tv Democracy Now PBS July 20, 2017 12:00pm-1:01pm PDT
07/20/17 07/20/17 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from pacifica, this is democracy now! pres. trump: every time voter fraud occurs, it counts as out the vote of a lawful citizen and undermines democracy. can't let that happen. any form of illegal or fraudulent voting, whether by noncitizens or the deceased, any form of voter suppression or intimidation, must be stopped. amy: as the presidential advisory commission on election integrity holds its first meeting, why do so many rights advocates fear the commission will lay the groundwork for a nationwide voter suppression effort.
we will get the latest. trump openly warns special counsel robert mueller about investigating his family's finances. >> looking at your finances and your family's finances. >> a breach -- >> i would say yes. amy: we will look at a new expose in the new republic titled "married to the mob: what trump owes the russia mafia." plus, we will look at the republican budget, which aims to rewrite the tax code to favor the wealthy and slash from medicare and medicaid. all of that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. republican majority leader mitch mcconnell said wednesday the is senate will vote next week on whether to repeal the affordable care act without a replacement, even though the bill currently lacks enough republican support to pass. mcconnell's announcement came after president trump invited all 52 republican senators to the white house for lunchtime
talks aimed at reviving stalled efforts on healthcare. >> there is large majority in our conference that want to demonstrate to the american people that they intend to keep the commitment they made an four straight elections to repeal obamacare. i think we all agree it is better to both repeal and replace, but we could have a vote on either. amy: mcconnell's announcement came as the congressional budget office warned 32 million americans would become uninsured over the next decade if obamacare is repealed without an alternative in place. 17 million people would become uninsured next year alone. the analysis also found the cost of a medical insurance policy would increase 25% next year and double by 2026. meanwhile, police arrested 155 is demonstrators across capitol hill on wednesday as hundreds held sit-in protests targeting the offices of all 52 republican senators. inside florida senator marco
rubio's office, protesters chanted, "kill the bill! don't kill us!" as they sat down and refused to leave before capitol police handcuffed them and dragged them away. donald trump convened the presidential advisory commission on election integrity wednesday, in the face of weeks of controversy, seven lawsuits, and new calls for the resignation of its vice-chairman, kansas secretary of state kris kobach. trump said the commission will look into his allegations of voter fraud during the 2016 presidential election. trump has claimed, without any evidence, that between 3 million and 5 million non-citizens voted unlawfully. the commission has been criticized by democrats and civil rights groups as a vehicle to suppress voting rights. dozens of state lawmakers and civil rights groups denounced the group after it asked all 50 states to hand over detailed personal information about u.s. voters. at least 45 states and the district of columbia have fully or partially refused the
request. thousands of voters reportedly removed themselves from state voting rolls, fearing their personal information would be shared with the trump administration. we'll have more on president trump's election commission later in the broadcast. president trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, jared kushner, has confirmed he will speak with the senate intelligence committee monday in a closed-door session, as the committee investigates whether russia worked with trump associates to sway the november election. later next week on wednesday, president trump's oldest son, donald trump, jr., and former campaign manager, paul manafort, are scheduled to appear before the committee in open session. president trump said wednesday he never would have nominated jeff sessions to be attorney general if he had known sessions was going to recuse himself from a justice department investigation into alleged ties between russia and trump's associates. the president made the remarks during a wide-ranging interview in the oval office with the "new york times." pres. trump: jeff sessions takes
the job, gets into the job, -- which,mself frankly, i think is very unfair to the president. how do you take a job and recuse yourself? if you would have done before the job i would've said, thanks, jeff, but i'm not going to take you. it is extremely unfair. that is a mild word. amy: president trump also left open the possibility that he could order the justice department to fire special counsel robert mueller, who's been assigned to investigate russia's role in the 2016 election. this is trump being questioned again by "new york times" reporters. >> looking at your finances and your family's finances and related to russia. is that a redline? >> would that be a breach -- >> i would say yes. amy: president trump also characterized a second, previously undisclosed meeting with russian president vladimir putin in germany earlier this
month as a discussion about pleasantries that lasted just 15 minutes. that contradicts reports that the two spoke for roughly an hour. long-time arizona senator and former republican presidential candidate john mccain has been diagnosed with a malignant form of brain cancer. senator mccain's office said wednesday the diagnosis came after mccain had surgery last week to remove a blood clot above his left eye. mccain is reportedly weighing whether to undergo an aggressive treatment of radiation and chemotherapy and has not said when he might return to capitol hill. mccain's cancer the same form that claimed the lives of senator ted kennedy and vice president joe biden's son beau biden. john mccain step archer last week left republicans with a narrow 51-vote majority in the senate as president trump pushes for votes on healthcare and tax cuts. the supreme court wednesday
upheld harsh restrictions against refugees entering the united states while it considers the fate of president trump's travel ban. the move will prevent, at least for now, an estimated 24,000 refugees from resettling in the u.s. the high court did uphold a lower court order that will grant exemptions to trump's ban on travelers from six majority-muslim nations to include those with grandparents, aunts, uncles, and other relatives living in the u.s. in syria, the trump administration has ended a cia program to arm and train syrian rebels fighting the government of bashar al-assad. the program was a central part of president obama's syria strategy. it came under fire when cia-backed rebels were routed by syrian forces, and as u.s. weapons often wound up in the hands of isis and al qaida-affiliated groups. meanwhile, the journalistic monitoring organization airwars reports between seven and 12 civilians died in an alleged coalition airstrike on raqqa on monday. airwars reports another attack, in deir ezzor, struck a school and killed three civilians.
