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tv   Headliners  MSNBC  September 30, 2018 6:00pm-7:01pm PDT

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our furry viewers, neymar and dempsey. who are watching kasie d.c. thank you for writing in. adorable. and our producer sends her adorable dog, mabel. that does it for us. we'll be back next week from 7:00 to 9 :00. for now, good night from washington. inside the trump tower meeting is next. it's a very complicated story. and why am i in the middle of it? >> the infamous trump tower meeting, it's consumed washington for more than a year. now, the man who holds the key to how it all happened, shares new details. >> it was a dirty offer that they accepted? >> yes. that is true. >> is the meeting the special counsel's best evidence of possible collusion between the campaign and russia? we go inside the room with a first-hand account.
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>> suddenly what should have been two people and don jr. was now don, manafort, jared. >> who would have their campaign manager, their son, their son-in-law all attend this meeting? to talk about adoption? it didn't make sense. >> it could have been used as a green light back at the kremlin. >> most campaigns never would have taken that meeting this campaign was happy to take it. >> he's talked to congress, the mueller team, the grand jury and now to us. rob goldstone with the inside story of the trump tower meeting. >> tell us what happened. was the dirt on hillary clinton forthcoming? ♪ it was the email that set off a chain of events leading to the meeting. just a few sentences long, but
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every word subject to intense scrutiny and speculation. >> would you read it to us. >> sure. good morning. amon called and asked me to contact you with something very interesting. the crown prosecutor of russia met with his father this morning and in their meeting offered to provide the trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate hillary and her dealings with russia and would be very useful to your father. >> the father of course? then candidate donald trump. and the email's author? an unlikely man to be in the center of what would become a political firestorm. rob goldstone sat down with nbc news's sithia mcfadden to tell his story. >> you have been called a wide variety of names over the past year. useful idiot, dunce, clown, bonkers, puppet of the kremlin. sinister. any of that fit?
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>> i've been called much more than that as well. and you know, ultimately i was a publicist who wrote an email on behalf of my client. >> but it's not just goldstone's words that have the attention of special counsel robert mueller. it's the response from the president's son. >> donald trump junior said if it's what you say, i love it. >> his reaction to that is not to say, is this all right? should i call the fbi? >> it's potentially criminal. it's embarrassing, it's a scandal. >> this meeting in some ways goes to sort of the heart of what robert mueller has been looking at. he was appointed to look at any connections that existed between the trump campaign and russia. >> there wasn't anybody higher. in the trump campaign except donald trump himself at this meeting. >> so how did a celebrity publicist wind up as a central player in that trump tower conference room? and later, as a witness in mueller's grand jury room?
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his background is far removed from politics. >> he was at one point in time a reporter. he got his first job for his local newspaper at the age of 16. he then became a radio reporter focusing on the entertainment industry. at some point he railsed that he kind of had a knack for promotion. >> rob goldstone grew up in manchester, england in public housing, but he wound up rubbing elbows with the star, including one of the world's most famous recording artists, michael jackson. and when he moved to new york in the 1990s, goldstone's larger-than-life personality didn't go unnoticed. >> he's a wacky guy. he was really fond of social media. and would post all kinds of funny things. taking selfies, wearing funny hats. >> he invited me to roast at the friar's club. he said it turn out they don't want press here, you've got to
