tv Andrea Mitchell Reports MSNBC July 10, 2017 9:00am-10:00am PDT
>> here we're talking about a foreign adversary government working with the presidential campaign. >> it is a crime to solicit or accept anything of violenalue f foreign power during a campaign. it doesn't have to be money, it can be information. short circuit, the president calls on a cyber security unit with vladimir putin. >> it's not the dumbest idea i have ever heart but it's pretty close. >> i'm certain that vladimir putin could be of enormous assistance since he's doing the hacking. >> he doesn't take the word of the global community. >> the president's daughter and senior advisor deputized to fill in for her father at the g-20 table. mr. trump starts a twitter war
this morning with chelsea clinton. we'll have details. and good day, everyone. i'm andrea mitchell in washington, where donald trump jr.'s shifting story about a 2016 meeting with a lawyer connected with the kremlin has senior staffers in a difficult position. the story first broke in the new york timgs. the trump team met with a russian lawyer. a top trump kremlin connected lawyer, trump jr. now says she was offering damaging information about hillary clinton, a change from his initial explanation, back in march, donald trump jr. told the "new york times" that he did not participate in any campaign meetings with russian nationals. don jr. said he did take that
meeting with the russian lawyer, but it was primarily about adoptions. but that was a critical pot si issue for vladimir putin who put a freeze on all u.s. adoptions of russian children. then on sunday afternoon, a new statement from mr. trump jr. saying in part, the woman stated that she had information on individuals connected to russia funding the democratic national committee supporting ms. clinton. the stories were vague and made no sense, there was no action or follow-up of any kind. joining me now is nbc white house correspondent kristen welker. significantly kristen, this meeting took place only days after donald trump was the presumptive nominee, gaining the nomination over all of his
rivals. >> reporter: i think there are now two things that are now under a microscope, the fact that donald trump jr. took this meeting in the first place, as you heard one of your guests point out. at the top, it's not unusual to have a meeting to try to get opposition research, but what is notable and striking is this is with someone who has links to the kremlin, and then you have these shifting explanations, first trying to get the focus on adoptions and now acknowledging what he was hoping would be opposition research against hillary clinton. the white house defending donald trump jr., saying his didn't accept any information, his statement pointed to that, the fact that she had vague information, but this is yet another complicating headline, another complicating factor with this white house continually mired in questions about russia. sarah sanders is going to have a press conference this afternoon, and there's no doubt this story
will be at the center of it. >> and don jr. is tweeting today. obviously i'm the first person on a campaign to ever take a meeting to hear about an opponent, went nowhere. you know don jr., you know the campaign, the timing is so suspicious, and the fact that this is not just another person offering opposition research, it's a person directly connected to the kremlin. >> critics will say that that shows that they were at least open to the idea of collusion. you know, i went back and spoke to a lot of my campaign sources, again over the weekend and today to get a sense of what it was like in the campaign at that moment and it lined up pretty nicely with the reporting we were doing at the time due to the fact that it was disorganized and naive. there was an open door policy, and anybody could walk in and get a meeting with pretty much anybody. there were routinely unplanned
meetings with unnamed people. this happened on june 9. donald trump is going into a convention where they could be having a delegate fight. there's also a power struggle here. cory lewandowski is still the campaign manager. the kids don't like cory lewandowski, paul man nmanafort trying to curry favor with the kids. so if don jr., the president's son calls a meeting and says you should come to this meeting, you are going to go to that heatime if you're jared kushner or paul manafort. they do believe that this was a campaign that was so naive at the time that wouldn't see anything wrong with this, that meeting someone who was russian that had any ties to the kremlin, that was offering any
research on the clinton campaign might be very problematic later on, even more problematic than now. >> joining me here is jake sullivan, a senior policy advisor to hillary clinton's former campaign, former director of policy planning at the state department as well and acting director at the cia and veteran official as well. jake, first your reaction, of course to the fact that days after donald trump really nailed the nomination, presumptively, he, his son and campaign manager, importantly, were meeting with a russian operative to try to get some dirt, or having been offered some dirt? >> right, i mean this is a pretty simple story.
