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tv   Deadline White House  MSNBC  September 11, 2018 1:00pm-2:00pm PDT

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ali had to run to catch a last-minute flight. he's going to be in wilmington, north carolina, tomorrow. please do join him and all of us at msnbc as we follow this zo . storm. in the meantime, "deadline white house with nicolle wallace" starts right now. hi, everyone. it's 4:00 in washington. donald trump is facing two monumental tests as his presidency is racked with the crisis of confidence from within. some of the lowest approval ratings of his job performance since taking office. a category 4 hurricane is hurdling toward the carolinas where mandatory evacuations are under way. the storm is expected to make landfall thursday night with tropical-storm-force winds battering the area by thursday morning. the president's record on hurricane response, uneven at best. a deadly hurricane in puerto rico almost exactly one year ago, revealed that even natural disasters are processed by this
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president as political undertakings that revolve around his ego, and his whims. the solemn anniversary of september 11th is also fraught with land mines. for a president who has struggled to fill the role of consoler in chief. today, the president didn't skip a beat in his war on his own justice department. that was the focus of his first comments of the day on twitter. before he addressed either the americans in harm's way from the hurricane, or the victims of 9/11. we will cover it all. we start with the category 4 hurricane. and my friend, al roker. al, what do people need to know and how much time do they have at this hour to make a plan? >> well, nicolle, the time is counting down. so that's one thing p. the second thing people need to know, they don't need to pay attention to the category, whether it's a 3 or a 4, this thing is going to be dangerous and it's going to linger and it's going to cause massive flooding. so, first off, category 4 storm,
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we'll start off with that. 845 miles east-southeast of cape hatteras. 130-mile-per-hour winds. moving west-northwest, faster, at 17 miles per hour. we'll get an update at 5k fr:00m the national hurricane center. the models each run have been changing when we think there's going to be landfall. right now, best guesstimate as a category 3 storm making landfall friday around 8:00 a.m. but that could go either way. six hours in either direction. so we're going to have to continue to watch this. everybody to the north and east of the eye of the storm, when it comes onshore, will be seeing the most severe impacts. but look at what happens, nicolle, as this comes inland, it's still a potent system. that's sunday at 8:00 a.m. we're going to be talking about this until monday or tuesday, if we're lucky. but it could also stall out along the coast. we're watching right now hurricane watches from north carolina, virginia border, down to eddisville beach and storm
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surge watches from the north carolina/virginia border as well. here's what we look for as far as the impacts. starting off with winds, extreme winds, hurricane-force winds, by thursday. the highest risk, parts of the carolinas, on into virginia. moderate risk up to norfolk, all the way up to washington, d.c., down to charleston, and that slight risk out to atlanta, washington, d.c., as well. we look at the storm surge, this is that wall of water that comes onshore. central coastline of north carolina, 6 to 12 feet. ft storm comes in thursday night, that would be catastrophic because high tide is around 11:00, 11:30 to almost quarter to 12:00. whatever the high tide is, the zurnlg surge is on top of that. a wall of water rush bing in. nothing will get in its way. large and destructive waves a big, big problem. and the rain. look at this. even if you are not along the coast, you have to be concerned. this area here is about 10 to 20 inches of rain.
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look at how far inland that goes. we got also high amounts working their way all the way to washington, d.c.. if this sits and spins, and just continues to dump rain, we could see upwards of -- rain before this is all over, nicolle. again, if it stalls along the coast, that's going to be bad news for the coastline then eventually makes its way in. so we -- no bets are off on this. what we are talking about is a possible catastrophic flooding event, a storm surge. the winds are probably the least of our concerns right now. it's the rain, and the storm surge. 60% of people who are killed in hurricanes die from flooding, so this -- the story is not done yet with this. we aren't even close to being done. >> al, i'm watching this and processing all that you're saying about the staying power that this storm could have. as a mom of a 6-year-old who would be in charge of packing, tell me what this means for the
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most important viewers of our program and everything where you're going to be sharing this information with viewers. if you are evacuating, how many days should you be prepared to be evacuated? >> i think, you know, if you're right along the coast, especially the north carolina coast, you could be out of your home for days. literally, for days. and what i'm most concerned about is that there are a lot of similarities to this as concerned with hurricane harvey back last year. you remember what happened with that. that just sat there. it dumped over 50 inches of rain. i'm not saying it's going to dump 50 inches of rain here but the atmosphere is supercharged. we're talking about a lot of rain potential out of this. ands that's going to be the big problem. so the number-one thing is if you have been told to evacuate, get out, because your window of opportunity is fast closing. and if you -- if you decide to stay, you might want to consider notifying next of kin, because, again, and you don't want to put
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first responders in harm's way, trying to get you out of a dangerous situation. >> and it's going to last longer than any of our cell phones will stay charged. al, we're going to call on you early and often. thank you so much for spending time with us. president trump today confident that his administration is prepared for what could be the catastrophe to come. here's what he told reporters just in the last hour. >> the safety of american people is my absolute highest priority. we are sparing no expense. we are totally prepared. we're ready. we're as ready as anybody has ever been. and it looks to me and it looks to all of a lot of very talented people that do this for a living like this is going to be a storm that's going to be a very large one, far larger than we've seen in, perhaps, decades. things can change, but we doubt they will. again, they haven't seen anything like what's coming at us in 25, 30 years.