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leave. but he said, i also handle the russian tea room which i find amusing, let me hook you up with a dinner there. >> goldstone worked in trump's home town. but their first connection ran through moscow. with a family that's been described as the trumps of russia. aros agalarov and his son, amon. >> his father one of the most powerful men in russia. >> he's a billionaire pop singer who also happens to be a hugely successful businessman in his own right. >> music has no language. i would do a song in russian and the audience that doesn't speak russian still responds. >> runs and operates shopping malls and fashion brands and restaurants. including co-owning nobu with robert de niro. so he's a pretty interesting character to begin with. >> and how amon led to trump takes a detour through the world
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of beauty pageants, miss universe. >> amon and i went to meet with the miss universe organization in manhattan. and about getting a co-star for a video. >> and they asked for the most beautiful woman in the world. they also had a conversation about where the next miss universe contest would be. >> and amon says why not moscow? my father and i own this big concert hall in moscow. why don't we do that instead? he went, let's do it you'll have your concert. rob will torg and that's it. >> the idea went all the way to the top of the miss universe organization. to donald trump. >> donald trump loved the idea, said -- make it work. >> the agolarovs travelled to the states in june 2013. goldstone was on hand for the introductions. >> i remember i was in the lobby of the trump hotel in vegas,
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waiting for the agalorovs to arrive. donald trump was at the other end of the lobby and screamed, bellowed, the richest man in russia has come to sew me. at this time i think he was the 54th richest man in russia. >> he sounds giddy about the whole thing. >> he was a bit excited. i supposed i thought he was making a fuss of him. trying to make them feel welcome. which he did. >> goldstone says that while celebrating the pageant during dinner, the conversation tk an off-color turn. >> said to amin, something along the lines of i'll take a million dollars off the cost of this pageant right now if you tell me, if you've ever slept with any of the con tetestants and h said it smiling and amin said interesting. and he said mr. trump i'll increase the fee by $5 million if you tell me if you've ever
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slept with any contestant. and everybody laughed. but i thought, hmm this is kind of like a match made in frat boy heaven on some level. >> that was the start of a friendship that spanned years. and continents. and would ultimately land goldstone at the trump tower meeting. coming up -- >> happy birthday. >> donald trump in moscow with the pop star and the publicist.
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. the man who arranged the trump tower meet something telling his version of events in a new book and to nbc news's senior legal and investigative correspondent cynthia mcfadden. >> i wanted to tell my story. i thought without context, this story would never make sense. >> he says an important part of his story took place three years before the meeting. in moscow.
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there he saw a growing relationship between donald trump and the family of a russian oligarch. >> one reason that donald trump was so keen to hold this contest in moscow is because he would be doing it with aris agalarov, a billionaire developer. >> journalist david cornyn has developed extensively trump's relationship with russia. >> people within the miss universe organization as they told me later all assumed that holding miss universe in moscow was a way for trump to further his business interests there. >> trump travelled to moscow in 2013 for the pageant. the trip would only last a day and a half but it would impact trump's business and perhaps his presidency. rob goldstone was there with his client, emin agalarov, whose father co-sponsored the moscow pageant and arranged with trump to meet with a group of russian businessmen. >> we met him in front of nobu in moscow.
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and he came upstairs. and received a very warm welcome initially. and mr. trump was asked a few questions. one of them was about his view on president putin and he said that he believed that the russians had a strong leader. in president putin. unlike america, whose leader was weak. and he was referring to president obama. and i think this came about at a time when nobody had anything good to say about either vladimir putin or russia. >> one guest then asked trump about the greek financial crisis. >> mr. trump stood up and said, before i answer that, have any of you heard of "the apprentice"? a show that i created. and he talked for about maybe five, six, seven minutes. about "the apprentice." how amazing it was, how amazing he was. thanked them for coming and got a standing ovation.
