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tv   The 11th Hour With Brian Williams  MSNBC  March 28, 2019 11:00pm-12:00am PDT

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it is nothing less than their moral responsibility. that's tonight's last word. "the 11th hour" with brian williams starts now. tonight donald trump has decided he's been cleared. the president takes his vindication towards michigan, all of it based not on the mueller report but the four-page letter with the attorney general and tonight it included blue language from the president in front of a solidly red crowd. also tonight, the president's loyal republicans using this period before we get to see the mueller report to go on attack in congress. they want a major democratic committee chairman to resign. today they got their answer. and weeks after michael cohen called him a cheat, new reporting on attempts by donald trump, the businessman, to cook
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some of the numbers as "the 11th hour" gets underway on a thursday night. well, good evening once again from our nbc news headquarters here in new york. day 798 of the trump administration, and as we all continue to react to a four-page letter summarizing the mueller report and not the actual mueller report, not yet, it's clear the president has interpreted the letter from his own attorney general as his vindication, and he made it the theme of his rally in grand rapids, michigan, tonight. >> the russia hoax is finally dead. robert mueller was a god to the democrats, was a god to them until he said there was no collusion. the crazy attempt by the democrat party and the fake news media right back there and the
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deep state to overturn the results of the 2016 election have failed. the russia witch hunt was a plan by those who lost the election to try and illegally regain power by framing innocent americans, many of them. they suffered with an elaborate hoax. >> one reported detail about the mueller report has emerged. today "the new york times," nbc news and "the washington post" separately reported that the document is more than 300 pages. two people on fox news have said it's 700 pages, and to be fair, the cnn website has a report that it's 1,000 pages. either way, it's longer than the four-page summary that everyone so far is reacting to. "the times" writes, the size of
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the report, quote, suggests mr. mueller went well beyond the bare bones summary required by justice department regulation and detailed his conclusions at length and it raises questions about what mr. barr might have left out. our own julia ainsley suggests he provided evidence to back up his conclusions raising questions how much of that evidence the public will see. house democrats have told barr they want the report by next tuesday but barr has told the house judiciary chairman democrat, jerry nadler of new york that he is unlikely to be able to meet that deadline. kasie hunt reports that the delay could result in a major confrontation between democrats and the attorney general. earlier today nancy pelosi criticized barr's handling of the mueller report. >> no thank you, mr. attorney general. we do not need your interpretation. show us the report, and we can draw our own conclusions.
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we don't need you interpreting for us. it was condescending and it was arrogant and it wasn't the right thing to do. >> and again, in the meantime, in this period before we are able to see what we're allowed to see of the mueller report, republicans have launched an effort to unseat house intelligence committee chairman adam schiff, democrat of california to get him to resign. at his rally tonight, the president called schiff a pencil neck for what that's worth. today at a committee hearing it all burst out into the open when the top republican member said this to chairman schiff. >> you've been at the center of a well orchestrated media campaign claiming among other things the trump campaign colluded with the russian government. we have no faith in your ability to discharge your duties in a manner consistent with your responsibility and urge your immediate resignificant nation. >> my colleagues may think it's
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okay that the russians offered dirt on the democratic candidate for president as part of what was described as the russian government's effort to help the trump campaign. you might think that's okay. i don't. >> speculation about possible pardons is back in the news tonight after the president declined to shut it down during an interview just last night. former national security advisor michael flynn, the former campaign chairman paul manafort seemed to be the names most often mentioned. tonight, the associated press reporting trump has privately expressed sympathy for manafort who was sentenced to seven years in prison, you'll recall. according to the a.p. some of trump's closest advisors and gop allies are advising against pardons because of the sheer political cost. on another front today, jared kushner showed up in congress and nbc news reporting trump's son-in-law and senior advisor was there to meet with the senate intelligence committee. it was the first time kushner was questioned by senators.
