tv MSNBC Live MSNBC December 30, 2017 12:00pm-1:00pm PST
hello everybody i'm david gura in new york. at the beginning there was a bar and an adviser. now a new report traces the origin of the russia investigation to reported night of drinking across the pond in london. what the new revelations could mean fort future of the probe. plus fact checking fallout in unsupervised interview with the president upsets the white house.
and unprecedented security to takes millions of time skaerl revellers unsafe in what could be the coldest on record. this morning broken by "the new york times" and published the first unfiltered wide ranging interview by the president who he insisted no fewer than 16 times there was no collusion between his campaign and russia. the president also told the times the russia inquiry made the u.s., quote, loork very bad. and moments ago detailing how the russia investigation may have gun with a night of heavy drinking at a london bar and the promise of dirt on hillary clinton. the newspaper reporting that in may of 2016, george papadopoulos who was a foreign policy adviser to donald trump campaign met with the top australian diplomate. the time sources four current and former american and foreign officials with direct knowledge of the australian role. trump campaign has tried to
dismiss papadopoulos as coffee boy but papadopoulos has since pleaded guilty for lying to the fbi. white house issued this response to the times report saying, quote, out of respect fort special counsel and process, we are not commenting on matters. we are continuing to fully cooperate with the special counsel in order to help complete this expeditiously. let's bring in one of the national security reporter for the in the times. let me ask you about the big question here. what so alarmed american officials to open a counter intelligence investigation into the trump campaign months before the presidential election? what have you learned? >> well, absolutely one of the real unanswered questions so far has been what precisely triggered this investigation that has now loomed over the trump administration for about a year. and we now know that it was the combination of that hack, of course, on democrat emails,
combined with this information from australian counterparts that said the trump campaign may have known in advance this was coming. and so when you take that drunk ken conversation between george papadopoulos and the australian diplomate, yes, the russians have dirt on lirk. then months go by, maybe that's the side conversation, maybe there is no significance of that is missed, but months go bay, but then in july the australian coming to the fbi and say we had a weird conversation that suddenly seems important. those two things put together help set off this dominos. >> i want to get into that diplomats going to the fbi. you write issuing subpenas or questioning people could cause the investigation to burst into public view in the final months of a presidential campaign. what have we learned about the
conversations that took place after those australian diplomats went to the fbi? >> well, this was a crazy time at the fbi. remember, this is just after the fbi closed the investigation into hillary clinton emails and criticized for speaking so publicly about that case. and inside the fbi real questions how public should we be with this investigation. if we start questioning people or issuing subpenas, that's really going to make this investigation public. and frankly also going to tip off russia that we know what's going on here and we are never going to be able to solve this investigation and solve this case before the election. so one argument was let's just lay low, treat this as a long term counter intelligence investigation and let it ride. like don't go public with it. there was another camp inside the fbi saying no, we can't take that chance. the mere possibility of a compromise td presidential campaign is too great. we have to do everything we can,
including questioning people, issuing subpenas, even if that means taking this very secretive sense of investigation into the public light. and now of course our first camp won out. the investigation didn't become public, certainly not in a way that we now understand it to be. and that's going to be one of the questions we look back on did the fbi make the right call. did they handle it appropriately. did they handle it fairly consider how they handled the clinton investigation. >> as we are talking i'm look tg at images of george papadopoulos, 20 something adviser to the trump campaign who has been diminished by the administration. referring to george papadopoulos as coffee boy. as you reported this out wlarks did you learn about the role that he played here? he was really going after this white whale, that being a meeting between ven candidate trump and the russian president vladimir putin? >> right. and our understanding from that
very first interview conducted over skype for the trump campaign, george papadopoulos was told russia is going to be a priority for the trump campaign and going to be a big part of our foreign policy. so he was chasing that white whale. that's a good way to describe t he wanted to make those connections. now we obviously know that jeff sessions now the attorney general said he shut down papadopoulos request to try to broker a meeting between trump and putin. but we have seen a lot of papadopoulos internal emails, and i have to tell you those emails don't show that george papadopoulos was getting the message of don't do this. he was keeping campaign officials abreast of his efforts to broker this deal. and while he wasn't like they were saying go go go, nobody was saying hey, george, remember what jeff sessions said we are not doing that. he maintained contacts even through, even after the election, he maintained contacts
