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so don't worry, delaware, we still love you and we would notice if you went away missing. that's all for tonight. back tomorrow. it is chris jansen who picks up our coverage right now. hello. i'm chris jansen with "msnbc live." breaking now, president trump says he didn't know. reuters reporting that the president said he knew nothing of his son's meeting with the russian lawyer and he only learned about it a couple of days ago. that secret meeting still reverberating in the west wing with the president reportedly furious. talk about timing. in the middle of that on capitol hill today, the man who could replace james comey taking questions from senators. now, remember the reason he's even nominated is because president trump fired james comey amid the russian investigation. today christopher rey pledged an independent fbi. >> my loyalty is to the
constitution and to the rule of law and the mission of the fbi. >> if the president asked you to do something unlawful or unethical, what do you say? >> first i would try to talk him out of it, and if that failed i would resign. >> you don't think director comey is a nut job, right? >> that's never been my experience. >> do you consider this endeavor a witch hunt? >> i do not consider director muller to be on a witch hunt. >> so the president's pick to lead the fbi saying the russia probe is not a witch hunt, although just hours earlier president trump tweeted and said, "it is indeed a witch hunt." this is from today's white house briefing. >> why he calls it a witch hunt? >> because the president knows very specifically any action or inaction that he's taken, and so i think that's pretty clear. >> sarah huckabee sanders also saying the president has spoken with his son in the last few days and clearly, his tv interview he watched last night because he also tweeted, "my son
donald did a good job. he was open, transparent and innocent." but remember his initial statement on that meeting? never mentioned russia, and the "new york times" reports that the president signed off on that statement, which, of course, had to be revised or updated four times as new information comes out. could there be even more coming? well, here's donald trump jr. on that. >> i'm more than happy to be transparent about it and i'm more than happy to cooperate with everyone. >> so as far as you know, as far as this incident is concerned this is all of it. >> this is everything. this is everything. >> did you ever meet with any other person from russia that you know? >> i don't even know. i probably met with other people from russia. >> in the campaign -- >> not in the context of an actual formalized meeting or anything like that, because why would i? >> with me new york congressman rakeem jeffreys who is with us. george will is pulitzer prize winning columnist nor "the washington post" and a political
analyst. so much to get to, but this is defense we have heard from some republicans. you have to put the don jr. meeting into context. they were getting op-ed research, politics is cut throat, it happens all the time. is there any there there in these e-mails? >> well, absolutely. the context is 17 different intelligence agencies concluded that russia interfered with our election for the purpose of helping to elect donald trump. >> but as you well know, the trumps don't buy that. >> well, and they're the only ones in town or throughout the country perhaps that don't buy the fact that the intelligence community in the united states unanimously concluded russia interfered with our election in very specific ways in order to help donald trump elected. that's a settled question for any reasonable person in this town or throughout the country. >> so your implication is any reasonable person would not take a meeting with russians? >> no reasonable person should take a meeting with russia for a variety of reasons, including if
you're involved in the context of a campaign it is a crime to solicit or receive assistance or in any way collude with a foreign power anywhere throughout the world, but particularly vladimir putin's treacherous dictatorship and his russian empire. that makes no sense. if not logical that donald trump jr. would proceed with that meeting for any other reason than what should be obvious to almost everyone, which is perhaps it's indicative of a mindset that was designed to work with the russians to receive information that could help donald trump seize the presidency and undermine hillary clinton's chances of being elected. >> i'm sure you heard him last night. he said back then you have to put it into context of the russia thing wasn't a big deal at the time, but senator chuck grassley said this afternoon his committee is working on getting donald jr. to testify. do you think he will and what would you want to ask him? >> well, i think he will perhaps testify at some point, although
we've heard a lot of protestations of a willingness to be cooperative by all of these folks who are involved, paul manafort, roger stone, michael flynn for instance, jeff sessions has suggested that they're going to be cooperative in different ways and different places. we haven't necessarily seen it. now, the intelligence committee i think is going to have to proceed with its work on the house side and on the senate side. i'm hopeful that that will be done in an open and transparent way because the american people deserve answers. it is clear that exhibit a right now in terms of this quest for trying to figure out what happened are the e-mails between donald trump jr. and these russian operatives who may have been part of an effort to steal this election away from hillary clinton and attack our democracy. >> so, george will, as you look at the e-mails and then you heard what donald trump jr. had to say last night, where in your mind does this fit into this investigation?