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his appearance back in 2017 only involved questioning by committee staff. that committee still looking at the trump campaign and russia's election interference. kushner's questioning today may indicate that investigation is closer to wrapping up the end of the senate inquiry would then leave just the house with open inquiries into the president. tonight, trump worked in some blue language when warning the democrats who are investigating him. >> the democrats have to now decide whether they will continue defrauding the public with ridiculous bull -- >> so our president has just decided to let it fly. let's bring in our leadoff panel for a thursday night peter baker, white house correspondent for "the new york times" and barbara mcquaid, veteran former prosecutor and former u.s. attorney for the eastern
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district of michigan and tessa baronson, her latest is about attorney general barr and it's headlined "the decider." welcome to you all. peter baker, do we have this about right? all we have so far is the barr interpretation. we don't have the mueller report. during this interim could be days, could be weeks, the president is trying to cement his story in the public mind. >> yeah, i think that's exactly right. all we have really, not even four pages, we have two lines, two sentences in effect from robert mueller as quoted by bill barr in his memo and they are two important sentences. one of them is the mueller investigation did not establish any conspiracy between the trump campaign and russia. that's very important. that was the main original mission and the other one was that robert mueller does not accuse the president of any crime of obstruction but nor does he exonerate him from that. those are two things we know about this report at this point as quoted by bill barr. the 300 pages more that we are going to see or
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hope to see certainly have a whole lot more information. the bottom line is still what is important. the president is obviously the president is going to continue to go around saying he was exonerated and if there is not any further consequence because those are the two conclusions, those are still very important but we're going to learn more. we'll learn more about what robert mueller discovered about contacts with russia and what he thinks they might have added up to, what was going on there even if they weren't criminal and we're going to learn more about his view of obstruction allegations. what we're told is most of the things that add up to this obstruction case, if one were to be made are things we know about presumably like the firing of jim comey, the fbi director, the discussion about whether to fire mueller himself, those kinds of things so at that point, there is a big debate about what the details of the 300 plus pages add up to. that will obviously still continue to shadow over the president despite the bottom line conclusions that are more favorable to him. >> tessa, to your reporting,
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how are things inside the west wing these days? >> i think what you saw at trump's rally tonight is a nice encapsulation of his mood and the mood in the white house which is that they're all sort of oscillating between being exuberant and happy of what we know of mueller's report through barr and feeling incredibly angry and frustrated about the course of the investigation over the past two years and so you really saw both on display at trump's rally tonight, and he wants to move forward, but he's not quite ready to move on, and he wants revenge, and i was talking yesterday with raj shaw, who is the former deputy press secretary at the white house about how trump might use this now, use this anger as a political weapon in 2020, and raj was saying now whenever anyone criticized trump in the election fairly or unfairly on policy matters, trump can point and say, well, look, this person was wrong on -- dead wrong on this big -- the biggest thing and i was right and you shouldn't trust them, and raj shaw at least thinks that will be a very effective strategy for
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trump in the election. >> barbie, let me play something for you. this is list holtzman, former new york city member of congress former member house judiciary who voted for impeachment during the watergate matter. we'll talk about it on the other side. >> the real question here is whether we're seeing a cover-up in slow motion or fast motion or whether the american people are going to get the facts. we have mr. barr's version of what is criminal and not but maybe mr. mueller's assessment of the evidence suggests something else. >> so, barb, what's the real chance of that, that there is the barr version and mueller version, the baseline, what we're dealing with here is markedly different or different at all? >> well, my guess is that william barr would not make overt misrepresentations in that letter, but there may be certainly detail that is not included there, and what is interesting about his analysis is he
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analyzes these issues of both conspiracy and obstruction of justice as if president trump were someone who could be indicted by a grand jury. we know that the department of justice has an opinion that says a president cannot be indicted by a grand jury. so instead of applying the criminal statutes that would apply to an ordinary defendant, what congress would apply in an impeachment standard is no standard at all. it's not articulated in the constitution. it's whatever they decide amounts to a high crime or misdemeanor. looking at the facts is very important, and i think in many ways, william barr has now prejudged the evidence and told america this does not amount to any kind of crime. it may not amount to a violation of the federal statutes but i think this delay that they have built in, which i don't understand, gives president trump, he says weeks for the public to let this news settle in before congress gets a look at it. i don't see any reason why
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robert mueller could not have written a report that was written in such a way to minimize the inclusion of grand jury material so the public and congress could see it. there are witness interviews and at least 500 search warrants that are not subject to grand jury secrecy. so i don't know why congress can't see at least part of that report today but i wonder the cynic in me i guess wonders whether it's an effort by william barr to sensitize the public and congress there is no crime here so by the time they see it weeks from now, people will have moved on. >> as we remind folks, barr did kind of prelitigate this matter prior to coming to office and he was the president's choice for attorney general after all. tessa, back over to your reporting at doj, what have you been able to learn about how barr viewed his role here? >> well, i think what you were just referencing was his letter
