tv The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell MSNBC February 19, 2018 10:00pm-11:00pm PST
briefing was chanced wednesday and they did not hold up with thursday or friday. tomorrow they'll hold one and i'll get takeout. that does it for us tonight. we'll see you again tomorrow. now it's time to for the "last word with lawrence o'donnell." now it's time to for the "last word with lawrence o'donnell." >> i want to give you a tip about the white house briefings, i watch it a little more than you do. it's usually a zero information zone, easily ig noeshl and avoidable but when they say it's scheduled for 2:00 and you're planning your takeout, you could have a reservation at a restaurant for 2:00 and by the time you get to the office after that, it will probably be just about starting. don't be surprised if it starts at 3:15. >> here's my question about that, though. do they start it late and then let it run as late as it needs to go or do they have a closing time in mind and as it gets later and later in terms of when
it starts the thing gets shorter and shorter? >> that's what i've seen in the few i've seen is there seems to be a very strict end time to this thing. but the starts at 2:00 thing, that's just a suggestion about kind of when to start thinking about it. >> i'll head out at 2:00 and get some ramen. >> that'll work. thanks, rachel. >> donald trump spent his weekend in florida not playing golf because his advisers told him it wouldn't be advisable to play golf so close to the scene where 17 students and teachers were murdered in their high school. so he waited until today. the white house is refusing to answer the question, did the president play golf? which in every previous white house has never been a controversial question. they're refusing to answer the
question of did the president play golf, of course, means that the white house doesn't like the answer to the question, which, of course, means, of course, yes, the president must have played golf on presidents' day. the trump advisers who succeeded in getting him to not play golf for two days of the three-day weekend could not succeed in getting him to not tweet utterly stupid, self-centered, false, very unpresidential tweets. "new york times" columist quoting one of those tweets, called saturday night's tweet demented. very sad that the fbi missed all of the many signals sent out by the florida school shooter. this is not acceptable, they are spending too much time trying to prove russian collusion with the trump campaign. there is no collusion. get back to the basics and make us proud.
interference with our election as described in the indictment of 13 russians that was revealed on friday by special prosecutor robert mueller. the president of the united states had only this deeply perverted thing to say about russia this weekend. if it was the goal of russia to create discord, disruption and chaos within the u.s., then with all of the committee hearings, investigations and party hatred, they have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. they are laughing their asses off in moscow. get smart america! and this is where we pause to consider just for a moment what if. what if barack obama had ever used language like that in his official public communication as president of the united states? what would the reaction have been on fox news and the right
wing trump worshipping media? they criticized barack obama as unpresidential for this. and they criticized him for this. a light color suit in summer, which is actually a classic tradition. that's what got you criticized as unpresidential when barack obama was president. donald trump has debased the public language of the american presidency. he does it every day with his limited vocabulary and his ignorance of proper presidential language. the trump view of moscow is not shared by everyone working in the white house. we did see a proper white house reaction this weekend to the indictment of the 13 russians, but we had to go to germany to see it. at the annual munich security conference, a russian stood up and had the audacity to ask white house national security advisor hr mcmaster when russia and the united states would start working together on cyber security? >> what do you feel about our proposals to start a russian-american dialogue on cyber security which is rejected all the time by the american side? thank you. >> i'm surprised that there are any -- i'm surprised there are any russian cyber experts available based on how active most of them have been in undermining our democracies in the west. >> donald trump didn't clap for that. h.r. mcmaster unlike his boss
