tv The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell MSNBC January 24, 2018 10:00pm-11:00pm PST
his lawyer, ty cobb said mr. trump didn't mean that when he said it. but the president said it. it's been a remarkable day. we'll see you again tomorrow. now it's time for "last word with lawrence o'donnell." good evening, lawrence. >> good evening from chicago. i pretty much just ran in here and i hope nothing big has happened in the news in the last few hours anyway. >> people are still mad about the shutdown, you know what it's like. >> i can do a shutdown down and shutdown analysis. great. >> pretty much. you need updates on anything, you can call me. >> it's the 21st century so we have radio in the car. i have a wicked smart phone so i am completely up to date. >> very good. well done my friend.
thank you. >> thanks a lot. the president is on air force one tonight, heading to switzerland for the world economic forum, but just before the president left the white house, he surprised reporters by stopping to talk with them at the entrance to white house chief of staff john kelly's office. and, after a few questions about international trade and immigration, the president was asked about the special prosecutor's investigation. >> are you going to talk to mueller? >> i'm looking forward to it, actually. just so you can understand, there's been no collusion whatsoever. there's no obstruction whatsoever. and i'm looking forward to it. i do worry when i look at all the things you people don't report about with what's happening, if you look at the five month's worth of missing texts, that's a lot of missing texts. as i said yesterday, that's prime time. so you do sort of look at that
and say, what's going on. you do look at certain texts where they talk about insurance policies or insurance where they say the kind of things they're saying, you have to be concerned. but i'd love to do that. >> when will you do it? >> the president then tried to pull away since one question about robert mueller is more than enough for donald trump. but nbc's kristen welker and other reporters kept talking. kristen welker asked when is the president going to talk to the special prosecutor. >> do you have a date. >> they're saying two or three weeks. i'd love to do it. subject to my lawyers and all of that, i would love to do it. >> will you do it under oath, mr. president? >> you mean like hillary -- who said that. >> i did. >> you say a lot. did hillary do it under oath? do you have an idea, she didn't do it under oath, i would do it under oath.
i would do it. you know she didn't do it under oath. >> she would. >> if you didn't know about hillary, you're not much of a reporter. >> to reach a higher standard, you would do it under oath. >> i would. >> of course, the president's lawyer, ty cobb almost immediately took all of that back saying the president was speaking hurriedly, that was his word, and was saying he was willing to meet with the special prosecutor. we have tim o'brien, jill wine-banks and natasha bertrand. >> tim, i want to start with you. you were sued by donald trump.
you know him as a real estate man, you wrote a book, you know him as the president, you know him as the litigant, under oath in depositions in your case. what did you hear tonight when you were listening to donald trump say, sure, i'm happy to do it, i'm happy to do it under oath. >> i think he said i'll also do the whole lawyer thing. at some point tonight ty cobb said he won't do anything without the advice of his counsel, which isn't true, donald trump does everything without the advice of his counsel. and our experience of him during litigation, we deposed him for two days, my attorneys were former federal prosecutors of the mueller school, they destroyed him at the deposition. he wasn't prepared. he went off message. during the course of two days,
they caught him, you know, admitting to 30 lies around everything involving his wealth, his debt, how much his condominium sold for. he is about the worst person you can sit down under oath, because he is congenitally unable to tell the truth often, he's prone to hyperbole, he thinks about self-aggrandizement rather than thinking about the truth or arriving at a goal in litigation. >> natasha, certainly the trump lawyers know about his case and tim o'brien and how terrible he was as a witness and they must be impressing upon him this is different, this is not a civil matter, this is criminal. these are the best lawyers you've faced in your life. the stakes have never been higher. therefore you, donald trump, our client, must behave differently
than you did in the tim o'brien case. any indication that's getting through to donald trump? >> no. it's clearly not working. he's still tweeting. if he's this easily baited by reporters to talk about an ongoing investigation for which he's going to be interviewed by special counsel robert mueller within the next two to three weeks, what's it going to be like when he's sitting in front of mueller, who's an extremely experienced prosecutor, extremely experienced in criminal prosecutions when he has to -- when he's presented with questions that robert mueller already knows the answers to. is he going to be tricked by mueller into incriminating himself. i know these are questions the white house is worried about. because donald trump has approached this investigation with a degree of carelessness that would make any lawyer sliver. >> jill, the president was correct when he said that hillary clinton was not under
oath when she was interviewed by the fbi. but a couple things, my understanding is that's standard procedure for that kind of interview, they don't put them under oath. but lying to an fbi is a federal crime. so is this an academic distinction whether you're under oath. >> it is a difference without distinction. it's a felony to lie to the fbi just as much as it is to lie to the grand jury. one is perjury, one is a false statement. they're different statements, but the same consequences. it's just a pr stunt on his behalf. >> when you deal with people under oath whose experience is limited to civil cases like donald trump, do you feel sometimes that they believe they -- they have enough experience because they've been in civil cases to deal with prosecutor's questions?