in cameroon, amnesty international says elite government soldiers fighting boko haram militants have for years tortured prisoners at secret bases, including one used by american and french soldiers as by american and french soldiers near the cameroon-nigeria border. amnesty regional director steven coburn cited more than 100 cases in which former detainees described being held in agonizing stress positions, tied up and left for days in the open, beaten, drowned, electrocuted, and had their fingernails pulled out. coburn says much of the torture played out at a base in salak, cameroon, where u.s. and french troops are frequently stationed. >> directly involved in torture, but serious questions about what was known. did they know there was torture taking place? did they know people were being illegally detained? if so, what do they do about it? did they reported or take measures to prevent it? these are big questions.
war crimes are taking place under the nose of international personnel on the base, and estates to be investigated. amy: among those reportedly tortured were women and children. amnesty said dozens died from the abuse. as a presidential candidate, donald trump frequently voiced support for torture, promising to bring back waterboarding and "a hell of a lot worse." in shenyang, china, foreign correspondents say they've been harassed and intimidated by chinese authorities after they reported on the recent death of nobel peace laureate liu xiaobo. liu died last week from liver cancer that went largely untreated while he served an 11-year prison term for so-called subversion for calling for freedom of assembly, expression, and religion in china. in a statement, the foreign correspondents club of china said members who covered liu's death were "escorted everywhere by plainclothes men who shamelessly followed them into restaurants and even bathrooms." meanwhile, chinese government officials have cracked down on the encrypted phone messaging service whatsapp. attempts to use video, photo and voice functions on whatsapp failed across much of china wednesday.
the chinese government bans thousands of websites and operates the world's most extensive system of online censorship, in what critics call great firewall of china. back in the u.s., in baltimore, maryland, one police officer has been suspended and two others placed on desk duty after newly surfaced body camera video appeared to show one of the officers planting drugs during an arrest last january. in the video, the officer -- identified by public defenders as richard pinheiro -- is seen stashing a soup container in a lot strewn with garbage as two of his colleagues look on. the officer then returns to the site and removes a plastic bag full of white capsules from the container. the officer was apparently unaware of a feature of his camera that stored 30 seconds of extra footage ahead of the moment he activated the device. after the video's release, prosecutors dropped heroin possession charges against a man who'd been held in jail since january.
