tv All In With Chris Hayes MSNBC August 23, 2018 5:00pm-6:00pm PDT
trump himself spent his life building. to quote the character in godfather 2, this is the business he chose. and that's "hardball" for now. thanks for being with us. "all in with chris hayes" starts right now. tonight on "all in.." >> i've had many friends involved in this stuff. it's called flipping and almost ought to be illegal. >> the president rails against flipping. > i know all about flipping, for 30, 40 years i've been watching fl flippers. >> as his former fixer tries to cooperate with the mule ter probe. >> are we good? >> then -- >> i need to open up a company for the transfer of all of that info regarding our friend davided. >> our friend david who publishes the "national enquirer" granted immunity in the cohen case. plus. >> i don't know how you can impeach somebody who has done a great job. >> donald trump openly addressing impeachment. >> i think impeachment would be totally horrible. >> and the president redoubles
his attacks on his own attorney general. >> he never took control of the justice department, jeff sessions. never took control of the justice department. >> with new support from certain republican senators. >> after the election, i think there will be some serious discussions about a new attorney general. >> when "all in" starts right now. good evening from new york. i'm chris hayes. today donald trump sounding more like some sort of mafia copo than the president of the united states went on television and railed against the rats. suspect who's flip to cooperate with law enforcement. he said is the whole practice should perhaps itself be illegal and tonight, we are reminded again just why it is the president feels so strongly about this matter. breaking news from the "associated press" that xbz of the "national enquirer" the supermarket tabloid kept in their offices a safe vault filled with documents on hush money payments it made for and
damaging stories it killed about one donald trump. the man who reportedly kept that safe was just granted immunity for cooperating with law enforcement. a source telling nbc news that david pecker, ceo of the parent company america media, inc. was granted immunity for providing ins in the probe of cohen. according to other outlets, the editor-in-chief for the enquirer dylan howard got a similar deal. they report the two the men fearful the documents might be used against ami removed them from the safe in the weeks before the president's inauguration. it's unclear whether the documents have been destroyed or moved to a location known to fewer people. according to prosecutors, picker and howard both played a role in the campaign finance violations to which cohen pleaded guilty this week. crimes that he, of course, says that the president of the united states directed him to carry out. it was picker and howard who paid off karen mcdougal to cover
up her allegation of affair with then candidate trump and tipped off cohen when stormy daniels was preparing to going public with her allegation just before the election. allegedly, ami first made an arrangement with the president long before that. according to the charging documents all the way back in august 2015, at the being of the trump campaign in coordination with cohen and one or more members of the campaign, picker identified as chairman one, offered to help deal with negative stories about individual relationships with women by among other things assisting the campaign in identifying such stories so they could be purchased and publication avoided. individual 1 is, of course, donald j. trump. it was almost a full year before the deal we know about with karen mcdougal. and on the secret audiotape they refer to picker directly calling him our friend david. >> i need to open up a company
for the transfer of all of that info regarding our friend david you know, so that i'm going to do that right away. >> give it to me. >> i've spoken to alan weisselberg how to set the whole thing up with funding. yes. and it's all the stuff because you never know where he's going to be. >> maybe he gets hit by a truck. >> i'm all over that. >> that may not be the only audio evidence of the president's role notice scheme. according to "the new york times," dylan howard was known to have a recording device in his office. michael cohen has directly implicated the president in one of the two separate investigations currently under way into separate criminal conspiracies to help get him elected. cohen joins a growing number of the president's associate who have flipped, rick gates, george
papadopoulos, michael flynn, national security adviser on the campaign trail and inside the white house. it's no wonder the president doesn't think highly of, quote unquote, flippers. >> this whole thing about flipping they call it, i know all about flipping. for 30, 40 years i've been watching flippers. everything is wonderful and then they get ten years in jail and flip on whoever the next highest one is or as high as you can go. it almost ought to be outlawed. it's not fair. if somebody's going to spend five years like michael cohen or 10 or 15 years in jail because of a taxicab industry because he defrauded some bank, if you can say something bad about donald trump and you go down to two or three years, which is the deal he made, in all fairness to him, if most people are going to do that. i've seen it many times. i've had many friends involved in this stuff. it's called flipping and almost ought to be illegal. >> investigative reporter tom winter joins me now. i want to start with something
the president said. he's not correct. we don't know what they would have recommended beforehand in terms of sentence and what heal recommend now. there's no tangible reduction in prison time becaused on his plea. >> exactly right. ultimately it could have been 65 years that the judge can sentence him consecutively to all the charges. but chris, that wouldn't happen here. we're not talking about violent charges or somebody who has a history of criminal behavior that he's been charged with. we don't know what it would have been that ultimately michael cohen have been sentenced if this went to trial. >> you were one of the reporters today that got this story that picker has immunity for cooperation. what do we know about that. >> what's the context? >> we have to remember what was going on up to the moment cohen and his attorney wanted to cooperate. this was an investigation that was heading toward indictment. and if michael cohen didn't cooperate, they would have to go to trial. so when you're preparing a case and you're getting ready to go to trial, you want to line up
