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tv   The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell  MSNBC  July 12, 2017 10:00pm-11:00pm PDT

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senate's beloved all of august recess, making the senate stick around in d.c. two extra weeks at least, so their arms are close by for some extra twisting. despite that uncertainty, we are >> good evening, rachel. on the health care bill, we notice that ted cruz actually missed the entire judiciary committee confirmation hearing today for the new fbi director because he was working on the health care bill, which i have to believe is good news for people who don't want the bill to pass. >> the bigger ted cruz fingerprints there are on it. >> no one has more enemies in the senate, in the republican party, than ted cruz. >> that's why he has such a long list of legislative victories, why there's been so many bills he's passed. yeah, thank you, my friend. >> we will be watching. thanks, rachel. >> cheers, lawrence. well, now donald trump's
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lawyers want to build a wall to keep out jared kushner. >> if the president asks 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. >> there's no evidence, i think, that this white house is functioning normally. you know, all the evidence is quite to the contrary. >> you don't need to be an authority on federal election law to have an instinct that, wait, there's something wrong with my meeting russians who may or may not be connected to the kremlin. >> donald trump jr. e-mails and the subsequent three days to get the story straight may give special koins bob mueller two major pieces of evidence. >> i think it suggests there was a lot more happening in realtime. i just don't accept the president wasn't part of it. >> if he were a normal citizen and not the president's son-in-law, that security clearance would have been gone a long time ago. >> you cannot trust the words coming out of this white house right now. >> in retrospect, i probably would have done things a little differently.
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today in his confirmation hearing to be the next fbi director, christopher ray told the members of the senate judiciary committee that if any foreign governments offered to help their re-election campaigns in any way,thy should call the fbi. >> here's 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. >> the president of the united states disagrees. he doesn't think so. today he said, i think many people would have held that meeting.
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would hold that meeting. honorable people would not. people named trump or married to trumps would hold that meeting and did. and it was too much today even for the trump-worshipping new york post which in an editorial today entitled "what an idiot" -- that's the title of it. it said, we see one truly solid takeaway from the story of the day. donald trump jr. is an idiot. that is exactly the story that his brother-in-law, jared kushner, wanted. donald trump jr. is an idiot. of course the story that jared kushner really, really wanted was the story in which none of this ever comes out. none of it. jared kushner made the mistake of going to work in the white house and filling out standard form 86 in order to obtain a security clearance, and he checked the box -- this box right here.
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right there, that box. he checked that box saying, yes, he understood that, quote, if i withhold, misrepresent, or falsify information on this form, i am subject to the penalties for inaccurate or false statement per u.s. criminal code title 18, section 1. jared kushner filled out this form which carries a maximum five-year prison penalty for not telling the truth. this form required him to disclose that meeting, for which donald trump jr. is now being called an idiot by the trump family's beloved new york post. jared kushner is facing a possible five-year sentence tonight for not disclosing that meeting on standard form 86, and donald trump junior is the idiots. "the new york post" does not have one negative word about jared kushner in its editorial today, not one. it's all about donald trump jr. is an idiot. that is how the media generally has been covering this story.
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it's the donald trump jr. story. jared kushner knew -- he knew this story was going to come out. donald trump jr. didn't. jared kushner knew it before anyone else in the trump family because jared kushner knew exactly when he recently updated standard form 86, to include this meeting. jared kushner knew that at some point this meeting was going to leak, and if it didn't leak, jared kushner was going to be asked about it. and what could have been the most dramatic, bombastic moment of all the congressional hearings, jared kushner being asked under oath about this meeting in the hearing. he would have been forced to admit that, yes, there was another meeting with the russians that he failed to disclose others the form required him to do. we already knew that jared kushner had to update the form for a meeting that he and michael flynn had with the russian ambassador. so jared kushner had a decision to make after updating this form and including the meeting with donald trump jr. and paul manafort and a russian lawyer and her translator.