a hostile foreign power, russia, came to the trump campaign and said we can help you win this election by helping you denigrate your important, took that meeting with that person, with paul manafort and jared kushner, the president's son-in-law and key advisor. they took this meeting to hear from that russian lawyer to see what they could do to help win the election. it's unprecedented as far as i know in american politics. >> on top of the fact that these were meetings not disclosed after repeated questions, at least from the media and from congressional committees along the way. >> this is an extraordinary thing, this is the latest in a pattern. attorney general jeff sessions lied to congress about whether or not he lied to the russians. jared kushner overwhemitted mee with the russians.
michael flynn lied about talking to the russians and now don trump jr. has lied about these meetings with the russians and is vague about what the conversations were. it's not what they did, but they know what they did was wrong, because why else would they try to deny those meetings with russian officials. >> this is not just some casual russian lawyer, this is a lawyer that was representing vladimir putin's interests that week in washington, going to the house committees, revealing a propaganda film, going against the sponsors. this is an operative. this is a counter intel operative. >> the lens i look at this through, russian covert operations come in three shades, white, gray and black. i think we may be seeing in this case the first instance of the
black phase. why is what you see publicly, what they put on their networks, what they say diplomatically, what they tell you openly. >> rt television. >> rt television. gray are the things that you see but don't completely understand and can't document like their ties with wikileaks and putting out information. >> and what is black? >> when they seek secretly, covertly, some sort of agent relationship. that didn't happen here as far as we can tell, because donald jr. says they didn't take the bait. they said they were putting out the bait hoping that he would take it and in fact by even taking the meeting, they knew he would be compromising himself because that's what's happened here, they're talking about it. had he pursued it further, had
they brought out more information, they would begin to draw him in and develop him as a source. now as best we know from what we see, that doesn't happen, but i think that's what was going on here in terms of russian covert policy. >> and there are other connections here that are still being explored, "the washington post" reporting that a man named rod goldstone, he's an attorney, for a prominent real estate family in russia who are connected to donald trump and don jr. and the rest of the family because there are emails back and forth in 2013, there was talk of a deal, of a donald trump tower in moscow. so there were other possibility connections, this was not just a blind lead. >> this is how they operate, in other words they use cutouts, access agents, they try and put as much distance and as many steps between the idea and the actual act in order to make it very difficult for anyone later to reconstruct what actually happened. but i think they were trying to
compromise him here in the hope that, not knowing whether trump would be elected, but assuming trump was elected someday, he could be compromised. >> we have heard what john mccain, what lindsey graham, marco rubio tweeted about it. president trump tweeted, rubio and ii -- putin and i discussed forming a cyber security unit doesn't mean i think it can happen, it didn't, but a cease fire can and did, meaning syria. but in between, rex tillerson, the secretary of state and steve mnuchin on nbc was bragging about the task force, that's one of the big victories of the putin meetings. so he's undercutting two top cabinet officials and pulling back after he sees the reaction. >> this was just a demonstrably
bad idea that president trump can't defend it. the very person who attacked our election system, we would be doing a joint working group on future attacks and people could see that on its face. it took trump a few hours of watching cable television to see that all his friends were attacking him and then he backed down, which raises real questions about his judgment. that is not the kind of conduct that you want to see from the president of the united states. >> and this has rex tillerson shuffling back and forth around the persian gulf trying to fix what happened in g-20 and afterwards. let me ask you about the cyber deal and the g-20. what about ivanka sitting at the table at a summit. both of you, you've both men to meetings such as this.
