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tv   The Rachel Maddow Show  MSNBC  February 28, 2018 9:00pm-10:00pm PST

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headquarters here in new york. who knows what's going to happen this hour. we are used to this part earn where if it's a day that ends in why, it's a day that massive new breaks as we were going to air. we did have a whole show planned, ready to go tonight. walmart just announced it not going to sell guns to people under the age of 21 the president made a bunch of startling comments on camera today about gun safety today, totally out of keeping with all his previous remarks on this subject. therefore and for some other reasons, nobody thinks he really meant what he said. so there's chaos around those remarks themselves. then the white house communications director, hope hicks, suddenly resigned today without warning.
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our newsroom, our sort of cubicle farm to work on my show is in sort of the corner of the building here and way down at the other end of the floor is the folks from chris hayes' show and around the corner there's a couple of other shows. we're all very rarely looking at the same thing at the same time. but when the hope hicks story broke at the time, you heard something that was like a stadium wave all the way down the hall, oh, oh, oh, oh, as the news went down the floor. there's been lots going on. we had a whole show about it. and then this just happened. this is big news that has just broken from the "new york times." just in the last hour. you see the headline there, "kushner's business got loans from companies after white house meetings" by jesse drucker, kate kelly and ben proteus. here's how this piece starts tonight. quote, early last year a private
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equity billionaire started paying regular visits to the white house. joshua harris, the founder of apollo global management. during that period mr. harris met on multiple occasions with jared kushner, president trump's son-in-law and senior adviser. among other things, the two men discussed a possible white house job for joshua harris. that job never materialized but in november apollo global management lent $184 million to jared kushner's family real estate firm, kushner companies. the loan was to refinance the mortgage on a chicago sky scraper. this was loan was made, it says later on in the story, on november 1st, 2017. quote, even by the standard of apollo, the peereviously unreported transaction with the kushners was a big deal. so that loan, $184 million after
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these meetings at the white house between the apollo guy and jared kushner at the white house where they talk among other things about a potential job at the white house, that $184 million loan was one of the largest loans kushner companies received last year. but oh wait, there's more because an even larger loan came from citigroup. it lent them 225 million shortly after mr. kushner met with citigroup.
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shortly thereafter, mr. kushner met in the white house a chief executive of citigroup. according to the times or at times notes, there's little precedent for a top white house official meeting with executives of companies as they contemplate sizable loans to his business. now obviously, there's important context here in terms of what's going on with jared kushner and concerns about him in the white house. this is not the first concerning report we've had in the last few days about the presidential son-in-law and senior adviser potentially mixing his government responsibilities and private business needs in potentially dubious ways. this is not even the first such concerning report in the last 24 hours. in this new breaking news story from the "new york times" tonight they note, quote, kushner recently lost his secret, excuse me, his top secret security clearance amid worries from u.s. officials that foreign governments might try to gain influence with the white house by doing business with mr. kushner. now according to the "washington post" last night, those worries have been informed to the white house in part by intelligence intercepts. intelligence intercepts that have captured foreign officials discussing their dealings with jared kushner in the white house.
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beyond that, the associated press reports that those intelligence intercepts have revealed discrepancies in the information that jared kushner disclosed on his security clearance application. well, now tonight we learn that kushner's companies, companies in which he's still partially, he partially owns them or holds a stake in them. they have received hundreds of millions of dollars in loans from entities whose executives have been meeting with jared kushner regularly in the white house in his capacity as a senior white house official. i should note that jared kushner's lawyer, abbe lowell says that he has met with hundreds of business people, has taken no part in loans for kushner companies since joining the white house. a spokesman says his white house role has not affected the company's relationships with companies. it says stories like this that attempt to make insinuating connections that do not exist to disparage the financial institutions and companies involved.