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jared kushner had to decide when he wanted that story to come out. when is the best time for him? and the best time for jared kushner was as soon as possible and as far in advance as possible of any public testimony jared kushner might give to congressional investigating committees. better for jared kushner if this meeting is old news by the time he testifies. and so it came out in "the new york times" gradually starting on saturday. donald trump jr.'s explanations for the meeting changed each time "the new york times" added more to their reporting. we now know that president trump claims that he knew nothing about the meeting until this weekend when donald trump jr. was first working on his first statement about what he would tell "the new york times." and that first statement was proven to be a complete lie by the actual e-mails that were released later.
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the president of the united states participated in shaping the language of that first set of lies that donald trump jr. told "the new york times" on saturday, saying that the meeting had nothing to do with the campaign, and it was all about adoption of russian children. jared kushner didn't want any of this to come out. that would have been his first choice. have none of it come out. and that's why he didn't put it on his application for security clearance. an application that he signed under oath. jared kushner didn't want it to come out, but if it had to come out, better that the story be that donald trump jr. is an idiot than jared kushner is a criminal. better for jared. and so the story came out. "the new york times" explained that its sources were all trump people. quote, advisers to the white house. that's how they were identified. as i said when we first discussed the sources on this program, that meant they did not work in the white house but that they had knowledge of all of
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this and they had seen the e-mails. they had read them. jared kushner's lawyers saw the e-mails. that is howthy became public. jared kushner's lawyers searched jared kushner's e-mails when they were desperately trying to get him out of the criminal trouble of having not told the truth on standard form 86. and jared kushner's lawyers were doing their due diligence. they wanted to make sure that when they updated their clients' form, they would include every contact that jared kushner had with foreign governments and foreign agents. and so they searched jared kushner's e-mails. his lawyers searched his e-mails. that's why we all have that e-mail now. jared kushner's lawyers found it. jared kushner's lawyers then amended his standard form 86 accordingly, and now the world has those e-mails. the story has unfolded as well as it possibly could at this
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point for jared kushner, who is the person who has the greatest criminal liability of anyone who sat in that room with that russian lawyer and her translator at trump tower. jared kushner is in more legal trouble for that meeting than donald trump jr. is or paul manafort is. much more. five years more. i know many people would wonder who would do that to their brother-in-law? who would leak a story that makes their brother-in-law look like an idiot, even if their brother-in-law is an idiot? who would do that? jared kushner's father did that. jared kushner's father went to prison for it. jared kushner's father pled guilty in federal court to making illegal campaign contributions, tax evasions, and witness tampering. the witness he tampered with was his brother in law. here is what jared kushner's father did to his brother-in-law
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because his brother was cooperating with federal investigators. jared kushner's father hired a prostitute to seduce his brother-in-law. he arranged to record the encounter between the two. then he had that video sent to his brother-in-law's wife, sent to his sister. jared kushner's father sent that video to his sister. who would do that? jared kushner's father would do it and did do it. jared kushner knows what federal prison is like because he was a constant visitor to his father in federal prison after his father did that and was convicted of doing that in federal court. what do the kushner men do when they're in legal trouble?
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who won't they betray when desperately trying to save themselves from legal trouble? that is the question tonight in the white house, and that is why donald trump's lawyers are trying to construct a virtual wall between jared kushner and president trump so that the president is never again in a conversation with jared kushner about anything involving the russia investigation. donald trump's lawyers know that jared kushner has given the president the worst possible advice on the investigation, including the advice to fire james comey. any experienced criminal lawyer could tell donald trump that the two most dangerous people in the white house for donald trump are donald trump and jared kushner. joining us now, david frum, senior editor for the atlantic, professor samuel bule.