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maybe ever. it's tremendously big and tremendously wet. tremendous amounts of water. >> or since harvey, if you saw al roker. joining us from the "washington post," white house reporter ashley parker. and here on set, kimberly atkins, chief washington reporter for the "boston herald." aaron blake, senior political reporter for the "washington post" and sam stein is here, politics editor for the "daily beast." ashley, let me start with you. the president today with a lot of things on his to-do list that require him to be and act presidential, but even those requirements of the day, the solemnity of a potentially deadly storm as we just heard from al roker and perhaps the most solemn duty of any president, post-9/11, marking that sad san versery for the country and families. his day started with angry tweets at his own fbi and justice department. speak to the juxtaposition. >> it's a strikining
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juxtaposition. this is a president who's long struggled to express empathy, rise to the higher calling of being a consoler in chief. but, again, it was just so jarring, so striking, on this solemn day, that before even the moments of silence for the two planes that hit the twin towers, that the president had taken to taker not to commemorate the anniversary of the terrorist attacks but, again, as you said, to sort of go after his own justice department and his own fbi in incredibly personal and visceral terms. i will say, you know, as we all know, aides have stopped trying to control the president's tweets. they just try to manage the aftermath and fallout, but it's not a way that is traditional presidential behavior and, frankly, many people would say it's inappropriate and not presidential at all. >> and i guess the reason the tweets matter, kim, is that they're a window into his mind and his mind on this day was where it always is. obsessed with his personal
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liabilities and exposure in the russia investigation. and there will be people on the right and other networks, perhaps, that take issue with focusing on the president's behavior on a day like today. but the president decided to wake up and attack the fbi. not us. >> right. it's a window into his mind on what he's focused on and what he's thinking. even as he's preparing to give this address at a memorial in pennsylvania. even given the solemnity of this day, automatically people wake up and the first thing they think about is that beautiful tuesday morning 17 years ago, where they were and how that affected them and how that affected this nation. that wasn't the president's first thought. that's not where he goes. that's not his comfortable place. while, you know, i think today the staff was worried that he would deliver that address that he did today, not veering off speech, you know, veering off text very much, which he managed to do, sort of, like, he got through that part because that's his -- >> the bar's so low. he stayed to his teleprompter. you've written a lot, aaron,
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about his response to puerto rico. that was on his mind today. let's watch. >> in puerto rico was actually our toughest one of all because it's an island. you can't truck things onto it. everything's by boat. we moved a hospital into puerto rico. a tremendous military hospital in form of a ship. you know that. and i actually think, and the governor has been very nice and if you ask the governor, he'll tell you what a great job. i think probably the hardest one we had by far was puerto rico because of the island nature, and i actually think it was one of the best jobs that's ever been done with respect to what this is all about. puerto rico got hit not with one hurricane, but with two. and the problem with puerto rico is their electric grid and their electric generating plant was dead before the storms ever hit. it was in very bad shape. it was in bankruptcy. had no money. it was largely, you know, it was largely closed. and when the storm hit, they had no electricity, essentially
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before the storm, and when the storm hit, that took it out entirely. the job that fema and law enforcement and everybody did working along with the governor in puerto rico, i think, was tremendous. i think the puerto rico was an incredible unsung success. >> aaron blake, 2,975 people lost their lives in that hurricane and the lasting image of this president was one of him throwing rolls of bounty paper towel at the victims. >> i think going back to that time, there's actually one other moment that i think is key here. it's when he was at that press conference with the governor of puerto rico, and he decided to compare the death tolls between puerto rico and hurricane katrina. he called hurricane katrina a real catastrophe. at that time the death toll in puerto rico was 16 officially. and he said, you know, katrina was the real catastrophe, look at how well we've done here. now we're in a situation in which the death toll in puerto rico is almost 3,000 by the
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official estimate. almost 4,600 according to another estimate by harvard. by his own definition what happened on his watch in puerto rico was a catastrophe, might say it was because of circumstances, it was a much worse storm. making comparisons on that, constantly grading yourself on those things is libel to come back and bite you and make it -- >> you're being very generous. i'm struck by, first of all, what he said was right. it was a very difficult circumstance. right? it's an island, it had a terrible electric infrastructure. all the complications that he outlined were, in fact, correct. to turn around and say, you know what, it was a great success when you just have this death toll come out, almost 3,000 people dead, you don't have to label it a success. you can say it's a human tragedy, it's awful. we faced all these incredible complications. we did our best. you can say that. it's clear he's incredibly oversensitive to these charges that he screwed up. and he screwed up. but i actually don't place the
