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tv   The 11th Hour With Brian Williams  MSNBC  May 26, 2017 11:00pm-12:01am PDT

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he died tonight at innova fairfax hospital in falls church, virginia. he was 89 years old. breaking news the washington post reporting jared kushner talked with russian ambassador about a secret pipe line dur the transition and now the senate committee wants all the document team trump has pertaining to russia. robert costa with that report he will join us as the 11th hour gets under way.
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good evening from headquarters in new york. breaking news heading into the memorial day weekend. another bomb shell story from the wraush post. let's quote from the paper. the post quotes u.s. officials briefed on this intelligence, this story means the man closest to the president allegedly wanted to talk outside of known u.s. channels and u.s. officials know this because they intercepted the russian ambassador reporting back home to moscow along with the surprise apparently that the kremlin had been invited in so close potentially to the trump
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white house. as the post reported quote -- casey cizkas rgey kislyak . the white house traveling over seas did not comment on this story as of yet. there was a second report in the washington post that says the senate intelligence committee is going after everything asking the trump organization to turnover quote -- all of this as we wrap up day 127 of the trump administration the president prepares to head home from his first trip over seas, kushner is already back in washington having left the over
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seas trip early and the headlines come hours after white house aides told nbc news the administration was setting up a war room to address all russian related issues to be run by one jared kushner. let's bring in our starting panel on this eventful event. national reporter for the washington post. robert who was part of the breaking story for post. and the secretary of defense during obama administration and former council of the house intelligence committee. and yahoo news with ugg s and w in studio rick former under sect
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for public diplomacy and public affairs. i want to start off with your reaction to the first of the two washington post reports tonight. >> ip want to caveat it by saying, if true. it gets curiouser and curiouser as alice said. i guess my first reactions are somewhere between extreme naivety and ignorance and something much more dangerous. if an intelligence officer had done what mr. kushner had done would be looking at espionage. it is stunning. the oranther thing anybody who been in the usg knows the that intelligence committee monitors all of the calls of the russian ambassador you can't have a
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quiet, innocent conversation with a russian ambassador, and with any russian in government. again that's just disturbing that was not known or realized. >> that also speaks to the second part of the story, that is that they monitors kislyak expressing surprise along the lines of can you believe our good fortune. i've befriended this young man who is married to the president's daughter and is a future senior advisor. >> yeah in all his years in washington he never thought getting information could be so easy apparently but it does fit the pattern what we heard earlier in the year about how jared had met with the bank ceo, a sanctioned bank ceo, obviously he forgot to disclose that, as well, conveniently. throughout this campaign we know that jared had been the top advisor to in president, following each of the debates, the first person jared would approach would be the president
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the first person the president would approach after a debate would be jared and jared was close to other russian billionaires as well one of his best friends, his wife in fact was jared and ivanka's guest at the inauguration. i'm not blaming every rich russian however you have to understand unlike businessmen in the u.s. every single oligarch in russia has one connection to vladimir putin so his orbit includes a lot of russians all of those russians having a connection of course to the president of the country. >> jeremy bash before i come to you i want to share with all of you a moment that transpired on air at this network during the 8:00 p.m. hour with chris hayes for all those who would like to know how the people in our intelligence and counter
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intelligence community viewed this story tonight, listen to our own intelligence expert, a veteran of many years in the field malcolm nance. >> some of these contacts are so suspicious that they would have warranted their own counter intelligence investigation. this nation is in a counter intelligence investigation. they are in a spy hunt over at the fbi now we have this story, should it prove true, of an american citizen who is the senior advisor to the president of the united states attempting to establish what we calm in the intelligence community covert communications with a hostile nation's potential intelligence agency or senior leadership that crosses the line to the espionage act of 1917. this cannot be explained. this one incident requires jared
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kushner and all his immediate staff to have their clearances pulled right now and to have the fbi descend on them and determine whether this is hostile intelligence from the white house one step from the president. >> there you have it. how serious in your eyes if true? >> i think it really depends on the under lying conduct by jared and what he was talking about with the russians. if he was trying to gauge if he was trying to engage in normal dips diplomacy there could be an explanation we don't know know why he would need a russian facility to have that conversation. kant think of any i can't think of any real good reason for that.
