tv Andrea Mitchell Reports MSNBC May 17, 2018 9:00am-10:00am PDT
g to fit into your life, not the other way around. >> thanks for watching. see you in england. right now my friend andrea mitchell. first anniversary, one year into the special counsel's russia probe. rudy giuliani claims robert mueller cannot indict president trump because of justice department rules. >> i asked specifically if they realized or acknowledged they didn't have the power to indict. he said he wouldn't answer. one of his assistants said they acknowledge they had to be bound by justice department policies. words matter. the president's tough words about immigration with the white house saying he meant criminal gang, ms-13. >> we have people coming into the country, we're stopping a
lot of them. you wouldn't believe how bad these people are. these aren't people. these are animals. ready to blow. hawaii on high alert as a massive volcano could explode at any moment. >> even at a safe distance you can hear the ground shake and hear what sounds like a jet engine overhead. lava has been shooting out of ground for two weeks here. good day. president trump is commemorating the first anniversary mark of the special counsel's investigation into russian m meddling by labeling it a disgusting, illegal and unwarranted witch hunt. his current lawyer is offering an evolve explanation for his claim that robert mueller or his
team acknowledged that the president cannot be indicted. >> i asked specifically if they realize or knowledged they didn't have the power to indict under the justice department memo which gives them their power, confines their power and under the constitution. he said -- he wouldn't answer. one of his assistants said they acknowledge they had to be bound by justice department policies. they didn't have the power to indict. >> let's fact check all of this with peter alexander. nbc justice correspondent pete williams. i colleague has just gotten
another clarification from rudy giuliani. >> reporter: hallie jackson speaking to rudy giuliani within the last hour providing details about what you heard from rudy giuliani on fox news earlier today. saying clarifying that there was a conversation between one of senior members of robert mueller's team and one of the lawyers on president trump's team and saying that the special counsel believe it was bound by doj boil which is to say they would not be indicting the president. that according to rudy giuliani. he uses the word engages us on several points related to a potential presidential interview. rudy giuliani saying they've been more productive the last couple of days than in the previous two weeks. he wouldn't detail what agreement they come to but he did insist they are getting closer to some form of an
agreement. the reason this is significant is we have been hearing from rudy giuliani in recent days trying to confine the parameters in terms of any potential interview going forward. when i spoke to him a couple of weeks ago he said that robert mueller told him. i believe he told me with that one year anniversary coming up, we need to wrap this up soon. rudy giuliani is trying to play a public game here to try to wind this thing down. he's used witch hunt 40 times in the last year. he said collusion on twitter dozens of times. more than 50. that's the bottom line of what we've been hearing so far.
he believes the same would hold true for a subpoena. >> thanks so you and to peter alexander. pete williams. let's fact check what rudy giuliani is saying about the rules regarding an indictment and a subpoena. i believe that those two are different. there are a couple of olc memos. the justice department has changed its mind but the current justice department memo says a president cannot be indicted. largely for separation of powers region. it would subject the president to the power of a court.
presidents have been successfully subpoenaed in the past. thomas jefferson and richard nixon but they were for documents and in the nixon case, tapes. a hint may come both from the nixon case where the court said in a criminal case the court has to have the best possible evidence and if the president's testimony would fall under that category there would be a strong presumpltion of getting it. the clinton case was a civil case. the supreme court said it's not such an onerous thing on the
president's schedule that you couldn't sue him while in office. two very different questions but fair to say nobody knows the answer. >> he said to the washington post, he didn't seem to want to give the answer. one of his assistants broke in. it reminded me of that scene in the godfather with sonny and the godfather where he said you're going to take care of us. we can take care of his ourselves. one of his assistants said of course we're bound by justice department policies. mueller looked at him like don't interrupt me. we can play that clip.
>> our business is a little dangerous. >> if you're worried about security for men, they will guarantee it. >> you telling me that they guarantee our invest -- >> wait a minute. i have a sentimental weakness for my children and i've spoiled them as you can see. they talk when they should listen. >> i guess that's the reference. >> yeah. that was a spritriking moment i the interview. another thing that rudy giuliani said is he's written a number of letters to the special counsel trying to con train the parameters of the interview with trump. hasn't received in concrete answers.