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>> was mr. trump as excited to be with these russians as they seemed to be to be with him? >> he seemed to be, yes. he seemed to like the fact that he was adored there. and these are people who are some of the sternest people i've ever seen in my life. loved him. >> we've been having a great time. >> the remainder of trump's day was filled with pageant preps. that night -- >> happy birthday. fantastic guy. >> he went to a birthday party for aras agalarov. he left around 1:00 a.m. what happened over the next several hours in moscow has been the subject of intrigue and innuendo. trump had a suite booked at the ritz-carlton moscow. >> the ritz-carlton moscow is a notorious honey trap that american officials say russian intelligence has every room wired for video and sound and there's an allegation that he cou cavorted with prostitute there is which he denies. >> the allegation is in the steele dossier. research paid for by a
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conservative website and then funded by democrats. >> the most salacious item in the dossier focused on this trip that trump took for the contest. and that was, that he hired prostitutes and had them urinate in the hotel room that he was staying. because obama had stayed there. and they were defiling where obama had slept, walked, gone to the bathroom. whatever. >> the report claims that night the russian government gathered crompromat. >> former fbi director james comey has said that donald trump told him he did not stay overnight at the ritz-carlton in moscow. >> that is not correct. >> he did spend the night? >> he did spend the night. that's where he was dropped off by the security detail that we provided. and that's where he was at 7:00 a.m. the next morning. >> trump's body guard, keel shiller told congress he was approached by someone who
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offered to arrange prostitutes. shiller says he declined. >> keith shiller according to his own testimony told trump about the offer, they laughed about it. trump went into his hotel room. alone. >> to best of your knowledge, the allegations inle steele dossier -- >> well the best of my knowledge, i don't have knowledge. but to the best of my knowledge, we had him all day. we had him all night. there's about four or five hours that are unaccounted for. in my mind, he must have slept at some point. because he didn't look like someone who hadn't slept when i saw him the next day. but i have no idea. you know maybe it could have happened. but again, i've never heard any word of it. >> there's no proof of a compromising video. but one video that does exist was shot the very next morning. donald trump made a cameo in emin's music video in another
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life. >> emin, wake up, what's wrong with you? >> after that shoot, trump did a series of interviews and talked about putin. >> let's not kid ourselves, he's done an amazing job. >> his chief concern when he was in moscow, was whether he would meet vladimir putin. as soon as he landed. are we going to see putin? is putin coming to the event. >> but the meeting never happened. >> i was in the room with the call with mr. trump and emin and aras and it was president putin's spokesman, a man by the name of dmitry peskov and emin translated. and said unfortunately, although mr. putin would love to meet with donald trump today, the meeting can no longer go ahead because the king of holland has been delayed in traffic. >> what was donald trump's reaction when it turned out he wasn't going to be meeting president putin? >> it was okay, actually. i think his reaction would have been really upset if there had
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been no response. but fact that this man who a very senior official, was conveying a message i would love to meet you on the next possible occasion. >> the miss universe pageant co-owned by nbc back then did go on. >> congratulations to you! good night, everybody from moscow! >> and then it ends with he and the agalarovs announcing that they're going to join together to try to build a trump tower in moscow. >> despite his delighted tweet about the project, trump tower moscow never happened. but goldstone says the friendships from moscow continued. he got to know don jr. and three times visited the elder trump at trump tower. on one visit not long before donald trump declared his candidacy. goldstone says trump was there listening to a rap song. he said look 90 million views, a rapper called mac miller who recently passed away has recorded a song.
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had 90 million youtube views and it's about me. >> and i said to him, maybe do you think you should listen to the words and what they're saying about you perhaps? just an idea. ♪ all this money, ain't that [ bleep ] ♪ >> and he went it doesn't matter, 90 million views. the third time we went he said to emin, maybe next time i see you i'll be hosting you at the white house. >> before there was trump in the white house, there was trump the candidate. and the next time goldstone set foot in trump tower would be when he arrived for the meeting. coming up -- >> i get a phone call and he said to me initially, i'd like you to set up a meeting with the trumps. you wouldn't accept an incomplete job
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it was his client, russian pop singer emin agalarov. >> i get a phone call from emin, which is an unusual, we had about 20 a day. and what was unusual was what he wanted. and he said to me i'd like to you set up a meeting with the trumps. >> given this relationship between the agalarov family and donald trump, why did they need you to act as an intermediary? >> because when you deal with people at levels of the agalarovs, remember we're talking about billionaires, they don't pick up their phone to donald trump and go -- hey, will you do this or will do you that? and one of the reasons people like me are employed, is to be that buffer. >> it seems to me, pretty obvious why the meeting developed this way. who was trump's closest pals and