with high ranking people inside the campaign. so i think the coffee boy label that people around president trump have tried to put on george papadopoulos certainly doesn't tell the whole story. >> matt, thank you for the time. joining us here half you broke the major story for "new york times" national security reporter for the time. other major report from the "new york times" gaining attention here is wide ranging interview from president trump earlier this week. the president unfiltered during that sit down which lasted approximately 30 minutes and touched on various topics from the russian investigation, the department of justice to issues with china. interview prompted this article from the "washington post" which claimed the president made 24 false or misleading climbs during that times interview and no aides present at the time. for more on this i want to bring in my colleague down in west palm beach florida traveling on the florida as he's characterizing working vacation. garrett, it begs the question,
where was kelly when this was taking place at mar-a-lago. >> he was very short staffed. in fact, we know he returned to mar-a-lago from a day at another day at trump international golf course today. the chief has talked about this dynamic with he and the president and the staff and made it clear he sees it his job to manage the staff not the president. so i don't know that john kelly if he were there would have reached out to stop this interview from happening. if the president wants to do an interview, the president is going to do an interview. but i don't think on the other side of that coin that the chief of staff would have been particularly happy to see such a thing go on, essentially unmonitored. we know the only time that a staff member really got involved was hope hicks communication director someone who is not here with the president in palm beach, phoned in and essentially
checked up on the status of the interview through another person's phone who happened to be there in the room while this was ongoing. so a headache for the chief of staff, certainly, but again he has said all along that he's going to let the president be the president. his job is to make sure that best possible team is around him giving the best possible information. and there is another argument there all together whether that's what happened in this case. >> blow back here that the reporter that did that interview let the president talk. let me pull out the news. one thing had to do with justice department and how the president regards the attorney general. and the department of justice. he said that he has absolute authority and right to do what he wants with that justice department. tweeting in response to what the president had to say, adam schiff, you have absolute right to do what you want with golf courses but the country belongs to the american people. what has been the response to that particular issue, garrett? >> well, it's interesting, because schiff is more close to
correct on this than the president is. it's not as if the president of the united states can dial up the justice department and request a fbi investigation into something he wants. but broadly speaking, the president can set priorities, can set the direction for the justice department, and can set focuses for it. so it's a bit of a split difference there. but again this just goes to show and criticisms how this interview happened, goes to show where the president's mind goes when he's asked these open questions and you get a better sense of what he thinks about these things. one of the points that he made in that same portion of the interview was michael smith had asked him about the contradiction or the comparison between president obama's attorney generic holder and the president says i don't want to get into loyalty but i'll say this holder protected president obama. when you look at the things they did and holder protected the president. i have great respect for that. i'll be honest, i have great respect for that. you know this president prizes
personal loyalty to him above most things. and seeing that dynamic play out there withholder and jeff sessions who the president has in so many words accused of being disloyal or not willing to go to the bat is striking and is useful useful in sight how he perceives his own justice department. >> real quickly let me talk about about west palm beach, mar-a-lago. what's the response like, how quickly do you hear from officials about that? i'll read the statement again. out of respect for the special counsel we are not commenting on matters such as this. fully cooperate with the special counsel. from reporters there what the president says at the winter white house, how does this reverb brat? >> it's interesting, the white house in some form or fashion
tends to respond fairly quickly. just a few days ago talking about the michael flynn story that the with t"the washington spoke about, where they shot it down n this case ty cobb don't respond to anyway, he only says yes we are aware of it and we'll let the special counsel continue. but the white house does engage on these questions about the special counsel, the russia investigation, fairly quickly. even if it's just to say, as you saw here with ty cobb, we are aware of it, we are not going to get into this closer. >> i appreciate it. that's down in west palm beach traveling with the president. president says in "the new york times" there was no collusion between russia and his campaign. but he did say democrats were guilty. told michael smith i think it's turning to the democrats because there was collusion. there was collusion with the