mueller has been reluctant to constrain his ability to question the president about whatever he chooses to question the president about. i think if they can constrain the interview and keep it focused on a very couple of concrete topics that the president can be prepared for, they may be willing to sit down with him. >> leading up to all of this, we had mike pence telling me last week that mueller should wrap it up already and with the anniversary you have the president's attacks. most likely that mueller will robert to rod rosenstein and it's up to rod rosenstein what happens with that report. >> that's true. my understanding of the
regulations is he can, mueller can ask rod rosenstein for a exception to be made to the doj policy. it's true that rod rosenstein holds a lot of cards, a lot of power. i think at this point this is so much more than about one person, namely rod rosenstein. we have so many different angles to this investigation. there's so much coming out about the different buckets or components of mueller's investigation as well. i think given everything we already know and i think we only know a kernel of what there is to know. i think this is big enough that it's going to come out in some way. even if the president were to try to do something to get rid of rod rosenstein or curtail the
power in that way, it would be futile. >> we heard from adam schiff today as well. let's play talking about what would happen even if bob mueller did find evidence of criminality. >> even if he did find criminality on the president's part, he would be unlikely to decide the proper way to treat that to and trust the fate of the tree world to 12 lay jurors in some part of the country. it's far more likely he would report his findings to the deputy ag, rod rosensteirosenst he would have the responsibility of deciding what to do with that report which makes him a pretty key figure in all of this. >> how much pressure do you see building on the justice department, pete williams, given the first anniversary that you're hearing from the
president vilifying bob mueller, the witch hunt language. they were all repeating back that witch hunt language. it's penetrating. >> i want to say one thing about this idea there's one person central to this. i think mimi is right. i think it's a fallacy to think any one person is such a lynch pen that if you got rid of them then everything would be okay. i think the justice department is used to it from the hill and the white house that they are keeping their heads down and doing their thing. i don't think that repeated tweets from the president are going to make any difference here. >> phil, what about the policy, the political impact as we head
into the midterms. ? >> i was at that focus group and the president's language is definitely getting through to his base, to his voters. i think that's the whole strategy here with the way he's tweeting and the way rudy giuliani is making this a public relations battle with mueller. they are waging a public campaign to try to convince the kpanl this investigation has gone on too long. it's going into areas they are not supposed to be looking into. they need to get to the matter of russian collusion. render some sort of judgment and be done with it and put it away. that's what the president wants and that's what rudy giuliani wants. i think they will keep banging the drums until the public agrees with them. >>lexander, one of their arguments is mueller is interfering with the president's abt to be commander in chief and conduct foreign policy.
will there or will there not be a press conference. >> reporter: the nato side, their expectation is there would be a news conference taking place today . the white house has said other otherwise. we know we will hear from sarah sanders. the president will be in the oval office with secretary general of nato at about 1:45. cameras will be allowed in. after their opening remarks you better believe there will be questions peppered at him by reporters in the room that i would not be surprised to hear him in some way note this one year anniversary of the special counsel's investigation. the president has so much to focus on ahead of june 12th
summit in singapore. it would be impossible to draw his attention away. >> peter alexander, pete williams thank you all so much. coming up, all access, another washington post exclusive. how michael cohen tried to get cutter to pay for access to president trump. stay with us. ♪ i just want you close, where you can stay forever. ♪ ♪ you and me together ♪ through the days and nights. ♪ i don't worry ♪ 'cause everything's ♪ gonna be all right. ♪ no one, no one, no one ♪ can get in the way ♪ of what i feel for you.
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we have breaking news that the volcano in hawaii is erupting. for two weeks there's been growing fears this would erupt. miguel is there. what are you hearing? >> reporter: we actually are in route to the volcano now. we have been told by the usgs confirmed there's been an exemploye exemployeesi exemployees -- explosive e u rupgs. it's just after 6:00 a.m. here in hawaii. our crews woke up to layer of ash over their week. that would affect commercial travel if a plume of ash and smoke did billow up that high. i can also tell you it's raining here fairly heavily across many parts of the island. the view is obstructed. we have a live cam that we have been checking in. it's difficult to see it then. this is something they have been
expecting. it appears it's happened. when it does happen, geologists warn that boulders the size of cars, refrigerators could be launched into the air at 120 miles an hour up to a mile high. we do not have any reports of that happening yet. that's something they were concerned about. we should mention that volcano park where the summit -- where the crater is located is in an area where there's no official area or is not populated. a catastrophic explosion should not cause any serious injuries to anyone who is staying out of area but it's something officials will worry about for those headed in that direction. >> in terms of evacuations, as you point out there are no residents there and already people have been evacuated from the nearby area. what is analogous here. i remember mount st. helen, how
long does this go on? >> it could go on for several hours or days. the lava lake inside the collra has been dropping. you got scorching hot lava hitting this cold ground water and creates this catastrophic steam event and the boulders inside of crater are shot into the air. it could go on for quite some time. it's unclear how much lava is in the crater and how it will con bust with. that's what officials are trying to figure out now. they may not be able to know until the event is over. >> thank you very much. be kaf. the left side was that live view.