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from last summer where he wrote and this was before he was in contention where he wrote that he was skeptical of mueller's obstruction probe and so one thing that democrats are upset with now is they feel he prejudged the obstruction question and then became attorney general and basic in two days rendered his view when mueller declined to. now, what a justice department official told me was that barr and deputy attorney general rod rosenstein had received a briefing from robert mueller three weeks prior to receiving his report in which he told them that he was not going to be rendering a judgment on obstruction and gave them a briefing on it. so this official said it would be a mistake to think that barr had just made that decision in the course of a weekend out of thin air and that he and rod rosenstein had had more time to prepare on that question. >> that does make sense because that would explain the insanely quick turnaround on his findings. hey, peter, a lot of folks are wondering if we are headed for a necessary confrontation between
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democrats and the attorney general and you hear a lot of people saying, why can't we hear from robert mueller, must he be happy or content with the kind of public pasting he is taking in the press over the judgments he has made or judgments he has failed to make. how do you see what's coming? >> yeah, i think we're not at the end of this yet, obviously, because, in fact, if bill barr declines to turn over the entire report the democrats are seeking, gives them something less than they are looking for that they decide to litigate this, we could see this go all the way through the courts and we could see a very interesting battle, very interesting constitutional struggle between two branchs of government, who has the right to this information. we're not talking about the, you know, things that would be giving away classified intercepts, for instance, used by the intelligence agencies or perhaps even grand jury information but if bill barr declines to give them at least the substantial amount of
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information that robert mueller has given him, i imagine you'll see a fight about it. the reason why the house has an argument in court here is it does have the exclusive power of impeachment under the constitution, and as such, the argument is going to be it's entitled to all the information possible nor to render that argument. that would be a pretty compelling argument for a court. as a practical matter, it doesn't look like the house is heading anywhere tors impeachment. the bottom line summarized by bill barr has taken air out of the tire when it comes to any potential impeachment, but that doesn't mean they won't see this report and make their own judgment about the facts out there as robert mueller has described them outlined in the report. >> he started with reminding us we're dealing with two sentences from robert mueller here, but so with that in mind, has donald trump's legal jeopardy changed at all with what we know so far and what remains his largest legal threat in your view?
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>> well, i think it probably has to some extent. robert mueller, i think the letter using his own sentence was that the evidence did not establish conspiracy between the trump campaign and russia. i think that robert mueller is someone who looked pretty hard who is a very good investigator. if he reached that conclusion, i think that is likely to stick. i think the obstruction of justice question is very different, however, because he says in his words that he did not exonerate president trump, and so i think congress has a right and very much wants to see that material and has a right to see the grand jury material if a judge so finds. in the watergate case judge sir ri siricca in that case found that in the balancing test
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of protecting grand jury secrecy, versus the congress' right to know that information and overrode any interest in secrecy and allow that material to be shared in congress, i would think if a judge were to look at this, they would make the same decision and agree the information should be shared with congress. i think the russia conspiracy maybe off the table but that doesn't mean that president trump doesn't face exposure in the court of public opinion among voters to find out all of the facts and the letter says that most of the facts about obstruction of justice are known to the public. that suggests that at least some of the facts are not known to the public and i think we all deserve to know what those are. >> we're much obliged to our big three for starting us off. all veterans. our thanks. coming up for us after the first break, how trump and republicans on the hill are weaponizing these four pages before any of us have seen the actual mueller report, and later, is it fraud or just harmless creative accounting? the new reporting tonight on the various ways donald trump has reported his net worth over the years as "the 11th hour" is just getting started on a thursday
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night as thomas jefferson looks on. my digestive system used to make me feel sluggish but now, i take metamucil every day. it traps and removes the waste that weighs me down, so i feel lighter. try metamucil, and begin to feel what lighter feels like.
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little pencil neck adam schiff has the smallest, thinnest neck i've ever seen. he's not a long ball hitter, but i saw him today, well, we don't really know. there could still have been some russia collusion. sick, sick, these are sick people.
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>> again, we don't know yet what's in the mueller report, but president trump is contending that it fully clears him of wrongdoing. republicans in congress are now going after, as you may have heard mentioned there, this big target, this man democratic house intel chair adam schiff of california. trump called for his forced resignation from congress today on twitter. republicans on schiff's committee signed on to a letter questioning his ability to provide effective oversight and repeating this call for his immediate resignation. schiff today forcefully responded. >> you might think it's okay that the president himself called on russia to hack his opponent's e-mails if they were listening. you might think it's okay. later that day the russians attempted to hack a server affiliated with that campaign, but i don't think it's okay. i think it's immoral.