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blame squarely on trump's feet here. i think one of the great untold tragedies of the puerto rico hurricane response lies at the feet of congress. there's not been one actual oversight hearing about what happened in that response. and that is criminal. and it's criminal because we are now entering a hurricane season in which puerto rico may get hit again and it would be really helpful at this juncture to know what worked. >> right. >> what didn't. what resources may be needed. how the federal response could have been improved. we don't know that because this congress is just utterly incapable and utterly unwilling to actually do any effective -- >> and one thing that would push congress to do that is if the president talked about this in human terms. >> right. >> just today, he didn't mention the death toll in puerto rico at all. the only time he mentioned it before, as aaron pointed out, was in a comparison to try to say he was doing better than the bush administration. if he talked about this in human terms, maybe that would push congress, but that's something we've never seen him do. >> ashley, it goes without saying that we're having this conversation, these storms are heading our way. at a time when all of washington is pretty distracted by the
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anonymous op-ped in "the new york times" that calls into question the president's fitness for the office he has. you have some reporting, i understand, that his aides were eager to turn the page and show him talking about something or tweeting about something other than the anonymous op-ped and the woodward book. >> yeah, his aides on all of these crises are often eager to turn the page. this isn't a good narrative for them. the so-called search for the leaker is not particularly helpful. it's something that angers the president, distracts him, frustrates him. and so on the one hand, to put it sort of crassly and cynically, an actual natural disaster not of the president's making, does in some ways depending on how they handle it help them politically and then secondly, there's the actual reality, which is more important, that aides are aware of, which is that lives are at stake. again, this is a category 4 hurricane bearing down on the east coast, on the carolinas and they understand that the president needs to focus on this and handle it and behave like a
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commander in chief, and that he will likely be judged accordingly. so in addition to sort of helping them move away from anonymous, away from woodward, they also understand this is the mandate of the president and they hope that he rises to the occasion. >> this is sort of the grotesque twist on trumpism, and even omarosa writes inn he book, jus like charlottesville, it was all about him. he was unfairly persecuted by the media. total lack of empathy is bad enough. i believe many of the problems and delays with getting aid to puerto rico were partly political. i would not put it past trump to punish the people of puerto rico and teach that woman of color, mayor carmen cruz a lesson." the idea that lives are at stake, we have conversations about his fitness to serve as though they exist in a vacuum. there are men and women in the military whose lives are on the line, and the fact that he's fit isn't just a political debate. there are people in the path of a hurricane counting on the
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government in some instances for their survival. for the survival of their homes or their children's schools. this is where it all gets deadly serious. >> and that's certainly, by the way, another reason that puerto rico wasn't the scandal that sam was talking about, why it didn't get the hearings, was because it's puerto rico. that shouldn't be the case. it's an american territory. these are americans there. >> do you think trump knew that? >> i don't know. i -- i couldn't hazard to guess. i think that the -- if nothing else, taking this away from the president trump, the way it's covered, the way it's viewed by americans more broadly, it's different when it's a territory. it shouldn't be that way, but that's the case. if that tragedy happens on american shores, and it may not because the infrastructure is better there, that would be a massive scandal and so that's what the white house needs to avoid here. >> sam? >> this gets to my point, and i -- the bigotry of the low expectations are clearly at play here. we assume the president may not be up to the task that most presidents are held to. putting that aside, congress
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knows this. koc knows he has issues, he gets easily distracted. he may pick fights with mayors who are critical of him and affect his policymaking. they know all of this. it's doubly incumbent upon members of congress to find out what the proper lessons are from the first round of hurricanes to better prepare for the second round of hurricanes including the lesson of whether our commander in chief is up to the task. >> i guess this is -- i agree with you, but has it happened ever with anything? >> no, we're living in a very weird reality. >> i don't disagree with you, but that hasn't happened anywhere. no one in congress is protecting the mueller probe. no one in congress thinks 2,950 people dying in hurricane maria -- now what, what happens next? >> well, the elections happen next. >> yeah. >> i mean, essentially. but, yeah, to your point, there has been really no oversight on any of these matters. you would think that a hurricane that may have resulted to the death roughly of 3,000 american citizens, many of whom then decamped to florida, a state that's super critical for this
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midterm elections, has a republican govern e may have compelled members of congress to do this. so far it has not. all right. after the break, donald trump travels to shanksville, pennsylvania, to honor the victims of flight 93 but it's his hand gesture upon arrival that's getting a lot of attention. also the president's son, don junior, speaks out about his legal fate and his pafather's shrinking circle in wake of both the woodward book and anonymous op-ped. rapid response, trump style, where even the die eniers are liars. a new interview with bob woodward confirms what some suspect. even some knocking his book privately confirm it's veracity. all those stories coming up next. introducing e*trade personalized investments professionally managed portfolios customized to help meet your financial goals. you'll know what you're invested in and how it's performing.
