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tv   AM Joy  MSNBC  March 17, 2018 7:00am-9:00am PDT

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you know what's not awesome? gig-speed internet. when only certain people can get it. let's fix that. let's give this guy gig- really? and these kids, and these guys, him, ah. oh hello. that lady, these houses! yes, yes and yes. and don't forget about them. uh huh, sure. still yes! xfinity delivers gig speed to more homes than anyone. now you can get it, too. welcome to the party. that is a wrap of this hour. i will see you again at noon. for now settle in for "am joy" with my good friend joy reid. >> that's a determination we would leave up to attorney general sessions. but we do think that it is well
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documented that he has had some very troubling behavior and by most accounts a bad actor and should have some cause for concern but that would be a determination that doj would have to make. >> good morning. welcome to "am joy." last night, attorney general jeff sessions fired andrew mccabe. that act of cruelty was from an administration that had seemed determined to tarnish the reputations of anyone involved in investigating donald trump. mcc abe, however, did not go quietly. in a statement he said, quote, i am being single d out and treat this had way because of the role i played, the actions i took and the events i witnessed in the aftermath of the firing of james comey. trump, meanwhile, did a little twitter victory lap calling news of mccabe's firing, quote, a great day for democracy.
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clint watts, former fbi special agent and jill winebanks, former watergate suppression prosecutor. to your reaction not just of the firing of andrew mccabe but number one, because he leaked to reporters and lied about it, without having seen the reporting and, number two, doing so, literally, 24 hours before he would have been vested with his full pension. >> yeah. it's really stunning. i would say this. we don't know what's in the report. maybe there's something incredibly egregious. and at the same point, usually any violation of candor is a much bigger deal than the context. that being said we've seen nothing to address this out in the public and we've seen the president push aggressively and even mention taking his pension. essentially, he would lose his retirement, which makes mccabe's statement that came out very late last night seem so much more believable, which is an entire suppression operation by the president and those closest
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to him to remove any witnesses to the russia investigation or to the comey firing. i think attorney general sessions should do that immediately, give us some indication of what justified this firing. as of right now it look like a hit job on mccabe. >> in his statement, lengthy statement i have here from andrew mccabe in which he talks about the fact that the oig information, shared with legal counselor, one of only a few people that had the authority to do that. it was not a secret. it took place over several days and others, including the director, were aware of the actions of the reporter. the idea that i was dishonest is just wrong. this is part of an effort to discredit me as a witness. on that point, jill winebanks, somebody who witnessed a president who attempted to obstruct justice by going after the investigators, there's a pretty blockbuster report in foreign policy magazine that talks about donald trump
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launching a campaign to discredit potential fbi witnesses. and it notes the fact that james comey told contemporaneous three people about his interactions with the president of the united states in the oval office in which he says he was asked to stand down on the investigation of then national security adviser michael flynn, who we all know was getting money from foreign entities, including russia and turkey. he was asked, according to comey, by trump, stand down in that investigation, felt uncomfortable with being asked for a pledge of loyalty. he told three people, jill. he told andrew mccabe, who has now been fired. he told jim bakker, who has now been reassigned. he told james rybicki, his then chief of staff, who was forced out. here is a tweet from donald trump, crowing in december of 2017 about -- well, about basically mccabe, saying he's racing to retire with 90 days to
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go and crowed in december 2017 about james baker being reassigned. do you see evidence here about donald trump has been on a witch hunt against potential witnesses against him? >> well, i can finally agree that there is a witch hunt, not the one that donald trump is talking about, but you're right. there is a witch hunt. there is a serious effort, as part of an obstruction of justice, to make the fbi and the department of justice and, therefore, special counsel mueller look bad. and trump has been insistent and diligent in going after people. i think that a jury, when they hear his testimony -- that is, mccabe's testimony, will have to evaluate if he was fired for cause. i think it's unbelievable that before he's had a chance to appeal, he was fired. normally in the senior system of our civil service, he would have gone through an appeal before any action was taken. and this just makes it look more
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and more partisan and political that the reason he was fired has nothing to do with anything he did. his statement was very compelling. but as has been said, we need to see the ig report. maybe there is something there that's so egregious and he didn't address in his statement last night that we would agree that he should be fired. but at this point, i would say in the context of all we've heard, would not think that was the appropriate action less than 50 hours before he would have been fully vested in his pension. >> especially since donald trump again was actually hinting and telegraphing that he wanted him fired before he could get his pension. again, this is a december 23, 2017, fbi deputy director andrew mccabe is racing the clock to retire with full benefits. 90 days to go. in addition to that, i'm going to go to you on this, nick. in january had year, this is donald trump being asked by a
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reporter whether andrew mccabe should be fired for his interactions with a reporter. take a listen. >> should mccabe go, mr. president? >> mccabe got more than $500,000 from essentially hillary clinton and is he investigating hillary clinton? >> that isn't true. he never got any money from hillary clinton. his wife ran for a state senate seat. she lost. after her campaign was already over, he was then assigned to the hillary clinton e-mail case. there is no there there. do you see in all of what we've seen since last year evidence of an orchestrated effort to discredit the potential witnesses to obstruction of justice? >> and to discredit the fbi. this is exactly what they did with james comey. he had released information, which he shouldn't have done. mccabe has released information, allegedly, that he shouldn't have done.
