tv David Corn Michael Isikoff Russian Roulette CSPAN November 17, 2018 9:00pm-9:52pm EST
each and every one of you to be here today was a beautiful day in miami i don't know that can i see a show of hands from the out-of-towners? [applause] this will give us a chance to say thank you to our sponsors without whom this miami book fair would not happen. in addition to that the many volunteers from miami-dade
college student faculty and staff with hundreds of other volunteers those young at heart from middle and high school and more seasoned adults that give very generously of their time every year and this year is no exception we have a wonderful program for you so miami book fair international year-round. did you know, that? we have so many presentations of authors and work do we have friends here? friends of the book there thank you for being a friend of the miami book fair year
after year to provide the support and collegiality and camaraderie that makes a special thank you. as always we will have a question and answer period where you can approach the mic in the middle of the room and i ask that you just take your seat immediately after so we can get as many questions as possible so at this time silence your devices we are very eager to hear from our authors it's wonderful to start on time. [applause]
's i would like to welcome to the stage david horn and michael isikoff. [applause] . >> there is no need for an introduction but i will do that anyway. is a veteran washington journalist a washington bureau chief and an analyst for msnb msnbc, the author of three "new york times" bestseller including showdown.
michael is the investigative journalist working for "the washington post" "newsweek" and nbc news the author of two "new york times" bestsellers rncovering clinton so there we send book russian roulette , with the election of donald trump tells the incredible account how american democracy was hacked by moscow as part of a cohort operation to influence the us election to help donald trump gain the presidency we let the authors tell it all so please help me
again to welcome our guests. [applause] . >>. >> think you. this is an awesome crowd i guess the issue surrounding trump and russia holds the public interes interest. there is a lot to unpack that we write about in the book that we anticipated the events you have seen unfold over the last couple of years. but i want to start talk about recent events. obviously we are all on pins and needles to see how the robert mueller investigation will read its grand conclusion. there are a lot of science out there about indictments or
perhaps a few other characters and then there is the question will he have a report with everything he found in the course of his investigation? however that plays out, we have some clues but we have been wrong before. [laughter] speak for yourself. >> but i just wanted to talk about the events over the last week they are so illustrative we cannot tell you if robert mueller will find the smoking gun that conclusive e-mail that will show donald trump
was actively communicating or coordinating in the election but whenever we have questions about that nobody fuels the story and gives that better than donald trump himself. with a 100 anniversary ceremony commemorating the armistice of world war i a very somber ceremony. i don't know how many watched it. thereon is trump sitting there being lectured to about patriotism and nationalism and looking very out of sorts for the whole thing than suddenly his eyes went up and breaks out into a spontaneous smile.
something you'll almost never see and why? there is vladimir putin and gives him the thumbs up. we all scratched our head to understand this strange and weird relationship with the president of the united states and the russian federation , the one guy trump seems to be so fond of and protective of and friendly with to trdenounce justin trudeau the great threat to american sovereignty me go into a lot of that trump and putin relationship but it is
behavior like that with that spontaneous smile at the site of vladimir putin that raises so many questions. and i will just cap it with the other day after trump had to sit through hours of preparations to answer robert mueller's questions that clearly enrages him and causes him to go on this tweet storm with those angry democrats and right in the middle of that the fbi and the dnc server. if you follow this closely there was only one reason to throw that in there to somehow raise doubt if the russians did this atom all.
not just the unanimous findings of the intelligence community that the russians gave the e-mails to wikileaks or they h exploited american social medi media, they did it all but also the unbelievable indictment last summer against identifiable russian agents that laid out chapter and verse who did it and how they did it and actual quotes from those communicating with each other the stolen dnc e-mails on july 142016 barely one week before it is dumped on the eve of the convention and yet there is
donald trump has been briefed multiple times laying out the to the ids somehow the proverbial 400-pound guy. >> that is so illuminating how the president views all of this you cannot dislodge it. and that is a pretty importantmp clue. . >> thank you for being here. it's an honor to be with people who love books just for that. so many are caught up on the hamster wheel every day if you
watch msnbc obsessively as a contributor, thank you all the way love the fact that those who do get caught up are able to take a break to do a deep dive when we wrote the book we were not sure we could get off the hamster wheel and then to get a deeper understanding largely because of people like you so thank you for showing that book still matter and still count for what's in the news every day. we got the news that donald trump is working on his answers to questions to robert mueller.