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every president handles the role of consoler in chief differently. but it is in the moments that a president has to channel the nation's grief that we see his true nature. some of president obama's finest moments were his addresses after the tragic shooting at newtown, and during the two state of the union addresses that followed it. george w. bush, he was so moved by the strength and colonurage the first responders who ran up the stairs of the world trade center towers as they burned, but the experience of meeting their families and holding them in their grief shaped every subsequent action of his presidency for better and for worse. so when donald trump traveled to shanksville, pennsylvania, today, to honor the families of the victims of flight 93, it is fair to say that he hadn't quite passed the consoler in chief test yet. the fact that he woke up on a day like september 11th, and started tweeting attacks against his own justice department and
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fbi, didn't help him set the tone for solemnity or respect. neither did this image. that's him pumping his fists on the tarmac upon arrival. and there's also the issue of his record of making bizarre statements about 9/11. "the new york times" reports today, "mr. trump was at trump tower on the day of the attack. not far from the world trade center. he famously claimed during his presidential campaign that, quote, thousands and thousands of people were cheering, muslim communities in jersey city, new jersey, when the world trade center collapsed, an assertion that has been widely debunked." kim, aaron, sam and ashley are still here. ashley parker, take us inside what the white house hoped to achieve today. it would be my guess that it was a do-no-harm kind of set of expectations for the president today. >> i think that's right. i think that's why they had that speech he delivered there that he did make it through, but the
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challenge of working in this white house and trying to manage a president like president trump is that there's only so much you can script and stage manage. so as you saw when he arrived in shanksville and he gets off the plane, there is that very jarrija jarrija jarring president raising and pumping his fists which is a gesture which is appropriate for, say, a make america great again political rally. it's not appropriate when you're arriving in pennsylvania on hallowed ground for a somber memorial for flight 93 that went down there. so it just sort of gives you a sense of with the best-laid plans, teleprompter, something scripted, this is a president who is going to go off script sometimes in his remarks and sometimes in even the imagery that he presents to the world. >> kim, i am a harsh critic of this president, but even i do not believe that he got off the plane and intended to offend anybody. so this, to me, this inability to control an impulse to pump your fists on 9/11 on your way
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to shanksville. i've been there a couple times. it is like, i mean, not to be too graphic, but there were remains in the trees. it is as sacred of a memorial as exists in this country. and to see that image, i'm back to the questions about his competence and fitness. there's something wrong with him. >> yeah. i think he saw it, i think ashley's right, i think in a way he did see this as some sort of rally. when he's speaking in front of people. even in the most somber setting, even in the most hallowed setting. we remember in january of 2017 when he spoke to cia agents in front of that very hallowed wall of stars, of people who can't even be named for their service that they gave to the country. he was talking about crowd sizes at the inauguration and his inaugural win and things like that. he sees every opportunity that he's speaking in front of people as somewhat of a campaign speech. i think that's why they had to really, you know, impart upon him the importance of sticking to the script today. that's his default.