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i worked on the obama diplomacy team i can never remember someone saying i need to shield from the existing team i think that if that fact is proved to be true will be the most troubling fact to explain. >> to the story of yours that came out minutes after this one, is this proof that some people have been looking for in washington that where the senate intelligence committee is concerned and now we're in the mueller era in the justice department where they intend to be the adults in the room and going to the mattresses and this is going to become real. >> smart point, brian. the mueller probe, the special counsel and the fbi are certainly taking the lead when it comes to the russian investigation but there's another investigation on capitol hill and we've seen chairman of the senate intelligence
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committee build a rapport with ranking democrat from virginia trying to bring people to testify, and also about documents and records and they're pushing the trump campaign itself. now the trump political operation to provide everything possible to the senate about intercepted actions with russian figures last year. going even back to 2015 >> robert, i talked to someone close to all the figures in this, has intimate knowledge of the personalities involved who said in effect you guys may be missing the larger story here while there could be nefarious goals and aims co-mingled this may have been about this you 36-year-old son-in-law of the president coming where he came from, knowing he would be working for the boss he is working for, wanting control, to
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be national security advisor, secretary of state, white house chief of staff and on and on. robert, does that match any of your reporting? >> i can tell you some of my sources in the white house not always in a positive way refer to mr. kushner as the shadow secretary of state, think his portfolio is perhaps too larng. they also say his critics in the white house that kushner coming in from the new york real estate world did not realize what he didn't know and that as jeremy and so many others with deep experience are aware of is that kislyak and other foreign diplomacy are constantly surveyed. and to not recognize this in these ex kwhachanges is a stumb that could have real consequences for this president. >> matthew miller, let me try this on you, if mark met with
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the russian ambassador and said my mother-in-law is about to become president and i'd like to set up a line of communications, let's get this out of the normal channels, we can use your server in effect, imagine our discussion tonight. >> yeah. there would be impeachment hearings on the hill. there are seven committees that investigated benghazi. can only imagine how much would be investigating this. i any the problem with jared kushner's conduct is concealment, that's the problem over and over again. when they had the meeting with the russian ambassador brought them in through the back door not the front door the way other visitors have came so publicly. he didn't report it. said it was a over sight. it's hard to under what he requested that it was actually an over sight. we now find out he asked for
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this secret channel and found out he had three other discussions with the russian ambassador dating back to april that didn't report those either. so it is a pattern of concealment. when investigators see someone concealing something they get suspicious and that is probably what bob mueller and the senate committee will look at. >> you heard robert nance who feels a personal insult this is his life's work, intelligence, counter intelligence, he's in a state of disbelief that we're having this conversation. he was the first to give voice to this tonight. i heard the notion of pulling the security clearance while there are question marks while an investigation is going on. is that realistic? >> well i would only mention the fact there were omissions on the
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office for personal management for high security. having been a veteran haven gone through those forms where they ask you with any conversation with anyone with a foreign accent that's very troubling just in and off itself because that form gives you security clearance and if they find you misrepresent things on that form you shouldn't have security clearance. >> you live in a factual world if this was anyone else would he lose his job? >> i don't know. again, i think it really depends on what the under lying conversations were and if he said i want to use the facilities of the russian ambassador because i want to shield it from u.s. intelligence if someone did that they would be under scrutiny and they would possibly have their clearances pulled, yes and jeremy remember the hubub about unmasking something you took great pain to describe for our viewers on the air.
