tv MSNBC Live With Ali Velshi MSNBC January 18, 2019 12:00pm-1:00pm PST
that will wrap things up for me this hour, ali velshi is here. >> a busy afternoon as well. i never do what i end up thinking i will do in the afternoon. >> are you back this afternoon? >> i'm not. i'm working on something else. >> all right then, have a great one. >> president trump directed his attorney, michael cohen, to lie to congress about the moscow tower progress. it smarked more calparked more democrats to call for impeachment. they told the special council that the president personally instructed him to lie to congress by giving instructions to end it sooner than they actually did. i want to point out that nbc
news has not confirmed this reporting. it is the first report of trump telling a subordinate. >> i will tell you right now ze zero. i have nothing to do with russia. >> i have nothing to do with russia. >> a i no deals in russia. i have no deals that could happen in russia because we have stayed away. >> back in 2017 cohen testified in front of the house intelligence kmuntt. he said the dealings ended in january of 2016. that is a claim that we now know to be a lie that means all of that stuff that you heard from president trump were lies. it is a lie the president was
reportedly privy too because while he was busy denying that business interest in russia, behind the scenes he was pushing the moscow project. one that could bring his company profits in excess of $300 million. the two sources said that trump had at least ten, ten face to face meetings with cohen about the moscow deal during the campaign. buzz feed sources say they learned about the directive to cohen not from cohen but interviews with witnesses from the trump administration, internal companies, e-mails, and a cache of other documents. that is not all. the sources say that trump's children also allegedly received regular detailed updates about the real estate development directly from cohen.
trump's current lawyer responded with this. if you believe cohen, i can get you a great deal on the brooklyn bridge. but he also exposed the lie that the dealings went longer than that january 2016 date. >> did drunk know that michael cohen was pursuing trump moscow, a co-- according to the daytimee gave it would go up to november 2016. you had some time to sift there it, what do you think? >> this clip is very important. some of this we knew, we sometimes forget what we have already learned. in the plea documents, he made clear that he talked to trump about reaching out to russia
about this trump tower moscow deal and that trump green lighted it, it was proving that trump lied in the campaign about the timing and the nature of the trump tower moscow project. what is new here is the allegation that donald trump told michael cohen to high, and we're not getting push back on that from the michael cohen camp. trump's attorneys are denying it, but it is hugely important apart from the information because it suggests that he was involved in emergency, part of a conspiracy to lie to a coequal branch of golf, and it hvernmens a lot of people calling for robert mueller to impeach. michael cohen being called a liar will not be enough for the public for that matter.
>> a lot of the buzzfeed reporting is not reliant on the reporting by michael cohen. so the statement that he is unreliable, whatever they want to call him, the fact is this reporting if true, and we have not monitored it. >> it is based on two law enforcement sources and they discussed documents that were obtained from the trump organization. you have to assume that they were dexing and e-mailing about a instruction for him to lie. it is something that we should all consider. also we have to consider that two law enforcement sources may have violated the law. this sounds like it was grand jury information.
we should note that know other ocean has confirmed the story and go from there. if true, it is huge. >> it is important to have that caution, ken, because there is a lot of information out there. >> so what is the white house strategy repondisponding to the latest report. kelly, we have been hearing from giuliani a lot, that is a little different than hearing from the white house, what do we know in response to this so far. >> we also have just had an opportunity for our colleague halle jackson who is among a group of reporters here, one of those moments of community for many nice conferences. what i am gleaning from this is she is knocking down the story as well calling it ridiculous. we will turn that as quickly as we can, but that would be a much higher level official addressing this and we'll have to see what
piece of the puddle she addresses. we have been hearing that the president's daughter-in-law lara trump part of the campaign structure have been attacking cohen. julianny who is the president's lawyer has released an extensive statement where he goes at this more directly. we can put that on the screen for our viewers to read along. any other sense is that it is getting at the heart of the allegations that played out. she a lawyer. that goes down to the noblg down defense. the real piece of this unknown to us now, the reporters that authored that story may have some inside reporting. but e-mail so often in our modern life are the construction
of the digital fingerprint that helps people see pieces coming kogt in evidence, in realtime, if that is what is in the possession of this special council, and if cohen was a confirming witness to that documentary evidence, that's what we have to see and we don't have possession of that yet, we don't have insight to it yet, so the julioul giuliani new statem saying cohen was told to lie is a big umbrella statement that moves the ball forward. that goes beyond saying we don't trust him any more, that has been the argument for quite a long time to saying that suggestion of any improper doing is false. i asked the president directly if he had directed cohen to commit any campaign finance