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it's jeff sessions who came up with the pretext as to why comey should be fired because of the statement he made regarding hillary clinton. and now they've come up with what looks like another pretext as to why they should fire mccabe and make an issue out of this. it's all political. it's all trying to undermine the investigation that's being conducted by the fbi. it's designed to undermine the fbi. it's designed to undermine the mueller investigation. and it's designed to undermine our rule of law. we got rid of the king in 1776 and trump thinks suddenly we're reinstating it. that is not going to happen. the court also not allow it. >> the difference between the trump we're used to them seeing slagging people who criticize
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donald trump. now essentially trying to de denegrate the fbi. >> this comes out of an older playbook, kgb playbook. four-point plan for how propaganda and agents were to operate against the cia and u.s. law enforcement. first was to use activities that would demoralize, discredit or disinform about their operations. then they would go after individual agents. then they would go after their leadership. donald trump is literally playing by the russian playbook on this. you know, i've joked from time to time it appears there's some russian advisory team in the white house. he has learned this on his own. he understands that there's value in doing this. what he is doing is completely dismantling law enforcement. he plays that little trick where he says, but i'm not talking about the line officers of the fbi. i'm just talking about your
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corrupt leadership. this is the corrupt leadership that took us through 9/11, the quote, unquote, corrupt leadership that caught spies and helps us capture terrorists every day. if there's a terrorist attack tomorrow, they will all be leaning on those same fbi officers and trying to use them to protect this nation. this is a disgusting disgrace that donald trump would allow this to happen. but he's engineering it. >> two ways to look at this. so clint watts, one of them is the idea that this is an attempt to silence anyone else in the fbi to have a chilling effect on even the idea of investigating donald trump. do you see any evidence that that is already taking place? >> no, i haven't seen any evidence. i think, if anything, it's probably really reinvigorated the fbi to try to be as nonpartisan as possible and keep doing their job investigatively. part of the reason comey came out in the 2016 period through
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the e-mail briefing in july of 2016 was because he didn't want to be part of a partisan back and forth. he was nervous about it being politicized within the doj. mccabe's statements last night he talked about the politicization both back then and now in terms of the fbi and the doj. i'm not convinced that fbi agents are trying to avoid making the president uncomfortable. if anything, i think they're going to be more aggressive and even more particular about their investigation and make sure whenever they move forward they do it exactly right. i think we saw that this week with the subpoena of the trump organization. rather than just asking for records, they got it on paper and went through the legal process to do that. i think they've seen the spin going on out there in the public and their way to control that is to get everything in writing and do it very deliberate. >> a way of discrediting these witnesses, essentially being able to make the case that these people that james comey contemporaneous told about being pressure bid the president, now
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they have a grudge. there's a reason to discredit them and doubt their credibility, because these three men have now what they can say is a grunl against the president. do you think that will work? >> i don't think it will work. i think juries are very smart about being able to evaluate the credibility of testimony. in this case i think the witnesses, let's face it, have pled guilty to perjury. so there's already admitted liars who will be testifying and the prosecutor can deal with that. i also want to mention, first of all, this seems like an enemies list, which reminds me of nixon's enemies list. the president has gone after specific people and agencies and is undermining them. and that's part of what happened during watergate. it's also pretty ironic that attorney jeff sessions, who how many times did he say i can't
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recall, i can't remember, is firing someone who did remember, who testified and now says i did the best i could. i was authorized to do this. i think we have to wait. no matter how thin the pancake, it has two sides and we haven't heard both sides. we haven't really heard the ig's side let alone hearing the side of the defense. >> yeah. >> so i want to wait until i hear what mccabe's story is in rebuttal to whatever the ig says. >> absolutely. my guest also all be back. interestingly enough he's also being very selective, ag sessions. we haven't heard anything about those rumors that the new york fbi was leaking to people like rudy giuliani. up next, we'll talk about what the mccabe firing will mean for the mueller investigation. stay right there. with fidelity wealth management you get straightforward advice,
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all right. we have breaking news of the daily beast betsy woodruff reporting that donald trump's personal attorney, john dowd, has told the daily beast just this morning that he hopes the deputy attorney general rod rosenstein will shut down the russia probe. firing of the deputy director andrew mccabe sent by the daily beast along with donald trump's most recent tweet on the matter. dowd reportedly said i pray acting attorney general
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rosenstein will follow the brilliant and courageous example of the fbi office professional responsibility and attorney general jeff sessions and bring an end to the alleged russia collusion investigation manufactured by mccabe's boss, james comey, based upon a fraudulent and corrupt dossier. let's bring in betsy woodruff now, of the daily beast and msnbc contributor. is this a wish being put forward, in your view, by john dowd, or prelude to the president of the united states calling on rod rosenstein to end this investigation? >> i can tell you for sure that this is what john dowd wants to happen. just to be crystal clear, he followed up with me in another e-mail saying that he felt the mueller probe should be shuttered, based on the merits. he doesn't want to use the word fired here but rather shutting down. what i can tell you, what i just don't have evidence yet is whether or not there's a concerted effort to close down the probe on the part of the
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white house. john dowd has a bit of a penchant for sometimes speaking out of school a bit. he's not always exactly on message. sometimes he says things that aren't always the most useful comments to his client, the president's legal situation. that said john, of course, is the attorney for the president. and he told me in a follow-up e-mail when he gave me that comment he was speaking on behalf of the president in his capacity as counsel for the president. so that's what he told me. and i think it's pretty clear what he said he hopes happens and the way he was saying it. >> did he clarify when he said he was speaking on behalf of the president that he had spoken to the president before making that statement to you? >> he did not tell me if he had spoken to the president about this or not. >> stay with me for a minute, betsy. i think we have ari melber on the phone as well, our legal eagle inside 30 rock. what do you make of this, ari, the idea that the president's personal lawyer would follow up