>> well, there are lots of threads here that mr. muller and his investigators are going to tug on. what we know so far is that donald trump jr. was a novice in politics, and this is in a way his father's defense and other's defense of him, is that he did not know or understand what we'll call the common law of american politics, that there's certain habits, mores, customs, dispositions you acquire by being in politics for a while. the whole trump enterprise as a campaign and as a family campaign was to say, look, we're indifferent to, ignorant of, sometimes hostile to these habits, mores, customs and dispositions that make politics work, the sort of thing someone more familiar with our politics would know going in would make him wary of a meeting with the russian's, a representative that is, of a nation that is a hostile power towards the united states. >> so let's say that you even
give him a pass on meeting with someone who was a hostile power, an enemy of the united states. does it pass the smell test for you, george, having been around so many campaigns, so many people in power that none of the three people inside that room seem to have remembered that that meeting took place? >> or that it wasn't about adoptions, that sort of thing. no, this does not pass the smell test. whether or not this rises to satisfy the legal standard of collusion i doubt, and whether or not this constitutes a contribution from a foreign power to a campaign under the normal meaning of the word "contribution," i doubt that also, but i also doubt that that doesn't really matter. what matters here is the blatant indifference to or ignorance of, again, the simple common sense of american politics, but this is what you get when you get what the american people seem to have voted for in 2016, which is
someone who just doesn't care about that sort of thing and who is elected to be an outsider and brings with him and through his family an outsider's lack of understanding of our politics. remember, this is a family business, the trump enterprise, both in politics and in business. he gets up from the table at the g20 meeting and his daughter wanders over and sits down at the table. inappropriate? grossly. but, again, try to explain that to the family business. >> well, in an interview today the president actually tried to claim that vladimir putin wanted hillary clinton, would have preferred hillary clinton in the white house over him. here is what he said. >> well, he wants what's good for russia. >> yeah. >> and i want what's good for the united states. if hillary had won, our military would be decimated, our energy would be much more expensive. that's what putin doesn't like about me and that's why i say,
why would he want me? so when i keep hearing about he would have rather had trump, i think probably not. >> so, congressman, repeatedly denied collusion, anything like collusion, repeatedly said that his son didn't do anything wrong, but he is making the argument that they would have rather had hillary anyway. what do you make of that? >> i mean that argument is a complete joke. everybody understands that vladimir putin had it in for hillary clinton based on tension that existed during the time in which she was the secretary of state. the most important question i think that we've got to ask in this whole sordid affair is why were all of the president's men, paul manafort, the campaign chairman, jeff sessions, the attorney general, michael cohen, his personal attorney, carter page, his foreign policy advisor, donald trump, his son, his son-in-law jared kushner, roger stone, his advisor -- why
were all of the president's men meeting with russian spies during the same time they were attacking our democracy? >> i'm guessing your double use of that phrase, all of the president's men, was not accidental. so much more we could talk about. congressman jeffries, george wim. thank you both. >> thank you. >> all is leading to reports of white house chaos. according to the associated press, the president has been enraged in recent days, obsessed with the media coverage of his son's meeting with the russian lawyer. trump writing on twitter that the white house is functioning perfectly and i have little time for watching tv. joining me white house reporter for the associated press, jonathan la mere who wrote that story. what are you hearing? how bad is it? >> this has become a depressingly familiar ritual for senior west wing aides. they feel they string together a few good news cycles -- >> they thought the g20 was good for them. >> they felt he held his ground,
they were pleased with his speech in poland and on air force one they have to start grappling with the revelation about don jr., the meeting with the russian lawyer and the e-mails. >> is there any sense you got this is different for them, that any of the other strings of crises they've had? >> certainly those in the white house think so. they understand this is more serious. first of all, it is the president's own flesh and blood involved, that it is his son and that couldn't lead to a president who often is unpredictable, to react in extreme ways. second of all, like you read these e-mails. he says, don jr. says, i'd love it if there were incriminating -- damaging information about hillary clinton presented to him from a russian official. that is for even the most ardent trump loyalist, that at least looks bad. >> so whatever the upshot of it is politically, there is an absolute effect that we've seen that it has had in the past when all of this happens, and not to do anything but give props to the "new york times" for their amazing reporting, clearly somebody in there is leaking