in minneapolis, minnesota, newly released transcripts reveal 40-year-old resident justine ruszczyk called 911 twice to report a possible sexual assault outside her home last saturday before she was shot dead by an officer responding to the emergency calls. according to the minnesota department of public safety, officer mohamed noor was startled by a loud sound shortly before ryszczyk approached his police cruiser. she was in her pajamas. noor, who was seated in the passenger seat, shot ryszczyk through the open driver's-side window of the vehicle. noor has apologized to the family of justine ryszczyk, who often went by her fiance's last name, damand. noor has declined to speak with investigators and has hired an attorney. minneapolis mayor betsy hodges says that's left many questions in the killing unanswered. >> whited out the survey noor draw and fire his gun? what happened from the time the
officers arrived on the scene to when she was pronounced dead. why don't we have footage from body cameras? why were they not activated? we all want answers to those questions. amy: noor is the first somali-american officer in his precinct. the killing came just weeks after twin cities police officer jeronimo yanez was acquitted on manslaughter charges for shooting african-american motorist philando castile in 2016. and betty dukes, former walmart greeter who love the largest gender bias class-action lawsuit in u.s. history, has died at the age of 67. dukes was the lead plaintiff in dukes versus walmart, case involving 1.6 million female employees of walmart who said they were paid less and promoted less often than their male counterparts. the lawsuit just just by the supreme court in 2011 and a five to four ruling. this is betty dukes. >> i brought this case because i believe there was a pattern of
discrimination at walmart, not just in my store, but i believe across the country. we have found other lawsuit since 2001. i have heard from numerous women telling me the same story as mine, disparaging treatment and lack of promotion as well as lack of pay. amy: and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. nermeen: and i'm nermeen shaikh. welcome to all of our listeners and viewers from around the country and around the world. the republican-controlled house budget committee approved the 2018 budget resolution wednesday . it would slash welfare spending, gut financial regulations, rewrite the tax code to favor the wealthy. the budget would also slash funding for medicaid and medicare over the next decade. in addition, the republican budget would add another $30 billion to trump's record-setting $668 billion request for pentagon spending. the resolution passed along
party lines. the budget faces opposition from both moderate and conservative republicans. this is budget committee chair diane black. >> our budget this year is set to increase the spending for our military, because we know the military has been decimated over the last eight years. with all of the additional threat at we have around the world, we need to make sure our military is ready and that we're making sure our men and women that are serving have what they need to serve. we are looking at this being a vehicle for tax reform, which is one of the things that all americans are looking forward to. fair, simpler tax code. amy: meanwhile, the congressional budget office has warned 32 million americans would become uninsured over the next decade if obamacare is repealed without an alternative in place. 17 million would become uninsured next year alone. the analysis also found the cost of a medical insurance policy would increase 25% next year and
double by 2026. the republican-controlled senate has twice failed to pass a healthcare bill. to talk about the budget, healthcare, and more, we're joined now by david cay johnston, pulitzer prize-winning investigative reporter previously with the "new york times," now founder and editor of dcreport.org. his most recent piece is headlined, "is this trump's vision for america? in his budget, you can see a country that looks like a police state." johnston's biography of donald trump is titled "the making of donald trump." ,elcome back to democracy now! david cay johnston. let's begin with health care. so much has changed in just a day. from it looking like the senate was just not going to deal with this, the republican bill collapsed, president trump bringing them to a white house lunch -- the senators -- and amending that they pass, at least repeal, before they recess, but hopefully, a
replacement as well. can you talk about the latest of elements, not to mention the latest news john mccain, so essential to these votes, the republican senator from arizona being diagnosed with malignant cancer? >> john mccain has been a real conscience in the senate and a powerful force against corrupting influences, despite early in his career his own difficulties with not being careful about his relationship to donors. you learn his lesson and got better. what you're seeing the republicans do on health care is make it worse. there is not a single proposal in any of the various lands the republicans have put up, the once donald trump called beautiful and terrific, that would give more people health care were better health care or lower the costs. that is because the republicans really don't have a plan. obamacare, at its heart, is a republican idea. make everyone buy insurance so there are no free riders and
everyone shares in the cost, and subsidize those people who have incomes too small to afford insurance. now, to put this in perspective, amy, if we had in america, the french or german universal health care systems where everyone is covered, it would save an amount of money equal to all of the income taxes paid by everyone who makes less than $500,000 in year in america. about 550 thousand dollars. that is over 99% of the american public. system that routinely kills people through lack of care. the republicans' goal is to fulfill their promise to their supporters that they were going to stop the provision of publicly subsidized or financed health care for poor people and there were going to address what they clearly identified as the major economic problem in america -- the rich don't have nearly enough, they need to get
more to the rich, and the way to do that is you take it from the sick, the disabled, the elderly, and children. amy: interestingly, david cay johnson -- i want to bring up what president trump said yesterday during the lunch with senate republicans. pres. trump: we have no democrat -- they are obstructionists. that is all they're good at, obstruction. they have no ideas. they have gone so far left, they're looking for single payer. that is what they want. single-payer will bankrupt our country because it is more than we take in just health care. single-payer is never going to work. but that is what they would like to do. they have no idea what the consequence will be. and it will be horrible, horrible health care were you wait on line for weeks to even see a doctor. amy: this is interesting that trump referred to single-payer in this way because in fact, he have was dusk hasn't always referred to it this way. you have spoken him over the decades.
