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tv   The Rachel Maddow Show  MSNBC  November 22, 2017 6:00pm-7:00pm PST

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>> "playing with fire," lawrence will be back here with last word in exactly one hour. that's all for "all in" this evening. rachel maddow is up now. >> are you doing family thing? >> whole thing. 25 folks going up with kiddos. very excited. >> i wish you mashed potatoes, happiness and quietitude. >> same so you. thanks for being with us on a thanksgiving eve. it's not a friday, so technically no friday night news stub going on but it's eve of widely observed federal holiday so stuff being dumped tonight. much bigger show than i thought it would be. december 14th, we think that's
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the date that fcc is going to have vote on net neutrality. sounds boring but literally determines whether you get to look at what you want on the internet anymore. that vote is coming on the heels of the december 12th senate election in alabama. if you have plans that night, should probably cancel them. you'll be staying home to watch election returns. alabama senate election between roy moore and doug jones, now held under only conceivable circumstances in which the modern democratic party might win a senate seat in the state of alabama. and on the same day, december 12th, there is important deadline you should know about. all agencies in u.s. government have to certify that they have cleansed themselves, rid themselves of software made by kaspersky. it's suspected of being a
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hamburger helper for russian intelligence agencies trying to hack into u.s. computers and steal important u.s. data. that deadline for all federal agencies to certify they're kaspersky software free is december 12th. interesting though, largest organization in the united states, within the u.s. government, already doesn't use kaspersky. that's the department of defense. and recently the house science committee wrote to department of defense and asked why is that? you don't use it and other parts of government do? the answer is revealing. interesting on its own terms and probably worrying for a senior member of the trump campaign who became a high ranking official in the trump white house. what the defense department said and told congress about why they
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don't have kaspersky software to worry about, information obtained by paul sun at "wall street journal." because of his reporting, all this stuff about the software and worries it's linked to russia and what the pentagon knew about it. defense department says for more than a decade, u.s. military intelligence flagged this software as potentially dangerous, potential tool of the russian government. pentagon has its own intelligence agency that handles matters like this and lots else. dia. and they were warning about it as early as 2004. sometime after 2009, the threat analysis center at dia started circulating within the pentagon that kaspersky was a tool of the russian government. early as 2012, dia started
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sharing that analysis, warning about kaspersky software, sharing warning with other agencies in the u.s. government as well. and this ends up being important. 2013, dia, defense intelligence agency did a full-blown formal report on kaspersky software being linked to russian intel. according to reporting, pentagon-wide threat assessment about products made by kaspersky lab. that report itself hasn't been revealed by the pentagon, still secret. but we know the point of it, warning about kaspersky and russia. so even though every other agency has until roy moore day, december 12th, to get rid of this software, pentagon has done that.
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were johnny on the spot. if you're using this, opening up to russian intel. been on that since 2004. pentagon-wide warning in 2013. and thanks to detailed reporting by wall strooelt joounl, something about that time line ought to be jumping out at you. waving a red flag. michael flynn, shortest record of tenure, served in the white house 24 days. had been a high ranking well-regarded general who spent a career in military intelligence before he got involved in the trump campaign. end of the first term in obama administration, barack obama appointed mike flynn to run dia, the defense intelligence agency. and now we know by the time mike flynn took over that agency, that agency had been warning for at least eight years about
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kaspersky software being a front for russian intelligence. that agency has been warning other elements of the pentagon to stay away. year he was first at dia, they were warning agencies outside the pentagon about kaspersky as front for russian intelligence. until his leadership, took over in july of 2012, while he was running that agency in 2013, dia produced big report, pentagon-wide threat assessment by products made by kaspersky. year after the dia published that warning report, year after that, flynn got fired from dia. and then where is the first place he turned to personally make money after he was fired by dia? kaspersky software. this past march democrats on the
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house oversight committee obtained and published information about payments that mike flynn took from overseas sources after he was fired by dai. one was cargo plane company with name i can't say. linked not just to russian government but at center of bribery scandal at u.n. involving russian government officials. one thing it's famous for. flynn also took money from rt, the russian state media company. other one he took money from was kaspersky. calendar-wise, that's the first one we know of. so we've known about those payments from russian entities to mike flynn for a while now. putting it together with other information about what had just been going on at dia under his leadership before he took that money, gives us a clear window into his mindset. what he knew when he started taking all those rubles. i mean, theoretically, he might
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have argued he had no idea that rt was russian state-sponsored media. maybe he thought it was arty. rt like arty. russia today. and cargo plane company, weird name, maybe thought was misspelling of way less russian cargo airline. but kaspersky? we know for sure he was in position to know about them. he had just left an agency that he ran, where we now know he oversaw a pentagon-wide formal threat assessment warning everybody about kaspersky being a front for the russian government and intelligence services. and immediately after he left that job where he gave that warning, he got on to kaspersky's payroll. and within a matter of months went to moscow and lead applause