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business associates in russia? the guys he did miss universe with. aras agalarov and his son, emin. if you wanted to get a message to the trump campaign from the russia side -- those are the people you would go to. >> according to goldstone, emin said a well-connected attorney from russia had damaging information about the democrats. >> i knew in my mind when someone is saying "well connected" and you wanted a campaign meeting with the trumps, who else are they connected to? it's obviously the government in my mind. so i was taken i back first because emin and i have worked together maybe three plus years have never even had a conversation about politics, weed had a conversation about donald trump, but not about politics. >> in donald trump goldstone admits, he saw opportunities that had little to do with government. >> selfishly i thought if donald trump is elected president,
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that's amazing. there's lots of favors we could ask. i would like emin to play at the inauguration, i'd like to do a photo shoot with emin at the white house, those are the favors i would like to ask, not some random attorney that you have this bizarre scant amount of information, so i was really against this thing. but i managed him. >> instead of approaching candidate directly, he decide to approach the candidate's son. donald trump jr. that's when he typed out those 138 words that would later be scrupulously examined. >> gorl, emin just called me and asked me to contact you with something very interesting. the crown prosecutor of russia met with his father aras this morning in their meeting offered to provide the trump campaign with some official documents and information. this is obviously very high-level and sensitive information. that is part of russia and its governor support for mr. trump. >> goldstone now admits some of the details were not true.
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>> emin just called and asked me to contact you. that's true? >> that is true. >> the crown prosecutor of russia, not true? >> it's not true. what it is, is my interpretation. what i was talking about was this attorney from russia. >> so you then say, that they're offering to provide the trump campaign with some quote official documents and information. that would incriminate hillary in her dealings with russia and would be very useful to your father. what parts of that are true? >> so what is true is the call so what emin had said was potentially damaging to the democrats. so the democrats only had one candidate. which was hillary clinton. i also was writing this, to the son of somebody who was a reality tv star. who was running for president and who most people, most polls, believed had as much chance of
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becoming president as myself. >> so very little. >> very little. thank you for that. so this wasn't an email to the son of the president of the united states. if it had been, i might have spent a little bit more time on it. this was written in about three minutes on my cell phone. interpreting what i believed my client was trying to get across and puffing it. that's what i do, i'm a publicist. >> the strategy worked, 17 minutes after goldstone's email the future president's son responded with these words -- "if it's what you say, i love it." >> campaigns accept opposition research all the time. but most campaign professionals will tell you they wouldn't accept it from a foreign government or a foreign intelligence service. that's just something that's considered out of bounds in american politics. >> how are you? >> and if the email lacked specifics, trump jr. had three opportunities to clarify the details. >> there's a clear trail within
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the phone records that shows that donald trump jr. and emin agalarov connected by phone. but donald trump jr. testified under oath that congress that he doesn't remember those calls. he has no recollection. >> according to phone records obtained by the senate judiciary committee, while he was communicating with emin, trump jr. had a phone call with a blocked number. >> we know that donald trump uses a blocked number so the big question is, did he speak to his father? all we know is what the records show. don jr. connected with agalarov and in between those calls he spoke to a blocked number. >> after that, the meeting was set. june 9, trump tower. goldstone would bring the russian lawyer. trump jr. said he would bring the candidate's son-in-law, jared kushner and campaign chair paul manafort. before joining the trump campaign manafort worked as a political consultant for oligarchs and pro russian clients. >> persons of interest to me frankly is mr. manafort. he's been in russia, he's been in ukraine.
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if donald trump jr. and jared kushner took this meeting innocently, in ignorantly and sort of sto stepped into it -- it's possible. but mr. manafort? he would have clearly known what the russians were up to. >> two nights before the meeting on june 7, trump greeted supporters with what now sounds like a curious promise. >> we're going to be discussing all of the things that have taken place with the clintons. i think you're going to find it very informative and very, very interesting. >> we just don't know if the speech that donald trump made is a coincidence or not. and so the timing seems awfully strange. >> for all the attention the trump tower meeting would get, goldstone says at the time he hardly gave it a second thought. >> i didn't care about the meeting. it sounds bad, but it's true, i didn't care. i wanted my clients to be happy, that's always my ultimate goal. >> coming up. >> so tell us what happened.