violations back on the south lawn and the president was very clear saying no no no, that was a direct denial on a different set of facts. this can really get congress's ire. it not only offends the law, but it is considered a real threat to the role of congress to get at their oversight on a whole rangs of issues, all of the range of things that transit through congress. and so that is why it is such a big deal if they cannot rely on witnesses to present the facts. this is just the start of this story and the snowball is rolling one way or the other, we just don't know if it will melt or gain speed. >> we just got comment from sarah huckabee sanders, let's
listen to what she had to say. >> did the president direct michael cohen to lie to congress. >> that is ridiculous. i think the president's outside council addressed this best. it is categorically false. >> kelly, the same wording that rudy giuliani used so they're singing off of the same page. >> coordinated, you would expect that. this is the kind of matter where the white house press secretary comes off of the council. she is an important voice in this regardless, but that makes sense that she would be speaking from the same page. it also took quite a while for us to get that statement. it is a second wave response. one might assume wile they
measure how big it played and it has played big today. a lot of democrats speaking out about this today saying it leads toward a path of needing more investigation and more scrutiny, those are sort of the bred crumbs being laid, it has not ri risen to speaker pelosi. before mule every speaks welcome it doesn't go to congress, it goes to the defendant of justice. that is really where we value to wait until we get something more specific about these details, but what an alarming report it has been this friday. >> that is keeping with what we know so far. how close are we getting to impeachment? more people are talking about this? we're getting much closer with
the caveat that lawmakers keep repeating "if true." the first article of impeachment was richard nixon and that was approving, condoning, counselling witnesses with respect to giving false investigation for an investigation. false or misleading system. stuff it serious, the witness being michael cohen, the congressional proceeding being the house and senate judiciary committees. i want to bring in the experts, joining me, lids holtsman. she is a former member of the house and former member of the judiciary. michael conway who served as a council to that same committee
during the nixon impeachment inquiry, liz, we have been talking about this for a long time. it keeps coming closer to developments that you spoke about a long time ago. it smells like what went wrong for richard nixon, and you said none of it matter until they decide that donald trump is really a liability. >> when the american people decide that a president of the united states cannot be u someone that has committed crime or misdemeanor, that will affect congress. the house leadership was not for the impeachment of richard nixon. they were all democrats, the house was controlled by
democrats, and they did not want to move one inch toward impeachment, but when the president said said i'm firing the special prosecutor, that's what we have here, but the evidence that mueller has been accumulating but but behind dro closed doors, but the more that the american people understand the evidence against donald trump, the more they understand what case could be, the more there will be a demand for impeachment. >> michael, i have to say, liz is right. mueller is doing what he is doing behind closed doors. the evidence that we have, the president saying something that we know to be lies, donald trump lies more than anyone i have ever covered in my entire career, but a lot are
inconsequence shl and meaning less. these are lies recorded on tape that we can continue to play back for people. so why given your history and water gate, why are these moments not turning into greater and stronger calls for impeachment. >> i think this is really a l d landmark development. as you read, it is not just counselling people to lie, but the president took oath on inauguration day to make sure to uphold the law and in richard nixon's case, he counciled people, and they admitted it was very important that he didn't come forward or reveal the system or dismiss the people. here it is very clear that not just michael cohen has plead
guilty, but other witnesses are under investigation for lying. i think this is something that people can understand. it impeding congress for oversight. if the executive branch, and witnesses are lying at the behest of the president not every crime is impeachable, not every impeachable offense is a crime. >> earlier in the week william barr was testifying. he had interesting testimony. amy klobuchar was asking him about obstruction of justice. >> a president persuading a person to commit perjury, that would be obstruction, correct? >> yes, well any person that persuades another. >> you also said a president or
any person convincing someone to change testimony would be obstruction, is that right? >> yes. >> okay, on page two you said a president deliberately impairing evidence would be an obstruction, is that correct? >> yes. >> william barr may have made himself the least desirable attorney general to be. that is real stuff. he didn't even say the president, he said any american doing that would be facing an impeachable offense. now it is the president, at least from the reporting we have. >> what barr said is that it is a crime. what we said, and i think very coming to water gate 2.0 now, richard nickson said toth senate water gate committee, he said to president nixon, just say "i
can't remember, i can't recall" and guess what, bob holdaman said i can't remember, i can't recall, and he went to jail. richard nixon was voted to have committed high crimes and misdemeanors. that's where we are now if this story is true. congress has to get to the bottom of it. >> thank you to both of you. michael conway is the council to that same committee in the nixon impeachment inquery. if there is anyone you want to listen to it's these two. they know what they're talking about. and a day after donald trump let nancy pelosi use a jet to go to afghanistan, he said the white house leaked her plans. >> we had plans to travel