can you talk about the position he is taking out as opposed to what he has told you? >> in the past, donald said to me when i asked about health care, it should be just like roads. when you need them, you use them. for a long time, he was a proponent of single-payer. and the ideas he is putting ford about single pair are absurd. people in france the doctors more quickly than in the u.s., have better health status, and longevity is increasing and other modern countries of the country that have -- in the world that have single-payer. in portugal, whose median income is half of americans, can afford universal health care with promptly -- access to doctors, how can america not afford it? this is absurd. remember, donald trump the guy that made all of these grandiose promises -- he is an advertising
and entertainment sort of person. when he got in office, made the astonishing statement, who knew health care was so complicated? trump does not know anything. he is appallingly ignorant on all sorts of issues, and health care is one of the leading issues. has he proposed anything? trump said, i'm sitting here with my pen in hand. that is the political definition of passive aggressive behavior. nermeen: before we move on to the budget, i want to go to something you wrote about in your book, namely, during the dispute over their father's will around the year 2000, trump cut off benefits from the family health plan that were paying for the medical care of his nephew's extremely ill son. could you talk about that incident? >> yes. werefred trump died, there five children in the family. when the will was read, the heirs of fred trump, jr., who it
already died, found out they had been cut out of the will. surprise, surprise, they went to court and complain. the trump organization, which like many family businesses, provides health care to everybody in the family, had been paying all of the bills of young william. as soon as he was born, he developed enormous medical problems that have continued throughout his life. donald trump immediately cut off health care. when he was asked about this i "the new york daily news," he made no apology. he said, "what else could i do? i don't like people who see my father's estate." who is so lacking in compassion or concern for anyone else, even his own blood, that he would put the life of a sickly infant in jeopardy in order to have more money. greed is a sin. greed onump is steroids. amy: i want to turn quickly to white house budget director mick mulvaney speaking wednesday during the hearings.
this is overall talking about the budget, defending the proposed cuts to safety net programs like medicaid and food stamps. >> we no longer want to measure compassion by the number of programs that we have or the number of people that are on those programs. we want to measure compassion -- true compassion, by the number of people we help to get off of those programs. amy: that is mick mulvaney. never trump said he would cut medicare, medicaid, social security. david cay johnston quickly, can you summarize the house budget that was passed yesterday? >> oh, yes. orgs is what dcreport. reported yesterday. it increases immigration, military, refers to those as appropriate uses of precious tax air resources. not designedget is to get people into position where they don't need government help at all, but it is clearly going in the direction of turning america into a police
state. that she get a lot of concerns, especially the memo we reported is not made a single major news organization, amy. amy: overall, if you can speak about what this budget means. isoh, what this budget means less for those people who are needy, for people who are poorlyd, who are educated and don't have good jobs, who lost their jobs because of trade -- one of donald big issues -- and instead, lashes more benefits and continues spending that benefits the wealthiest among us. this goes to the republican theme that i describe as the biggest economic problem we have according to the republicans, the rich don't have enough. this is more republican redistribution to the rich to don't need it and away from those who have demonstrable need. nermeen: let's go to another issue, namely last night, it was
a root -- revealed deutsche bank now is being drawn into the investigation about trump's possible links to russia. good you talk about the significance of that and what role deutsche bank has played? >> this is very important. it is the reason that donald trump told "the new york times" yesterday that robert mueller had better not investigate his family finances. deutsche bank has been one of the favored banks for the russian oligarchs to launder money. the russian oligarchs essentially are a network of international criminals. they have been fined over 600 begin dollars for laundering lives -- russian money in germany, cyprus, and in new york. donald trump has hundreds of millions of dollars he owes to deutsche bank. the only big bank that will loan to him directly. back when i was exposing dubious and illegal tax shelters and
"the new york times" deutsche bank was one of the biggest promoters of tax evasion products in america. it is not a crime in germany to help people cheat on their taxes in america, but it is a crime here. donald trump has relied heavily by his own sons account on russian money, digging into deutsche bank's records and donald trump's past business deals are going to show deep ties to the russians, some of which are quite current. there is current litigation going on over an alleged tax fraud involving the trump soho hotel. donald owned 18% of the profits to that project. the profits disappeared. it turned out to be under the thumb of one of the russian oligarchs. this is troublesome for donald and the reason he has taking the extraordinary position of trying to tell his prosecutor what he can and cannot do. you don't get too big or prosecutor and you suddenly don't did you tell your