witnesses. we saw it in the manafort trial where there were a number of people that had use immunity testimony that may be different than here. it's somebody who can say, i can give you 100% of the story of what happened but 1% might lead to me getting into trouble. i want immunity from that. when you look at this particular instance, if david pecker was able to provide them or fill in the gaps of things they didn't know or explain some of the evidence they seized from michael cohen, that would be a situation here where he -- it wouldn't be flipping because he's not been charged with anything. it just would have been his testimony would be useful to them. >> do we know what -- if picker spent time with investigators in the southern district of new york talking to them? >> presumably he spent time talking with them. what we don't know is whether or not that was in front of a grand jury. it may not in applicable. we don't know how often. right now some of the details as far as his interaction with federal investigators and prosecutors we're missing out on
a big part of the story. part of that is because he's pled guilty. we're not going to hear or see this in court filings. >> what about michael cohen? very strange. everyone still is trying to piece together what happened. he comes into federal court, pleads guilty, he doesn't have a sort of existing cooperation agreement. right? >> right. >> we don't know what if he's not talking to mueller, one of his lawyers is out talking to everyone. what do you know about michael cohen? >> a couple things that i think that we can safely say at this point based on conversations i've had. as it relates to michael cohen getting charged with further crimes within the southern district of new york, a specific federal jurisdiction here in new york, i think that's done. now, if michael cohen goes out tonight and commits a federal crime, that's a separate story entirely. i think as far as other districts, say that special counsel mueller wants to bring charges against him in the washington, d.c. district or eastern district of virginia as we saw with paul manafort, that's something definitely on the table. there's nothing in the plea agreement that precludes future
charges in other jurisdictions. the other thing is, there is no cooperation agreement here and people are saying, why would prosecutors do that. >> why would people do that? because the next person in line he could testify against would be the president. and than office right now, the ruling. >> not indict him. >> they've got this case they built. if individual one was someone else, that's the next that would happen would be indictment of person 1 because that person managed to win the election, he will not be indicted. >> exactly. it could be donald trump, you, me, just because they're in the office -- if you hold the title of president, you're not getting indicted. that would have been where his cooperation -- they would have likely secured that cooperation because they wanted to tie it to his plea agreement sfleept legal analyst joyce vance, former federal prosecutor and glen kirchner. joyce, let me start with you with the president's feelings
about flipping. it's remarkable to hear the president of the united states speak that way. as a former u.s. attorney, what did you think? >> the president talks about flipping and he says it would be so easy to get someone to say something bad about trump. but that's not what the process involves. the process involves people who have committed crimes who come in and talk to prosecutors and make a decisioning that admittedly in exchange for leniency in their own case they're going to tell the truth. and prosecutors don't take the word of these criminals at face value. they corroborate it every step of the way bass they know ultimately, they may have to put that person in front of a jury and convince a jury they're telling it the truth. so far from accepting anyone who comes in at face value who say anything bad about someone else in this case trump, anything that any of these witnesses have to say will be fully tested. it will be taken with a grain of salt at the start. they're look all along the way
to see if that person is being truthful before anything is made of it for purposes of an indictment or any other usage. >> glen, what do you make of what tom winter just said. >> sdny built this case thinking they might have to take it to trial and gave immunity to picker and maybe other people. now it's all sitting there because one person pleaded guilty and the other person that would be charged is the president of the united states. >> well, first of all, chris, i actually believe that there is a narrow pathway to indicting a sitting president even though the olc, office of legal council memo has announced the department of justice will not do that, you know, the individual who actually participated in drafting that memo kneel cattal, the acting solicitor general himself opined that an exception could be applied for to the deputy attorney general if bob mueller saw fit to apply for that exception. then the deputy attorney general would have to make a decision. to answer your question, you
know, mr. picker being granted immunity is another very bad sign for the president because immunity is being granted for one of three reasons. either david pecker having a privilege against self-incrimination can perhaps provide incriminating information about the president or he can provide corroborating information about the story michael corner has provided or my money's on number three which is both. so again, i think this is another sort of difficult development for the president. >> we should say that picker ran ami as essentially a sort of adjunct almost to the trump campaign. these are some of their covers politico magazine put together in 2016 about hillary clinton. you can see what they're -- you know are, where their perspective was. they were very, very strongly in the trump camp. do you see, joyce, what do you see next in this sdny part of the story?
