tv The Rachel Maddow Show MSNBC April 30, 2018 9:00pm-10:00pm PDT
parasites. the larger lesson may apply to all living things that the white house always is not always what it seems. na that's our broadcast on a monday night as we start our week. thank you for being here with us on nbc. "the 11th hour." >> i literally just threw out the show while i was in the makeup chair and if you know anything about me, i don't spend all that time in the makeup chair. but, just a couple of minutes before we are due to get on the air, the new york times have published a remarkable document. michael smichimtd.
they just published it and they just handed it to me. mueller has at least four dozen questions on an exhaust array of subjects that he wants to ask president trump. to learn more about trump's ties of russia and determine whether trump b stru trump obstructed the inquiry itsel itself. that would be james comey and mike flynn and his treatment of jeff sessions and a 2016 trump tower meeting between campaign officials and russians offering dirt on hillary clinton. but, they also touch on the president's businesses and
discuss of his long time personal lawyers of michael cohen. any contacts he had with roger stone, a long time adviser who claims to have inside information about the democratic e-mail hackings and what happened during mr. trump's trip to moscow during the miss universe pageant. this is just posted at the "times." the new york times did not just obtain the question or get a description of what the questions are that mueller wants to ask the president. it is according to at least four dozen questions. as you can tell for the fact that i am not looking at the camera very much. i am learning this as i am telling you about it. i have not in advance read these
questions. i will tell you what they are. what mueller wants to ask trump. >> first, what did you know about phone calls what mike flynn made with the sergei kislyak and wtwo, what was your reaction to news report on january 12th and february 8th and 9th. when the washington calls it, david ignacious first review those calls. and then in february, the fol w following month of 2017, the washington post revealed of mr. trump and mr. kislyak. so again, the first question, mr. trump, what did you know
about phone calls that mike flynn made with the russian ambassador during the transition and what was your reaction of the news report of the content of those communications when those news reports came out in january and february of 2017. third question, what did you know about salley yates' meeting. you will remember she was the acting attorney general for the first few weeks. she came to the white house to warn the white house that flynn had been lying about his secret communications with the russian government so the question to the president, what did you know of yates' meeting of mr. flynn. how was the decision made to fire mr. flynn on february 13, 2018. after the resignation, what efforts were made to reach out to mr. flynn about seeking immunity or possible pardon. after the resignation -- i am not sure what that means.
after the resignation what efforts were made to reach out to mr. flynn of seeking immunity. i don't know what is after the resignation part, talking about flynn of the pardon and immunity is obvious obstruction. what did you think of the russia election interference. james comey wrote a book where he detailed that. that's when american intelligence agencies, their conclusion that russia had interfere inside the election to try to help trump, that was briefed to not only the president at the time president obama but also president-elect trump. this was the moment that mr. comey breached mr. trump of allegations related to him of
these so-called steele dossier. further on comey, what was the purpose of your january 27th, 2017 dinner with mr. comey and what was said at that dinner? similarly what was the purpose of your february 14th, 2017 meeting and what was said at that meeting. what did you know of the fbi investigation into mr. flynn and russia? the days leading up to the congressional testimony, what did you do in reaction to the march 20th testimony. describe your contacts with intelligence officials. what this is about is there is been reports that the president asked other intelligence
officials including the director can coats and mike pompeo should pressure or intervene with the fbi to try to get the fbi to drop the investigation on the russia scandal. this is according to new york times tonight, one of the questions mueller wants to ask the president is they want him to describe his contact with intelligence officials after comey bomb shelled the congressional testimony in march where he says there was an active investigation into whether or not the trump campaign colluded with russia in its attempt. what did you think and do in reaction of the news that the special counsel was speaking to mr. rogers, pompeo and mr. co coates? >> this seems new. as noted here by michael schmidt
at the time. what was the purpose of your call to mr. comey on march 30th, 2017? that's what the times said about that. while the white house says mr. comey was fired for breaking the justice policies and discussing the hillary clinton e-mail investigation. mr. trump expressed no suquorumn the interview. he said, director comey was very really good to hillary clinton, that i can tell you. if he were not, she would be right now going to trial. clearly that indicates they're trying to get the president's mind set there. if comey was fired for mistre mistreating hillary clinton then why did you say comey was very good to clinton.