prosecutor what he can and cannot investigate. , beforeid cay johnston we let you go, today is the six , the six months of each rob administration. you are his unofficial or i should say unauthorized biographer. what has surprised you most? you have covered donald trump for decades. >> actually, very little. he has behaved as i predicted and said publicly before the election. he is unfit to hold a job on the city council. as the pressures of this job have come upon him, you have seen him behave in increasingly erratic ways. they are going to get worse. you will notice he trashes people one day, praises than the next, then trashes them again. ownas now denigrated his attorney general because his own attorney general did not act to protect him from his own wrongdoing. what we are going forward is more of donald blaming everyone else. let's remember, we were told six
months in, there would be so much winning, americans would be saying "we just can't stand it. please, stop." what have we won so far? amy: dedicate johnson, thank you for being with us, pulitzer prize-winning investigative reporter previously with the "new york times," now founder and editor of dcreport.org. his most recent piece is headlined, "is this trump's vision for america? in his budget, you can see a country that looks like a police state." his biography of donald trump, "the making of donald trump." when we come back, the voting commission has its first meeting yesterday. donald trump addresses them. we will get the latest. then we will look at russia and the donald trump money trail. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
new presidential election commission was held wednesday in the face of weeks of controversy, seven lawsuits, and new calls for the resignation of its vice-chairman, kansas secretary of state kris kobach. president trump convened the presidential advisory commission on election integrity to look into his allegations of voter fraud during the 2016 presidential election. pres. trump: voter fraud occurs, it cancels out the vote of a lawful citizen and undermines democracy. can't let that happen. any form of illegal or fraudulent voting, whether by , andtizens or the deceased any form of voter suppression or intimidation, must be stopped. than 30ased that more states have already agreed to share the information with the commission, and the other states , that information will be forthcoming. if any state does not want to
share this information, one has to wonder what they're worried about. and i ask the vice president and the commission, what are they worried about? there is something. there always is. nermeen: dozens of state lawmakers and civil rights groups denounced the commission after it asked all 50 states to hand over detailed personal information about u.s. voters, including recent voting history and the last four digits of their social security number. at least 45 states and the district of columbia have refused to comply with parts of kobach's request. thousands of voters have already reportedly removed themselves from state voting rolls fearing their personal information would be shared with the trump administration. the request for voter data was made by kris kobach, the kansas secretary of state, and vice chair of the commission. kobach's critics say he has a long record of employing voter suppression tactics. as kansas secretary of state and
-- on tuesday, four leading house democrats wrote to vice-president mike pence requesting that kobach resign his post, citing his record and the commission's request for voter data, which they say violates federal privacy laws. well, for more, we're joined by katherine culliton-gonzalez, a civil rights lawyer and senior counsel at demos. her recent blog post for the website, also published on la opinion, is titled, "immigration data that trump's "election integrity" commission may use is a pre to suppress latino voting -- pretext to suppress latino voting rights." talk about the significance of this commission and all of these latest developments, at least 45 states refusing to comply in with kris full with kris kobach's information and then a lawsuit we hear the trump administration said when asked where they would store these records,of millions of they said, on vice president pence's computer. he is the chair of the commission. seva gunitsky >> we have to wonder what it is
they are freda. this commission, in my mind, has been set up as a pretext for voter suppression. in particular, kris kobach, for decades now, has fought to suppress voting rights aced on on false and untrustworthy data. he has been fined by federal judge for providing false and misleading statements. he is among some state leaders who have made while allegations of noncitizens voting, all of which have turned out to be completely false. i was involved in litigation in florida in 2012, for example, in which rick scott alleged there were hundreds of thousands of noncitizens voting. in the end, only one person was found to have voted who is not a citizen. that person was canadian. at the methods that were used were directed against the latino community and the african-american community and the asian pacific islander community. looking at the data behind this commission and also looking at the after his of the commission, i was a -- actors of the
commission, consider the source and the data and see it as a pretext for ongoing voter suppression as a way to sort of freeze the voting rolls in place so we don't have more diverse city moving forward. to purge off people who have moved recently, who cannot afford to pay $555 for a copy of their naturalization security naturalization certificate. nermeen: can you talk about some of the immigration groups that someh has worked with, classified as hate groups by the southern poverty law center. >> that's correct. he was legal advisor to a group called fair m&a to immigrant group that received funding from the pioneer fund. the pioneer fund is a fund that by naly -- it is founded zi sympathizers. the goal of the pioneer fund is to have a connection between
