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tv   The 11th Hour With Brian Williams  MSNBC  May 21, 2018 11:00pm-12:00am PDT

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tonight the supervisor of the mueller effort, rod rosenstein, shows up at the white house after the president demands an investigation into his investigators. from inside the west wing. plus another trump tower meeting involving donald trump jr. and foreign nationals of interest to robert mueller. and the president now wondering aloud how smart it is to sit down with kim jong-un. what it might mean for the summit which is supposed to be under three weeks away. "the 11th hour" on a monday night begins now. on a monday night, good evening once again from our nbc news headquarters here in new york. day 487 of the trump administration, and the president made good on his demand that, quote, the department of justice look into whether or not the fbi doj infiltrated or surveilled the trump campaign for political purposes. and if any such demands or
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requests were made by people within the obama administration, exclamation mark. the president wants his investigators to be investigated. and so to that end the white house says justice, fbi, and intelligence officials have agreed to meet with republican congressional leaders to, quote, review highly classified and other information that lawmakers have requested about the fbi's use of an informant in the early months of the russia investigation. chief of staff john kelly has been given the assignment of setting up that meeting. this agreement came after the president met today with deputy attorney general rod rosenstein and fbi director christopher wray. and a day after the doj asked its inspector general to please look into the president's claims that his campaign was essentially being spied upon. and after repeated requests from republicans that details about the informant be released, yesterday rosenstein issued a carefully worded statement. quote, if anyone did infiltrate
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or surveil participants in a presidential campaign for inappropriate purposes, we need to know about it and take appropriate action. the controversy and the president's relentless hammering of justice department officials has raised alarm among many, including the former number two at justice, sally yates, who we heard from today. >> what we're seeing here is the president has just taken his all-out assault on the rule of law to a new level. and this time he is ordering up an investigation of the investigators, who are examining his own campaign. you know, that's really shocking. >> on the senate floor, the democratic leader gave a scathing assessment of the president's actions. >> the president's behavior is the kind of grossly autocratic behavior we'd expect in a banana republic, not a mature democracy. by now we should all recognize
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that president trump's latest demand is just another example of a relentless campaign to distract from the serious wrongdoing being uncovered by the russia probe. >> now, among republicans on the hill, there was a range of reactions. senator jeff flake, an outspoken and almost out of town trump opponent, was cautious. >> for the president to order the doj to investigate someone or something is simply not appropriate. i have my own questions whether that's constitutional. all the remedies, the real remedies, are on the back side, and we don't want to get there. so we'd just encourage the president not to do this and for the doj to stand up and say, no, this isn't appropriate. >> over in the house, republican mark meadows, who heads the freedom caucus, welcomed the president's move with this statement. quote, i applaud the president's leadership and push for transparency, and i hope the department of justice will follow suit by making the
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relevant documents available to congress. while a referral to the inspector general is a step in the right direction, the department has an obligation to comply with congressional requests for oversight. their attempt to circumvent this responsibility will not go unnoticed. as trump wages war on the fbi, his lawyer, rudolph giuliani, is staying on message and on the offensive. he has told "the new york times" that special counsel robert mueller shared his time line and that, in fact, mueller hopes the obstruction portion of his investigation will be over, completed by september 1st. meanwhile, a reuters report says, quote, a source familiar with the probe called the september 1st deadline entirely made up and another apparent effort to pressure the special counsel to hasten the end of his work. today the one-time head of the trump transition team, who still talks to the president, former new jersey governor chris christie, revealed what he has
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told trump about the length of this investigation. >> i've told him many times that there's no way to make an investigation like this shorter, but there's lots of ways to make it longer. and he's executed on a number of those ways to make it longer. bob mueller himself is not a partisan. he's an honest guy. he's a hard-working guy. he's smart. and you can't argue that the investigation hasn't been effective so far. a number of guilty pleas, a couple of indictments in a year. that's pretty good work. >> some quotes there we might be hearing again. earlier tonight the vice president took a contrary view more closely echoing the president and his core supporters. >> i think it's time that the special counsel wrap it up. the truth is it's been now more than a year. the special counsel has a team around them that's been looking into all of the allegations here. and with the full cooperation of the white house, they've been
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able to assemble the facts. and i continue to hope and say very respectfully, that the special counsel ought to with all deliberate means complete their work. >> let's bring in our leadoff panel for a monday night. ashley parker, pulitzer prize winning white house reporter for "the washington post." julia ainsley, nbc news national security and justice reporter. and jeremy bash, former chief of staff at cia and the pentagon. former chief counsel to house intel. jeremy, it's in your capacity as a non-practicing lawyer that i'd like to begin with you. even though various press reports have been saying this gentleman identified was not, repeat not, an embedded spy in anyone's operation, this whole thing went from idea to full-blown crisis in a big hurry. what does this trump move signal to you, and what does the justice department reaction thus far signal to you? >> well, the reason why protecting human sources is so important is this individual may have played sort of a negligible