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according to the times, we're talking about that chicago sky scraper loan, according to the times, kushner still owns the part of kushner companies that received the apollo loan for the chicago skyscraper and a stake in the entity that owns the brooklyn buildings that got that loan from citigroup. this is hundreds of millions of dollars shoved at him and his personal business interests while taking meetings with executives from those lenders in the white house, in his compass capacity as a white house official. this is worth throwing out the show for as far as i'm concerned. joining us now is jesse drucker. one of the reporters on the story tonight. thank you for running over here. i understand it was hard to get here in time. >> worked out. >> i've just summarized, again, on short notice. we're all absorbing this stuff ourselves. but i've summarized what i see as the bottom line here that mr. kushner's business interests not
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only aren't over but business interests in which he is actively invested, getting a personal benefit have received notable, and in some cases remarkably large cash infusions from people who have had dealings with him as a white house official. >> yeah, so to step back for a second, when jared kushner joined the white house a little over a year ago he quit his job as chief executive officer of kushner companies, but for the most part he held onto his ownership stake in kushner companies. he divested some small portions of his stake in the company, basically selling them to a trust controlled by his mother. but for the most part he held on to most of his stake in the company. and the way kushner companies is set up, it's hundreds of llcs and partnerships that own these various properties. he continues to hold onto a bunch of apartment buildings in brooklyn, and to a high rise office building in chicago, the at&t midwest headquarters on
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randolph street. so last year, after he joins the white house, he has a number of meetings with josh harris, who is one of the founders of apollo, giant private equity firm. and the two of them are discussing a number of things, including a possible job for mr. harris. and the job doesn't materialize. it turns out. but something else does, which is a few months after, probably, well, a few months after a series of meetings with mr. kushner, mr. harris's firm, apollo, makes this sizable loan to kushner companies to refinance this building. >> $184 million. >> $184 million, which is both a very large loan by the standards of kushner companies and a large loan for apollo. for the most part, their loans are nowhere near that size. when you look at the average loan at apollo, the average real estate loan, it's approximately
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$60. $60 million. this is essentially triple the size of their average loan. >> is there anything about that loan on its face, just as a substantive matter that looks -- if you didn't know about the meetings, if you didn't know about the communications between jared kushner and the executive from this firm, is there anything about that loan that looks financially awkward? it looks like the kind of deal apollo wouldn't typically snama ? >> so i don't -- no, not necessarily.
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other than the size, right? the size makes it an outlier. we don't know much about these loans. we know the amount. we know when the loan is due. but we don't know anything about the interest rate on the loan. we don't know anything about the cash flow in the building. we don't know anything about other potential non-mortgages but loans to the building that could affect the leverage, the terms of the loan, so, as an outsider, based on the public records that we rely on, we're kind of limited in being able to make an assessment like that. >> there's been some interesting reporting from a lot of different sources over the last couple months about mr. kushner's difficulties getting a permanent security clearance. "the new yorker" magazine reported on what were reportedly u.s. intelligence intercepts that captured chinese officials describing interactions between the chinese ambassador and jared kushner in which the ambassador basically reported home to beijing that he had brought up his own private business interests while he was discussing policy matters with the chinese government in the person of the chinese ambassador. do we have any information apart from the denials that we got tonight from mr. kushner about whether or not any of these private business matters were discussed at the white house, were discussed alongside the other things that might have brought the citigroup chairman and joshua harris into the white white house to talk to kushner? >> no. no. but you know, look, one of the
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big problems that experts will cite in the whole situation is we just have to take their word for it. there are no publicly available logs documenting the existence of the meetings, much less what was discussed at the meetings. we know from our sources that the meetings happened. and we know separately that the financial of matters happened. we have to kind of take their word for it that things were discussed or weren't discussed. and we have no way of knowing about meetings, because they don't make that information public anymore, unless we discover if on our own. so, i mean, look, the short answer is no. we have no indication that they discussed the loans, but the issue experts would raise is you have a potential issue even if he doesn't raise the loan. jared kushner is one of the most powerful people in the world right now. we know that he discussed a job,
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a white house job, with joshua harris. and that, on its own, raises concerns about the subsequent financial transaction between kushner companies and apollo. to be clear, there's a number of very, in some cases, specific, in some cases potentially nebulous triggers to determine if this actually is a violation of the ethics regulations or the law. >> or potentially a bribe. >> yeah, i'm not going to speculate about that. but you know here, when you have a situation where, you know, jared kushner potentially, threw his company, through his company seeking a loan from apollo. that creates a certain relationship between him and mr. harris, which in turn prohibits him from engaging in other sorts of decisions and conversations as a government official. we have no indication that he did that. but it certainly puts him into a kind of a zone of potential problems, right? i mean he's kind of running into, okay, now he's got this relationship potentially with harris. >> mm-hm.