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is this not a classic kind of working example of unmasking where the national security advisor for president obama, it's your intelligence briefing, you are the shared with you is ip intelligence that shows a u.s. person inside trump tower having a conversation with a russian ambassador about setting up a separate channel for communications. is it not incumbent upon you to say who is this person here talk sng. >> just to be clear what the post report said and the new york times also said wasn't that they intercepted communication between jared kushner and the russians but between the russians and their home headquarters in moscow. if they referenced someone by name there could be a unmasking process to understand the intelligence but it wasn't like they were sur veiling the actual
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communication of kushner. >> right and kislyak could say i met with redakted person who wanted to set up line of communication. >> yes i would think that's a classic case where someone would request that unmasking that request i think would be granted. >> this gets to the next part of the story the notion that every russian operating in the united states knows, can guess, can assume to rick's point earlier, there's no such thing as a private phone call back home. >> there's no such thing to a private phone call to one another in their own country at home not to mention here in the u.s. it's interesting the new york times also reporting one of the topics discussed was seyria so one has to wonder if jared kushner thought he could sort of coerce the russians to help our
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fight in syria and put pressure on ass ad that maybe the lifting of sanctions could be discussed in a trump administration. obviously that's not going to be a topic going forward as we know now. could be a rationale why michael flynn said hold off on sanctions we'll talk with it later and michael flynn very close with jared kushner together having this conversation with kislyak about syria among other issues. >> so robert costa let's assume that your paper be add new york paper broken into a war of 2017 n hasn't even broke a sweat yet, what if it gets works ngd and jared kushner is taken out of
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his roll. >> i was at the white house until late tonight and kushner is very aware of his situation. people close to him say they don't expect him to have any kind of high public profile in the coming weeks he has offered to testify. in terms of being a senior advisor engaged in day to day political affairs he's a hot topic not only in the west wing but in american politics and republicans are somewhat weary of him tonight texting me telling me that. there's no sign he's leaving the white house at all but there is a sign he knows being out front on each and every issue perhaps is not going to be the way forward in the coming weeks. >> every strike you as guy they call department president arguably the closest man to the leader of the free world would never hurt his voice. >> he does avoid interviews. he hasn't done a big sit down. you're right most people don't know jared kushner's voice. he likes it that way.
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he doesn't mind from what i can tell through the course of my reporting, the intrigue, about who he is, but he is someone who likes being in the middle of power. >> let me run one more scenario by you, president of the united states reported by more than one source to have been dreading this nine-day trip comes home over the weekend jet lagged and returns to 24 hour cable and unlimited twitter use what could go wrong. >> i think what's going to come next is the reality question, i'm told there's going to be a series of meeting on n sunday and monday with the president thinking about what kind of operation will deal with the russians moving forward. a lot of talk about establishing a war room or response operation on russia to channel questions and press inquiries but i think the president will have to make a final decision on how the staff is to be arranged and whether new people come in.
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>> robert costa i know we talked you into joining us late on a friday night going into holiday weekend thank you for your reporting and contributions, you've been excused for purposes of this broadcast only but we'll be talking along the way, robert costa also host of washington week. rick, the idea of a war room, it's been threfloated out thereh existing names. again i heard the profer today this should be legal professionals if you're going to do it and communications professionals perhaps with fresh eyes. >> it's not a terrible idea. and to me the pro thing to do is to reefer all questions to the senate intelligence staff, or mr. muller's investigation and in the back ground try to bat some things down but the problem is in the case of mr. kushner he's a person about whom stories
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need to be rebutted and he's meant to be in charge of the war room so that's a conflict there. >> what are the russians likely saying among themselves tonight. >> well they had quite a banner week, you look at the president and his interactions with nato colleagues there, ice cold. i really do think the most at home and at ease we've seen this president thus far in photos i hate to say was in the oval office with the two sergey, there's one thing our allies wanted to hear that's embracing article 5 that n didn't happen. so we're hearing ambassador was stunned by what he heard from the president's son-in-law.