russians and democrats, starting with the dossier but going into so many other elements, and podesta. the president also wondered what happened to, referring to him as the pakistani guy, and also brought up hillary clinton email server. now joining me to talk about this. frank, let me start with you here, i want to go back to that quotation i read about the role of the president and the justice department, absolute determinism. how did you react to what you read there? >> well, i'm from the school that says that it was great that we heard the president's unvarnished believes for 30 straight minutes. because there is tremendous insight into his thought process here. so he apparently views himself
as the head of law enforcement for the united states. the head of the justice department. he believes the role of the attorney general is to protect him. all of this is new thinking. you know, as recently as two weeks ago, the attorney general was speaking to introduce the president at the fbi academy and introduced president trump as the highest law enforcement official in our nation. i spoke to fbi officials who watched that speech. they were taken a- aback by that. this is new thought. the attorney general not understanding that he's the chief law enforcement official. the president thinking that he's the chief law enforcement official and can order investigations and opened and closed. this is not a country that people really want to live in when the president can dictate who gets investigated and who doesn't. who is a political enemy and who isn't. >> joyce i'll have you respond as well. you as former u.s. attorney. what did you make about what he
said? and the comments about loyalty here, attorney general loyalty to the president? >> i'm very much in agreement with frank. the president's comments here were wrong. and they indicate a fundamental failure to understand the constitutional role that the justice department plays in our democracy. although as frank points out, it's legislate for the president to make decisions about policy, he can decide to reject the smart on crime strategy that, for instance, general hold tear and president obama used. and he can set those bright line policy values. but what the president can't do is control who gets indicted and who doesn't. who goes to jail and who doesn't. that's what separates us from a banana republican. we reserve those decisions about prosecution to career professionals and to the attorney general. and traditionally and even more strongly after watergate a wall was built between the white house and justice department on
those in indictment crimp cal case specific decisions for exactly these reasons. so the idea that the attorney general owes loyalty to the president in the sense that trump clearly meant it here where he alleges with absolutely no support or reason behind it, that general holder would have protected president obama from whatever sort of rampant criminal occurs, this is wrong. not where we are as a country. >> in the interview with the times talking about paul manafort, outside the courthouse in d.c. in connection with robert mueller investigation. let me read from the interview. paul only worked for me for a few works. paul worked for ronald reagan and many republicans for far longer than he worked for me. and you are talking about what paul was many years before i ever heard of him. worked for me, what was it, three and a half months. how much is this investigation center on how well donald trump
new paul manafort who i believe lived in the trump building here in new york? >> it doesn't matter how well president trump says that he knew paul manafort. what matters is the information that paul manafort can give on that campaign. and more importantly what michael flynn can give. unlike manafort, flynn worked in the campaign and the transition and in the white house the very high security levels, national security adviser. sew saw far more than manafort d and we have seen in the past the president tried to distance himself from paul manafort while still keeping close tabs with michael flynn. although we heard that may be changing, they may be trying to push back and saying michael flynn is someone who lied to the vice president and fbi and therefore can't be trusted. but that of course could be part of the strategy to again undermine the investigation and gets back to this whole idea that the president thinks that he has control over these investigations.
and that he's somehow blind to the walls set up between the white house and law enforcement. >> let me ask you about that. the control the president thinks he has. he's staying uninvolved in many of these matters yet telegraphing an awful lot as he talks about these individuals, talks about how the investigation how it unfold ls. how successfully is swaying how people interpret how these investigations are going? >> i think he's having an impact clearly particularly within his base. but i also can tell you that the prosecutors and agents on mueller's team are listening intently when he speaks publicly on these comments. so thag over 20 times that there is no collusion he might be impeached on that. saying that he believes the attorney general's role is loyalty and protection of him when we are debating whether he asked jim comey for a loyalty test as fbi director. all of this becomes fair game for impeaching a witness or a subject of an investigation. >> frank, great to speak you. joyce, thanks to you as well.