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i think it's unethical, i think it's unpatriotic and, yes, i think it's corrupt and evidence of collusion. i do not think that criminal conduct or not is okay. and the day we do think that's okay is the day we will look back and say that is the day america lost its way. i don't think it's okay during a presidential campaign mr. trump sought the kremlin's help to consummate a real estate deal in moscow that would make him a fortune. i don't think it's okay that his attorney lied to our committee. there is a different word for that than collusion, and it's called compromise, and that is the subject of our hearing today. >> again, it will be interesting to see if the argument is laid out that way in the mueller report, and back with us tonight, phillip rucker, pulitzer prize winner
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and andrew desidero, congressional reporter for "politico." gentlemen, welcome to you both. what did you make of today's insurrection movement and his attempt to put it down? >> well, i talked to chairman schiff almost every day on capitol hill and he's usually very calm, very measured but today you saw him very, very animated and very emotional at times when he was batting back these republican criticisms. he long had a target on his back from republicans and from the president and unfortunately, the house intelligence committee, you know, it's this committee that has a long history of bipartisanship but over the last few years unfortunately it's often found itself devolving into this bitter in-fighting that we saw today, and i think that this is, you know, just another example of that obviously and it's coming to ahead. we know that attorney general
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bill barr in interpreting special counsel robert mueller's report said he could not establish that there was a criminal conspiracy of republicans interpreting that to mean there was no collusion at all and you heard chairman schiff making a completely separate argument that, yes, there is evidence of collusion or a willingness to collude but maybe it might not rise to the level of being a criminal conspiracy and that he trusts the special counsel. so there are three separate distinct arguments being made here and it's often difficult to find the differences between the semantics of them. >> so, phil rucker, we're in this interim period where you kind of get a free shot to say what you wish about the mueller report, absent us being able to read what is in the mueller report. >> yeah. >> so we know why now but why schiff among all the democrats in the galaxy who are critics of or coming after this administration? >> well, schiff has been somebody who is really bothered the president from day one of
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the russia investigation because he has been the democrats' front man on this issue. he's been on cable television a lot, and we know the president watches that, and the president has fumed for months and months and months about adam schiff along with his advisers, and so it's not surprising he's chosen to go after schiff as if he was a mascot or pinata for the democratic party. one thing that's important to keep in mind, the president said in his rally tonight that what schiff said in his speech was sickment actually schiff was laying out a fact pattern. the various actions he detailed in his speech were things that actually happened and we know based on u.s. intelligence assessments. we know that based on some of the indictments that came out of the mueller investigation. we, of course, have not seen that 300-plus page mueller report but the things schiff laid out were not conspiracies, they were, in fact, actions and events that occurred.
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>> that's important to remember. as this committee devolves into partisanship, andrew, i'm reminded that you wrote house intelligence committee republicans concluded a year ago that the trump campaign exercised poor judgment, took ill-considered actions and at times acted inconsistent with u.s. national security interests. those were republicans but on thursday, they said they don't need to see special counsel robert mueller's report to know that no one in president donald trump's orbit was compromised by russia even unwittingly. andrew the question is, what changed in the interim? >> that's right. they wrote in this letter today in which they called on chairman schiff to step down as chairman of the intelligence committee that it was, quote, demonstrably false to suggest anyone within trump's orbit had been compromised by the russians. of course, all they're basing that off of is this four-page summary from attorney general bill barr. that summary does not mention
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whether there even is a counterintelligence portion of special counsel robert mueller's 300-plus page report and of course, we know that this entire inquiry began as a kin situation of a counterintelligence investigation into the russians' actions in 2016 and whether they had assistance from any americans. so it was interesting to see republicans having concluded themselves in their own russia investigation last year that, yes, associates of the president took actions that were inconsistent with the interests of u.s. national security but today they're saying something completely different, that it's demonstrably false to suggest as chairman shift suggested that any of the president's associates or advisors might be compromised by the russians. >> let's put up our phil rucker quote on the screen. phil, from your work and your reporting today, this gets at a mueller mystery how trump dodged a special counsel interview. what is known is that the president's lawyers now believe keeping their client from