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was the dirt on the democratic party and hillary clinton forthcoming? -oh. -well, what if i showed you this? -[ laughing ] ho-ho-ho! -wow. -it's a computer. -we compare rates to help you get the price and coverage that's right for you. -that's amazing! the only thing that would make this better is if my mom were here. what?! an unexpected ending! in the movies, a lot of times, i tend to play the tough guy. but i wasn't tough enough to quit on my own. not until i tried chantix. chantix, along with support, helps you quit smoking. it reduced my urge to smoke to the point that i could stop. when you try to quit smoking, with or without chantix, you may have nicotine withdrawal symptoms. some people had changes in behavior or thinking, aggression, hostility, agitation, depressed mood,
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the fbi has spoke to the deborah ramirez, who has accused brett kavanaugh of sexual misconduct when they were both students at yale. as part of the bureau's reopening of the background investigation of the supreme court nominee. democratic senator dianne feinstein asking the white house for more information on the scope of that investigation. the death toll is now above 800 after an earthquake and tsunami hit indonesia. widespread damg is making it difficult to reach the hardest-hit areas there. for now, back to "the meeting." it's very complicated story and why am i in the middle of it? >> it's story of the meeting. as told by rob goldstone, the man who arranged it. he took us inside the room at
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trump tower, and an in-depth interview with cynthia mcfadden of nbc news. >> so the meeting is set. don junior has replied to you, if it's what you say it is, i love it. >> and i like to say here, i have a difference interpretation of that. to what the media has had over the last year. i was like -- thank god. he knows that i don't really know all of what i'm saying here. and i obviously don't have all the facts. so if it's what i'm saying, he loves it. >> but it's like you've turned off your thinking brain, rob. if it's what you say it is, if the russian government is going to turn over dirt against hillary clinton -- >> he loves it. yeah. i was focused on me. i was focused on, saving face. not embarrassing myself. not embarrassing my clients. >> not whether this was an unpatriotic or maybe even treasonous offer.
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>> correct. >> goldstone arrived at trump tower on june 9, 2016. when he got there. he checked in on facebook. >> on the few occasions i've been to trump tower, sure, i checked in. including the day of that meeting. most of my friends, diehard liberals and the venom that would come from them on my social media. amused me. i loved it. i thought it was funny. >> i suppose in your defense, if you thought you were up to no good at the trump tower meeting in june of 2016, you wouldn't have put it on social media. >> right, i think i have enough intelligence to have known that. >> accompanying goldstone was a woman he said could provide the incriminating information. russian attorney natalia veselenskaya. >> she was very close to the state prosecutor in russia. who is very close to putin. she had monted an aggressive
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campaign against a law that had been passed by congress and signed by obama that was absolutely hated by putin. and it was called the magnitsky act. >> the magnitsky act allows the u.s. government to sanction russian officials and business people believed to be human rights offenders. >> the magnitsky act sticks in vladimir putin's craw. because it freezes putin's friends bank accounts and travel. >> to retaliate the government government stopped americans from adopting russian children. at trump tower, vesilnintskaya. >> there was a russian-american lobbyist, a former soviet military officer who has been in the united states for many years and he had been working with veselinskaya. >> and also there, a translator and business representative for the agalarov family. at about 4:00 p.m. goldstoned a
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his companions boarded the trump tower elevator to the 25th floor conference room. in the meeting where donald trump jr., his brother-in-law, jared kushner and trump campaign chair, paul manafort. >> don came out and saw these people. they went in and i said, thank you very much i'm leaving and he said, where are you going? and i said i'm leaving and he said why don't you just sit in so you can get people out at the end. i found myself in the meeting. >> was the dirt on the democratic party and hillary clinton forthcoming? >> not as far as i was aware. i decided i would use the opportunity to check my emails just sit there, but to keep half an ear open. my eyes were definitely open. because although i thought well i don't real willy know much ab this subject. i'll be able to change if there's a change in body language. >> goldstone said he noticed the
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mood deflate as he talked about sanctions and the magnitsky act. it didn't sound like useful dirt on hillary clinton. >> jared kushner who was sitting next to me looked like he was becoming more and more agitated as the attorney continued. at which point jared kushner said i have no idea what you're talking about. could you possibly refocus? and the attorney started again. then she started talking about how unfair it was for the adoption of russian children by americans. and then my ears picked up because i was like, what is she talking about? why is, what's adoption got to do with any of this? don jr. stood up and said, i really don't know why you would address this to us. my father's a private citizen. i suggest you address it to the obama administration, they're in power. they can perhaps do something. >> goldstone says he ushered the russians out of the room. the meeting lasted about 20 minutes. >> i jumped up. i was like thank you very much.