commercially and then the white house leaked it, and we were going to go but we had a report from afghanistan that the president outing our trip had made the scene on the ground much more dangerous. >> white house official denied the allegations saying when the speaker of the house and about 20 others from capitol hill decided to book their flights to afghanistan, the world is going to find out. they not be able to use rented, lea leased, or any other government aircraft during the shut down. garrett is joining us now from capitol hill, what's the latest? >> well, the latest right now
has nancy pelosi ans why n a sarcastic way. whether or not she thinks this was retaliation. listen to the lip and tell me what you think? >> do you view this as retaliation? >> i hope not, i don't think the president would be that petty, do you? >> you're accusing the president of the united states of endangers the lives of american members of congress. >> no, i'm just saying what state department reported to us. any time that anyone uts a bright light on the presence at a high level or any level of congressional delegation, you have heightened the danger. >> i will let you decide for yourselves in the sarcasm or shade in the first part of that answer. i don't think that gets us any closer to solving the shut down problem. the overriding issue here was never the availability of
lawmakers to negotiate, it was the enstraktability of the positions of the various folks involved that has us locked in place and likely continuing to do so throughout the weekend. >> thank you, garrett, coming up just two months after pulling off some of the biggest upset victories, freshman democrats showed up to washington ready to work to be greeted by a government shut down. our frank conversation with them about getting the government up and running and holding the president accountable. >> the discussion is the wall and there is bipartisan recognition that a wall is not the way to go. it is a sixth century technology. it is up there with a mote and alligators. kns metastatic breast cancer is relentless, but i'm relentless too. mbc doesn't take a day off, and neither will i.
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but i know the importance of having time to do what you love. at comcast we know our customers' time is valuable. that's why we have 2-hour appointment windows, including nights and weekends. so you can do more of what you love. my name is tito, and i'm a tech-house manager at comcast. we're working to make things simple, easy and awesome. . as this shut down carries on, they're sounding off against donald trump. these new fashions in congress arrived to washington in the midst of a show down. they're not afraid to hold the presidential accountable. >> hey, they may be freshman,
but nay are not shy about speaking their minds, they're firmly behind nancy pelosi, and i said houngs will this shut down go on. >> don't know but we walked a letter over to senator mcconnell. he wasn't in the office. we got offered water, coffee, and chocolate, but what we want is a functional government. don't nut down the government any time they didn't get their way over any issue. this is not how it is supposed to be. no other country is doing this, trump neds to end the shut down.
what can you do as the new kids on the block. >> freshman make up a quarter of the entire congress. that is huge, we're not being treated like we're being pushed aside. >>. >> really? >> no. >> the discussion is the wall. and there is bipartisan recognition that a wall is not the way to go. it is a sixth century technology, it is up there with a mote and alligators. >> that is next. >> did your constituents elect them to get them the wall? >> not all of them, there is bipartisan support for border and port security and that tax payer dollars be used the right way to address those issues. >> i think we just have to work on the issues that the american people want and leadership needs
to let them come to a vote. all of them flip republican districts in a place where reagan got his first election, nixon, so these are people who were brought here to stand up to donald trump and that's exactly what they're going to do. they say if they give in now every time he doesn't get something he wants he will shut down the government and they're not going back home to morning county and los angeles that they folded. >> are they concerned they went there to do the work of the people, and they say we need you to get the government up and start working. >> they all have ambitious agendas, but they argue they are already working, they're staffed
up and they're doing constituent services. they're getting stuff done. they say they have had meetings with freshman congressmen that are republicans and no one talked about a wall as a way out of this. they feel like they're doing what their constituents want them to do, but they feel like that the longer it goes on the longer other business of government will be getting into it. >> just daying before he became president of the united states, one of donald trump's attorneys made this proms on his behalf. >> he wants the american public to be assured that he is acting for the american people not for himself. the actions that he takes as
president are for their benefit and not to support his personal interests. >> you would see next to that lawyer you would see all of the piles and piles and piles of files, he said they were all conflicts of interest and business and stuff like that. we don't know what was in those files, but two years on citizens for responsibility and ethics in washington, they say the president racked up more than 1,400 conflicts of interest. here is what the wash doing group found. since taking office, donald trump made 281 visits to properties from which he still profits. the president and other without staff promoted trump businesses on 87 occasions. 12 foreign governments made payments to trump properties while he was president.