embraced by senator bernie sanders. so as we approach 2018 we could be looking at very crowded. joining me now eugene scott, political reporter, and elmore. let me talk to you how this evolution is coming about, these folks moving to the left? >> i think fascinating issue and deep divide in the political party that we'll see play out during the course of the year. i was talking to democrat officials who work on some of these in state and district campaigns and asked them when you look at a race like alabama and see a pro choice candidate like doug jones win in a deep red state, does that make you more inclined to go for candidates who are more progress who are further to the left or as you see president trump's approval ratings going down or more toward the middle? what are you going to try to do? pick up people or go for broke? that's what we are will find out by november. >> what dozes centrism lk like
today? who is occupying the center? how much attraction to move into the center? >> i would argue more of a doug jones. when you look at someone like him, he definitely got the support of the more progress wing of democrats in alabama but also criticized before winning the election because he did not address some of the issues that people on the far left wish he would have and let them know that he was going to champion their views within congress once he got there. so i think you are going to see different democrats do different things in different races. depending where they are, because there are some polices where being more left will be damaging. >> that was ultimately the answer that i was hearing when i tas you can go to my sources. they are insistent they'll pick the candidates that best suit the race, district. but it will be incorrect to say they are not riding high. this has been a good year for democrats. there are a lot of factors in their favor.
>> let me ask you about the role of senator franken, he spoke in his home state of minnesota, not done yet. what does his departure mean for those values in particular and how surprised are you that wrapped up in all of this he did have to step down? >> well, i am actually surprised. i was looking at a poll earlier today nearly 60% of women in minnesota wished he had not stepped down. so the reality is how people respond is going to depend on what the alternatives are, where are they are in the country, severity of the allegations. i don't think we could talk about them the same, roy moore and al franken cannot be talked about in the same. but a left higher standard when it comes to how people are treated in the workplace related to sexual harassment and i this i that's going to put republicans in a position where
they actually are going to have to answer some questions they've been skirting around in terms of where they stand on this issue. and we saw a recent poll showing that many republicans do not see sexual harassment and sexual assault as a major issue. and i don't think voters will view that the same way in 2018. >> look at al franken departure, had roy moore there would have been a reckoning within ht republican party as well? >> i see it tied to the moment they found themselves on. very few options like kirstjen nielsen who has worked on campus sexual assault policies, working on this the whom time on capitol hill. so when faced with the question what to do, it's important to remember the democrat women senators did notarize up after the first or second or third, they made waves after the the 7th. and chuck schumer also came on board and forced them out after
the 8th. that's a long time. but yes ongoing debate whether he was returned out too soon, whether an ethics investigation should have had the clans to be completed. >> who speaks for the caucus of the senate that we mentioned at the top of the segment there? people looking for bernie sanders to lead that group? senator warren? or kirstjen nielsen folks are looking to? >> i think it depends what group you are a part of. i talk to people passionate about harris or sanders, those people are usually not the same people. so depends what issue is the most pertinent heading into the 2018 election which member of the left and the senate is the member for you. >> i also think that you'll find something different on the campaign trail, candidate who is trying to be the opposite what we heard from president trump during that inauguration day speech. the opposite of doom and gloom. you'll find a different ten or coming out of the candidates who get traction in the next couple of years. >> thank you very much. joining me here in new york.
welcome back. i'm david gura. major cities across the country ramming up security for tomorrow. in times square more than 2 million people will brave sub freezing temperatures to watch the ball drop live and they won't be alive. thousands of police officers, snipers and bomb sniffing dogs will be standing guard in the wake of two terror attacks. in las vegas just three months after the worst mass shooting in american history, police there unprecedented number of officers on duty. joining me chief executive reporter in new york. let me ask you about the preparations. what are we seeing that's new or novel this year? >> hi, david. nypd said this is the tightest, more than 20 blocks of security perimeter, and there will be checkpoints. everyone has to come through a checkpoint who is going to it be
attending this ball drop. and those checkpoints will include bag checks, along with bomb sniffing and vapor weight dogs. these dogs can sniff backpacks on the move, if you will, or any sort of devices, so those dogs specially trained, and they are not allowing back passion or bags or any sort of those materials to come in. on top of that, you are going to have sand trucks around that 25 block perimeter to keep the chance of any vehicle getting through down to practically zero, because as we saw in times square there was a vehicle attack, as well as we saw on the west side highway in new york terror attack involving a truck. 125 parking garages will be closed to prevent anyone from planting a car bomb in the area. and the added surveillance includes many more roof top lookout towers and sniper teams and going to be detectives stationed at every single hotel
to keep tabs on the crowd in an effort to prevent what we saw in las vegas back in october in that terrible shooting. so you'll see lots more sand trucks and lots more concrete barriers, lots more bomb dogs, and top of that, on top of the nypd many more homeland security officials on scene to help try to keep this event safe. >> how often is the nypd updating playbook, in light of the attacks you mentioned, these are not novel in the sense, but they are new to new york, that incident you described in which a car employed inplowed into th pedestrians. strapped to his person in bangladesh. how quickly can the nypd adapt? >> they do these reviews daily. whole intelligence division.