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role in this counterintelligence investigation, it's quite possible he has played a significant role in other counterintelligence investigations. and whenever you have a human source reporting on the activities of, say, the russian intelligence services and they are core to that investigation, and then we reveal publicly or pressure others to reveal publicly that this individual is affiliated with u.s. intelligence, that could jeopardize this source's life. so it's terribly irresponsible for the president or any of his supporters to do that. as for whether the justice department is acting appropriately, brian, here's what i would say to that. i think it was appropriate to refer this to the inspector general. it was, i think, fine for rod rosenstein to put out that statement to say, hey, look, if anybody did anything inappropriate or for political purposes, we want to get to the bottom of this because i think he knows well that nothing inappropriate or political was done in this investigation. where i'm less comfortable and actually uncomfortable is with the white house meeting with only congressional leaders. why is the white house involved
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with this? the president is the subject of this investigation. they should not be meeting with the justice department at all. >> yeah, we have a guest in our next segment, a justice department veteran who feels rosenstein is giving up too much on an incremental basis. we'll talk about that in due time. so, ashley, tell us the back story. this went from idea to full blown crisis in the space of one weekend. what's the back story of the president's immersion in this? >> well, it sure did. one thing that was striking is when this first came out, the idea of an informant, it was confusing for everyone. it was sort of unclear how this informant got in touch with the campaign when they were part of it. so within the west wing, there was real and sort of legitimate and genuine concern if a sort of political plant had been put there. what has been interesting is that as more and more reports have come out that have made clear that that was not the case, this was not someone put there for political purposes to spy on the trump campaign. this was someone who, with good
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reason, made outreach to, you know, a small number of people on that campaign who had raised flags with the intelligence community for other reasons based on their contacts with the russians, with foreign governments. the white house is still sort of -- now it feels like a bit more willfully chosen to still push that line of an improper political spy when, in fact, the case is much different. it's not quite an accurate thing to push, but it is helpful for their case in the court of public opinion. >> so, julia, this is a crisis independent of the known facts. there was no one with a stick-on mustache sitting in the back of the press corps covering the trump administration as a paid federal government spy. having said that, you cover the department of justice. how do you think? how have you learned the career professionals over there are taking this? >> i think this is just another day that has really kind of weakened morale over there. when they not only have a
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president who is going after the way they do business but also a deputy attorney general who is giving way on a lot of these things, who is willing to let the white house review what documents go to congress, and that's a congress and congressional committees that are very much in lockstep with this white house. they feel like the business that they do is no longer protected in the ways that it has been protected in the past, not just by tradition, but just by the constitution. i mean being able to allow a federal investigation to carry on its own without political influence is the way these people go to work every day. and another thing about this, brian, is this is not the first time that we've seen trump pick apart one piece of this investigation as the origin. remember back to the nunes memo, he wanted to look at the way the fisa applications were applied for to say that that was done in a biased or improper way. and now he's doing it with this source. he's always looking at something to show that the entire
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investigation was prompted by a biased witch hunt as he puts it. but of course the people who work in this space know that it is many pieces of information that get you your warrants, that lead to subpoenas, that lead to indictments. it is a critical mass that you just -- that you build over time to prove your point, and it is impossible to pick one piece apart and say that the entire investigation is flawed. >> so, jeremy, we said at the top of the broadcast, as we try to tally every night, this was day 487 of the trump administration. the president is still attacking barack obama. i heard our friend over on cnn, don lemon, say on a show this weekend that over on fox news, hillary clinton is always president. to what julia just mentioned, though, the people who go to work every day, how does any of this affect what you know about the mueller people and the mueller investigation? >> well, the investigation, brian, is to protect our country. it's not to go after any one
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person in any political party. it's really to protect against russian intrusion in our democratic process. and notwithstanding whether the russian aggression in this particular campaign favored a republican or undermined a democrat, it undermined our democracy and undermined democracy itself. and so i think the way the professionals at doj and frankly throughout our national security establishment view this is that they view themselves on the front lines of protecting our country. they're not looking at this through the political lens of who it favors or who it hurts in our political system. they want to protect our country. >> ashley, is this a strategy or a shiny object or that rare animal that is both? >> i think it can be both. i think at the end of the day, this all, for president trump and his legal team -- and by that i mainly mean rudy giuliani -- is a strategy. it is basically a way to try to manipulate public opinion, especially with the president's base.