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that's who he is. >> aaron, i talked about presidents obama and bush because, again, you know, president obama in that moment, i think, spoke for every american. i think newtown was something that was -- everyone felt that pain and he spoke to it for us. i think 9/11, as i said, you know, the policies that ensued were plenty controversial but in that moment, george w. bush seemed to be able to capture the sort of commitment of our country to build ourselves back and stand up to them. donald trump is missing that chip. >> we have an abundance of evidence right now that the president is not going to emote in the way we expect him or in the way in which most americans would in these situations. the question from there is, is this because he is missing that or is this because he's trolling us? i like to think that he's not trolling us about 9/11. he's done this on some very serious circumstances. you see often when we have tragedies, he will often tweet about it with exclamation points. he will talk about storms like the one we're seeing right now
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and play up how big they are, how they're the biggest ever. he seems to only have one mode, and i think the best explanation is that he just does not have that capability to empathize, to emote, and the ultimate explanation is much worse than that. >> sam, i don't want to pull back from the bone here because i think if you got a kid that has these inabilities, you get the kid evaluated. i'm serious. this is a serious thing. and it's the evidence is in front of all of our eyes. i mean, the khan family, attack on the khan family. >> sure. >> during the convention. before he was elected. the one-week debate with the widow of ladavid t. johnson whose husband died. why are we so timid of talking about what seems to be a real deficiency in his character? >> i mean, you're not timid, we're talking about it right now. it's a really good question. i think it's been a thread line through his presidency for all the instances you spotlighted. this is more of an observation than an explanation for why it is. what strikes me about trump,
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this is true of every president, but especially trump, is just how, you know, enclosed his world is. the tvs, the interviews that he grants are all friendly interviews. the crowds that he goes to are all in red states and they're boisterous trump-loving crowds. even this was designed as a remembran remembrance, but there were trump fans there and including pictures of people in trump 2020 shirts. the way that he conducts himself as he goes to people who will always reaffirm his world view, tell him what a great job he's doing and no one who will ever challenge his world view and encourage him to be more empathetic, to understand the other side or even listen to the other side. he doesn't even meet that often with democratic lawmakers. they're very rarely consulted in any legislative push. so he's created a really self-enforcing world for himself, from everything from media consumption habits to legislative agendas and i think it's not serving him well. >> ashley, let me ask you if there's anyone in the white house staff who reacts a as sound as that. is there anyone that can go to him and say the speech was really well done, exactly as we
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planned it, but that gesture, try not to pump your arms when we arrive at a memorial service, sir. >> so i don't know about this specific instance but i will say, yes, and no. there are people in the white house who will go to the president and say, for instance, you know, you really need to lower the flag to half-staff in honor of senator mccain's death. that's something you need to do. or you really need to put out a statement and commend his life. it's not -- there's a little bit of a myth that there's no one who tells the president no. there's certainly a lot of enablers around him who do kind of encourage his most raw and visceral instincts. but this is a president who likes to get a lot of different inputs but he doesn't always follow them. so just because there is good staff work laying the groundwork doesn't mean the president is going to go on and display those results necessarily. >> and kim, there was something reassuring about seeing him mark this day at all, but that brought me back to where i
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always start which is so damn low. >> it is. will he be remembered for today's, you know, competently delivered speech, clearly written by someone else, or will he be remembered for making the claims about muslims in new jersey or claiming that his building was the tallest after the towers came down, or all the other myriad things he's done, inappropriately at times, that he should have shown more presidential stature. >> what's your guess? >> probably the latter. >> the latter. certainly among his folks, you know, who will be -- >> that's true. that's right. >> all right. ashley parker, kimberly atkins, thank you for spending some time with us. after the break, donald trump junior widely believed to be under scrutiny for his role in setting up that trump tower meeting with russians. out with an odd declaration today. there's a special counsel investigation may try to, quote, create something in its investigation into his participation and any collusion with russia. you have to see it to believe it, so don't go anywhere.
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donald trump clearly the tip of the spear in the russia investigation, all roads lead to the president, he's the alpha and omega for robert mueller, that much is clear. but the probe's beating heart is actually the president's son. where george papadopoulos blabbing in a bar lit the match that started the collusion side of robert mueller's inquiry, donald trump junior's evolving stories on the trump tower meeting put him squarely at the center of the obstruction of justice line of inquiry. in fact, don junior and the trump tower meeting are specifically mentioned in the written questions provided to the president's lawyers. revealed in "the new york times" back in april. "when did you become aware of the trump tower meeting? what involvement did you have in the communications strategy including the release of donald trump junior's e-mails?" and finally, during a 2013 trip to russia, what communications and relationships did you have with the agalarovs and russian government officials?"
