tv MSNBC Live MSNBC September 16, 2018 4:00am-4:30am PDT
i know i'll see her again. and that gives me hope. >> that's all for this edition of "dateline." i'm craig melvin. thanks for watching. good morning. i'm dara brown in new york at msnbc world headquarters. it is 7:00 and out west, here's what's happening. the death toll from florence rises while the storm stalls over the carolinas. record setting amounts of rain showing no signs of letting up. >> it was horrifying. just wondering what's going on and where the water is going to go and how high it's going to go. we're going to get out. >> i never see anything like this for 10, 15 years. hear from survivors and see the damage in a live report ahead. president trump going after the special counsel for the first time since the announcement of the paul
manafort plea deal. plus, the one thing that has republicans worried about november despite the booming economy. daybreak in north and south carolina on day three of unrelenting storm that has dumped record rain falls. floodwaters are slowly receding along the coast revealing a trail of damage and debris. more than 50 counties and cities from south carolina to virginia are waking up surrounded by floodwaters. here's a look at the roads cut off by flooding. including a large section of i-95 in north carolina. 30-plus inches of rain were measured. the storm is not done yet. more than 13,000 military personnel carried out high stakes rescue missions, plucking flood victims from danger. >> this is terrible. this is the worst one i ever seen. i was worried more about them. i'm scared. i was devastated.
>> the death toll climbed to 14. as rescue crews struggle to keep elderly and vulnerable populations safe. electricity crews working around the clock to get the lights back on with flash floods, landslides and tornado warnings remaining in effect. city officials tried but could not get to this dam before it broke last night. water poured into surrounding roadways, which remain closed this morning. it happened at the sanford dam in boiling springs lake, north carolina. nbc's marian a atencio is there and joins me on the phone. what are you seeing this morning? >> i apologize. we're trying to get our shot up for our viewers here. it is pouring rain. we came here because we've gotten confirmation that the sanford dam in boiling springs lake, this is about 20 minutes south of wilmington, has collapsed. people who live along the water tell us things are only getting worse. a lot of docks destroyed and
water creeping closer to the houses. i spoke to the police department, they said that the dam breached about five hours ago. it didn't even break with hurricane floyd. their major concern? that the roads are flooding. we're even half a mile from the dam right now and we can't even get there because the roads just have so much water in them. many are near collapse. and the police say that now for the next phase all of this water will prevent them from doing the assessment they need. their messaging for the people here is that residents should not put their lives at risk. come out and see what's going on. they're concerned that when people get into their vehicles, that's when we'll have more of the water rescues. again, this dam has just broken. once the sunrises here, we'll be able to see how much it will affect the neighborhoods, the homes in the surrounding area. but for now, the message from police is people should really
hunker down. this is a dam that's 30 to 40 feet high. it could really cause major damage, especially to the roads in this area. >> marian aerks atencio. stay safe. president trump will visit some of the areas this week. going after robert mueller for the first time since the bombshell announcement of paul manafort's plea deal. the president tweeting last night, while our poll numbers are good with the economy being the best ever, if it weren't for the rigged russian witch hunt, they would be 25 points higher. highly conflicted bob mueller and the angry democrats are using this phony issue to hurt us in the midterms. no collusion. let's bring in white house correspondent for "time" magazine and chief washington correspondent for bloomberg, tv. great to have you both here this morning. >> i want to start with you, no mention of paul manafort in that tweet. is there anything out of the white house that suggests
president trump might continue to praise him out of concern that he could incriminate him or his family members? >> i think the question is, whether the fact that paul manafort is cooperating with robert mueller's team now as part of a plea agreement is going to change president trump's perception. in the past he's been sympathetic to paul man fort, complimentary of him, but also praised him for being strong and not breaking and not coming up with a plea deal. so now after the news at the end of this week that not only did he strike a deal but as part of that he's going to cooperate with the special counsel's investigation, i think we have to see if that will change the president's feelings towards his former campaign chairman. >> kevin, just last weekend, we were talking about george pop dop lsu, because he was sentenced to prison. how big a deal is this? >> devastated news for the -- how they plan to move forward with paul manafort. i think it's been interesting. just several weeks ago, the
president was praising paul manafort and in fact, in an interview he praised paul manafort. now all of a sudden their judgment seems to be much in the terms of how they're going to do this. you saw this in a statement put out by former new york city mayor rudy giuliani in terms of how they were able to walk back statements in which they said that manafort was going to tell the truth. he ended the day, now you have manafort, cohen, general flynn, all of whom have been saying, you know, in their own way that they're going to fully cooperate with bob mueller. >> those numbers are certainly rising. tessa, i want to go back to that tweet again. do you know of any -- that president trump is actively trying to shut down the investigation? >> that's something that trump has an idea that he's batted around for months. i think he can't be feeling good right now because, as his poll numbers are dropping, we're seeing mueller's approval ratings rise. from that tweet, you can see that he thinks or knows that that might be related. and he and his lawyer, rudy
