a terrorist, and it's time for congress to reel back that article i power that congress should have. the good news is my chairman, senator corker, has offered to head up an organization. senator flake and i have worked on this for two or three years because we don't think there should be a war without a congress. it's not fair to the american public and it's definitely not fair to our troops. >> just as a footnote, and i know we're out of time here. there is a new report just out today from the special investigator of afghanistan showing it's the worst record we have seen now in years. more than 50% of the districts that -- the local districts
there are controlled by the taliban now. it's an horrendous record. >> it is. and the president gave a speech in august talking about a new afghanistan strategy without many details. this is part of the reason we want to do a war authorization. the authorization that jeff flake and i have crafted are about what we need to do against isis, al qaeda and the taliban. when you discuss an authorization, you get into what's the current status of our operations, what would success look like, what should we do? we've not been having that debate. >> it's always good to see you, senator kaine. thank you so much. >> you bet. the power player is the man the trump camp calls a lowly volunteer. actually the key to some collusion. you're watching "andrea mitchell reports" on msnbc. your brain is an amazing thing. but as you get older, it naturally begins to change, causing a lack of sharpness, or even trouble with recall.
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trump's allies inside and outside of the white house are using to label former trump campaign policy adviser george papadopoulos. the special counsel's office has another label, proactive cooperater. that could be a major source of concern among the white house team and the staff. national security and justice reporter and ruth marcus is the deputy editorial columnist for the "washington post." welcome, all. bob, first to you. your white house counsel. what are you telling your staff if you're the white house counsel in the trump white house and you see that a former campaign aide who sat near the president and was involved with a lot of these unnamed people according to the filings, was a proactive cooperater? >> i'm not sure what is meant by that term. i heard pete williams earlier in your segment say he wasn't certain too much meaning should be attached to it. i would read that in the plea the following way, which is it's a very clear signal from the special counsel's office that he
and his team are not going to countenance lying whoever it is that he's directing the questions to. i think that's a message certainly yesterday that was heard loudly and clearly. >> a lwhat a lot of people were looking at is what about mike flynn? is he the dog that hasn't bar barked? nothing particularly is known about when mike flynn might be brought into this, but he had a similar fara problem, potentially, not registering as a foreign agent. >> yes, there is nothing in yesterday's material that suggests what will happen on that front. but you're right, the foreign registration agency act is certainly coming to the fore of public disclosure. >> what we're seeing in this filing is anything that happened out of that, any work that involved that ukranian contract, any of those millions and
millions of dollars, is considered illegal because it stems from an illegal act, which is not registering as a foreign agent. >> right, and as we disclosed yesterday, companies a and b in the manafort indictment are in fact the podesta group and mercury who we know worked with manafort and were subpoenaed in a fact-finding mission. but it looks as though the podesta group and tony podesta are under a bit more trouble than what a fact-finding mission would be. in fact, tony podesta stepped down from the group he founded 30 years ago yesterday. >> and john podesta was the campaign chairman for hillary clinton who was the victim of the hacking. but what do we know about tony podesta, julie? >> we know he was someone who for 30 years has kind of been lobbying for democratic causes. his group is a place where a lot of people go to after they leave democratic demonstrations. he's not part of these trump conservative circles we're looking at. he's someone who a lot of
well-connected people in washington know, and he's also someone who took money from a pro-russia ukranian group to back their interest, to introduce ukranian officials to people on the hill. it is looking like he's a key piece to this, and i think his move yesterday to step down signals there's more news to come on tony podesta. >> and ruth marcus, you were at the editorial board where then-candidate trump talked about his foreign policy advisers. i want to play a little bit of the sound from him on that. >> george papadopoulos, he's an oil and energy consultant, excellent guy. >> this was the president, the candidate, i should say, bragging about his foreign policy advisers, perhaps trying to say that he had more of a foreign policy people advising him. i don't know how you took t. what about the rest of the questioning that day? >> the rest of the questioning was surprising, it was about him
and the size of his hands and his views on nato. this was at the start. just to set the stage, this was at a point when the trump campaign was being criticized for a lack of foreign policy expertise. so he takes this list out of his pocket and reads this, and after he left, we all sat around scratching our heads like, who are these guys? because i think it's fair to say they were not the foreign policy elite. so at the time he wanted to use the george papadopoulos' carter page phds of the world to make it seem like he had this very serious team around him. i kind of credit sarah huckabee sanders and others who say these really weren't the people who were on the the core of the c-- of the campaign or had any daily interaction, but it's hard to have it both ways.
>> they say there was no collusion, but doesn't the papadopoulos filing, and it was a guilty plea, indicate there were contacts with russia, russians offering dirt on hillary clinton, even before the release by wikileaks of the hacked e-mails? >> yes, absolutely. there is obviously an ongoing interaction, the extent of which we don't know yet, between russians and the clinton campaign, some of it having to do with the russian government wanting to arrange meetings on policies, some of it clearly involving a russian offer of assistance. this is the second one that's been confirmed. as you point out, the suggestion by one of the russian contacts here of having thousands of clinton e-mail was made, i believe, a couple months before the wikileaks disclosures. so it certainly is opening up a line of inquiry. we don't know where it's going to take us and where, for that matter, it has taken the special counsel up to now, but it is an advance certainly in that theory of the case. >> and so what you're talking
about are interactions between russians and the trump campaign, trump campaign advisers we already had known about the june meeting that took place with donald trump jr. that has led to a lot of questions about how the president was directly involved in trying to explain that away in realtime. but what is likely taking place now? we understand from robert cos costa's reporting and other reporting president trump is about to make an asia trip. from your experience as a white house counsel, when you've got a special prosecutor dropping indictments on two key campaign figures and a guilty plea as well, what is likely going on with people hiring legal counsel or already hiring legal counsel?