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thank you, god bye, we have to leave and i was horrified. >> the three russians who were at the meeting, have testified that don jr. asked specifically about where the dirt was on hillary. do you recall that in. >> no, not at all. >> did anyone in the meeting say -- where's the dirt about hillary? >> no. >> so the russians -- are not telling the truth. >> if that's what they say. >> that's what they testified to. >> vesilnitskaya spoke about the meeting. >> i would say in one word it was a disappointment of sorts. >> nbc news obtained her talking points of the meeting. most of the document is criticism of the magnitsky act. there's only one mention of hillary clinton in passing in regarding donations to the dnc. >> it was maybe for me, a completely insignificant part.
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at no point was there ever compromising material about hillary clinton. not from my mouth, not from my documents. >> an attorney for the agalarovs tells nbc news that no one in the russian government asked them to arrange the meeting. >> jared kushner's attorney said his client went into the meeting not knowing what it was about. didn't participate. and left before it was over. >> jared was told about a meeting with his brother-in-law. no topic was mentioned. when jared got into the room the conversation was about russian adoption. he was probably in the room for 10 or 12 minutes. what happened before he came in and what happened after, he wasn't there to see. >> when the meeting ended goldstone said he was worried he had annoyed don jr. >> i said it was the most embarrassing thing. he said to me you know, i do lots of meetings, that's fine. it was kind of like there, there, it's okay. then he said i just have no idea what that was about. >> coming up, the story breaks. >> come on, you didn't remember
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it began with an offer for dirt and by many accounts, ended up as a frustrating 20-minute conversation about sanctions and adoptions. then what were the russians up to? a man who set it up has a theory. >> do you agree with national security officials, both prior and current, who believe that this meeting was a probe set up by the russian government of the trump campaign in. >> i've always looked at it as a bait and switch. >> goldstone cease he thinks the offer of incriminating information was made just to get in the room. >> it was a dirty offer. >> yes. >> it was a dirty offer that
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they accepted? >> yes. that is true. that didn't materialize, but yes. it's the willingness to accept it. >> that willingness yens experts say, may have been the whole point. >> a lot of my sources, current and former intelligence officials believe this meeting was a test by the russian intelligence services to see how the trump team would respond. >> when you tell someone, we have dirt, you're testing the waters to see what their response is. and once you get a yes, a positive response to that, you have hooked your fish. >> if it was a sophisticated intelligence operation, does that mean the russian lawyer was a government operative? nbc news's richard engel asked her in the spring of 2018 about her government ties. >> you said your relationship with the prosecutor general is -- what? >> translator: i am a lawyer. and i'm an informant.