this stuff and clearly there are people in there who don't like each other. is that where this is coming from? >> that's part of it. >> that chaos that already existed? >> sure, that's part of it. i mean there have been leaks in this administration since day one, and the president has, of course, raged about them repeatedly. >> damy minus 150. >> exactly right. >> who is at risk here? when they look at this sort of lay of the land, there are reports, for example, that ivanka and jared and the first lady are pushing for reince priebus to get the heave-ho. >> right. the american people have not seen the president since saturday, since he got back from europe, and they won't see him again until he leaves for europe again later today. but we know privately he's very upset, despite his protest on twitter today. he is watching a lot of the coverage. he is talking to outside confidantes as to what he should do. the chief of staff certainly is vulnerable. he has been, frankly, since day
one. at the same time we don't think any changes are imminent. >> it seems to me it is kind of a catch-22 do you think, because on one hand clearly there's problems within the white house, maybe a change is needed. but if you make a change in the middle of what is perceived as a crisis, it makes you look like you're in the middle of a crisis, which as we know donald trump doesn't like to in any way show weakness. >> right. and they're also afraid of what it would look like for a high profile dismissal like that in the midst of this investigation. that's not something they want to look at. that would be a red flag programs for the probe. >> jonathan la mere, great story for the associated press. thank you. good to see you again. >> thank you. >> breaking news ahead. president trump also talking about his closed door meeting with vladimir putin including how long he spent talking about election meddling. and we're learning more about the russian lawyer at the center of the secret trump tower meeting, who she knows, who she works for, and what she really wanted. plus, a focus turns to trump's son-in-law jared kushner, three meetings with russians, no
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. for the first time we're hearing tonight from president trump himself about his meeting with vladimir putin. the president telling reuters he spent the first 20 or 25 minutes of his more than two-hour meeting on election meddling. the president saying, "i said did you do it, and he said no, i did not, absolutely not. i then asked him a second time in a totally different way. he said, absolutely not." that news as we learn new details about the russian lawyer who met with donald trump jr. last summer. the "new york times" reporting that that tall ya' veselnitskaya is seen as a fear some moscow insider, the go-to lawyer for the government, among her clients the family of a high level official formerly minister of transportation of the moscow region, now vice president of a state-owned railroad monopoly.
in an exclusive nbc interview she denies that the kremlin was behind her meeting with trump jr. >> donald trump jr. is told that they want to schedule a meeting with him and the russian government attorney who is flying over from moscow. the russian government attorney. that means you. >> translator: no, i'm certainly flattered by being mocked and called as a government attorney, but i have never worked for the government in the first place. >> and today a kremlin spokesman said the russian government had nothing to do with her meeting, but some intelligence experts tell nbc news they believe the lawyer was a dangle sent to meeting with donald trump jr. to see how the trump team would react to being offered campaign help from the russians. with me, evelyn farkas, a former deputy assistant secretary of defense. john kriefr served for 20 years and was the deputy for the
russian operations in the early 2000s. evelyn, i want to start with the breaking new, that he asked it twice and putin said he didn't do it. what do you make of it? >> i think it is too vague. what did he ask putin. i mean i didn't do it. didn't do what? it depends on the phraseology the president used but it doesn't matter. putin is going to deny it and the president is not going to get the answer he wants from vladimir putin. i would have liked the president to then tell vladimir putin that he needs to stop all of the ongoing interference in, you know, the cyber hacking, the attacks, the penetration of our systems, and if he doesn't do so there will be consequences. that's the message our president should have given vladimir putin. i wouldn't have asked him a question. >> all of this, john, leads us to what we're hearing that sounds like, frankly, a russian spy novel. a lot of people learning for the first time this word "dangle." adam schiff, the congressman, says that's what he thinks was going on here. let me show you what he said.