mr. comey describes his handling of the clinton investigation in details. he was fired son after. regarding the decision to fire mr. comey, when was it made and why and who played a role in that? what did you mean, firing mr. comey have taken the pressure off. that was his remarks to two government officials hosted in the oval office the day after he fired comey in that meeting. we know the president told the officials "i just fired the head of the fbi, he was crazy and a nut job." mueller wants to ask the president what he meant by those remarks. simi simil similarly, what did you mean in your interview with mr. lester holt. trump did the interview with lester holt and he said the russia thing was on his mind.
mueller wants to ask the president what he meant by that. what was the purpose of the may 12th, 2017 tweet? when trump posted this tweet. james comey better hope there are no tapes of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press. >> mr. comey says in congressional testimony, lo"lor, i hope there are tapes." we never found that out. what did you think of mr. comey's june 8th testimony regarding mike flynn and what did you do about it? after the testimony, trump called him a liar. mueller wants to ask about that. what was the purpose of the september and october 2017 statements including tweets
regarding and investigation of mr. comey. comey should be investigated and the white house press secretary also made critical comments of mr. comey's testimony. mueller wants to ask about that. what's the reason of your continued criticism of comey and andrew mechan andr andrew mccabe. what did you think and do regarding the recusal of mr. sessio sessions. what did i think and what did you do in reaction of the news of the appointment of the special counsel? mr. mueller's appointment has become apart of his investigation. question, why did you hold jeff sessions's resignation until may 31st, which whom did you discuss
it? after the president criticized jeff sessions publicly, mr. sessions reportedly offered his resignation to the president. mr. trump rejected sessions's resignation after aids argued it would only create more problems. the details remains uncleared but mr. trump's adviser already gave mueller the accounts of their resignation. mueller wants to ask why did you hold his resignation and with whom did you discuss it with? what discussion did you have with reince priebus. what did you do when it was reported in january of 2018. what was the purpose of your criticism with mr. sessions. that was public attack he made on sessions last summer. lastly, campaign coordination
with russia. last set of question that mueller wants to ask with the president, where they are not reporting but describing the questions that mr. mueller wants to ask the president, they actually gave us the list. "when did you become aware of the trump tower meeting"? what involvement did you have of the strategies meaning the release of donald trump jr.'s e-mails. what communication did you have with the russian government officials. also, what communications did you have with michael cohen, felix saider and others including foreign nationals of russians real estate development during the cal pampaign. did you discuss it with others? >> what discussions did you have during the campaign regarding russian sanctions and what involvement did you have
concerning platform changes regarding arming ukraine. that's the national convention. the party platform of ukraine and his relationship with russia and russia invading in parts of crew ukrain cr ukraine. during the campaign, what did you know of russia hacking, the use of social media or other acts aimed at the campaign. what knowledge did you have by any outreach of your campaign including paul manafort to russia about potential assistance to the campaign? huh? >> just about to say. this is an intriguing question. the times note about this question. this is one of the most intri e intriguing questions on the l t list. what knowledge did you have of any outreach by your campaign including by paul manafort to russia of potential assistance to the campaign.
i will tell you this. this is in kretriguing to me bee we heard a lot about russian officials and people relating to the russian government reaching out to the trump campaign. it sounds like this is an inquiry made in the opposite decision. this is one of the most intriguing questions on the l t list. it is not clear whether mr. mueller knows something new. there is no publicly available information linking mr. manafort, trump's former campaign chairman to such an outreach. his significance is significant. that question is about whether there was outreach by the trump campaign including by paul manafort to russia. >> what did you know of the communication of roger stones and his associates and wikileaks. what did you know of the temp
and jared kushner's efforts t r therein. so ten pages of questions that have been obtained by the new york times reporter, michael schmidt tonight and published in the "times" tonight. these are questions that mueller is wanting to ask the president about and it remains an open question as to whether or not the president will sit for an interview with mueller or will have any sorts of interaction of the special counsel office. it is been a matter of some negotiatio negotiations. i don't know what it means and i don't know if we can extrapolate this and whether is mueller allowing questions to be reported because he knows the president is not going sit this interview with his investigators
and so therefore the press should start asking the president for questions to these answers themselves. joining us now is chuck rosenburg. he served in his senior position at the justice department and the fbi. chuck rosenburg, you are learning these things as i do. i know you were not advance prepped on this. >> i was listening you read them. >> let me ask your top line reaction if there is anything intriguing to you and what do you miesk the fact that we have access to these? >> i have a bunch of reaction, rachel. >> we knew a lot of these stuff from your reporting and other good folks in journalism. two, clear to me these documents that the president is the subject. we heard that before. the types of questions, what did you know and why did you do this?