more than 150 political committees including party and campaign committees who spent nearly $5 million at special interest businesses. 13 grouping lobbied the white house. 53 members of congress visited his resort, and 4 people from mar-a-lago have been considered for ambassadorships. this is nuts. joining me to talk more about this is a guy who has been on the case from the beginning. he has been warning us since that day you watched that press conference that something here is amiss. he is the director of citizens for responsibility. these stories don't end. the other day we heard a story
about the ceo of t mobile, the day after he announced the merger with sprint. nine of his people staying at the trump hotel in washington all tedecked out in their t mobe wear. it is so obvious the way you can influence this administration. >> based on the documents of interest that we have, it is in the realm of twice a day or more that the trump businesses are intersecting with the government. we have become a country where people who want to influence the president know that a major way to do that is to bring business to his properties. and that is the way that a lot of countries in the world, unfortunately, historically, have operated. it is never the way our country has operated and it is
disgraceful. >> i want to go back to that press conference, it seemed nonsensical at the time. they described there is no chance which he be subject to conflicts of interest, but despite that they would take remarkable steps and put the president's interest into a blind trust that is absolutely not a plind trust. it is a trust run by his children whom we know she in constant touch with. this has been a farce since the beginning, what do you do about it? >> what should have happened from the beginning is the president should have sold his businesses. no one is asking him to to not get anything for his businesses, but he should have sold them, gotten billions of dollars likely, and moved on.
he didn't do that and so now it is up to other branchs of government to come in and stof the interesting with one of them with the support of the attorney general of maryland and dc against the president for violating the constitution. it may be that multily a court says to the president that youb have to stop violating the constitution. the other branch of government that can and i believe will be doing more about these conflicts of interest is congress that has to say this is not acceptable. we're going to shine a light on these and demand that you do something about it. i continue to be hopeful that we will move toward the president really feeling pressure to stop running the country in that way. >> i'm a business guy, i'm attracted to understanding how much money we think the president and his family make
off of this, but that is beside the point, right? that is the wrong question to be asking how much money have they made? the clause is pretty clear there should be zero money from foreign interests at all so there is no question of impropriety, and there should be zero money. it is not about whether or not the president thinks the law is subject to conflicts of interest if is something entirely different upon which our constitutional democracy relies. >> absolutely right. look at whether or not it is a foreign government or something else, someone can come into the hotel and buy a cup of coffee and the president can know that person is bringing business to him and paying tribute to him and that could fluff the president's decision making. now in the course of these 1400
plus conflicts of interest a lot of money has gone to the president's businesses. so nobody should be thinking this is minimal, but you're right that it is not about the amount of money, it is about the fact that the president's decision making on issues of incredible importance to americans could be being influenced by his bottom line and businesses. >> i appreciate the crew staying on this. noah bookbinder. the supreme court talking about whether or not they will consider a amendment to daca. those determined to be dreamers, under 16 when they were brought to the united states, pete has a update on this. >> it looks like the supreme court will not be hearing the trump administration's appeal of lower court rulings that have blocked the government from
shutting daca down. stay with me. today was the deadline we believe for the court to grant any cases if the cases are to be heard this term in is the last conference by the justices until mid february. if they don't grant a case now after this con friend, there is no way the court will hear the case this term. we think now that it is unlikely the court will hear daca, we'll have a chance to find out for sure on monday, but we expected an orders list today, a list of any cases the court would grant. we have just been told flow wnoe will be no such list today. we can't be 100% sure about that, but that is certainly the way it looks. as a practical matter if the court doesn't here the daca appeal this term, the earliest it can take it up would be oskt,
the gipping of next term, and of course it would take a couple months to decide it. so if the court doesn't take daca has now appears unlikely, that means that daca will continue for at least another ten or maybe 12 months. that is the practical significance of that. there was other cases that we wr waiting to hear about lowering court rulings that blocked the government from enforcing the proposed ban on military service. the question of whether or not it blocks discrimination on the job for gays and lesbians, and several other cases, a channel to an indiana law that restricts abortion, and a invitation to take up roe v. wade again. >> thank you. now listen for the first time in