sounds like someone who read the indictment of the 13 russians. >> i would just say that we would love to have a cyber dialogue when russia is sincere about curtailing its sophisticated form of espionage. what you might call this modern-day sort of moscow-rovka, sort of enabled by modern technology. i think that day will be coming because we're more adept at tracing the espionage and subversion. and as you can see with the fbi indictment, the evidence is available in the public domain. >> president trump hated what his national security advisor said in germany this weekend
about the indictment. so he tweeted this. general mcmaster forgot to say that the results of the 2016 election were not impacted or changed by the russians and the only collusions were between russia and the crooked h, the dnc and the dems. remember the dossier and the speeches. of course, h.r. mcmaster did not forget to say any of those lies. the response shows that he is either totally compromised by the russians or a towering fool or both. trump's behavior amounts to a refusal to carry out his oath of office to protect and defend the constitution. here's an imperkt but close anolg. it's as if george w. bush had said after 9/11 no big deal. i'm going golfing over the weekend and saying it's all the
democrats fault. thomas freedman offers a possible explanation to ever criticize vladimir putin or make any attempt to defend the united states against russia's cyber attacks. we've all offered our own versions of this. i offered one last week. here's tom freedman's theory of case. either trump's real estate empire has taken large amounts of money from oligarchs linked to the kremlin so much so that they literally own him or rumors are true that he engaged in sexual misbehave while he was in moscow running the ms. usa pageant. or he trump believes vladimir
putin when he says he is innocent of intervening in our elections. either way,s he is hiding something so threatening to himself or he's critically incompetent to be commander in chief. let's get started with my panel tonight. jonathan, after a weekend after this much to deal with, feel free to grab any piece of it and your reaction to where we are tonight. >> whatever the motives that tom freedman laid out, we're going to find out about a year from now when the house of representatives, if the democrats take control and that's a big if, begin their impeachment proceedings against him. because that will happen. that's what was clear from this week, this weekend, the key word to understand, the key phrase is dereliction of duty. you're going to be hearing that a lot the president takes an oath to defend our country when we're attacked.
he failed to do that in the last several days after we learned rock solid that we had been attacked. this was a cyber pearl harbor or a cyber 9/11. so he violated his oath and the democrats will make him pay. whether they'll get a conviction in the senate and remove him from office is another question. we've crossed the rubicon on this. >> please compare and contrast the president's reaction versions h.r. mcmaster's reaction. >> the president's reaction is to himself. i think h.r. mcmaster was recognizing the threat posed in the indictment. when the indictment lays out what the russians had done here, spending $15 million, having all
that. >> i want to quote one more thing from the "new york times" op-ed piece. freedman is a nonpartisan colum nis. he wrote, this is code red. the biggest threat to the integrity of our democracy today is in the oval office. >> well, we can get desensitized to trump behaving like trump, but we shouldn't. this is a long running, consistent attack on american institutions. and i think you can argue
american principles. we used to be able to take it for granted that whatever the response was, whether we agree with it or not, the president of the united states would defend the united states against an attack, whether cyber or otherwise, we can't take that for granted with trump. one thing notable about his comments this weekend was there was a shift in how he talks about the russia matter.
he'd been saying this was nothing, a hoax, he believed vladimir putin. and now his line is this is real but it's obama's fault. so mueller did shove him off the talking points he's used for a long time. >> and we discovered who was with him. he was surrounded by people in florida who's likely to share his grievances, his two oldest sons and john kelly, his chief of staff, and the white house social media director who emulates his boss' pros on twitter. >> he didn't play golf to show respect for what happened in the school shooting and then he tweets disrespect all weekend. not just for a wide variety of
people but for those kids and for the victims by trying to use that tragedy to defend himself from the russia investigation by saying that the fbi was too busy in broward county investigating the -- failing to catch the killer beforehand. they were too busy because russia. this was a horrible slur on those folks right after this tragedy. and as for trying to blame obama, which is purr postrous because he imposed sanctions which trump tried to lift.
