tv The 11th Hour With Brian Williams MSNBC May 30, 2018 11:00pm-12:00am PDT
>> that's tonight's last word. andrea mitchell joins brian to discuss the trump's administration with north korea at "the 11th hour" with brian williams starts now. >> this one is written by andrew mccabe with the fbi. did he witness a kind of cover story being compiled with why trump fired comey? "the new york times" reporter who broke the story standing by with details. rudy giuliani at the white house prepping for the potential mueller interview weighing in on whether trump will fire his attorney general. someone on the front line fighting russia interference about how our social media accounts can be weaponized. "the 11th hour" on a wednesday night begins now. >> good evening from our nbc headquarters here in new york.
day 496 of the trump administration. we have breaking news surrounding this president's firing of former fbi james comey, this was may of last year, the report comes from the new york times. one of the co-authors standing by to join us. the "times" tells it this way, fbi director mccabe wrote a confidential memo last spring of the significant behind the scenes details of the firing of mccanada's predecessor, james comey, according to several people familiar with the discussion. in the document not previously reported. in the chaotic days last may after mr. comey's abrupt firing.
writing about the handling of the investigation over hillary clinton. but in the meeting at the justice department, mr. rosenstein added a new detail. the president asked him to reference russia in his memo. the people familiar with the conversation said. the "times" adds that mccabe turns his memo to robert mueller. you may remember mccain was the focus of personal attacks from president trump as part of his strategy to discredit the russia investigation. mccabe was fired in march after an internal investigation at the bureau and response to his firing mccabe issued a statement saying in part, quote, "i am being singed out and being treated this way because of the role i played and the actions i took." and this is important, the events i witnessed in the aftermath of the firing of jim comey. the release of the report accelerated after my testimony
of the house and intelligence revealed that i would corroborate director comey's accounts with the president. also, tonight there is mounting tensions between trump and his attorney general jeff sessions. sessions was at the white house today, there he is exiting and no information on why he was there or who he met with. the new york times report says the president who have been stewing over sessions' decision to recuse himself from the entire investigation had asked indeed that sessions reversed that decision and get revolved. earlier today, retiring republican congressman trey gowdy offered this explanation. >> if i were the president and i picked someone to be the chief law enforcement officer and they told me later by the way, i am not going to be able to participate in the most important case in office, i would be frustrated, too. that's how i read that. as senator sessions, why didn't
you tell me before, there is a lot of good lawyers in the country, he could have picked someone else. >> guess who clearly agreed with that. shortly after the interview, he sent several messages on twitter quoting trey gowdy. and he ended with, and i wish i did. meaning he wishes he had chosen someone else for his ag. the president's main spokesperson on his legal efforts on all things russia had an update today on a potential trump/mueller sit-down interview. rudy giuliani is doing practice q & a questions during the week. as negotiations for a sitdown continue. rudy giuliani laid down something of a deadline for the special counsel. >> people should have an answer even if they put together whatever the heck they have, interview or no interview. by september 1st, the public should have an explanation of what mueller has. i really want that because i don't think he has much. >> rudy giuliani along with the president and his allies are
trying to sow doubt about the investigation by talking up the idea that the fbi planted a spy in the campaign more than once but certainly a history making in filtration of the campaign and of course there is zero proof of that. just a few hours ago giuliani was out talking again. this time insisting the trump's legal team see documents related to the fbi russia's inquiry before any decisions are made. >> i am not going to let my client testify, the president of the united states, even if he wants to without those documents being produced if and when we find this is handed appropriately and some evidence which they can base on this phony investigation where we have them testify. we have a group of lynching mob and let them do their job. boy, we're ready to knock the heck out of you with our report.