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and mike isikoff, chief investigative reporter for yahoo news. professor, i want to go to you and get as many legal opinions as i can on that meeting in trump tower and what the legal liabilities are for the people involved. the jared kushner liability obviously includes the one i just described, the fact that he left it off his disclosure form and that carries serious criminal possible penalties. but what about donald trump jr. and paul manafort in that room? >> the statute is pretty clear that it's a federal crime to solicit a campaign contribution from a foreign source. it's pretty clear that anything of value can count as a campaign contribution and certainly opposition research is something that's routinely paid for in the political world, and this could be something of value. certainly the e-mail suggests they thought it might be quite valuable. so the question really is was there a solicitation of such a contribution in that meeting?
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and i assume the denial will be that, you know, we just took the meeting. we never actually asked for the contribution. but a lot depends on what went on in that meeting. i think you've got at least enough there where there's going to need to be a criminal investigation of this. and what that means is there's going to have to be testimony taken. then, lawrence, it really loops back to what you've been talking about, which is the question of false statements because there will be more testimony here. and there will be a kind of testimonial vice that will begin to close around some of these individuals because practically, politically, they really can't assert their fifth amendment privilege. they're going to have to testify in congress. they're probably going to have to testify eventually in a grand jury. then you have a raft of other opportunities for potential false statement charges. so this really can only get deeper on the question of liability once it starts getting dug into. >> professor, let me stay with you on one point here. in the case law on this stuff, the way it normally works is that the federal election
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commission is the first level of investigating of this kind of thing. they historically have been rather toothless about this. it is extremely rare for these cases to be referred over to the justice department. but in this case, because there's a special prosecutor, is it your view that this will actually go straight into the special prosecutor's investigation, the fec will really be bypassed on this? >> i think so. i mean it's clearly within the mandate that mueller was given by the appointment memo that deputy attorney general rosenstein signed with respect to russian interference in the election. i mean factually this is in the heartland of mueller's investigation, and legally as a department of justice federal prosecutor with authority to enforce federal criminal law, this statute is within his jurisdiction. so i don't see why he wouldn't be looking at this from that perspective. and the fec has enforcement capacity with regard to civil
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liability, but they're not a criminal prosecutor. just like a federal prosecutor can bring a securities case instead of the securities and exchange commission or an environmental case instead of the epa, there's no reason why they can't bring a criminal election case. and in fact, lawrence, i'm sure you recall that there was a raft of such charges that were brought during the clinton administration by a team of doj prosecutors that were put together to enforce election laws with respect to criminal violations involving the second clinton campaign. >> michael isikoff, your latest invaluable reporting is a brilliant connect the dots piece. you've got the diagram for us of all of the characters in this story and how the linkage goes from the trumps to russia. >> exactly. i mean one thing that people have to focus on here is the folks mentioned in the e-mails have layers of financial relationships.
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donald trump, donald trump jr., and the ago lair offs. i had actually interviewed months ago rob goldstone because i wanted to understand what went on in moscow 2013 when trump went there. and he laid out that there was much more to the visit than people sort of understood. there was a formal letter of intent signed between the trump organization and the agilarovs to build a trump tower in moscow. donald trump jr. was put in charge of that project. ivanka trump flies over to moscow in february 2014 to scout sites for the trump tower. then what happens? russia invades -- annexes
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crimea, intervenes in ukraine. the us and eu impose sanctions, and the sanctions tank the ruble. and basically undermine the whole project. it's no longer economically feasible. so that's a significant point when we look at trump's interest in lifting sanctions. it may have been a factor in his viewpoint of this. but when you look at the e-mails and you see that it's the agilarovs who are very close to putin, who are providing this -- offering this intelligence to trump junior, you see a lot more why trump junior was interested in hearing it, was willing to hear it, because it came from, in effect, his family's business partners in moscow. >> michael, i have to say, you are someone who has met rob goldstone and that just stops me and makes me want to do the rest of the hour on rob goldstone and show all the video of him dancing.