a how did you react and whom else did you speak? suggesting to me that the president is clearly a subject. >> a subject as oppose to being a witness. >> maybe it is a good idea to go through the category again. somebody that sees something or hears something. you have no criminal exposure. you there is the big, broad middle category subject. a third reaction, we have been talking generally of obstruction of justice as something that mueller would undoubtedly look at. so many of these questions and topics relate to obstruction of justice. why did you -- target andy mccabe or james comey, what was your conversation of jeff
sessions's recusal. why did the president do what he did and why did he put out the tweets that he put out. to me, it is really interesting. al fourth kind a fourth kind -- >> let me interject, there is a number of staples here that was phrased. what was your opinion and what did you think about what was your reaction to and what was the purpose of the statement that you made to reporters at the specific time. if those questions are oppospos the question, the way they are structured seems to me like they are trying to get at the president's state of mind because the president's state of mind is necessary a component of any obstruction of justice charge. >> that's the hard thing to prove in an obstruction of justice case. what did rachel maddow intend to do with the actions that she took? so these questions go right to the intent issue. why was the president doing
these things? what was his intended effect. proving obstruction requires prove of intent and many of these questions seemed to aim at that. i guess there is a fifth reaction. these are topics and they're styled as questions but they are really topics. it could launch dozens and dozens of follow-up questions. by no means, should anyone think that there is just 40 something questions. >> let me ask you about the p s process of how these things work. questioning the president in a criminal and civil matter is not questioning anybody else and there are different types of negotiations that happens making a president available for some sort of investigation like this,
whether or not it is the president, when you are trying to get arrange and interview when you are approaching a broadc broad complex investigation like this and you got a high-stake interview that you want to do, as the justice and prosecutor pursuing this sort of thing, does it work this way where prosecutors and fbi produces of no use of things we like to ask about in advance before the interview happens. >> internally, sure. we write these things for ourselves and do we hand it to the people we are going to question? no. that's unusual. i can't think of a time that i did that in all of my years as a princip federal prosecutor. the agents and i would sit down and draw the list of topics and we wanted to make sure we did not forget anything and we'll have some numbers of documents
or e-mails or bank records that we want to show in conjunction. the other thing here is how many people they obviously talk to before they talk to the president. we have discussed this on your show and others. you save your most important interviews for last. why? you want to talk to everybody else in the entire universe before you talk to your ultimate witness, subject or whatever the case may be. >> uh-huh. >> you can see throughout this document, a lot of names, reince priebus and yates and don mcgahn and coates and pompeo. all of these folks have been interviewed by the mueller's team and all of them gave the mueller's team of their best recollection of what happened. now they would like to test the president's knowledge against stuff they already learned.