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but also just with everyone. so you see, as julia mentioned, that rosenstein is giving up a little bit of ground here and there, which is remarkable when you think of what the president is actually asking his justice department to do and accusing them of. and so when we get to the point, whenever that is, when mueller wraps up his investigation or, say, after the midterm elections as some trump confidants believe, when the president then finally makes the changes at the justice department that he so clearly wants to make based on his public comments, his private comments, and his tweets, that there will also be the ground work in the ether of public opinion to make this seem far less shocking than it might be had we not had all these months and months of sort of public comments by the white house getting the voters basically more comfortable with this idea. >> julia, again, you cover the men and women who work in and around the justice department. did anything sound like them to you when you heard rudy giuliani say, in effect, i had this assurance from mueller that the
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obstruction part's going to be -- it's going to be all done by labor day. september 1, we're out of here. >> right. that could not sound further than like what we hear from the men and women of the justice department and through u.s. attorneys' offices throughout the country. they keep the time line of investigations under wraps. they would not share that kind of thing with prosecutors. what they might be talking about, though. what we believe they're talking is when the president might sit down for a voluntary interview with robert mueller. and it could be that rudy giuliani is extrapolating his time line from that. if you remember, brian, just about a month ago we reported that mueller wanted to end the obstruction probe around june or july. that was when we thought that the president would not sit down for an interview. that's when he was irate about the raids on michael cohen's residence, and he did not want to sit down. and under that, mueller thought that he could wrap up the obstruction probe more quickly. now that it's looking like he may get a limited voluntary interview, maybe agreeing to a
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set of questions, that might be back on the table, which would actually extend the time line. not only would they have to prep for the interview, do the interview probably sometime around midsummer, they would then have more questions they would have to pursue afterwards. there could be a time line he's extrapolating here, but promises are rarely, if ever -- i've never heard of a promise made to a defense attorney that this is when we will have this wrapped. that's just not the way these things work, and there are many leads that we know robert mueller is following, and he's going to turn over every rock in the process. >> with big thanks to our leadoff panel tonight, our own julia ainsley, ashley parker, and jeremy bash, thank you for being with us tonight. coming up, trump's latest demand of the doj is not his first. a look back at the president's demand for loyalty from various justice officials. why this time, however, as we've been saying, might be different. and later, more on yet another trump tower meeting in
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the public realm now involving foreign governments and donald trump jr. "the 11th hour" on a monday night getting under way. mom you called?
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it's a drone! i know. find your phone easily with the xfinity voice remote. one more way comcast is working to fit into your life, not the other way around. rod rosenstein is in the most difficult position probably of anybody in the history of the department of justice. he's trying to thread the needle between a president who is pressuring him for political purposes and for his own interests against protecting an institution, the department of justice and the fbi. >> that was our friend and contributor and former fbi
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special agent clint watts weighing in on this news the deputy a.g. rod rosenstein asked the doj inspector general to review claims that the fbi had surveilled the trump campaign somehow for political purposes. as we reported, the move came after the president demanded an investigation over twitter this weekend. legal experts are worried that this is a dangerous new benchmark in an area of obstruction. the rest of us can plainly see this president's public war with all things justice department-related from the boss, jeff sessions on down. this is from a month ago. quote, much of the bad blood with russia is caused by the fake and corrupt russia investigation headed up by the all-democrat loyalists or people that work for obama. mueller is most conflicted of all except rosenstein who signed fisa and comey letter. no collusion, so they go crazy. here to talk about it, cynthia alksne, a veteran of the civil rights division at the justice department.