>> do you believe that the russian lawyer was a dangle put out by the russians to see how the trump campaign reaction would be? >> it certainly appears that way, that this is, you know, very much consistent with the russian practices. they might choose because she gives them some deniability as to someone who has a more direct connection to the government. >> congressman, what do you -- congressman. john, what do you think? i just gave you a job i'm sure you don't want. >> no, not right now i don't. in some sense it is irrelevant whether she was witting and did it on behalf of the kremlin or whether she was used by the krem lin -- kremlin, but it was clearly a trap set up by the russian -- >> clearly it was a trap, no doubt in your mind? >> no doubt in my mind.
essentially the e-mail itself was the trap. u.s. -- the campaign, are you willing to prostitute yourself. they get the answer back, yes. so when that meeting takes place, that's almost irrelevant. the fact of the meeting suggests to the russians they are willing to step over the line and do something that might implicate themselves, put themselves in a con sp conspiratorial mode. whether she knew about it or not, it is irrelevant. >> i see the look on your face, evelyn. but what are you thinking? >> i'm thinking it is possible it was a dangle, but look at the rest of the e-mail. when goldstone says to donald trump jr. it is a meeting and part of the russian's government support to mr. trump, he -- that implies -- he presents it as if donald trump jr. already knows that the russian government is supporting mr. trump. so i think there's more about the context here we need to know. yes, it is possible she was unwitting and this was a dangle,
or it is possible that there's a bigger picture here, more support. you know, today we have the mcclatchy story come out about the possibility that some of the data work that jared kushner had paid for made its way to the russians so that the russians then were able to target the fake news that they were pumping out through their bots on the internet through facebook and twitter, to states like michigan which basically hillary clinton lost by about 5,000 votes. so, you know, there might be a bigger picture here. i would like to know the context and why that was sort of obvious to donald trump that russia is supporting his father. >> you know, one of the things that -- >> can i add a little bit to that? >> go ahead, sure. >> can i add a little bit before the next question? if you want to take the conspiracy a little further -- and we don't have enough information to do that -- the e-mail itself, his response to the e-mail essentially was, hey, you know, are you willing to work with us, do you want this information on hillary clinton? and he said, yes, and later in
the summer. in and of itself that may have been a signal of the russians to what they do. they could have suggested to someone trained in intelligence, you're almost -- there may be some predicate to this ahead of time where you're saying, okay, i'm now sending my signal. now, i don't know if it is true. the fbi and others will be able to take all of this data, all of this travel, all of this information and be able to put together with a timeline whether it makes sense, but that answer in the e-mail itself aside from the meeting is pretty troubling. >> i'm going to drive the control room crazy. can we pull up that sound from -- >> is it about the 400 pound man? anyway, let me -- so jen paul mary when she was working for the trump -- the clinton campaign actually was just on a show a little bit earlier and she suggested that then you have donald trump saying -- not too much later, go ahead, release more of these e-mails,
wikileaks, russia, release these e-mails, which she actually said, evelyn, suggested might have been actually a direction to them. is that a little step too far? >> i don't -- i don't think it is impossible, chris. i mean i know it sounds crazy. this is like something -- >> it all sounds crazy. >> like not even a john lecarre novel, i don't think he could have imagined this, but it is possible. i have heard lawyers talk about the possibility of cooperation or collusion happening right out there in the open, you know, through the airwaves. so it is possible. >> more to come. evelyn farkas, john cipher. fascinating conversation. thank you both very much. that's not all. ahead we will talk about a new focus on jared kushner and three meetings he had with russians. plus, donald trump jr. thought he was getting the dirt on hillary clinton from the russians. maybe something like this happened before and someone did actually go to the fbi. that person will join me exclusively tonight.
