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and brad lost his life, as well. there's many things that were lost. lives that have been forever changed. >> that's all for this edition of "dateline." i'm craig melvin. thank you for watching. good morning i'm milissa rehberger. it is 7:00 in the east, 4:00 out west. we're about to find out who will be the first person or persons charged in robert mueller's special probe. hear from an attorney about whether it could be a big fish or a little fish. how will the president react if the person is a close member of his team? a new insight this morning from a white house lawyer. new criticism of the republican tax plan. one of my guests will explain why he's calling it trickle-down fairy dust. but we begin with new reaction from the white house on the eve of a bombshell in the robert mueller investigation. no word yet on the identity of
the special counsel's target but the white house lawyer ty cobb is giving us a sense of how president trump will react if it turns out to be former campaign manager paul manafort, or former national security adviser mike flynn. here's what ty cobb said in an interview for "the new york times" podcast thursday, but was posted last night. >> i think he would be sad for them, as a friend, and a former colleague, if process results in punishment or indictments but to the extent that that happens, that's beyond his control. and obviously he's not trying to influence that in any way. but, the president has no concerns in terms of any impact as to what happens to them on his campaign, or on the white house. >> politico says cobb and the president's other lawyers are scrambling to prepare for this new stage of the investigation. sources close to the attorneys say the legal team wouldn't be surprised if the charges were
also targeting flynn or manafort's family members, or even a longtime accountant or lawyer. no official word from the white house, and said press secretary sarah huckabee sanders is turning to twitter to ramp up their renewed focus on hillary clinton and the uranium one deal. for more on tomorrow's reveal let's bring in former federal prosecutor john luro. thank you for joining us this morning. >> good morning. >> how could this all play out? will there be an arrest? >> well, this is a brass knuckles prosecution. so what they're going to do is look for somebody that they believe they can jam up and then say, listen, you have a big problem here. the only way you get out of this problem is by giving us something about people in the trump campaign. that's the ultimate goal right here. >> special counsel mueller has led a notoriously leak-proof investigation for months now. so how did this leak? >> well, it was intentional. there's no doubt that mueller has set the stage for a big announcement on monday. we're going to see a lot of fanfare on monday. we're going to see a perp walk. we're going to see fbi flak
jackets. we're going to see an arrest where typically you're allowed to surrender. here what mueller is saying is i'm going to use the shock and awe policy with respect to this investigation and this prosecution. so i think it's a very significant development. the leak was intended to build pressure, to create an atmosphere that something big is going to happen. and frankly, it worked. >> so, i guess we can assume that tomorrow's indictment will probably look bad for the president. correct? >> well, i think what's going to happen tomorrow is they're going to indict somebody on an issue unrelated to the campaign. i don't think it's going to be anything that really relates to the campaign itself. but what they're going to do is press that person to provide information about president trump, people close to him, and certainly the campaign, as will. >> does this person know who they are -- >> no. >> and be offered in exchange possibly for testimony? >> no. and that's why it was done in secret with a sealed indictment. usually, you know, in dealing
with a u.s. attorney's office or the department of justice, they give you the ability to surrender your client. it's a very formal process. here, what's going to happen is the person does not know who they are. there's going to be a knock on somebody's door at 6:00 tomorrow morning, and arrests are going to be made, and the news media's going to be right behind the agents. >> so what do you think about a time line for possible further charges? if there are going to be more. if mueller wants to turn this person into a cooperating witness, perhaps? >> that's the goal. that's always the goal. what you do is you -- it's kind of prosecution 101. you have an indictment, you have an arrest, you put pressure on somebody to say, listen, you have a bad problem here. you're going to spend "x" number of years in jail. five or ten years in jail. the only way you get out of that is by coming in, and giving us something that we can use that enables you to substantially cooperate and that reduces your exposure. that reduces your prison sentence. >> i want to play something for you, richard painter, who was the white house ethics lawyer for george bush talking about the congressional response if
president trump fired bob mueller. >> i don't see how the president could fire robert mueller without impeachment proceedings starting immediately in the house of representatives. i can't see how congress would tolerate that. >> do you agree? >> he's right. and in effect, muellers constituency is the united states congress right now. so he has to show congress that he's moving forward. he's doing his job. he's bringing indictments. he's making arrests. he's an aggressive prosecutor. that's what he's doing. that enables him to move forward without any concern that he could be removed by president trump. because if he's doing his job, then that's in effect provides cover for him. and that's part of the plan, as well. >> let cease bring in jonathan allen, national political reporter for nbcnews.com and co-author of shattered inside hillary clinton's doomed campaign and also sean sullivan congressional reporter for "the washington post." good morning to both of you. >> good morning, milissa. >> sean, let's start with you.
