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tv   AM Joy  MSNBC  October 19, 2019 7:00am-9:00am PDT

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music. just like those good old bene hill sketches, donald trump's presidency just keeps going off the rails. his carefully laid plan to execute damage control after getting caught withholding military aid to ukraine unless the country under siege from russia agreed to back up a russia clearing conspiracy theory and investigate joe biden and his son has completely fallen apart. it all started when the man who fancies himself a very stable genius released the transcript of the phone call with the russian president which did the complete opposite of proving there had been no wrong doing. he then thought that he could strong arm officials at the state department to not testify to congress, but they're clearly defying him and one by one, talking to congress anyway. and then on thursday, something happened in the white house briefing room that could not have been scripted better. if it really had been a benny hill sketch. mick mulvaney, the acting chief of staff, went to the white house briefing room and promptly
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confessed to the entire super obvious trump team crime. >> did he also mention to me in past that the -- the corruption related to the dnc server? absolutely. no question about that. but that's it. that's why we held up the money. now, there was a report -- >> so, the demand for an investigation into the democrats was part of the reason that he -- withhold funding to ukraine. >> the look back to what happened in 2016 certainly was part of the thing that he was worried about in corruption with that nation and that's absolutely appropriate. >> withholding the funding? >> yeah. >> to be clear, you just described is a quid pro quo. it is funding will not flow y unless the investigation into the democrat server happened as well. >> we do that all the time with foreign policy. >> yeah. bad idea. even the reporter, that was jonathan carl there, trying to help mulvaney understand what was happening. so, cue clean-up on aisle five.
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mulvaney released a statement to walk back the very damaging comments as if they never happened at all. then hours later, rick perry, donald trump's energy secretary, and the third member of the vaunted three amigos, put in charge of trump's mess of a ukraine policy, announced that he will be resigning so one of the three amig os overseeing u.s. policy on ukraine is getting out of dodge, and the two others, trump donor trumped ambassador gordon sondland and kurt volker have given testimony. so trump's defense seems to be falling apart, to put it charitably, and his loyal subjects appear to be falling out of line and this may just be the beginning, friends. joining me now is neal, former acting solicitor general of the united states and i don't know if you're old enough to remember the old benny hill sketches but that was the only thing i could think of when looking at this attempted -- the attempt here is to make what donald trump did
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with ukraine look completely normal and proper, and instead, they have literally, essentially, convicted him. >> yeah, i don't remember those sketches, i don't think i was alive for them but the striking thing here is that mulvaney, when he went out to the cameras, he was try to defend the president. this is their defense, which is, i did it. imagine what the prosecution is going to say. it is -- it's outrageous what they did. i mean. that's the first thing. listeners should understand there's two different things going on. one is, has an impeachable offense been committed under the constitution? and the second is, has a crime been committed? and the trump team has tried for the last month to basically say it's all about a crime if there's a quid pro quo, was there bribery. but the problem with that is twofold. number one, president trump, in that transcript, which he released, which you were talking about a moment ago, confessed to the impeachable offense, which is abuse of power, which is
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going and saying to a foreign government, hey, can you help me with my campaign and get some dirt on my political rival? that's impeachable so you don't need a quid pro quo for that. what happened on thursday is that mulvaney put the nail into it and said, oh, it wasn't just that there was an impeachable offense, there was also a crime that was committed, this quid pro quo, that we held up the aid in order to get them to agree to investigate joe biden's son. >> yeah, and let me put you one more -- this was such an extraordinary press conference. it's hard to believe he did it on purpose. right? that this is what he meant to do but this was mick mulvaney again and this is in a white house briefing which, again, normally press secretaries do this. it's normally the press shop that does these and ooifr never heard of a chief of staff just coming out and him doing the press secretaries -- attempting to do their job but here he is trying to explain and also explaining why giuliani, who's donald trump's lawyer, was in charge, apparently, of u.s./ukraine policy. here he is. >> get over it.
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there's going to be political influence in foreign policy. you may not like the fact that giuliani was involved. that's great. that's fine. it's not illegal. it's not impeachable. the president gets to use who he wants to use. the president gets to set foreign policy and he gets to choose who to do so as long as it doesn't violate any law, okay, and he doesn't violate laws regarding confidential information or classified material, anything like that, the president gets to use who he wants to. >> neal, okay, let's break this down a little bit. you were acting solicitor general in the united states, you are a professor of law. let's break this down into two pieces. part number one, get over it. there's going to be political influence in foreign policy. normal? not normal? >> oh, beyond abnormal. i mean, supremely imagination tierly anti-normal. you can't get over it. if you go back, joy, and look at what our founders said during the philadelphia convention in 1787, this is exactly what they warned about and why they put the impeachment clause in the constitution. you have madison, franklin, even
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jerry, the guy who was opposed to putting impeachment in there altogether because he thought it would weaken the presidency, but all of them center on this central idea, which is that our founders believed that one of the greatest dangers to our republic was a president who would go and get the help of a foreign government to re-elect himself. so, i'm not going to get over it and i don't think the american people are, and you know, i want to push back a little bit about what you said earlier that, you know, that this was maybe an accident by mulvaney or something like that. this is a guy -- mulvaney's press conference was 39 minutes long. it was studied, it was careful. these are scripted answers. so this was the defense that they wanted to run. it wasn't like he just walked in and did some press spray out, you know, in front of a helicopter or something like that. and that defense crumbled and that's why you saw him trying to take it back and say, oh, i didn't really say any of this and joy, i think the most important thing here is, like, backsies does not work when you're talking about the
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impeachment of the president of the united states. you don't get to just say, oh, get over it and then say, oh, i didn't say any of that. we have it on camera. he said it. >> and by the way, let's just remind people that as, you know, he's also budget director and also chief of staff. he is the guy who signed off on holding back the money, so you know, and very quickly, before i go to my next question, could it be that he did it deliberately because he's trying to save himself? >> i mean, there's all sorts of theories going around. my theory is actually a lot simpler, which is just simply that the president has surrounded himself with a bunch of people who don't believe in the rule of law and they have been getting away with it for three years. and so they get used to it and they just think, oh, i can just say trump once said i can go on to fifth avenue and shoot someone and it won't this statement which i'm reading a little bit of what he said, you may not like the fact that giuliani was involved, that's great, that's fine, but it's not illegal and it's not impeachable. on the question of whether or not it is legal for donald trump's personal attorney to run
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foreign policy, this is somebody who was never confirmed by the united states senate, he is not the secretary of state, he has no role in our government. is it legal for a private citizen working for the president to run our foreign policy? >> it depends. i mean, there are some times in which a president can deputize someone to carry out a foreign mission or something like that. i mean, you do it because of the interests of the united states. the problem here is that this shadow foreign policy was not carried out to benefit the united states. it was carried out to benefit donald trump, and that -- that's what makes it at least impeachable, and potentially criminal as well. >> all right. let's play adam schiff. this is the chairman of the house intelligence committee reacting to this mulvaney contre temps. >> things have gone from very, very bad to much worse. the idea this vital military
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assistance would be withheld for such a patently political reason, for the reason of serving the president's re-election campaign is a phenomenal breach of the president's duty to defend our national security. >> neal used to have the job of arguing for the administration before the supreme court, that's part of the job of the solicitor general. if you were writing the related impeachment articles to this part of the scandal, what would they be? >> they would be very simple. the president abused the nation's trust. he put his interests above those of the american people with respect to our foreign policy with the ukraine. the congress had appropriated this money for our nation's interest. he withheld it for his own personal benefit. that's article i. article ii is called obstruction of justice and it involves the fact that this president is not turning over any information to the white house -- to the
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congress and directing his members of congress and his ambassadors not to testify. many of those are in open rebellion, those ambassadors this week did testify despite what the president said because they believe that the congress and the american people should have the truth. that's what nixon was -- the one of the articles of impeachment nixon faced. i think it applies here. it's just those two articles. it's straightforward and simple. it's an open and shut case and honestly, i think i'm a pretty good lawyer, but if i had to defend the president here, i have no idea what i would say because he's tried four different stories, all of them have fallen completely apart. >> yeah. let's go to rick perry, the other member of the three amigos who is now resigning. this is his interview, of course, on fox news and here he is. >> i think he was straight-up with what he said. you know, i think there are people -- >> straight up how? >> there are people trying to connect dots when the facts -- by basically saying that there was no quid pro quo in the sense of what those folks out there
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would like for it to be. that we're going to give you this money unless you go investigate joe biden and his son. i never heard that said anywhere any time in any conversation. >> here's the problem with what he just said, that he's defending mulvaney, even though mulvaney described a quid pro quo to the point where the reporter said, that is a quid pro quo. hello. you also, then, have allegations that rick perry had some things that he wanted as well, meaning some of his friends to be on the board of a different gas company, the state-owned gas company in ukraine, so it appears that he was part of this scheme to replace the government in ukraine, which is trying to be a democracy, with a more corruptible government that would do things that benefitted trump people. could that be a legal problem for rick perry? >> it very well could be. i mean, i think the first thing to say about that remarkable interview is, i don't know what straight-up counts for in texas, but i think nobody with a straight face can describe this -- what president trump has
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been saying as straight up and clear. i mean, it's been convoluted. he first said he didn't say it, then he admitted saying it, then he said it's okay, now we're at the get over it phase. the explanations keep on shifting. but nothing has undermined the central core of what that whistle-blower said to the director of national intelligence inspector general a couple of months ago. >> yeah. >> with respect to perry himself, he might face some criminal liability, perhaps even also an impeachable offense, you know, i think the facts will have to come out on that and we just don't know them yet. >> we didn't even get into the emoluments clause which could be a whole other set of impeachable offenses donald trump could face. for now, the one thing that is clear is they all admit it. this is the beauty of it. they all said, yeah, we did it. neal katyal, thank you so much for your time this morning. and coming up, rudy giuliani's wicket is getting stickier. that's next.