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so the big question everybody is asking, is donald trump jr. in legal trouble? well, president trump's personal attorney says no. >> what is the law alleged to be violated here? the truth of the matter is a meeting under the circumstances described by the release of the e-mail that donald trump jr. did yesterday is not a violation of the law. >> and to be clear, collusion is not a legal term, it is not a crime. the meeting itself, not a crime. you heard trump's lawyer say there was "no exchange of information." but if there was, could that be a crime? campaign finance law states, "it is unlawful for a foreign national to make a contribution or donation of money or other thing of value in connection with a federal, state or local election to a committee of a political party." it is also unlawful for someone to solicit, accept or receive a
contribution from a foreign national. what exactly is a thing of value and can it be an exchange of information? adam goldberg is former white house special associate counsel for president clinton and founder of trident gmg. ryan goodman is a professor at new york university school of law. so let me start, if i can, what is a thing of value? could this be a thing of value, information? >> sure. of course, it could be a thing of value. in fact, you might think for political campaigns one of the things of greatest value would be good investigations that produce opposition research. in fact, there are businesses in d.c. that thrive on that for their business. >> but presumably they don't do it with agents of a foreign government? >> presumably they don't do it with agents of a foreign government. presumably they do it on the books. but if they were a foreign national providing that thing of value, they clearly would be in violation of u.s. law. >> and i don't want to suggest that this lawyer was an agent of a foreign government.
we don't know. but just in terms of the big picture law, we have the e-mail showing that donald trump jr. thought he might have actually been getting some incriminating evidence on clinton. you can decide whether or not you think it is a thing of value. he admits to pushing for it during that meeting. let's listen to what he said. >> i was probably pressing because the pretext of the meeting was, hey, i have information about your opponent. it was this, hey, you know, some dnc donors may have done something in russia and didn't pay taxes. i was like, what does this have to do with anything? >> so, adam, he says he didn't get worth while information from that meeting. does it matter if there was intent there? could that be interpreted as soliciting? >> it does not matter, right. soliciting is not about having actually received the goods. it is about asking for the goods, and i think his e-mails responding to the initial one clearly konconstitutes solicitation. we are talking too narrowly when we talk about donald trump jr.
we should be focusing on jared kushner and the president. jared was on those e-mails. he knew that the russian government was purportedly trying to help the campaign. this was a meeting set up at the behest of the russian government. all of the analysis about donald trump jr. applies equally to jared kushner and potentially the president if he was told about this. >> that begs a question i wondered about when i read this statement, particularly the part that says, "to a committee of a political party." in other words if that's who gets the information. now, donald trump jr. had, adam, know fis no official role in the campaign unlike paul manafort, for example. are the stakes different if they were an official part of the campaign or not? >> i think they are. even with donald trump jr. he clearly had a role with the campaign, even if informal. having the chairman of the campaign and having jared kushner who had an active role in the campaign would satisfy that aspect of the legal requirement. i think now it turns to really the focus of the investigation probably would be focusing more
on jared kushner and the president rather than donald trump jr. >> ryan, we know this statement that was initially put out has been revised four times for various reasons. the "new york times" now reporting that president trump actually was the one who signed off on that initial statement. so that begs the question, is there a legal issue if he knew the statement was false or does it just look bad for him? we don't know, but does a statement that is not a signed statement, does that matter? >> so -- >> or is it just another piece of information investigators will use? >> it doesn't matter as a legal -- in terms of legal exposure or legal liability. an individual can lie to the press and they can lie to the public, that's not illegal. if they were to lie to authorities like a congressional investigation or an fbi investigation, then they're in trouble. so i will be interested to see if, for example, they repeat the most recent story, the most recent statement to the special counsel, and if they repeat it to congressional investigators. >> well, that's going to be interesting, adam, because we heard from chuck grassley today
to say they're trying to make an arrangement now for donald trump jr. to come in and testify. he didn't say whether it would be publicly or not, but donald trump jr. has said, i'm going to do whatever i need to do to clear my name. what question would you have first and foremost for him? >> well, i would want to know, you know, what did he tell the president about this meeting before he happened when he first got that e-mail and what did he tell jared kushner. i would love to see the e-mails back and forth among kushner, manafort and himself. let's remember, jared kushner actually signed a statement saying he didn't have these meetings. he didn't disclose three meetings including this one when he was getting a security clearance and now he's subsequently disclosed them. he was apparently, you know, party to this statement as well when it was issued that also wasn't very forthcoming. again, i think, you know, a big focus has to be on jared kushner right now. >> i think one of the practical questions is a person of his stature who probably has a staff the way he does, would it not have been pretty easy for them to check and see who might have been on his schedule. but that's for investigators to
look at. ryan goodman, adam goldberg, gentlemen, thank you so much. a lot of legal questions still to come. coming up, when should a campaign call the fbi? president trump's nominee to be the next fbi director was grilled today over donald trump jr.'s meeting. i'm going to talk to a former top fbi official about his answer next. more kinds of crab than ever, new dishes, and all your favorites. only while crabfest lasts. red lobster. now this is seafood. binders, done. super-cool notebooks, done. that's mom taking care of business. but who takes care of mom? office depot/office max. this week, get this ream of paper for just one cent after rewards. ♪ taking care of business. we dei should know.m our eyes every day.