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matthew miller is back with us, former chief spokesman for the justice department. cynthia, i've wanted to hear you out on this. your response to trump's demands and your response of what we know to be the rosenstein response so far. >> well, i feel like i'm watching my second hockey game of the night. in this hockey game, it's the old philadelphia flyers of the '70s, the broad street bullies at the white house beating up on a doj farm team. and apparently no ref showed up, and the doj team is standing around whining, and meanwhile the broad street bullies are beating them up in scoring. this is a terrible thing that rosenstein has caved. i do feel sorry for him, especially this morning when clint watts was talking. we didn't realize that not only was he going to cave and do this
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investigation, but now they're handing over documents that they shouldn't be handing over. the problem with a bully is if you give in to them a little bit and a little bit, pretty soon you have nothing. and that's what's happened here. >> and, matt, i heard you express this viewpoint earlier today, and i thought long and hard about it. and i've also seen some coverage since. there's your viewpoint that rosenstein has given up too much incrementally over time, but there is also a view being expressed tonight that this might be brilliant because it buys time and keeps rosenstein on the job. >> look, i think it's a very close call. i'm sympathetic to the predicament and the situation that rosenstein finds himself in. i think to answer that question, you really have to know what he's trying to accomplish. does he think that he just needs two more months, three more months, he needs to buy bob mueller a little bit of space and time and prevent the president from blowing up the investigation. if that's so, maybe you can see your way around this compromise that he's come up with. but i will say taken by itself, this is, you know, a kind of terrible thing that rosenstein
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has allowed the president to do. he basically demanded a counter-investigation into the people investigating him, and he got it. that's a red line that the president crossed and not only did no one stand up and say no, he was rewarded to it. now you have the department of justice giving credence to the idea that there was something nefarious with the way that this investigation was launched and giving credence to the idea that it's okay for the president to order up these kind of investigations when of course it's not. so i worry that what rod is doing is, look, he's trying to kind of retreat and do strategic retreats knowing that he will stand and fight at the right time. and that may very well be the right approach. what i worry about is by the time he decides to stand and make his fight, there may be nothing left for him to fight for. >> cynthia, there's also this. correct me if i'm wrong, but the inspector general is not nothing. you'll seldom meet an inspector general who goes to work in the
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morning who says, boy, i hope i don't police up any wrongdoing here today. when they're concentrating on you in the justice department, it's hard to think of anything else. >> and this is a very respected inspector general. the fact that this has been added to his plate, that isn't what bothers me, and i think what bothers me is that i'm just afraid at some point there won't be anything -- there won't be a way to stand up to trump. and we're approaching that. part of it is because over the last year, every time trump attacks, nobody does anything. i mean even when he attacks sessions and makes fun of him, sessions doesn't stand up to him. when he fires comey, sessions says nothing. hopefully -- i mean it would have been nice if there were some reps, which would have been the republican leadership. and they aren't even participating in the game. that's what worries me. the inspector general is a serious investigator and he's a good investigator and a fair investigator, but that's not the fundamental problem here. >> cynthia, let me read this to you. three days after christmas,
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donald trump comes off th golf course at mar-a-lago and says to "the new york times," i don't want to get into loyalty, but i'll tell you that -- i will say this. holder protected president obama, totally protected him. when you look at the irs scandal, when you look at the guns for whatever, when you look at the tremendous real problems they had, not made up problems like russian collusion, when you look at the things that they did and holder protected the president, and i have great respect for that, i'll be honest, i have great respect for that. cynthia, it's been said that the president does view the justice department as a lever of government at his command. >> he views it as something that he should be able to control with a whim. let me tell you something about eric holder. if barack obama called him on the phone and started to tell him what to do, eric holder would have told him to pound sand. >> okay. and, matt, when the gop leaders are allowed to see whatever documents there are, what's the chance the documents are going to be exculpatory and not reveal