>> i think it is different in a criminal case than a civil case. in his case, every lawyer i've ever talked to who has had him in a deposition says that he is really a bad witness. and just judging from how i've seen him on public media, he is a nightmare for a lawyer. he would be a very bad client. he does not listen to lawyers' advice and i think he will get himself into a lot of trouble. i think he may underestimate how much mueller already knows, what documents, what e-mails, what phone calls he's been told about, and he may get trapped into saying something that he wants to be true, but that is inconsistent with all the evidence that is already in the possession of the mueller investigators. >> let's listen to what the president said tonight when he was asked, do you trust the fbi? >> do you trust the fbi? >> we're going to see. i'm very disturbed, as is the general and everybody else that
is intelligent, when you look at five months, this is the late great rose mary woods. they say it's 50,000 texts, and it's prime time. that's disturbing. >> should mccabe go, mr. president? should mccabe go? >> well, mccabe got more than $500,000 from essentially hillary clinton and is he investing hillary clinton? >> natasha, do you want to try decoding that? >> well, there were a number of really important factual inaccuracies in what he said. it wasn't 50,000 text messages that went missing. it was text messages that went missing from several thousand cell phones across federal agencies because of a switch from iphone to samsung, it was a glitch that affected several
agencies so not just the fbi, it's not a conspiracy theory that the bureau was trying to hide these from the public. and the second was andrew mccabe was not the one to receive $500,000, it was his wife who was running for virginia state senate seat. and she ended her campaign months before mccabe was appointed deputy director of the fbi, months before he had an oversight roll on the hillary clinton e-mail investigation. so this is more of trump trying to discredit the fbi. >> there was a reach back to the nixon administration to the famous 18-minute gap on the nixon tapes and the president's secretary at the time was considered for that. that's footnoting you have to do when the president is on a rant about andrew mccabe and the question about should mccabe go,
the president ducked it but he did try to sign this political contribution to mccabe when, in fact, it was to his wife and happened long before any of this. >> one of the things going on here, lawrence, is that you have the president of the united states, the chief law enforcement officer of the united states, willy nilly trying to impugn the reputations of career law enforcement officials who regard themselves as straight arrow civil servants who are part of institutions we have valued for a long time in the country for upholding the rule of law. at the mueller investigation, at every turn, you had the president trying to undermine the reputation of everybody who's touched the investigation, solely because i think he's worried and aware of the gravitas of the situation he's in and he will pull out all the stops to impugn the credibility
of everybody in it. >> let's listen to the president's answer to did he ask andrew mccabe who he voted for. >> did you ask mccabe who he voted for? did you ask him that? >> i don't think so, no. >> did you not. >> i don't know what's the big deal with that. i would ask you, who did you vote for? i don't think it's a big deal, but i don't remember that -- i saw that this morning, but i don't remember asking him that question. >> is it possible you did? is it a possibility. >> i don't remember asking the question. i think it's also a very unimportant question. but i don't remember. >> if andrew mccabe tells the special prosecutor that the president asked him that question and the president gives this answer you just heard him give to the special prosecutor, how do you think that will fly? >> i think anybody listening
with believe andrew mccabe's version that he was asked it. and the denial is a weak denial, it's i don't remember asking it. he's not saying he didn't. i want to make one reference to rosemary woods because as the prosecutor who questioned her, i want to point out, there was a deliberate erasure of 18 minutes. there was not something that happened because of a switch from iphones to samsung. this was 8 separate erasures we know that for sure. this was an accident that affected many agencies and it's despicable that the president is demeaning the fbi who are hardworking serious people who take their job seriously and seek to do justice and get the facts out regardless of their own perspective. so i'm sad that's happening.