>> typically that meeting would have been taken by the secretary of state, or somebody of that rank. >> h.r mccaster? >> no one would have blinked, but it's unheard of to have someone who's not officially part of the government fake a seat. >> trump tweeting, no rap on ivanka, but she's not a national security official. he tweeted when i left the conference for a short meeting with with jaric and other countries, i asked ivanka to hold seat very standard. the fake news would say chelsea for pres. chelsea responding, good morning, mr. president, i would never have -- so you've got the president of the united states in a twitter war with the former
first daughter, jake? >> what president trump is saying is silly. if hillary clinton had been elebe elected president, she would have nobody but the secretary of state or the national security adviser sitting in that seat. and the idea that ivanka trump is the right person in the line of succession to step in for the president of the united states, this is another thing that we have never seen before, we shouldn't be see, because it's just not elevating your children when you have security fiofficials that should be occupying the seat at that point. >> is putin the winner here? who comes out of the g-20, we have seen the australian version of it, which is now that it's the g-19. >> i don't see how you interpret it in any other way than if putin comes here in good shape.
because if you look at the last several g-20s. he was a pariah. he was eating lunch alone as i recall. and here he's reintegrated introthat community and judging from the international reaction, the president was not as thoroughly embraced, if you will, by his counter parts. >> to say the least. >> great to see you both, thanks. and coming up, the republican who says working with putin to combat cyber hacking is letting the fox guard the hen house. adam kinsinger joins me next. no, please, please, oh! ♪ (shrieks in terror) (heavy breathing and snorting) no, no. the running of the bulldogs? surprising. what's not surprising?
it's not the dumbest idea i have ever heard but it's close. he gave a really good speech in poland, trump did, and what i think is a disastrous meeting with president putin. two hours and 15 minutes of meetings, tillerson and trump are ready to forgive and forget on the cyber attacks on the american election of 2016. >> that was lindsay graham responding to president trump on sunday regarding president trump's plan to pair up with vladimir putin to form a cyber security unit. thank you for joining us. let's talk about this grand idea
for a joint cyber committee, the president may have scotched it himself last night after hearing from lindsay graham and others. what was your take? >> i thought it didn't make sense. i used the analogy of letting the fox guard the hen house, but i thought it was like the roadrunner trying to ban the chickens from the hen house. the russians are basically seeking to undermine truth and democracy. this is about delegitimizing the institution of democracy because when people believe their voice can't be heard through voting, when they believe that that's at risk, they lose faith in the whole idea of the constitution. and president putin is playing the game to erode that faith. he obviously saw the reaction, i don't know what president trump was thinking in tweeting it. but i felt compelled to speak
out because it was kind of a ludicrous idea. >> what do you think about president trump telling a news conference the day before that he has doubts whether it was russia or someone else. in terms of the attack on our election, it was not china and other cyber actors, it was russia and the intelligence communities all agree, why would the president diminish that sand his own intelligence agency gsz before meeting with vladimir putin. >> he did at the beginning say yes, it was russia, but it could been a bunch of other people. which i don't understand that second part of the statement. when you're overseas especially, to defend the idea of intelligence gathering, i thought he had a pretty good speech in poland, but where we undermined himself was in the tweet that is followed.
i was impressed and somewhat surprised that he brought up election meddling. vladimir putin said that he accepted his answer. but it's these tweets the next day that are undermining the message out of that, me as a republican, we have an agenda in washington, d.c. we want to go after. >> and it's also that the white house insisted on no note takers, which meanings there's no way that rex tillerson can make the argument effectively against lavrov and putin as to how that meeting actually went. i want to ask you about don jr., because now whie understand tha the house and senate are going to want to talk to don jr., about meeting with a russian lawyer who is well known to be connected to putin and putin's efforts. to say that it was just a naive
meeting when someone as sophisticated as paul manafort was at the meeting, really begs the question. >> yeah, it's a really serious concern, i think it's something that both the committee should look at, i think the special counsel, mr. mueller should look at this as i'm sure he will. evidently there was no information that came out of that, that's one thing, but the bigger question is why is anybody meeting with someone known to be connected with russian is intelligence. and the question that came out of this is what if there was damaging information, would that have been taken and used? so whether anything came out of that or not is not really the answer to the question. was anything illegal in connection to this? i don't really know that, that's what the committees will be deciding, that's what mr. mueller will be deciding. >> i want to just play a bit of an interview that my colleague richard engel did in his new
series on friday on msnbc. this is with bill browder, who was the person that higher nitsky to -- this is what he had to say about -- >> greed, money and murder, these people are so obsessed with money, that they're ready to kill anyone who gets in the way. >> sounds like a mafia, it's a mafia, but it's running a sovereign state with nuclear weapons. >> we should not forget that nitsky died in a russian prison in 2009. >> i think vladimir putin is a very smart guy, even though i don't like him, i think he understands how to rebuild the soviet empire, that's why he's coming hospitals with innocent children in syria and invading ukraine and trying to build his
empire, but you do have these russian mafias what are running the country, you have vladimir putin himself who's suspected of stealing billions of dollars from the russian state and converting it to his own use. i think we have to understand that russia only reacts to brick walls, when president trump stands up and says you are are not going beyond this point, vladimir putin will not challenge that, because he knows he controls a country whose economy is 1/20th that of the united states, and russia's economy doesn't compare. >> thanks for being with us today. >> any time. >> coming up, health care triage as republicans get back to work on their repeal and replace plan. at fidelity, trades are now just $4.95.