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on the sacking of andrew mccabe by saying now let's end the entire investigation? >> this is a significant story. it comes not from a commentator or a, quote, ally of president trump but from his criminal defense attorney at a very tense time, as you know, joy, because we are in the morning after the very late night and unusual firing of the number two official at the fbi who is, of course, what we call a fact witness to the obstruction issues around james comey. the next morning betsy woodruff with a big story here. they're not quiet. they're not letting this play out. making another on-the-record move, the white house's criminal defense attorney for the president saying follow the example of what jeff sessions did last night and shutter this probe. it suggests, in a bad way, that the doj process and the
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president's criminal defense are together. and that's not my inference. that's what john dowd said on the record. he's calling for this in response to what jeff sessions did late last night. >> to go back to betsy for a moment, did you take this statement, i pray that -- betsy woodruff from the daily beast. i pray that acting attorney general rod rosenstein will follow the courageous and brave example of attorney general jeff sessions and bring an end to the alleged russian collusion investigation based on the corrupt dossier. did you take that, as a reporter, as a message to rosenstein or simply a comment upon what the president, i guess, hopes rosenstein will do? >> that's a good question. you know, if the white house wants to communicate their wishes to rosenstein, they can. the deputy attorney general is one of the only officials in the justice department who, in my
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understanding, actually has the authorization to speak with the white how. usually there's a lot of very thick walls and procedures in place for communications between the white house and the justice department. and i know ari will correct me if i'm wrong about this. the deputy attorney general is one of the people who can communicate easily with the white house. if the president wanted to tell rod rosenstein that he would like to see mueller get fired, he he can do that. he wouldn't need to have his personal attorney make a statement like this. i'm disinclined to think that this statement is part of a sophisticated plan to covertly communicate to rosenstein in part because coupled with the quote that we just read, john dowd also sent me kind of a musing paraphrase of tennessee williams cat on a hot tin roof. i have to confess i'm the world's worst english major and have not read "cat on a hot tin
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roof." for those who have, dowd compared the character named brick to jim comey and the odor in a room to corruption in the fbi. so this is -- i don't think it's a statement coming from someone speaking in a really formal, strategic, polished way. i think rather this is a statement coming from an attorney who woke up and saw what he thought was great news for his client and decided to share his excitement with a reporter on saturday morning. >> indeed. let me widen the panel out to include criminal defense attorney, seem seema. discredit potential witnesses with him, three people that comey contemporaneous share d that president trump pressured him. all three of them have been reassigned or sacked. they're all gone.
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add to that don mcgahn reportedly threatening to resign over donald trump trying to push to have mueller fired outright. >> right. >> now you have his personal lawyer after mccabe is sacked, coming out and saying he hopes now that rod rosenstein will do the deed and end the probe. do you see elements of witness tampering and obstruction of justice? >> i do think witness tampering. i think you're getting close to that. you're trying to interfere with this prosecution or investigation for potential prosecution that is not going to end any time soon. >> right. >> just because someone says end the prosecution, it's like saying, cucumbers. it means nothing. he's the boss. mueller gets to do what he wants that the point because he has a valid basis to investigate. and he is building that foundation of several other indictments, whether he's going to get to trump is a different story. >> we've already seen evidence that this administration, nick, will use creative means to get done what they want to get done.
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they got rid of andrew mccabe based on this lack of candor standard, fireable offense in the fbi. they wormed around till they could find a way to get rid of him. they would have to fire mueller for cause. >> let's step back a minute. if we hadn't had mccabe fired last night at 10:00, if we hadn't had this statement by dowd this morning that was probably orchestrated by trump, the whole purpose of this is to take stormy daniels off the front page of the paper. but for this, the lawsuit that was filed on behalf of donald trump personally, adding a $20 million damage claim would be the major story even starting here this morning. this is very orchestrated. it's very well thought out. what trump does is once he starts getting bogged down in one scandal, he wants to avert attention, he starts another scandal. and the idea that simply saying
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that rod rosenstein should drop the investigation is ridiculous. nobody believes that's going to happen. but yet it decrcreates a whole of chatter and discussion to divert everybody away from a scandal that is really start in to hurt this administration. >> equally ridiculous was the fact that it was breaking news that mueller subpoenaed the trump organization. because it is not breaking news. it is just the appropriate steps that a prosecutor takes. listen, you don't just call up the other lawyer and say dude, can you send me the docs, please? you have to document. >> it wasn't -- >> it's the appropriate steps. >> did the issue of the other pending lawsuit, the stormy daniels lawsuit, come up in your conversations with dowd? >> it did not. one thing i can tell you, that i can break on air, i've been e-mailing with john dowd back
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and forth this morning. he just e-mailed that he hopes i will share with you all he was speaking in his personal capacity and not speaking on behalf of the president. >> what did he say to you before? >> i asked him are you giving me this quote on baf of the president, he replied yes, speaking as his counsel. i put that in the story. that's what the story ran. now he's e-mailing me to walk that back and that he wants people to view this as him speaking in his personal capacity and not on behalf of the president. that's another e-mail i've gotten from dowd this morning. >> stay with me, betsy. ari, let me go to you on this. he is the attorney, the representative of donald trump. can he then divorce himself from his comments and say he's now just speaking for himself? as his lawyer isn't he always speaking for his client? >> no. i think what he said stands. if he wants to retract it because of pressure or nervousness about this strategy, that's on him. and i respect betsy reflecting
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accurately what she's hearing from her sour sources as she's hearing it. the original report does stand. he said these words in the context of the late-night firing of deputy director mccabe, fact witness to obstruction. this is another explosive moment, joy, where i don't think any of us knows what happened last night and how it will affect the obstruction probe yet. we don't know yet how mueller will view it. it is possible it could be as significant as the original comey finding in the sense that his investigator also find it's not on the merits of mccabe's record but an attempt to interrupt the process and what happened last night could be another element of obstruction that ultimately hurts the president and people around him. we just don't know yet. to use a nonlegal term, joy i think we're seeing something of a little freak out from people around trump, trying to turn