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piece it all together to few days after fbi director james comey was fired and hear jared kushner was pushing for his firing and maybe this is making a bit more sense now. >> matthew miller i want to read one more quote i don't know think we've made enough of the original reporting yet again tonight by the washington post they and the new york times trade back and forth, quote -- this is bit more reporting on jared -- want to pick one, matthew? >> both. i think extremely naive is a great term for it. and when you look at his actions it raises the question why was
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someone 36 years old with so little government experience, no government experience, no real experience in politics other than this campaignp and someone who was a bit over his head has been given so much responsibility at the white house. i question not just for looking backwards but looking forward given all the things that have been put in his basket. >> let's bring in former department of justice prosecutor and these days professor at georgetown law school in washington paul butler thank you for joining us again we've made a lot of use of your legal talent of late. let's talk about, if this story is fru, the legal jeopardy that changed today for jared kushner. >> it's a federal crime to withhold information from a security clearance it's a felony you get up to five years in prison. based on his attorney's
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statement kushner's defense is going to be i forgot. i have seen these cases where people say they forgot things like getting arrested for marijuana, when they were in high school, or defaulting on student loans, when you say you forgot that you tried to establish a bad channel to talk to the russians so that the government of the united states wopt know about it, wouldn't know about it, i don't know who is going to believe that.uldn't know about it, wouldn't know about it, i don't know who is going to believe that. >> i heard canadian on his forum he was asked how many times had he crossed the border he said no way i could give you an exactly number we have familip and we cross all the time that would fall under the banner of easy stuff. i guess you're talking the other end of the scale. >> yeah i had to get security reque
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clearance when i was doing process kwoout constitution for the department of justice and they put the fear of god in you. you have to sign a statement saying you haven't withheld anything under penalty of surgery and process kus. penalty of perjury and prosecution. so that raises the question, what's he trying to hide. the senior aide to the president, the president's son-in-law, didn't want the government to know. he has plausible deniablity if he says he was concerned but if it's true why not admit that during security clearance when it looks like you are trying to hide something that raises the suspicions of one of the best investigators in the country who will be all over this. >> we don't have a pure
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guest to talk about the trump agenda and the legislative calendar going into next week. what about the organization they come home to, the president describes as a well-oiled machine early in the administration what's this do to all of that. >> it's a great question and if you look at the foreign policy agenda awned all the things they try to do in the international stage russia has been living large. the dominant elfan the elephant in the room.ephant the elephant in the room. i suspect the senate and house committee will be at max velocity. >> try to encapsule late what the president did to precedent
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and standing treaties between the u.s. and europe yesterday. >> well as many people have noted when you go to brussels for a nato meeting and you're the president of the united states there's one thing that you have to do under any circumstance and that's to endorse article 5 of the nato agreement that one nation will come to the aide of any other. >> which they invoked for us after 9/11. >> exactly when he site in his speech but didn't site himself maybe that's an over sight but the fact is everybody was waiting for those words to come out of his mouth and they never came out. >> what's your evidence that the story line changes a whit between now and next week and next june. >> my evidence is the president's twitter feed. he obviously would like to talk about other things but that doesn't seem to be the case or likely to happen.
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there's there diplomatic amnesia sta taking place, they keep forgetting they have been meeting with these russian diplomats. another oligarch -- i met him ten years ago and remember what he wore, that's how memorable these russian figures are and for jared kushner to say i forgot i met these men just six months ago that's inplausible but remember he's the man credited for winning donald trump the election for knowing the voters and maybe he did get a sense being above it all and moving around washington better than of course he actually does. >> i was going to ask about the
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new york times piece with this gentlemen's picture wants to tell his story to congress but asking for immunity and he lives in moscow where does this come from? >> he lives in moscow and had been denied a travel ban to the u.s. for ties with the russian mobsters. for he had managed to come to the u.s. few times over the past 10, 15 years and one of nose tim -- one of those times is when i met him and was considered one of russian's wealthiest oligarch and has real estate deals here and around the world and is entangled in a variety of businesses one link is to paul manifor the with his ties in the ukraine election and he says he has things he wants to say to clear the air but wants to get immunity from the u.s. congress
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and thus far congress has said no. >> what's the rule, don't you wait until all of the water is squeezed out of the sponge. >> yeah normally immunity would be out of the question for someone like michael flynn because he's a big fish but if he can deliver even a bigger fish, like the president's son-in-law and senior advisor or somebody even higher in the white house then the special counsel might offer him a deal. it's way too early for that. >> paul, jeremy, b ierian a tha you all. rick we're going to see you again in couple minutes. coming up how will this latest news be received on the hill. ranking member of house foreign affairs is live in the studio when the 11th hour continues.
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we neglected to tell you but it's probably obvious we're presented tonight's broadcast with limited commercial interruption because of the relentless pace of news here we are on another friday night heading into a holiday weekend. but we have two basically two lead stories we're reacting to tonight. both from the washington post the first alleging that jared kushner took steps to set up a separate line of communication with russia's ambassador to the united states, outside of u.s.
