tv Andrea Mitchell Reports MSNBC May 23, 2018 9:00am-10:00am PDT
he had the idea to put forward those tariffs. it's a bit like a doctor who made you sick who then takes credit for curing you. right now the markets are down just over a hundred. that's not a big deal. that's normal market fluctuation. always keep one eye on the big board. thank you for watching this hour of "velshi & ruhle." i'll see you again tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. eastern. right now i hand you off to my friend and colleague, andrea mitchell. right now, taxi driver. could a plea deal by new york city so called taxi king spell trouble for the president's personal lawyer. a possible sign that robert mueller is getting closer to the president's inner circle. >> do you have confidence in rod
rosenstein? >> what's your next question? the president escalates his attack on the deep state. >> it's going to have a chilling effect on other informants who already help the fbi and make it for difficult to include other informants. the damage from this is quite grave. living history. women win in three key primaries across the country. could it be a sign of ma might happen in november. >> let me tell you, i'm so grateful to the thousands of you in this room and around this state and country who have joined me on this drive to history. good day. a stunning new turn in the legal saga surrounding president trump's personal lawyer michael
cohen. nbc has confirmed that one of cohen's long time business partners have gotten a sweetheart deal from prosecutors agreeing to prosecute after pleading guilty to lesser charges of criminal tax fraud involving nearly $5 million in taxes. a russian immigrant known as new york's taxi king will not serve jail time only having to pay restitution and serve five years probation. in statement cohen denies that hee and fried man are fpartners but sources say he operated taxi's by cohen. new questions about his deal could be used as leverage to pressure cohen to try to flip and tell something he knows about even president trump. this as the president ramps up his assault on the justice department and fbi tweeting spy game could be one of the biggest
political scandals in history and slamming the criminal deep state just by no evidence there was ever an fbi spy in the trump campaign. joining me now to sort all of this out, nbc kristen welker at the white house. it's great to have you here. kristen, let's set the stage. the president has been tweeting overnight. again retelling accusation offense a spy just by no evidence of any spy in the trump campaign. he seems to be certainly, according to that very non-response to a question about rosenstein, seems to be really closing in on the justice department and on the mueller probe. >> ramping up his attacks against the justice department and the mueller probe.
they're absolutely right. asked yesterday if he has confidence in his own deputy attorney general, rod rosenst n rosenstein, the president saying next question. declining to answer. it was a stunning moment because just a day earlier the president directed rod rosenstein to launch an investigation into the informant that had contacted this campaign. there's no evidence that's the case what so ever. we have learned there's going to be a briefing set up by john kelly. republican lawmakers will be briefed by intelligence officials about confidential documents related to a number of things including the informant. there's only going to be republican at the meeting tomorrow.
chuck writing this meeting is improper and will set a damaging precedent for your constitutiin and rule of law. trying to turn up the heat for some democrats to be included in the meeting even though they are saying the democrats shouldn't be taking place at all. >> you reference the gang of eight which is a bipartisan group of leaders who get intelligence briefings. you're not suggesting that republicans are saying it should be bipartisan? >> reporter: there are some republicans. chuck schumer, richard burr all
releasing this letter to rod rosenstein and asking that democrats be included. >> this is really significant. it's the first time we're seeing the republican leaders are also going up against what the freedom caucus and the house have been trying to do which is support the republican attacks on the mueller probe. this is a big change for mitch mcconnell to join in here. what do we expect from this? >> what's happening behind me in this courthouse is a reminder that as president trump continues to denounce the probe as a witch hunt, paul manafort
is facing very serious charges that could land him in prison for the rest of his life. he's arguing before federal judge today to suppress evidence gleaned in the search of a storage locker. it's a technical argument. he's arguing the fbi got an employee to open the storage locker before they obtained warrant and that was improper. the employee had his name on the lease so it was completely kosher. these arguments are common in these kinds of cases. it's unclear how the judge will rule. paul manafort is fights these charges tooth and nail. for those looking to see whether manafort will crumble and flip on donald trump, there's no sign of that happening. he's using his considerable resources to fight the government every step of the way. >> reporter: quick clarificati n clarification. this is all just coming out
right now. to be very specific, it is leader pelosi and chuck schumer who are requesting that the entire gang of eight is there. >> there's so much coming at all of us. these were hugely valuable. this was a russian immigrant. it's always had the reputation of being on the margins, this whole business. >> exactly.