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containing notes and a videotape. democratic sources tell nbc news on that tape is governor bush in a mock debate with new hampshire senator jud gray. downey, realizing he shouldn't have the material, immediately turned it over to his lawyer who in turn passed it on to the fbi. >> so that was an nbc story from 2000, one of the big stories of the campaign because the gore campaign contacted the fbi after it was given op-ed research on george w. bush. thomas downey was playing the role of bush in debate prep and he got a package. he immediately removed himself from those rehearsals to avoid even the appearance of misconduct. now, of course, that begs the question, why donald trump jr. didn't do the same thing. should he have contacted the fbi when he got those e-mails, suggesting a meeting with someone scribbled described as government lawyer with dirt on hilary clinton? joining me, former congressman
thomas downey who turned over those opposition files back in 2000. this is fascinating. i will be honest, i had forgotten about this. let me start with coming to present day, what was your take when you saw those e-mails? >> well, i was surprised that, number one, the first thing that should have occurred to donald trump jr. was, i shouldn't have -- be doing this meeting, and tro to fintry to find a way contact the fbi to explain a ru russian cutout was attempted to interfere with the election. >> his explanation, and last night when he was talking to sean hannity he said, look, i was inexperienced in politics, things were moving a million miles an hour, didn't know if it was going to turn out to be anything anyway. what do you make of that as a defense? >> well, it is pretty flimsy. first of all, he had the presence of mind to contact his brother-in-law and paul
manafort. if he had any serious notion of meeting with a russian operative, he should have talked to somebody in the campaign who had some experience with dealing with the russians. >> so an argument that i have heard from one republican is, look, this is somebody who dealt with russians all the time by their own admission in terms of business. to them this was not a country that's an enemy of the united states. this is a country where they had a lot of business partners, somebody who was in business with, an acquaintance, asked him for a favor, he did it. he did pull in paul manafort and jared kushner, but what about the idea he just didn't see it the way you saw it back in 2000? >> well, that -- that is the problem. his father is running for president of the united states. unless he's living under a rock he would have had to have heard the democrats and the republicans talking about what the russians are doing in syria, the difficult role that they are
attempting to -- their involvement in ukraine. so this is an adversary power. i believe in good relations with the russians, but we have to also understand that their interests are not the same as those of the united states. and for him not to know that even though he had had business dealings in russia, that's not very believable. >> i'm curious, congressman. back then -- and you've got this good stuff on george w. bush and the campaign is as close as close can be and we all know how close it turned out to be, how long did it take within the campaign to make a decision to do what you did, which was to call the fbi? >> well, it actually didn't take very long at all. when i saw the videotape of george bush in his shorts doing a tim russert style mock interview, i realized that i shouldn't be seeing this and that the debate materials should not be in my possession. so it took not very long for me
to get a hold of the fbi and turn over the materials to them. what was disappointing, of course, was i had to recuse miles fr myself from the campaign of my close personal friend. i had been his debate partner. i played bill bradley during the 2000 primaries, i played jack kemp in the past. there was something that had to be done. >> there are people that suggested your taking yourself out of the debate hurt him and his chances. do you have second thoughts and think, wow, if the debate prep had been a little stronger, had his performance been a little stronger, al gore might have been president of the united states? >> no, i don't think about that. i'm sorry that al lost and i think that there are lots of reason why that happened. what was more interesting about all of this was george bush's reaction to this. he said at the time, "i'd like to shake his hand if i ever meet him." well, i did meet president bush