i have a 17 -year-old daughter applying to colleges right now and i imagine that same scenario. [laughter] really? no collusion. next question. so i want to talk about collusion on how we portrayed in the book because with the defense republican conservative champions of the trump presidency no evidence we ever colluded with the russians so with that there is no evidence that trump sat down with military hackers to explain how to hack into the dnc with what documents to release but we portray a
series of events in the book that point there was a type of with the trump tower meeting in 2016 to send the message to the russian emissary to meet with her. that also goes to paul manafort and running the trump campaign the troika of the top they all get the e-mail not much came out of that meeting that the emissary is coming of cra secret scheme the kremlin had to help trump. so what did they say in
response to that secret plan? in his own words, i love it. so forget about what came about of the meeting that the trump campaign signaled to the russians whatever you want to do. we will not tell the public if they intervened in the election. so let's see if we can work together. so five days later when the dnc hack became public.
that this was a dnc hoax they are making it up because they have such a lousy candidate see you can argue the three people in the entire known universe that they were up to something as paul manafort trump junior and kirchner and maybe even donald trump and this pattern continues with a 22000 dnc e-mail that were released by wikileaks. and then they tried to intervene in the election donald trump junior and paul manafort go on in response to say clinton people are making it up out dare they bring the campaignup into the gutter to
accuse them of interference and paul manafort goes on to say he has no connection at all. you don't pay that money to the russian oligarch and then thisis continues then donald trump says if you are listening those clinton ree-mails whatever you can do. so look at this from the kremlin perspective. that what might've been happening inside the kremlin. are we being too reckless. and the trump campaign is on your side. and then you have the trump campaign to say they are doing
for the rest of the campaign to say i love it but then blames it on the 400-pound guy. so think about it the russians now but then looking at trump and trump goes on and on this gives them permission. and that republicans don't want to disagree with donald trump and come out strong to say and that we have to join together in a nonpartisan manner to respond.
and we can talk about this later but i believe that arrays this was this close 770000 votes deciding it across three states that anything you can point to having been reversed might have decided the election in another way. michigan and wisconsin but also without the podesta e-mails the race may have ended up differently as well. and then to get away from those detentions and then to it is a matter of dispute
and there you have for months russians attacking the united states and then publicly say and to advance russian collusion so if you have a situation and the bank is being robbed you can see guys with the mask but and that nothing is going on. and notot with that caper to be successful in that doesn't mean the term collusion think
he argues he colluded in the cover-up but to use the term aiding and abetting b which is a pretty serious matter with the russiann attack on the united states and i don't think that's of the political discourse and trump has been successful to define collusion to make this fundamental fact aiding and abetting that is debatable rather than accepted widelybl and just to punctuate that last point what trump was aiding and abetting that mueller brought an indictment of identifiable people to violate federal law who stole
government official about what vladimir putin was up to about a plan russian intelligence had to destabilize western democracies including the united states, cyber attacks, disinformation, propaganda. all of that being communicated, the source telling the us government you don't understand what is going on, there is something very big, very major being planned. all of this was being communicated to washington,
senior government officials who frankly really weren't paying a sufficient attention. it was viewed through the lens of the ukraine issue. vladimir putin, in crimea . >> he had annexed crimea into the ukraine and that was the crisis people working on rush-hour policy were dealing with and not thinking in the larger terms of what they were told the russians were up to and then even more striking is what the russians were planning was hiding in plain sight the internet research agency that troll farm in st. petersburg the army of trolls setting up fake accounts to manipulate public opinion around the world.