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lines of communication. second story was that the senate intelligence committee now wants everything. they want phone records, documents, anything and everything going back to the start of the campaign that refers in anyway to russia. and here to react to tonight's story is the ranking member of the house foreign affairs committee. new york democratic congressman thank you very much for coming into our studio today what do you make of any and all of this tonight? >> well i think once again i and other democratic certainly in the house have been calling for an independent commission very similar to the commission that was formed after september 11, 2001. so much is coming at us every day and we don't know what to believe or not to believe and the american people need to know the truth. >> yet. >> reporter: t
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>> yet are you a bit satisfy that mr. muller is running thing mueller . >> yes i think mr. mueller is a perfect choice but he serves at the pleasure of the president, remember the president could fire him at any time. i warn a independent commission president cannot touch, congress has to do that but right now republicans have prevented us from getting this bill forward we have it on what's called a discharge petition, i've signed on to that to try to get it off the floor, out of committee off the floor and before the house, but we're still fighting an uphill battle for that. i hope the republican leadership after this will understand that an independent commission would be best for the country. >> our intelligence expert malcolm nance who really did write the book on russia's successful effort to hack our election said on the air tonight
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during the 8:00 hour and i n have the yet heard anyone else say it that jared kushner's security clearance should be pulled. certainly while this investigation focuses more on him by name while these questions are in the air. is that a proposal you would share? >> well it's a proposal that a lot of democrats have shared. i'm trying to make up my mind to tell you the truth. on one hand it gets worse and worse with everything we hear every sippingle day. on the other hand you're in september until proven guilty and he's not been proven of anything guilty so it may be premature. again that's why i think mr. mueller has a job to do and he'll do a good job but the best thing will be an independent commission. couldn't be knocked down by anybody there. be there to do the job and come up with whatever conclusion they
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could come up with. p and i think that's the best way to move forward and then we'll know what mr. kushner did or didn't do what the president did or didn't do. i don't know understand this infatuation with the russians. it makes me is scratch my head. first the president talks about nato as being obsolete. and sanction were rightly imposed on them after the invasion in ukraine invasion but there seems to be some kind of infatuation with the russians and what's really mind boggling is that when you know there's all kinds of accusations about ties between the trump campaign and russia, the russians should be the last person that anybody close to the president would want to set up a special channel of communication. >> final word on the topic. do you think this is all
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sustainable? >> well i think it's not sustainable. because what emlse is going to come out we keep hearing things every single day, almost like no end in sight certainly has to cripple the president's ability to govern and to lead the country because he's obviously preoccupied with a lot of these things but then he goes to nato, and doesn't talk about section 5 attack on one is an attack on everyone that's what we needed because there's a lot of question in europe. i just came back from brussels last week and there's a lot of questions about whether the president is really committed to the nato alliance. >> congressman thank you very much we realize it's going to be midnight coming up in bronx and westchester. >> thank you very much congressman. coming up how will the white housep and republicans on the hit hill respond to the latest
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was there any contact in any way between trump or his associates and the kremlin or cutouts they had? >> i joined this campaign in the summer, and i can tell you that all the contact by the trump campaign and the associates was with the american people. >> i'm just trying to get an answer. >> yeah. i -- of course not. why would there be any contacts between the campaign? >> january 15th. welcome back to "the 11th hour." you may remember that. mike pence just before the inauguration saying no contacts between the trump campaign and the russians. how will the white house and the republicans on the hill respond to this latest breaking news we have been covering and talking about tonight? let's bring in our panel for this segment. white house correspondent from reuter's ayesha rascoe is with us.
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hugh hewitt, host of the hugh hewitt show, and rick stengel remains with us. ayesha first tell us about the reuter's story that takes a slice of this tonight on the same general topic of jared kushner. and then something that may call for a judgment from you, how do you think the white house, which is tonight the traveling white house is going to react to tonight's wave? >> reuter's reported -- had a great scoop that there were contacts between the russians and jared kushner that have not been or that had not been disclosed. that there had been these contacts and that the fbi is looking into whether there was any sort of quid pro quo where you would have the russians saying look if you ease these sanctions maybe we could help out on some business transactions. but, that said, our story did
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report that there is at this point no evidence that these conversations were -- that there was anything inappropriate going on. but they are being looked at. so that's what we reported. as far as what the -- how the white house will respond, we were also reporting that they are trying to set up this war room, maybe bring in some people from -- the campaign officials and bring in others who might be able to help them to be more proactive and go more on the offense because all these stories are coming out. the issue, of course is that i guess jared was also supposed to be helping out with the war room. so how he is ago going to help out when he's also the subject of some of these damaging stories is the question. >> hugh hewitt, thank you for again agreeing to step into the breach. your reaction to tonight's "washington post" story, if true, jared trying to set up a communications channel. >> three things, brian. a little history, a little irony a little perspective.