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a huge spying effort? will that still be spun as a win somehow? >> yeah, they may be exculpatory. we've seen that in the past certainly when they got documents out of the justice department that they hoped would prove one of their conspiracy theories true and all it did was provide more damaging revelations about the behavior on the president's campaign. that may happen here, but of course the cost that the country is going to bear before we get there, we've already seen. we've already seen the name of this classified source in london who was, you know, helping the fbi in their investigation. we've already seen his name exposed. if you read -- if you read "the washington post" and "the new york times," we've already seen the fbi having to go around and try to button up other operations, other investigations he was involved in, and they're worried that associates of his may have their lives at risk. so there may be, you know, when this is all said and done, if the information comes out, there may be political damage to the president because it shows that the fbi was acting appropriately. but i'm much more worried about the political damage to the
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country, the political damage to the fbi's ability to protect its sources, the fbi's ability to recruit sources around the country than i am whatever political ramifications may happen if and when this information is turned over and eventually becomes public. >> point taken. two department of justice veterans, one of whom i think outed herself as a washington capitals fan tonight. they have been victorious. matthew miller, cynthia alksne, thank you for coming on. coming up, new reporting suggests russia may not have been the only country interested in the trump campaign. the latest on the second trump tower meeting, again with the president's eldest son don junior when "the 11th hour" continues.
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and only de león fought for universal, medicare for all. democrat kevin de león the only true progressive for senate. change california now is responsible for the content of this advertising. for the first time, we're learning details about a second trump tower meeting, a different one that has caught the attention of special counsel robert mueller. according to "the new york times," just three months before the election, donald trump jr. met with republican donor erik prince. remember him? he's the founder of the military contractor blackwater, happens to be the brother of the current education secretary, betsy devos, and a man named george nader, who has close relationships with real princes from saudi arabia and the uae. and a third man identified as an israeli social media specialist. now, according to the "times,"
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those present offered to help trump win. quote, the meetings are the first indication that countries other than russia may have offered assistance to the trump campaign in the months before the presidential election. the interactions are a focus of the investigation by robert mueller. it goes on to say, the interviews, some in recent weeks, are further evidence that special counsel's investigation remains in an intense phase even as mr. trump's lawyers are publicly calling for mr. mueller to bring it to a close. the president, of course, fired back on the report on twitter. quote, things are really getting ridiculous. the failing and crooked but not as crooked as hillary clinton "new york times" has done a long and boring story indicating that the world's most expensive witch hunt has found nothing on russia and me, so now they are looking at the rest of the world. here to talk about it, robert anderson, former fbi assistant director of counterintelligence, former executive assistant director of the criminal cyber
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response and services branch. and michael crowley, national security editor and senior foreign affairs correspondent for politico. good evening and welcome to you both. bob, i'll start with you. what is mueller interested in, do you think, about this meeting? and what does it tell us that they're asking about this meeting? we're on a lag of several weeks behind the mueller investigation, i'm sure. but they're asking about it late in the game. >> yeah. so i think it shows a couple things clearly. it puts the president's eldest son square in the meeting of multiple meetings now with multiple countries that he's looking at in any way he can to try and help his father potentially win the presidency of the united states. i think that's very important. it spans way outside of russia. obviously brings in uae, saudi arabia, aspects of israel into this also. i think it also shows clearly the complete lack of understanding of potential laws around this type of action or counterintelligence concerns that obviously bob mueller would be looking at in his investigation. >> please help us with one
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thing. in your experience, did hyannis have visitors from around the world and nations trying to get in on the kennedy campaign? did kennebunkport have people from the uae come in and try to have an in in the bush campaign? how normal or not normal is this kind of behavior, these kinds of visitors? >> i think it's a great question. so the answer is it's very normal. i think a lot of countries try to get in as quick as they can to try to get close to anybody that's trying to run for a seat of power in our country. i think one of the things that is clear, though, in this case especially after the president won, was the lack, especially early on in his presidency and late in his campaign, of anybody there that even understood the relevance of counterintelligence or foreign intelligence operations that could have been launched or potentially put in front of anybody in this campaign.