>> i hear you are saying you would prepare a document like this as a road map question and you will use it as an internal document as apart of the investigation. >> that's right. >> would you or -- do you ever give an important subject or witness interview, a sense of the scope of the questioning so that they can prepare so you might say we want you to come in and talk to you about this general feel of inquiry. you would do that. >> i would sit down with defense counsel, probably not with the person i want to interview but with their lawyers. >> yeah. >> here is a bunch of documents that i expect we are going to ask our clients about and some broad topics that he or she are prepared on. that would not be atypical but this type of thing would be an
internal document. it strikes me as probably a courtesy to the president and his lawyers in advance of any potential interview. >> it seems to me and this is just me spit balling. it seems to me that this is a courtesy to the president and his legal team of a planned interview or this indicates that there is not going to be an interview and the special counsel is allowing this stuff to be reported because i think they can sometime pretty much control that. they're not a leaky bunch. we all know what publquestion w should believe. ? believe.>> the mueller team may not get a chance to interview the president but you can see if they did, you can see what's on their mind. >> what efforts were made to reach out to mr. flynn of seeking immunity or possible pardon. as far as i understand it, the
president's pardon authority is almost unchecked. presidents can pardon anybody on his own terms, any way he wants to. >> that's right. >> why would it be legally appropriate to be asking of discussions that the president may have had with flynn of a possible pardon. >> can i give you an analogy? >> sure. >> it is okay for the president to decide that you ought to be the ambassador of the united kingdom. you are qualified and engaging and all the things that we would want in an ambassador. he has complete authority to nominate you but not in return for a million dollars in cash. everyo even though he has the authority to do it, what matters is why? was it some corrupt situation? could it be a corrupt act if done in return for something
else. maybe becoming an investor or general flynn silence in return of the gift of a pardon. >> speaking hypothetically, if you offer somebody a pardon or spoke with them and suggesting a pardon before the person may have given the system. that could be an improper use of the pardon authority. >> stay strong. i will have your back if you have my back. i think that's the improper use of authority. >> it is a new topic for me and somebody covered this scandal intensively. what did you think and do in reaction of the news that the special counsel was speaking to rogers, head of the nsa and dan coats and mike pompeo. their leadership have all been interviewed by mueller. why would mueller want to ask about the president what he thought about and did in
reaction of news in those interviews have taken place >> we have to backup a little. we have reporting including from james comey that the president reached out to him saying flynn is a good guy, you may want to drop this and go easy on him. he had a similar conversation with other people, pompeo and coates and others or had a reaction to conversations he had with other people and share that reaction with folks in the white house, absolutely of interest of prosecutors. it also goes to intent. what was the president thinking a t the time that these conversations took place. did he tell anybody do anything about it? that's why i think, rachel, these are topics rather than questions. i can imagine theech one taeach long time to get through. >> as i said, we threw the show away because this story broke as i was sitting to start this hour, chuck rosenberg, and
somebody that's learn this with me and the fact that you observed this on realtime and on zero notice. chuck rosenberg and former u.s. attorney and somebody else that was in the building when the story break. breaking news right now a remarkable term. the new york times have not just obta obtained. they published a list of some four dozen questions that the special counsel's office is posing to the sitting president of the united states. we do not know whether the president will consent to answer these questions in a formal interview setting, we don't know how these stories were broken. we know that michael schmid at the new york times is where we got this information. michael schmidt is joining us
prosecutors. we don't know if or when the president will do that. thank you to michael schmidt what mr. mueller and his prosecutor want to ask the president. joining us now, michael schmidt who broke the story. congratulations on this scoop. >> thank you for having me. >> we don't have additional information from your reporting whether the president is going to sit for an interview, is that correct? >> the president have gone back and forth whether he wants to do this. i believe recently this is something he realizes he has to do to bring an end to the investigation. that's why they brought rudy giuliani onto negotiate terms to have the interview because they believe that needs to happen in order to it to be concluded. >> in terms of the list of questions that you obtained tonight, have these been given to the president's lawyers as a
to-do list? is this something that the president and his legal team to answer in a written question or this is a road map that they expect to sit down and interview if they can get it. >> let me explain how these questions came about. mueller's office offered of the president's lawyers come in and be told the questions that they wanted to ask them. so the president's lawyers went in and met with mueller's investigators and they went through subject after subject that they wanted to answer and questions to ask about. what the president's lawyers did was wrote down all these things and came up with the 49 questions. these are the 49 thing that s t mueller wants to ask the president. some of the lawyers said we