race and intelligence. many otherwise a premisess -- many other white supremacists. an author of anti-immigrant laws in arizona and other states that were struck down by the supreme court as unconstitutional. for years, he has been trying to stop immigration, not let latinos have equal access to citizenship. as i said, his methods in voting rights also have a disparate impact on other communities of color. he has been targeting latino immigration and latino communities directly for, i would say, at least since 2003. amy: talk about your report "immigration data that trump's "election integrity" commission may use is a pretext to suppress latino voting rights." specifically, what you found. asked what i found is having litigated against these of different types of data and also looking very closely of the allegations that mr. kobach and
others and the commission have made, the so-called best data they could possibly use is the same database, federal immigration database. the problem is, unlike authoritarian regimes, we don't have a list of united states citizens, nor united states citizenship documents that every person has to carry around with them. we don't have anyone form of proof of united states citizenship. that is one problem. the second problem is this database is not proof of non-citizenship. it has so many errors that it tends to identify folks who are united states citizens for purging on the voting rolls. in particular hits naturalized citizens. they are people who came here as immigrants and then became u.s. citizens through the naturalization process. so their data about their prior immigration status may be what the federal government naturalized in and reg immigration data and you can carry to voting rolls, you are
going to find a lot of errors. it is untrustworthy to the point of being contextual. allegationsher wild from this group of commissioners that have come out of other data that it is even worse. the best data has proven to be something that even a state of florida no longer uses because of litigation against its use for the purposes of voter list maintenance. the real fraud is that voters are going to be purged, that communities of color are going to be targeted, that people have very high barriers to get to register to vote in the first place in our country. nermeen: several top democrats have called for kris kobach to step down from the commission. could you talk about who those democrats are and what you make of those efforts? >> it is from the democratic party. four leading democrats have called for his resignation. i agree with her call for resignation, but for nonpartisan
reasons. the reason is, mr. cobalt, as i ach has used false and misleading data to justify voter suppression. he is been closely associated with white supremacy groups. he has been fined by federal judge. the call for his resignation i think is very timely. we need to consider the source of the allegations coming out and the source of the one person that i have heard, aside from some fringe groups, the one person who has made it into mainstream media saying that donald trump's allegation that 3 million people voted illegally could possibly be true, that is false. they're calling for his resignation because of his background and because of his -- he is untrustworthy. he is also running for governor in kansas. there's a conflict of interest in trying to manipulate the voting rolls.
we will see the report in 2018. while he is running for governor. amy: finally, this issue, for example, hundreds of people in colorado taking their names off the voter rolls, deeply concerned that their information could be hacked or simply bear giving it to the trump administration if the states all comply with kobach's demand. urge voters to not let them intimidate you. do not with trawl. -- do not withdraw. to protect our voting rights. people can ask voting rights lawyers demos at or other groups for assistance. i could understand why someone is afraid of having their data being misused him a but i would talk your secretary of state and talked your local election officials and tell them, don't trumpse it to the administration in the first place. katherine culliton-gonzalez, thank you for being with us.
we will link to your recent piece on immigration data that you say trump's election integrity commission may use a pretext to suppress latino voting rights." when we come back, we look at the money trail from donald andp to russian oligarchs as craig unger says, the mob? stay with us. ♪ [music break]
amy: "fox on the run" by sweet. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with nermeen shaikh. amy: president trump said he never would have nominated jeff sessions to be attorney general if yet known sessions was going to recuse himself from a justice department investigation into alleged ties between russia and
trump's associates. the president made the remarks during a wide range interview with the new york times. trump: takes the job, get into the job, it recuses himself . , i think is very unfair to the president. how do you take a job and then recuse yourself? if you would have recused himself before the job, i would've said, thanks, jeff, but i'm not going to take you. it is extremely unfair. that is a mild word. amy: president trump left over the possibility he could order the justice department to fire robert mueller, who is been assigned to investigate russia's role in the 2016 election. this is trump speaking in the oval office with "new york times" reporters. >> looking at your finances, your family's finances and related to russia. is that a redline? >> would that be a breach -- i would say --
pres. trump: by the way, it is possible that i saw a lot of condo units. from russia.money in fact, i put out a letter that i don't make -- from one of the highly respected law firms. they say i own buildings in russia. i don't. they said i made money from russia. it is not my thing. i don't do that. over the years, i've looked at maybe doing a deal in russia, but i never did one. held the missy universe pageant there. amy: to talk more about trump's ties to russia, we're joined by seva gunitsky, and associate professor of political science at university toronto, author of -- pieceently wrote a headlined "trump and the russian money trail."