from inside that troll farm to go to a russian reporter to say you will not believe what is going on inside the internet research agency would i have been asked to work on. what caused her to come forward in with an opponent of vladimir putin who was gunned down under mysterious circumstancesus and miraculously although security cameras were turned off and then the
whistleblower is asked to blame it on the ukrainian nationalist and she says i cannot do that and goes to the russian press. and then there is a cover story about this outfit the troll farm and how it's not just manipulating public opinion in ukraine and elsewhere but targeting the united states. with this unbelievable gripping account with the chemical explosion in the louisiana with fake cnn
webpages with that chemical explosion how they are trying to stir the pot and what is amazing nobody in washington because this agency is the very same people bye which the russians were seeking to manipulatete the 2016 election setting up hundreds of fake facebook accounts and fake twitter accounts putting out messages aimed at discord to get people angry and whipping people up on both sides of the political spectrum for the
sole purpose to sow discord within our country. then you get to the critical summer of 2016 with the obama white house how to respond with the russians were doing they knew about the cyberattacks obviously and how they distributed the stolen e-mails to wikileaks. and throughout the united states and to manipulate those voteed totals are simply on the
social security number or the voter id number when you get to the polls it doesn't match with the printout that they have at the voting station and then they try to figure out what toat do. when the policymakers decide what to do despite multiple warnings. and that facebook and twitter were clueless about what the russians were doing even all those facebook accounts that i mentioned were paid for in rubles [-left-square-bracket
you would've thought that mightha have been a clue that something wascl up? broadly social media giants happy to take anybody's business :-colon one - - connecting people around the world to communicate even with russian trolls. just like with titles like lock her up in the strong part of the book where the obama administration responded to the attack in which is chapter 14 if you have not read the book yet has played out they knew about the obvious things
and were clueless about the social media attack but the question came august and september what to do about it. there was concern if they publicize the attack to give it more credence or significance that could help the russians because one of the goals was to have disorder and chaos then voters might think the election could be undermined and then you have donald trump beginning to say the election might be rigged but trump who is a fan of chaos like joker in the batman movie likes chaos. that works to his advantage there was a strong component
with the counterattacks that they had derived about their finances and they had billions of dollars attributed to putin's family that are not explained to shut down the research agency with these aggressive measures. so that high council of the obama white house had much debate whether we got into a cyberwar with russia right before the election. and then to be more vulnerable
and iff we are trying to set rules for cyberconduct around the world you have to show putin he cannot get away with us one - - with this there is the issue whether to talkmo publicly that there is a chilling moment in the book that where james clapper the tractor of national intelligence says well leave hunchback with cyberthey may shut down the electrical grid. it has since been reported there have been russian probes and penetration from the utilities so think how that must me as a president or as the advisor your hands are tied as the top national
security intelligence that would lead to shutting down the american power system , what are you going to do? so that just shows how vulnerable we are as a nation, nation, thank you very much florida. [laughter]ic how hard is it to design a ballot? [laughter] but anyway it shows we are vulnerable but they are also other bad actors in the world, china, north korea attacked sony when they put out a movie they did not like
terrorist groups, so we have a system that is highly vulnerable and if anyone has really heard donald trump make this a priority whether to protect elections, now there are good people throughout the government who work on this night and dayto but having covered washington for decades and we could both tell you but if you don't get the orders from the top it's harder to get things done so it brings me back to the scene that mike described where the guy that attacked the united states showed how vulnerable we were could maybe shut down the electrical system appears on the stage with donald trump and what does he do? he gives them the thumbs up o we laugh about it we joke about it we scratch our head but at the end of the day i cannot
think of a better word than deplorable for that. seriously. it's not a joke and i can only imagine what putin says about vlthis when he is back he attacks us and gets a thumbs up? the book really is a full and comprehensive account of the various aspects of this scandal and as stories come out on a daily basis we can see how they fit into the narrative we put in the book and we have been really grateful that so many people have engaged with it in a deep manner and have come up to us to say now we see the big picture because in this information ecosystem that we all live in and as oppressive as it can be come on - , sometimesbe the biggest story is the big picture and there
tare people out there who have an interest in preventing us from seeing it. thank you for supporting a book that tried to show one aspect of that. . >> if you have questions we have a microphone and we will be happy to entertain them as best we can. >> are the russians happy with the results? so what is the future crack. >> we really have two us governments at this point those in theng agencies treasury department and state department and elsewhere who are dedicated public servants and understand the rules of law and what happened and also congress that weighed in quite decisively when nobody else was that the russians needed to pay a price for what they