1,000 officers to surveillance in this city. because they have done lots of plots since 9/11. one of the reviews they did for the times square celebration, evacuations, they have seen some of the squares at airports with the strange sound and people start to stampede. so they have done table top exercises where they determined they need to widen escape routes and how to communicate with officers to open the pens to help get people out and better have loud speak tours get information out to the crowd. these are all reviews that went on and have taken place in the weeks leading up to this week's celebration. >> thanks for your time. happy new year's eve to you as well. >> yes. still ahead, former trump adviser lying to the fbi now back in the headlines more details on a major report "new york times" in the that blames george papadopoulos for sparking the russia investigation. with my dentures. i love kiwis. i've always had that issue
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lfrnlts welco welcome back. i'm david gura. here's some of the top headlines. erica garner died daughter after died into being check hold by new york police. according to her family, she was 27 years old. in iran demonstrators have been met with arrests in cities to protest economic issues like rising prices and eye toe la
himself. president trump weighed in saying the world is watching. and more on the deadly fire in the bronx where 12 people were killed. 28-year-old last seen headed back into the flames, still missing, to save others. >> sparked the federal probe in the 2016 campaign begin in a british bar. "the new york times" reporting this afternoon that former trump campaign foreign policy adviser george papadopoulos may be at the center of the investigations beginning. papadopoulos described as a coffee boy by a trump campaign official pleaded guilty of lying to the fbi and is now a cooperating witness in the special counsel investigation. here's a statement released just a short while ago by white house counsel ty cobb in response to that report in "the new york times." quote, out of respect for the special counsel and his process, we are not commenting on matters such as this. we are continuing to fully cooperate with the special counsel in order to help complete their inquiry expeditiously.
joining us now to talk about this. and michael let me turn to you first. something that comes across in this article is that george papadopoulos played a bigger role than many are saying he did. something that has come across as the story reported out how fractured the campaign staff were. can you give us a sense what it looks like? was >> no, i think the campaign was a manage teritocracy. but i think he was a volunteer. and anyone can go act as private citizen. he reported back to a campaign official, sam clovis who longer up for a job, and that's unfortunate, but george papadopoulos was never more than a low level volunteer. i thisnk anything else would be
here say. i worked on the campaign for 18 months and never met him. so i think everything else is speculation. >> with respect, though, looking at this piece from the times here, you see george papadopoulos interfacing with high ranking members of that campaign. i wonder if you are still going to maintain that position in light whaf you read in the times? it sound like he was at least in conversation with with folks high up. that he considered himself to be integral part of this campaign? >> well, george papadopoulos has proven himself to be ego man ac maniac to lie to the fbi. but it was nothing more than courtesy. there were tons of times i oversaw ten states for the president and tons of times where i had volunteers reach out to me who may at first seem like a good idea and you pass them on up the line, and they interact with people, and then that's it,
that's the end of the line for them. and at the time that george papadopoulos was a member of the foreign policy committee, it was a time when the campaign was bifurcated, and i don't think there was any real, you know, forward facing messaging that was coming out of that committee besides the one committee that happened, and now that was over, and george papadopoulos proved time and time again that while he did communicate with people, he never actually had a seat at the table beyond that one time. >> i want you to respond to that in the report in the times today, again hearing the makeup or the way the trump campaign was configured, what you make of what you are hearing from rubino? >> i think that's the spin coming from the former campaign officials. i don't think many people take ta spin that seriously. you have the photographic evidence of papadopoulos sitting at a table discussing foreign policy with trump and with sessions so the idea that he was a coffee boy is kind of just