what are you hearing about how the white house staff and president trump's lawyers are scrambling these last 48 hours? >> well it appears that they are trying to prepare themselves for whatever happens tomorrow, whoever is indicted in this case. you know, this is going to be, politically speaking, a huge distraction from the legislative agenda that they're trying to push through right now. republicans on capitol hill are working hard. they're sort of racing against the clock to release details of their tax plan. so in terms of timing, this is not ideal for the white house right now. but they're going to have to deal with this one way or the other. looks like at some point in the upcoming week. >> jonathan, i want to get your reaction to the white house lawyer ty cobb said in that podcast that we played just a few minutes ago does his confidence signal that what paul nan afort or mike flynn did can't be traced back to the president? >> that's certainly what he's trying to telegraph. i don't think you're ever going to see the white house or the white house lawyer say something that sounds like they believe that people who have been hung up in this investigation are
going to reflect badly on the president or the campaign. their job, whether they believe it or not, is to say that none of this is going to come back to the president. that there was no collusion on the part of the campaign, that there was nothing wrong, no wrongdoing done by the white house when michael flynn was the national security adviser. and at the same time, paul manafort was the campaign manager, and michael flynn was as close as it got on national security to the president into the white house, and so, you know, i think if either one of those folks is indicted that's a bad day for the white house. >> sean, there has been renewed effort this week to steer the russian probe toward hillary clinton instead. is it farfetched to say someone may have known this was coming and possibly wanted to muddy the waters? >> it's entirely possible. you know, it's not clear that that's the case. but that is certainly possible. right now, it looks like the white house is trying to do anything it can and everything it can to deflect attention away
from the president, to try to separate him and his inner circle from the situation, from this russia investigation. the big question we look at, if, indeed, there are indictments made this week, is, you know, who are these people? how close are they to the president, what is their relationship, and then what does the white house do to try to create that distance from this situation, and will that actually be effective? or will it actually raise more questions about how close the president and his inner circle are to what is at the center of this investigation. >> so, jonathan, staying on this week's revelation that the clinton campaign and the dnc paid fusion gps for some research, is it plausible the clinton people truly didn't know about these payments? >> um, i think it's hard to believe that they were unaware of payments made by the dnc to opposition research firms. i mean essentially the party committee gets taken over by the campaign apparatus pretty early in the process.
it's hard -- it's hard to believe that nobody knew. i mean mark elias, the campaign -- basically the campaign lawyer for the clintons is the longtime dnc and democratic party committee lawyer. it is -- it's strange credibility, you know, maybe it's true, but on the surface it's hard to believe. >> do you think it's possible that hillary didn't know? >> sure, i think it's possible she didn't know the intricate details of who paid who for what opposition research. but, you know, again, i think without anybody -- without anybody being forced to answer those questions under oath, i think it's, you know, unlikely you're ever going to get really deeply into the answer of whether she personally knew. >> sean, how far can the white house take their strategy of saying that the investigation is a witch-hunt? >> well, depends on what the investigation produces. it depends on, you know, who is indicted, where this goes, and how close it gets to the president. we've already seen in reports over the last few months some of the officials, former white
house officials, former campaign officials, who have been interviewed in this investigation, and these are people who are very, very close to the president who have worked with him really, really closely, not only in the white house, but on the campaign trail last year, and so it's pretty clear from the scope of this investigation, at least from what we've seen emerge in these reports that this investigation is getting very, very close to the president himself, and that they're serious about moving forward with charges, with indictments, and so it's difficult for them to make that argument that this is much ado about nothing when you have somebody who is a respected figure moving ahead with this investigation and actually producing tangible results, it looks like, right now. >> all right. so, what do you two see coming in the next 24 hours? jonathan, you first. >> well, i think like your last guest said i mean we're going to probably see tomorrow morning some sort of perp walk, fbi jackets, the sort of thing that, you know, everybody who is being