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sitting down with investigators was their greatest victory. indeed, phil, laura ingraham congratulated rudy giuliani on live television a few nights back. does that advantage, though, phil, get diminished as days go by and the chance increases that we'll have actual poll quotes from mueller's work? >> perhaps, brian. i mean, one of the things that mueller may actually get into in his report is an explanation for the internal thought process seeking testimony from president trump. we know from our reporting that as far back as thanksgiving of 2017, the special counsel's office was trying to get an interview with president trump because robert mueller and his investigators wanted to try to determine the president's intent when he took actions that were under scrutiny in the obstruction of justice investigation. the president's legal team kept delaying that and kept trying to make legal arguments for why that wouldn't
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be necessary and had a multi-belonged campaign to thwart any presidential interview or subpoena for an interview by cooperating and by providing documents, by providing other witnesses, by answering that set of written questions just at the end of last year, and it ended up working for the trump team, and they did prevent, indeed, the president from sitting down in that interview, and they were very concerned if that would have happened because they knew the president does not tell the truth all the time, and they figured if he sat down for an interview with mueller, he would likely lie and, therefore, commit a crime by perjurying himself. >> thank you both for coming on. phil and andrew helping us explain and figure all this out. coming up for us, new reporting tonight on something michael cohen flagged in his public testimony last month when we continue.
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mr. trump is a cheat. it was my experience mr. trump inflated his total assets when it served his purposes like being listed as the wealthiest people in "forbes" and deflated his assets to reduce his real estate taxes. >> "the washington post" has obtained evidence that appears to back up those allegations from the president's former friend and attorney, a number of president trump's financial statements revealing an inflated picture of trump's wealth.
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it was reported that trump's statements of financial condition some apparently sent to lenders to make a good impression were often incorrect. quote, these documents sometimes ran up to 20 pages. they were full of numbers laying out trump's properties, debts and multibillion dollar net worth, but for someone trying to get a true picture of trump's net worth, the documents were deeply flawed. some simply omitted properties that carried big debts. some assets were overvalued. and some key numbers were wrong. now "the post" points out that according to trump's documents, ten stories were added to trump tower in new york city. it's one of my favorites. the documents said the building had 68 stories, it's actually 58. it's right there on fifth avenue. you can look up and count them. 800 acres were added to trump's winery in virginia. trump's statement said the property size was 2,000 acres. "the post" reports it's actually
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1200 and 24 ready to sell lots were added to his golf course in california. trump claimed there were 55 lots. there were only 31. "the post" says investigators on the hill and new york are examining all these documents to see if they amount to actual fraud. with us for more tonight, two of our returning veterans, tim o'brien executive editor of "bloomberg opinion" and the author of "trump nation: the art of being the donald" and rick wilson, veteran republican strategist and the author of "everything trump touches dies" recently released with new material and a fresh death count in paperback. gentlemen, welcome to you both. tim, you were in "the post" piece today not by name. you were sued by donald trump for lowballing his finances so this must have brought a certain measure of ptsd to you today. >> well, he claimed i lowballed
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his finances and we went to court over that issue. i got his tax returns and his back returns and in the middle of that litigation he turned over one of these statements. he claimed they had given that to me while reporting which they hadn't and discovered during the deposition the date didn't correspond in the document with the time i was reporting. the document his own accountant said they couldn't pass judgment on the document because it wasn't prepared with generally accepted accounting practices. it was full of inflation. we then deposed trump about that document for 16 hours over two days. we found he lied about 30 times from everything about how much he got from condominium sales, how much the value of his properties worth down the line, fact after fact after fact and he's been doing this for 45 years. i age myself saying this but trump has been at this game since the mid 1970s. at one point during my
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reporting, i had been after them quite a bit to offer a counterargument to what my sources were telling me his real net worth was at the time. he said it was $5 billion to $6 billion. my sources thought it was more like 250 million. i go to trump tower and sit down with them. they have a bunch of documents on a table. none of them help establish his net worth but his accountant is sitting there with a yellow legal pad and begins telling me what the value of everything was on his way to getting to 6 billion and we get to the bottom of the line and the total is only 5 billion. i says this doesn't add up to 6 billion. he said i'll go to my office and find the other billion. >> wow, one of the best quotes in modern media has to rank close to that. rick, i want to play you you this and we'll talk about it on the other side. >> the mueller investigation got a lot of ink and press but only one of many. right now trump's business,