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rudy kbiepz combines it all though, you're right. first of all, it's shadow government and bad foreign policy. a man with little or no expertise, no security clearance, a working in the shadows and moving forward with national policy. what role is he playing, a personal attorney for the
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president operating under the state department? this leads to extraordinary mistakes, one that we're witnessing in plain view. >> all the president's men are under scrutiny but perhaps none more than his personal attorney,ty lawyer rudy giuliani. nbc news is now confirming that giuliani attempted to secure a visa into the united states for the man who is at the center of the made-up fake biden/ukraine conspiracy theory that donald trump, his friends, and his administration keep pushing. diplomat george kent told congressional investigators this week that giuliani tried to secure a visa for ousted ukraine prosecutor victor shokin who was fired in 2016. shokin helped giuliani invent and shape the story that he, shokin, was let go by the ukrainian government at the urging of former vice president joe biden so as to thwart any investigation into his son's work in the ukraine. joining me now to face the legal
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ramifications for all of trump's cronies are joyce and barbara. joyce, i'll start with you. giuliani just keeps getting sucked deeper and deeper into this. he obviously was working closely with the two men, two of the three men who -- two of the four who have been indicted by the federal government for a scheme to get foreign money into the united states to politicians in some cases to get what they wanted but now we're finding out that he also tried to get a visa for this same guy, victor shokin, to get him into the united states. how much legal trouble, in theory, is rudy giuliani skating into? >> so, in theory is the operative term here, joy, because in a normal world, where doj was conducting a criminal investigation, rudy giuliani would have a lot of exposure. obviously, the evidence hasn't all been put together, but it looks at a minimum like he's involved in conspiracies, both to violate campaign finance law, you can't seek contributions from foreign individuals for
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u.s. election, and also some sort of a bribery and extortion scheme. but that's a normal world. and we know that bill barr's justice department has declined to open investigation into the whistle-blower complaint. there's no indication that they're investigating here, although one would like to think that the southern district of new york's investigation may ultimately bring giuliani in but no official word that this is something that's receiving attention in washington, and so that leaves congress to do a lot of the heavy lifting here. it's much better for this to live inside of the justice department because we're talking about criminal exposure. the hope here is that the southern district of new york, led by jeffery berman, will charge on this independently and that there won't be interference from washington. >> yeah, and barb, let me play for you, frank, friend of the show, he was on deadline white house talking about rudy's situation and about the people that he is associated with. most particularly lev and igor,
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the men who at some point it appeared that giuliani was working with and maybe working for. he appears to have been paid at least by mr. parnas and his company which is called fraud guarantee, can't make this up. here is frank this week. >> they're going to try to flip these two associates of rudy, and they're going to motivate them strongly to talk and start pointing upward at others. >> and so the question here is, if these two guys, to save themselves, flip on giuliani, leaving giuliani exposed as the person everyone seems to be pointing to and saying, it was this guy's idea, giuliani has nowhere to go other than up and that would be donald trump, no? >> i agree with you, joy. i think, you know, there had been some speculation early on that trump was going to throw giuliani under the bus, but we may get to the point where it's giuliani throwing trump under the bus. that's the way prosecutors work.
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they work their way up the chain of criminal organizations, and so i think one other tell that occurred this week is that the government in the southern district of new york agreed to bond for these two men, a million dollars bond, which struck me as a strange outcome. ordinarily, they would be aggressively seeking detention for these two men. they have ties to foreign countries. they are a substantial risk of flight. they were trying to flee at the time that they were arrested to avoid testifying before congress. the fact that the southern district of new york agreed to a bond suggests to me that they're already having conversations with their lawyers about cooperation. they may not have inked a deal just yet but that clearly is the strategy that the southern district of new york wants to pursue and why do you want to pursue their cooperation? to get to rudy and then at that point, rudy giuliani's been down this road many, many times himself. he knows how the game is played. >> yep. >> if he wants to get lenience for himself, the way to do that is to provide information of
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value about someone higher in the criminal organization than you, and there's only one person that's higher than him. >> and there you go. and i think about paul manafort and a lot of ways, in thinking about giuliani, because if you're rudolph giuliani, you're thinking the person who has played ball the most with donald trump, being willing to even go to prison and not speak out about him, is a guy named paul manafort. paul manafort was caught with that little black book of all of his contacts that were paying him in ukraine. we now know that giuliani was being paid through a russian whose name has popped up in this whole russiangate thing from time to time. that he made half a million dollars of the money that he has made. i want you to listen to -- this is jay goldberg, who is donald trump's former personal lawyer. he's had a lot of them. and he's talking about this book that giuliani has of contacts in ukraine and then joyce, i have a question for you. take a listen. >> there's a book that he kept
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of all the contacts that he made while in the ukraine. it hasn't been subpoenaed thus far. it hasn't come to light. and i tell you that if the subpoena is issued for that book that he prepared, it will be down to the detriment of donald under an agency kind of concept that donald will be responsible for all the things that he did and giuliani did a lot. >> have you seen it? >> i've seen the book. >> the information that book would redown, he says, to the detriment of donald, meaning trump, under the agency kind of concept that donald responsible for the things that giuliani did and he did a lot. what is the agency concept? what does that mean? >> i think what mr. goldberg is referring to here is the notion that there's either a
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conspiracy, a number of different players who have agreed to a achieve an illegal objective or perhaps giuliani is acting directly on the president's orders, and there could be criminal liability in that regard. what's so important here is the pressure on giuliani and barb makes this great point about the release of the two ukrainian defendants which is so extraordinary that i think it almost has to be meant to send a signal to giuliani that there is cooperation there and that he is at risk, but the counterbalance we've seen giuliani's attitude throughout this. he doesn't need a lawyer. he doesn't believe he's at risk. and we have to stay focused on the notion that this justice department is run by an attorney general who seems to still be strongly supportive of the president and the president's allies, and at the end of the day, it would be extraordinary if the southern district of new york indicted a case without the attorney general's blessing. >> yeah, and it would be extraordinary if the current attorney general, as you said, did what a normal attorney general would do, rather than
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just act like he's donald trump's lawyer. buff the question, then, barb, becomes statute of limitations and it also becomes whether or not donald trump is willing -- how far to the mat is he willing to go. again, he has not gotten -- he has not pardoned paul manafort to date. there have been no pardons. all these pardons have been dangled around. a lot of his friends are sitting in jail, people who worked for him and committed crimes, in one case, directly for him in terms of paying off stormy daniels. roger stone, another of donald trump's cronies, who's paul manafort's former business partner, tried to use the exact same conspiracy theory that russia didn't really attack our election, that it was ukraine that hid the democratic server, that whole thing, that was his defense in his trial. that didn't work. trump seized on conspiracy theory called the insurance policy and now it's at the center of the impeachment investigation in june of 2019, former trump advisor wronger stone we survived the debunked
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crowd strike conspiracy theory as part of his defense and has been charged with witness tampering. it didn't work. the judge threw it out. what does it mean that you now have this same conspiracy theory being used as a defense, failingly so, by roger stone, does he get sucked into this whole ukraine madness too? >> i think one thing to keep your eye on is his trial coming up in november. i think we're going to learn an awful lot of information. remember there are large chunks of the mueller report that were redacted because of a pending criminal case. that pending criminal case is the roger stone case and the idea is we didn't want to release this information before the trial. we didn't want to, in any way, taint the fair trial rights of roger stone or compromise witness statements that might be used by the government in that trial. once that trial is over, then all of that stuff is going to come out so keep your eye on that date as well as january 19, 2021, the last day that president trump is in office, when i predict he will issue all those pardons. >> drip, drip, drip, drip. joyce advance, barbara mcquaid, love talking with you ladies.