investigated would fear happening, something that looks terrible for the white house. and so then of course big news stories about whoever it is that's indicted, whether it is one of these key figures, you're talking about paul manafort or michael flynn or if it's somebody who's more on the fringe of this story. either way i think this is going to be something that's going to be hard for the white house to talk through. that is to say hard to get their message out at a time while that story line is going on. >> and sean? >> i would watch republicans on capitol hill because obviously they're going to be asked about this. are we going to see them totally distance themselves from this situation, say they have no comment, much as they have in the past few months? are we going to see any of them try to defend the president and say whoever these people are, if they are indicted, this doesn't say anything about the president or the white house? the way these republicans kind of navigate this case can tell you a lot about, you know, their political outlooks and how they see this investigation affecting their political future in the 2018 midterms and affecting the party's future in 2018 midterms. definitely keep an eye on what
republicans in congress are saying about this tomorrow and in the coming weeks. >> jonathan allen, sean sullivan and former federal prosecutor john lauro. thank you all. well my next guest calls the trump tax cut plan trickle-down fairy dust. we'll be here to explain why he thinks there are plenty of reasons no the to trust it. (vo) more "doing chores for mom" per roll more "doing chores for dad" per roll more "earning something you love" per roll bounty is more absorbent, so the roll can last 50% longer than the leading ordinary brand. so you get more "life" per roll. bounty the quicker picker upper.
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and end property tax deductions in higher tax states. on wednesday, the gop is expected to roll out more details of their plan, which is projected to add between $2.2 trillion and $2.7 trillion to the deficit. so joining me now is jared bernstein, former chief economic adviser to vice president joe biden. jared, thanks for joining us. republicans argue that tax cuts will unleash the economy. so why are you calling it trickle-down fairy dust? >> well, for two main reasons, milissa. first of all, this plan not only will it not reach or help middle and low income households, but because tax cuts now are going to lead to spending cuts later. it's likely to hurt those families. that's part one. part two, and it's related, you just mentioned it, is that our fiscal accounts in this country are already precarious in terms of meeting future obligations. simply based on our aging population alone, we're going to need more revenues going forward, not less. and as you yourself just said,
and this is really uncontested, except by the purveyors of the fairy dust i'm talking about, this plan is going to add trillions to our budget deficit. so, it's the wrong plan at the wrong time. >> yesterday the president tweeted complaints about lack of reporting on the 3% growth in gdp. one day earlier, you tweeted gdp beat s cbo, inflation suggests gdp potential too low boo hoo. so if this growth was on obama's watch wouldn't you be saying how great it was? >> yes, in fact in that post i said the white house is bragging on the gdp report as any white house would do. so i completely cop to that. but, the point just underscores my basic point here, which is if the economy is generating solid growth rates, and it is, i don't think trump's fingerprints are on them right away, presidents claim it all the time, but so be it, put that aside, what is the
motivation for transferring a couple of trillion dollars from our revenue coffers to those at the high end of the income scale, to multinational corporations, to hedge funds, to other wealthy businesses, while the middle class is still trying to kind of catch a buzz from this expansion? so again, the economic evidence suggests that this is exactly the wrong time for a big wasteful regressive tax cut like this. >> so what about depressed areas? do they see growth coming? >> well, yes, but it's slow and it's taking too long. and that means that we're going to really need thoughtful public policies that will reach places that have been left behind. and it's pretty remarkable. we have a 4.2% unemployment rate. we have solid gdp growth. but you still have folks who've been left behind. they need public policy to help them. now that's not free. that requires some expenditures. maybe direct job creation. wage subsidies. training, apprenticeships. you can't do that if you're
transferring trillions from the coffers of the treasury to those in the upper echelons of the income scale. >> well groups fighting the repeal of state and local tax deductions are against the tax plan and realtors and home builders associations are against the repeal of mortgage interest deductions. if the gop has to give back all of this ground, how else can they pay for a tax cut? >> they're not going to pay for their tax cut. if fact, this is not a secret. they just pass budgets in both the senate and the house that allow for adding $1.5 trillion to the deficit, and as your own numbers suggested, that's probably lowballing it. what they're going to try to do, and this is the fairy dust point i've been trying to inject into this debate is they're going to make phony growth projections that say because the tax cut generates so much growth, it will pay for itself. but history consistently belies that claim. the most recent exhibit was in kansas where some of the same architects of this tax cut did