>> it gives you the license or the permit to put out one of the yellow taxi cabs. at some point you would have seen yellow cabs. it allows you to put the cab out on the street. it doesn't mean you get to drive it but you get to put it out on the street. you would lease to a driver, the driver would pay you to operate the cab and operate the medalli medallion. you would look at that on a return on your investment. the value of those have gone down because there's more supply for people to be able to drive and offer various types of services to get around the city.
why do we care about this? we know that michael cohen is in the taxi medallion business. we know the prosecutors here in new york are looking at. yesterday comes the news that a man facing very serious charges, the so called taxi king, that he was able to plead to no jail time at all. he will have to pay back $5 million that he stole from the government as part of tax fraud. he didn't pay that over to the mta here in new york. we know he's heart of the plea agreement and will have to cooperate in state investigations.
i know that michael cohen says he has not done any big with him from a taxi perspective but we know the two have a relationship. we know that michael cohen is under investigation. if any of that is helpful to federal investigators or state investigators this is just one more on the pile. >> we can't assume anything about where the probe is going. he has a lot to say about
michael cohen. this would ramp up the pressure. there was an extraordinary moment in the hearing with friedman. the judge lifted him and said words to the effect you know you're getting a sweet deal. mr. friedman said i'm very satisfied with my lawyer. he should be. he was looking at 20 years in prison. $5 million he owes. he's got to pay back 1 million, no prison time if he cooperates. what that suggests is the prosecutors thinks he's got the goods on somebody. probably mr. cohen. we know the prosecutes went into his two office, hotel room, his house. they looked at every document he's ever touched.
>> we're talking about a lot. we've seen and you can't connect debts b dots but just by common sense we have seen an increased anxiety and anger on the part of the president in his tweets. now you have trey gowdy and nunes going and meeting with the people investigating the president. potentially being permitted to look at classified information. a lot of people are arguing that rod rosenstein did the right thing to get himself out of the box after being order by the president to share everything. he did the right thing by calling on the inspector general to expand an ongoing probe but he's really doing something wrong by agreeing to this meeting with intelligence officials, fbi officials and one side of the house.
i wa i want to play part of an interview rachel maddow did with james clapper who is saying really extraordinary things. this is a 50 plus military man who never got political while he was in office. for him to go this route, let's take a look. >> i have a long family an experience tradition for respect for the presidency and his role as commander in chief. this president makes that difficult for me. >> here's what he wrote. he wrote we have elected someone as president of the united states whose first instincts are to twist and distort truth to his advantage. generate financial benefit to himself and his family and in so doing demean the values this country has stood for. he has set a new low bar for
ethics and morality. he's caused damage to our political fabric that will be difficult and will require time to repair. close to my heart he has desm besmirched the intelligence community and incited americans to lose faith and confidence in him. i've known james clapper for a long time in a professional context, interviewed him many times. he's been in the cross fire of a lot of disputes i've never seen anything quite like. >> i think people like clapper know that when you work with people like mr. trump and you try to appease them as rod rosenstein is trying to do, it just doesn't work. you can't compromise with a
bully. on sunday rod immediately responded to the president's tweet by giving him a little bit. saying we're going to do that investigation that you wanted to do. again, rod rosenstein has got to know better than that. we started out together as public corruption prosecutors. you just don't get that kind of guidance from the president. that's not how the rule of law works. now we see even if he was trying to kind of tread water to make the president feel okay, it's not working because yesterday the president refused to answer the question about whether he had confidence in his own deputy attorney general. >> his own appointee. >> maybe he's laying the ground work to get rid of mr. rosenstein, get rid of mr. sessions. we really need rod rosenstein to do the right thing to uphold the values of the rule of law in our democratic process. it's not going to work if he
tries to make the president like him. rod went too far. >> it's great to have you here. thanks. trump ice bottom line. more confusion today on what the president is demanding from the summit that takes place with kim jong-un. stay with us on msnbc. powerful potential... signature toughness... and one more thing... the world comes with it. the new, reimagined 2019 jeep cherokee.