>> tim, since you know trump better than anyone here, i want to go back to this issue of trump's lawyers trying to to prepare him for what he's really in for here. did you hear in the president's manner tonight or his tone anything that indicates he understands the seriousness of what he's involved? >> no, i don't think he understands it at all, lawrence. there's a freight train headed towards him right now. when you prepare a witness to sit down with someone like bob mueller, you have binders full of documents that you are expecting your client to go through to prepare for an event like that. it requires a lot of patience and discipline. it requires someone who's actually active and engaged reader, who can retain information and think about achieving a strategic goal. none of it applies to president trump. he's not a reader, he's impatient, he won't be well prepared for this.
the other thing they don't understand is it's ultimately not up to him and ty cobb to decide the terms of engagement on this one. if they won't comply, ultimately bob mueller can subpoena trump and put him in front of a grand jury. i don't think anyone wants it to go there. but most of the leverage of how this goes down is in bob mueller's hands. >> tim o'brien gets the last word in this segment. thank you for joining us. we have more on the breaking news from the mueller investigation. and last night on this program we were told that vila lopez is making plans for what would happen for her young daughters if she is deported on march 5th. and tonight president trump promised she won't have to worry about that. but republicans have promised her that before. rad.
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>> one more quick one, do you think robert mueller will be fair to you in this larger investigation? >> we're going to find out. >> are you concerned about -- >> here's what we'll say, and everybody says, no collusion, there's no collusion. now they're saying, oh, well did he fight back? you fight back. john, you fight back, it's obstruction. so here's the thing. i hope so. >> exactly one year ago today, trump national security adviser michael flynn was interviewed in
his office. today nbc news is reporting he did not have a lawyer present when the fbi questioned him and he concealed that from other white house officials, including the president. a lawyer for the national security counsel typically would be informed of such a meeting and be present for it. one person familiar with the procedure said but that didn't happen in this instance and flynn didn't include his own personal lawyer. two people said he met with the two federal agents alone, according to these people. also according to nbc news, white house counsel, don mcgahn was the first trump official to learn about the meeting two days later from then acting attorney general sally yates and don mcgahn then informed the president, nbc reports.
two people familiar with the matter said trump was unaware that flynn had spoken with the fbi until two days after the interview took place. the very next day, after the president was told about that interview, the very next day, on january 27th, according to former fbi director james comey, president trump asked james comey for a loyalty pledge. nbc news confirmed that several trump intelligence officials have spoken with the special counsel. dan coats, mike rogers, mike pompeo, james comey, and sally yates. and natasha and jill are back with us. jill, i want to go back to what we heard the president say, this was that n that impromptu meeting with reporters tonight before getting on air force one.
did he think robert mueller's investigation would be fair, what was your reaction to how he answered that question? >> it's typical trump. he said we'll see. that's what he says about everything. but there was one other thing that he said in that dialogue. and that was, for the first time he said, no obstruction. he has said hundreds of times no collusion, no collusion, no collusion. but tonight was the first time i heard him say and there's no obstruction. the obstruction case is, of course, quite clear and pretty strong. so that's an interesting thing that he is now adding that. and also the timing of his telling flynn he wanted loyalty, the day after he learns that flynn has talked to the fbi is extremely suspicious and makes it look very bad. it's another step that looks like more obstruction to me. >> and natasha, this nbc reporting is the first
specifying of when the president learned about michael flynn both being interviewed by the fbi and perhaps lying to the fbi. and as jill just pointed out, that's very important sequence ly because of what happened the next day with james comey. >> it's hard to believe that michael flynn didn't tell anybody about this meeting he had with the fbi agents. the level of hubris that has affected not only trump but those around them that has put them in such legal jeopardy is astonishing. and the fact that fbi agents could visit flynn in his office in the white house and nobody noticed. and the only reason don mcgahn found out is because sally yates warned him. so if trump briefed all of these top white house officials about sally yates's warning indicating
flynn told the fbi the same thing he told vice president mike pence, which is he did not discuss anything of substance with russian ambassador sergey kislyak. so why was he kept in the white house for another 18 days. why did it take three weeks for trump to decide hey this guy has to get out. the question that mueller will want to ask is was there a reason for that? was it because they didn't want flynn to be outside of the white house orbit because that would make him more susceptible to cooperating with lawyers. >> we have new reporting about rick gates, paul manafort's associate, who has been charged and has not pled guilty, just like rick gates has not pled guilty. but rick gates has obtained a new lawyer, according to nbc
news reports, he's hired tom green an attorney with a long time track record of negotiating plea deals. a development like this is making people wonder does this mean rick gates will be joining the mueller side of the investigation. >> it's also reported that tom green has been seen at mueller's offices twice recently, which would be further evidence that he is possibility negotiating. i know tom green, he respected one of the watergate defendants, he's also a lawyer that will go to trial rather than take a plea for his client. so he's an excellent choice for someone.