>> on that note, let's bring in our lead off panels, robert costa and moderator washington week on pbs and our correspondent for bloomberg and the two times pulitzer prize winner of the "new york times." and the fourth estate, a year in the life of the "new york times" presently airing on showtime. and matt, i will begin with you not just -- because of what you publish tonight, talk about your reporting and more specifically andrew mccabe's possible fears in realtime of what it was he was witnessing, it turns out he for shadowed this in his resignation. >> absolutely, and of course, if you go back to last year in the aftermath of the comey firing, the white house pointing to this memo by rosenstein saying this is all about comey's handling of the clinton investigation. he was talking publicly of the
publicly going. that was out of line and that was the official white house line and the president went on nbc news and talked to lester holt and i made up my mind before i saw that memo and i was thinking of russia and what a phony made up thing that was. if you have that as your backdrop and mccabe goes into the meeting with the justice department, it's a crowded meeting. and rosenstein is telling his version of the story and he says oh, as a matter of fact, the president asked me to mention russia in the memo and he didn't think that was a good idea and i didn't do that. to mccabe as we understand it, the memo was this to write down hey, this may not have actually been about hillary clinton and there may have been some russia interests going on here. this will firing of james comey
and the question of what was the president's intent of firing comey. >> matt, i can't tell of the white board. where does this lead rod rosenstein via being the trump administration, is he in fashion or out of fashion or the same? >> well, you know, i think it is funny, i think he's sane in terms of where he's standing with the president. what's interesting our reporting shows the president's lawyers are pointing to rod rosenstein in their own defense now saying there is no way we can obstruct justice. rod rosenstein agreed with us that comey needed to go. rod rosenstein is the one that decides whether that argument has merits. a lot of circular arrows going on. >> and shannon, perhaps people
regard it as the original sin and because it is right there on video, i want to show you in our audience one more time on why he fired comey and we'll talk about it on the other side. >> i was going to fire him regardless. he made a recommendation and he's highly respected and very good guy and very smart guy and the democrats like him and the republicans like him, he made a recommendation but regardless of recommendations, i was going to fire him and knowing there was no good time to do it. when i decided to do it, i said to myself, you know, this russia thing with trump and russia is a made-up story. >> well, there you have it shannon, this russia thing and that continues to haunt and bedevil the west wing. >> there is a lot of concerns right now around this obstruction investigation based on our reporting and we are hearing from people close to the
president. there could be risk of obstruction here and not necessarily obstruction in a criminal sense, there is this issue of you can't indict a sitting president according to the justice department guidelines. obstruction in an impeachment sense, you get into interpretation and intent and if you talk into impeachment and you get into high crime of misdemeanor which is a fudgy term. there are concerns right now and we are hearing increasingly there may be some thing of this obstruction of investigation. i am hearing that more and more from the president's allies that rosenstein has actually become a key witness that oh no, this was not about russia and this was about everything else and there was a media at the white house and rosenstein was there. rosenstein is overseeing this investigation and there is a conflict and at some point the president's attorneys can raise an issue that well, if he's
conflicted here, he was a witness and now he's overseeing the investigation, i think really keep our eye on rosenstein and keep our ears out for anything of obstruction and i feel those two threats are picking up a lot now. >> bob, add to this of your reporting of what we heard of the slow motion car crash of the length of washington, d.c. and the mall. >> when you look at the president's relationship with jeff sessions. this whole precedent of james comey and the situation with the a.g., you have the president being advised to not fire sessions and not risk any obstruction at this point. he made it clear that he would like to see him gone and moving publicly and it has been public in the past and trying to push the a.g. out of office and they're trying to avoid the president forcing him out of office. the president's frustration is growing daily.
rudy giuliani is saying the him, you need to have an attorney general who can have some kind of role in the biggest issue facing your presidency which is the mueller investigation. they don't care if this is the attorney's general dream job. they want a defender on the probe. >> bob, somebody in our editorial meeting asked whether or not sessions have a laminated hand pocket of his resignation letter that he can produce at any time. you watched and i watched government for a long time, i cannot remember of this kind of public suffering of attacks from the boss. >> it is unprecedented. he never seen anything like this and any cabinet members who publicly and privately repute and would step away. there is one job as a cabinet member, you have the president's confidence or you don't. for someone to stay on, when you
talk to people close to the attorney general, he says he don't want to lobby or go back to alabama and he can't go back to the senate so he's hanging around as the president keeps on telling his friends and associates that this guy is hanging around speaking to the attorney general but he does not want to cut the cord because he does not want the responsibility to kick him out the door. >> one more highlight and that's what's happening among some on the air at fox news. shannon, this has been kind of extraordinary. it speaks to the president's latest conspiracy theory. certainly infiltrated the campaign and now we are hearing the first crack from the very loyal news organization over at fox, we'll play that and we'll talk to you on the other side. >> it was president trump himself who said number one, i didn't collude with russia but if anyone connected with my
campaign did, i want the fbi to find that out and looks to me that the fbi was doing what president trump said i want you to do. find it out. i am everyone more convinced that the fbi did exactly what my fellow citizens would want them to do when they got the information they got. >> rudy giuliani said they put an under cover fbi agent in the campaign. there is zero evidence for that. that's such an outlandish and outrageous allegation. it should not have been made. >> president trump claims that the feds spied on his campaign with an informant. the president called it spy gate. fox news can confirmed and it is not. >> let's call those very public cracks in the argument. >> it is not the first time we have seen something like this though. a theory that they throw out there is unsubstantiated. they throw these ideas out there, the president does.