in november of 2002 and he was with some eastern european parliamentarians at the nato session in prague. he saw me when i introduced myself, he put his arm around me and said to the eastern european leaders, he was me, he was me. this is a good guy. i think what president bush understood and what i understand was that there was something more than just winning or losing a presidential election. it was making sure that the race itself was fair and free and open for the american people to decide. the irony is that the young woman who sent me those debate tapes and those materials wound up spending a year in jail, and the federal judge who sentenced her said at the time that the reason the sentence was so harsh for a first offense was that she had interfered in an american election and had lied to the members of the judiciary about
her role. that's why the sentence was going to be so tough. >> former congressman thomas downey, we are out of time, but it is such a pleasure to talk to you and to hear from someone who clearly did the right thing. thank you. >> thank you. >> what a fascinating story. this issue about whether donald trump jr. should have gone to the fbi was indeed a key question on capitol hill today. it led to this exchange in the senate confirmation hearing for president trump's nominee to be fbi director, chris rey. >> should donald trump jr. have taken that meeting? >> well, senator, i don't -- i'm hearing for the first time your description of it, so i'm not really in possessiition to spea it. >> let me ask you this. if i got a call saying that the russian government wanted to help lindsey graham get re-elected, they have girt on lindsey graham, should i take that meeting. >> you should consult with good legal advisers before you do
that. >> is the answer i should have called the fbi? >> it think it would be wise -- >> here is what i want you to tell every politician. if you get a call from somebody suggesting that a foreign government wants to help you by disparaging your opponent, tell us all to call the fbi. >> to the members of this committee, any threat or effort to interfere with our elections from any nation state or any non-state actor is the kind of thing the fbi would want to know. >> that was an amazing exchange. joining me ron hoscoe, former fbi assistant director. what do you think of rey's experience -- answers to senator graham's questioning? >> yeah, i think that chris rey took a very measured tone throughout the process today, an appropriate tone. he really was in many ways today a straw man for the political
arguments that one side or the other wanted to make about the russia investigation, about donald trump jr., about donald trump sr. so i think he was measured, he was circumspect. he was in that encounter. certainly that's exactly what the fbi wants, is if there's a foreign nation state or a non-state actor trying to influence a domestic election, they want the fbi to be called. that is the process. the congressman that you had on followed exactly what he should have done in that situation. now we see what the other side does when -- when you don't follow that process. >> does it matter where it comes from? would it matter, for example, if it came from an ally like canada or the uk as opposed to russia? >> i think we're talking about external influence on a domestic election. >> of any kind? >> i think of any kind. and if in doubt, these folks should be, you know, calling the
fbi. first, get good legal counsel. if that's the first step, but then, you know, consider going to the fbi. it could be -- and i heard your engagement with the congressman. donald trump jr. is not an elected official. he's not been in politics to my knowledge, and i think there is a distinction between him and mr. downey, a substantial distinction to be made. whether that can be excused i don't know, but i think there's a lot more of this encounter that they had with this russian 'emmisary, this woman attorney, and that's going to be the job of bob muller to find out all of those at moss fimospherics. >> so some supporters say the president essentially shrugged it off. obviously some people are defending it. on the other side i heard a lot of people say to me today, you know, ig nornls norance is no d when it comes to the law. if this had happened and the president or donald trump jr. had come forward with this information last year, what do
you think jim comey who was then fbi director would have done? >> i think they would have considered, you know, certainly looking at the background of this russian emmissary, this woman who is representing herls as herself as a representative of the government. looking at that from a criminal perspective, a counter intelligence perspective, digging into her background very quickly, evaluating whether they should wire one of these folks or all of these folks or the room up for consensual monitoring to capture follow-on conversations, to see if she would perfect what she was proposing, that she had some sort of russian sponsored intelligence that was going to be helpful. i think the fbi would want to collect that information and pursue that. >> ron hosco, former fbi assistant director. good to see you. >> you too. >> what about jared kushner, the president's son-in-law, under fire for failing to report that meeting under his security clearance forms.