i hope he is cooperating, that would be a very good sign. we'll have to see what happens, but tom green is a good lawyer. >> jill on this point of adding counsel or changing counsel at this point, does that say something to you about something changing on rick gates' side of this equation? >> reporter: i don't know his other lawyer, so i don't know what their capabilities are. but it could mean that he has a change of heart and he's decided to cooperate. that could be why he's changing lawyers. it could be some disagreement that he has with his existing lawyers. it's hard to say. but i think it'll be a good thing overall for everybody, especially if he's working with mueller. >> and natasha we have the nbc news report indicates that steve bannon will be meeting with the special prosecutor and answering questions by the end of this month. >> steve bannon is going to be a very important witness for robert mueller, as we saw the white house was loathe to allow steve bannon to testify freely
before congress. there was this whole episode where steve bannon kept saying, the white house ask med not to answer these questions because they were covered by some kind of privilege. so it's going to be interesting once we find out what does steve bannon know that the white house was so afraid of him telling not only congress but now potentially mueller, that's why we saw mueller subpoena steve bannon to give him cover so he could testify freely to the special counsel without it being perceived as him turning his back on trump and trump's orbit and the white house in general. >> there's an interesting element to nbc news reporting on background information on the fbi's questioning of michael flynn. it said no one knew that any of this was happening. it said another senior white house official who was there at the time, apparently it was not clear to flynn this was about his personal conduct, another white house official said. so he didn't think of bringing his own lawyer.
that makes sense to me when you're the national security adviser the fbi might want to talk to you about an issue that has just come up so you can imagine flynn sitting there being surprised when they start questioning him about his own behavior. >> absolutely. but you have to say once it became clear why they were questioning him, why didn't he say, hold it. i think i need to have a lawyer present. i need to tell the national security staff. i need to have somebody else here with me. it's a stupid mistake to make. it's the same thing as why did he lie about saying he discussed sanctions. didn't he know enough to know that his conversation would have been overheard? that it's quite typical that he would be overheard on a conversation with a russian national? these are stupid mistakes.