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this and make sure it lands the way they want. but it's so hot they don't know how it's going to land. we haven't seen the ig report. one more thing coming up with you and betsy in your panel, which is, yes, there are people at the white house who are allowed to communicate with rod rosenstein but, no, they are not legally allowed to do that in a way that tries to stop the probe. we're seeing a dance where jeff sessions fires a fact witness last night and the president's lawyer gets up this morning and says that's a good thing and we should end the probe. there's a lot of questions about whether they are adding to the evidence of obstruction as we speak, as your show goes on. >> yeah. and, betsy, did you get a sense as you were e-mailing back and forth -- to remind our viewers who are just tuning in, betsy woodruff, who has a blockbuster story in the daily beast that donald trump's personal lawyer responding to the sacking of andrew mccabe, deputy fbi director, responding to his
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late-night firing ahead of him -- 24 hours ahead of him being able to get his full pension. response from the personal lawyer of the president of the united states, john dowd, said to betsy woodruff he prays that rod rosenstein will follow the brave and courageous act by jeff sessions and bring an end to the russian collusion investigation base d on the fraudulent dossie, dah, dah, dah, dah, dah. did you get a sense from him that he was revising his statement because he heard back from the white house? >> i honestly couldn't say what the impetus was to dowd revising his statement. >> did he reach out to you? >> dowd initially said he was speaking on behalf of the president. that's kind of the job of the
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white house press office, to make sure that people don't say things like this. it wouldn't surprise me but i can't give you any information either way on whether or not he heard from the white house this morning. i just can't say. >> did he specifically ask you to revise your story and that he wanted his statement to be revised as printed in the daily beast right now? >> he said -- hang on one second. he just asked me to clarify speaking on behalf of myself, not the president. >> interesting. >> so this is not particularly formal language. this is basically dowd saying he wants the statement that he gave me this morning, which he initially said was on behalf of the president, to actually be treated as if it's on behalf of himself. that said, that doesn't change the significance of this story. the fact that the president's personal lawyer is urging the acting attorney general to terminate the mueller investigation is extraordinarily significant. whether he wants us to attribute this to the president himself or
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not. but clearly what we're seeing is a situation of someone who may be having some second thoughts about their candor zblin deed. would you be surprised if we saw an official statement from the white house, disavowing what john dowd is saying? >> i wouldn't be surprised about anything. i guarantee you john dowd is standing right next to his client, donald trump, while all of this is going on. >> that's good. >> could you ever do this, this back and forth? to me you're on the job all the time. if you are trump's lawyer, you're trump's lawyer. you don't just go calling into tv shows or reporters and making statements about your client and then say, it's off the record. you don't do that. >> the only way that's done is because donald trump is his own lawyer. he is calling all the shots. he's calling all the legal strategy and he's basically pulling the strings on his various lawyers, telling them what to do. i would like to know when that statement was made, where was donald trump and where was john dowd? >> betsy woodruff, the flowery
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language in the statement i find interesting. there is a way that people around donald trump speak. it's very hyperbolic. sort of the brilliant leadership of attorney general jeff sessions, who donald trump has been disparaging almost since he was sworn in, to talk about the alleged russia collusion investigation. i don't know how much experience you have with john dowd. is this a typical way that he speaks? >> i would say this is par for the course for dowd. one thing about him, he's sort of seen as a colorful, unusual character. he hadn't been working at this law firm the last few years, his hiring by president trump was almost -- i might get another e-mail for saying this. almost slightly stepping out of quasi retirement. i might get an e-mail for saying that. dowd hasn't been a major central
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player in the washington, d.c., legal community for some time. he's an eccentric guy. another detail about this is that for years and years, dowd has sent all of his e-mails in purple font, using the font comic sans. he has been sending e-mails in purple comic sans font probably for at least a decade, i think. he just is kind of a quirky guy. and i think that his statement about the -- his characterization of sessions is probably another piece with dowd just having a comparatively quirk quirky personality. >> comic sans purple font, very interesting note. >> let's bring our own kelly
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o'donnell, our white house reporter who is standing by. apparently kelly has new reporting to bring to us. kelly, what have you got? >> reporter: i've also been in touch with john dowd. we are all covering this story on an ongoing basis and have had a lot of relationship with him during this process. and i don't want to be in the position of critiquing any other reporting, so let me be clear about that. he is saying that the daily beast used firing mueller is just wrong. and his statement does not say fire. he does say he wants an end to the investigation on the merits. so, is there some hair splitting there? well, rod rosenstein is the deputy attorney general, is the supervisor of special counsel robert mueller. he has a judgment call to make through the process about when it begins and ends. we have all the indications that mueller is still at work and perhaps even expanding his investigation base d on recent
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subpoenas to the trump organization and the ongoing work there. from the outside we have no timetable on what the mueller investigation would be. what dowd is say ing ing to me because of the mccabe firing, andrew mccabe, who had been the number two at the fbi, that that raises questions about the whole process and it raises new questions that rosenstein, dowd believes, should consider when looking at the timeline of this investigation and his supervisory role. is there a distinction between calling for the firing of mueller and asking rosenstein to consider ending it? there is a distinction. the impact is still important. an attorney for the president is trying to hasten the end of this investigation based on the events we saw unfold last night with the firing of mccabe. are these dots to be connected? but dowd is saying to me it was never his intention to say fire mueller but that the process itself would continue to roll forward. because of the mccabe firing, he
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sees that as an important juncture for rosenstein to consider. that he the interpretation given to me from dowd. i think people will assess for themselves how volatile this is. joy? >> kelly, where is john dowd getting the notion that the daily beast report said or mentioned that he called for anyone to be fired? i've just read through the story for a third time. nowhere in this report does betsy woodruff report that he called for anyone to be fired, for rosenstein or mueller to be fired. he essentially sent msnbc news the exact same statement he sent to the daily beast. did he literally tell you he's alleging that the daily beast and betty woodruff called fsaid called for the firing of mueller? because she didn't. >> my understanding is that the headlines are written by someone other than the reporter and that the headline said something about firing mueller.