their work, and promised all kinds of economic growth, it didn't appear, well the kansas budget took a huge hit. their bond rating was downgraded twice. and eventually, the legislature there, mostly republican, by the way, had to repeal most of those tax cuts. >> all right. one last question. the president says his choice for fed chair is anxiously awaited. so who do you think he'll pick? and why is this critical at this point? >> oh, let me answer that. the second question is actually a lot easier than the first. the reason it's critical at this point is because the fed is in the process of what they call a normalization campaign which simply means that they're taking away very slowly the monetary stimulus that was so important in the recession and the initially weak recovery. well, the markets are doing well, as we know. the equity markets. we've just talked about how the unemployment rate is low. gdp is trucking along. so this doesn't strike me as a time for a regime shift at the most important central bank probably in the world. that's why i've suggested janet
yellen reappointing her would be the best choice. and she is on the list. although, others are on the list, as well. >> jared bernstein, many thank you. >> my pleasure. coming up, how president trump is stirring up the governor's race in virginia. and may even be hurting the republican candidate. five years ago, on any given night, almost 75,000 veterans experienced homelessness. we have reduced those numbers by almost half, but despite the great progress that we have achieved, there are still too many veterans who still need a place to live.
this project is a comprehensive rehabilitation of the center's facility here in downtown boston to create permanent supportive housing, transitional housing and service spaces, a facility that really delivers on society's commitment to people who have served in the military. citi® was the financial partner because they were able to come with the resources, both the capital resources and also the human resources, the experts in their fields, and without citi's partnership we probably would not be here where we are right now. the goal for us at this project is to be more effective in the services that we provide so that veterans who have committed to put their lives at risk to protect this country have a home in this country.
back to politics. later today, senator camilla harris and former attorney general eric holder will travel to virginia to campaign for ralph northam in one of the most watched governor races in the trump era. the latest real clear politics polling average shows him with a three point lead over republican ed gillespie. let's bring back jonathan allen and sean sullivan. jonathan, what's going to drive the democratic turnout machine and how close is this race going to be? >> it's hard to know exactly, milissa. but i would say this, in the past, in recent off-year elections, and this is an off-off-year election not just a midterm for the federals but the
virginia gubernatorial elections are held in years like 2009, 2013, 2017, what we've seen is that democrats have underperformed what the polling looks like. if you see a three-point lead for northam that's in territory where he's potentially in trouble or could be close. this is not a race democrats are taking for granted. and as our colleague and i report democratic national committee chairman tom perez has a ton riding on this race after having a rough beginning to his chairmanship there and so does terry mcauliffe the governor of virginia who may be looking at a presidential rain, but could be damaged if his candidate doesn't win. >> sean, what do you think? >> there's certainly a lot on the line here. a lot of democrats around the country have said, you know, the fact that trump was elected president has energized our base, they're angry, they want to push back, but you look at, you know, the special elections we've seen so far and they've not had that big success, that big win. here's a chance to have that big
victory in a swing state and to show the country that the party can organize around a candidate, and win, and they need to put up some wins on the board, or you know, their own voters are going to start wondering when can we actually notch an electoral victory. where do we go from here. >> what does it say about 2018? >> well i think -- >> go ahead, sean. >> i was going to say, you know, these races, i think in the minds of some strategists, you know, can influence the next race, and one win can beget another win. a loss can beget another loss. even though these states are different. i think the base is going to be pretty depressed. the democratic base moving forward if they do not win this race, if they're not able to -- to -- to come out victorious here. >> jonathan? >> yeah, i think sean's absolutely right there. that there's a sort of momentum factor, you know, on a practical level. if donors see wins they're going to get more money, and activists will get out more. >> all right, jonathan allen and sean sullivan thank you.
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