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>> through his company. and that prevents him from being able to have certain types of conversation about things apollo might be seeking from the government. and we just don't know. we don't know what happened beyond those meetings, and apollo to put it in context, josh harris was, was a frequent visitor to the white house as kind of an advisory counsel on infrastructure. and apollo and other private equity firms are looking to create serious businesses on, figuring out ways to make money from the infrastructure plan. right? so apollo is seeking something from the trump administration implicitly. and as they are providing input, they had a lot of input into the tax plan and private equities ended up making quite well. donald trump had made promises
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that they pay taxes at a higher rate and that disappeared. so apollo has very significant interests at stake when it comes to the trump administration. >> while they're making $184 million loan to mr. kushner's private real estate firm that he is still financially linked to. it's important reporting and you've made it even clearer. thanks. >> thank for having me. up next here, the thing i was going to talk about before this happened, which is another jaw-dropping story we learned about actually just in the last few hours. it's been a big day, and it's going to be a big night. stay with us. -looks great, honey. -right? sometimes you need an expert. i got it. and sometimes those experts need experts. on it. [ crash ] and sometimes the expert the expert needed needs insurance expertise. it's all good. steve, you're covered for general liability. and, paul, we got your back with workers' comp. wow, it's like a party in here. where are the hors d'oeuvres, right? [ clanking ]
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tartlets? we cover commercial vehicles, too. i think there's something wrong with your sink. these are the specialists we're proud to call our own. experts from all over the world, working closely together to deliver truly personalized cancer care. expert medicine works here. learn more at cancercenter.com want us to do about what woulthis president?fathers i'm tom steyer, and when those patriots wrote the constitution here in philadelphia, they had just repelled an invading foreign power. so they created the commander in chief to protect us from enemy attack. the justice department just indicted 13 russians for sabotaging our elections. an electronic attack on america that the chief investigator called "warfare". so what did this president do? nothing. and is he doing anything to prevent a future attack? the head of the fbi says no. this president has failed his most important responsibility-
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protecting our country. the first question is: why? what is in his and his family's business dealings with russia that he is so determined to hide, that he'd betray our country? and the second question is: why is he still president? join us today. we have to do something.
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for internet, tv and voice together. click, call, or visit an xfinity store today. today is the last day of february, which usually is the shortest month of the year, however, this february of 2018, it lasted more than 20 years. at least it feels that way in terms of news years. it's all been one month. a month ago today on the last day of january, the "new york times" broke a very unusual story about a guy who had a somewhat unique role in the trump administration. his name was mark corallo.
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for a while, he was the spokesman for the legal team representing the president in the russia scandal. not only are we at the point where lawyers need their own lawyers, but lawyers need spokespersons for this scandal. and that's what mark corallo was doing for a while before he quit that job under unusual circumstances last summer, in july. the first substantive thing we learned about the circumstances of why he quit actually came months later, came from michael wolff's controversial book "fire and fury", page 260, to be precise. here's how michael wolff explained corallo quitting his job. it comes at the end of a long discussion, a long chapter about the news breaking on the trump tower meeting. so he goes into great detail about trump's efforts with his
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top staffers to try to maneuver a way out of that story without getting hurt, to try to spin that story to construct a false narrative about the trump tower meeting that wouldn't make it look so bad for them. at the end of that whole discussion we get on page 260 mark corallo writing, quote, he was instructed not to speak to the press. indeed, not to even answer his phone. seeing no good outcome and privately believing that the meeting on air force one was a likely obstruction of justice, he quit. a month ago, on the last day of january, the "new york times" finally got that full story, and they spelled it out. that trump tower meeting involving trump the jr. and jared kushner, it happened in june of 2016 during the trump campaign. of course nobody from the campaign admitted that meeting
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happened for a year, right? the trump campaign and the trump transition and administration were insisting there had been no meetings with russians by anybody on the campaign, nobody who had been in that meeting with the russians during the campaign ever admitted to it all that time. until last summer, july of 2017, when the "new york times" broke that story, that the trump tower meeting had happened. and they sort of broke that story in pieces. their first headline about the trump tower meeting was just about the fact that it had happened and who they knew had attended that meeting. they didn't know at first how the meeting had been set up. what the pret -- premise was for calling that meeting in the first place, how all those people ended up in the same room together at the same time. but in reporting out those stories, reporters from the times contacted the trump white house and contacted lawyers for who they knew had been in that