he should have never continued the investigation because you're right he might have thought in the beginning i'm the new security person so the fbi is coming to talk to me. that's fine. but then he quickly realized what it was, he should have stopped the interview. >> jill wine banks and natasha bertrand, thank you both for joining us. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> before he got on air force one tonight, president trump made another promise to the d.r.e.a.m.ers, but it's a trump promise. with a sore back. but he's got work to do. so he took aleve this morning. if he'd taken tylenol, he'd be stopping for more pills right now. only aleve has the strength to stop tough pain for up to 12 hours with just one pill. tylenol can't do that. aleve. all day strong. all day long. and for pain relief and a good night's rest,
asked, if sleep is essential to happiness, what's essential to last night on this program, ann via lopez has told us she would be force today plan what would happen to her daughters if she is deported when daca expires march 5th. a year ago she asked paul ryan about that at a town hall and paul ryan told her she had nothing to worry about. today in his discussion with reporters, the president also said she has nothing to worry about. >> should these d.r.e.a.m.ers be concerned they could be deported on march 5th if a deal is not reached. >> tell them not to be concerned. okay. >> they have nothing to be concerned about. >> they have nothing to be concerned about. we are going to solve the problem. it's up to the democrats. we're going to solve the problem. >> maria theresa, there's the president telling the d.r.e.a.m.ers they have nothing to worry about. >> he said that around november
as well he was going to intervene and fix the problem if they couldn't pass legislation in congress. but he keeps changing the rules every time. let's not forget the president outlined what he needed to make a deal, he had two bipartisan proposals on thursday, and one on friday in order to avoid a government shutdown, and it was no deal. dead on arrival. he likes to play to the cameras, like sound bites. he has a hard time looking like the bad guy on live tv. so this is up to congress to act and the republicans need to find a spine and come out and recognize that right now what they are doing is manipulating people's lives and creating trauma and unnecessary upheaval and what they need to do is act. >> nira when we had annhelica and her daughter on the show last night, they said they try not to talk about what's going to happen on march 5th but they
always end up talking about it and figuring out a plan. these families are desperately worried and this president telling them not to worry is probably not what's going to make them stop worrying. >> if you had a president who said something and when he said something it actually meant something and actually held for more than an hour or two hours, that would maybe address some people's anxieties, but we have a worse situation, which is the
president created this entire problem by rescinding daca unnecessarily and now he said he wants a daca deal, he's scuttled the deals, he said it's going to be okay, it's going to happen again. what happened on friday, is schumer offered him what he wanted, many of us didn't like it, he offered donald trump a wall for daca, and he said he liked it and then what seemed like the actual president, john kelly, called back. and many officials are saying this is just a discussion point, already walking back what the president has said. >> let's listen to what the president said tonight about possible citizenship for d.r.e.a.m.ers. >> do you want citizenship for d.r.e.a.m.ers? >> we're going to mor f into it. it's going to happen. >> what does that mean? >> over a period of ten to 12 years, somebody does a great job, they've worked hard -- it gives incentive to do a great job, they've done a great job, worked hard, have a little company, work, i think it's a nice thing to have an incentive of after a period of years being able to become a citizen. >> on citizenship, the president says it's going to happen. and the right wing media going nuts, "breitbart" saying amnesty
dawn suggests citizenship for illegal aliens. and maria teresa, the immigrants are illegal aliens on "breitbart" and tonight the president is amnesty dawn. >> he's so benevolent he's going to give d.r.e.a.m.ers a shot at citizenship, they've passed background checks and served in the military. on march 5th you can see 20,000 teachers basically no longer able to be in the classroom, lawrence. that's a half a million kids in school that are not going to have an educator. this is serious and the president doesn't understand the scope of what these young people have gone through or what they had to achieve to demonstrate they are good standing citizens. again, every one, in order to receive daca has to pass a
rigorous background check. >> we can expect the president to reverse himself on this now that the right wing media has spoken, can't we? >> absolutely. the truth is schumer is right about this. it's president jell-o. he'll say something tonight, his handlers will walk it back later today. he'll say something else completely different tomorrow. and a third thing on friday. it's impossible to make policy. i think that's why it's up to the congress to do this. but at the end of the day, i'm glad you started with paul ryan, because it's really up to paul ryan to buck the freedom caucus and hold his word to what he gave -- what he said in that town hall that really moving town hall last year. >> lawrence, just so that most americans don't understand, paul has two or three pieces of legislation that if he called it to the floor tomorrow for a vote, they could actually find