this president began his political career with a lie about barack obama. this lie about obama is the whole foundation of his political advancement. so you can't believe a word that comes out of his mouth. i think it's also very important to hold accountable those people in elected office all the way down through state legislatures who are enabling him. if you go back to the 50s, they call them fellow travelers. these are fellow travelers with trump being soft on russia and disrespecting our people and constitution. >> go ahead. >> i was going to say. i want to come back to this being soft on russia. to jonathan's earlier point about the 2018 elections. one of the things that's troubling here in the way trump is attacking the fbi is he has not spent one second thinking about how to protect america and
the next elections. we heard last week from all the intelligence chiefs that the russians are coming back and their likely target is the 2018 elections. and they will try hard to prevent the scenario that jonathan is laying out which is that democrats will try to retake the house. trump is not at all interested in that hapgs and protecting the american's right to choose their own leadership from russia's interference. >> the president was called out by name by some of the students at the high school who endured that massacre over the weekend in the various gatherings they had there. and clearly people thought this was not a good time to play golf. but they couldn't stop him today. we'll look at the cover of tomorrow's daily news. they have the line, may i play through, trump visits golf courses while families bury school massacre victims just miles away. it seems there's only one president capable of that juxtaposition. >> i think lawrence, whatever you think about the appropriateness of golf and the offensiveness of playing golf at such a moment, i think what we've seen in the last few days, trump can only perform a rough approximation of the tone we expect from a president after a
tragedy for a limited time and only when given a script. so he can give a somber speech but in the days to come, he can't do it. i think it's because what we've seen and know is that his emotional range is very limited. in the moment that is called for empathy, it's not there. he's a performer but what he's good at performing is anger, rage, irritation. the moments that call for a softer more efrp thet ik human tone is not there. so things other presidents might think to do, like play golf, he does because this is who he is. >> we saw mass shootings like this during the obama presidency. and we saw the president get on air force one and fly to the state, to the place where that shooting happened, bu not go there >> bother it's far abuse we have a pre d you know, as we're going aga and like aft saying, nothing w meeting. we might ge that's not supposed to respond. kill our ch is supp he's no he will this if house of representativ >> and they kno w -- and they know o flo fune t pres thank the l.a. times is reportin special prosecutor is on t verge of obtaining another important guilty plea. and what does stormy daniels have to do with the investigation? an irs agent will explain the tax fraud in the payment to stormy daniels and why that would interest mueller. donald trump has a new group of critics who he's afraid to confront or criticize. the president has not yet attacked the students who survived the attack of their high school and are now criticizing president trump. two of those students will join us. . special prosecutor robert mueller said he found new evidence of criminal activity against trump campaign chairman, are defined by the things we share. and the ones we love.
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special prosecutor robert mueller said he found new evidence of criminal activity against trump campaign chairman, paul manafort last week. and now the "los angeles times" is reporting that manafort's associate, rick gates, a former top aide to both paul manafort in his business and at the trump campaign has reached an agreement with the special prosecutor to plead guilty and become a cooperating witness in the investigation.
the indictment of paul manafort and rick gates says that both men for years were unregistered agents of the ukrainian government and hid millions of dollars of ukraine based payments from u.s. authorities. according to a person familiar with those talks, gates a long-time political consultant can expect, quote, a substantial reduction in his sentence if he cooperates. he said gates is likely to serve about 18 months in prison. joining us now david willman a reporter for the "los angeles times" and also with us is maika oyang. tell us how it's different from
the manafort case, and how helpful gates can be if he becomes a cooperating witness. >> sure. rick gates was a top aid to paul manafort for at least a decade in their consulting business and that carried over to when paul manafort was hired by donald trump to be chairman of his presidential campaign as of june of 2016. but getting to the indictment, both manafort and gates are charged with now, as of late october, by robert mueller's team of prosecutors and the grand jury -- paul manafort is accused, alleged to have laundered some $18 million through tax haven accounts in places like the grenadines, and rick gates was a partner in that crime according to the indictment. the indictment alleges that rick gates personally took $3 million out of those accounts that were in these tax havens and spent it on his own personal needs, including things around his residence, what have you. >> david, what about this notion
he might be pleading down to an 18-month sentence. that sounds like a sentence that you would get at trial would be a significant multiple of that. >> he was facing a significant -- he would face a significant multiple of that if he were convicted at trial. so, obviously, what he's getting -- what mr. gates is getting is a reduction -- a potential reduction of his sentence if he fully cooperates. what is he giving to the government? what we reported in the "los angeles times" is that rick gates has agreed to testify against his former partner, paul manafort. and that would add what one of
my sources described as a cherry on top of the government's already formidable case against paul manafort. so obviously it increases the pressure on paul manafort to be asking himself, do i really want to go to trial here or do i want to try to cut my own deal. and then the question is what does he have to offer the prosecutors in exchange. >> the only direction prosecutors are interested in generally are up, what can you offer above your rank. in that campaign, the only thing above paul manafort's rank would be donald trump. >> that's right. it would be to offer up connections between donald trump and the russians, these questions of what did he know of the hacking of john podesta's e-mails, which would be a crime of the e-mail act. and also if he had past dealings with russians and past oligarchs in some of these real estate deals.