>> the sdny part of the story still has a lot of room left to grow because one of the most interesting aspects of this story now that it involves david pecker is this vault full of information he had. hard to believe he had a vault full of information that didn't come into play in other areas. and so we'll see whether this story branches out. it's interesting to remember that the original john edwards stories were tabloid stories. and that grew of course, into that prosecution. there could be a lot more here. interesting to speculate. we don't know yet. >> glen, do you think we will inevitably see any of this information, will it see the light of day given what tom just said about essentially a kind of pause on the basic building of that case around michael cohen? >> you know, it may see the light of day. i know we've all observed that michael cohen entered into a noncooperation agreement. but you know, chris, it's not at
all unusual that just as prosecutors will return a series of indictments and the second one is called a superseding indictment, we also not infrequently enter into superseding plea agreements. so michael cohen's first plea agreement as we've seen is a noncooperation agreement but i suspect that you may see another plea agreement with michael cohen that broadens his sort of crimes or offenses and that may well be a cooperation agreement. >> all right. joyce vance and glen, thanks to you both. let's turn to congressman denny heck, a member of the house intelligence committee. i'll start with you on this. are you confident that michael cohen told you the truth when he was before your committee? >> no, not at all. he was not in his candid phase when he came before us i don't think. i think he is now. it would be instructive and fascinating have him back. i would like to think we would be able to at some point. >> the president said many things in an interview.
he talked about impeachment, the first time i've heard him speculate about that eventuality. take a listen. >> if the democrats take back power, do you believe they will try to impeach you? >> well, you know, i guess it's thing like high crimes. i don't know how you can impeach somebody has done a great job. if i ever got impeached, i think the market would crash. i think everybody would be very poor. because without this thinking, you would see -- you would see numbers that you wouldn't believe in reverse. >> what do you think of that? >> well, i'm going to take offense on vice president pence's behalf, chris. he would ascend to the presidency and i have more confidence in him evidently than his own president does. >> that's well played, congressman. >> thank you. there are way more republicans talking about impeachment than there are democrats. reason is they lack a policy agenda. they want to have there conversation out there because i've yet to hear their plan for
lowering prescription drug prices or protecting people who have pre-existing conditions or increasing our investment in infrastructure or getting americans a real wage increase which nonsalaried employees are not getting. so they would rather talk about impeachment. most of us believe that we ought to allow director mueller to conclude his work before that even becomes a serious conversation but i'll tell you this, chris, i think the walls are closing in on president trump. as of tuesday, august 21st, we can officially mark it as the most corrupt administration in modern history. i think that's a matter of fact. i don't think that's a subjective evaluation or interpretation of the number of criminal indictments and convictions at the felony level. i actually think the president ought to start having a conversation with his god and his family and himself about resigning. >> do you think there are other people who think that way? >> in this country other people think he ought to be having that conversation? >> there are tens of million who's think that way. is there anyone on capitol hill
who is not a democrat who thinks that privately? >> so, a year ago april, i sat said on this network i believe there were people going to go to jail and there were a lot of people that looked askance at me and i first made this statement on this network in april of this year that he ought to start having ha conversation. the truth is, if compare where we were then with where we are now, we're doing nothing but heading in that direction. so as of today, probably not. as of two, three, four, six months from now, yeah, there will be a lot of people having that conversation. >> you sit on the house intelligence committee chaired by devin nunes. what are you going to getting up to to counter program what's happening in the news once you're back in session after labor day? >> i don't understand the question, chris. you mean as it relates to the continuing russian investigation? >> what i mean is that devin nunes has very sort of expertly guided a kind of counter
investigation via your committee often. as a means of essentially counter programming the news coming out of the russia investigation. i wonder what you think about, what is going to be on the slate for new that committee when you're back in september? >> well, we have continued our investigation where we have been able to. you can find an open sources that we have interviewed several people, notably george papadopoulos's wife and others. we had christopher wiley back, the gentleman who was at cambridge analytica. but the truth of the matter is what congress ought to be focused on when we get back is passing a budget and not closing down the federal government as the president threatened to do over a failure for congress to an appropriate the funds to bid the border wall which he campaigned on would be 100% paid for by the government of mexico. >> denny heck, thank you. coming up with guilty verdicts, guilty pleas closing in, the president lashes out at the doj.