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>> but it doesn't. betsy in your report, i don't see in here that you're insinuating that john dowd called for the firing of bob mueller. >> that's correct. the initial headline written by an editor did use the word firing. we changed that headline and they get sort of massaged over the course of the story. in the text of the story, obviously, about in the text of the quote that dowd gave us, he calls for an ending of the mueller probe. honestly, i think you could use the word firing here, depending on the way that you intend to use it, as kelly said. this is a bit of hair splitting. the reality is that the attorney for the president said the mueller probe needs to be shut down. is shutting down identical to firing and identical to termination? it become a philosophical distinction. it's understandable that the distinction that dowd cares about. our headline doesn't use firing. what kelly is say something
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absolutely correct. the point that dowd is making is an important one, it is essentially hair splitting. >> in your discussion with john dowd, is he now saying he's speaking on behalf of the president and calling for the end -- an end to the russia probe? >> reporter: well, i always assume he's speaking on behalf of the president so i did not go through that particular point. we're not reaching out to john dou dowd, citizen of washington, d.c. we're reaching out to him in his capacity as counsel to the president. i did not do that sort of due diligence in this interaction with him. as betsy indicated, the word firing was used at some point. he was reacting to that. there's often a distinction between the content of the piece. i think betsy and i have very much the same reporting. i think the process does include -- there will be an ending end i date to the investigation. there will be an end date
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managed by the department of justice. he's saying he wants to hasten that based on the mccabe firing. many people will interpret that as him wanting to stop the investigation now. that will be a common reaction to what he is saying and it may be why he is sensitive about this today. what he is saying is that the facts are now inclusive of this if report of mccabe, firing of mccabe by the attorney general, recusing himself from supervision of the mueller probe and dowd saying this is a turning point, in effect. he didn't use those word bus i think we could fairly characterize it that way. it is significant that the president's lawyer said these events should lead to the end of the investigation. he wants to be clear he is not calling for the firing of mueller. we have, time and time again, had the white house tell us that they're working cooperatively with the mueller investigation and dowd is one of a handful of lawyers who are working on the
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president's behalf on the outside and then one on the inside, ty cobb, a federal employee now, who is the liaison between the white house and counsel. it can get weedy. >> jill wine-banks is back with a special former watergate prosecutor. what do you make of this? john dowd telling betsy woodruff he was speaking on behalf of the president, then he e-mails back and says he was speaking for himself and then he gets in touch with msnbc news and says no i am speaking on behalf of the president. it's a bit weedy. what do you make of it? >> kelly is right and he is always speaking for the president because he's the president's lawyer. so we have to interpret it that way.
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but it's -- and it is hair splitting as to whether he's saying fire mueller or end the investigation. and the other possibility is he's saying i think that it is coming to its own natural end but it's clearly premature. we've just had a subpoena for the trump organization. we have a lot of foreign governments that are being looked at. and i don't think it would be wise to end it. it's the same thing as what the house intelligence committee did, which is to terminate an investigation that was still being productive and that was definitely -- hadn't reached its natural end. and the american people deserve to have a full investigation. we can't close it down until we know all the answers, which we clearly do not now. so, john dowd is bad and wrong in this. >> i wonder -- i'll come back to my table here and start with you, nick, this feels like, from a lay perspective, the sort of
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textbook elements of obstruction, of attempting in every way to significanal that president would like the deputy attorney to end the investigation himself. >> we knew that from the get-go. >> when does it become obstruction? >> the whole thing is a pattern of obstruction. it goes to his intent to end this investigation. here we are, all talking seriously about this crazy e-mail and what's going on when, in fact, we're all being played by donald trump. he wants us to be talking about this. he doesn't want us to be talking about stormy daniels now. >> we'll be doing that, too. >> i want to remind our viewers. >> we've been played since he won the election. that's separate. it's not yet obstruction just because -- >> what more does he have to do? fire mueller. he rm loses his white house counsel over wanting mueller fired. he is now fired or reassigned all potential fact witnesses who heard from jim comey directly who said he was pressured to give a loyalty oath and pressured to back down off the
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investigation. >> just because he wants an investigation to end -- >> he is the president. he's their boss. >> he wants to know what's going on in the investigation. that doesn't mean he acted with corrupt intent. i see nick is rolling his eyes at me. >> i just don't believe that. corrupt intent across the board here. he wants this investigation ended because he is now in the middle of it. and it's not so much the obstruction investigation as to the investigation of the conspiracy between his campaign and the russian government. >> let me get a tiebreaker from ari melber. as a layperson, it seems donald trump is tell telegraphing in every way that he is willing to do whatever it takes and giving orders to everyone around him to end this investigation. he seems to be using his power as president to try to make that happen. what am i missing here? >> i don't think you're missing much. by the way i thought you did an excellent job of rebutting what sounded like parsing
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pettyfogging from john dowd. he asked don mcgahn to do that and defend himself over what may later be viewed what his actions today provide evidence to obstruction. the problem for the white house is that if the end game is tarnishing the fact witnesses and thwarting or interfering with the investigation, there are people who may raise their criminal exposure to obstruction. and that's why this is a tricky thing to pull off, even if you're willing to take risks or say the kind of extraordinary things that are being said and done. the larger context, i respectfully disagree with my great colleague nick ackerman on this one. stormy daniels' news story is an interesting one. but this was a real deadline for mccabe that jeff sessions rushed