cannot allowed him to be interviewed. it is too invasive and it is too much and we think it is a bad idea to allow him to go in for an interview. >> the president's lawyer reaction is briefed by the list of questions was oh no, these are not questions that we can allow the president to answer if this is what they want to ask. they should not get him? >> you have to look at the larger time line of what happened. john dow was a big hawk against letting the president sit down for an interview. listen to two weeks after they got the questions, john dowel, quits the team because the president is going to listen to his advice to dnot do the interview. he saw it highly problematic so
he does not want to be responsible for it. >> mike, you written this up with some annotations in terms of what each of these questions may mean or what it may be referencing which is in valuable and there is one towards the end of the list that you describe as one of the most intriguing questions on the list and i absolutely agree with you. what knowledge did you have of any outreach by your campaign including paul manafort to russia of the potential assistance to the campaign. that strikes me as a brand new concept. we heard a lot of russians and russian cut outs reaching out to the trump campaign to make contact for some ways than another. this is the first implications and the first place that i see it imply that communication goes
the other direction. >> we don't know there had been some talk of manafort offering to give a russian oligarch. we do not know anything more than what we put out there online and in our annotated version of this where we try to answer and lay out the significance of these questions and what we know on the record about them. >> i will ask you a similar question if you have any any further context or elaboration you can give us. what did you think and do in reaction of the news that the special counsel was speaking to the head of the nca, mike pompeo and mike rogers and dan coates, i think we had known previously all three of those have been interviewed by the special counsel. this implies that there is
something of interest to the special counsel's office of the president doing something in reaction to those interviews. i am not sure if you can shed more lights on it. >> that stood out to me. the narratives pi piles up. implying we don't know, did the president reach out to them or other people because of that? that was a new area. a lot of the questions in here are obvious things that if you folks sat down and following the story would come up. that's something of new and different. what struck us about this is the number of obstruction questions there are. there is more than half of them are obstruction questions and it is just an interesting thing. stories have been going and the president have been in office for 15 months and the russia
investigation has have been goi on for two years. what started is now largely with the president's conduct focusing on what he did in office. so many questions about that and there is four major topics in there and three of them are about obstruction. >> michael schmidt, new york times reporter who broke this and published these questions. congratulations about this and i appreciate you making time to talk to us about it. >> thank you for having me >> the new york times publishing a list of 49 questions that the special counsel's office i is -- sounds like to the president's legal team of what they want to ask him. this is a remarkable window into what they believe the president should have to answer. i should also tell you that the special counsel is not commenting on this report tonight. the special counsel's office was
contacted for comment by the new york times tonight, the special counsel's office did not resp d respond. if you listen closely to the live interview we did with michael schmidt there, it seems like this list of 49 questions derive the way he describes the process of discussions between the special counsel's office and trump's lawyers. we don't know whether the special counsel's office standby these lists or we don't know if this is their complete list or if there is questions they want the president to answer as well. a remarkab remarkable that the times got this. much more ahead tonight. the intelligence committee joins
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in schmidt's story he gives you the back term of where it comes from which may give you some hints, he's not going to talk to us about his sources but it may give you some hints of where it came from. his lawyers have been negotiating in terms of interviews o ut of concerns that their client can provide false statements and easily distracted. this list of questions grew out of those negotiations. here is the time line. in january, 2018, trump's lawyers gave mr. mueller several pages of the president's role of the matter of the special counsel is investigating. the lead lawyer, john dowel, was trying to convince mr. mueller that he did not need to interview mr. trump. we'll write up how innocent he is, you are good with that. mr. mueller was apparently unsatisfied. he told mr. dowel in early march
that he needed to question the president directly to determine whether the president had criminal intent when he fired james comey. mr. dowel held firm. investigators agreed days later to share during a meeting with questions they wanted to ask mr. trump. dowel is like you don't need to interview him, yes, we do. they're negotiating back and forth and finally at a meeting with dowel and mueller's investigators, all right, here are the questions we want to ask. when mr. mueller's team relayed the questions, their tone k cemented john dowel's view that the president should not sit for the interview. that origin, and the times story does give us some sense of where this might have come from.