jeff sessions is having none of it. what happens if the president fires the ag. those stories in two minutes. the fact is, there are over ninety-six hundred roads named "park" in the u.s. it's america's most popular street name. but allstate agents know that's where the similarity stops. if you're on park street in reno, nevada, the high winds of the washoe zephyr could damage your siding. and that's very different than living on park ave in sheboygan, wisconsin, where ice dams could cause water damage. but no matter what park you live on, one of 10,000 local allstate agents knows yours. now that you know the truth, are you in good hands?
stay with their families until their 40's. as i've said, i wanted to stay unininvolved but when everybody sees what's going on in the justice department, i always put justice now with quotes, it's a very, very sad day. jeff sessions recused himself which he shouldn't have done or he should have told me. even my enemies say that jeff sessions should have told you that he was going to recuse himself and then you wouldn't have put him in. he took the job and then he said i'm going to recuse myself. i said what kind of a man is this and by the way, he was on the campaign. you know, the only reason i gave him the job because i felt loyalty. he was an original supporter. >> that interview from this morning is just the latest example of the president complaining about his attorney general. almost from the moment jeff sessions recused himself which
he did we should say under some pressure after he told some untruths under oath to the senate. from the moment he recuses himself from the doj's investigation into trump and russia, the president began questioning his loyalty. according to reports, he even discussed the possibility of replacing him. that was last summer when sessions had the support of senate colleagues. chuck grassley tweeted at the time there was "no way he would have time to confirm another attorney general," and lindsey graham famously said there would be holy hell to pay if trump fired sessions. what a difference a year makes because today chuck grassley told bloomberg i do have the time for hearings on nominees and lindsey graham said this. >> the president's entitled to attorney general he has faith in. somebody that's qualified for the job. and i think there will come a time sooner rather than later where it will be time to have a new face and a fresh voice at the department of justice.
and after the election, i think there will be some serious discussions about a new attorney general. >> jeff sessions then snapped back at his colleagues and his boss in a rare public statement basically issued out of nowhere "while i am attorney general, the actions of the department of justice will not be improperly influenced by political considerations." talk about what exactly would happen if the president did fire sessions, i'm joined by elliott williams, former deputy assistant attorney general at the justice department and chris lu, former white house capital secretary and assistant to president obama. chris, on this relationship between these two men which is obviously abysmal, what is going on here? >> i don't know what's going on. this was a remarkable statement by sessions today, a statement of independence as well as a defense of career prosecutors. it's remarkable that only donald trump could make us feel sorry for jeff sessions. and the irony of all this is
that sessions is in lock step with him on things like immigration, criminal justice reform, civil rights. but sessions has committed the mortal sin of being disloyal in the eyes of the president. it comes down to not protecting trump. and that's not the role of the attorney general. he's the attorney general of the united states, not the president's personal attorney. and what is remarkable is the statements that you played from people like lynn say graham or chuck grassley who really are not coming to sessions' defense and that's troubling on a lot of levels. >> to me elliott, that's the green light. that makes me think it's going to happen at some point in the next few months. the question to you, let's say tomorrow he fires sessions. what happens next? >> so certainly rod rosenstein is the number two at the justice department. under the success woes necessarily be the attorney general. but it's complicated. >> that's not going to happen. >> because the president --
there's house members calling for impeachment of rosenstein. so the president has the authority under the vacancy reform act which governs all this to install an acting attorney general. that person can be anyone who has been confirmed by the senate for something else. so that could be one of the current u.s. attorneys it could be one of the current assistant attorneys general at the justice department. it could even be another cabinet member. could you have attorney general betsy key vos, god help us if that happens. and after that, it creates an cascade of potentially legal problems of, does the individual nominated have a potential conflict of interest, for instance, if someone has worked for or with a bank under investigation, did threw have a conflict of interest, right. >> does the president -- the president has already said he wants to end a major investigation of him and his dealings. is that a conflict right there. all kinds of stuff. when we worked for sally yates at the time when she was acting, there's only a few positions in