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for vladimir putin at rt gala, and shortly came back to the united states and quickly started working for the trump campaign. mike flynn is registered democrat, has been all his life. lot of things about mike flynn that make it weird that he started working for trump campaign. but taking a lot of russian money and visiting moscow. there's a reporter at buzzfeed news, jayce leopold, kind of a foia warrior, freedom of information act. all reporters use it to get information out of the government. but he turned it into high art. giant stack of paper. acknowledgment letters to all the foia letters i filed in 2016. in 2014, right after the
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"washington post" published this piece about mike flynn being forced out at dia, that broke the news that mike flynn hadn't resigned but obama had fired him. day after "washington post" published that provocative piece, jason leopold filed a foia request for that time. filed it about flynn, filed with dia in 2014, three years ago. jason leopold just got a response to that request. read you how he characterized his response. warn you, there's no swearing but allusion to a swear word. if you're offended by the idea of swearing by proxy, you should prepare yourself that's about to happen. because this is the start of leopold's tweet explaining the response to the foia request that he got three years down the
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road. quote, this is effed up. that's all the swearing. three years ago, exclamation point, i filed a foia request for mike flynn's performance, dia responded first time yesterday. said the records on flynn can't be released because would interfere with law enforcement proceedings. and links to the response that said upon review of the question, determined that release of records could reasonly be expected to interfere with ongoing law enforcement investigations which leads jason leopold to reply to himself so michael flynn's tenure at this agency now part of active law enforcement investigation. it's previously been credibly
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reported that mike flynn was under three different criminal investigations right now. reportedly intense focus by special counsel robert mueller. grand jury proceedings and subpoenas to flynn associates. also the subject of intense interest from congressional investigators, which led flynn's attorney to demand immunity early on in exchange for testimony. nobody offered him that. being investigated by justice department, by congressional committees, also being investigated by the u.s. military, subject of a military investigation into whether or not he broke the rules around his foreign travel to places like russia, and his acceptance of foreign payments from places like kaspersky. now the defense intelligence agency would appear to be confirming in addition to all that, mike flynn's time at dia,
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tenure there, 2012 to 2014, that is also apparently part of ongoing law enforcement investigative activities concerning lieutenant general mike flynn. now tonight nbc news breaks even more bad news for mike flynn. the flynn intel group, flynn's consulting company, which wound itself up after trump was elected, was not just mike flynn alone or mike flynn and son. he also had a business partner in that firm. booejen kian, he was a partner in flynn intel. he appears to have been intensely involved in the day-to-day work in the company, including the controversial work that flynn did secretly on behalf of the government of turkey that he did while on trump campaign without
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registering as foreign agent. retro actively registered as foreign agents in march after flynn was fired from white house. tonight nbc news reports that federal investigators are zeroing in on bijan kian. become a subject of the investigation. questioned multiple individuals about his lobbying work on behalf of turkey. former national security adviser mike flynn appears to be in the legal cross hairs right now nine ways to sunday. his son also appears to be at least four or fire ways to sunday and his business partner, appears to have been intimately involved in business transactions, including the ones for which they had to retroactively register as foreign agents, he also now
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appears to be a subject of the robert mueller special investigation. not just squeezed personally but in a vise now. doesn't appear to be wealthy man. decades in the military, only retired after obama fired him in 2015, not out that long. not from wealthy family. facing legal jeopardy from at least three investigations. pentagon, congress and department of justice. under the headline of worrying about legal bills in dictionary, there's a picture of michael flynn now. he's set up a legal defense fund where anybody can pay to help him defray the costs of what appears to be seven defense lawyers. no idea how much they raised or
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from whom. contacted the people who run the site and they've not responded to our request for information. up until now, with this little bit of news i'm about to break tonight, profound ambiguity as to whether a certain billionaire might conceivably be able to help mike flynn out. human factor at center of this massive national security scandal that the trump administration has brought upon itself, human factor is financial factor for those caught up in investigations. don't have to have sympathy or like or dislike people involved at human level to understand this is potentially really important dynamic that might be driving people's decisions. for a lot of people swept up in the scandal, who may have things to say to investigators and may be deciding right now how much to say so investigators, how much to give up, how loyal they want to be to the president, for