lay out what you found. >> i think in the russia story ,putin israelite and sort of a perfect antagonist for this. if you want to get at the roots of the collusion, you have a look at where trump's wings with russia begin. they do not begin with putin and certainly not with the 2016 campaign. they begin with long-standing financial linkages that trump has going back to the 1990's, even earlier, to russian oligarchs who have been pouring money into his real estate and his casino business for quite some time. amy: layout exactly, and if you can talk about how perhaps this relates to who was in the room with donald trump, jr., donald and kushner,t son, his son-in-law, as well as paul manafort him his campaign manager at the time when they had this meeting that they will all have to be speaking before
the senate committee about next week. >> sure. small to say, this is not change from russia, despite what donald trump says. this has been hundreds of millions of dollars. donald trump son, donald junior, said, almost a decade ago, he said that russians make up a disproportionate number of our investors. we of money pouring in from russia. that is a direct quote. he is been a sort of perfect vehicle for russian investments. if you look at the people who were in the room and the now infamous meeting last june, it is clear there are many linkages to russian money. we have people active business thater, a russian oligarch trump has been doing business with for years. we have people like natalia veselnitskaya, a lawyer for a company that was accused of laundering hundreds of millions of dollars through new york city real estate. it is not surprised these names keep coming up. this is definitely something that has linked trump to russia
for a long, long time. nermeen: could you talk about the 2012 t and what role plays here? >> sure. it was the result of a russian lawyer who was investigating a company in russia that was linked to some illegal activities by russian oligarch. when he found that will was happening, he was put in jail and murdered in jail. in 2012, the obama administration, as a response, put an act together that presented -- prevented russians from doing business in the u.s.. the russian oligarchs despised that. they would like to see it canceled. the lawyer who met with don hjr, natalia veselnitskaya, had been lobbying against it for years. i looked through her social media postings and she rails against it for a long time. see a casepy to settled a few months ago.
here the timing becomes very odd. she was a lawyer, meets with donald trump in june summit we don't know exactly what she was asking for, but months after donald trump takes office, the case is settled. it was settleduddenly and in a strange way. the government was all set to prosecute. they have been ready to prosecute for years. sudden, they settled it for a fraction of the money they were looking for, no disclosure, no trial. waslia veselnitskaya ecstatic about this. on social media, she said, the state was settled on russian terms. that is a direct quote. if you're looking for any sort of quid pro quo between russian money and trump, this might be a smoking gun. here we have a case where questions now arise whether the department of justice under jeff sessions put pressure on the district attorney's office to
settle the case quickly. prepare are a was fired in march. several weeks later, the case was quickly settled. set coincidences. it is hard to say it is just coincidences, it is more of a .attern of deep ties amy: what about irakly kaveladze ? he is the eighth person identified as being a part of that meeting who was the soviet born u.s. citizen. i can hear anything. amy: can you hear me now? can you hear me now? sorry. we are talking to professor seva gunitsky, associate professor of political science at the university of toronto. we may be able to go back to him. but right now, we're going to turn -- can you hear me now? >> yes.
that was strange. amy: quickly, if you could talk about the eighth person in the room who has been identified, -- person who represented ike kaveladze, a soviet-born u.s. citizen, attended as a representative of the father-and-son russian developers. >> that's right. irakly kaveladze was assumed to be a translator. i've seen his english link which writing. he is not that good. he was not there as the capacity of a translator. it is more likely, he was a business partner -- is business partners with trump's friend and a russian oligarch. thes a middleman since 1990's. in 2000, he was implicated in the bank of new york scandal, which also had massive ties to russian money laundering. suggest,ose factors again, financial ties, whatever was discussed at the meeting,
financial ties were very much at the core of it. amy: we will go now to a new article called "married to the mob: what trump owes the russian mafia." investigative reporter craig unger looks at how the russian mafia has used the presidents properties, including trump to hided the trump, assets. he writes -- amy: craig unger joins us now in our studio.