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thank you very much. enjoy the rest of your day. coming up, donald trump's cut and run crusade. that is next. n crusade. that is next
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welcome to "a.m. joy." it's one of those mornings and we are watching a ton of news. >> new developments in the fallout around the latest big departure from the white house. do you think we would tolerate this if this was children coming from canada or from eastern europe? >> they think things would be very different. >> how do democrats navigate the impending mess before them and the disagreements over this?
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for years, turkish president tayiip erdogan has been talking about a man by the name of fethullah, a man erdogan accuses of trying to orchestrate a coup against him, a man known to his neighbors in pennsylvania as a prolific charter school proprietor by blamed by erdogan for that 2016 coup that left 290 people -- coup attempt, i should say, that left 290 people dead and hundreds wounded. erdogan emphatically and rather obsessively believes that this man did try to overthrow him. a claim that he has denied. so who exactly is fethullah? he's a turkish dissident cleric living in exile in the kwiets. turkey has repeatedly called for him to be handed over to them, which would rather be rather wad news. in fact, it's one of erdogan's top priorities, meaning the longer he remains in pennsylvania, the more tense things get between our country and turkey, which just to complicate matters further, happens to be a nato ally.
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you may have heard nothing or very little about mr. ghoul but a lot of people who happen to be in donald trump's inner circle are obsessed with him. remember michael flynn, trump's first national security advisor who loved riling up the maga crowd but is now awaiting sentencing himself for lying to the fbi about his contacts with russia. turns out he was also apparently obsessed with snatching up fethullah and we mean that quite literally. as part of the mueller probe, flynn was investigated for an alleged plot to kidnap him and fly him to an island prison in turkey in exchange for $15 million. we learned this week that flynn was not alone in trying to launch a plot to do the turkish autocrat's bidding. trump tv lawyer, rudy giuliani,
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was in on it too. "the washington post" reports that giuliani privately urged trump to eject mr. gulen from the united states back in 2017. the same year that general flynn spent a cool 27 days as trump's national security advisor number one. so, here we have both flynn and giuliani fixated on an exiled turkish cleric and donald trump fixated on pleasing the turkish autocrat president who also happens to have one of trump's key businesses, trump tower istanbul, under his domain and trump's eagerness to please erdogan has seen him go so far as to abandon the kurds and making statements like this one. >> i just want to thank and congratulate, though, president erdogan. he's a friend of mine. and i'm glad we didn't have a problem because frankly, he's a hell of a leader and he's a tough man. he's a strong man, and he did the right thing and i really appreciate it and i will
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appreciate it in the future. >> is president erdogan still coming next month to the white house? >> well, now, i would say that would be very much open. i would say that, yeah, he would come. he did a terrific thing. he's a leader. he's a leader. >> and there you have it. trump praising the turkish autocrat much the way he praises putin. and let's not forget his bonkers letter urging turkey not to launch a military offensive against kurdish led forces in northern syria. this one. a letter released by the white house because somehow they thought it was helpful to trump. it's dated october 9, days before trump cleared the way for turkey to demolish the kurds and it reads, let's work out a good deal. you don't want to be responsible for slaughtering thousands of people and i don't want to be responsible for destroying the turkish economy. don't be a tough guy, don't be a fool, i'll call you later. erdogan, like most americans accustomed to reading adult english, wasn't too impressed with this letter. according to the bbc, after he received it, he promptly placed
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it in the trash bin. meanwhile, sporadic fighting has continued along the border between turkey and syria, despite trump's spin that he brokered a deal with turkey to pause the fighting. nbc news describes the negotiation as a surrender to erdogan and a further gift to syria's bashar al assad and russian president vladimir putin because as speaker pelosi reminded trump this week, all things with him seem to lead to putin. so the eternal question is why? why is donald trump so consistently insistently putting the interests of autocrats ahead of the interests of america and its allies? joining me now to try to make some sense of it is bloomberg opinion editor bobby gauche and the gulen thing is its own weird thing. you have two separate trump associates who are both separately engaged in plots to get this guy. why? >> yes, well, they're trying to suck up to erdogan who wants
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gulen out of the united states and believes that gulen is plotting against him. there is a further dimension, a further complication there that erdogan and gulen used to be very, very close. gulen was, to a substantial degree, responsible for erdogan's rise to power, erdogan put his hands together with gulen in the early days and built his government on the -- a foundation of gulenist intellectuals and gulenist members. he had members of the gulen movement all over his government in the bureaucracy and politics and then the two men had a falling out, and like people who have a falling out, it became very, very vicious and now i think erdogan regards gulen as his enemy number one. he believes that gulen was responsible for the failed coup attempt in 2016. so, they sort of regard each other like a couple that was close once and broken up and now are incredibly bitter and vicious in their attacks against each other.
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>> to be very clear, if he were to be sent back to turkey, he would not be safe in turkey, right? >> well, yes, i think that's a fair assessment. gulen is not -- not entirely innocent of -- i think the charge against him that he was involved in the plot, deserves at least an examination. the turks seem to have quite a large body of evidence but that's not the same thing as saying the united states should bundle him into an aircraft in the middle of the night and send him off. the u.s. has laws for this sort of thing, and those laws are to be followed rather than people like flynn trying to find a shortcut through the legal system. >> yeah. >> and essentially putting somebody on a plane and bundling them off in exchange for cash. >> yeah. >> that is corruption. >> yeah. exactly. let me play you a little sound byte which was -- there was a lot of outrageous things donald trump says. this might have been one of the most outrageous ever. take a listen to him on thursday. >> and for many, many years, turkey, in all fairness, they've had a legitimate problem with it. they had terrorists, they had a
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lot of people in there that they couldn't have. they've suffered a lot of loss of lives also. and they had to have it cleaned out. >> and to be clear, the "it" they're talking about is the safe zone that the kurds, our allies, the people who have been helping us fight isis, that's the place they are and saying that they had to have it cleaned out, the people that turkey calls terrorists are our friends, our allies, the kurds. that, to a lot of people, sounded like a call for ethnic cleansing or the support for the idea of ethnic cleansing of the kurds. >> yeah, that's not the sort of language you expect the president of the united states to use. but that's what a normal president of the united states -- this president has used language like this against his other bug bears, people like people of color in the united states, immigrants, people from mexico. he uses expressions like this all time, clean them up, you know, he compares people to vermin and to insects and so it's very much part of his lexicon to describe people like this.