the government that can sign fisa warrants. when you put an acting individual in, you know, you actually take some of the power away every that individual to do their job. if it's not someone like rod rosenstein. it just creates a mess and it's of the president's own doing. > just to follow quickly, that person because sessions is recused, that person would be the person robert mueller would start reporting to. betsy devos or some u.s. attorney people widely trusted. >> right now, rod rosenstein has authority over the investigation. just because jeff sessions is recused himself which caused this mess in the first place. the new attorney general would most likely take that over which again, if it's someone that the president wants who presumably is someone going to do the president's bidding because of the loyalty point you were making, it's going to cause further trouble. >> that will be a big deal. >> right. >> sarah huckabee sanders was asked yesterday about a pardon
for manafort and said that hasn't been discussed. the president's own criminal attorney rudy giuliani said yes, we have discussed it today and told him basically wait till the mueller investigation is over. what does it mean to have the president dangling this essentially, chris. >> well, look, i think it's troubling from the rule of law perspective. we've seen when the president does this, he is contemplating it. fortunately there are some guardrails still left in the white house. the more important guardrail has to be on capitol hill. we saw this play out with the revocation of security clearances. paul ryan saying the president would never do this. these half hearted disapprovals aren't enough. so unless people on the hill forcefully say a pardon for manafort or anyone else who might be a potential witness would be out of bounds, you'll continue to have speculation and the president will continue to think about it. >> but senate republicans save
for jeff flake and one or two other people whose careers are over, senate republicans have not bucked the president. even now, if you see two of jeff sessions' former colleagues in the senate are now coming for his head pretty much. until we start seeing some desire or some appetite in the united states congress, republicans for going after the president, no one is going to hold anyone accountable. >> they have kept sessions in his job. grassley and his colleagues have kept sessions in his jobben an appeared to give him the green light to go forward. on the parred question, it's interesting the president didn't talk to the pardon attorney or an attorney but his own personal attorney. thanks for making the time. >> thanks a lot. does michael cope's plea agreement jeopardize the trump organization? the legal exposure of the president's business and the trump kids right after this.
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interesting the president didn't trump kids right after thi in the wake of michael cohen's plea deal, there's been a lot of discussion about president trump's possible personal legal jeopardy and whether a sitting president is insulated from indictment or prosecution by the fact that he is the president. we do know with some certainty who would not be so insulated, officers and employees of the president's company, the trump organization if it had participated in any illegal scheme. if you listen carefully, the prosecutor describing how michael cohen sought reimbursement for his hush money payments, that prosecutor is talking about the trump organization which he refers to simply as the candidate's company. >> mr. cohen sought reimbursement for that money by
submitting invoices to the candidate's company which were untrue and false. they indicated that the reimbursement was for services rendered for the year 2017 when in fact, those inadvices were a sham. he provided no legal services for the year 2017 and it was simply a means to obtain reimbursement for the unlawful campaign contribution. >> court document detailingal cohen's plea deal repeatedly refers to the company and xbz at the company. the company is the trump organization. it is unclear exactly who the executives are but among the top tier executives at the trump org, donald trump jr. and eric trump are executive vice presidents. msnbc political analyst david farenthold is covering president trump's businesses and conflicts of interest. his latest piece details how cohen's an apparent interest in cooperating could implicate the trump org and the trump
organization. they show up in a filing, a plea deal in federal court which is not a great thing to happen to a company. >> that's right. we don't know the two executives are. the top of the trump organization is a pretty narrow band. the two brothers and alan weisselberg. those are the three that run the company, the only people with any real authority over its money. we don't know who the two the executives are. presumably the southern district of new york knows and michael cohen knows. there's indications in the plea agreement there's quotes from e-mails within the trump organization. they've interviewed trump organization people and gotten trump organization documents. the question for me is what they do with those things. is the michael cohen plea the end of this or will they try to prove the trump organization knew it was participating in something illegal. >> alan weisselberg is a key figure. there was reporting he had been called in to testify before a grand jury.