for most of the american public, this all gets so confusing. it is confusing for all of us sitting here. if you are one of those people who have a family and going to school and have a job and you get bits and pieces and you may be have heard that there is a spy in the trump campaign from the president or from restlawn in i and you are not necessarily there two days or down the road. i think this is an effective strategy to muddy the water and confuse people who are trying to follow this and have busy lives. the president admitted himself that was about marketing and branding and messaging. so i mean to the extent that people are knocking it down now, it does not do much good. >> mattis, i want to start with you. you and i talked about this before, sessions and rosenstein and mueller are all going to go
to work tomorrow and all getting paychecks. with our knowledge of washington and current times, what kind of triggering device would it be if any of the three of them got a pink slip tomorrow. >> i think it would be really hard for bob mueller to get a pink slip tomorrow without going through rod rosenstein first. so you know i think all eyes are on rosenstein here. jeff sessions i mean look, he's recused from the russia's investigation. if he goes, it certainly changes the dynamics. i am not sure if it ends up with anything. these are three men who obviously decided they'll weather in an extremely unusual bit of intrusion of the white house of the department of
affairs. rod rosenstein says he dares deeply about protecting the mueller investigation and as the president likes to say, we'll see what happens. >> to robert costa and shannon and matt, thank you for starting off our broadcast. i appreciate it. >> rudy giuliani says he wants to be talking about comey and mueller but his boss and friends, his boss keeps on talking about jeff sessions. new advice giuliani keeps repeating to the president. later in the midst of a non-stop news day, a rare moment that we witnessed in the briefing room of the press secretary. a rare moment we experienced. that and more as this wednesday edition rolls along. but i'm not standing still... and with godaddy, i've made my ideas real. ♪ ♪
we know this already but there are still more news, for the president not to fire jeff sessions, taking himself out of the russia investigation. jonathan lamir reports at the associated press. on wednesday, trump asked him multiple times before about whether sessions should have been fired. quote "i don't think the president should do it and i told him so." said giuliani. that's saying a lot more. trump has not actively considered firing sessions. president trump wrote on twitter
today that he'd wished he picked somebody else for the job. president trump told session that is he should reverse in recusing himself and putting him back in charge of the investigation. the time reports that robert mueller is investigating on all of it. i am joined by jonathan lamir, white house reporter for the associated press, we welcome to our broadcast, nelson cunningham, a former prosecutor worked alongside james comey and among other greats and the general counsel under president obama. jonathan, i would like to begin with you and more elegant about this. tell me what else rudy said to you? >> good to see you. i spoke to the mayor of new york city earlier today, he did say and it is clear from his conversation of how much
president trump anger remains more than a year that jeff sessions recused himself. he was consulting a number of outside allies insiding what to do and one of them being rudy giuliani, more than not in a sense of i am going to fire the attorney general now but rather in a looking backward of should i have done it then. this is a moment that it does not seem -- in this case, by not firing sessions for three key reasons. first of all, as we know, the president is always mindful of how things played with the conservative base and that basis like jeff sessions. they think he's getting things done at the department of justice. secondly, a lot of republican senators are on capitol hill. long time colleagues have said, don't fire him and he's been loyal to you, if you oust him, we are not going to hear
hearings and the question of obstruction that would raise and for now the president is willing to put up with jeff sessions. although i would note as a final thought that rudy giuliani made it clear at his comments and at the white house that while he does not think sessions will be fired during the probe, he made no such promise after the probe. >> on that, nelson, people who don't like jeff sessions openly, at the time when sessions recused himself, took at look at it and the law and thought this guy is doing the right thing regardless of what you want to say about him, he's doing the right thing. he's taken the advice of in-house counsel. what would have happened if he unrecused himself and jumped back into all decisions regarding russia. >> well, president trump fails to understand and he keeps on failing to understand that law enforcement officials and prosecutors live under a set of
ethics and principles. their first loyalties are to those principles and ethics. jeff sessions is an appointee of president trump, he's a prosecutor and law enforcement official. he made his decision of recusal based on facts. and on the legal advice he got from ethic counsel. you can't unrecuse yourself because you can't undo the facts. he recused himself because he said he never spoken to any russians and it turned out that he spoke to many russians during the campaign. he concluded that he would be part of the story. he had to recuse himself. you can't unring that bell and therefore he was right to recuse himself. you can't go backward on those kinds of things. >> jonathan, tonight where fdr hosted churchill. lyndon johnson came to grip of taking the reign of power.