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>> michael, on a political score, this can't be good for the man jimmy kimmel insists all media call djtj, donald trump jr. >> no, absolutely not, brian. there was an interesting defense of him in the media today where some named ally of his was saying, look, he's naive. he's trusting. he wants to please people. he'll take a meeting with anyone, and he wants it to end on good terms so people might, you know, kind of take the wrong message out of a meeting like this where maybe he seemed receptive when in fact he was just kind of being a nice wide-eyed guy. you know, maybe. the other interpretation is that the trump family and the trump operation was sort of had an anything-goes attitude towards this campaign and felt like, great. if a foreign government wants to help us, we either know that that is wrong and don't care, or we haven't really paid a lot of attention to how american elections are supposed to run and we're not aware that this is highly improper.
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so we'll sit down and talk to them and hear what they have to say. i should say it's important to note the "times" story does not make it clear whether there was any follow-through, whether there might have been some violation of the law. but it looks terrible for donald trump jr. to have had the meeting at all, particularly in the context of that trump tower meeting with russians who were peddling what they said was dirt on hillary clinton. it just suggests that mueller should keep looking because they were open to things that most people would have said, get out of here. we're not interested in. >> so, bob, what does that lead you to believe the mueller questions are about? >> well, i think mueller is going to look at intent, right? so not only after they had the first meeting with russia, but then had subsequent meetings with other countries. i think that shows a clear intent as we were talking about earlier that they'd look for any aspect of help, even if it's outside the united states. i think that's what's startling a lot of people in this investigation. that is definitely where they're going to dive into, and that's where they're going to focus. >> on the subject of dirt, i
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want to show you something rudy giuliani said. we'll come back and act as a truth squad right after we hear this. >> when i ran against them, they were looking for dirt on me every day. i mean that's what you do. maybe you shouldn't, but you do. nothing illegal about that. and even if it comes from a russian or a german or an american, it doesn't matter. and they never used it is the main thing. never used it. they rejected it. if there was collusion with the russians, they would have used it. >> how true is that? >> i think it's absolutely not true. i think honestly mr. giuliani is really losing credibility rapidly when he starts talking like that. i think any common sense american that doesn't even understand the criminal legality of what we're talking about would not agree with any foreign power trying to influence our presidential election. >> michael, this can happen when you have a well-known lawyer slash spokesman for your cause, when the other team, in this case robert mueller, not only
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doesn't leak, they seem to be hermetically sealed. they don't react to these allegations. these allegations hang out there and become the truth for some over time. >> yeah, brian. i hope people will look at politico tomorrow morning, a story i edited today as a headline, i believe it was "robert mueller has a new spokesman, rudy giuliani." giuliani is out here saying all these things that he says mueller is doing. mueller has told him this. mueller has this kind of time line. and mueller can't respond. mueller has been incredibly tight-lipped. it's possible he's leaking to journalists and we don't know about it. but i have to tell you brian, the feeling among journalists in washington is that is not happening. it's not like everyone in washington knows that mueller is dishing and the rest of america doesn't know. it really does not seem to be the case. i just want to say specifically on that sound bite, it's very odd. rudy seems to be saying, well, if there was dirt, they would have used it from the russians.