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it was february 21st, 1969 that a relatively obscure 31-year-old set up the first back channel with soviet ambassador dobrynin that fellow's name was henry kissinger. and it was not known to the state department. i note that kissinger sat down with donald trump, i don't know if jared kushner was in the meeting in november and subsequently. who knows where the idea of a back channel came from. there is a lot of precedent. >> back channel is a diplomatic term of art. that was efforts in the atomic age, especially in the cold war. and rick stengel sitting here at the table a veteran of the state department, aimed at a better world, a safer world, going around the bureaucracy and channels of communications that existed that could get muddled. so that is something quite different, until we learn evidence that this was an effort toward a better and safer world for all, rick stengel, bear me out. >> well, yes, i think there's
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diplomacy and there is there's some kind of thing that might be nefarious. i thought the interesting point in the reuter's story, about is there a quid pro quo between relaxing sanctions and making deals with banks. that's an inappropriate conversation. >> hugh, back to you. >> i wanted to point out there was precedent for back channel. and three administrations in a row attempted russian resets. the ironry of course is that the war room is being set up in part by jamie gorelick. james st. claire, richard nixon's special counsel came from the same firm. then the perspective, it's been 20 years since mel gibson's conspiracy theory came out with his apartment full of maps and red lines and newspaper clippings. i'm beginning to think there are some offices in mainstream media that have those kinds of charts. there are lots of dots that people are connecting rapidly.
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but the mcgivin in that film was in the end there was a conspiracy. >> tough question, how does the trump agenda do next week on capitol hill when everybody is back? >> well, the agenda advanced with a confirmation of a multi par and the destruction the so-called blue slip. that's good on the judicial side. i think mitch mcconnell admitted also to reuter's he has no current plan to get an obamacare package out by august. hope that changes. and the speaker told me this week we have got tax reform on the agenda in 2017. i look at two tracks, brian. i don't believe this helps but i do believe it's moving forward. one more thing. if the president wanted to cozy up to the russians the one thing he would not do is demand that the nato al ayes would pony up their 2%. that's the last thing that the russians wanted to hear an american president demand of his allies is their fair share of the defense of europe against russia. >> at the same time it was
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roundly proffered yesterday that the president's message left out russia. and rick stengel, the view so many nato members have the clear, present, and renewed danger that russia represents to them in 2017. >> yeah. and again, he -- i think he confuses it -- seems like he thinks people are not paying their rent somehow, and he confuses that with what the 2% is. frankly, it doesn't make a world of difference whether latvia or lithuania pay 1% or 1.5% or 2%. because america's gdp is so large 2% of america's gdp overwhelms that of everybody else. the most important thing as i said before he did not cite article 5 of the nato agreement, which is what everybody was looking for him to do. >> ayesha, this war room -- you have been among the news organizations reporting this, it could be staffed by the names we know who are also dealing with incoming subpoenas, to put out
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bluntly. i think that's part of the issue with this, is the trump administration willing to go outside its kinds of loyalty circle and get an outsider for this war room? because at this point it seams like president trump is really only comfortable with those people that he knows and that he feels are loyal to him. and does this situation call for people who are outside of that, who are outside of his circle. >> here's looking at you corey lewandowski. thank you all, ayesha, hugh, and rick thank you for joining us at this late hour on a friday night of a holiday weekend. coming up, a presidential historian reacts to tonight's news. pulitzer prize winning jon meacham is with us next.