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but i have been wrong. i thought i would be president of the united states. but i think, i fear that it's going to fail. >> republican senator john mccain of course declaring the senate health care bill all but dead as republican lawmakers return today from their july 4th break as they faced an uproar from republicans back home. and the president putting more pressure on party leaders saying, i cannot imagine that congress would dare to leave washington without a beautiful new health care bill approved and ready to go. will they produce a beautiful new health care bill in the 30 days left or will they stay until after the break for the summer. >> now whether it will be beautiful or whether the senators that need to think that it's beautiful will believe that it is, is an entirely open question at this point.
i mean you know as well as i do how difficult it is to get lawmakers to cancel recess in august, everyone has summer plans, vacations, work to do back home in their districts as well. so it would be a major thing for them to do that. there's been some requests from republicans, a group of then of them wrote a letter saying we want to do this on health care. but right now there doesn't seem to be too much effort on that. there's a question on whether they can get to 50 republicans or whether there will be a shift here on the part of the strategy of mitch mcconnell to work with democrats to draft a smaller fix to individual health care markets. we seem to be moving towards a point where they are going to have to decide one way or the other, if they hold a vote, it's likely to be next week, but right now there's no indication that there's kind of a mass shift and at this point, that's
what it would take, there are enough republicans what are opposed to this, there would need to be something of a wholesale change in direction really, and there you see our whip count of current no vote. and there's the two groups, conservatives and moderates, and people like senator rob portman has serious concerns. so we don't know whether there will be votes that add to the total or less. last stand, nbc's richard engel reporting from the front linings in mosul, where abadi is declaring victory after driving isis out of its last stronghold. your joints... or your digestion...
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with his friends in mosul with the iraqi army. >> we're once again in the old city of mosul, the place where isis has been holding out, we're not just anywhere in the old city, right behind me to my left is the tigris river, the iraqi troops that have been doing the fighting, the american advisors calling air strike have always had the americans as their objective. the tigris is the end of the old city. the thrust of this operation, the main push is more or less at its end, there's still pockets of fighting, there's still sniper positions, so there will be fighting here going forward in the days, maybe even weeks to come. but the big push, the drive to get to the tigris river to clear the old city is now more or less accomplished.
we now have through this coalition, with the help of the u.s., of course and air strikes, the iraqis have recaptured mosul, it's devastated. the civilian population is destroyed, we have untold numbers dead. but can they hold mosul? >> yeah, i mean that's the number one question, we should all give thanks that we have had this milestone, it's a strategic milestone, but we have always raised the question, what comes the day after, first and foremost, the iraqi troops are going to be facing sleeper cells, possibly booby-traps,
we're going to be seeing activity from insurgents as they try to disrupt as they prepare to turn the city over. so it's not entirely a good news story. but the big question, does the iraqi government, do the international institutions helping the iraqis and can other countries bring the resources to help rebuild this city, you saw the footage, it's absolutely devastating and it had really created a humanitarian disaster that will need years to recover. >> i was talking to leon panetta for on assignment for richard's program. whi we have to stay with full progress. we have a commitment to this. no matter how more weary americans are, is there the will, the president seems to be indicating that we have to withdraw. and we do need to stay committed. >> the president seems open minded to at least examining the
possibility of sticking around, but you raise a good point in that the american public seemings less interested in these multiyear -- we have seen public support for these kinds of missionings declining, so the president will have to get out and persuade the american public that it serves the american interests and that it serves the public to stay engaged. >> we saw president trump at the g-20 summit, and he seemed to be the odd man out. >> the president of the united states has a particular skill set that he's identified an illness in western democracies but he has no cure for it and seems intent on exploiting it. and we have also learned that he has no desire and no capacity to lead the world.