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anyone not a billionaire or child of billionaire, legal advice you need can quickly become not just expensive but crippling, life-changing, even multigenerationally life-changing get for you and your family. before this week, only information we had is mike flynn rattling a tin cup on the internet and president trump and eldest son, billionaire and son of were having their legal fees covered by republican party and trump re-election campaign. bloomberg was first to report that president will now stop charging the republican party for legal fees and election campaign as well. will start paying lawyer bills. we don't think it means will reimburse for maybe over $1
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million already spent on legal defense but hey, got to start somewhere. don junior, bloomberg also reported he will stop getting legal fees paid for by trump re-election campaign. leaves open the possibility that rnc is still contributing to legal fund. as to whether or not anybody else will get any sort of help paying for lawyers, white house started to make vague noises this week that some mechanism may be created sometime to help other people outside the trump family pay their legal fees in the russia investigation. but ambiguity that's persisted for months, since we first learned that rnc and trump campaign for paying for the family and nobody else. not just frustrating on the scandal but ethically and strategically important.
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rnc won't say how it made the decision to start paying the fees and trump campaign won't say. neither republican party or trump campaign will explain any process they have gone through or might go through in the future to decide whether or not they're going to pay for anybody else. haven't closed off that possibility that other people could get legal fees paid for, nor made any promises. think about that. from the news perspective, it's frustrating to report on that, just because there's no clarity, it's hard to say what's going to happen. frustrating that it's consistently not resolved over weeks and months. but imagine being one of the people subject to this decision and has lawyers on your payroll right now. hope hicks, 29 years old. sam clovis, previously iowa radio talk show host.
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imagine being mike flynn, facing debt that will bankrupt you and potentially your family and children. imagine being one of those folks and wondering if somebody in republican party or trump world more broadly might be able to start picking up your legal fees, but you don't know how that decision is going to be made or when or who really gets to decide it. and meanwhile that ambiguity creates that incredible uncertainty for you over your future and your family's future. you've been asked to speak to mueller's investigators about the president and matters affecting the presidency and may be asked to testify to the grand jury that may bring further indictments that may affect the president and his family. already giving interviews and testimony under oath, making decisions about what to say while the white house and republican party have dangled the possibility that your legal
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fees could be picked up, but maybe not. earlier this week word from the white house was that president trump was finalizing a plan to use personal funds to help current and former white house staff with their legal costs. quote, trump is only considering using personal funds to pay for the legal bills of current and formal white house aides, not people who served exclusively in the campaign. rules out paul manafort and rick gates, both already indicted. also not eligible, george papadopoulos, campaign foreign policy adviser who already pled guilty. that's the word from the white house earlier this week. does that mean that trump might pay for mike flynn's defense? that was specifically unclear. quote, it's unclear whether trump's offer extends to michael flynn, who was fired from his role as national security adviser early in the
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administration. didn't just work on the campaign, 24 days official. maybe trump will pay his bills. maybe. would it matter based on what mike flynn is going to say? ambiguity isn't just frustrating, ambiguity from the white house and president has a purpose and effect as people keep testifying right? this has opinion a miasma of threat and promise all the staffers proceeding through the inquiries, giving testimony under oath, potentially to grand juries. i said i had a little bit of news about the lawyer on the russia investigation. that fund they're trying to set up to defray legal expenses for people other than the trump family, first of all clarity from white house that fund is not yet set up. ty cobb tells us this as of
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tonight, special thanks to kristen welker from nbc news. he tells us this, once the fund is fully approved and operational, it will be for the benefit of witnesses, staffers and campaign workers forced to incur extraordinary legal expenses merely because they were witnesses. won't include indictees or current targets. in one sense it contradicts the guidance from the white house about legal fund. not just for people who only worked in white house, according to this statement from ty cobb, fund would be for people who worked on the campaign, campaign staffers, as long as they were witnesses. nobody will be allowed to tap that fund f it comes to exist, if they're indictee, that means manafort, gates and papadopoulos
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are out. nor if they're a current target of the investigations, who that applies to, i don't know. also don't have word from the white house whether or not our billionaire president himself will be contributing to such a fund for legal defense of campaign staffers and white house aides. it's not legally clear that president could do that even if he wanted to do that. here's real piece of news we got tonight definitively from ty cobb at white house, there's one former white house staffer and campaign official who appears to be in legal jeopardy and set up his legal defense fund, mike flynn. according to ty cobb, if flynn has been holding out hope that president trump will personally help him to defray legal defenses, white house is foreclosing that possibility tonight. quote, the president is not planning to contribute to mike
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flynn's defense fund. first definitive statement. mr. flynn, you're on your own, happy thanksgiving. this turns out to be an important decision, also for what happens next. more on that, stay with us.