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according to a new report in the washington post, president trump's personal attorney tried to shake down the government of qatar in late 2016 in access to the incoming administration. the post reports that qatar declined the offer and cohen did not participate in an official meeting. although he did speak separately with the head of the investments division of the country's sovereign well fund. part of team that broke this story and former u.s. attorney and former deputy assistant attorney general during the clinton administration. karen, take us through your reporting. your team's reporting on this
extraordinary approach to qatar by michael cohen. what did the country do? >> this was a meeting that qatar requested as did many other countries during the transition as for the forn minister to meet with flynn. we brought a delegation who was part of the qatar investment authority. he had been at a luncheon, breakfast which cohen was present. business leaders from new york, people exchanging cards, getting to know each other. they later met at a restaurant in new york in which meeting cohen talked about this infrastructure investment fund that the trump administration wanted to set up. qatar was willing to invest in it.
he could be instrumental in finding projects, the right projects for qatar to invest in and this would be for a fee to him of a million dollars. he brought it up again and again he said no. we're not interested. qatar did end up giving $10 billion to this fund. >> just a quick follow up. is this related to conversations between the kushner organization or jared kushner about an investment in 666 fifth avenue, that troubled building. >> i don't think it was. i think those conversations came later. there eventually was an
investment in that property by a u.s. firm in which qatar was one of the investors but the qatar government has lots and lots of investments in this country and is with lots of investment funds owns a whole lot of property and i think this was really more than a year afterward. >> first of all, asking for trying to peddle access, is not illegal on the face of it. qatar had this unusual white house response siding with the saudis and the uae against qatar. the president really went after qatar big time for a good six to eigh eight months. is there any connection to refusal to pay for access and the president's negative response after the saudi summit. >> it's not clear if there's a
connection but it is clear if there's a connection there would be potential liability. there's two possibilities for cohen or trump to be in hot water. i would say both are remote. the first is the actual out reach. it didn't go through. on the other side of things, as you say, the supreme court has pretty well foreclosed a liability for a straight quid pro quo for just access. that's a potential straightforward bribe case. that's a lot of facts for mueller to fill in there. anything that goes beyond access potentially grounds criminal liability. >> is there any indication that mueller is investigating this? >> well, there's indication that mueller is investigating
everything. we can see it a million times but should say it five million. every little snippet we have learned about, he's already been on the trail. we don't know of a thing that's come out in the press that he hasn't been on top of already. i think question say it with confidence. >> how hard would it be to get michael cohen to flip given how loyal he's been for so many years. how does mueller go about trying to turn someone whose home has been searched and office has been searched into a cooperating witness. >> he says i would take a bullet for trump. it starts with the prospect of a long sentence, which he'll have here because it will be driven by the amount of money involved.
it really is more than that. it's not just this rational calculati calculation. it's an emotional process that the federal prosecutors will go through to try to persuade him. there is no honor among thieves. that trump, in fact, treats him shabbily and would turn on him. for that, they have a lot to work with. it's a gradual nuance process to break the psychological information that he has so intensely with the so called boss. i think it's a sort of weeks or months long process rather than a simple here is your sheet. the train is leaving the station kind of calculation. >> thank you so much. more great reporting from karen in the washington post. coming up, in humane. president trump's rant against undocumented immigrants. [thoughtful sigh]
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>> president trump lashing out during an immigration round table and stirring controversy over his harsh rhetoric branding them animals. the white house now says he was referring to the criminal immigrant gang ms-13. not to all immigrants. though he didn't say so. he didn't make that clear. joining me is former white house aide under president george w. bush. welcome both. whether you're talking about ms-13 or not or all immigrants, he used the animal phrase quite liberally and frequently when talking about illegal immigrants. >> i read the transcript and i do actually give him the benefit of doubt on this one because it did seem to be in reference to ms-13 which is a horrible game that ma chchetes are their use