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on top of all that, we don't know if robert mueller has spoken to junior, a sign that may or may not indicate whether the president's son is a target of that investigation. given all that, how's he doing? well, k >> are you scared you could go to jail? >> i'm not. because i know what i did and i'm not worried about any of that, you know? that doesn't mean they won't try to create something. we've seen that happen with everything, but, you know, again, i'm not -- >> some say mueller has been successful. he has an indictment of manafort, he has a plea deal from cohen, he has papadopoulos sentenced. you know, he's got a listny of close associates of your father's under investigation. >> all for things that happened way before they were ever part of any campaign. so if they get manafort on a 2006 tax charge, you know, again, i understand that they are trying to get my father. they'll do anything they can to get that. >> joining us now, matt miller, former chief spokesman at the justice rosenberg, former u.s. attorney
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and former fbi official. math miller, first of all, his answer was so revealing, well, they might try to create something. they don't create things out of nothing. they -- a justice department official explained to me, robert mueller is investigating and charging and prosecuting crimes. >> that's right. when he lays out his crimes publicly, we see evidence, not nothing. i thought his answer for the most part, wa you expect to hear from people in these cases even when people are very worried they're the targets of an investigation or about to be indicted, they typically will profess publicly that they're not so concerned. i was interested in the questions we didn't see him answer on camera. the things that would allow us to see what might be happening, has he been asked for an interview by robert mueller? has he given mueller an interview? has he been subpoenaed by the grand jury? the last public reporting we saw on this was several months ago, politico said he hadn't yet been contacted by the mueller team. if that's still the case at this late stranage of the investigation -- >> what makes you think they know? they lie about everything.
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why would we know? >> they lie but also leak. they have a very hard time, we've seen, in this investigation, keeping secret who's gone in and talked to bob mueller. we don't actually know. a lot of this has leaked out. if he hasn't been contacted at all yet, if he's in the same boat as roger stone, who still, according to him, hasn't been contacted, i think that's very bad for his prospects. >> is it possible, what would you guess if you had to make an educated guess, would you guess he's been before robert mueller at least once? >> if i had to make an educated guess, nicolle, my guess would be no because i think he probably is either a subject with a big "s" or a target, and you typically leave those people for the very end of the investigation. right? if what we've heard is true, if those were the questions that the mueller team really had proposed to trump's lawyers, if they're really interested in that meeting and in trump junior's role in that meeting, i think he'll leave hem until the end. that's when we want to talk to the people we're most likely to charge. >> what do you think he means when he's talking about these being -- everyone being charged
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with old crimes? that's just false. george papadopoulos committed his crime of lying to the fbi fbi after donald trump was elected. mike flynn lied to the fbi sitting in the west wing of the aus office, what used to be a sacred place. paul manafort was convicted for crimes that he committed that he came under the radar because of his role in the 2016 presidential election. >> when we talk about old crimes, congress has set the limits of what is too old because there's something called a statute of limitations. every crime carries with it a period after which you can't charge it anymore. so crimes are either sort of within the statute of limitations or outside the statute of limitations. prosecutors know this. this is not a mystery to them. i don't know what he's talking about. i understand why he says he's not worrieded. you can literally count on one hand the number of people in the united states whose father can pardon them. >> right. when he says i'm not worried, i hear i'm not worried because dad already promised me a "p" pardon. >> it's hard to imagine if he's
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charged with a crime he wouldn't be pardoned by his father. i mean, it's his father. and so whatever he did, whatever they cooked up, for whatever reason he professes no the t to worried, his dad can pardon him. >> you never know. >> who knows, right? we're not shrinks. we can't get to the bottom of the family. let me ask you your theory, if he has been before bob mueller, do you think we would know? >> i think so. i think they would streenlically le strategically leak it. >> why, though? >> to put out they got nothing, no collusion in all caps and an exclamation point. >> what if he got him and didn't go so well? >> this is a different group of operatives. in normal circumstances, no one would be talking about this in public, it would just be happening. clearly, we're getting a read-out in realtime, if not exclusively from the rudy giulianis, trump side of the argument. to answer your earlier question about old crimes versus new