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to fulfill that he didn't want to do in the light of day, literally did on a friday night and we're waking up saturday seeing other pieces coming into play and i bet bob mueller will be taking a hard look at every e-mail and every conversation and potentially giving up more evidence of potential ongoing obstruction. what we are seeing does feel significant. mr. dowd's attempt to try to walk it back strikes me as a sign of insignificance but not much of a clarification. and i don't think this story is nearly done. >> nick, to that point, the flattering of jeff sessions, who has been nothing but put down and, you know, slagged by this president. you have the attempts to push rod rosenstein to follow his brilliant example and end this investigation. and you have the gratuitous attacks by donald trump against andrew mccabe, signaling he would very much like to see him
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fired before he collects his pension. it does seem like the investigation wanted mccabe punished immediately and before he could collect his pension. doesn't that suggest that today mccabe and the fbi are the target not stormy daniels? >> i'm saying the story is the target. >> it was a real deadline. >> they could have done it three days ago, last week. >> the dramatic event. >> 10:00 friday night right after the whole business of the lawsuit is announced, why would you do that? and also you've got jeff sessions, who wants to keep his job. >> right. >> so part of what he's doing -- >> pandering. >> sucking up to trump to try to do something he feels he has some basis to do. >> it was within jeff sessions' discretion to ignore the office of professional responsibility. he could have ignored that and didn't have to do this firing. that's very important to note.
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>> absolutely. let me ask you this question, kelly o'donnell. the administration is hanging the firing of andrew mccabe on this report from the office of professional responsibility. do you have in your reporting any indication that we, the public, will ever get to see that report? >> reporter: well, it's one of the things that would help fill a lot of the gaps here. and our colleagues at the justice department who cover that beat every day are probably better apt to answer that. but the fact that it is not public now does suggest that there is this knowledge gap where we are led to believe that there was some offense or offenses by mccabe found by this supposed independent arbiter that merited firing. we don't know the specifics there. we've heard it sort of in a narrative way. we don't have the report. we also saw how the intention to retire some couple of months ago had been announced by mccabe and fbi director chris wray hastened
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that removal of his position in part because of this office of inspector general report. we don't have those details. i think more broadly, on the timing of the stormy daniels issue and this, there are multiple lawyers in multiple jurisdictions representing the president in the outside case. coordination is not something we can always identify here. these are things that are running in sort of a parallel loop. they do affect each other in terms of the public perception. the stormy daniels track is something that the white house has tried to bat away. this is right in their lane. and the white house has learned the hard way that the president is not supposed to interfere, by tradition, in the department of justice. they pushed this on to jeff sessions. you laid out the case about how he has been politically under pressure since he uttered the word recusal. he follow this action, taking the advice because of the president's very public comments
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he wanted to see happen. and now here we are. the president's outside lawyer uses that fact that running of the points to this conclusion to say good time to consider ending the mueller investigation on its merits. at that the case is over. we don't have any indication that robert mueller is in that place because of the ongoing activity. so this is notable. i often think when we look forward to six months or a year from now and we look back on these days, what more will we understand about how it all fits together. there was a time i wish i had a time machine. >> absolutely. i think a lot of us would like to go forward. i want to go back to this question on mccabe for a moment. doesn't he become the next star witness in front of the mueller grand jury? >> i think he certainly will. he has no reason to hold back in
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truthful testimony. he's no longer employed by the department of justice, but i want to go back to something else, which is i've known john dowd. he and i worked in the organized crime section when i first graduated from law school, and words matter and his actions mattering and he must know better than to have tried to walk back something he told a reporter. he said he was speaking for the president, and it was wrong to have said what he said. the investigation has to follow its own natural course. i think this is really significant what's happening, and that america needs to pay attention that we don't let this get ahead of us. >> yeah. it's unusual to say the least for an attorney to first say on the record that they're speaking for the president, tell a reporter that. she had to get off the phone. that's why she's not with us anymore, and e-mail us back so he has evidence instead of taking it back and saying, no, no, i'm speaking for myself, and yet on top of that, send it to
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another news organization, say the same statement. >> i'm so glad -- your viewers are so lucky to have these people who have the credibility and experience to say, yes, this is not something a lawyer does. when you represent anybody, a john doe, your representation of them is a 24/7 job. it's the job. and especially when you represent the president. anything you say, your opinions matter. if it's about -- you can't tweet something about this case without being connected to the president's defense of this investigation. >> yep. let alone, jill wybanks say on the record once to nbc news and "the daily beast" i pray attorney rod rosenstein will honor the courageous assessment and bring it in to the alleged russian collusion investigation,