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i mean what were the wikileaks e-mails? what were the hacks of the dnc and john podesta's e-mails? these e-mails were clearly hacked by the russians, and donald trump stood up on a podium on stage waving print outs of these e-mails saying i love wikileaks. he did use them. so it's a little odd for rudy to imply there was an opportunity to use russian-supplied dirt but the campaign turned its back. in fact, trump completely embraced it beyond the time when it seemed pretty clear the russian government was behind the hacking of these e-mails. >> our thanks to two friends of ours, a law enforcement veteran and a journalism veteran. robert anderson, michael crowley, gentlemen, thank you both so much. coming up for us, just last week the president was asked about a possible nobel peace prize. well, fast-forward to tonight, and the question is, is that summit with north korea still going to happen? we'll talk about it right after this. about the colonial penn program. if you're age 50 to 85,
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we're really doing well with north korea. kim jong-un was -- he really has been very open, and i think very honorable. we want to thank kim jong-un, who really was excellent to these three incredible people. >> so you heard all that. you remember all that. and after a positive start or a positive looks, diplomatic talks with north korea appear to be on the rocks. this after the national security adviser john bolton seemed to suggest the libya model for north korea's denuclearization plan. in the 2003 deal, libya gave up its nuclear weapons in return for economic relief. but shortly after hearing those comments about libya, north korea started to walk away from the conversation, pointing to the fate of former libyan leader
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moammar gadhafi. didn't go well. he was overthrown in 2011 and ended up being shown to the world dieing in a drainage pipe. now trump is questioning if the meeting scheduled to happen in 22 days should be held at all. as the new york times tells the story, quote, president trump increasingly concerned that his summit meeting in singapore next month with north korea's leader could turn into a political embarrassment, has begun pressing his aides and allies about whether he should take the risk of proceeding with a historic meeting that he had leapt into accepting according to administration and foreign officials. now, according to their reporting, trump even called the south korean president this weekend, just days ahead of his scheduled visit to the white house, to ask his thoughts on any change of heart the north may be having. we have asked our in-house expert on such things, jeremy bash, to hang around and do a second segment with us.
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jeremy, i was fascinated to see the notes of a conversation you had with one of our producers tonight. you submit that they're getting the idea of a summit wrong. they're assuming that it is, in and of itself, a positive development. you see it differently. >> well, a summit is not an accomplishment, brian. it's certainly not the basis upon which anyone should be awarded peace prizes, nobel or otherwise. it is the establishment of a roadmap for dialogue to achieve certain objectives, and i don't think the administration has been clear about what our objectives are. we've of course said that full denuclearization of the peninsula is our ultimate objective, but of course that can't be obtained in the first meeting. so the president is sort of in a catch-22. if he has the meeting, he's not going to get what he really wants and ultimately needs. if he walks away from the meeting, then by his own definition that the meeting is an important success, he has failed.
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>> speaking of a catch-22, i want to read you two fighting elements. number one is from "time" magazine about trump's meeting preps. quote, within just one month -- with just one month until a scheduled sit-down with north korea's leader, president donald trump hasn't set aside much time to prepare for meeting with kim jong-un. a stark contrast to the approach of past presidents. quote, he doesn't think he needs to, said a senior administration official familiar with the president's preparation. and fighting element number one, if you spent any time in and around military or law enforcement, then you know what a challenge coin is. it's really kind of the coin of the realm. they've already released the challenge coin made to commemorate the summit. you see on one side air force one streaking over the white house. on the other, it talks about supreme leader kim jong-un and president donald j. trump. jeremy, i'm proud of my collection.
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i'm imagining you have a formidable challenge coin collection, not the kind of thing, though, you put out before the dance. >> yeah, it's kind of bizarre. it's usually a memento of success. again, brian, we have no idea of what this summit is going to lead to you. obviously i'm concerned, many national security experts are concerned that if the summit breaks down, if the talks break down, with the president there, there's nowhere else to go, and then you're back in a bellicose mode. you're back in a militaristic mode. and heaven forbid it could lead to a military conflict or war, hardly the kind of thing you want to print a challenge coin to commemorate. >> so i've appointed you 60-second presidential briefer. what are the points you'd like to make? >> well, look, i think the first thing is you have to make clear to the north koreans that the ultimate objective is denuclearization but we need a series of confidence-building measures. certainly they cannot be allowed
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to retain a nuclear arsenal that could threaten our allies, japan, south korea, and australia. and the president has to be able to show project but without showing compromise. and i certainly finally, brian, don't think that the president should give up on having u.s. troops on the peninsula. i think that would be a grave mistake. >> jeremy bash, thank you so much for staying around to talk about this second topic with us tonight. coming up, new land is being formed as we speak in the 50th state at the great peril of those who live on the big island. a late update when we continue. i was wondering if an electric toothbrush really cleans better than a manual. and my hygienist says it does but they're not all the same. who knew? i had no idea. so she said, look for one that's shaped like a dental tool with a round brush head. go pro with oral-b. oral-b's rounded brush head surrounds each tooth to gently remove more plaque, and oral-b is the first electric toothbrush brand accepted by the american dental association for its effectiveness and safety. my mouth feels so clean. i'll only use an oral-b. oral-b. brush like a pro.