welcome back to democracy now! talk about why you chose to look at this and talk about what you layout as donald's ties to russian mobsters. >> there's been a lot of terrific reporting about donald trump's relationship with russia recently, but i wanted to see when he was first compromised by russia. i went back to 1984 when a man named david who allegedly had ties to the most powerful crime gang and russia, walked into trump tower is a man who doesn't really have any means of making a living, that seems to be legitimate, and meets with donald trump and buys not one or two, but five luxury condominiums for more than $6 million. amy: in trump tower. >> in trump tower. the home of our now president of the united states. the state attorney general's 1980's ruled that's ruled
was money laundering for the russian mafia. i found at least 13 people -- episodes like that over coming years. what you have to conclude, one, trump tower, the president's, was really a center for operations for the russian mafia for long period of time. amy: that is a very series allegation. you also point out in your article trump was one of two who allowed anonymous owners? >> i think david cay johnston originally reported this. back in the day, this was, as you say, just one of two buildings in new york that would accept anonymous buyers buying from shell companies. that means effectively, it is being set up as a vehicle from a drink. when you look at trump properties over the years, there are at least 35 trump towers all over the world. there are about 10,000 units, eight or 10,000 units.
it would be interesting to figure out exactly what is the scale of money laundering. i think you could be much more than a few million dollars. since putin has been in power coming of $1.3 trillion in capital from russia. that is a lot of money to launder. estate -- ath real terrific way to launder vast one of these of money. nermeen: you right in the peace, without the russian mafia, it is fairness a donald trump would not be president of the united states. so what is the link? >> a couple of things. one, i don't know exactly -- obviously, i don't know what is going through his mind and whether he is knowledgeable about certain things. but this series of coincidences, buys five condos in what appears to be circumstances suspicious --
suspicious circumstances. it happens again and again. i don't know all of the answers to those questions. the russian mafia does. it is important to understand, i think when americans hear the term "mafia," they think of "the godfather." the russian mafia is not like that. if you're in relations with the russian mafia, there are the boss and your the apprentice. they can say "fired." they have compromised him. and they're also an arm of the russian government. russia is a mafia state. i think what is extraordinary, 's, he isutin .rganized the compromised the man who happens to be president of the united states now. amy: you talk about a trip that trump made to moscow in 1987 during the gorbachev years. why did he make that trip? >> this was his first trip to
russia. sort of wooing going on or he was hoping to build a trump tower in moscow. he -- for theme, first time, you see his presidential ambitions surface. immediately when it comes back. he goes up to new hampshire afterwards. he has been a lot of powerful people in russia. he goes up to new hampshire as if he is dipping his toes and the presidential waters with the presidential primary coming up in 1988. the bulls a full-page ad in "do times" and "washington post" that he puts the same foreign is becomece he president, attacking western europe, attacking nato, and attacking, frankly, putting forward a policy that appears to be an russia's interest more than ours. nermeen: you point out in the article, since trump has been
president, so in my last six months, about 70% of the sales and is holding have got to show companies where we don't know the identity. >> exactly. that is one question we have to wonder how much -- if this is a free-for-all or his laundering massive amount of russian money. it is the kind of thing that, frankly, as a reporter, that is where you see your limits. shellhard to penetrate companies and you need a subpoena. i'm hoping that is where robert mueller will go. >amy: in light of this new york times, where trump talked about going from, hi russia to his own finances. but you come in our previous guest, are linking the two. absolutely.
he is effectively saying he wants to obstruct justice. there's no other interpretation. -- there areabout other people you write about. for example, the one has probably been the most powerful mobster and russia for more than 30 years. according to the fbi files, he has his fingers in everything drugrunningution to to elaborate stock fraud scandals and so forth. he is renowned for his money laundering. he was so successful at it, he was known as the brainy don because he has a degree in economics and has come up with elaborate schemes that seem rather complicated, but they're very lucrative. he was trusted by other mobsters to launder their money as well. when you look at that $1.3 trillion figure and you think,
how can you launder this vast quantity of money yet still it would be great to have a real estate mogul who had thousands and thousands of luxury condos you could trade back and forth between shell companies. nermeen: you write in the article that no one has documented that trump was even aware of any says ashes entanglements -- trump was aware of any suspicious entanglements or the corrupt oligarchs closely allied with the kremlin. so what are the implications of that? there is still no direct link between trump and the kremlin as a consequence of him working -- are think those links starting to be made. we see that with the meeting with the ap poll, meeting with the people that happened last year, starting to come together. also, i would argue mogilevich himself, a direct relationship to putin. that has come out in various wikileaks releases.
amy: industry -- link to trump? to 1984, going back was tied to the crime gang tied toiveich is britain. amy: we will leave it there, but we will have a link to your article. and we want to thank seva gunitsky who wrote "trump and the russian money trail." we will link to his piece as well. that does it for today show. democracy now! is looking for feedback from people who appreciate the closed captioning. e-mail your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail them to democracy now! p.o. box 693 new york, new york 10013. [captioning made possible by democracy now!]
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