we learned that donald trump has pressed fast forward on the decline of the united states as a global leader, he managed to isolate his nation, he will see that power to china and russia, two authoritarian states that will forge a very different set of rulings for the 21st century. >> here we have him at the g-20, isolated on climate change, taking the lead when we look back at 2009 when hillary clinton and barack obama had to team up and corner argentina and brazil. and now we see on trade and other issues, angela merkel, throwing up their hands, saying the united states and donald trump, they're out of the picture. >> that's right, what we saw was an isolation of the u.s. president at a major gathering of world leaders and increasingly countries have reached the conclusion that they need to manage the president and
basically work around them. and we're going to see countries joining forces to work on climate without the united states, we're seeing them move forward with trade deals and we're seeing the united states left on the sidelines of these very important gatherings of world leaders, that's not good for the challenges that we face, and it's not good for the united states. we need to be presenting leadership in these kinds of gatherings. >> here's what john brennan had to say about the meetings with vladimir putin. >> i don't think he demonstrates good negotiating skills when it comes to mr. putin. in warsaw, he gives mr. putin an opportunity to point to the failures of u.s. intelligence, to me he ceded that ground. he side that it's an honor to meet president putin. an honor to meet the individual who carried out the assault
against our election? to me it was a dishonorable thing to say. >> the optics were all wrong of this meeting, we needed the u.s. president to come in with a firm, robust, response, very serious response to president putin. yet you heard president trump say it was an honor to meet him, they were all smiles, the meeting was a good meeting according to the readouts that we got. he got reassurances that the united states is willing to work with him on cyber, even though russia is the one that meddled in our election and he got the state department to say that they had a good meeting at no cost to russia whatsoever. so honestly i think we lost in this round and i was really expecting the president to be more forceful in his response. >> and coming up, digging deeper, donald trump jr. trying to explain his changing story
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the three of them sat in a room with this kremlin connected lawyer to hear from her about what the russians could do to help him win the election. that's pretty cut and dried from my perspective and it's unprecedented as far as i know in the history of u.s. politics and it creates a very quick look from bob mueller as well as the rest of congress. >> just moments ago, here weighing in on the "new york times" report detailing a trump tower meeting between don jr. and a russian kremlin lawyer. let's get the inside scoop from the "new york times" washington investigates editor who edited the don jr. story. and "new york times" reporters and msnbc contributor. let me first go to you, mark, and it was a story that you
edited, and let me give you an extra little note that you just got in from our folks here, which is a confirmation from rob goldstone that he was the go between, this was on behalf tho roberts of nbc and msnbc. that he was the go-between for his client, who was a family, real estate family, very close to the trumps, as well. that he actually represented the pop star whose father is a russian real estate mogul, and confirming that he set up the meeting. he was the go-between. and apparently, he was there as well. >> right. rob goldstone is a friend, acquaintance of donald trump jr. and his client is eamon agalarof, a russian pop star. and his father was involved with donald trump, president trump, during the 2013 miss universe pageant in moscow. so the -- what's interesting about this statement is that he's confirming what the sort of
russian end of this was, or that at least there's -- that agalarof played a role in trying to set the meeting up. and there's still obviously a lot more we want to know about the meeting and what transpired, and, you know, what information was discussed. but it is interesting that the -- it's another piece in this that, you know, we know the connection with goldstone, and we now know the connection over in russia. >> and susan page, initially don jr. tried to pass this off as some benign thing, talking about adoption policy. aadoption policy was part and parcel of the kremlin's concerted lobbying effort to try to overturn sanctions, after the death of mcknitski who was a lawyer, human rights interests. >> that's right. the reason they cracked down is because they were punishing the
united states for its sanctions policy. so it's about u.s. sanctions on russia. and this is one more sign of why it's worrisome for the white house to have an investigation going on. because when you have investigations, you learn about meetings, you learn about conversations that you didn't know about before. this gets very close to president trump with his son. and it gets very close to the appearance of collusion with russia in trying to affect our election. >> and we understand that both intelligence committees are eager to talk to don jr. that's likely to happen. so he now gets swept up in this. and the fact that jared kushner did not immediately disclose this meeting. one of those subsequent filings by both jared and also paul manafort. >> and essentially, the president's son is now going to be, as you said, dragged before these committees, and he's going to have to say everything he no hes about these meetings. he's going to be asked point blank, what did they offer you, did they deliver anything on hillary clinton. and when you say that it was about adoptions, do you mean that it's about sanctions?