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but of course, he, in this instance, is acting as so often from a place of fundamental ignorance. he has no actual understanding of the complications that attend turkey's problems with the kurds. they are very complicated, and there are turkish terrorist groups that have conducted terrorist activities in turkey. it's not necessarily the same people. the people with whom we are allied in syria are not necessarily -- they may have sympathies with the people on the turkish side of the border, they have a shared ethnicity, but they're not automatically the same people, and by the way, there are many, many other ways to deal with the problem, to find a political solution, a negotiated solution, cleaning people up is not what you want to be -- that's not the sort of language you want to be using, especially after those people, the people you're talking about having cleaned up, have spent the best part of five years losing thousands of their people fighting alongside the united states against terrorism. >> yeah, absolutely.
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11,000 kurds died helping us to fight isis. i just want to point out that richard engel, our reporter that's out there, has tweeted this morning, u.s. officials tell me alarm bells are ringing among diplomats in d.c. that the u.s. could one day be held responsible for crimes against humanity for ethnic cleansing of syrian kurds by opening the door to it, watching it, encouraging it. trump's tweets and statements and not stopping it. i want to move on to this new issue. donald trump seems to really love autocrats. he seems to have an affinity for them. malcolm nance has said he's shuffled us into the axis of autocrats, that's who he wants us to be allied with. two of his favorite autocrats, mr. erdogan and mr. putin, are going to meet, in of all places, sochi, russia, in october 22nd, sochi for those who have been following the whole russia, sort of world was the site of the olympics in 2014, the 2014 olympics which was thought to
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have been racked with fraud and thievery and stealing that really rankled the people of russia before mr. putin covered that over by invading ukraine. what do you make of the fact these two are going to get together and i guess speculate t celebrate the spoils. >> in the sehort-term, they win they've outthought and outflanked donald trump, not a very difficult thing to do but i take a slightly different view. i think putin will come in time to regret this. he now owns the syria problem. and he will discover very quickly that is not a good thing to own. the united states has, as we know, historically, fallen from one morass into another in the middle east. russia's about to face that same situation. right now, they can pat each other on the back and say, we outthought donald trump but in the long-term, i think both of them will come to regret it. >> it's interesting because that
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reminds me, i'm thinking about afghanistan, they probably thought back in the old soviet union that was a brilliant idea. >> that's a good analogy. >> absolutely. bobby ghosh, thank you so much for your time. more "a.m. joy" after the break. e. r your tim more "a.m. joy" after the break. it's tough to quit smoking cold turkey. so chantix can help you quit slow turkey. along with support, chantix is proven to help you quit. with chantix you can keep smoking at first and ease into quitting. chantix reduces the urge so when the day arrives, you'll be more ready to kiss cigarettes goodbye. when you try to quit smoking, with or without chantix, you may have nicotine withdrawal symptoms. stop chantix and get help right away if you have changes in behavior or thinking, aggression, hostility, depressed mood, suicidal thoughts or actions, seizures, new or worse heart or blood vessel problems, sleepwalking, or life-threatening allergic and skin reactions. decrease alcohol use. use caution driving or operating machinery. tell your doctor if you've had mental health problems.
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coming up on "a.m. joy," donald trump's most blatant self-dealing move yet. we'll take a closer look at why his decision to hold the next g7 at doral resort has all the alarm bells ringing. alarm bells ringing. it was love at first slice pizza lovers everywhere meet o, that's good! frozen pizza one third of our classic crust is made with cauliflower but that's not stopping anyone o, that's good! at outback, steak & oh no, it's gone.ck. phew, it's back with lobster mac & cheese. it's gone again. oh, it's back with shrimp now! steak & lobster starting at only $15.99. and try our everyday lunch combo starting at $7.99. outback steakhouse.
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sure, why not? how'd he get out?! a camera might figure it out. that was easy! glad i could help. at xfinity, we're here to make life simple. easy. awesome. so come ask, shop, discover at your xfinity store today. doral was by far and away,
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far and away the best physical facility for this meeting. it's almost like they built this facility to host this type of event. the common areas are going to be perfect for our needs down there. this is the perfect physical location to do this. >> mick mulvaney may want you to believe donald trump's very own doral resort was tapped to host the g7 summit because it was the perfect physical location. but in reality, the summit will do more for the resort than the resort will do for the six foreign nations who will be forced to pay the trump organization to use it. for one thing, using doral will give the resort a substantial revenue boost during particularly troubling financial times. the very same year that donald trump launched his campaign for president of the united states, business at the doral resort began to sharply decline. in fact, the property's net operating income dropped by a stunning 69% from 2015 to 2017,
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according to the "washington post." to reiterate, the white house's decision to host the g7 at trump's resort essentially means that six foreign governments will pay the trump organization lodging expenses for the leaders and their staff, plus expenses for security, not to mention the huge publicity boost that the resort will receive as it's flooded with international media. and all of that will directly line the pockets of donald trump's family business. it's a move that could directly violate multiple laws, including the constitution's foreign and domestic emoluments clauses, which prohibit the president from earning money for himself from foreign or domestic governments. joining me now is walter shaub, former director of the office of government ethics. walter, it's always good to talk to you. we were particularly interested in a couple of things you tweeted out. i believe these both were yesterday. first one says, "mick mulvaney needs to disclose what process was used for the g7 summit so americans can assess whether
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trump obtained contractor bid or proposal information or source selection information before the award of the federal agency procurement contract to which the information relates." tweet two -- "trump is not to be subject to the conflict of interest statute, but as the owner of the trump organization, he is subject to the procurement integrity act. we need to know what information he obtained while he was participating in the selection of doral for the g7." can you please explain that in layman's terms? because a lot of what you wrote there sounds to me like it's relating to laws about contracting. >> yeah, and i think the first thing, to put it in context, is it's important to emphasize that this is not different in scale or seriousness. this is different in nature from his other corruption. this isn't wasting money. this is reaching in and taking money. we have a president who participated in a contract award to himself. so, then that raises a number of
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questions, including the domestic emoluments clause and concerns about what procurement process they used and whether that complied with procurement laws. but it also potentially implicates the procurement integrity act, and i'm not claiming a violation has occurred because they've concealed the facts, but they've revealed enough facts to know that an investigation is absolutely warranted, because it's actually a crime for a business owner like trump to obtain confidential site source selection information or competitors' contract or bid or proposal information. and you know, the president was personally involved in this. mick mulvaney's description of what happened makes it sound like he was involved in framing how they were going to select a source. and the statement that he's supposedly doing it at cost, which is a ridiculous, meaningless term, suggests that he possibly could have lowered his price to match other
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competitors. last month he gave a press conference in which he said some of his competitors allowed this or didn't allow that, in his words, which raises a question of did he know what they were offering to do? so, i think we don't have enough to say that a violation of procurement integrity act occurred, but we do have enough to say there's a very serious need for an investigation, because it may have occurred. and there are criminal penalties and civil penalties for that. and unlike the conflict of interest statute, the president is covered by that statute. >> and let's -- can you just explain to us the difference here between what donald trump, the corruption of donald trump, renting a hotel space from the federal government, which is what he's doing in d.c., and then having foreign governments stay there. that's number one. "b" would be donald trump owning this mar-a-lago resort and having foreign governments stay there and republicans throw parties there and people feel like they need to throw all
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their parties there, and this. how are those three things different? >> yeah, and so, you know, the primary difference is, unlike other things we've seen where he just goes to mar-a-lago and wastes time, or his sons rent out the facility to the party or candidates or other groups, this is a contract award from the united states government. and we are concerned about the foreign emoluments clause because it will lead to that. they will inevitably be on site, but it's the united states government that's going to be paying for a lot of these facilities, including, i think, for the visiting dignitaries. and as a result, you have the definition of a domestic emolument. the founders of the constitution specifically singled out the president for an additional provision that says he can't take an emolument from the federal government. and the definition of an emolument is profit, gain, or advantage. well, there is no denying that