about some of the more fringe elements of the republican right wing saying that the president should be issuing pardons immediately. they're the kind of people who you might normally ignore but the fringe in trump world becomes the center of his thinking. might people like paul manafort be hanging on in the hope of pardons or is it even possible to consider the possibility that rick gates moving into the zone of a guilty plea might provoke the president toward pardoning? >> i think that's obviously a very significant question. i'm left to wait to see what this president will or won't do. i've long since abandoned any hope of accurately predicting what he might do. i think going a little further on what rick gates might be able to bring to the body of knowledge about the totality of circumstances, is that gates and manafort obviously were representing, lobbying for the ukraine government and a dominant political party in ukraine that was aligned with vladimir putin. in fact, gates directly in concert with manafort hired two firms in d.c. to lobby on behalf
of the ukrainians, and this was a multimillion dollar lobbying operation, one of the things that was being lobied was united states sanctions against ukraine. >> thank you both for joining us tonight. really appreciate it. >> thank you. what could stormy daniels have to do with the special prosecutor's investigation? a former irs agent will join us and try to connect some dots there. first we'll be joined by two students from parkland, florida who were in the high school when the bullets were being fired. they have things to stay to the politicians who they believe have not done enough to protect them. they'll be our next guests. have you killed today? we took legendary, and made it liberating. we took safe, and made it daring. we took intelligent, and made it utterly irresistible. we took the most advanced e-class ever, and made the most exciting e-class ever. the 2018 e-class coupe and sedan. lease the e300 sedan for $569 a month at your local mercedes-benz dealer. mercedes-benz. the best or nothing. this is food made to sit down for. slow down for.
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i we worked with pg&eof to save energy because wenie. wanted to help the school. they would put these signs on the door to let the teacher know you didn't cut off the light. the teachers, they would call us the energy patrol. so they would be like, here they come, turn off your lights! those three young ladies were teaching the whole school about energy efficiency.
washington d.c. today in front of the white house, echoing the student protests in that exact spot exactly 50 years ago during the 1968 when their chant was hey, hey, lbj how many kids did you kill today. the mow toe of marjory stoneman douglas is be positive, passionate and proud to be an eagle. the students' devotion to that testament has been tested after valentine's day. since then the stoneman douglas eagles have become a passionate and tragically elegant voice in our politics. >> i think government officials should do more for students because they're sitting in the government but they're not in our seats. they don't know what it's like going to school feeling unsafe. >> this fight is not going to be easy, short. we're going to have to continue for days, months and decades,
because the special interest that wants people to get the guns are not going to stop and we aren't either. >> this is enough of these guns. this is about putting on a badge of shame for anyone accepting money from the nra. >> there had been one tweet that i would like to call attention to. so many signs that the florida shooter was mentally disturbed, even expelled for bad behavior, neighbors and classmates knew he was a big problem. must report those instances again. we did time and again, since he was in middle school. it was no surprise to anyone who knew him to hear that he was the shooter. those talking about how we should have nottos sized him,
you didn't know this kid. okay. we did. we know that they're claiming that there are mental health issues and i am not a psychologist, but we need to pay attention to the fact that this isn't just a mental health issue. he wouldn't have hurt that many students with a knife. >> i'm a high school senior who three days ago was worried about which of my friends was going to receive flowers for valentine's day, i was focussed on what to wear to prom, my focus was my grades, college accept answer and my social life. now i'm a high school senior who's worried about what memorials to place flowers at. my main concerns are funerals, gun control and whether or not i'm going to be shot wherever i go go. our innocence has taken from us. i am 17 but i've aged decades. >> we're not going to let the 17 bullets we took take us down. >> before the press gets tired
of seeing us on the news, before people change the channel, this will not be silenced. we're going to make a change. >> in the words that you just heard, please do not change the channel because after the break we will be joined by two students from marjory stoneman douglas. if you have moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis
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shame on you. shame on you. enough is enough. douglas strong. douglas strong. >> we're joined now by kevin traoss a senior at marjory stoneman douglas and adam alhonta a junior at the high school. thank you for joining me tonight. i know how difficult this must be for both of you and the week you're going through. i may ask you some questions here but the most important thing to me is you get to say whatever you want to say to america with this forum that you have at this moment.