giuliani, have been waging a pr war, basically, against mueller's team for months. trying to undercut public confidence in the investigation before any final report comes out. now that he sees that manafort is cooperating and had already been found guilty by a jury on eight counts in august and the public is feeling better about the mueller probe, i think that has to have president trump worried. >> kevin, to you, what does it say in the end that manafort ended up trusting mueller over the president? >> i don't know if it's even that he trusts bob mueller so much as it is that he faces reality. he was found guilty by a jury of his peers and bob mueller's team is -- at the end of the day, that is really kind of how this whole entire investigation is moving. michael cohen flipped relatively quickly. for paul manafort is took some time. at the end fd day, this is an investigation that intensified
and one that, to test his point, has largely continued and not been impacted by the attack on its credibility from the likes of 1600 approximapennsylvania a >> tessa, the tweets attacking the mueller investigation under scores part of the problem that republicans are pointing to. the economy is humming, but trump is tweeting that the republicans are worried. congressional leaders say they cannot rely on the booming economy to win over undecided voters. the leaders add this to their -- it's an obscured by the inflammatory moves on immigration. vladimir putin and on other fronts. tessa, what are republicans focusing on to maintain control or avoid embarrassing losses in these districts? >> this has always been the struggles for republicans with trump as president. he can be the worst enemy by engaging in twitter battles and
hurting himself sometimes by focusing on these negative stories, instead of focusing on the economy which is strong or tax cuts and other things that they have to show for their efforts. i think it's a tricky situation for republicans candidate to find themselves in ahead of the midterms in terms of whether they want to line themselves fully with the -- align themselves fully with the president and engage in things that he's tweeting or focus on the economy and the numbers and win over voters that way. >> kevin, what does it say about you, president trump can't get out of the 30s and 40s in these polls? >> that seems to be his political feeling. we saw that on the campaign trail as well. you know, that's where he's been hovering around. i think when you play a long-term question about whether or not that has significant political -- particularly if any type of third party challenger, that becomes more problematic even than it is now.
then in the short-term, you know, i think the question becomes what will the policy landscape look like should democrats take back control of the house of representatives and the issue of impeachment i think is going to be something we'll talk about, that weighing impeachment is something we'll be talking about in the next couple of weeks or months after the midterms. >> katherine, what's your -- what's your take on that, the approval ratings? >> as kevin said, this has been what we've seen since the campaign and throughout his presidency. he's had a ceiling a little bit in his approval ratings. he's had strong support among his core base. as kevin said, the question is going to be how important it is to win over moderates and independents especially if he's primaried during the election. that's a question that we don't have answer yet in terms of whether he can blod roaden his support or double down on the
intense core base. >> real quick, do you think he'll be a primary? >> he might be. that will be interesting to watch. historically among modern presidents who have been prim y primari primaried, most if not all won a second term because they've been weakened by their primary challenger. it's an interesting calculus for republicans thinking about taking him on. >> kevin, i can see you agree. you are shaking your head. absolutely. >> he will be. >> kevin and tessa, stay with us. we have more to talk about about the supreme court nominee coming up. next, a closer look at why paul manafort is so important to the mueller probe and why he may be part of the end game.
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post," robert mueller's real quest, here is for the truth. how paul manafort's plea brings it closer to its end game. details why paul manafort may be the light at the end of the tunnel. joining me now is criminal defense attorney ashley merchant. good morning. >> good morning. >> what information can manafort offer the special counsel and what exactly is the end game here? >> manafort can give a lot of information to robert mueller. i mean, he can really link together all the pieces because he was the campaign manager. he knows everything. he knows who was at the meetings, he knows who had knowledge of dealings with russia, dealings with the ukraine. he could put jared kushner at that meeting with the russians. he could put trump jr. at that meeting with the russians. he could also link the president to knowledge of what was happening with russia and efforts to collude to affect the election. he is a very vital, very vital piece in this investigation.
i think sfashs tas far as the e we might see something as in watergate where there's a memo and the grand jury puts together pieces of the evidence, evidence built over month and there's a legal analysis as to how this could actually affect the president. what the legal ramifications are. what he could be subject to if he was criminally prosecuted and what all the evidence is that they've actually accumulated. >> we're going to talk about watergate in a second. the president's lawyer rudy giuliani said it would be quote, impossible for manafort's cooperation with mueller's office to imperil the president because trump and manafort have a joint defense agreement which manafort would have to cancel if he believed it exposed trump to legal jep at this. what is your take on that statement? they said manafort had agreed to fully cooperate. >> he is definitely cooperating. a joint defense agreement is just an agreement between criminal defense attorneys essentially that we're going to
put forth the same argument. we're going to both say we didn't do it. both say we didn't collude. you can break that at any time. especially when one party flips on another party. just because there was a joint defense agreement doesn't mean they end up with a joint defense agreement. we see that all the time. a lot of times it's really for a corporation where you've got an individual being prosecuted as the individual and on behalf of the corporation. you don't have that here. so it's very likely that manafort has given information that is going to lead to some type of implications that the president was involved in this. that he had knowledge, he actually participated. something to show that he conspired with manafort and with other key players in this conspiracy essentially to effect the election. so i think that manafort is probably the biggest fish in the entire investigation and i think that they have just gotten a key piece of this game. >> ashley, account president and his former campaign chairman share common interests.