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>> fascinating guy. >> give us a minute on rob goldstone, who appears to be the strangest character in the story, but how serious a player is he in all of this? we see in the e-mails that's how the meeting's arranged. >> look, a former -- a british former tabloid reporter turned music publicist. he was the publicist for michael jackson's "bad" tour in the '80s, and his client was this aspiring pop singer, son of the oligarch in moscow. goldstone was looking for a way to promote emin agalarov's career, and he pitched trump and the miss universe pageant on the idea of holding it in moscow. the concern at first was, well, you know, there's a lot of red tape in moscow. things can get held up.
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emin agalarov, goldstone's client, according to goldstone, told him, don't worry. my father can make it happen. his father was known in russia as putin's builder. he'd done all these massive construction projects for putin. so there was a very tight relationship there, and goldstone was there the whole time. he was in moscow with trump, with emin agalarov throughout the miss universe pageant, and was witness to everything that went on. >> michael, i'm going to have to watch your answer to that on the rebroadcast tonight because i'm just stuck on from michael jackson to emin agalarov, how the mighty have fallen. i couldn't get beyond that. david frum, the president of the united states to this day, today, finds absolutely nothing wrong in the meeting that his son and his son-in-law and his campaign manager had with this russian lawyer. >> that is provoking, but just understand when he said that, what a punch in the head he's
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just administered to everyone who supported him over the past six months. and if you have been watching fox, if you follow conservative twitter, you can see little stars and birdies circling around their heads. until this weekend, the story was none of this happened. it was a hoax. it didn't exist. today everyone is having to make a pivot to of course it happened, and it was a good thing and completely reasonable and not literally a felony probably. and all that stuff, i have been saying to you for six months so indignantly and repeatedly in my morning twitter explosions, all of that, that's gone. so as you say, what he said most recently, it is very provoking. it's very shocking, but it's also completely destabilizing. and i think what we are seeing in these days is the upheaval in the political world caused by the president essentially confessing, yes, probably my campaign did work with the russians, but nobody should be upset about it.
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>> please stay with us. samuel bule and michael isikoff, thank you both. really appreciate it. coming up, donald trump's lawyers really, really, really want to keep him away from jared kushner finally. each year sarah climbs 58,070 steps. that's the height of mount everest. 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. so keep on climbing, sarah. you're killing it. dr. scholl's. born to move.
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president trump's outside legal team wants to wall off jared kushner from discussing the russia investigation with his father-in-law according to sources with direct knowledge of the discussions. the team contends that it isn't out to get kushner but just wants to protect the president because his son-in-law is so wrapped up in the investigation. the report comes after "the new york times" reported that donald trump's lawyers have complained that mr. kushner has been whispering in the president's ear about the russia investigations and stories while keeping the lawyers out of the loop. "the washington post" reports that after the revelation of donald trump jr.'s meeting with a russian lawyer linked to the kremlin, quote, the white house has been thrust into chaos. one outside ally called it a category 5 hurricane. joining us now, jonathan swan, reporter for axios. also joining us, ashley parker, white house reporter for "the washington post" and an msnbc political contributor and the
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author of -- what was that ashley? a category 5 hurricane story. first to jonathan, jonathan, this idea of walling off jared kushner, this is something that criminal defense lawyers do with defendants all the time with people in investigations. it's the first thing they say is do not talk to anyone else who is involved in this in any way. in this instance, they are working in the same building, and there is apparently no one in the white house who the president relies on more than jared kushner. so those lawyers have a problem keeping them apart. >> yeah. they've been very frustrated with jared kushner discussions about how to actually -- it's obviously sensitive because the president, it's his son-in-law, and it's not exactly a rosy relationship between the outside legal counsel and the kushner camp. this is not the brady bunch. there are certainly tensions there.