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manufacturing james comby of manufacturing the entire russia probe based on a, quote, fraudulent trump dossier, again, reasserting the completely false assertion that the only reason the fbi was investigating donald trump was the dossier accusing the former director of the fbi of in venting an investigation against the president of the united states. to do all of that on the record has got to be the most unusual thing a lawyer has ever done. i'm not a lawyer, so you tell me if i'm wrong. >> you're absolutely not wrong. it's completely bizarre. and it's completely strange because john dowd because this isn't public couldn't have had the i.g. report, so he doesn't know any more than you or i or anyone else what's in the report to make it a fireable defense. as we said earlier, we haven't had the defense put forward yet. he was fired without the ability
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to present his side of the case, and that is wrong. but for john dowd to make a conclusion based on a report that if he is seen, it would be a violation for him to have seen. so i'm assuming he did not see the i.d. report, and he shouldn't be speaking out of turn like this. >> but we do have some of his defense. remember, i'm going to go back on this. we have andrew mccabe's defense. we have some of it. he has proactively said the investigation focused on the investigation -- this is andrew mccabe speaking through his legal office, he goes on to say the attack on his credibility is one part of a larger effort not just to slander him personally but to taint the fbi, law enforcement, and intelligence professionally more generally. this is a guy already fighting back against these claimings, ari melber. is it possible he can use these against him to make this public
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because it seems to me the public deserves to see what's in that report. >> yes. and now that he no longer works there, eventually the declassification process should seem to be easy. you can dedakt certain things and show everyone the basic rationale for his removal. you put your finger on it. fordown dowd's self-serving call, forget stormy daniels, forget sessions' late night move. if there's anything we learned this morning, this 20-year veteran who happens to be a registered republican is that the legislation removed him over the russian probe and removed him in an abusive and misleading way, that, alone, is a huge piece of news in the legal case for obstruction against the trump white house alone. then put back in the mix the things i just put to the side, and they may make it worse given how many legal problems there
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are. look. andrew mccabe is an fbi guy who investigated the boston marathon bombing, who dealt with intelligence changes for fighting terror at home, who did, as i say, 20 years on rico and other types of fbi cases. this guy is a real prosecutor, a real investigator with real cred, and he is now standing up and saying on the strength of his record and his entire life's career that these people fired him over russia. so that's big, and i think what we're seeing here is john dowd and others how to play this, but it's too hard to handle. >> the g-men are fighting back. john dowd has now tripled down on his statement having sent it to betsy woodruff and nbc's kelly o'donnell and now to cnn. it's now back on behalf of the president of the united states. by the way, not to worry. he is not not the stormy daniels
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story off of this show because at the top of the next hour, you know who we're going to be talking to? stormy daniels' lawyer. that is going to be coming up on the other side of this break. do not go anywhere. parents aren't perfect, but then they make us kraft mac & cheese and everything's good again.
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to keep our community safe. before you do any project big or small, pg&e will come out and mark your gas and electric lines so you don't hit them when you dig. call 811 before you dig, and make sure that you and your neighbors are safe. we've been approached by six separate women who have told six stories. we have not vetted those stories. we're in the very preliminary stages of determining the
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voracity of those stories. we have not determined whether we're going to represent them. we're at the very, very early stages. welcome back to ""am joy."" >> daniels was physically threatened to stay silent about her alleged affair with donald trump. if you heard, daniels whos whose legal name is stephanie clifford may not have been the only woman paid to stay quiet. clifford filed a suit last week against trump over a nondisclosure agreement she claims is invalid because she did not sign it, although, his attorney michael cohen did. they tried to get the lawsuit transferred from california state court to federal court, you know, where the president appoints the judges. the lawsuit claims daniels owed the president $20 millions, that's for each of the alleged things. thank you for being here.
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you've certainly made a lot of news in the last 24 hours. i want to start with the biggest piece of news which was the allegation that threats were made against your client. can i ask, who made those threats. >> first, joy, thanks for having me on this morning. >> sure. >> it's not an allegation. it's a fact. and when the american people are permitted to hear from my client and hopefully they will hear from my client shortly, they will hear the details relating to these threats, and they will judge for themselves as to whether she's telling the truth and can be believed. >> you say hopefully. did she -- did stormy daniels, did miss clifford detail those threats in her interview with "60 minutes?" >> i'm not going to get into the content of that interview. i think people need to tune in to that interview. i'm kent when they do, they'll learn the details i just referenced. again, they're going to judge for themselves where whether she's telling the truth and whether she's credible. >> are you concerned the legal
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actions against your client by the president of the united states will stop that interview from airing? >> well, we certainly hope not, and all indications are that cbs is going to stay the course and stay true to their mission to air that interview and allow the american people to judge for themselves as to whether my client is credible, and i am highly confident that when they have an opportunity to hear from my client, when they have an opportunity to observe her body language and hear what she has to say, that they will conclude that she is absolutely credible, and they will conclude that she has a significant amount of veracity and is to be believed. and to the extent that mr. president or cohen or anyone wants to come forward and provide a separate version of the facts, they can do so. we're going to let the american people decide who's telling the truth and who's not shooting straight with them. >> one more time on the threats.