sill ply spin. i don't know why trump surrogates continue to make t we know papadopoulos was involved in setting up a meeting between trump and the egyptians and other meetings with trump. so i think this idea that he was some low level aide i just think just that dog doesn't bark anymore. further, it doesn't really matter if he was a low level aide or not. there was knowledge within the senior levels of the trump campaign that he was making his various trips to talk up to these intermediaries who claimed to have information from the russians about dirt on clinton. so cam main officials clearly knew about it. and this was not the only contact between russian intermediaries and the campaign. donald trump junior took meetings with officials who he pleefd to believed to be connected with the russian government. the idea there was no conversation going on between trump officials and the russians
is provably wrong at this point. and not only multiple meetings but multiple lie bs the meetings. lies about the papadopoulos meeting. the president wanted donald trump junior his son to lie about the meeting that took place at trump towers in june of 2016. and we know during the transition that there were multiple meetings with russians, which is effort that jared kushner tried to set up and misrepresented. and meetings with other russian officials that there were multiple lies about. the attorney general had meetings with the russians that he wasn't can dadid about. so the question is if there were no collusions what were all the meetings about, and what do trump surrogates and the officials involved, why do they continue to lie about it? i think "the washington post" documented 31 contacts between trump officials and the russians or russian surrogates during that time sochlt this idea this arg argument that papadopoulos wasn't senior enough, i think
that's a laughable argue. >> i want you to respond to that, he was a maniac, it wasn't difficult to find those. let's put that aside. he was operating under the campaign. doesn't those who work on the campaign have any concern about that? >> he operated as a private citizen. anybody can do what they wish as a private citizen. carter page is another example of a private citizen who went amuck. i don't think we as a campaign should be tried and ultimately prosecuted for someone who was nod paid by the campaign or official campaign official. did not attend meetings within the campaign structure. besides ones that were designed for outside help like a foreign policy counsel. so i think the basic premise here is that anyone who is a
private citizen and wishes to help the trump campaign could have done what they wished to do. and i think president trump was elected president was proven he had a robust volunteer network that wanted to help the president. >> we have to leave it there. >> very quickly here. >> it's just not a meaningful argument to say whether he was paid or not. if trump officials knew that he was on their behalf talking with russian intermediaries, then that's damming, particularly if he's passing information up to the russian campaign. silly argument to say he wasn't paid. has no berg legally or logically. it takes you no where. >> respond to that new article by "the new york times." thank you very much for the time this afternoon. >> thank you. so we said by good to 2007 and pay tribute to those we lost this year. do stay with us. ♪
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takes time the closer you are to somebody. ♪ ♪ >> i guess i've always felt a man's belief and faith are personal. ♪ >> let's make a deal. >> thank you, thank you and welcome to let's make a deal. >> would you welcome mr. warmth, don rickles. >> why am i here tonight, jerry? because you could get hot again. >> will you please join me in welcoming mr. glen campbell, ladies and gentlemen. ♪ ♪ southern nights ♪ ♪ it's a long way to go
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with richard lui. >> david, thank you so much. as we move forward on this afternoon, a saturday for you, i'm richard lui live at msnbc headquarters in new york city. thanks for joining us. this hour the russia investigation as president trump spends new year's eve weekend at mar-a-largo. new details about australia's roll in flagging russian interference and how that launched the fbi investigation. and the holiday message putin sent to president trump as well. plus as we say good-bye to 2017, a year that brought many unexpected moments, could 2018 be the most consequential year of our lifetime in politics. a new op ed in "the washington post" predicts a storm on the horizon in 2018. first off for you, we'll begin with new information on the russia investigation. including word that australia may have played a significant role in the launch of the investigation by the fbi. "the new york times" reporting that in may of 2016, trump foreign policy