you say that that's basically what he's saying. but he hasn't said that yet. but most people understand that the reason why this adoption issue was a problem in the first place was because of these sanctions. so i think it's going to be just to be an ever-deepening investigation. and it makes it really hard for the white house to say that this russian investigation, all this talk of russia, is something that's just going on and there is no real teeth to it. >> there is also the suggestion, mark, that this was some russian lawyer. this was a very well-connected russian lawyer who was doing the business of the kremlin. >> well, she is certainly doing the business of -- an interest that certainly are in line with the kremlin's interests. it's not saying that she does the business of the kremlin at this point, might be a stretch. but certainly there's an alignment of these interests in terms of repealing the act. in terms of obviously any kind of lifting of sanctions. she has -- she is very well-connected in moscow. she -- her clients are -- are as
well. so it is not a -- certainly, there would be an interest downplay in who she was, but there is no question she does have very high-level ties in moscow. and it should also -- you know, be added that, you know, on this issue of policy and what was discussed several months ago, we asked donald trump jr. if he had any meetings whatsoever on any matters of policy with russians over the last year and behalf, and he issued a flat denial. and then the saturday statement said, well, i did, but it was about adoptions, and then obviously we know what happened on sunday. >> and susan page, she then came to washington, this lawyer, and presented a propaganda film about the issue, as well as speaking to members of the house foreign affairs committee. >> that's right. she's well-known to be lobbying on this issue to be very concerned about urging the united states to reverse its policy on sanctions and fighting
back on the idea that russia was involved in the death of a human rights activist who was -- died while he was in prison there. so she is someone who is familiar with policymakers. she's not an unfamiliar person. she is somebody you could google and you could see a lot of material about her. >> what does this do to the whole white house scenario? kel kellyanne conway saying there is nothing here. so the white house on defense after what they had hoped to be a successful g20 trip. >> they're on defense, and there is this looming thing called health care that maybe needs to get done at some point in washington. so not only is the white house having to re -- again defend itself against another russian-related story, but there is also this idea that on capitol hill people are looking at them saying when are we going to get to health care and why do we have to deal with you, you have no political capital right now to force us to do anything. >> yammish, susan, mark, thank you.
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and that's it for this edition of "andrea mitchell reports." follow us online on facebook and twitter. chris jansing is next. hi, chris. >> thanks so much, andrea. good afternoon, everyone, i'm chris jansing in for craig melvin. some of the stories we're following this busy monday. campaign collusion? donald trump's son denying his meeting with a lawyer linked to the kremlin was improper. but does his admission that he
took the meeting to dig for dirt on hillary clinton point to collusion between the campaign and russia? partnering with putin. what to do about all of that russian hacking evidence in the u.s. election. well, president trump says he and vladimir putin thought that a joint cyber security unit was a good idea. then he backed down. the swift criticism unsparing. and ivanka versus chelsea. the president's daughter slammed for sitting in her dads seat at the g20 summit. why the president is now dragging chelsea clinton into this. we start with a frequently changing story from donald trump jr., and the trump 2016 campaign as a whole about their contacts with the russians. two "new york times" stories over the weekend have put the focus on donald trump's oldest son. trump jr. met with the russian lawyer june 9th of last year. and not just any lawyer. one with ties to the kremlin. with him, paul manafort, jared kushner.