so, kevin, with that in mind, what is it that at this stage of your experience and what you've been through you want people to know and you want people to be focussing on. >> look, we just want everyone to know that we need to have change in this country. we're looking for bipartisan solutions to really make sure that school shootings like the one that just happened never happen to anyone else again. we had to experience it and it's not fun. we don't want anyone to have to
dealver again.n. >> adam, what would you say to other high school students, other students out there in the country who are wondering about the possibility of this happening at their schools, who now go to school with this as an active fear? how should they deal with that? >> i think that if students really believe and change and they don't think they feel safe, they need to come out and show their support and rally together as a school. even as a community all across the nation to keep trying and really support us and back us for what we stand for because we really want different -- we really want to make a change. none of us want to go to school thinking we won't come home that night. >> kevin, we're hearing a lot, i saw a lot of the local coverage of what you've all been doing. and most of what we're hearing, at least in the news media's coverage of it is that you've -- you're basically making a political case most of you in
favor of more gun regulation, more gun control, banning assault weapons, limiting magazines, strengthening background checks, waiting periods. things have been attempted on the democratic side in washington but haven't gotten anywhere in years. but is that reflective of most of the students? have most of the students shared this view that there is now a political agenda, a governoring agenda necessary. >> lawrence, let me be clear. this isn't about banning assault weapons. this isn't about these kind of very partisan changes that are -- that you're suggesting. we're looking for change and the the truth is, we need bipartisan solutions to that because the democrats may want to ban assault weapons, they might want to do all these things that the right just doesn't want. and if -- to get meaningful change passed we can't use those kind of partisan tactics because
then nothing will happen. the right will look at us like we're crazy leftists. that's not what it's about. it's about making sure nobody gets hurt again. >> adam, what specifically would be the change you want to see? >> i want to see people -- i really just want to see our politicians listening. and i don't really think they are. i think what they're really talking about is the issues that don't matter. like that this was a mental health issue. because really it was a gun control issue in the sense that if anybody looked at a piece of paper and saw that nikolas cruz was autistic and purchased an assault rifle, just even got to hold a weapon like that is unfathomable and i think that this isn't really a mental health issue, it's more of a gun control issue. and people need to realize that people should not be getting these weapons and not even looked at for a second on who they are and what they want to use it for. >> kevin, the white house is saying that the president is going to meet on wednesday, apparently in washington, with some of the students from your high school.
do you know any students who have been invited to the white house? >> actually, as of now, i don't know anyone. i know a lot of people are going to tall has see on tuesday and wednesday, but the white house i don't know. >> adam do you know anyone who's been invited to the white house? >> no, i don't know of anyone invited to the white house. i know here in south florida we're hosting a town hall meeting at the bbt center and i can assure you and the president we're backing our statement that we are going to be here and at this rally and if he would like to come, he's more than welcome. >> kevin, if you got a moment with the president, what would you want to tell him about this? >> look, mr. president, you have to listen to us. we've been through it. you have to enact real change. i saw you on the campaign trail, maybe i didn't vote you or my parents didn't vote from you, i saw on the campaign trail, you wouldn't take money from the nra, you would be independent,
you wouldn't be beholden to the interest groups that you would care about the people, that's what i'm looking for now. i'm looking for you to care about the american people, the victims in parkland, the people of south florida who are just struggling after this tragedy. >> adam, if you got time with the president, what would you say? >> if i got time with the president, lawrence, i think i would really tell him that he needs to look back at what he said a couple months ago. he once told the american people that we would come first. and i think his personal beliefs are coming first. and i think he is coming first at the moment. and it really doesn't matter what he wants, because we are the american people and if we really truly were to come first in his perspective, then that's what he would do. he would sit down and he would listen to us and he would stop with all of his trying to put
this onmental health or russia and he would look us in the eye and tell us he's going to make a difference. >> thank you for joining us tonight. i appreciate you taking the time. i'm very sorry for your loss and what you've been through and what i know you and your families and the community are going to continue to go through. thank you for being here. really appreciate it. >> thank you for having us. >> thank you. >> we'll be right back. more than a thousand workers are starting their day building on over a hundred years of heritage, craftsmanship and innovation. today we're bringing you america's number one shave at lower prices every day. putting money back in the pockets of millions of americans. as one of those workers, i'm proud to bring you gillette quality for less, because nobody can beat the men and women of gillette. gillette - the best a man can get.