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you know, the way that they're explaining this to people is, look, it's nothing personal, that he's just so wrapped up in this. you know, we're protecting our client, the president. i think there's probably some skepticism about that. and on the other side of things, we've also heard that the president has been quite frustrated with marc kasowitz. so there is a lot of tension there going around. >> and ashley, one of the problems for the president's lawyers is that it would be very unwise for them to speak directly to jared kushner and to say to him, please stop talking to our client about this case. >> that's true. one of the problems in this that has sort of prevented the white house in general from doing its diligence is, for instance, just the fact of robert mueller's probe. so there were people inside and outside the white house who are saying, look, let's just do our
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internal oppo, wrap up everything in these meetings and get it out there when we can control it and on our own timetable and our own framing. but the issue is nobody now wants to talk to anyone or reveal anything or learn anything that could potentially put them in jeopardy or make them the target of the probe. so when you're in this desperate situation trying to manage all this stuff, it is, as you pointed out, made far more difficult by the fact that it's unclear who can and should be talking to who. >> let's listen to the white house response in the middle of the category 5 hurricane today when asked if jared kushner still has a security clearance. >> jared kushner has apparently forwarded this same e-mail. is he still -- is his security clearance still valid right now? >> as always, we've never discussed the security clearances. >> jonathan, can't even answer as simple a question as that, which couldn't be more relevant to where we are right now.
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>> yeah. look, i honestly don't know what the protocols are. i know that this is something that they've avoided answering. i honestly just don't know what the background is to that. but what this has created more broadly internally is there are already factional tensions and the fact that the second story that "the new york times" published cited three advisers to the white house has the sources, there is already a complete lack of trust between senior white house staff. so it's just exacerbated that, and we've had all sorts of people floating theories to us about who it might have been. and usually there's zero evidence, but it's motivated by their own personal animosities. >> ashley, the president is reported tonight in "the new york times" to have told white house staff before he left that he thinks everything is getting better, that this story is getting much better, that donald junior did a great job on hannity last night, and
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everything is getting better. >> the president does sometimes seem to have the ability to sort of will optimism for himself or his public persona, for those around him. i think the thing to watch for and that is actually a good barometer of how he's truly feeling are his tweets. as we know by now, you'll often see a lot of them, kind of angry and contentious early in the morning although i'm not quite sure with the time change and him going to paris. but he does that when he feels he's under assault. he thinks that's the best way for him to reach the public. and also him sort of coming out and doing interviews and saying things he maybe shouldn't gives you a sense of how he's reacting to a siege mentality. but he can, when he wants to, be very charming, be very charismatic and put a very positive spin on a very dismal reality. i think that's what you see in that statement. >> jonathan swan and ashley parker, thank you both for joining us. appreciate it. coming up, the house judiciary committee sent some
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written questions today to attorney general jeff sessions about that russian lawyer who met with donald trump jr., jared kushner, and paul manafort. we now know what her other business was in new york city that day. ♪ if you have moderate to severe plaque psoriasis,... isn't it time to let the real you shine through? maybe it's time for otezla (apremilast). otezla is not an injection or a cream.
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donald trump jr. kept jared kushner and paul manafort up to date on every detail of that meeting with a russian lawyer who they believed was going to provide them with official documents and information that would incriminate hillary and her dealings with russia, materials that one people indicated was, quote, part of russia and its government's
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support for mr. trump, end quote. rob goldstone, the british intermediary who helped arrange the meeting, asked donald trump jr. to change the time of the meeting. would it be possible to move tomorrow meeting to 4:00 p.m. as the russian attorney is in court until 3:00, i was just informed. donald trump jr. accepted the time change and then immediately informed campaign manager paul manafort and jared kushner about the schedule update. he didn't check with them to see if they'd be available at that time. he just changed the schedule. and apparently knew that they'd be available because presumably they all agreed this meeting was so important. the meeting was changed because the russian attorney is in court until 3:00. doing what? she doesn't speak english. what was she doing in a new york city courtroom until 3:00 p.m. with her translator? now we know.