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having a contract award for a mul multimillion dollar event gives you a profit gain or advantage. >> yeah. >> and so, we have the quintessential definition of a domestic emolument. and if this isn't it, there's nothing left that would be. >> and i think that is the key, right, is that if this isn't it, then nothing would be. i want to thank you, walter shaub, and of course, for those of you who don't follow him on twitter, he was the former director of the office of government ethics, so he would know. walter, thank you for your time. appreciate it. >> thanks. >> joining me is miah wiley, john harwawooharwood, frank fig david smiley of "the miami herald" and steve contorno of "the tampa bay times." something walter said is particularly important to reiterate, that donald trump, per the law, as a business owner -- set aside as president -- as a business owner, is not allowed to have prior knowledge of the other
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bids so that he can undercut those bids in order to get a government contract. the man who went out there and really looked down -- i don't remember if he looked up when he said donald trump is getting the contract -- is not just his acting chief of staff. mick mulvaney is the director of the office of management and budget. he's the budget director. it's hard for me to believe -- and maybe i could stretch belief -- that he would not have prior knowledge himself of what the bids were and of how to undercut them. if, in fact, mick mulvaney made it easier for donald trump to get this contract because he knew the numbers, would that be a problem for mick mulvaney, too? >> of course. it certainly would. i mean, the problem we have here, as walter shaub said is there is no sunshine, there is no light being shone on what happened here. and one of our questions should also be why not? every time we hear the word
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"perfect" out of the white house -- it was a perfect call with the ukrainian president. now mick mulvaney was saying this was a "perfect" place, serving the needs. every time we hear "perfect," and we kind of get the suggestion that they're worried and they've got something to hide. >> yep. >> if it is so perfect, there should be no reason they wouldn't provide complete transparency into every aspect of this transaction. and when we add to that the pattern -- because remember, in 2017, we saw the state department and u.s. embassies putting up advertisements for mar-a-lago -- >> right. >> -- in the uk, on -- >> yep. >> so, this is -- how did that happen? who actually directed and suggested that mar-a-lago advertisements go up across government website properties? there is no question -- so, not to mention all the other things we could say. so, there's no question that
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there are no controls. plus, we have heard all week long in relation to ukraine, senior members of the administration, including hand-picked people by donald trump, say i didn't feel comfortable, but the president told me -- >> -- to do it. >> so, what is happening here with mick mulvaney? because he was also part of that story. >> and quickly just to stay with you for a moment. our friend ellie had a great piece on abovethelaw.com, where he talks about the fact that it's more than just the emoluments clause with this doral situation. he reprints from title 48 of the u.s. code, and it says "except as specified in 3.602," and it's part of the law, "a contracting officer shall not knowingly award a contract to a government employee or to a business concern or other organization owned or substantially owned or controlled by one or more government employees. this policy is intended to avoid any conflict of interest that b
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employees' interests and their government duties and to avoid the appearance of favoritism or preferential treatment by the government towards its employees." i can't think of any greater conflict of interest than the president of the united states owning the resort where six foreign governments will now have to decide if they want to take the risk of becoming a part of an emoluments clause situation by paying the trump organization, run by his kids, with no transparency as to whether he's still openly and knowingly gets profit and knows what the books look like. nobody has any proof whether or not he sees the books every month. he now gets it, his kids get it. this is all they do for a living. it's not like the kids have a separate form of income. their income is him. and so, now you're saying, how is he not violating this law? >> it's really scary when we have to have this kind of conversation about the operation of government, because it's the first time -- just remember, it
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doesn't even matter in this case that he doesn't have a blind trust because everyone knows, including him, what properties he owns. >> what do his kids do for a living other than be his kids and run his businesses. please explain their separate job skills. >> and this is a president who won't release his tax returns. all of this creates significant concern about the integrity of the operation of government and whether a public servant, and in this case, the highest public servant, is using it for his own personal gain. >> let's go to david smiley on this, because the actual facility at doral is one of donald trump's biggest assets, but it hasn't been doing well. can you talk a little bit about the condition and the status of this resort, doral, and how -- could it in your mind, just as a journalist looking at it, does it make sense to say this is the perfect place to do it, potentially during hurricane season in south florida?
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>> well, it is a really nice hotel, and hurricane season doesn't really pick up until after june passes, so the threat is fairly low, but we do know from florida's fantastic public records laws and the property tax appeals filed by the trump organization that they are making less money than they were in 2016 when he became president, and certainly, the resort stands to benefit from having the g7 there, whether they hold it at cost or not, and who knows what that means, as your previous guest said. the resort's nice. i've been there several times, and i think they do have the amenities and the capacity to hold the g7. i don't think that's a question. but it's just fair to be extremely skeptical about the entire situation, given how little we know. we don't know what other resorts they analyzed and scouted.
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we know they say they scouted a dozen, but who knows what those were and what they did to analyze that. >> yeah. and actually, this is from my producers. we don't know what else they skimmed, but we do know that the main person who's been pitching to hold this at doral is donald trump. here is donald trump bragging about his resort and addressing potential conflict of interest issues about the g7. this is in august. here's donald trump. >> with doral, we have a series of magnificent buildings. we call them bungalow. they each hold from 50 to 70 very luxurious rooms with magnificent views. we have incredible conference rooms, incredible restaurants. it's like such a natural. from my standpoint, i'm not going to make any money. in my opinion, i'm not going to make any money. i don't want to make money. i don't care about making money.
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>> frank figlusi, this is the boss saying what he wants, making it clear what he wants. then a couple months later when he gets what he wants, it doesn't sound like this was a free and open process wherein people just, through all of these resorts and places, including camp david, which is the refuge of american presidents out there, and they all said objectively, it's got to be doral. your thoughts, frank. >> yeah, joy, this is akin to trump saying russia, if you have the emails, we'd like to see them. you'll be rewarded. this is essentially the same thing. he's broadcasting his desire. his desire happens. and joy, there's an aspect to this decision that i have not heard discussed yet, which is the impact on our allies, the impact on the member nations of the g7. we have just put them in an unwinnable predicament. here's what i mean by that. you've had some great experts, including walt shaub talking
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about the u.s. laws this might violate. but if you're receiving this lovely invitation and you're uk or japan or germany, you've got to hand that invitation off to your top attorney, your equivalent of the attorney general in your country, and say, are we in a trick box here? do we have our own country's laws that might be a problem? if i accept a freebee from the president of the united states, am i violating some kind of corruption or bribery act? if i pay for my room -- and by the way, pay for the rooms for my entire security detail times seven member nations that are coming -- that's a lot of money. and those security details can't accept freebees by most of their internal policies. if i'm paying, am i offering a thing of value to another government official? and if i say no, am i going to get in trouble with the president of the united states? this is a trick bag for them. and don't be surprised if some of those member nations say we
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can't do this. we can't come. >> yeah. and you know, john harwood, it's hard -- i mean, it's not hard to believe anymore republicans don't say anything, but the reality is, that's exactly the point. donald trump has now put these other six nations -- well, we don't know if he's going to try to invite russia, because you know he wants it to be the g-8 again, but he's put these countries in a position where they either have to pay him or not come. >> that's right. and you know, frank made the analogy to trump saying, russia, if you're listening, find the emails. i'm going to go for a different trump statement, which is, i could shoot somebody on fifth avenue and i wouldn't lose any support. this is open, brazen use of the u.s. government by the president for the financial benefit of himself and his family, and he is daring others to stop him from doing that. you know, people talk about a free and open selection process. give me a break.
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it is obvious what's happened and the question is now what is anyone going to do about it? but when you combine this with what's happening with ukraine, the impeachment investigation, what's happening in syria, all that is increasing the chance, which is still not a high probability, but it's increasing the chance that he's not going to be president by the time the g7 meeting confers next year. >> and frank, i'm glad you were able to join us this morning because i wanted you to be here not necessarily just to talk about this property, but donald trump has now decided he wants to bring the g7 meeting of world -- of our allies -- to florida, a place where he's already gotten his personal attorney embroiled in a lot of interesting situations. the two men who rudy giuliani was working for, these two soviet-born nationals -- soviet-born guys -- are now also associated with the governor of florida. they were at his victory party.