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>> she referred to herself as a government informer. and i think what she meant by that is that like a lot of people in russia, she does not work for the government. but when asked to provide information about things she's learned in the course of her her work, she provides it. >> what some of my sources have said is they wouldn't send the a-team if they were testing. because they don't know whether the trump team is going to call the fbi and everyone is going to be arrested. >> it's possible the russian lawyer may not have known the real reason she was in the meeting. >> if this worked an intelligence operation, you might pick someone just like this russian attorney. her inability to make people happy at the meeting might be actually consistent with her being kind of an unwitting dupe. the untrained eye could look at this trump tower meeting and see a bunch of amateurs trying to get their own business done. but the counterintelligence lens tells us that this would be exactly how putin would do it today. >> what's more, goldstone now
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says the trump tower meeting wasn't the end of it. he was asked to arrange meetings again after the election and around the inauguration. >> so after this as you paint it really kind of a disastrous meeting. you get two more calls -- >> two more emails, yes. >> asking to set up more meetings with trumps? >> for the same person. for this attorney. >> goldstone says he didn't actively pursue it. and the story of the trump tower meeting might have stayed hidden. if not for the work of some investigative reporters. jo becker was part of a team at "the new york times" who noticed something interesting in jared kushner's updated security clearance forms. >> on this long list of contacts that he now gave to the fbi he wrote that natalia vesilnitskaya, that was it and paul manafort, the campaign chairman had separately had to disclose to congress that he met with some russian official i
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think is how he put it at the request of don jr. so we were able to piece this together and at least paul manafort and the president's son had met with this person in the midst of a campaign, to discuss what? >> the "times" reporters reached out for comment. what would donald trump jr. say about the meeting? >> we were told in a statement that don jr. gave us that this was simply a meeting to talk about russian adoptions. we thought -- that's pretty high-level staffing for a meeting about russian adoptions. it just didn't make sense. >> it was a "washington post" reporter who tracked down goldstone on vacation in athens. >> i was the first reporter to call him and ask him what his role was. >> i took the call and it was a reporter from the "washington post." and said to me, did you set up a meeting between some russians and donald trump jr. at trump tower? and i said yes.
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and the next question was did you see "the new york times" yesterday? >> he was quite open. he sounded a little nervous. but he quite candidly said yes, yes, i set up the meeting and i described the meeting. the one thing he did not want to say in the first phone call is he said he had done it on behalf of a russian client. but he did not want to name the client. >> when i first was asked again about this meeting. you only thing coy remember was adoption. >> come on, you didn't remember you had offered dirt on hillary clinton from the russian government? >> well i didn't remember that, that's not the meeting, that's the email but what the meeting actually transpired. the only thing that sat with me was, it was that ridiculous meeting about adoption. >> goldstone says he continued on with his vacation. >> so i went shopping and tried on crowns and took selfies and it was more hats. >> and you posted them. >> and i posted them. >> you were not getting it? >> i was not getting it, no.
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>> it wasn't long before someone slipped goldstone's email exchange with don jr. to the "new york times" reporters. >> i mean my jaw dropped. i mean there it was, in black and white. >> once again, they reached out for comment. what would donald trump jr. say now? >> we say now? >> we called them in the morning and said we had obtained the e-mail ands we're prepared to publish them. don junior started tweeting out these hastily photographed images of e-mails. it was an attempt to make a claim they were doing this in an effort to be transparent. if they wanted to be transparent they could have told the truth on day one or day two, or day three, but they didn't. >> startling admission, donald trump, jr., releasing e-mails today. >> each day new bits of information that were damaging to the white house and damaging to donald trump, jr., were starting to trickle out. >> within weeks a new allegation emerged. that first statement from don junior saying the meeting was just about adoption, it came
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from his father. >> he's flying home on air force one as they're scrambling and trying to figure out what to say about this. and apparently he actually essentially dictated the wording of the statement and decided what his son should say. >> the president denied it at first, but later changed his story in a memo his lawyer sent to robert mueller. >> and that seems to be an important focus of robert mueller's investigation. why did president trump dictate this misleading statement delivered on his son's behalf about this meeting that trump says he knew nothing about at the time? >> what did the president know about the meeting and when did he know it? that's a question the special counsel's team surely wants to answer. coming up. >> i told myself that if bob mueller appeared, i would literally just throw my hands forward and say, just arrest me.