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meeting and discussed what was in that meeting and one of the people who went to that meeting, what did they think was going to be discussed there? the "times" reporter submitted a list of 14 questions about the meeting to the white house and the lawyers of the trump campaign aides who attended that meeting. that list of questions was reportedly received mid flight on air force one at president and his staff were flying home from a trip to europe. president trump's aides received the questions on the way back from the summit meeting and began writing a response. in the front cabin, president trump huddled with hope hicks. she was sending frequent texts to donald trump jr. who was in new york. a lawyer for donald trump jr. was also messaging with white house advisers aboard the plain. -- plane. the president himself supervised the writing of the statement, according to three people familiar with the episode. a fierce debate erupted over how much information should be included. the president was adamant that the meeting was about russian
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adoptions. that statement was ultimately sent out to the "new york times." that statement, of course, was ultimately sent out to the the "new york times" and that statement was of course total bull-pucky. it was issued in the name of donald trump jr. that was the statement that said it was a short introductory meeting. i asked jared and paul to stop by. we primarily discussed a program about the adoption of russian children, a program that was active and popular with families years ago and was since ended by the russian government, but it wasn't a campaign issue and there was no follow-up. that statement was not true. that was not a true statement about what happened at that meeting or how it came about. but the president himself
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reportedly supervised the creation of that statement and that it was sent out to "the new york times" to try to make this story go away. here's the important part. the next morning there was reportedly a conference call, this is what was first reported by the "new york times" a month ago today. on that conference call are mark corallo and the president and hope hicks. what transpired on the call is a matter of dispute. in mr. corallo's report, he told president trump and hope hicks that the statement they drafted aboard air force one would backfire, because it would show that that meeting was set up not to talk about adoption policy but for the explicit purpose of the trump campaign getting political dirt on hillary clinton. hope hicks responded that the e-mails setting up the trump tower meeting for that purpose will, quote, never get out. those e-mails will never get out. because only a few people have access to them.
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mark corallo was alarmed that she had made this comment about the e-mails never getting out in front of the president, without a lawyer on the phone, which means that conversation could never be protected by attorney/client privilege. and that is what led mark corallo to resign. if mark corallo is right and if all the people who he confided in can back him up, that incident with that statement about trump tower, that ended up being really important for a couple of reasons. first of all, there's the plot
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and press drama that derived from this incident. it was a matter of like a day before donald trump jr.'s e-mails setting up that meeting in order to get dirt on hillary clinton, it was only a matter of a day before those e-mails in fact came out, revealing that the president's dumb adoption statement was an overt lie. so obviously, that's in the media, that whole story. but more importantly, there is a very serious legal problem here. the president is widely believed to be the subject of a special counsel investigation into whether or not he has obstructed justice by trying to impede or block or pervert the russia investigation through various means. at the time that that air force one discussion happened last july where they're trying to cook up an explanation for the trump tower meeting and the president and everybody were well aware that the russian interference was being investigated, they knew this was a matter under investigation when they were trying to come up with an explanation that would get people off the scent of that meeting. if mark corallo is right and on a conversation that involved
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her, mark corallo and president trump, hope hicks said that the e-mail revealing the true nature of those meetings would never get out, that would seem to indicate that she thought those e-mails could be kept from the investigation from the special counsel and his investigators somehow by hiding them or destroying them or some other means. if you do that in full knowledge that there is an active fbi investigation looking at those matters, that could very easily be criminal obstruction of justice. and if that discussion, those e-mails will never get out, if that discussion involved the president himself, that could very easily implicate the president of the united states in criminal obstruction of justice if in fact he were in on that call while that discussion happened. and that's what mark corallo says happened. and after those discussions is
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when mark corallo quit. we got one other important piece of information about mark corallo. according to three people with knowledge of the request, mr. corallo received a request from robert mueller and he has agreed to the interview. according to three people with knowledge of the request mr. corallo plans to tell about hicks saying the e-mails will never get out. all the people he memorialized this experience with, he's planning to testify to mueller that the interactions looked to him like obstruction of justice