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march 21st, 1973, president nixon met with white house counsel john dean in the oval office, a tape was running. how much money do you need? >> i would say these people are going to cost a million dollars over the next two years.
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we could get that. uh-huh. you on the money. if you need the money, i mean, you could get the money. let's say -- well i think that we're going -- what i mean, you could get a million dollars and you could get it in cash. i know where it could be gotten. >> reason nixon was asking about how to get a million dollars, telling white house counsel you knew where to find $1 million in cash because counsel informed him that guys who broke into watergate for him were nangd a lot of hush money. other way access to money came up was promised two top aides as he fired them, you'll need
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money, i have some. closest friend and personal banker bebe has it. and you could have it. after nixon announced departure of the two aides. second heads up, nixon gets salty in language. >> let me say, you're a strong man, god dam it, and i love you, i love joun and ahn and all the. keep the faith. you're going to win this son of a bitch. i love you like you know like my brother. all right boy, keep the faith. >> did i mention you should keep the faith in telling departing chief of staff, hearing it as historians have, keep the faith
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meaning don't you flip on me. people caught up in presidential scandals, figuring out who pays legal bills is not just footnote in history but it's determinative in its own right and michael joins us on that next. stay with us. no, thanks , santa, i got this. looks a little tight. perfect fit. santa needs an f-150. that's ford, america's best selling brand. hurry in today for 0% financing for 72 months across the full line of ford cars, trucks and suvs! and just announced... get 0 % apr for 72 months plus $1000 cash back! take advantage of these exclusive holiday offers during the ford year end sales event.
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we broke the news a few moments ago that president trump now says he will not contribute any of his own considerable personal funds to the legal defense of his former national
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security adviser mike flynn. white house telling us that in no uncertain terms. also saying that fund that white house is setting up for legal defense in the russia investigation is limited to staffers and campaign workers who are brought into the investigation purely as witnesses. white house telling us tonight that white house fund will not be used for anybody indicted or targeted by the russia investigation. with visions of watergate dancing in our heads at this news, joining us is michael beschloss, nbc news presidential historian. thanks for being here. happy thanksgiving. >> thanks. happy thanksgiving. >> you first told us to watch out for issue of legal funds, fees, potential payments between principals and outlying figures as something important in watergate and could be here. how did that function in
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watergate? >> it sure was. we've talked about the fact it's not a bad idea for president to know a little bit of history. in this case watergate history. richard nixon's impeachment, article i, obstruction of justice. on that count saying that nixon was guilty of paying substantial amounts of money to witnesses to influence their testimony. is this sounding a little bit familiar? also came up in grand jury deliberaterations in which richard nixon was named unindicted co-conspirator, if donald trump thinks to pay money to people who work for him to get them to be silence or influence what they're going to say to the grand jury or judicial process, this could be very dangerous. >> given that historical precedent, seems like two forms of ambiguity here that may be
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relevant. one is the question of whether or not this financial assistance might be made available to certain people as people are being interviewed by special counsel and congress and potentially testifying to the grand jury. lack of clarity around that itself seems like operational thing, seems to be something that may have effect on whether or not people testify in way that's favorable to the president. in nixon's case, was it clear he nanded specific testimony in exchange for the money? or implicit because he was giving people money? >> conveyed. howard hunt basically blackmailed nixon, i'm going to sing to the feds unless you give me a lot of money. conversation you played with
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nixon and dean, howard hunt got $75,000 plus very quickly after that conversation. obvious link. >> demand for hush money and overt and deliberate decision to pay it. when that ends up on tape, that follows you around. >> and even if a president like president trump doesn't have tapes, we assume he probably doesn't, when there's investigation like this and people are in danger of going to jail, it's very hard to keep a secret of a president trying to essentially buy perjured testimony. >> thanks for being here thanksgiving eve. >> thank you. >> we'll be right back. stay with us.