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they were raising money for him. please, very briefly explain what that confluence looks like. >> yeah, it's been an interesting saga over the last week, because when these two men were first arrested, his political office immediately said we're going to give the $50,000 that he received from them back, but they sort of claimed that he had, or at least gave the inference that he had no relationship with them and that, you know, they may have rubbed elbows at large gop events and things like that, but we've since learned that not only did they have, you know, an intimate fund-raiser for him -- david smiley reported that -- but they also were at his victory party. and when we went through our archives that night to look at all the photos we took, we actually found a series of photos of him hugging both of these men shortly after he declared victory. >> and so, the question then becomes, even if he gave the money back, have there been any associations beyond that drawn with the governor? and i ask that question because
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we do know that in at least one case, these two men were funneling money to another republican member because they wanted that member to them oust the ambassador to ukraine. do we know of any other contacts between the government, the current government of florida and these men? >> at this point, we don't pw the donations in florida weren't listed in the indictment like the other donations in other states. those donations certainly had strings attached to them or there were certainly motivations behind them. we don't necessarily know why they were trying to influence florida. they also gave to then governor, now senator rick scott. they gave to congressman brian mast. they also gave to the man who desantis beat in the primary, commissioner adam putnam, so they clearly were trying to influence elections here, but we don't know to what extent. again, david smiley, who's also on this panel, had a really good story about how they may have been trying to get a foothold
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into the medical marijuana industry, which they were certainly trying to do in nevada and has caused an investigation in that state. >> and david, what's the status of that reporting? >> well, we know from the indictment filed in new york that parnas and fruman and his business partners had a multistate marijuana license strategy, where they were working with a foreign investor to distribute as much as $2 million to politicians in the u.s. in the hopes of purchasing influence. i know that they spoke to at least three or more people in florida about trying to make contact with the nearly two dozen companies that hold licenses to produce, grow, and distribute marijuana in the state. those licenses can be worth a lot of money. one is up for sale for $55 million right now. so they were trying to invest. when it came time, in any of these conversations that showed that they had the money, they
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could never prove it, which seems why it never got anywhere. that could be one explanation, possibly the explanation for why they were giving money to state candidates in florida. perhaps that's why they gave money to friends of ron desantis. through their company, global energy producers, which was named, or at least referenced in the indictment. so, that might be an explanation. but the governor or his team are not discussing the substance of their conversations, so we don't really know what they've talked about. >> right. i'm sure they're not discussing it, in fairness. frank, quickly, we have this confluence of these two men who have already been indicted that are now associated with donald trump's personal lawyer, this guy, lev parnas and igor fruman, so you have that piece of it. you've got donald trump's estate or one of his properties, doral, from which he got $125 million loan to buy it from deutsche bank, which is also part of this
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whole mess. he's got that piece of it. and now you have him set to link a lot of money potentially from a bunch of foreign governments. there is so much here that i'm not sure how you -- were you still in the fbi, where would you even begin to look for potential criminality here? >> well, you've raised a good point, because the vectors, the threat vectors, almost like tracking a disease if you're an epidemiologist. the threat vectors are so numerous and from various places that you really need teams of fbi agents and analysts to look at all. pi but here's the common theme. as nancy pelosi said, all roads may lead to putin, and russia is really at the root of much of this corruption and flow of money. and the two associates of rudy are a perfect example of that. if you read the indictment, joy, you'll see the reference to foreign national number one. foreign national number one is likely russian. and we see the pervasiveness of foreign money even flowing, as has been said, to the state of
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nevada and their elected officials to try to get marijuana licenses for dispensaries. foreign money is entangled in all that trump does. and the american people who voted for trump may have said we want somebody from outside washington, we want to break the mold, but there was no vetting process. there was no -- when you have no history in government as an elected official, you have no way of knowing if the person you're voting for is really somebody who wouldn't even pass a background investigation for a security clearance, and that's who we have now as president. >> and so, then if you're looking at those vectors -- i need -- i have a two-page list here of all of the people who are connected. can i show this real quick? this is how much paper. and they were nice to save a tree by making it two-sided. in order to keep track of all the people you need to keep track of. so i wonder at the end of this, because the two people these all have in common are vladimir putin and donald trump. >> yes. and the person to watch right now, in my view, completely agree with frank, is demetrmytr
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firta firtash, the russian oligarch wanted in the u.s. for bribing the indian government. he is the person who maybe, we don't know, individual one. it is -- we know that parnas and fruman got their money from someone in order to influence these elections. was it him? and we know that giuliani was working for him. >> yeah, there's a lot of -- we might need a big board. i think we might need to make a big board. let's make a big board. >> hey, joy -- >> quickly. >> one other point to make is that the u.s. government has said dimitri first yaur tash ha to organized crime. >> maya wiley, thank you all very much. coming up, the world-class pearl clutching of the apparently least influential united states senator in america, south carolina senator and part-time presidential golf caddie, lindsey graham. that's next. i can't believe it.
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here, hello! starts with -hi!mple... how can i help? a data plan for everyone. everyone? everyone. let's send to everyone! [ camera clicking ] wifi up there? -ahhh. sure, why not? how'd he get out?! a camera might figure it out. that was easy! glad i could help. at xfinity, we're here to make life simple. easy. awesome. so come ask, shop, discover at your xfinity store today.
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i will do anything i can to help him, but i will also become president trump's worst nightmare. i will not sit along the sidelines and watch a good ally, the kurds, be slaughtered by turkey and watch iran move in to syria and become another nightmare for israel. this is a defining moment for president trump. he needs to up his game.
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>> senator and erstwhile trump bff lindsey graham certainly talks a big game, which is more than one can say about most republicans, even as they maintain that they oppose trump's actions in syria. take mitch mcconnell, who released an op ed last night in the style of a friday night news stop, asserting extra withdrawing from syria is a grave mistake. mcconnell did not once mention trump by name but still managed to attack president obama, because of course. david jolly is a former republican congressman who's no longer with the party. charlie sykes, editor in chief, and david frum, author of "trumpocracy." lindsey graham wants us to take him seriously as a voice of honor on the kurds. very hard to do that. >> for all that lindsey graham thinks of his own skill in influencing the president of the united states, this is the one issue that punches lindsey in the gut. this should say to lindsey graham, donald trump doesn't care about you, lindsey graham. >> he doesn't listen to him. >> because -- and we were talking during the break and i'd
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share with our viewers, this is almost a singular passion of lindsey graham, this issue in syria, the issue with the kurds. lindsey and i have been into the refugee camps on the syrian border. i have seen lindsey promise the kurds that he will fight for them. this is a moment where lindsey graham sold his soul to the president, the president turned around and punched him in the gut. and very importantly, when we look at this moment, we cannot look at this moment without saying, you caused this, lindsey graham -- >> yes. >> you caused this, mitch mcconnell. three years of enabling the president. how foolish, how stupid were you to think you would not get to a moment where donald trump would do something with such dpravty. >> charlie sykes, you wrote "the humiliation of lindsey graham" was the title. you wrote "despite graham's compulsive turd-polishing of the past few years, trump didn't even consult him before making the decision to abandon the kurds. graham, who has given up so much self-respect to prevent just this outcome was not even in the
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room. he didn't even get a text." donald trump thinks he's smarter than lindsey graham. he thinks he's more important than lindsey graham. and he essentially said, to hell with lindsey graham. >> donald trump is not worried about lindsey graham being the worst nightmare because he's got lindsey graham's number. and it is the perfect humiliation of lindsey graham, and it was completely predictable and it should be a cautionary tale to other republicans, that the loyalty only goes in one direction, that no matter how much you do for the president, he has no sense of obligation. and of course, you know, this is how republicans have talked to themselves, how they've rationalized their surrender to donald trump, you know, that oh, i will be for the policies but not the person. okay, i will kiss up to him but then at least i will be the grown-up in the room, and i think it's dawning on a lot of them and it should have dawned on them a long time ago, that there are no adults in the room that the president is going to listen to, and that lindsey
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graham's decision to become a shine box for the president has resulted in absolutely zero amount of influence on an issue that, as david points out, you know, he really did care about. but again, at this point, how do you take him seriously? >> yeah. it's very difficult for him to recover his dignity. david frum, one of the big ironies of donald trump's election -- david number two, david frum -- is that donald trump told his followers, the reason you can trust me is because i don't need this job, i'm rich, and therefore, i'm incorruptible. it turns out that he's the opposite, that he is the essence of corruption, and that he corrupts everyone around him. then it seems to me kind of -- it goes without saying that the one person that would actually have the chicha heronas to say, no, someone rich like him. that would be mitt romney. he doesn't need donald trump's money and if he loses his job,
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he'll still be fine financially. here's mitt romney. >> this is a matter of american honor and promise. so, too, is the principle that we stand by our allies, that we do not abandon our friends. the decision to abandon the kurds violates one of our most sacred duties. it strikes at american honor. what we have done to the kurds will stand as a blood stain in the annals of american history. was there no chance for diplomacy? are we so weak and so inept diplomatically that turkey forced the hand of the united states of america? turkey? >> you know, donald trump has already tweeted out, i guess an ad, an online ad they're running against romney, calling him a democratic operative, of all things. are we at the point now -- and he was humiliated by trump before, too, but is he the only guy that is willing to say no? >> look, i think the tenor of this conversation may be right. it probably is right. but it strikes me as premature.