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and he was there and saw it and is willing to testify about it. and by the way, he quit over it. that reporting about mark corallo was a month ago. since then, he has had his interview with robert mueller. there's no reason to believe that he changed his mind as to what he was going to tell mueller and his investigators, and now things seem to be moving very quickly. the "washington post" reports another person was josh raffel, a white house spokesperson who works very closely with jared kushner, they were involved with internal discussions in july about how to respond to questions about the trump tower meeting during the presidential campaign in june 2016. so mueller's team formally asked the white house to interview josh raffel. nobody is confirming that they
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did. ty cobb says everyone who was going to be interviewed have completed their interview. yesterday josh raffel quit his job at the white house. he quit while hope hicks was testifying before the house intelligence committee for nine hours. during her nine hours of testimony yesterday she refused to answer any questions about anything that happened after the election, which includes all sorts of stuff, but that time period would certainly include the air force one discussions last summer. hope hicks' testimony was conducted behind closed doors, but it made headlines anyway when she reportedly told the committee that her work for president trump has required her to tell white lies on his behalf. the way the times wrote up that revelation is itself revealing. hope hicks, white house communications director told house investigators that her work for president trump has occasionally required her to tell white lies. but after embassy textended conn
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with her lawyers, she insisted that she had not lied about matters material to the investigations into russia's interference in the presidential election and its possible links to trump associates. so she said, yeah, working for trump has required me to lie. i have lied about some stuff. but after extended consultation with her lawyer, she is ultimately able to say she hasn't been lying specifically were the investigation. that was yesterday. today hope hicks quit as well. so deputy communications director quit yesterday. communications director quit today. there are a few things about this that may end up being very important. part of this is personal for the president. hope hicks is the longest stand -- standing and closest staffer to the president, at least the one who is not related to him by blood or marriage. she's closer to him than anybody else other than his kids. she and josh raffel both started off work at a new york p.r. firm where she was doing public
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relations for ivanka trump. she ultimately made the leap to work for ivanka trump's business. so she comes from the jared and ivanka side of trump world. her departure happens at a difficult time for jared and ivanka, when jared in particular has been publicly humiliated and effectively demoted in the white house related to his inability to obtain a permanent security clearance. i say he was humiliated in a technical sense. this is the headline. the white house chief calligrapher now has a higher security clearance. that is literally true. and while this, while jared's difficulties mount, including this new story from the "new york times" about him and his companies receiving hundreds of millions of dollars in investment after he took white house meetings with executives
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from those companies, the jared and ivanka part of trump world, they've been losing people left and right. josh raffel was technically a communication director, but what he was was a spokesperson for jared and ivanka. he quit as of yesterday. another close friend of jared and ivanka who was put in charge of the office of american innovation, reid cordish announced that he's leaving. hope hicks is out as well. the security clearances was sparked by hope hicks' reported boyfriend in the white house, rob porter, who was fired by the white house three weeks ago after the publication of serious domestic violence allegations against him. seriously, that was only three weeks ago. doesn't it feel like a million years? the other way to see this hope hicks story tonight, though, is just the math of it, the massive, massive churn of high-ranking, high-profile and important people in the administration, people who have already been chewed up and spats out barely one year into this
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president being in office. we literally got a bigger wall. we've been keeping a list of people who have been turfed off of the administration. i am not going to read this entire list again, because god only gave my one set of vocal chords. the white house communications office has lost press secretary, assistant press secretary. communications director then another communications director. now another communications director with hope hicks tonight and the assistant communications director with josh raffel yesterday. and if we're being complete about this, since the last time we updated this list on the air, you can now also add deputy secretary of homeland security, elaine duke who announced she's moving. the special representative from north korea policy. he's leaving after 30 years. plus, that guy reed cordish, the jared and ivanka guy running the office of american innovation, plus the senior adviser to a second, sally donnelly, who
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has just left the pentagon as well. i mean, at one level this is hilarious. that's ridiculous. they've only been there a year. but it is not normal for the united states of america to have this much instability and high-level turnover and churn at the white house. and even though now we have come to expect it because this is what it's been like, it still somehow feels like a bigger deal than most that hope hicks in particular is out because just on a personal level it's almost as hard to imagine her leaving this president as it would be to imagine the president's children leaving him as well, but maybe they're on their way out, too, as they've been stripped of the security clearances. it's hard to imagine how they will keep their jobs without them. not if they have to ask the