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day before thanksgiving is a really awesome time for dumping bad news. if you are the trump organization, the real estate business, that bad news dump tonight came in the form of that press release. trump hotels and condominium association announced management and license contract buyout for the trump soho hotel. here's the headline at "new york times." trump organization will exit from struggling soho hotel in new york. trump soho is a hotel that's not done very well, paired with condos that have been a nightmare for the trump family business. one lawsuit settled out of court
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claimed it was developed with undisclosed involvement of convicted felons and financed by kazakhstan. another lawsuit claimed that trump children inflated claims about how many units in the building had been sold. settled that agreeing to return over 90% of the millions of dollars that buyers had paid the trumps in deposits for the condos. fraud allegations led to criminal investigation by district attorney in manhattan. joint investigation revealed just how close ivanka trump and donald trump jr. had come to being indicted in that criminal probe over fraud at trump soho. very close to being indicted before the manhattan d.a. dropped the case. prosecutor said he made up his own mind, had nothing to do with
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the visit and large donation he received from trump's long-time personal lawyer he received when he was considering that case. big part of the business model is trump and trump association getting paid, trump name associated with a building they don't build. tonight however the company that owns this building in soho, arguably in soho, are now paying the trump organization to get out of the deal early. paying the trump organization to take the trump name off that troubled building and sever all ties to it. joining us, andrea bernstein, senior editor, night before thanksgiving, i really appreciate you joining me. i know where the trump soho is, i don't think of that as soho. >> it's not. it's west of soho, near the mouth of the holland tunnel.
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>> like the number of floors of trump tower are always higher than they actually are. >> round up. reason that trump soho has been of interest to people investigating the trump organization, potential money laundering worries and ties to former soviet union is because the project was developed with bay rock. partnership in the development there. and that was what gave rise to a lot of concerns over the financing and origins of that project right? >> that is correct. >> in terms of whether or not this was ever a good deal for the trump organization, they didn't build the organization, developed it, sold units in it and put their name on it. >> it was financial disaster from the get-go, they announced this building in fall of 2007. you remember that time, real estate market, particularly luxury real estate market was already beginning to collapse and they could not sell these
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units, which gave rise to the criminal investigation, idea that trump family might have been lying to lure buyers about the numbers sold. >> idea is trying to get people to buy a condo in the building. hey 90% is already sold out, better get in, sounds better than be the first buyer. inflating the percentages. >> exactly. and strange construct. wanted to build a high-rise tower in what trump himself described as chic arty neighborhood in lower manhattan, it's low rise neighborhood, this is 43 stories high. to build it, they had to create this new kind of hybrid, people could only live there four months a year and then had to rent it out. people didn't want to buy that. even if there wasn't a financial crisis, very tough product to tell. >> and in terms of fraud
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investigation, interesting reporting, you guys at nyc and new yorker and pro pub ka. ivanka trump and donald trump jr. personally corresponded, communicated over e-mail in ways that made clear they were trying to misrepresent the financial health of the building to potential buyers. really seemed because it was in writing, there was a strong case. >> and there were prosecutor ins in the d.a.'s office who wanted to proceed. but psi vance, even though said that e-mails were damning to a agree, felt the case was too difficult, by the time he got to it, victims didn't want to cooperate, had been a defense lawyer himself and he saw problems with the case. he overruled his team who wanted to go forward with the criminal
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prosecution, who felt that the e-mail evidence was so strong that they could mount a prosecution despite the obstacles. but part and parcel of the problem that trump soho is still having. very difficult, strange hybrid to sell. trump building in a part of lower manhattan that's attracting a cool kind of crowd. we -- our office is a block and a half away. we used to see nba stars, limos, rope lines, paparazzi, it was crowded. soon after trump announced his campaign with racially charged remarks, people stopped coming. until it's dead, bar shut down in may, let all the ingredients run out. >> bar at hotel shut down? you personally investigated this? >> went for research purposes, ordered drinks, we don't have these ingredients, letting
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everything run out because nobody comes here anymore. >> what ran out first? >> something to make spicy margarita i think. i don't remember the ingredients. >> not tonic. >> nonobvious. ran out of things. and abruptly the bar closed. the idea was this was luxury building. rooms were going to sell for $800 a night. today you can find them for less than $300 on price line. it was struggling. couples didn't want weddings there. bring family together, some like trump, some don't, going to fight. we'll go somewhere else. this building was really struggling. problem now is we don't know how much money the trumps were bought out for. the current owners of the building have separately leases with the federal government, they run regulated funds that are regulated by federal regulators. we're in historically
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unprecedented situation of having a company making a payoff to the president's company. >> president's family. >> and we don't know what it is and we're in this situation where we're left wondering while they're having government leases and other regulatory matters decided about them. >> great to see you. thank you. really appreciate you being here. big night tonight. stay with us.