welcome back. as president trump's summit with north korea leader scheduled for next month on or off, he just answered a few questions on his way out of white house. we'll get the tape as soon as the pool from the white house plays that back. president trump said that the planned singapore sit down could be cancelled. >> there's a substantial chance it won't work out. that doesn't mean it won't work out over a period of time but it may not work out for june 12th. there's a good chance we'll have the meeting. >> the president also appears to be willing to allow north korea to phase out its dismantling of its nuclear arsenal. insisting they give up weapons before the u.s. makes concessions. that was contradicted on capitol
hill by secretary pompeo. thank you very much. all of this on again, off again, let's say that perhaps the president jumped in too eagerly. is he sending signals or trying to back off in the sense he wants it too much. what do we make of the suggestion from the white house from the president yesterday that perhaps the chinese in a meeting last week with kim jong-un, his second visit to beijing that over to china that perhaps china is getting kim jong-un to slow down. >> the chinese are weighing in with kim jong-un. he's unlikely to make any big decisions or not going to make any decisions without some
chinese support in consultation. i do think on the question of whether the summit is going to happen or not, too much is happening publicly for my taste. the president seems much too focused on whether the summit is taking place rather than this diplomatic process will bear fruit. frankly, i'm less concerned about whether the summit happens, whether it's delayed and the real question is there going to be a diplomatic pro process, and if so it's not surprising it won't again with a complete verifiable, irreversible denuclearization of north korea. >> james clapper says it's almost impossible to verify everything that they've got in the way, even to the extent that
iran was verifiable with eyes on by the international atomic energy agency after the nuclear deal the president says is the worst in history. how could they have expected complete denuclear sooigs from north korea up front without any con segs at all on the ground or in terms of normalization and a peace treaty between north and south. >> there is no way. it wasn't realistic at all. to the extent that president trump started talking about giving them some of a phased process, he was recognizing reality. you can't take a program as big and well developed and sprawling physically as the north korean one, put it in boxes and stick it on transport planes. that's sort of what he did in 2003, 2004 with libya. it's not feasible here. by opening the door the president was recognizing reality and trying to, i think,
keep the date with kim. he wants very much not to cancel this summit and he knew he was facing this unbridgeable gap. i saw him as trying to keep the date even understanding and acknowledging that the gulf between the two of them is very wide. >> megan you e laided to this, the lack of process. assignments they are talking too much in public between bolton, pompeo, the president. different demands and projecting that they will give security and all kinds of economic benefits and investment to kim jong-un if he were to comply and reporting the president was concerned that he might be politically embarrassed by this summit if it goes off the tracks.
sgh he set the bar as high as could be. i think the real worry is not that the u.s. is settling for less than it should, as mark just said. the real worry is this suggests there isn't really a nail down strategy behind this summit and the summit is regarded as a bit of end in itself rather than a means to a much larger end. we have three very senior members of the administration saying different things and potentially only two weeks before we have it. >> we have breaking news. let's interrupt and listen to the president. >> look at the documents, i think people will see a lot of bad things happen. i hope it's not so because if it is there's never been anything like it in the history of our country. if you look at clapper, he sort
of admitted they had spies in the campaign yesterday inadverte inadvertently. i hope it's not true but it looks like it is. [ inaudible question ] i think james comey has a lot of problems. if you look at the tremendous lies. if you look at all that's going on, i think james comey has a lot of problems. at some point they have an ig report. then let's say what james comey has to say. i assume he's covered in the ig report. i think he's got a lot of problems. [ inaudible question ] >> i don't want to get into it yet. after we look at the proof, would he know? i would hope not.
we're going now to talk about ms-13 with the great police officers. we're going out to long island. are you coming with us? it's going to be very exciting. we're not undercutting. we're cleaning everything up. this was a terrible situation. what we're doing is cleaning everything up. it's so important. what i'm doing is a service to this country. i did a great service to this country by firing james comey. a lot of those great people working in the fbi will tell you i did a great service to our country by firing james comey. [ inaudible question ]
>> i want them all to get together and i want them because everybody wants this solved. a lot of bad things have happened. we now call it spy game. you're calling it spy game. a lot of bad things have happened. i want them all to get together. they'll sit in a room. hopefully they'll be a i believe to work it out among themselves. >> nafta. i think your auto workers and auto companies, in this country, are going to be very happy with what's going to happen. you'll be seeing very soon what i'm talking about. nafta is very difficult. mexico has been very difficult to deal with. canada has been very difficult to deal with. they have been taking advantage of the united states for a long time. i'm not happy with their requests but i will tell you in the end we win. we will win and we'll win big. we'll get along with mexico.
we'll get along with canada. i'll tell you they have been very difficult to deal with. their very spoiled because nobody has done this but i will tell you that what they ask for is not fair. our auto workers will be very happy. >> are you 100% committed? >> we'll see what happens. on singapore we'll see. it could very well happen. whatever it is, we'll know next week about singapore. if we go, i think it will be a great thing for north korea. [ inaudible question ] >> some day a date will happen. it could be june 12th.
some day a date will happen. it could be be june 12th. zeal se we'll see. we'll know next week. >> they'll all be in the room tomorrow. we'll see what happens. i want total transparency. you have to have transparency. i think in their own way they are obstructionists but even the democrats i believe on this issue, it supercedes. thank you. >> there's a lot there. i believe we want to go back to megan and mark in a moment.