out who is on which side. but he doesn't have -- he claims right now he doesn't have legislation. there's actually legislation. all he needs to do, he who controls the calendar is place it into a vote before members. >> he might extend the march 5th deadline, this is a deadline he created. he has the power to extend it and he just might. so he left that possibility open for d.r.e.a.m.ers, too. how does that change the calculations and fears the d.r.e.a.m.ers are facing tonight? >> i think the anguish that d.r.e.a.m.ers are facing is it's cruel, inhumane. we have 122 d.r.e.a.m.ers losing their status every day. the president in september declared that daca was not going to be reknewed. you had 15,000 young people lose their status to date. my heart hurt the day he announced it. there were young people getting up in the morning saying next year, when i turn 15 i will be able to apply for daca. his cruelty was a punishment
even though they were doing what they were told, they came out of the background, passed a background, they're our teachers, military and physicians. it's very clear they have an agenda, john kelly and steve miller, have the idea of what immigrants they want here. these people are trying to recognize, to have americans see a face. we need right now the american people, just as they flooded the town halls during recess for health care, we need our allies to come and do the same thing. >> marie dwra -- >> can i. >> go ahead, neera quickly. >> donald trump is treating these people's lives like a tv show. week to week they have to know where they stand. that's ridiculous. people shouldn't have to live at
the whim of the president. people need to live their lives and donald trump needs to solve this problem he's created. >> thank you both. >> thank you. >> thank you. coming up more on what the president had to say tonight about russian involvement in his presidential campaign. also, why chinese officials believe jared kushner is their lucky charm. ♪
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no collusion. there's no collusion. i can tell you, there's no collusion. i couldn't have cared less with russians having to do with my campaign. >> when jared kushner first submitted his security clearance application he left off key meetings with foreign contacts, including meetings with russian and chinese officials. in a new reporting, a former national security member said the chinese ambassador to the united states believed that jared kushner was their lucky charm. the former nsc member said it was a dream come true. they couldn't believe he was so compliant. according to the new yorker, last march the fbi's chief of counterintelligence told kushner
that he was among the top intelligence targets worldwide and was being targeted not only by china but by every other major intelligence service as well, including those of the russians and the israelis. joining us now, evan oznos whose knew report is entitled "jared kushner is china's trump card" tell us why the chinese believe jared kushner is their trump card. >> they were initially worried about the trump administration. they heard words from steve bannon and the president himself who said that china was, as he put it, raping the united states. but what they found in jared kushner, to their surprise, attention.
he met with the chinese ambassador four times and met again with him immediately after the oath of office and met with him a number of times beyond that. so many times that mr. kushner can't recall how many times they met. and during the meetings he was without the assistance of china specialists in the government, he didn't want them to be part of the meeting. and from the chinese perspective, they got the key thing done, they wanted a summit, where they would focus on chemistry, and that's what they achieved. >> i know people are thinking, so jared kushner had a meeting with some chinese with the chinese ambassador he was alone in the room with the ambassador, what's the big deal? what could happen as a result of not having china experts present?
>> well, this is sort of national security 101. as many people will tell you in government, when you meet with a foreign country, particularly someone that's not an alied country, you want a lineup of if i recalls with you, expert specialists and note takers. one they help you negotiate better, but more importantly they can provide a definitive record of what happened in the room. so if the chinese said says you agree to say, you have a position to defend. part of the challenge the chinese said has come away from the meetings saying, according to current and former u.s.
officials, that jared kushner discussed his private businesses also in those meetings. he's denied that. but that what's when you go into a room without people with you. >> how has that affected the security clearance process for jared kushner? >> well there is at the moment a question mark hanging over jared so it's become an interest in the national security community. was it his failure to list his meetings or dealings with the russians or his meetings with the chinese officials. these are the questions now. >> i have never heard of a year delay for someone in that position, or, in fact, any position. what are your sources telling you about that?