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this is nbc nightly news thursday november 25th with david brinkley reporting in new york. >> good evening. on this day of thanksgiving in serious eating an counting of blessings, the best we could manage here was to count the blessings and have pizza sent in cardboard boxes from four blocks away. happy thanksgiving. >> grumpy david brinkley and the crew apparently got pizza delivered on thanksgiving in 1976. we had dumplings tonight and not grumpy about itality all and one last story for you to definitely not start a fight at your thanksgiving table and that's next. stay with us.
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want to introduce you to mary moran. in 1973, mary moran was 17 years old, a high school senior, living in rhode island. and mary moran entered an essay contest that the state of rhode island held every year. what thanksgiving meant to them. that year mary moran won that essay contest and there was something different about her essay. it was so different it made the national news. >> mary moran is 17 years old and a senior at a roman catholic high school in wakefield, rhode island. she finished first in the annual statewide essay contest and
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wrote that thanksgiving is absurd. traditionally, the governor issues the winning essay as a thanksgiving proclamation but governor filip noel refused to use miss moran's essay because he didn't agree with it. here she is reading part of that essay? class. >> thanksgiving proclamation, 1973. today as many people sit down to a table laden with food, go through the motions of thanking a god that monolonger believe in, i'm struck by the add surdty of this holiday. thanksgiving seems to be pretend ds, a farce, a tradition known to discard. if we gave up this day, forced the admit he cannot be thankful because he is not thankful and never satisfied. >> she wrote a very thoughtful message. and one that i think deserves commendation because of its content. however, i could not bring
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myself to sign that as my proclamation because i have never been struck by the absurdity of thanksgiving as a holiday. >> that was her winning essay. man cannot be thankful because he is not happen pain he is not happy because he is never satisfied. that was her thanksgiving essay about how absurd thanksgiving is. for the first time in a quarter of a century that year 1973, the governor did not issue the winning essay as a thanksgiving day proclamation and wrote a different one that was not nearly so challenging. mary's principal told the associated press at the time, quote, she just wrote from the heart. what was in mary's heart was maybe not for everybody back then but it's -- you know what? wofrt looking back on even now, maybe especially now. >> thankfulness and happiness cannot exist without each other and man soon realizes this and
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learn again to be thankful. mary moran, class of 1974. >> her classmates got it. governor didn't. god bless you, mary moran, class of 1974, wherever you ended up. happy thanksgiving to you at home and to everybody who helps make this show possible. i'm incredibly thankful for you all absurdity and the rest of it included. that does it for us tonight. now it's time for "the last word with lawrence o'donnell." good evening, lawrence. >> good evening. i'm grateful for you saying good evening to me every night that we do this together. you know, the really name of the show should be riding the rachel wave with lawrence o'donnell. that's what i'm doing at 10:00. >> that's absurd, my friend, but thank you for saying so, my dear. >> get out 0 of that building and start the vacation right now. thank you. >> i'm pre-full and thinking about it. thank you, dear. >> thank you. well, president trump's hometown newspaper "the new york daily

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