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she was the russian representative dealing with the american lawyers who were hired to defend russians and a russian company in a massive money laundering case. preet bharara, the united states attorney prosecuting the case, said the defendants were a russian criminal organization engaged in an elaborate tax refund fraud scheme resulting in a fraudulently obtained tax refund of approximately $230 million from the russian treasury. so they were laundering $230 million that came straight out of the russian treasury. does anyone think it's possible for $230 million to leave the russian treasury without vladimir putin knowing about it, without vladimir putin giving it okay, or without vladimir putin getting his cut? putin has been estimated to be secretly worth as much as $200 billion.
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this is one way a man living on a government salary can accumulate billions of dollars. the $230 million was laundered into numerous accounts in russia and other countries, and according to federal investigators, some of that money was laundered in the acquisition of real estate, including multiple units of high-end commercial space and luxury apartments in manhattan. the trump family business happens to be selling high-end luxury apartments in manhattan. federal prosecutors do not -- did not include the trump organization as being involved in any way in this money laundering scheme. the lawyer who originally discovered this fraud was a russian lawyer, sergei magnitsky. the russian lawyer who was then thrown in a russian prison after he discovered this fraud, and he died in that prison. the authorities say that he died of a heart attack.
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one of his clients, bill browder, didn't believe that, believed he was killed in that prison. and as he told us here on this program recently, he went to work and convinced congress to pass the magnitsky act, which imposed sanctions against people and companies thought to be complicit in the fraud that sergei magnitsky discovered. that's why natalia veselnitskaya was in that federal courtroom in new york before meeting with donald trump jr. and paul manafort and jared kushner. she was there to protect the interests of the people involved in the conspiracy that sergei magnitsky discovered and ultimately gave his life for. it was going to be the trial of the century for anyone interested in russian money laundering, but then donald trump was sworn in as president, and he quickly fired preet bharara, the united states attorney handling the russian money laundering case. marc kasowitz has been quoted as bragging about pete bharara fired because he said he could do damage to donald trump.
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while he was at it, the president fired all of the u.s. attorneys in the country, and some say that was done just as a cover for his real intent, which was to fire just one, the one who was investigating russian money laundering in new york city in the real estate business. and now there won't be a trial of the century. there will not be a trial in that case because the trump justice department run by attorney general jeff sessions settled the case, accepting a $6 million settlement from the defendants instead of going to trial. and so there is much we'll never know about this case because it did not go to trial, and all the evidence did not come out. all of the democratic members of the house judiciary committee want to know more. they sent a letter today to attorney general jeff sessions saying that they are concerned, quote, that the department may have settled the case at a loss for the united states in order to obscure the underlying facts. congressman jeremy nadler, one
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of the members of the committee who signed that letter, will join us next. so, your new prescription does have a few side effects. oh, like what? ♪ you're gonna have dizziness, ♪ nausea, and sweaty eyelids. ♪ and in certain cases chronic flatulence. ♪ no. ♪ sooooo gassy girl. ♪ so gassy. if you're boyz ii men, you make anything sound good. it's what you do. if you want to save fifteen percent or more on car insurance, you switch to geico.
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russia, if you're listening, i hope you're able to find the 30,000 e-mails that are missing. >> russia, if you're listening. they were listening. joining us now, new york democrat congressman jerry nadler. he serves on the house judiciary committee. thank you very much for joining us tonight. >> it's a pleasure.