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the trump tower meeting is considered one of the most
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suspicious events in the russia scandal. now more than two years after the fact, two questions stand out. was the sit-down evidence of criminal wrongdoing? and amid the shifting stories, did the president play a role in the cover up? >> it's one of the most enduring mysteries of this episode, is did donald trump know about it? he has said over and over again that he did not know that this took place, and donald trump, jr., has said the same, including essentially under oath to congress. >> e-mail exchange in which donald trump, jr. infamously responded. if it's what you say, i love it. the question was always been, did candidate donald trump know about that meeting before it happened? >> it's hard for me to believe that donald trump, jr., in that circumstance would not communicate with his father and say, dad, look what i got. >> the mueller team appears to be looking at this in terms of attempted collusion.
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what was the state of mind of the trump team? they're also looking at it through the lens of obstruction of justice. why were misleading things said about this meeting? >> if the president had a hand, it appears he did, in drafting a false statement as to the true meaning of the trump tower meeting, then the special counsel is asking, is this obstruction of justice? >> not long after the trump tower sit-down, music publicist rob goldstone ended his working relationship with russian pop singer aman aguilarov. it catapulted russia into the campaign. >> it was goldstone who wanted to meet with donnie jr. to share dirt on hillary clinton. >> goldstone first testified on capitol hill. then the special counsel came calling, asking him to respond to questions as a voluntary witness. >> tell us what it was like
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inside that room when you went in to face the mueller lawyers. >> the publicist part of methot it would be this glamorous thing. it would be at the j. edgar hoover building and it would be some incredible, almost like perry mason experience. anyway, it was in some unmarked building in a bland conference room. >> was mr. mueller himself there? >> no, and i told myself in advance that if bob mueller appeared, i would literally just throw my hands forward and say, just arrest me because i had heard that he hadn't shown up for anyone else's. >> goldstone says mueller's lawyers peppered him with questions, many dealing with the relationships that appeared to tie trump to russia. >> my connection to the trumps, trump's connection to the aguilar ovens, agalarovs connection, it all made perfect sense what they would want to talk about and i was able to fill in as much as i knew.
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>> goldstone agreed to be a voluntary witness this time in front of robert mueller's grand jury. >> i was picked up by two fbi agents and driven to an underground entrance to yet another unremarkable building. the room is like a school room. it has three tiers. it was like a lecture room in a college. there were about 2 2 or 23 peope there across the three tiers. >> what do you think they wanted you to tell that grand jury? the truth, of course, but what's the case? what's the case? >> i think that one of the things they definitely needed me to enlighten the grand jury about was the thing i get asked about all the time, i haven't really spoken about until now, which is what was the reasoning for writing the e-mail the way i did. and why did i use certain phrases that i did.
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>> new revelations may also be coming from a source once in trump's inner circle. >> paul manafort pleading guilty today to two charges as part of a plea deal. >> paul manafort is now cooperating with robert mueller's investigation. his presence at the meeting looms large. >> paul manafort is a manage with a lot of russian connections. he knew exactly how the russians operated. he should have known what was happening there and why that meeting was perilous. >> the question of knowingly cooperating with a foreign power to influence the election, to assist and support the campaign, that's the big question that mueller is going to try to answer through manafort. >> whatever happened before, during and after the meeting, robert mueller now has multiple witnesses spilling secrets. rob goldstone insists he never meant to be parliament t of a r plot, but what he provided of
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whether any trump campaign officials wanted to join one. whatever came of the meeting, goldstone said he's living with the consequences of one very bad idea. >> are you guilty of anything? >> i'm guilty really of not standing my ground. and knowing that this was a bad idea, that's what i'm guilty of. i've not really putting my sensible hat on and going, you know this is a bad idea, don't do it. a major trump campaign donor comes under suspicion because of his russian ties. we uncover exclusive new evidence. >> do you think that these donations were part of a russian campaign to influence the election and help president trump? >> absolutely. >> did paul manafort's russian co-defendant use a repub

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