>> certainly. anybody who is likely to be contacted by the special prosecutors' office anticipates that he or she would be looking to hire counsel. you also mentioned what other advice might be circulating in the west wing? certainly the president of the united states continues to comment, as he did today again, on an ongoing criminal investigation. at the same time that he does that, his counsel, mr. cobb, continues to say they're cooperating fully with mr. mueller. the lawyer is trying to go about things in the normal course. it seems that the client continues to resist, and i think that would obviously be a concern if i can imagine what's going on in the white house for those in the white house who think that's probably not the best way to go about this business. >> thank you, all of you. coming up, foreign policy adviser jake sullivan joining me here on "andrea mitchell reports" on msnbc.
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campaign and bill crystal, editor at large for the weekly standard. there was a time line that was leased as part of the papadopoulos filings and we see, in fact, on march 19th, 2016, john podesta's e-mails were hacked. on april 26th, a month later, papadopoulos was told by a russian contact of thousands of e-mails. it was not until june, june 14th, of that year, that the dnc hack was made public. what does that tell us about that? >> it tell us something very simple, which is, in fact, the russian government made an offer of help to the trump campaign to help them with things like stolen e-mails and getting those stolen e-mail also out and to the public and the trump campaign was willing to accept that offer of help. that is a pretty basic conclusion one has to draw from what was revealed yesterday from bob mueller's investigation, and if that's not collusion or conspiracy to collude with the russians to interfere with the
election, i don't know what is. >> and bill, your response? >> donald trump said probably he wanted the russians to release those missing e-mail, right? >> he said that on july 27, 2016. >> clear the russians interfered. pretty clearly, the trump campaign had no qualms about the interference by a hostile foreign government. how much their actual cooperation there was, how much they knew exactly what was happening, how much of it was just i think what we would think is unseemly but perhaps not illegal or impeachable once he's president, that's going to be a question. but we'll see what bob mueller finds. i've always thought people are crazy. every time there's a day, you know, something happens, bob mueller must not have more than this or he must have a lot. we have no idea. he's a very professional guy. he's prosecuted an awful lot of people. he's good at figuring out what he wants to release when. it's turned out he's had this guy flipped two or three months, this young guy. who knows whether he has other
people flipped, other people talking, other people not talking, that part i think people are much too quick to speculate on. >> we don't know what michael flynn is up to. >> absolutely. >> he's been silent. they've been silent on him. we don't know if he's cooperating or if he's about to be hammered or nothing at all. most likely, something is about to happen. let's talk about uranium. i reported it back in the day when hillary clinton was secretary of state, you were at the state department, this is the big pushback from sarah sanders, from the president and others, from john kelly last night. what about the uranium? what about the uranium? >> it's a bunch of nonsense that has essentially been trumped up, to use an expression, in order to try to distract from the very real indictments and criminal informations that have been handed down from the mueller investigation. first of all, this idea that somehow we are giving the uranium to russia is simply false. not an ounce of uranium is being shipped out of the country to russia. secondly, the idea that hillary
clinton had anything to do with this decision is also false. >> there was a board at the state department that involved different cabinet officials but, as i believe -- well, did she participate in -- >> first of all, it wasn't a board at the state department, it was a nine-cabinet member board chaired by the secretary of the treasury and a decision like this is taken at the assistant secretary level. the assistant secretary in question, jose fernandez, has said like with other transactions similar to this one, the secretary of state would have no involvement. so hillary clinton wasn't involved in it. it doesn't involve shipping any uranium to russia. even that it's 20% of our country's uranium has been proven false as well. it is essentially stacking a series of insinuations and misstatements of fact, one on top of the other. and the whole thing just crumbled upon closer examination. >> what about the charge there was some conflict of interest involved with clinton foundation or clinton contributors? >> the main argument around the conflict of interest is a
contribution that was made by somebody who had sold their stake in this company years before this ever went before the nine-member board that we just talked about. so even there from a conflict of interest perspective, i think it's very hard to make a case that there's anything to it. and at the end of the day, what you have in this case is unanimous decision by the department of defense, the department of energy, the department of treasury, across the board, basically saying there is nothing harmful to the national security interests of the united states in this transaction. nobody thought otherwise for years until it became politically convenient for the trump campaign to raise it. and that is when this finally sur fashioned as an issue. it is pure politics. it's not a serious substantive matter. >> it is unwise, in my opinion, for the clinton foundation to take money from foreign actors while hillary clinton was secretary of state. probably ill advised for bill clinton to give a speech in russia when we have all these
issues with the russian government. donald trump now controls the united states executive branch. if they want to undo the deal, i suppose that's a process, if it's so damaging to our national security, as everyone seems to assume. it strikes me as a fairly -- not a big deal. if it's a big deal, shouldn't the trump state department -- or the trump administration be undoing the uranium deal, which i a sum they could do? shouldn't the justice department be investigating it? just throwing out all these charges when they could actually look into them is -- i totally agree, it's a total distraction. it's amazing how many conservatives and republicans think let's assume it really was bad acting bi ining by secretare clinton or former president clinton, what does it have to do with the fact if trump cole lulded with the russians? >> we're out of time. we'll be right back.
we're out of time. craig melvin, take it away? all right, andrea, thank you, good afternoon. craig melvin at nbc headquarters in new york city. downplaying indictments of former trump officials. part of the pushback, that the criminal activity happened long before they worked with the president and the president barely knew the guys. for his part, trump is talking taxes today. but why that overhaul could be in trouble. russian's reach. social media titans, all