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>> i've read your letter to the attorney general. you're asking a bunch of specific questions. one of them, was nat al ya veselnitskaya involved at any point in the settlement negotiations of this case? what do you hope to find in your responses to this letter? >> well, we want to find out first of all why the case was settled for $6 million two days before it was supposed to go to trial in a $230 million case. and after the person who was really prosecuting it, preet bharara, was suddenly fired for no apparent reason, perhaps to get rid of the case. now, ms. veselnitskaya, who is the person who offered negative information on hillary to the trump campaign, when she met with them, a, she was one of the attorneys in this case and, b, she was -- all she talked about was repealing the magnitsky act, which imposed sanctions for
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people who were doing this kind of thing. so if she was involved, that would simply show part of the time. the timeline is very suspicious. was bharara fired because of this case, to prevent it beforehand? so that's one of the reasons we asked that question obviously. >> congressman, you also ask, was there any contact between president trump, the white house personnel, trump family, or trump campaign with the department of justice on this case? is the attorney general obligated to answer these questions? >> well, he certainly should answer such questions from the judiciary committee. this attorney general has taken the position, which is unprecedented in american history so far as i can tell, that they will not answer any oversight questions from democrats, only from the republicans and from the republican chairman of the committee. we have sent quite a few letters. they've been ignored, not responded to in any way.
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this is telling half the american people who voted for democratic members of congress that you don't count, and we don't have to answer your questions. >> did you get any response from any republican members of the committee when you tell them, look, they're settling this giant case for $6 million? >> well, it was worse than that because ms. veselnitskaya said she thought it was a gift at that amount. no, i'm not aware of any response from the republicans. but it does raise a different question. the house judiciary committee -- in the senate, the intelligence committee and the judiciary committees are investigating this whole mess. in the house, only the intelligence committee is investigating. but the intelligence committee, number one, most of its work is in secret. number two, its jurisdiction is limited to intelligence, to what the russians were doing, et cetera. the house judiciary committee, which has jurisdiction over the fbi, over the department of justice, over obstruction of justice, over election fraud such as they may have been
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committing here, over the firing of preet bharara, all of this over this case, should be investigating. but instead the chairman of the committee is refusing to have the committee involved in any way. and that's a real problem for getting to the bottom of a lot of this and for enforcing our laws and for figuring out if our laws need changing. >> congressman jerry nadler, thank you very much for joining us tonight. appreciate it. >> pleasure. coming up, watch paul ryan reduced to jell-o when asked a very simple question. what would he do if the russian government offered to help in his re-election campaign?
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call today. comcast business. built for business. should donald trump jr. have take than meeting? >> well, senator, i'm hearing for the first time your description of it. so i'm not really in a position to speak to it. >> let me ask you this. if i got a call from somebody saying the russian government wants to help lindsey graham get re-elected, they've got dirt on his opponent, should i take that meeting? >> well, senator, i would think you'd want to consult with some good legal advisers before you did that. >> so the answer is should i call the fbi? >> i think it would be wise to let the fbi. >> the director of the fbi, pal. so here's 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.
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>> that was republican lindsey graham, republican paul ryan on the other hand, was reduced to jell-o today. when kasie hunt asked him what he would do if the russians wanted to help his re-election campaign. >> i'm not going to go moo hypotheticals only because i think it's important we get to the bottom of all of this. i supported bob mule ter being appointed special counsel. we need to let him and his team and our investigators here do their jobs and follow these leads whfr they may go and follow the facts. >> i'm not going to go into hypotheticals. paul ryan could not say what he would do if the russians or any other foreign government wanted to help his re-election campaign. he could not say that he would not commit that crime. that is how lost the speaker of the house has become as he clings to the wreckage of the trump administration in the hope that heal find a way to get the president's signature on tax cuts. when we come back, david frum and ned price discuss the
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republican reaction to donald trump jr., yard kushner and paul man for the's meeting in which they were hoping to col include with the russian government in attacking hillary clinton. it's just uld fix it. (laugh) no. with claim rateguard your rates won't go up just because of a claim. i totally could've - no! switching to allstate is worth it.