they have preyed on minors. he's said so many other things in the past that were really inappropriate and horrible such as mexicans and calling them rapists in his announcement speech. it's such a contentious media environment because he's had so much racially charged language that this was, i feel like blown a little bit out of proportion when it was about ms-13. >> fair enough. he was responding to a question although he didn't make it clear. jerry brown tweeted hesitate lying on immigration, lying and the laws of california. flying in a dozen republican politicians to flatter him. we the citizens of the fifth largest economy in the world are
not impressed. >> i think that whatever he meant when he said the word animals, who he was referring to, he went do to look at his words. we can look at his actions. he is months beyond to provide legal protection for the dreamers. >> there is a discharge petition that house democrats and some republicans are only a handful of votes. maybe five votes shy of getting that to the floor over the speaker's objections and telling their caucus told their members you've got to get on board here and defeat this because it will be a gift to nancy pelosi. >> he promised he would do that. he's not doing that. his administration separating parents and children at the border. something that's inhumane and
not done before. he's talking about immigrants. they blocked a rule to allow immigrants come here, start businesses and create laws. this is an anti-immigrant add mvr mvrgs beginning to end. >> speak about democracy and people who get conversions after they leave office. rex tillerson gave a commencement peach and without naming president trump, he banned the press corp and didn't hold news conferences, this is him speaking about facts and truth. >> a free society, a free people is access to the truth. if our leaders seek to conceal the truth or we as people become accepting of alternative realities that are no longer grounded in facts, then we as
american citizens are on a pathway to relen kwiinquishing freedom. >> the fact is, for months we didn't have a state department briefing. >> you know better than anyone how infrequently that rex tillerson had interactions with the press corps. >> for him to come out now and talk about facts when he permitted and participated in -- i mean, arguably, he and others in the national security cabinet were trying to hold the line against what they thought were worse policies. he was trying to preserve the iran nuclear deal, for instance. the things that changed as soon as he left office. to talk about facts and honesty and truth when he did not deal with the press and did not have the press travel with him is a little bit beyond. >> it's a little bit rich. i do welcome rex tillerson
speaking now. i hope that he shares his full and complete and transparent account of his time in the trump administration. it would have been better if he had done that when he was being paid by the u.s. taxpayers to promote press freedom around the world. >> i will buy the book, if there is a book. thank you very much. >> thanks. coming up, cross fire hurricane. how rolling stone lyrics became the fbi code name for the first days of the trump russia investigation.
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before you begin an aspirin regimen. when i ran against them, they were looking for dirt on me every day. that's what you do. maybe you shouldn't, but yo do it. nothing illegal about that. even if it comes from a russian or german or american, it didn't matter. they never used it is the main thing. they rejected it. there was collusion with the russia russians, they would have used it. >> president trump's lawyer, rudy giuliani, last night saying there's nothing illegal about digging up dirt on an opponent even if it comes from russia. this after donald trump junior
testimony yesterday about why he agreed to meet with a russian lawyer. he said he believed she had imcriminating information on hillary clinton and she was seeking the dirt. >> hey. >> help explain rudy giuliani's take on this that it's okay to take dirt on your opponent in an american campaign. >> it's an ever changing shift to the what happened at the trump meeting. let's unpack how the russians operate. this was laid out january 2017 assessment. there were two kinds of dirt on hillary clinton. one was hacked e-mails of the campaign chairman that were released on the very same day of the access hollywood tapes and donald trump referenced the wikileaks effort, the hacking
e-mails 164 times during october and november of 2016. it was central to his campaign message. the second kind of dirt was false and derogatory information about hillary clinton that was desimil d d desimilar nated on social media. the idea they had to bring it to the meeting, dumped it on the table. that was never going to happen. the russians were informing the trump campaign we have a gift for you. we have a contribution to your efforts. the e-mail said this is part of the russian government effort to support the trump campaign. i love it and i'll take the meeting. the meeting was about what would the trump presidency give in return. it was relief of sanctions. the quid was helping the campaign. the pro quo, was relief on the
magnisky act. >> you began to see in the transition with these contacts. it's created a flurry of tweets. there was a spy in our campaign. you want to unpack that. >> i don't know what the president is referring to. if the presidential campaign of donald trump or anybody else was working and in contact with a foreign adversary it will be natural for the fbi to open a sensitive counter intelligence investigation. limiting the number of individuals within the fbi and the justice department who are witting of the investigation and making sure that before tipping off potential targets and witnesses to the investigation they were able to collect information in a quiet way.