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his charity, his inaugural committee, transition, every organization he's led through his adult life is under investigation all at the same time. the end of the mueller investigation takes away one little piece of that but a lot more is going on. >> rick, a dual question for you. do you have faith that those investigations that david is talking about will all have legs and reach and actual results and what will the base, the folks who showed up in michigan tonight, what will they make of it? will it change a wit? >> first off, brian, i don't think it will change the base at all. we saw this in focus groups in 2015 and '16 asking american voters, you know, telling them the truth about donald trump. the character you see on "the apprentice" isn't the real person. they believed after 15 years of television t they didn't understand in new york real estate circles he's
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largely considered a joke and he's a serial bankrupt artist and a guy been hiding taxes for a long time not because of any sort of audit problems but because he doesn't want us to see he's not worth, you know, $50 billion or $20 billion or whatever wild figure he pulls out of his back side at any given random moment. so the sensitivity of these cases, particularly in new york state, they're going to peel back a lot of layers. it will show people trump is largely a guy as michael cohen flat out said, michael cohen said it, he's a fraud. cohen would know. he's been in the camp a long time and watched this stuff up close and whether it rises to the level of bank fraud or mortgage fraud or any of those things, it's up to the new york attorney general and the southern district of new york and folks that are taking a look at this stuff but i think that the real thing that concerns donald trump is going to worry him. donald trump would have rather been caught as being a traitor,
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caught committing treason than for people to not know how rich he is. that's his most sensitive spot and it shows in everything he does. it's always the boasting, the bragging, i've got the best apartment and most solid gold. that's because he's super conscious about the fact he knows he's on this giant pyramid of b.s. that comprises his empire. and it's not worth what he says it is. it's all gold leaf and not all gold. >> there is some rich imagery for everyone to contemplate as we take a break. both of these gentleman agreed to stick around. when we come back, we'll talk about what the president did this week that deeply worried republicans, the ones who have names on ballots in 2020. my digestive system used to make me feel sluggish
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but now, i take metamucil every day. it traps and removes the waste that weighs me down, so i feel lighter. try metamucil, and begin to feel what lighter feels like. elite. they're the elite. i'm not. well, i have a better education than them. i'm smarter than them.
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i went to the best schools. they didn't. much more beautiful house. much more beautiful apartment. much more beautiful everything, and i'm president and they're not, right? >> still with us, tim o'brien and rick wilson as the president almost as if watching rick was quoting rick back to rick. that was from tonight's rally and, rick, there was this on health care. we'll talk about this on the other side. >> we have a chance of killing obamacare. we almost did it but somebody unfortunately surprised us with thumbs down, but we'll do it a different way. i said it the other day, the republican party will become the party of great health care. it's good. it's important. >> so note buried in the middle there, nice drive-by hit on john mccain.
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rick, what is going on with -- this rattled a lot of republicans this week with the president raising health care again. we are 19 months away from the entire house of representatives being up for election. >> every republican recognized after the polling came out -- before the 2018 elections the decision to go after repealing obamacare had reached its selling point. it was no longer the popular political move. only by the miracle of trump could it become popular with american voters but everybody and every poll, every focus group said to us for years they love is a protection of pre-existing conditions. black, white, rich, poor, everybody wants pre-existing conditions coverage and that's what is being taken away in the minds of voters now and it panics them and they don't like it and i'll tell you who today sent a very clear signal to the white house is mitch mcconnell smarter than the average bear on this matter and came out today
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and said whatever the president could work out with the speaker. he just dropped that rock as fast as he could. this will go nowhere. we will end up probably with the court saying, okay, we'll blow up obamacare, throw the health care markets into chaos 19 months before election day. this has got a lot of republican strategists looking at senate races nervous because last year republicans had to pay defense and pre-existing conditions particularly and spent about $30 million on ads across the country in various places saying i'm for pre-existing conditions. it's a crazy position to be in but here we are. >> tim, give me 30 seconds of the psychological underpinnings of what we saw. you were able to kind of mouth point by point this defense of trump's eliteness.