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contribution or campaign expenditure by anyone. michael cohen thought that put him in the clear legally. he ended his statement with his loyalty pledge to donald trump, i will always protect mr. trump. in 2011 stormy daniels gave an interview with in touch weekly. in that interview she describes her sexual relationship with donald trump who was then married to his current wife. there's talk about it possibly being a violation of campaign law, but it might also be a violation of tax law, and that could allow special prosecutor robert mueller to test just how much michael cohen is willing to protect donald trump. if michael cohen is facing jail time in a tax fraud case because of this $130,000, donald trump
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for tonight's "last word" we're joined now by martin shealer, a retired branch chief of the criminal justice division. i want to take a look at this $130,000 that michael cohen says he just out of goodness of his heart gave to stormy daniels. you see a possible tax fraud case in that. outline that for us. >> two words, plain conspiracy. when i heard first heard about this payment i wasn't looking at it from a campaign contribution but as an experienced irs agent. and my question was if this was a straightforward payment for hush money, why didn't michael cohen just write out a check from his personal checking account and made it out to stephanie clifford, stormy's taxpayer name? instead he went through all these conniptions in terms of misleading and concealing the payment from the irs and anyone
else. and the way he did this was he sets up a delaware shell company called essential consultants. he then processes payment through this shell company to a fake new, a pseudonym called peggy pederson, which was a name fabricated by cohen as well as everyone else as part of the nondisclosure agreement, received a pseudonym, a fake name to further conseal this agreement and this payment. so when i see -- so you have an agreement which is the first thing you need in a conspiracy, the nondisclosure agreement. and then you have the overt acts such as the setting up of the shell company, the fabrication of names and the final payment is through an attorney-client bank account made out to a peggy
pederson, another fake name. so if i'm the irs how would i know that stephanie clifford received this $130,000? and one of the final things i would suggest is did michael cohen set up -- get an fein number, a federal employment identification number when he setup the shell company? >> and did he issue a 1099 to stephanie clifford and to the irs reporting the full $130,000 or did he issue a 1099 in another name. stormy daniels, peggy pederson? and i'd throw out how about honey bunch since that's the way she was referred to. >> the 1099 is crucial because it has to be to a real name or it's tax fraud. that real name has to have a real social security number or it's tax fraud.
there's so many tripwires around the 1099 for tax fraud. and if donald trump knew about this and michael cohen was talking to trump about pulling this off, wouldn't donald trump be part off that conspiracy, the special prosecutor would be able to focus on that? >> okay, a couple of things here. there was a recent new yorker article with regard to a karen mcdougal, a playmate has was also a paramor, and in her personal notes she put down no paper trail for him. i'll leave it to the viewers as to him, who might that be. what we have is pattern here. >> martin, i'm sorry. we're going to have to leave it for the viewers tonight. i think you're onto something really important about the question for michael cohen, next time someone gets to and him a question is did you fill out a 1099 on that $130,000, whose
name is on it, whose social security number? martin shields gets tonight's "last word." "the 11th hour" with brian williams starts now. "the 11th hour" with brian williams starts now. tonight, donald trump back at the white house after a florida weekend tirade in the wake of the mueller indictments during which he managed to link the florida school shooting to his own legal trouble. then he went after obama. meanwhile this was not a holiday weekend for the mueller investigation, and we've got new details tonight on the former trump campaign staffer ready to plead guilty. and do the surviving parkland students in their anger and grief represent the best chance to do something about the mass shootings that have become a predictable part of our american life? "the 11th hour" on a monday night begins now. well, good evening once again