did and as a result sanctions were imposed on russia and some of those that were sanctioned since the election are key players in the book. the oligarch coupon in a fort owed all of those millions of dollars to during thehe campaign has been sanctioned with some remarkable details about his dees to russian organized crime and also one of my favorite characters the deputy governor of the russian central bank was the handler for a woman you may have heard of who is now in jail and reportedly cooperating with prosecutors about her own attempts to infiltrate the nra
and other conservative political organizations. you have that going on then you have a president who was out there on his own to deny any of this is necessary giving signals to the top guy in russia don't worry about it. i got your back but it's like we have a schizophrenic american government a functioning american government and a president who was off in his own world. and how that will play out in the future is anybody's guess at this point. >> good morning first your commentary is illuminating thank you for being here today. first, amongst the multitude of indictments and issues that the probe has eliminated is
difficult to connect the dots so can you eliminate for us exactly which convictions or indictments that have been issued directly relate to or imply a connection between trump's campaign and the russians with that specific item did you have a second question. >> the second question is how do you alter your punditry to get your point across. [laughter] . >> i will take the first one. >> i love working with chris he is enthusiastic and knows a lot of history and it's a pleasure to be on the show. [laughter] there has been no major
collusion indictment per se byer robert mueller so far but there are a lot of intriguing events like that military g are you indictment over the summer in which mueller lays out how the e-mails were hacked by the russians and given to wikileaks and in there you'll see a reference to an unidentified us political figure in the words of the indictment was in regular communication with the highest levels of the trumpco campaign and in communication with the online persona created by the russian military intelligence for those hacked e-mails to get into wikileaks and various political campaigns in the united states so that figure
that was in regular communication is rogerai stone clearly within the sites of robert mueller and he has spent a lot of time investigating him and everybodyro in his orbit so if there is a shoe yet to drop that is certainly one we should be looking for but you could also go back into the manafort proceedings were in it is clear that his top aide during much of that. it was a guy named constantine identified in the court papers as a russian military intelligence asset going back and forth between the time of moscow and kiev and communications between manafort the putin oligarch to
whom he owed millions of dollars and according to e-mails laid out manafort was trying to go during the campaign offering briefings what is going on inside the trump campaign as a way to pacify him so he doesn't keep houndingng him for the money he owes him. so there are a lot of clues out there in the court s oceedings that point to these connections but we have to wait for the final word and see at the end of the day what exactly robert mueller comes up with also congressional democrats are interested in the trump tower meeting whether therere is any involvement of donald trump himself with those communications after the meeting with participants or
russian intermediaries that's another point we don't have the full picture on that house democrats particularly tried toin dig into and were blocked by republicans but now can revisit if they care to. >> another question. >> no, no, no. one question we only have five minutes. >> what you think whitaker is trying to do since we have no idea what will happen in the weeks?x . >> it is clear that trump fired sessions for one reason he had recused himself in the russian investigation every other way sessions was implementing the trump agenda and doing exactly what trump wanted him to do except in this one area he could not
have his back in the mueller investigations lenny put somebody in like whitaker that nobody had ever heard of his only credentials to be the attorney general of the unitedd states he was previously on cable tv defending trump with the russian investigation whether whitaker will actually be able to shut down the mueller investigation or constricte constricted, there is that political check of the house even republicans in the senate who would balk at something like that but at a minimum rosenstein is now cut out the only guy mueller reports to is whitaker and we - - and he will have access to everything mueller is doing in the investigation of the president of the united statesy. >> also this interesting question whether that appointment is legal george
conway who appeared on my podcast this week a fascinating interview. >> i hear it's fascinating. >> and very funny but he is one of a number of republican and conservative legal experts that you cannot put a person into the head of the justice department if he could challenge the importance so to be that constitutional crisis that's also a constitutional mess and in some ways this is such a blatant and brazen move
it might almost backfire on trump so to see just how far whitaker will go to implement trump's desire but a whole other issue that i will lay briefly that doesn't and the investigation he was hired to run it. managers of baseball teams get fired all the time - - all the time so you don't have to shut it down you just have to order the fbi director to shut it down and that leads to a whole other constitutional crisis. >> i am amazed you are still
staying as russian conspiracy theory after two years of noo evidence. let him talk. . >> but just get to the question after two years of no evidence of collusion you said if you don't have collusion it is just innuendo that i hear and guilt by associationit and this meeting with don junior that we now know was had by the obama fbi. >> get to your question. . >> this guy had three. i cannot hear myself ask it. let me ask my question. . >> let him ask the questions we can move y on. one of you said once you are proven wrong again without