i think the fbi handled this properly. >> carter page had already been under surveillance as possible russian agent or either witting or unwitting for several years before donald trump ran forunwi. and was part of the campaign. >> that's right. >> so it was very clear they were following him. paul ryan on this first anniversary was asked by my colleague kacie hunt about what the vice president said to me, that it's time for mueller to wrap it up. >> recently the vice president told andrea mitchell he thinks it's time for mueller to wrap it up. do you agree? >> i think he should be free to do his job but i would like to see it get wrap upped, of course. i've always said he should be free to finish his job. >> it seems to be having it both ways. >> obviously people want this to move along expeditiously. five guilty pleas. a number of charges still
pending. the special counsel has moved expeditiously. he's done this professionally. he's done this in a leak proof nonpartisan professional way just as you expect him to. i think he's also done it frankly with people trying to stick spoke in the spokes of th counsel. >> and one of the pullouts from this "new york times" story, by the way, at least one government informant met several times with mr. page and mr. papadopoulos. that has become a politically contentious point. with allies questioning whether trump was spying on the trump campaign or trying to entrap trump officials. >> if somebody is inside a campaign or on the periphery of a campaign, they seem something that's inappropriate, potentially illegal, they should raise it to law enforcement. i think the trump campaign probably today wishes they'd gone to the fbi before accepting
that trump tower meeting. >> jeremy, morning, noon and night, you're amazing, thank you so much. >> thanks, andrea. >> coming up, here comes the bride. meghan markle and prince harry arrive for their wedding rehearsal amidst the kind of family drama no bride wants before her big day. ♪ you're simp ♪ better than all the rest ♪ applebee's new bigger bolder grill combos.
wedding is building and so are the crowds. with the big event only two days from now. this morning the happy couple arriving in windsor for their wedding rehearsal. amid all this happiness and excitement, some family drama. her father will not be attending the wedding. nbc's keir simmons joins me now. have you catched a glimpse of the couple? or watching the rehearsals today or what else have you been able to see from that fabulous vantage point? >> it is pretty good, isn't it? we have st. george's chapel right behind me here. i've been inside and it is spectacul spectacular. it's smaller inside than it looks from the outside. it is the queen's favorite place. she has many homes. it is her favorite home. not bad for a home. and inside the chapel, right at the alter, is a kind of glowing area that is very intimate, actually. that of course is where the
queen and prince charles and prince william of course will be because he'll be the best man. they will all be gathered there together. it will be quite a moment. as harry and megan say their vows. because of course they are we're learning quite a couple. these family problems if you like, doesn't everyone have them, they have made things pretty difficult this week. that's clear. it's clear from the statement from megan today she was working very hard to try to get her dad there. but i don't think it takes away from the extraordinary thing we're seeing of this union between a very popular member of the british royal family and this american actress, this proud woman, this woman describes herself as a feminist, proud of her african-american heritage, there are so many great things to say and i think it's going to be a really great day on saturday. >> indeed. by wait, do we really think that windsor is her favorite castle? i always thought it was ball mora. >> yes, this really is. look, i mean, you know, when you go inside the chapel, it is -- you're really in the heart of
royalty. there are ten monarchs buried there. i'll give you another historical fact, which is kind of fascinating when you put it in context. buried inside that area near the house where the reception for 200 guests will take place, that's hosted by prince charles, buried there is the former king edward viii. people who know their royal history will know of course edward viii abdicated because he was in love with an american divorc divorcee. that was a crisis for the royal family that the queen lived through. here we are decades later with prince harry marrying an american divorcee and everything is fine, the sun is shining. we hope for a day like this on saturday. >> quick question on something i think i heard you say earlier on the air. are they going to walk down the aisle across the crypt of henry the viii is that true? >> yes, that's right, henry viii
is buried there. it is a church that goes back to the 14th century, so it is steeped in royal history in there. she really will be in the heart of things. you raise a question there by the way, andrea, which is of course who is going to walk meghan markle down the aisle. so much speculation. if she walks on her own, will that be a sign of her being an independent woman or will that look lonely for her? will she have her mom walk with her? that will a pretty spectacular site at a royal wedding. >> we cannot wait and we'll be watching every moment of it early on saturday morning. thank you. that does it for this edition of "andrea mitchell reports." remember, follow us online on facebook and on twi twit @mitchellreports. craig melvin is up next. >> royal wedding fever. i tell you, it's sweeping the country. >> you're on your way, aren't you? >> i'm here, i'm the designated survivor, i'll be staying back. good to see you. craig melvin at msnbc
headquarters in new york city. an interview with the president. new details right now about negotiations between robert mueller and president trump's legal team as we enter the second year of robert mueller's russia investigation today. are we closer to president trump going under oath? plus, animals, that's how the president of the united states described some who come across the border illegally. his comments coming as a group of rogue republicans are standing up to party leadership to try and get a bipartisan deal on immigration done once again. we'll also be reminding you of some of the other incendiary and racist things this president has said. and breaking news right now. shelter in place. that is the order from emergency officials for many on hawaii's big island. a massive volcano has erupted from its summit, sending ash, shooting thousands of feet in the air. we will take you to hawaii live.