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well, think about this. the state of hawaii is larger in land mass tonight than it was at this time last night, and it's all because of the raging stream of lava that forms into rock and thus new land where it meets the sea.
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in a chain of islands born of volcanoes long ago, kilauea continues to rule over the big island and 20 news seams have opened up in the ground. and where that lava meets the pacific, where that new land is formed, it also forms a dangerous airborne toxin that contains sulfur, hydrochloric acid and tiny particles of glass that can irritate the eyes and the lungs. and we want to show you miguel almaguer's reporting for nbc news tonight about a hurting volcanic rock that was airborne, hit a man while he sat on his deck and crashed his leg and started a fire, as you'll see. >> reporter: with molten fireballs launching through the air, a soaring lava bomb has now
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struck its first victim. >> help! >> reporter: our crew was there as mark searched for his injured neighbor, putting out the home that caught fire after a red hot rock shot into his friend's leg. >> he took a pretty good hit to the lower leg. he's in the hospital now and we'll see if he loses a foot or not. >> over 3,000 earthquakes have been recorded since that first eruption earlier this month. over 2,000 people have left their homes behind and are on the move. pending more evacuations, as roads get cut off, meaning they can't get help to the people who need it. coming up for us, remembering a man who gave our presidents the words they needed at a time of great need. a man who coined the term "the great society," and believed in one, too, when "the 11th hour" continues.
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the last thing before we go tonight is a look back at the great american life of richard n. goodwin, who died last night at the age of 86. dick goodwin gave the great society its name. he was the originator of some of its core programs and then he gave lyndon johnson the words that he used to convince us we could all be better. goodwin is on the left in this photo, then president johnson, then joe calafano. he alone survives among the four, and today, he told "the
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washington post" dick goodwin was the greatest public policy speechwriter in our history. born in brook hp line, mass, he graduated first in his class from tufts, clerked for supreme court justice frankfurter, and that was before he was noticed by the kennedys. after the assassination, johnson kept him on as one of the smart young aides he used to call the harvards. that's when dick goodwin went to work. and when the current president talks about accomplishments, remember what the great society delivered. the voting rights act, the civil rights act, the war on poverty, headstart, medicare, medicaid, public broadcasting, highway patrol safety, the clean air act, and it goes on from there. and so did dick goodwin. he broke with johnson over the
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vietnam war. he worked for bobby kennedy. dick goodwin was there in los angeles the night bobby was assassinated. it's not an overstatement, merely a statement of fact to say that dick goodwin, unreconstructed massachusetts liberal, working not under his own name, but for presidents he served, effected your life today in ways you perhaps weren't aware of. he changed his country and improved life for his fellow citizens. the presidents he worked for got the votes, dick goodwin came up with the words and ideas. that's not counting what may be his foremost achievement -- 42 years ago, dick goodwin had the good sense to marry a young writer and future historian and pulitzer prize winner named doris kearns. tonight, our thoughts are with her and the entire goodwin family. it is their loss that we mourn tonight while, as we said, all americans lost a little something with the death of dick goodwin. that's our broadcast for a monday night, as we start a new week. thank you so much for being here with us. good night from nbc news headquarters here in new york.
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i have decided that i won't be involved. >> the president demands an investigation. >> i may change my mind at some point because what's going on is a disgrace. >> tonight the fallout from trump's meeting with rosenstein and wray. how the president is attempting to eviscerate the rule of law, and what it means for the mueller probe and beyond. >> the department of justice is not going to be extorted. then -- people are trying to reach out all the time with this. >> fallout from the explosive news of a second trump tower meeting with foreign powers the looking to help the trump campaign. >> listen, i think politics is a dirty game. and the democrats find a rallying cry to take back the government. >> the most compromised, corrupt administrations in history. >> when "all in" starts right now.

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