we don't have independent confirmation. he shows up in the michael cohen, donald trump conversation where they say, he says i'll talk to alan weisselberg. >> that's right. there's a couple figures. one of the things about donald trump we now know is that he liked to commingle all the parts of his empire, his family, his business, his charity and whether he got into politics it, he added his campaign. there were just a couple figures that were central to all of those commingled parts. alan weisselberg is probably the most important, more important than eric or don junior because they didn't have all the executive responsibility. alan weisselberg was the man through whom all the money orders flowed, he cut the charity and foundation checks and cut all the big collection for the company. if you want to understand what donald trump had done in business, nobody knows it better than alan weisselberg. >> there's this other investigation being headed up by the state attorney general of new york, barb barb underwood. yesterday the state had subpoenaed michael cohen in the
trump foundation probe. you report cohen personally called the agency to see how he could help according to an official familiar with the call. what's the subject that have investigation. >> so as viewers might know, the trump foundation this charity was the subject of a long running investigation by the new york attorney general which produced in june a lawsuit, a civil lawsuit by the state against donald trump, his children and the trump foundation alleging that beak the foundation had been breaking the law for years and years. that was a civil suit. the point of this investigation by the cuomo administration sort of in concert with the state ag to see if there could be state criminal charges. there seem to be more bureaucratic hoops to get over. it seems a case better made on the federal level. that's the idea is there a criminal violation at the state level related to the trump organization. >> thanks for your time tonight. the republicans scramble to avoid talking or even acknowledging the manafort and
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not quite mississippi red but quite quite red. and there is a democrat running for that congressional seat. his name is aman, a palestinian mexican-american and he's campaigning on medicare for all and against income inequality. good luck with that except for some reason, the cook political report this week changed that race rating from solid republican to lean republican. and why would that be you might ask? because california's 50th is congressman duncan hunter's district and cun duncan hunter is having a really bad week. >> lock him up. >> good morning. >> you disgraced the u.s. military and veterans. >> that's thing 2 in 60 seconds.
hunter as its congress man. first senior and then junior. you may remember duncan hunter junior as the vaping congressman or the offended by art congressman who pulled down a high schooler's award winning painting from a wall on capitol hill. this week duncan hunter junior is the indict congressman, one of a couple. he and his wife allegedly used campaign funds for personal expenses including $600 to buy an airline seat for the family's pet rabbit. today they had to appear in federal court in san diego. there was a welcome committee waiting for them outside. >> lock him up. you're lying. you disgraced the u.s. military and veterans. >> you're a disgrace! >> good morning, good morning. >> how do you feel today? >> i feel good. >> today he stepped down from his committees but says he's
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now with 2 times more geographic detail than other dna tests. order your kit at ancestrydna.com on the day donald trump's former campaign manager was found guilty on eight felony counts and his personal attorney/fixer pled guilty to criminal charges, the channel we call trump tv ran a live trump rally in its entirety. >> tell me what you thought of
the president's remarks in light of everything that's happened today in the news? >> well, he was on his game. frankly more than i've seen him. he clearly loves what he's doing still. this is an unflappable man. >> crushing it! it's been a weird week at trump tv faced with unquestionably awful headlines, the network veered from furiously trying to spin the bad news away with trying to distract viewers with a story about a school in san francisco dropping dits dress code. attempts at damage control liking there interview with the president this morning have gone awry when the president admitted he did in fact pay off two women who keep their stories of affairs with him secret. >> did you know about the payments? >> later on i knew. they weren't taken out of campaign finance. that's a much bigger thing. did they come out of the campaign. they didn't. they came from me. >> that's him corroborating what michael cohen basically said in federal court about the crime.
last night trump tv's efforts took a gross and ugly turn with a fearmongering, quote unquote, exclusive segment about efforts by the south african government attempting to address historical racial inequity by ex-appropriating the land of some white farmers. the issue is complicate and thorny but seized on by white nationalists and neo-nazis and the international alt-right who have take it on railing against what they call white genocide. yesterday, their message about white genocide travelled from white nationalist anderson supremacists to alex jones who warned of whites being wiped out in africa to you'll never guess where, trump tv where the network's coverage was being watched by the president who tweeted what he claimed was the large scale killing of south african farmers. it was the first time trump tweeted the word africa as president and promptly earned praise from none other than david duke. we come back, as trump tv tries
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do you have any reaction from the cohen/manafort news from yesterday? do you think it will affect the mid-terms? >> you still support mueller, right? >> because that's on tape you can see he was miming the whole time. >> the silence is pretty representative of how republicans are responding to the no good, very bad week. paul ryan refused to answer questions yesterday that the guilty plea. all we've got general a statement from the spokesperson.