u.s. history. members of our military are working without pay, that includes 42,000 members of the coast guard. the only branch working unpaid during the government shut down. the coast guard released a statement that reads i recognize the anxiety and uncertainty placed on you and your family and it is not lost on me that our dedicated civilians are adjust torg a missed paycheck. you are not and will not be forgtsen. cities are now opening food pantries and food banks for military families. christina is joining me, her husband is on 24 hour active duty, but he is not getting paid now. members of the coast guard are needing to use food banks in america. >> ali, i appreciate you having
me, but at the exact same thought crossed my mind and you know, it is going there, going to a food bank, which we did last friday, you know going there almost in a pit, my stoma stomach, i just had a pit feeling in my stomach. i had to explain to a son, daddy has a job, why didn't we pay, and it is smk thomething they can't -- how do you as a parent answer that when this is something you can't shield them from. we have been talking to banks across the country. just to be clear for most people like me, anyone in mark with a
mortgage payment, you set it up for auto draft. it is painless and invisible. you had to call your bank to stop that. >> yes, that was the first thing that we did because it happening early on in the month for us. we decided to make our mortgage mamt this month but we have no way of gauging how long this will go on. we were giving one option that you could defer, but it is a hardsh hardship package, seven to ten business days, if we choose to go that route, and it is sitting on the table, and it's like do we wait or do we not. it is very difficult because you're still processing the kind of disbelief that this is actually happening.
it never happened before where we missed a payment. >> and the same with the car, right? you had to make arrangements with the car. >> yes, and this is where, you know, guaranteed back pay for us is just it is like paying the lowest and smallest spamt on a credit card. it doesn't include interest and what is happening with our car payment situation is that we're able to defer this month, which we did, but we're still accruing interest. it adds a month to the life of the loan. even asking if there was an exception put in place, there was nothing put in place, so it is just -- it is so much -- it is i just need to tell my
viewers this, chase is on 24 hour active duty. you have two young sons age three and seven. you never worried about him you don't make that much, your husband works in the service of the united states to keep americans safe. >> that's right, that's right. when he signed those papers to enlist, i don't know what's on the papers because i'm not in the military, but he is -- he signed on and i, you know, signed to marry him and we knee
income is low but reliable. we wanted to buy a home that was modest and not depend on my income that was just well within our means and to do that of course we rely on his paycheck. that is not the case, and it is just mind blowing that it is -- dealing with it, it is almost hart to verbalize emotions. that you feel, because they evolve so quickly and you're dealing with so much at one time sometimes you're not able to feel those emotions because it is just an auto pilot. we have to deal with this and deal with it, and it is such a
disgrace that we have to deal with it. we're forgetting it is not our fault. >> it is not your fault, it is a disgrace. we thank chase and you for your service to this country and we will keep you and your two young boys in our thoughts. if there is any issues with the bank, please make sure you get in touch with producers, we're talking to banks to try to make sure they make things as easy as possible for your family and others. coming up, disturbing allegations of sexual, physical, and emotional abuse against musician r. kelly. l abuse again musician r. kelly. hit's a long-distance journey, e psoriasis is not always easy. and you have the determination to keep going. humira has a proven track record of being prescribed for over 10 years. humira works inside the body to target and help block a specific source of inflammation that contributes to symptoms. most adults taking humira were clear or almost clear and many saw 75% and even 90% clearance in just 4 months.
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her will. several people were abused by the star when they were under age in the rage. the accusations against the sing ver been mounting for decades, dating back to the 1990s when he married aaliyah when she was 15 and he was 27. now another woman has come forward to share her story. in a new "dateline" interview we're now hearing from a young woman who met r. kelly working as an intern. she goes on to detail her relationship with the r&b singer and accused him of sexual abuse. she says she was just 16 years old at the time. nbc's miguel almaguer has more. >> i was if love with him. i was in love with him. i didn't know what to do. i didn't know if this was normal. i didn't know if this was how adults acted.