why does somethibody want this be made public? when it is a president, these negotiations can go on for a long time and it is hard negotiations and your lead lawyers quit in the middle of the negotiations, who knows what ends up. joining us now is adam schiff. i am happy to have you with us tonight, thank you very much for being here. >> good to be with you. i don't know if you had the chance to look at "the times" story, what strikes you? >> i sure have. your guest already analyzed and how many of these questions go to the issue of obstruction of justice. also, you can ask any one of
them, what did you discuss in the oval office. how did that meeting come about and who brought up the issue of james comey. if you brought it up, why did you bring it up. what decisions did you make and whether the conferentent of the meeting is confidential. these are sub topic areas. one of the things that left out at me was what was not included within the list. i want this special counsel to be looking at the issue of money laundering and i don't recall seeing questions there about did you obtain financing for your proje projects from russia, what were your relations if any with russian sources of financing and what do you know about where money went through trump's
property of the deutsche bank. those questions were not included. does that mean the special counsel is observing the red line that the president is trying to draw. in my view, the president is not permitted to draw the red line. anything that's compromising our national security is something that needs to be investigated. what was not on the list to me was also striking. >> on friday, you and your fellow democrats on the intelligence committee released a 90 something page report that was a response to the majority of the republicans on the intelligence committee releasing what they say is their final report on the russia investigation. i understand that your report is not final and you may yet release for further information as you come to additional conclusions and turn up new stuff. one of the things that really struck me as new and the information that you and your fellow democrats released on friday was an e-mail from felix
sader who was trump's associate for some time of the financing for trump tower, moscow that's being purvisued by the campaign. obviously a sanctioned bank that u.s. persons and businesses should not legally be able to do business with. when i read that in your report that came out on friday night, that struck me as new and potentially important. has that been reported or you are releasing that information for the first time. >> i don't think the specifics are reported. here is an effort with felix sader to obtain financing of this long eluded project of the project that trump have dreamed about it for some time over trump tower in moscow. in that same e-mail where they talked about getting financing from this bank, they also, phoenix sader says we'll be
working on the letter of intent which comes on the following months. other parts he's relating in the e-mails are proourch oven out i next month. it is part of the question i know we are on the list of the special counsel and there are other questions that we reveal additional facts in terms of what went into the trump tower meeting and information we know about and phone calls going back and forth between don jr. and amy aguilera and the blocked call that we would like to know if it was from or to the president. it was an in coming call -- was this the information of a green light that the president is giving to the meeting and mueller included on his list, what did you know of the trump tower meeting and what was your role and crafting of the false statement? we did include some information. we are not done. we are going to continue to
investigating, our investigation thus far is in midstream and the least but complete. we'll be reporting additional information to the public. >> congressman adam schiff, thank you very much for joining us tieonight, sir. >> thank you, rachel. >> what you are talking about of the report that came out on friday night, i am going to have you back the next couple of days if i can to go through that stuff line by line. >> thank you. >> the special counsel team for the president -- it does include a whole bunch of question of the trump tower meeting. as we absorb this over the course of this hour, the new york times breaking the list of 49 questions apparently oppoposo the president's legal team. the one that sticks out to me, what knowledge did you, president trump, did you have of any outreach by your campaign including by paul manafort to
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transitions™ light under control™ searching for answers may feel overwhelming. so start your search with our teams of specialists at cancer treatment centers of america. the evolution of cancer care is here. learn more at cancercenter.com/experts the white house released a surprise statement showing why so many people were freaked out
of john bolton becoming national security adviser. a short statement was sent out after business tonight. the white house declared, "iran has a robust, clandestine nuclearer weapons program and they failed to hide." >> the u.s. government lied and said iraq had a clandestine program. the white house released this surprising statement saying iran has a secret clandestine program that the u.s. knows everything
about. >> so remarkable statement tonight from the president, from the white house almost sounding like we were declaring war on now they say iran had a nuclear weapons program, had, not has. back then, not now. oops. honestly i'm not kidding you a white house official told nbc news this was a clerical error. you didn't know they had clerks, did you? no word yet on how this happened in the first place, but boy how is that one robust clerical error, the white house sort of declaring war on iran tonight before oops taking this back. how did that happen. this is what people thought the john bolton reera would be like in any white house. that does it for us tonight. we'll see you tomorrow. now it's time for "the last word with lawrence o'donnell" good evening, lawrence.