if manafort worked for the president's campaign could testify against trump. >> right. they don't share common interests anymore. manafort decided that he wants to save himself and he wants to get the best deal possible. the government, they convicted him in one count. they had two other prosecutions going forward. he faces tons of administrative penalties and he did what he had to do to save himself. i'm sure he was looking at spending the rest of his days in prison and very hefty fines, very hefty civil forfeiture proceedings where they're taking money, taking homes, taking different property from him. he wanted to cut a deal. in the federal government, this is the best way to get the lowest sentence. if you offer what's called substantial assistance, you get a downward on his sentencing. he is offering substantial assistance. the greater the assistance, the greater the departure. when you get a downward departure in the federal sentencing guidelines, you get
time off your sentence. the more time he can get off his sentence. he would not have entered into this plea agreement if he was not getting substantial time off of his sentence. >> and ashley, you already referred to manafort as a big fish. is he the most significant cooperating person with the special counsel? >> no. doubt. he can place key players at the scene, at conversations. he knows more than anybody. he knows how things were funded. he knows years before the election, he knows how things were working. i think he's by far the biggest fish. he may be the final big catch in this entire investigation. >> get back to your point here. three legal analysts petitioned to unseal the watergate report before mueller finishes with his investigation. in a new york times article it's believed to quote mueller will write a report for his supervisor at the justice department. giuliani has indicated the white house would invoke executive
privilege and keep portions of the report confidential from congress. how important would it be for mueller to have access to these documents to draw from if his investigation includes impeachment material? >> it's important. i mean, he can do without it. but it's definitely important. nobody wants to reinvent the wheel. if you see how someone else analyzed this and processed this, that's helpful to sort of give you a roadmap to how to handle this and how to deal with his own legal report. he can do it without that. but at this point most of the key players in watergate are dead. what's the harm. >> ashleigh merchant, great to have you here. >> great to see you. >> i know. good to see you. next, the allegation of sexual misconduct against supreme court justice nominee brett kavanaugh. what impact it might have on his upcoming confirmation vote.
the homestretch. voters cast the fate of congress in 51 days. one of the fearest battles in the senate, senator ted cruz and democratic challenger o'rourke agreed to hold three debates. the latest poll shows a dead heat. leading o'rourke by four points. that's within the margin of error i the hill reports that democratic voter turnout increased 40% from 2014. republican turnout 20%. on capitol hill, the republicans on the senate judiciary committee plan to head to a vote despite a report that an anonymous woman came forward accusing him of sexual misconduct back in high school. here's what one of the reporters said last night on msnbc. >> this is not somebody who was smoked out by people trying to sort of bring kavanaugh down. this is someone who just wanted -- she was troubled by what she knew. she felt she had information that she thought was important, that she wanted to share with
the authorities. >> let's bring back tess bern son and kevin. he has denied the allegations. how much of a political gamble is it if republicans don't pursue this allegation ahead of their votes? >> they're going to have to at least put forth some type of public statement. they're going to raise questions on this publicly ahead of any type of, particularly as this week gets to begin. i think it is also worth noting, the pressure that senator dianne feinstein, the top democrat on the committee is facing now. democrat from california. including from members within her own party about how she handled this incident, this allegation, rather, when it was brought forward to her office. there are several democrats who had asked for that. copies of the letter back in the summer when it was first brought to her. i also think that she's going to have to answer some questions
for this as well. more broadly speaking, i think it speaks to the issue of how lawmakers are different than law enforcement officials and how they have to communicate. >> tessa, real quick, there's been no public reaction from senators collins and rosowski who democrats would hope would -- is there any indication this allegation could possibly sway them? >> i think that's the key question. all eyes will be on them. senator collins spoke to kavanaugh for a lengthy period of time on friday. it was a call that had been prescheduled and there was not a read-out about whether they discussed this in the call since the story had already broken by then. i think one of the key things that we have to wait and see is whether the woman decides to come forward. you know, if it's an anonymous letter, as kevin pointed out it's shrouded in anonymity and mystery on a lot of levels. i don't know that we have an indication that it would
necessarily change their vote. >> tessa, i'm sorry. we have to leave it there. we are out of time this sunday. thanks so much. tessa and kevin. >> that will do it for me. i'm dara brown. thanks for watching. at the top of the hour, politics nation with the reverend al sharpton. first, your business up next. ♪ ooh, heaven is a place on earth ♪ uhp. i didn't believe it. again. ♪ ooh, baby, do you know what that's worth? ♪ i want to believe it. [ claps hands ] ♪ ooh i'm not hearing the confidence.
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