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on september 9, 2010, pg&e learned a tragic lesson we can never forget. this gas pipeline ruptured in san bruno. the explosion and fire killed eight people. pg&e was convicted of six felony charges including five violations of the u.s. pipeline safety act and
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obstructing an ntsb investigation. pg&e was fined, placed under an outside monitor, given five years of probation, and required to perform 10,000 hours of community service. we are deeply sorry. we failed our customers in san bruno. while an apology alone will never be enough, actions can make pg&e safer. and that's why we've replaced hundreds of miles of gas pipeline, adopted new leak detection technology that is one-thousand times more sensitive, and built a state-of-the-art gas operations center. we can never forget what happened in san bruno. that's why we're working every day to make pg&e the safest energy company in the nation. welcome back. with us for some perspective tonight a pulletser prize winner presidential historian.
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his latest "destiny and power." a biography of bush 41. a pleasure to have you back. thank you for joining us on this holiday friday night. i will call you in for backup on what we just heard. i predicted to someone tonight that the b word would be used by somebody smart, who had read their history of ike and kennedy and johnson and nixon. a back channel was used towards a safer world. it was used to avoid a nuclear holocaust and a catastrophe. a back channel this is not as alleged. >> no. i think there are two examples. one there is the nixon one. i think the better one is robert kennedy. a biography laid this out a number of years ago. robert kennedy reporting only to his brother used a soviet cutout
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to exchange messages outside channels at the most dangerous hour in human history. that was a back channel that was entirely about national security and avoiding armageddon. that was a case where this worked. a case where it did not work was in the middle of the 1980s when the national security council went rogue, went operational and through israelis tried to establish a secret channel to iranian moderates. we know how well that turned out. that led to iran contra. and this, however, i don't think is like the others. neither of those examples ever potentially included the enrichment of the first family.
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and also by my count, it never -- at least if the conversations as reported were never about entirely leaving them in the control of enemy intelligence. >> or a 36 year old real estate scion from new york married to the president's daughter. it is as if fdr's aid had married the president's daughter and been born into a great privilege in new york. >> right. and as we all know, as you say diplomacy is full of back channels and full of the great diplomatic chapters. the cuban missile crisis in many ways was resolved because there were conversations taking place outside the executive committee of the national security council in october of 1962. but that was about a very complicated and essential theory of diplomacy. john kennedy in the fall of 1960
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reviewed a book of war strategy. the british military strategist whose principle was always put yourself in the other guy's shoes. diplomacy works. crisis are diffused when you are able to see the world through the other person's eyes. back channels make that happen. again, this is not that. >> no one is accusing this of having anything to do with diplomacy at least at this early hour. a question i just asked the congressman. is this sustainable? pick any part of it, the pace, the fact that it has sparked maybe absent people buying print newspapers but one of the great newspaper wars of our times just the withering speed of it all. >> i think it depends on what you mean about what element of the order is sustainable.
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i have come to the last six or eight days and you and i have talked about this actually feeling rather optimistic about the basic constitutional cultural order of checks and balances. you have the courts taking on the travel order. you have, as you say, one of the great newspaper wars of all time performing a check and balance on the administration. i think the system is working. the system is straining. but i think that anyone who followed 2016 expected a certain amount of -- a certain stress test. my concern about the basic democratic lower case d culture is that it is so hard for people particularly as they are trying to meet their mortgages and find jobs and keep the american dream going is hard for a lot of folks to follow these events from moment to moment.
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i do worry about the speed in that sense. >> it's a pleasure to be able to talk to you on this broadcast. thank you very much. >> thanks. that is our broadcast on this friday night of memorial day weekend. a busy day 127 of this young administration. two things, a major american figure has passed from the scene tonight. brzezinski died at the age of 89. was a polish diplomat and witnessed the unraveling of iran. as president jimmy carter's national security adviser. obviously, brzezinski was part of the extended family of this network. our condolences are with our colleague and friend mika and the entire family. this coming three-day weekend is about something. it's about taking a moment and remembering as they did with the
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annual placement of the flags at arlington today, remembering those who have died in service to their country as volunteers continue to serve in uniform around the globe tonight. we thank them. we thank you for being here with good evening from new york. i'm chris hayes, and we once again have breaking news tonight about the trump campaign and russia, and it is a doozy. "the washington post" citing u.s. officials briefed on intelligence reports reporting that jared kushner and russia's ambassador to washington, sergey kislyak, discussed the possibility of setting up a secret and secure communications channel between trump's transition team and the kremlin using russian diplomatic facilities in an apparent move


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