>> he was getting ready to leave for long island. the president talked about several distinct topics and what is just as important is what he did not answer, questions that were shouted at him about whether he still has confidence at his deputy attorney general rod rosenstein. as for tomorrow's meeting, let me break this down. he was asked about that meeting between intelligence official leaders, fbi and doj and two republican lawmakers. right now no democrats are on that guest list for this briefing. the president was asked about that meeting. i tried to interject and say should democrats be there because i spoke earlier with one top ally and said democrats should have been invited. you heard the president open the door to that and say this should
go beyond the party issue. this should be something we have full transparency. the first question is when i asked him what proof do you have that somebody spied your campaign. this is a claim the president has been making. there's not been evidence presented to back up that claim. he immediately answered. talking about how people will see. he hopes it's not true but he wants the evidence, documents to be out there. he referenced james clapper who was on with rachel maddow last night. james clapper made this digs tin -- distinction which is the fbi investigating russian interference with the election. they had people talking with members of the trump campaign. that's a line of distinction the officials are drawing.
he said we call it spy gate. that's the name the president has come up with all of this. law enforcement officials continue to draw this distinction. they has not been evidence to back up what the president is talking about. he hedged on the date when asked about that. we know there may be another planned meeting in singapore. the president is going to talk about ms-13. he clearly has russia on his mind. he's been tweeting about it all morning. he walked over to reporters.
clearly wanting to get this off of his chest. >> so much going on. we understand there's work going, that diplomats are in the region working on this. as you point out, there hasn't been a whole lot of studying and they seem, especially after the secretary of state's testimony today on the hill where he was talking about all or nothing, the john bolton approach, if you will that we're getting so many mixed signals dwoents know how this will all play out. >> i would say where the president was is not a bad place to be. with him saying there will be a meeting. i don't know when it will be. if there's such a thing, the meeting between the two heads of state would generally come at the end of the process. when all of these details have
been hammered out by senior or even working level officials and that may be well the direction that we're going. again that wouldn't be a bad thing and hopefully it won't be perceived as too bad on either side. it would be more likely to guarantee a better outcome. >> indeed. i wanted to bring up one other thing. let me throw this at you. we had testimony from pompeo there had been an incident in china that seemed to duplicate the medical mystery out of cuba. all but closing the embassy in havana and kicking the diplomats
out here. it did seem the russians, could beavesdropping devices gone array. they were using this as cutting off the obama initiative to cuba. >> cuba is one thing. china is quite another. we're in the midst of a very complicated trade negotiation with china. china has enormous influence over north korea. we're three weeks away from perhaps the summit with kim jong-un. there's lots of things in train with china that are already fraught and for the united states to suggest and pompeo was fairly blunt about this. he said it was medically consistent with what had happened in cuba. for the u.s. to suggest at this
very moment that china might be involved or behind something like this introduces yet another volatile element into a relationship that's already extremely complicated. >> anything potentially maybe could be russian weaponization if it were something like that. it is not cubans in this -- >> it's highly unlikely that you have cubans that are behind this. i think it does raise many, many questions that will play out at this very difficult time in our relationship with china. >> thanks for your patience with us. what a day. i don't know how you got from the south lawn all the way to the north lawn and on the air in that space of time. you do it ef day. incredible. thanks to all. we'll be right back. mr. billingsley! do your worst, doctor. i will. but first, a little presentation.
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painful detail the damage he did to their lives. >> kate snow has been reporting on this larger issue of sexual abuse. this is the first time we're hearing publicly from the new head of u sarks gymnastics. how did she do? >> she was very rehearsed but in the last few minutes she's been questioned quite a bit. she was questioned by a republican congressman who asked her about larry nassar and whether he have told to step away after they learned about the first allegations. she said he was told that but she was asked did he step away and she didn't know. she'd have to look into that. they've had 78 gymnast complaints. they were talking about this thing safe sports. another line of questioning had to do with how many people they have on staff. turns out 12 or 13. a congresswoman said is that enough. the answer was no, it's not.