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text to reorder blades with gillette on demand... ...and get $3 off your first order leading this agency, i will never allow the fbi's two, driven by anything other than the facts, the law, and the impartial pursuit of justice, period. full stop. my loyalty is to the constitution. and to the rule of law. >> members of congress take an oath saying the same thing but you'd never know that if you listened to paul ryan today. joining us ned price former senior director and spokesperson for the national security council and former cia analyst, also an msnbc security analyst and back with us david frum. paul ryan, could not bring himself to say that he would not commit a crime with the russians
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if the russians offered him help in his re-election campaign today. lindsey graham tried to teach his colleagues this lesson today. a lot of us didn't think they need to be taught that lesson but apparently they do. >> i hate to say it, lawrence, but paul ryan is em blew thematic of the republican party when it comes to this and lindsey graham is not. republicans have been tripping over themselves trying to find a way to excuse the inexcusable behavior of donald trump jr. look, my favorite response today came from dana rohrabacher who might as well be the representative from leningrad who said look, we should listen to everybody no matter who they are. apparently that everybody includes russian government operatives. but the important point here i think is that this is not new. in fact, this tendency on the part of republican leaders and i'm using that term leaders loosely, republican leaders to protect president trump against these unexplained russia ties predates the election. in late summer of last year, the
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obama administration approached senate majority leader mitch mcconnell, gave him the full brief on russian meddling in the hopes he would go along with a bipartisan show of force to show the russians we would not take in this and to encourage states to protect their own systems. he wouldn't sign on to it. it was an abdication of leadership. he was putting party above country. that is consistently what we've seen from republicans across this country. >> david, a politician saying i won't answer a hypothetical, every single campaign question to a candidate is a hypothetical thetical. if you are elected, will you do x. they're all hypotheticals. >> i mentioned in an earlier segment how disoriented republicans are this week. it is a bizarre thing if you're following social media or watching fox news to watch some of the cynical reactions. understand, the rug's been pulled out of everybody. what trump has done to the entire republican party to his designated spokesman, made liars
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out of all of them. they have for months been repeating the no evidence of collusion, no evidence of collusion, it's a hoax. it's a madeup story. today, donald trump is saying it's fine. actually, it's all true. it was a good thing. anybody would do it. and now how does a paul ryan react? what is the answer he can give? he doesn't know where this story goes. the story can only get bigger. he must sense this. he's in a race against time too pass the measures he wants to pass before the bottom falls out. he must also sense he's losing that race against time. that the obamacare is not going to be repealed before the end of july, maybe not ever. that makes the tax cut plan not work. so the deal he did with donald trump, he is not going to get paid. meanwhile donald trump has impunity from congress. >> ned, this is not just any member of congress. this is the speaker of the house. his member in his party look to him for guidance in all things. he was asked publicly for guidance on this.
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he refused to give the guidance that lindsey graham did today. >> well, he was asked for guidance whether he would commit a crime in the kuskt his campaign. in any other world, that answer would be a simple no. we are living in this crazy netherworld of donald trump where republicans are still claching, clinching to this idea that maybe if they stick with him for long enough, they can get health care and some elements of their agenda. at some point, they have to grow a spine and have to realize this is an individual who is not good for their country and their party. there are principled conservative who have already done that, joe scarborough just declared that last night. others like charles krauthammer agreed. we have not yet seen that from our elected officials. the question is, what will precipitate them doing that? donald trump, maybe he was prophet tick. maybe it will take him shooting someone on fifth avenue before they decide to leave his side. >> we were just going to get
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david frum's answer to what it would take. we are now out of time. ned price and david frum, thank you both for joining us tonight. really appreciate it. >> that is "the last word." the 11th hour" are brian williams starts now. tonight, donald trump takes off for paris leaving behind a world of problems. tonight, he did comment on russia prior to leaving. and on his son's meeting with the russian lawyer. the next man up may be paul manafort as the senate judiciary chairman says they have some questions for the former trump chairman. and trump's pick to head the fbi says the russia investigation is no witch hunt. we have all of it tonight as "the 11th hour" gets under way. good evening once again from our nbc news headquarters here in new york. day 174 of the trump administration. and the president is airborne

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