is there any other precedence for a one-year delay for someone in jared kushner's position? >> there's been delays, i can't say there's been one this long. most importantly nobody has ever been in the position he's in now, experts say, which is waiting for more than a year and also a recipient of the presidential daily brief, he's included in this list which is 14 members of the white house, and the president, who receive the most secret intelligence that t government has, and that's done at the authority of the president. people say it's unusual for him to receive the pdb and also not having the clearance. >> unique status. so it's abnormal for him to have a pbp and not have security clearance. >> as for the president saying, i couldn't have cared less about russians having to do with my campaign, that could be interpreted as if the russians had something to do with my campaign, i couldn't have cared less. >> this adds to the sense of confusion and haze surrounding the transition and campaign
contacts with foreign governments. one of the things that came through with this reporting that was very important was the campaign had a plan. during the transition they were going to be very vigilant with how they dealt with foreign contacts. they had a memo they wrote. but when the campaign team was chucked out on november 11, when chuck schumer was fired, they threw out those plans. they were operating really without a plan. they were making it up as they went along. jared kushner's aides have told us he didn't read the plan about what the rules were about dealing with foreign officials, so if he made mistakes, they say, no one told them at the time that they were making them. >> evan, i was reading this description of the plans being laid out in consultation with the state department about how does president-elect trump, if he becomes president-elect trump, deal with foreign countries and the incoming phone calls that he will get. the idea that jared kushner didn't read it, you get the feeling that has a little something to do with no one in trump tower believed this was ever going to be relevant, they
never believed they were going to win. >> i think they did wake up on that first day suddenly facing these incredibly complex, and now they know, sensitive problems of how you deal with foreign powers, what you say, what you don't say, how you make sure you're going in there equipped. this was a campaign that felt they had defied all the experts, defied all the conventional wisdom of how you get elected as president. they brought that confidence into a diplomacy. the problem is a diplomacy is built on the shoulders of giants. you stand on the expertise and confidence of people who came before you, whether or not they're in your party or not. going on the shoulders of the chinese foreign ambassador, without the american expertise, put them at a disadvantage. it tike while for china foreigners to figure out why we were ahead of them, and a lot of it came back to jared kushner's central role in the relationship.
>> once again thank you for your deep reporting and for joining us again tonight. >> my pleasure. thanks, lawrence. we have more on tonight's breaking news. donald trump telling reporters that there was no obstruction of justice. that is a new line for the president. we'll be joined by benjamin wood, a friend and associate of james comey. he will join us next. or make a back seat that feels nothing like a back seat? why give it every feature you could want, along with a few you didn't know you needed? it's simple. you can build a car, or you can build a cadillac. come in now for this exceptional offer on the cadillac ct6. get this low-mileage lease on this 2018 cadillac ct6 from around $549 per month. visit your local cadillac dealer.
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breaking news tonight, the president added a new line to his public defense in the special prosecutor's investigation when he told reporters there was no obstruction of justice whatsoever. >> i'm looking forward to it, actually. there's been no collusion whatsoever. there is no obstruction whatsoever. and i'm looking forward to it. >> we're joined now by phone by benjamin wood. he's the editor in chief of lawfare. he's a lawyer and an analyst. what is your answer to the president adding that line, no obstruction whatsoever. we've heard him say many times no collusion, but now he's adding the obstruction line. >> i guess this week everybody is talking about obstruction. so when they talk about collusion, he says there's no
collusion, and when people talk about obstruction, he says there's no obstruction. he also says he's looking forward to meeting with mueller. i'm getting the impression he is kind of reacting against the tenor of this week's news cycle. >> and there is a moment where he's talk to go reporters tonight about something that happened shortly after he fired your friend james comey, fbi director. andrew mccabe becomes the acting fbi director, and in his first conversation with the president t has been reported that the president asked andrew mccabe who he voted for for president. and then tonight the president said this, when he was asked
about that tonight, he said, i don't remember asking him that question, and then he said to reporters, i don't think it's a big deal. is it a big deal? >> well, yeah, it's a very big deal, and the fact that he does not think it's a big deal and is willing to say that actually shows how little he knows or understands about federal law enforcement. so, you know, a primer for the president and anybody else who might not think it's a big deal, we have this idea that law enforcement is supposed to not be political. it's supposed to be -- if you commit a murder, it doesn't matter if you're a democrat or a republican, and it doesn't matter if the law enforcement officer who is investigating it is in your same political party or not in your same political party, right? and so when you ask a law enforcement officer, are you -- did you vote for me, what you're really asking is, can i count on you to go after my political
enemies and to protect me from my political enemies? that's what you're actually asking whether you understand that you're asking that or not. are you going to inflect your job with politics that are mine or opposite mine? for the law enforcement officer who has sworn an oath to preserve and protect the constitution not to the democratic party or the republican party, that's a deeply, deeply offensive question because it's asking, you know, can i count on you to be corrupt? >> benjamin wittes gets tonight's last word.
first, president trump is airborne en route to davos, switzerland right now on board air force i. before departing the white house late today, he walked out of his chief of staff's office and right into the pool of journalists who cover the white house. the only photo of it is this one from a white house staffer.