i just didn't know. i didn't know. >> reporter: tracy sampson says she was introduced to r. kelly while working as an intern at epic records during the summer of 1999, starting when she was 16 years old. >> he's like, well, can i kiss you? and i was like no. he's like okay, well, give me a hug. when i gave him a hug, he just started kissing me. >> reporter: sampson tells "dateline" her relationship with kelly lasted until she was 18. it was then she broke things off and filed a lawsuit against the singer, accusing him of sexual abuse. kelly denied having sex with her but settled with sampson out of court for $250,000. her first on-camera interview coming in the wake of anti-kelly rallies outside of sony headquarter in new york and kelly's chicago studios, protesters calling for police action and an end to producing r kelly's music. lady gaga, celine dion and
chance the rapper have all pulled their collaborations with the chart-topping artist. >> the record companies are abandoning him. other artists are all of a sudden acting like they're shocked by these rumors that are floating around. he's having a very difficult time but he's strong, he's tough and wants to put out his music and continue performing for people, and i expect that's what he will be able to do. >> reporter: kelly's attorney says he didn't represent the artist when sampson alleges she was abused but insists his client has done nothing wrong to her or any of the women who have come forward. >> so is r. kelly saying that all of these women, they are all lying? >> that is absolutely correct. >> every one of them? >> every one of them, yes. >> reporter: police haven't formally discussed opening a criminal investigation into kelly but just last week, kma chicago p.d. visited his home at the tip two women were being
held there. they were interviewed and said they're not being held against their news. there's lgs talk sony music split with r. kelly as well. >> you can watch "accused: the r. kelly story" on "dateline" tonight at 10 p.m. on nbc. does vladimir putin have dirt on president trump? after the break, i will be joined by someone who says he does without a doubt. >> first, a look at the u.s. supreme court where thousands gathered for the annual march for life, protest against abortion. vice president mike pence made a surprise appearance earlier today. rise appearance earlier today.
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president trump's been dogged by questions about what, if anything, russia had on him. the issue came up when he met with vladimir putin last year. joining us now to talk about this is john nickols, u.s. national affairs and sfoern policy expert at the harvard extension school. he wrote a column saying all signs pointed to putin having compromising information on the president. tom, thank you for being with us. what do you think this is about? >> i think the president has had a long history with the russians financially and if this buzzfeed report is true, a relationship that continued about the trump tower in moscow business even after he was elected. so while we can't know, and, of course, i don't speak for the government on this, while we
can't know what the russians have, we know the president has had a long relationship with the russians he may want to keep secret involving money, finances, secrets he kept from the american people. i think the president has been going out of his way to avoid antagonizing putin and i think that's what we've been seeing over the past months, especially places like helsinki or the attempt to get president putin's attention at the g20, these were responses saying, look, i'm not trying to buttheads with you but keep our confidences here >> do you think there's a head-butting problem? the reason i say that we know of examples when people were connected with russia bought cases for trump in some cases for money well beyond market value, which leaves people like me to surmise maybe russia has been for some time propping up donald trump, who maybe isn't as
rich as he likes to tell everybody he is, or do you think it's something else? >> well, we're running out of innocent explanations. that's part of the problem. if you had taken just anybody, if you said wealthy new york guy doing a lot of business in cash and property with the russians, you would immediately come to the conclusion of money laundering. i think we have to go for the simplest explanation. the stuff we don't know is how much the russians know about putin -- excuse me, about the president not leveling with the american people during the campaign, about the deals in moscow, and then again during the times they've met. we still don't know what they talked about at helsinki, and that's a really important thing to know. and the president's gone to great lengths to keep that a secret. >> which is kind of remarkable. >> i do think there are things we don't know. tom, i'm sorry we don't have more time but we will continue this conversation when we do. that wraps up the hour and week for me. thank you for watching. have a great weekend.
"deadline: white house" with nicole wallace starts right now. hi, everyone, it's 4:00 in new york. it's one of the most dramatic and potentially devastating developments in the donald trump versus michael cohen saga to date. a new report so damning that, if true, could very well put in motion donald trump's impeachment. a late-breaking report in buzzfeed last night claiming donald trump has president, quote, directed his former lawyer and fixer michael cohen to lie to congress about negotiations to build a trump tower in moscow. according to two federal law enforcement officials involved in the investigation of the matter. the special counsel's office learned about trump's directive to lie to congress through interviews with multiple witnesses through the trump organization and interm company e-mails, text messages and a cache of other documents. cohen then acknowledged those instructions during his interviews with that office. cohen's testimony marks a significant new