there's clearly a light on and a television on. i have just been handed this tweet by our president trump, guess what it is about. it reads and the recusal was an unforced betrayal of the president of the united states. quoting in all caps. joe digenova, former u.s. attorney, jonathan, all of those good reasons that you cited at the end of your arguments, three reasons on why we should not look for the dismissal. here we have the windmill tilting again. >> yeah, the phrase for now in terms of jeff sessions job security looms large. yes, i think this is the president more than anything blowing off some steam. he's furious of jeff sessions. sessions is one of his first allies and the first senator to endorse him. these two men used to be very
close and now they barely speak to each other. he does not want to hear jeff sessions' name, he's so angry with him and he clearly felt betrayed. he believes he was loyal to him and would do anything he asked him to do. even of questionable legality. jeff sessions here, yes, by the book, he did the right thing. that does not mean the president is not going to be angry at him. right now whether it would be rudy giuliani or other outside advisers or republicans or others in the white house. we know that could change any time no matter the legal jeopardy that we put him in. >> here you are and i am going to ask you the uncomfortable question over dinner.
what ending do you think we are in in terms of the mueller's investigation. what will end game looked like? will it be reports handed to reporters and a presentation about robert mueller and one of his deputy, what would end game looked like to you? >> perhaps in the 8th inning. >> that's further along in the game. people are already in the parking lot. >> it is, we have a couple of factors here. the last several months there is been negotiations going on between the special counsel's office and the president's office. rudy giuliani has been confirming that in the last couple of days. today he says he's been holding q&a sessions with the president to prepare for the interview. that's the last stage of a major white collar investigation like this one. you start from the outside and get the documents and you speak
to the witness and moving in closer and closer to your center and you speak to your main figures. hillary clinton's e-mail investigation ended with her interview on july 2nd and three days later, james comey, had his press release ending it. that suggests to me that we are moving towards the end and we are reaching the end of the window which mueller can put out a report and conclude his investigation without being charged with interfering with the midterms and that's another principle that all prosecutors have banged into them and don't interfere with the elections. i did a piece in political last week and this week laying out some of the ramifications of those actions and some details. >> terrific conversations kobe bryant. nelson cunningham, welcome to you and jonathan lamir, welcome back. >> it is a pleasure to be here. thank you. >> coming up for us, secretary
mike pompeo had dinner in the city this evening with the right hand man to north korean's dictator to kim jong-un. there is no press presence, these pictures were from the u.s. state department. we were not allowed to record the moment. the north korea's official is here representing the government, his name is jin young chul. making a very rare visit to new york city. imagine what that is like. we are told they dined for over an hour with interpreters, aides, and a ton of security present. they'll meet again tomorrow. as nbc news tells us it tonight. u.s. officials and outside experts see she's talks as a critical steps in terms whether to proceed with a summit on june 12th. there are a ton of hurdles
including security and logistics and the big one, north korea's nuclear weapon program. the president wrote, that the u.s. is committed to the complete, verifiable and reversible denuclearization of the peninsula. that bumps up the report nbc news is reporting, saying that it has concluded that north korea does not intend to give up its nuclear weapons any time soon. our andrea mitchell, host of andrea mitchell's reports at noon eastern time on this very network. i am interested on what you have to report. first of all, where did they eat at tonight? >> they ate at 38th and 1st avenue. >> manhattan east side. it is a former residence of a u.n. deputy mission ambassador from the u.s.