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callig calligrapher for information, right? when the "new york times" first reported hope hicks' departure, she is quitting a day after she gave nine hours of testimony in the russia investigation. it's something that may be related to something else going on in this helter-skelter, tumultuous white house and specifically what's going on and that the investigation has taken a sharp turn to what the white house has to know is the worst part of this scandal for them. and that is next. it's time for the 'sleep number spring clearance event'
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nbc news' big scoop today about a turn in the investigation into the president and his campaign, the turn that the president and his campaign have to have been dreading the most. since the very beginning. nbc now reports that special counsel robert mueller is actively investigating whether the president knew about the democratic e-mails that had been stolen by the russians before they were released. he has been asking pointed questions about whether trump knew the e-mails were stolen before it was publicly known and whether he was involved in their strategic release. the line of questioning suggests that the special counsel is looking into possible coordination between wikileaks and trump associates in disseminating the e-mails. which of course u.s. intelligence officials say were stolen by russia. this strikes me as the
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development in the mueller investigation that the white house was most hoping would never come. but this new reporting from nbc news says that day has arrived. joining me is one of the two reporters who broke that story. thank you for being here. >> thank you. >> i see this as something that has to be upsetting to the white house and worrying to them. because this seems to be going right at a criminal version of the word collusion. it seems to be finding advance knowledge of the russian affair. is that fair? >> yes, i think that's a really good, if you step back and take a look at it, it tells you that they are actively looking at this question of collusion and really looking at whether the president himself was involved in that, and so it kind of debunk's the president's saying that he's been cleared of any
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wrong doing and, two, that they're going to wrap up any time soon. and they're trying to get to the one piece but significant piece of this investigation. >> there's a moment from the campaign that everybody remembers, it's become sort of a touchstone in reporting when the president said at a news conference on july 27th. said, russia, if you're listening, i hope you're able to find the 30,000 e-mails that are missing. i never paid that much attention to that. sean spicer later said the president was joking. i can't tell when this president is joking or not. i'm not clued into his sense of humor well enough to know that. you advanced reporting around that in a very serious way. you say that witnesses have been asked if trump was advised to make that statement about clinton's e-mails from someone outside his campaign? >> right. >> what does that mean? >> it means, was there somebody who was not necessarily in the direct orbit of the trump campaign. could it have been somebody who
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is in contact with somebody in the campaign? was there someone who directed him to say that? was it, the questions that they're asking, was this ad-libbed? did somebody say, you know, he needs to say this? did he decide on his own that he wanted to say this? where did this come from. what's really interesting to me, as you know, because you pay attention to this closely, that got everyone's eyebrows up when he said that, what does that mean? anytime we raise something like that the white house will push back and say that's nothing. you're making a lot out of nothing. he was joking. and clearly someone like robert mueller thinks it was actually worth looking into and is looking into it. and any idea that there could be either some sort of connection from someone outside who then would be connected to the campaign. and then got to the president is another interesting point. >> and just to clarify. obviously, there's been a lot of reporting, and there's information that we have that's part of the george papadopoulos court filings, where we know there were people involved in the trump campaign who did have
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advanced notice that russia did have stolen e-mails from the democrats, including the clinton campaign. we know there were people who had that information in advance before the american public knew about it. is there yet any information that you know from your reporting out this story that the president himself knew in advance before the president did? >> that's the big, that's the question. we don't know. we know that that's being actively asked. papadopoulos is a very important figure in all of this. his value as a witness is, because of that, in a large way, because he knows, you know, who else if anyone in the campaign knew. >> he knew -- >> right, and talking about roger stone, who had this whole kind of footsie with wikileaks. and was saying he was in contact and then he wasn't in contact and direct contact and a lot of
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questions that robert mueller asked about the president's relationship with roger stone, how close they were, how much they talked after he left the campaign and roger stone says he never told the president that the president, that they never discussed wikileaks and the release. but that certainly, that link, too, is something they're looking at.