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crimes, when he's tryi iwhat he is they're not proving collusion. what we left out of the discussion, robert mueller indicted a host of russian officials for meddle in the election vis-a-vis a robust social media -- a disruptive and robust social media campaign. those are important data points that were uncovered during this investigation that i don't think should be able to just because they happen to be russian officials. >> that's exactly right. aaron, it seems like if that was something that had to be done first, i want you to jump in here, too, and you, too, matt, if that had to be done first to then introduce american partners, american co-conspirators -- >> sure. >> -- that would be an important foundation on which you would build a case against someone like -- >> you would hold off the collusion until the end. i mean, the -- we've seen kind of a steady trickle oing out of details through indictments, sometimes through court filings. that would be the last piece. anything involving the president would be the last piece you'd want. just like you'd want donald trump junior to be at the end of the investigation if he's, in fact, the target of this. there is a substantial reason to withhold any details if you do
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believe there is collusion. and so the fact that we haven't seen any proof of that is not evidence that there isn't, in packet, pro fact, proof that mueller has right now. >> if he's a target in the conspiracy investigation, would that explain why they may have held off on contacting him because that's a bigger investigation? >> yeah, absolutely. i think there are a couple reasons they might, one, they typically will come to targets of investigations late in the process. >> if at all, right? >> if at all. doj rules very strongly discourage you from sending a grand jury subpoena to a target. you can do it under some circumstances. they usually don't. the other thing, bob mueller has to know coming after donald trump junior might be the thing that provokes his father to shut down the entire investigation. >> kryptonite. all right. when we come back, the trump defense that isn't much of a defense at all. bob woodward says some of the people now pushing book on his new book, "fear," have called him to say he nails it with accuracy and depicting the chaos that is the trump presidency. that story next. that's one small step for man,
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former national economic council director gary cohn and former staff secretary rob porter featured prominently in bob woodward's new book, "fear" and this afternoon not even an hour apart the two released public statements pushing back against woodward's back. gary cohn telling axios "this book does not accurately portray my experience at the white house. i'm proud of my service in the trump administration and continue to support the president and his economic agenda." rob porter had a longer statement, part of which reads, "i am struck by the selective and often misleading portrait "fear" paints of the president's administration." this morning, wood ward said denials shouldn't always be believed. >> after the information and fear sta "fear" started breaking last week, one key person who's in office called me and said
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everyone knows what you've said here is true. it's 1,000% correct. and then this person has said some public things that contradict that. and i'm not happy, but i have a smile on my face because the truth in all of this is going to emerge. >> chuck, that's the second time i've heard him use that phrase, the truth is going to emerge. and you cannot ignore the parallel to the mueller probe. that mueller's silence and i don't know if he's smiling or not, but his ability to sort of withstand the pounding that he gets from this white house is the same quiet faith that the truth will emerge. >> the truth will emerge. you know, i worked for bob mueller, nicolle, he didn't smile a lot. that said -- >> just to keep it secret, right? to be mysterious. >> just to be mysterious. that said, he got to the truth. he gets to the truth. this reminds me actually of
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something matt said in our earlier segment when we were talk bing about the fact that donald trump junior was saying everything's fine, he's not worried. that's what you expect. you expect people who said these things to mr. woodward to deny having said them. you expect people under investigation to say everything's fine, aisi'm not worried. i remember mr. manafort's attorney coming out of court every single day saying it went awesome, up until the time he was convicted on eight felonies. this is what we expect. >> i'm surprised -- truth doesn't just emerge, it's sort of tumbling out and feels like what bob woodward and robert mueller and the prosecutors in the southern district of new york, and, perhaps, the prosecutors involved in the manafort -- what they all had in common was they were purveyors in sort of the quiet but sustaining power of the truth. and the truth seems to be either in the anonymous op-ped, in the woodward book, in these -- feels like there are more and more windows into this white house. it does seem to be tumbling out. >> it's tumbling out and everyone, i shouldn't say everyone, but a number of people close to the president, a number of people in the white house, are talking.