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>> he -- the interesting thing about donald trump is first and foremost, he's a performance artist. he doesn't care about policy. he doesn't care about the people around him. all he cares about is winning what's right in front of him by performing but what goes on when he does this, he wears his insecurities on his sleeve all the time and he always talks about what a great student he was when he wasn't a great student. i'm very smart, okay? when he punctuates a sentence with okay, it's almost like a poker tell. it's something he's deeply insecure about. rhyme really rich, i'm worth $10 billion. okay, women really love me, okay? i'm really good looking, okay? i have a great house, okay? on and on and on. he wants to be reinforced by the crowd he's in front of that he's worth something he knows he's not. i think the tricky line he's towing right now is he's telling this crowd, i'm a populist like you when really he's not and doesn't care about their struggles. >> i appreciate both of you, okay? just kidding. just kidding about the okay. see both of you i'm sure on an
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upcoming broadcast of bill maher. that administration could have been backing a bus over the cabinet secretary on a major reversal when we come back. they have businesses to grow customers to care for lives to get home to they use stamps.com print discounted postage for any letter any package any time right from your computer all the amazing services of the post office only cheaper get our special tv offer a 4-week trial plus postage and a digital scale go to stamps.com/tv and never go to the post office again!
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you personally approve -- just i think a yes or no will do -- the $18 million cut of the funding for special olympics? >> no, i didn't personally get involved with that. >> whoever did that, gets a special gold medal for insensitivity. >> this has not been a great week. this wasn't a particularly good day for the education secretary, betsy devos. she was on the hill, this time before senate appropriations. members demanding why her department planned to zero out g after a barrage of negative headlines. then we got this today from the president.
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>> why cut money for the special olympics? why would you cut funding for that? >> the special olympics will be funded. i just told my people, i want to fund the special olympics. i have overridden my people. we're funding the special olympics. >> his people. devos defended herself and the administration's change, writing this, quote, i'm pleased and grateful the president and i see eye-to-eye on this issue and that he has decided to fund our special olympics grant. this is funding i have fought for behind the scenes over the last several years. while the folks at deadspin weren't having it. betsy devos who wants to defund the special olympics smiles dumbly, gets thrown under the bus then lies. the uproar started tuesday when devos testified before the wisconsin democratic congressman mark pocan. the congressman noted today this is the third time the administration has tried to eliminate funding.
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he says, this was not a one-off mistake where president trump is making a correction or having a change in heart, rather, president trump and secretary devos could not take one more day of a bad news cycle. then, he adds, by the way, can someone pull betsy from under the bus. another break for us when we come back, celebrating an annual event that happened to take place just today.
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there it is last thing, before we go tonight, let's take a moment to savor the closing minutes of opening day. and while it would be a blessing to keep politics out of it entirely, we can't, really. as many baseball writers pointed out today, our presidents, after all, have thrown out the first ball, on and off, for over 100 years. jack kennedy looked great doing it. so did fdr. calvin coolidge, not so much. kind of joyless. and there was no sign of donald trump today. but the baseball season got under way anyway. in washington, in fact, where the visiting mets, powered by jason degrom shut out the home team nationals. d.c. being a political town, at one point started chanting, lock him up. it has to do with the fact that anthony rendon of the nationals becomes a free agent at the end of this season if the nats don't lock him up with a contract extension. then there's the one that got away.
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some nats fans defaced their bryce harper jersey, their way of wishing him good luck with the phillies. because opening day often shows up as a high attrition rate at the office, the league tweeted out this blank excuse form to use at work. nasa tweeted out photos of ballparks taken from the space station. and this year's opening day ushers in a new era. there are no active players left from the 20th century. let's put this another way. baseball is the first of the major sports without someone who played in the 1900s. and if, by chance, that makes you feel old and creeky, reflect on the words of our own mike barnicle this morning. quote, the days get longer, the weather gets warmer, it's a relief from the everyday stress of things. we talk about each and every day and it's back, finally, today. and for a few fractions of a second, you don't have to worry about what's happening in washington, d.c. because you're worried about the american league east.
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at least he is. he's from boston. our closing thoughts for this opening day of 2019. that is our broadcast for a thursday night. thank you so much for being here with us. good night from nbc news headquarters here in new york. tonight on "all in." >> you might say that's just what you need to do to win. but i don't think it's okay. i think it's amoral. >> republicans attempt a coup in the house. >> i think it's unpatriotic and yes, corrupt. and evidence of collusion. >> as we get our first report about the size of the mueller report. >> in that report will be evidence of the existence of a conspiracy. >> tonight what we know about the more than 300 pages in the special counsel report the republican effort to keep it hidden. >> in that report will be evidence of obstruction of

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