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as you have seen with mitt romney, when mitt romney began to speak, there were a number of people, social media, who mocked mitt romney, and those like me who proudly voted for him in 2012 said there may be more to this than you think. and what we are seeing is, in mitt romney's case, there's more to it than you think. justay, romney has begun speaking about climate change in a serious way. donald trump did humiliate lindsey graham and you don't do that to a united states senator. and possibly lindsey graham will sit back and take it, but as david jolly said, this is an important issue to him. look, what is at stake here? the most important thing that is pending over donald trump's head is are there five republican votes in the senate for a secret ballot on removal? mitt romney may be one. lisa murkowski may be another. you just need five. and if you have five, you take the process in the senate away from mitch mcconnell and you put it into a position where anything can happen. and if lindsey graham may be one of those five, or maybe if he's not, maybe he's a yes on a secret ballot. there's a lot of history in the
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making here. these people, republican members of the senate have accepted a lot. lindsey graham has, as both charlie and david said, made a tremendous gamble on donald trump. it looks like a very stupid gamble. perhaps it was predictably a stupid gamble, but worms turn. and if you complain that lindsey graham has been a worm, then he is a candidate "a" for turning. >> yeah, but the reality is, are there five? because the other issue about the kurds, is it's a big issue for white evangelical christians. >> that's right. >> and they have a white evangelical christian, who, by the way, is involved in the ukraine stuff. let's not pretend that mike pence is innocent, but they could trade in donald trump for mike pence, could they not? >> they could. and what's happening is you're seeing republicans get angry. they're not defending the president on syria and they're not defending him on the quid pro quo biden investigation matter, either. if you look at senators that are talking about process, if they're saying we have to withhold judgment. even if you look at the group of defendants out of the white house, consider what's happening. vice president mike pence wouldn't answer von hilliard
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about biden. pompeo wouldn't answer "the nashville reporter" about him. and mulvaney in his press conference said i wasn't on the call. what i did didn't have anything to do with the bidens. republican senators know that, and it's going the wrong way for them, and i think you may get to five. >> charlie sykes, who is number two? if number one is mitt romney, who has the courage to stand up, at least verbally, to donald trump, who is the second one? >> well, it is hard to say, but there are a number of these, you know, old bulls in the senate who have nothing to lose at this point. you know, people like lamar alexander. maybe somebody like mike lee at some point is going to stand up and say, it is absolutely enough. but i do think it is very important, and david's making a really good point -- both of the davids are making really good points here. i understand people are saying, well, what are you going to do about it, mitt romney, or this is too little, too late. but you know what, i think people need to praise the fact that any time any republican is willing to break ranks, given the political risk that they will take, that they need to be
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encouraged to do that, because you know, this is really -- this is a moment where they can make a difference. >> yeah. >> now, i'm a little bit more skeptical than david frum is about having a secret ballot in the united states senate. i'm very skeptical that they're going to be able to get to 220, but i do think that mitt romney is finding his voice and you are starting to see just that break in that wool and more and more of them are finding this voice. so, this could be the worm turning. >> be skeptical, for sure, but you just need five. and i say five because i assume joe manchin from west virginia will vote with the president. so you need five republicans to break ranks. that's the ball game. and it may not happen, but it should be pressed to make sure that it does. and those that are part of that heroic and historic five, they are heroes. whatever they did before. >> perhaps they need to be helped as a party off of their knees. we shall see if we can get a few people to break from donald trump. it's not been easy so far. we shall see. we shall see. david jolly, charlie sykes,
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i think i was excusing myself from the room, but i think i told you what my -- the thought that i conveyed to the president and disapproving of his syria actions, "a." "b" are my concerns about all roads leading to putin. >> well, now we know exactly what was happening in that now-iconic white house photo of
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house speaker nancy pelosi standing up to donald trump and a bunch of shame-faced republican men. trump clearly thought, somehow, that the photo made the speaker look bad. he tweeted it out, accusing pelosi of having a meltdown, the very word the speaker had thrown down at him during his apparent white house tirade. his campaign even sent out a text attempting to raise money off of the photo, and his tweet did go viral, but just not in the way it intended. #pelosiownstrump quickly started trending, and in the ultimate clapback, the speaker made it the cover photo of her twitter account. joining me, marketing consultant tara audell, john harwood and niera. that was such a boss picture. i don't understand how donald trump thought it was good for him, but it was only good for her. >> donald trump is delusional, so that's how he thought it was good for him. >> before you finish that sentence, let me play what nancy pelosi said, because it goes right to what you're saying. here's nancy pelosi on wednesday.