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minnesota congressman rick nolan announced the other day that he's retiring in the fall. when he leaves, that will leave only one watergate baby left in congress. the watergate babies were dozens of democratic lawmakers who were all voted into office right after richard nixon resigned. with him leaving that will leave one watergate baby in congress.
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the last is vermont senator patrick leahy. he's no longer a baby. but those were the wave of young reform-minded democrats who swept into office in november 1974. five new democratic senators, 49 new democratic members of congress, all sent to washington by voters in what really felt like a very visceral response to the water get a scandal. that '74 election played out alongside the watergate crisis in august of '74 richard nixon resigned. in september, gerald ford pardoned him. in october his top aides went on trial for obstruction of justice. by the end of october, right before the election, the watergate special prosecutor had resigned and then all these democrats were elected. a wave that was all started by a republican scandal. today in washington d.c. paul manafort pled not guilty to five of the counts he faces.
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the judge warned him again about the gag order in this case and set a trial date for manafort on these charges. the trial date will be september 17th, seven months from now, six weeks from the election. which means the trump campaign chairman is slated to be on trial just as republicans are trying to defend their republican majority in congress and trying to defend it not just from democrats but from the scandal that plagues this presidency. sku hold that thought. you'll get a free checked bag. two united club passes. priority boarding. and earn fifty thousand bonus miles after you spend three thousand dollars on purchases in the first three months from account opening plus, zero-dollar intro annual fee for the first year, then ninety-five dollars. learn more at theexplorercard.com
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it's been kind of a big day, white house communications director, another one, out. the president's campaign manager got a trial date for right before the mid terms. the president's son-in-law is accused in "the new york times" tonight of receiving hundreds of millions of dollars in loans for his family business after meeting with those executives. so joining us is michael beschloss. thank you for being here. much appreciated. >> my pleasure, rachel. not much news, right? >> a typical wednesday. let me ask you about paul manafort. is there presidential history that explains what it might mean having the president's campaign manager going to trial in
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washington d.c. just as the elections are happening. >> it's good for the democrats if 1974 is any guide as you were talking about. if that trial really begins in mid september, that's going to be in the news every day no matter what else happens. >> is there anything that -- i guess, again, just looking broadly to presidential history. we got the news that hope hicks is leaving the white house, the third communications director, on the other level it's someone who's seen closer to the president, someone who's been with him longer than anyone else in the white house that isn't related to him. is there anything we can help to contextualize the loss tonight? >> we have to know what the motive is. she's claiming she's doing this to be with her family, but if that's not true, let's look at john dean who resigned in the spring of '72, nixon's white house council, who deemed nixon was trying to make him the fall guy for watergate. so he got out. and nixon was worried about
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dean being in the white house circle, getting more secrets that he might give to prosecutors. if you take and project that on to hope hicks, it's a little bit suspicious timing that this would happen a day after her testimony. we don't know yet, we're reading the shadows on the wall. but maybe she is getting the idea that she is getting at the very least swept up in this scandal and maybe donald trump is beginning to worry she might one day be a witness against him. >> we know that has spoken to the prosecutor. we know that she has her own russia lawyer, she testified yesterday for nine hours and refused a lot of questions. michael beschloss thank you my friend for helping ground us. >> thank you, rachel. >> busy night. we'll be right back.
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i don't know why those three went out to have dinner tonight in public and let reporters take their picture enjoying each other's company. that happened tonight in washington just as the president released more criticism against his attorney general. that does it for us tonight. i feel like we haven't even started. see you again tomorrow. now it's time for "the last word with lawrence o'donnell."

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