it is currently available at this point. it was in federal court some of the republicans have been trying distance themselves from the news. saying i don't think it implicates him at all saying i don't think the president should be held responsible for the actions of the people he's trusted and being named as co-conspirator as mere speculation. >> what about him being named as a co-conspirator? >> oh, all we know about it is that he's pled guilty and everything else that you're asking me is speculation. and i don't think i should be speculating. >> joining me now, assistant professor from harvard university's school of government and msnbc contributor of business insider. if you are asking me to give advice, morality aside, ethics aside, history aside, just pure
amoral, there's just no choice. the political incentives are you stick with trump no matter what. it doesn't matter if they find way more criminal wrongdoing. >> not only that but you would do it in this way. you don't want to break this way because you make him mad and you get infighting in the party. whatever embarrassing statements about talking about why it is not a problem end up looking stupid. so mitch mcconnell has been good at his job in terms of leading the conference in a way that's strategic. it was to say nothing and he did it. >> the problem for everyone else is that mcconnell can do that but everyone else has to run for re-election and it is much harder for them to do that. >> right. >> and i think they're towing the line between trying to figure out what is that it trump wants, the base wants, and then what their own constituents
want. they'll say it doesn't matter because my constituents want it. as opposed to i'm going the path that is the right path, the moral path, the path of least resistance. in some cases as we're seeing, silence may be the best medicine. >> there's the that for the house republicans in the hillary district, the top 20 targeted, this was reported in the "new york times." republicans have been urged to speak out. nancy pelosi used to say this. you want to bash me, bash me all you want. if that helps you win a seat in nebraska, i'm all for it. >> to some extent i don't think it matters what these people say at a given time. you can see it in the 28 polls have moved. the poll numbers barely moved a point or two higher than six or
eight months ago. the congressional ballot moves up and down. no cheer trend. how could you not have a strong opinion already about donald trump? even though this is bombshell information. how could you, if this is something you care about, how could you not have formed a negative view about him? in a large way, this election, and people's attitudes are baking the cake. i think the thing for democrats is the very first numbers were during the efforts to repeal the health care law. so that's a good thing to remind people about. but everyone is very aware of what donald trump's extremely crooked connections and this gives us more details about it. did you really learn something that would change your views at the margins? so vote letters appear about this. i think these members of congress, like in 2010. democrats really tried customize themselves, separate themselves from president obama. it didn't help at all. >> increasingly what we see with
politics, it has been nationalized along two major coalitions in the country. it becomes harder and harder to distinguish yourself away from what's happening at the white house. >> right. i do think that at some point, donald trump does have, he has a floor and a ceiling. so there's a certain cross section of the country that will support him no matter what he says or does. and we know who he is. at this point. so there's no real shocking information that will break, that will cause people the rip their hair out and say, reconsider. what we do have to think about is what will motivate people at the polls and getting people the turn out. and one thing don't want to do is be associated with people retweeting white supremacist talking points or associated with corruption. particularly when he ran on a platform of draining the swamp and getting corruption out of washington. those things motivate people the
turn out in sponsor in anger. and particularly as mid-terms come up, as these special elections come up, people want to distance themselves going forward. >> and i think she points at something that's precise lay problem for exactly those house republicans. that the president thinks his best best is increased white racial grievance politics. like the criminality of immigrants. that's probably the worst thing for the people in those districts. i think the virginia and new jersey races, sort of in that same vein. they lost but maybe that was their best available strategy. >> the fear, if you're someone like that in new jersey, if you
tick off the trump people and they don't come out and then you're nowhere near. and there are some of those people in your district, thank you both for being with me. when robert mueller and the special counsel's office that he runs, when they indicted the internet research agency, when they indicted that russian government controlled propaganda and disinformation mill that was being run out of st. petersburg in russia, that indictment was initially brought under the auspices of the special counsel's office. but fairly quickly, the special counsel handed it off so that case against all those employees of the internet research agency and the russian oligarch close to putin who ran that entity, that case is now mostly being