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they're talking to investigators. they're talking to bob woodward. a lot of them i think are doing it for less than noble reasons. you can see people trying to start their rehabilitation projects in some cases even before they leave the white house. in some cases, gary cohn, i think is a good example, very much after he leaves the white house trying to rehabilitate himself through leaks. quite obvious -- >> let's talk about that. gary cohn, i would bet my last dollar, had an opportunity to tell bob woodward if he got -- he's in that book so much, there's no way that bob woodward or someone working on that book didn't run some of these things by him. this statement, there's no way he means what he said today. >> yeah, he's a real profile in courage. he serves in this administration. he's one of the people that would is been very obvious to him that donald trump was, you know, reckless and out of control. he talks about it backward to bob woodward quite clearly and when he gets in trouble with the president for it, comes out and says it's not an accurate portrayal of my time in the white house. it's not a portrait of someone with a disappointing. you would expect -- we talked
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about it on this show before, why are the adults in the room, gary cohn, not walking out of the white house and saying this is what i saw? this is the threat to the country. >> aaron, it's so interesting the national security people who have left -- i understand why people like secretary mattis who still have men and women sort of under his command at the pentagon, the defense department, active duty military, but why wouldn't h.r. mcmaster, people with nothing to lose, people with plenty of money. donald trump can't keep them from getting jobs in the "apprentice" and do them any harm. why don't those people speak out? >> my one thing, the same people you spoke about before, mattises of the world, john kellys of the world, convinced other people it's not serving us to go public with all aftof this right now. >> what are they waiting for? >> i don't know, maybe an actual crisis to come along? i don't know. it's a really good question. by the way, though, if you look back at what gary cohn said about what's in that book, that's not even half -- one-eighth of a denial. you could pick out two things in that book that you feel are
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misleading or not quite accurate and issue that statement and feel good about yourself. you can feel like you said something that was strictly true. and rob porter's statement is very much along the same lines. it's in more detail. even then he recalls certain instances and he says that, you know, the woodward anecdote about him and gary
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it was a ground shaking book when it came out. >> and two more books in that category. dick clark wrote a book saying he jumped up and down waving red flags about the threat posed by osama bin laden, and bob woodward's book grew increasingly critical of the bush white house as well. the strategy was never to say it was a lie, the strategy was putting out a fuller picture. george w. bush writes about how it was a mistake. >> the remarkable anecdote from the woodward book, and this gets why people are frantic about denying it happened, there's an anecdote trump is told -- >> my favorite part of the book. six years before he runs for president. steve bannon, david fossey see the president, you never voted.
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he said yes, i have. >> literal proof he is lying. >> and they say you're pro-choice. no, i'm not. there's tape of him telling tim russert. >> you work for a man that can deny provable reality in front of him, maybe you feel embolden to do the same yourself. >> that's right. after the break, the gop crowd that accepted the devil's bargain is huge. that's the cold, blunt assessment from a columnist today. we'll tell you more about it. of good start packaging. we distribute environmentally-friendly packaging for restaurants. and we've grown substantially. so i switched to the spark cash card from capital one. i earn unlimited 2% cash back on everything i buy. and last year, i earned $36,000 in cash back. that's right, $36,000. which i used to offer health insurance to my employees. my unlimited 2% cash back is more than just a perk, it's our healthcare. can i say it? what's in your wallet?
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we cannot rule out if you're investigating this, if i am assigned this case to investigate, i'm going to keep on my radar screen the possibility that this has multiple authors. what do i focus on in there? it is almost imagine people, a group of people sitting around the room, somebody saying for me it is all about morality. put something in there about him being amoral. let people know he has helped the military, bulked up resources in the armed forces, i want that in there, other people inserting other things. let them know we're trying to do our best. it is quite possible this is the work of multiple people. >> a question that's been gaining traction, including in today's thomas friedman column. he said the anonymous op-ed captures the devil's bargain officials struck to work with this president, writing that's the anonymous gop creed oh
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today. we know trump is a jerk, but you've got to love the good stuff. it fueled so much growth, defense spending, we are wealth yer, more secure as a country, even if trump is nuts. so our consciences are clear. what's the danger of a devil's bargain? >> significant danger. how do you value your own integrity, right? at the end of the day how do you live with the decision you made, the trade offs you made to work for a president you don't respect and who you believe is not capable of doing the job. >> how do you think they deal with that? >> you're going to have to ask them once we find them. i can tell you from my own perspective, if you don't believe in the mission and the people you're working with and the person you're working for, then you ought not be there. >> do you work with democrats and republicans, i think freedman accurately describes the republicans' deal with the devil, we'll get our tax cuts. who cares if he is unfit the
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cabinet talks about the 25th amendment. >> i care, i think you care, i think lots of people care. they made a decision, a devil's bargain, put aside their own integrity. look, this is what i was referring to, the point.
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>> to chuck's point, i don't think you can shame the shameless. that's the problem here with people, it is a question of integrity. also the person that's now personal anvil around their neck. >> it is a good bargain until it is not. that's the bet that all of the republicans are taking. i would argue it is a good bet
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to this point but we have two more years of the presidency, maybe four more years, they're betting on somebody his people don't think will be steady until the end. >> may not be in charge the second half of the first term. thanks. that does it for our hour. "mtp daily" starts now. hi, chuck. >> we are getting wet here. prepare yourself. >> that big wet storm the president warned us about. >> lots of water, very wet. very wet. if it's tuesday, the president is breasting for hurricane florence. good evening. i am chuck todd in washington. welcome to "mtp daily." a potentially catastrophic category 4 hurricane is bearing down on the east

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