>> what can we gelinas we look at their heavily secured arrivals. what can we glean from this? >> it is so interesting. last time there was a high level of this caliber in the united states, it was october of 2000. bill clinton was considering normalizing relations with north korea. madeleine albright was there. and clinton later told us, after that they said they regretted they didn't move more quickly. because then they lost the election to the decision of the supreme court that it was george w. bush's and he had a completely different policy. they thought the moment was lost. they did not know that north korea was cheating and not fully
declaring their weapons so a lot of things are taking place. that's why they are so determined and not because of the hard liners now in having national security counsel and the state department. there is a real reason to be concerned that the north will lie and cheat and hide. there is talks of plutonium programs that we don't know underground. getting through dinner was steak and cheese and he wanted to show off his kind of food to kim yong-chol who's a very scary guy. >> he was a spy master. >> he's under sanctions and not permitted to come here. a waiver has to be granted. he's blamed for leaving the cyber attack on sony picture and he was blamed of the torpedo
sinking with 46 sailors dying. this guy has done a lot of bad things and traded weapons. if there is a chance of getting an agreement, that's the goal. it was really interesting to me that the senior state department officials talking to us of the benefit of trying to be more candid and they really never are. the president willing to stay for more than a day in singapore. it is the first time they really said that. staying more than a day because he want to see his dreams being made. again, they're elevating the expectations for what could take place and putting more pressure on the north koreans to comply. they expect a letter did come with this man from north korea in response to the letter that the president sent that letter cancelling the summit as last thursday. and why, ten reporters sitting around, you have been through many of these background
briefings. unfortunately, we cannot say who the person is. what changed? this guy seems to open up a little bit. he says, well, the letter back last week. he said i have never seen a letter like that before. i think it is the most forward letter we have seen and they really screw themselves. >> if you want to find out what happens tonight on the east side of manhattan, you ask nbc's andrea mitchell. >> thank you for staying late with us. fantastic to see you too always. coming up, an expert that weighs in that separates us from one another on a daily basis, it is literally right under our noses on a daily basis. we are back with our former fbi special agent right after this.
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do i have social skills? i don't know. i have social media, that's for sure. i don't know about skills but i have a lot of media. >> the president certainly knows how to use social media to get his message. he's using of his so-called spygate allegation of no proof. trump is eroding public trusts and institution and undermining the idea of objective truth and sowing widespread suspicion. "the american electorates remained undivided. here to talk about it is clint walt. this new book full title is "messing with the enemy,
surviving in the social media world with hackers terrorists and fake news." welcome my friend, we hope a whole lot of people pick this up and take it home, how russians know that we are susceptible and how did they know they can walk in here electronically and take advantage of it. how do they do that? how did they know? >> they perfected on their own people first.
the russian people are the ones most subjected to this information system. they learned long ago that the only thing worst of no information is too much information. this is how they went from the soviet union where they controlled everything to russia and they annihilate you with so much information that you can't tell from facts or fictions. infiltrate the audiences by looking like and talking like the audience that you want to influence. that's why those troll farms, they talk like americans. they allowed you to nudge the audience in the direction that you want. what we need to look at now and we talked a lot about the russians of the 2018, the russians. the americans are what we have to worry about today. i see far more american organizations, trolling as service.
corporations with a lot of our data and artificial intelligence can do this much faster and to a more devastating effect and so when the political campaign has come around in 2018 and 2020, they're all copying this play book and you were talking about the new york times article. he's using that play book and it is not russia doing it. >> what's the gap between what we should be doing and what we are actually doing. >> right. so there is two parts. really what government and social media companies need to do is determine the lanes on the road, like who is going to do what. on the government side protecting our elections are critical. i want to see information consumer reports which shows up in your social media feed and
your internet search engine cls gives you a rating for the information over time. just like when you look at it. it is a nutrition level so a consumer knows what they're clicking on. you click an outlet that's shared to you by somebody that you trust, they don't know where that information is coming from. it helps them having information so they can make their own decision about it. >> when you were a cadet, you were taught leadership and warfare and history. i am guessing knowing a little bit about when you graduated, you were not taught twitter and instagram and facebook? >> yeah, it was interesting when i showed up at the west point, we had e-mails in 1981. we were the first people with e-mails and i was the first class with a colored monitor. by the time we graduated we had internet coming for the first time and we got the first gps hooked up, technologically innovated and cameras. that all happened in 10 or 11 years.