the president is under fire for aelss not against him but a doctor on campus. that man is accused of sexually harassing and assaulting patients. that man is under fire. the board of trustees said they stand by the president. we're watching that as well. >> it's extraordinary. decades of abuse alleged at the only gynecologist on campus there. last night southern primary results history was made in georgia, texas and kentucky for women, african-american, latina
and lgbt americans. decisive victories especially in georgia. both claimed victory by more than 50 points. give us the highlights. >> the highlights were all the women on the democratic side. lupe valdez running for texas governor. then maybe actually, to me, the most, the biggest race and the most interesting result, amy mcgrath in the kentucky six race beati ining jim, the lexington mayor. you now have 72 women who have
woman nomination on the house of representatives so far. we have to many more primaries to go in june, july, august. that 72 number compare that to 69 who were the female nominees in all of 1990. the number of women, particularly on the democratic side remains the biggest story line. we'll continue to follow this. >> what's so interesting is as park was just pointing out, amy mcgrath is a former marine fighter pilot. she was running against the candidate at the d triple c that the party had endorsed. >> she's going to be highly electable. she'll be very competitive. you need to watch are the two political parties. how are they positioned for the centrist voters. the bases are probably not movable. the hard core republicans will
not vote for democrats. are they going to be focusing on the voters who voted for mitt romney, hillary clinton and barack obama and donald trump. i think that will be an interesting pinterest ing task for both parties. >> do you go for energizing the base. mark murray, going to have to leave it there today. we'll have a lot more coming up. stay with us. just like us. and just like that we felt a little less alone. but then something happened.
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hallie jackson pointed out and is ramping up what he is calling spygate and says people are saying, you all are saying, we are, not all saying, because there's no evidence of spygate but it's having an impact. >> certainly is having an impact. on him, inside the white house, and having an impact on the department of justice in the fact that he is now directing general kelly, his chief of staff, to orchestrate this meeting. i think it's obviously part of a wider strategy on his part as well and the white house's strategy as well and his legal team's strategy to deflect and to sort of frame the investigation in a way that gets people who are supporters of his to see it as the witch-hunt he has continued to call it since really day one. >> and betsy woodruff, your reporting on the impact this is having inside the justice department. they have to be demoralized? >> right. morale rate in the doj is really low now. i spoke with a number of current doj officials earlier in the
week who told me they believe the president is launching a concerted attack against their investigation. an attack against one investigation is not limited to that one probe. this is an attack on the integrity of the people who work at the doj. i was told one common refrain in main justice, the department of justice headquarters in downtown d.c., one thing people say all the time is, this is such a dark time for the fbi. people are really sad and hurting. >> people even paul butler earlier on this program pointedous yamiche, rod rosenstein by agreeing to this meeting tomorrow has already kind of given up the larger fight? >> and yet the president has not said publicly, i do still have confidence in rod rosenstein. went out today, talked for probably what's a lot of time today and goes to the roundtable more questions about the doj and refusing to say i actually have confidence these people can do their xrobs we sjobs well. the allies of the president are
like a dog with a bone for the president. infiltrating campaign. no evidence of it but talking about it saying this adds to the narrative they've sold their base and i venture to say not just trump's base. republicans who even some who maybe didn't like president trump's style, they're starting to look at the doj and think, is this a partisan organization? trying to take down a president that some people don't like. >> and jeff mason, when we talk about all this, we're talking about these allies of the president's on capitol hill, devin nunes doing it nor a year and a ha -- for a year and a half completely undermining decades of bipartisanship when it comes to intelligence gathering. >> sure. and in contrast the senate investigation, more bipartisan with different conclusions and also a continued onslaught against people who at the fbi and in the justice department who are non-partisan. and who are working on investigations, working, whether
it be this or other issues important for the united states. >> betsy, one of the other points made to rachel maddow last night, he believes contrary to the original january assessment by the national intelligence community and what was reported more than a year ago is, he believes it did impact the election. it's not a political expert but a data expert and saying, 80,000 votes? three states. look what russia did when you look how widespread the propaganda was. yes. it probably influenced the outcome. >> russia was clearly working overtime, working hard, using a sophisticated and pricey tool in the form of the internet research agency to plummet, to attack hillary clinton and to support donald trump. the reality, russia got exactly what they wanted. a candidate who gave them wa they needed in a way that was very helpful. interesting about the assessment, deliberately decided not to answer the question of
the impact that the -- that the -- that rush had on it. >> kept it absolutely diskret. >> apolitical. clapper is suggesting that if they had the impact might have found russia could have put its thumb hon a scale that really r they used the internet, warring protests, shows you people are thinking about this. so many lining came from russia i've heard on the campaign trail that came from them. it's clear. there was an impact. >> we have to leave it there. thank you so much for the round robin and we'll be right back. whoooo.
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and that's out of time for us. craig melvin takes over in new york. hey, craig. >> hey there, andrea. good to see you. good afternoon to you. craig melvin here at msnbc headquarters in new york city. spygate. another day, another tweet or half dozen tweets from the president railing against the russia investigation. his rants come as two key people who helped him get to the white house feel the squeeze from law enforcement. also, protest penalty. breaking news here. nfl owners decided if you're on the field for the anthem, you better stand up and show respect. the penalties that a team will face if a player or team staffer breaks these new rules. and selling your privacy. the controversial new facial recognition technology that