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>> what's really sad about it is i pray for the president all the time, and i tell him that. i pray for his safety and for that of his family. now we have to pray for his health because this was a serious meltdown on the part of the president. >> she's questioning whether he's in full corporates ments at this point. >> this meeting was supposed to be about the security of our country and syria. instead, donald trump spent the entire meeting insulting president obama, insulting people who he hand-picked, like mattis, to work for him, and insulting nancy pelosi. that's what he did throughout this meeting that's, while concurrently, we're hearing reports that have been corroborated by photographic evidence that turkey is using napalm and white phosphorus, which are banned chemical weapons, against children, kurdish children in syria. the kurds, our allies, as we all know. so, this is why she stood up, and this is why she should have stood up, because donald trump
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is dangerous. he's dangerous for the kurds, who are now facing ethnic cleansing, and he's dangerous for our country with all of these members of isis having been released because of his actions. so, she should have stood up. and what's also striking about that photo is the only person in that room that seemed to be standing up to trump was nancy pelosi, and she was the only -- virtually the only woman in the room. i think there were some other women off in the back. >> yeah. >> maybe two, but she was the only woman at that table, and she was standing up to trump. >> and to generals. >> and the generals. >> the generals with their heads down, because what do you say? nayara, you worked at the state department. richard engel reporting this morning that the united states may be responsible for ethnic cleansing, and if that becomes crimes against humanity, that's going to come right back to the president of the united states. that is what the speaker was standing up to. >> i saw that photo and i saw a mom who's checking her toddler, saying you need to stop what you're doing, you're not talking in the reality the rest of us
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live in, right? and i also saw a photo in which all of the military generals look embarrassed to be sitting next to donald trump as the commander in chief. that's just the reality of that photo. and also, since you mentioned this, of who's not there, there's also no people of color visibly present. so it does show how the rest of the united states, our leadership needs to catch up to what we actually look like. in regards to syria, it didn't end up even really being a topic of conversation because of this alternate reality that donald trump is living in, and that's the grave part of this, that there are some real serious issues that we have to wrestle with. and coming out of that meeting, speaker pelosi said, all roads lead to putin on this, and we're not quite sure why the president is behaving this way. >> and john, you were tweeting a lot about what was happening inside that meeting. i mean, you had a room full of people. from what you're reporting, from your reporting, did anyone have any decent explanation for why we're allowing what was happening in syria to happen? because it seemed that the speaker's explanation is putin. >> there is no decent
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explanation for what the president's doing other than his base-level commitment to stopping endless wars. but we've seen in the condemnation of both parties that that is not -- the way he chose to do that was not effective, it was not honorable, it was not advancing the national security of the united states. look, the bottom line of that picture is nancy pelosi is mature, she is professional, she's extremely good at her job. donald trump is not. she had just rallied an entire -- an overwhelming majority of the house in both parties, trump's as well as her own, to rebuke his policy. she's about to lead the house to impeach him, and that does not feel very good for donald trump. and the other thing i would say is that when she says all roads lead to putin, i notice that kevin mccarthy had his head down in that picture as well as the
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generals. remember that kevin mccarthy is the one who told the republican caucus in private a couple of years ago, i'm convinced that putin pays donald trump. >> yeah. >> i think he recognized the situation as well. >> and is it true -- is it accurate that inside of that meeting, when donald trump said he just wanted to bring the troops home, that the speaker asked him, well, is saudi arabia home? because you're putting more troops in saudi arabia to defend their oil. is that accurate reporting, john? >> yes. >> you know, we have a situation here, tara, where donald trump's interests seem to be primarily financial and sucking up to whatever out democrat he's sort of enthralled with at the moment. two of his favorites, erdogan and putin, are set to meet up in sochi, the site of the stolen money from the 2014 olympics. is he simply enthralled with them or in debt to them? is there a way to tell the difference? >> i think it would be a combination of the two. donald trump's interests, which bears repeat 'his interest is him.
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his interest is his financial interests. a lot of these properties that are being propped up by his corruption are properties that were failing. we see recently with doral and him awarding the contract to his own hotel, which you discussed. i mean, this is -- donald trump has been doing this in new york for years. he's been doing it across the country for years, engaging in this corruption. so, why would we think he would all of a sudden stop and become an honorable man at 70 years old when he's led a lifestyle of corruption? but a point i want to make that i think democrats need to make -- and i didn't coin this, i have to say, brian lair coined this, corruption tax. i know it takes us a little bit off this topic, but what's important for democrats to make is that this hurts hard-working people. every time he acts in a corrupt manner and enriches himself and self-deals with these autocrats, the american people are paying a corruption tax. >> yeah, absolutely. and would it surprise you if
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some of these foreign leaders in the g7 refused to pony up and swipe their credit cards at doral next year for the g7? >> i mean, listen, he might not even be around at the g7 at the rate things are going, right? that's with impeachment looming. and you know that we have opportunities in senate to make things move. if republican leadership in the senate really grows a pair, we actually might not have to deal with any of this in 2020. >> that's a hell of an if. that's a hell of an if. that growing a pair thing, hell of an if. thank you all for being here. coming up, my thoughts on the passing of a legendary statesman. y thoughts on the passing of a legendary statesman.
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with humira, remission is possible. okay, funny/embarrassing story. the first time i met congressman elijah cummings, it was 2012, right here in this very studio. i see this bald, black, regal man across the studio in kind of like three-quarter view, and i breathlessly rush across the studio and say, "hey, congressman lewis, it's such an honor!" and he turns around and faces me and says, great to meet you, young lady, but i'm not john lewis. okay, embarrassing, bordering on mortifying. congressman elijah cummings had a great time with his passing resemblance to his friend john lewis as this post from
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congressman lewis' staffer had. and he had a go with me after the awkward moment. the second time i met him was in a conference in d.c. a few months later and we had the most in-depth conversation i've ever had about the u.s. postal service, about its foundation in the constitution and the important role it's played in building up the black working and middle class across this country and why it's so important to protect those jobs from being stolen by privatization. it was a huge issue that he long fought for. i was lucky enough to get to know congressman cummings pretty well over the years. he was one of a small number of members that i spoke to fairly often, just asking questions or trying to understand issues. he was always incredibly nice, always the kind of person to ask about my husband and kids. he and his wife have been two of the truly kindness, most genuine people that you could possibly meet in washington. but for the country, congressman cummings was much more than a nice man. he was a true american leader with a political and a community leader. my producers and i were lucky
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enough to be on hand to watch him lead his community during the baltimore uprising after freddie gray died in police custody. this was just one moment that we witnessed firsthand. >> i don't want anybody to be arrested. nobody. life is too short. so, i beg you, let's move. let's move on. >> the people who came up to us during that time of so much pain and anger weren't really trying to listen to a lot of talk from politicians about the deaths of their children at the hands of police and the occupation of their neighborhood, but those same people knew the congressman as just elijah, not a distant politici politician, but as their literal neighbor, a man who lived around the block from the center of the uprising and whom they respected and listened to and who had the unique ability to convince people to go home at curfew and prepare to come back fighting for justice tomorrow. elijah cummings was baltimore born and baltimore raised. at just 11 years old, he held
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integrate a segregated baltimore swimming pool. he graduated from baltimore city college high school, howard university, and the university of maryland law school. he held 13 honorary doctorates. and he was perhaps the fiercest, boldest, bluntest, and most passionate interrogator ever to hold the gavel on the house committee on oversight, a mentor to three members of the squad who served on oversight with him. he was a friend to those being persecuted for politics and the worst enemy of the corrupt and the cruel. but most of all, congressman elijah cummings truly cared about people. he was a champion of the black women's voting organization black girls vote and a strong defender of voting rights. and he fought fiercely for the dignity of his neighborhood, defending it against the attacks and degradations of lesser men. it's fitting that among his last official acts, even in hospice care, was to sign a subpoena demanding documents about the trump administration's decision
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to end a deferred action program that allowed immigrants to receive life-saving treatment in the u.s. and this was the moment in a hearing about the administration's indifference toward children that still rings, or should, in the ears of every american. >> you feel like you're doing a great job, right? is that what you're saying? >> we're doing our level best in a very challenging -- >> what does that mean? what does that mean when a child is sitting in their own feces, can't take a shower? come on, man! what's that about? none of us would have our children in that position. they are human beings. >> and now that he is gone, we all owe him a debt of gratitude on behalf of every man, woman, and child. american born and immigrant. thank you to a great man who was, by god, also a good man.
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goodnight, and thank you, congressman. here, it all starts with a simple...
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aaddiction. how juuline hooked kids and ignited an public health crisis." other news outlets report- juul took $12.8 billion from big tobacco. markets e-cigarettes with kid friendly flavors and uses nicotine to addict them. 5 million kids use e-cigarettes. juul is "following big tobacco's playbook." and now, juul is pushing prop c to overturn e-cigarette protections. vote no on juul. no on big tobacco. no on prop c. hey, there! good day from msnbc world headquarters in new york. it is high noon in the east, just about, 9:00 out west. welcome to "weekends with alex witt." i'm alison morris in for alex today. digging deeper, attorney general bill barr expanding his reviews into what started the russia investigation, even questioning the legal basis into
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looking into it all. new questions about rudy giuliani's overseas connections and why they could be adding to his legal problems. and war of words. tulsi gabbard slamming hillary clinton over some remarks about russia. >> this deal is not good for jobs. a deal that would see scotland shafted by this united kingdom government. >> a deal that can heal the rift in british politics, unite -- unite -- in london, a day of debate and protests over brexit. what happened at the last minute with a crucial vote? all right, we begin with breaking news. nbc news has learned the justice department's review into the origins of the russia investigation is now expanding. nbc's white house correspondent kelly o'donnell has more on that. kelly, what is all of this about? >> reporter: well, this is one of the investigations that is looking at what happened in 2016. and you might say to yourself,

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