you fast forward 15 or 20 more. we have gone from where the internet brought everybody together and social media has torn everybody apart because you can conpartmentalize and play to their biases. separate them in a one to one way. we see the divisions. we talk about russians messing with our elections. their greatest key was to unify the right audience stretching from france, germany and the united states and canada as a mobilizer against democracy worldwide. they don't command it, they unified in such a way becoming a connected tissue to mobilize. >> we'll be talking about this book a lot here, we get to talk to clint watts for all the wrong reasons of the attack being perpetrated in our country. what a great pleasure and good luck to this. we'll talk about it some more. coming up in a room where
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whatever your opinions about the deadly epidemic of school shootings in this country and the response or a lack of it by your government, you are of course entitled to that opinion. and this is not about that. this next item has to do with a rare moment in the white house briefing room today about school shootings. per usual, today the questions were scattered all over in terms of topics from russia to nafta to roseanne. then came a genuinely unusual moment. the press secretary sarah huckabee sanders took a question from a young journalist who was in attendance today, a kid. his name is benjie shacroon. he is 13 years old and he is affiliated with "time" magazine for kids.
his question was about feeling safe at school. >> we recently had a lockdown. one thing that affects other students mental health is the worry about the fact that we, all our friends could get shot at school. specifically, can you tell me what the administration has done and will do to prevent these senseless tragedies? >> i think that as a kid, and certainly as a parent, there is nothing that could be more terrifying for a kid to go to school and not feel safe. so, i'm sorry that you feel that way. this administration takes it seriously and the school safety commission that the president convened is meeting this week, again an official meeting to discuss the best ways forward and how we can do every single thing within our power to protect kids in our schools and to make them feel safe and make their parents feel good about dropping them off. >> again, that question from a 13-year-old today. and again, say what you will about the answer and plenty of people did, but in that room where falsehoods are so casually tossed about and where drama is
so often false and for effect, it struck us as a brief and very rare moment of genuine emotion. coming up after our next break, have you ever heard of the good lord recommending a french-made three engine transcontinental private jet as the best possible way of spreading the good word? well, we hadn't either, but you will likely want to see our final story here tonight when we continue.
the last thing before we go tonight appears to be proof at long last of that old phrase, the lord works in mysterious ways. my friends, who among us would say no to a three-engine french-made falcon 7 x private jet with a range of over 6000 miles? after all, it's the same model jet that bill gates uses to get around the world. separate question. who among us has been told to buy one by the good lord above? well, for one, a televangelist from louisiana who says after his three other airplanes, god now wants him to fly in this $54 million plane and he's asking his followers to pay for it. tom costello covers aviation and not faith for nbc news, but has
tonight's final story which admittedly combines a little bit of both. >> talking about aircraft. you know i've own three different jets in my life and used them and just burning them up for the lord jesus christ. >> televangelist jesse duplantis says god himself told him it's time for an upgrade. >> he said i want you to believe me for a falcon 7 x so i said okay. >> reporter: a falcon 7 jet like this one to preach to more people around the world. and he's asking his followers for the $54 million. >> i really believe that if jesus was physically on the earth today, he wouldn't be riding a donkey. >> reporter: from his louisiana headquarters, he is among the group of televangelists that say their wealth is god's will. >> this preys on the poorest people that want and need money badly. they are told if they give money god is going to bless them 100 fold. >> reporter: he lives in a 35,000 foot square mansion tax free.
>> he's asking everybody who has less than he has to get this jet. i don't get that. >> reporter: fellow televangelist kenneth copeland bought a $36 million gulfstream 5 jet. >> praise god. >> reporter: the tonight on "all in." >> the fbi did exactly what my fellow citizens would want them to do. >> another conspiracy theory collapses. >> that is such an outlandish allegation. >> as the president humiliates jeff sessions. >> the attorney general made a