he has updated the forms but is that enough. could he lose his clearance? ♪ me to the moon (elegant music) ♪ and let me play (bell rings) for over 100 yearsaking like kraft has,al cheese you learn a lot about people's tastes. honey, what do you want for dinner tonight? oh whatever you're making. triple cheddar stuffed sliders. sold!
pump saying he only found out about the secret meeting a couple days ago. so much focus on donald trump jr. >> it became pretty apparent to jared and paul. >> you remember that. >> we were all there. the whole contact too how long? >> about 20 minutes. and he left after five or ten? >> so jared kushner we know was there. why wasn't that disclosed initially and is this a pattern? because each day she chooses to take the stairs. at work, at home... even on the escalator. that can be hard on her lower body, so now she does it with dr. scholl's orthotics clinically proven to relieve and prevent foot, knee or lower back pain, by reducing the shock and stress that travel up her body with every step she takes.
jared kushner under fire, not disclosing his meeting with the russian lawyer. details about that were forwarded to him by donald trump jr. how likely is it that kushner forgot about the meeting? this is a pattern. he forgot about a meeting with the russian bank, the russian lawyer. all three meetings not disclosed on the forms. joining me now, the reporter for the globe and the reporter for bloomberg news. what are you hearing about this? >> i spoke with several republicans who said that they want all these folks to testify before open hearings before the
senate intelligence committee. particularly not just people like senator lindsey graham, a republican from south carolina who has become an outspoken republican critic of sorts against pressing these folks to testify but frls marco rubio who are urging robert mueller to take a look at these folks. and honestly, i think that's where this is going. i think there is intensifying pressure from republicans to air out all of this in public. >> is that what you're hearing as well? >> absolutely. but i think there's a huge amount of confusion about why jarr jared security form has been aed menned at this point more times than obamacare. i mean, it seems like every few weeks, there is another disclosure. oh, gosh, he goes back to get a waiver and redo the form. and i think you can do that once, twice. you're getting into the handsful of times, i believe it is four
times at this point. even republicans are beginning to wonder, is this somebody who needs a spend a little less time, you know, in the white house? in the president's ear? and that question about his security clearance came up in the white house briefing. and sarah huckabee sanders, the white house spokesperson, had done a pretty request job so far blockading and not answering questions about him. i do think at some point, she will have to. because jared kushner is the one person in this sort of stew who is still working in the white house. and has a top position in the white house. >> there is a legal question. a big legal question. there's also a couple of practical questions. one practical question is if you're a member of a family that has in one case, his wife's family, billions of dollars. he came from a family with huge amount of family. he himself has run a huge company. how likely is it that if he did forget, let's say he's a very
busy guy. he forgets three meetings. there's no record of it? he doesn't have people who could have frakd to put this in the forms? is there a common sense factor? >> well, the meeting in question, the june 9 meeting, the meeting in question is one of the meetings that he did amend on the form. the question becomes, what about paul manafort? who was then campaign manager at the time, who was also a part of this meeting. and so .with several republicans, lawmakers today, who told me that they have significant questions bepaul manafort. this is a seasoned political operative. what was paul manafort doing at the time of all of this? how many go before congressional
committees? >> all of them. just from the congressional side. these members of congress really do love having these hearings. and there's a lot, you see all of them. >> thank you, both. thank you for watching. i'm chris jansing. "hardball" starts rye now. trump leaves he the cover-up. let's play "hardball." >> good evening. we now know it was the white house that wrote that statement for donald trump jr. on saturday. the one that said the president's son met with the russian lawyer last summer to discuss a russian adoption program. the person who signed off on that bogus statement, according to the "new york times," was president trump himself. which tells us the man leading the russian cover-up is the president of the united st