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i know you don't want to disclose who made the threats, but can you say whether or not it's somebody related to trump organization, campaign, or family? >> i'm not going to provide any further comment relating to the threats at this time. >> what about the question of whether or not the fact of those threats as you say being made, is that a part of your lawsuit against donald trump? >> well, i mean i think it is part of the lawsuit against donald trump. the complaint is very broad as most complaints are. we haven't detailed all the facts of the evidence we have at our disposal that support the allegations and complaint, nor would we. no good lawyer would at this point. so we have a lot of facts. we have a lot of evidence that has not been disclosed yesterday and that will be disclosed as this this litigation continues, i'm confident of it. >> to be clear, does your lawsuit contain allegations of
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threat against your client? >> yes. >> it does. does it contain details of what ms. daniels has, whether she has text messages, photos, video, and other corroborating evidence with relation to donald trump? >> no, we have not set forth details of that relationship in the complaint. >> does she have such things? >> i'm not going to answer that question. >> you know, it's interesting. a lot of people are -- you know, you look at donald trump's history. he's a person who's been quite proud of the fact that he's had relationships, many relationships with women. he's never hidden extramarital relationships for most people who knew over the years. he used to try to plan who he was dating in the tabloids. do you have a sense of why your client specifically has seemed to have elicited such fear from the president of the united states? why her? >> well, i'm going to speck lat because she's very, very credible. she is a force to be reckoned with. this is a very, very intelligent
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woman, perceptive, credible, and i think the american people have a preconceived notion of her that is really going to be blown out of the water when they tune into this i ter view. they're going to be very impressed with her and the way she conducts herself in the interview and what she has to say. they're going to find her very credible. our bottom line is our position has always been the same. it has not wavered. she should be permitted to speak to the american people. to the extent that the president and mr. cohen have a different version of convenience, they should come on your show or any other show or hold a press conference and provide their version of the events to the american people, and the american people should decide who's telling the truth. >> they're welcome to do so. i want to put that out right now. if the president of the united
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states would like to come on the show, you're certainly welcome. how long has stormy daniels had this alleged relationship with donald trump. >> i'm not going to get into that. >> has he had relationships with other women. >> i'm not at liberty to disclose that. >> you have said you have now heard from other women who have also been approached to sign ndas, nondisclosure agreements, or are in similar situations to stormy daniels. how many women are we talking about? >> we have been contacted by six women who have strikingly similar versions of events to that of my client, but i want to stress, and i have been very, very clear, and i'm going to continue to be clear about this. we have not vetted these allegation. we have not vetted these stories. very often, joirk as you well know, when something of this nature breaks, people come out
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of the woodwork. a lot of people make a lot of accusations. very often they're found to not have any basis in fact or reality, and we're in the process of vetting these stories and these allegations. we haven't decided if we're going to represent these women, but we're going to get to a significant point at some point in the not so distant future. we'll make the determination as to whether they're believable, and then we will decide whether we're going to represent them. but it is too early for me to be able to tell you definitively that what they have said is accurate and, therefore, i'm not going to do it. >> can you stay with me, michael? i want to bring in more legal minds. brandy is a reporter for nbc news and lisa bloom. lisa, i'm going to come to you first. the question of why donald trump seems to -- you know, there are two people donald trump won't criticize, vladimir putin and stormy daniels.
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she seems to be -- there are 19 women accusing him of unwanted sexual advances, he openly attacks them and threatens them. he has not by name attacked stormy daniels. >> one reason is she's teemed up with this very good attorney michael avenatti. a defamation claim, a false claim. obviously she has the goods on him. i want to be clear. why is donald trump going after her so hard for $20 million? there are other women who have sign signed statements. he wants to send a message. that's why it's important that stormy standing up and has a very aggressive lawyer. >> having this case moved into federal court, what does that do to stormy daniels? >> first of all, it is moved to federal court. it is now removed to federal court. mr. avenatti can file a motion
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to get it back to state court if he wants. he's moved to federal court, i think, because they're more likely to send it back to arbitration under the faa. i they'rer this the state or federal court is going to probably kick it back to arbitration. arbitration is terrible for victims. i hate it. i fight these motions all the time. it's a secret proceeding and it's skewed white male conservatives. that's where powerful people want to be, and this case is a good illustration why victims don't want to be there. >> michael avenatti, once it ends up in arbitration that it will essentially smother the case and silence your client? >> well, i think that's the plan by the president and mr. cohen. that's exactly what they want to do. they want to have this adjudicated or decided in a conference room in a locked secure building outside the purview of the public so that the public cannot review the evidence and the facts and learn
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about what really happened here. they're trying to hide the facts of the truth from the public. it's clear as day. it's part of the process by which they want to muzzle my client. we think we have good arguments as to why this case doesn't belong in arbitration. we're going to submit those arguments, whether it be to the federal court judge or the state court judge. we have experience litigating in both state and federal court. the courthouse where this case was removed to yesterday is the same courthouse that i had the good fortune of obtaining a $454 million jury verdict in praprilf last year in. we're no strangers to that courthouse or the bench. they're exceptional, they're some of the best in the country. they're very smart. we have confidence in their ability to make a decision if we ultimately end up there, but we think we have very good reason as to why this case does not belong in arbitration and that is certainly going to be
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something that has to be decided before we get to the merits. >> thank you. danny cevallos, let me bring you in here. the in the likelihood they're going to go to arbitration and silence stormy daniels and the chance of it airing? >> first, the only chance that trump, e.c., and cohen have of winning is getting this case back down to arbitration, and unfortunately court, federal courts, state courts for a long time have expressed a strong preference for arbitration when and in fairs on the mr. avenatti, when the parties agree to arbitrate. that's going to be a critical for mr. avenatti, in demonstrating not just that the overall contract was no good but the specific clause to arbitrate was no good because otherwise he's fighting a strong presumption that the case will go back down to arbitration. but if it stays in court, state
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court or federal court and gets into discovery, that will spell ruin for the trump team. the broad rules of discovery could be devastating not just to them as parties but to his presidency. >> have you heard of a case in the past where a specific party who is the person who has claimed to have had the relationship didn't sign the agreement themselves but agreement was still held to be valid without their signature? >> i think it's much more complicated than that. when you look at the four corners of the agreement attached to this case, you have david denison who we now essentially -- it's been admitted that it's donald trump who did not sign. but yet on each initial page at the bottom in the space for d.d., david denison, it's not michael cohen, but e.c. e.c. is not a person. it's essential consultants. thereby blurring the other defendants. i will say this. they try to move cases to federal court.
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however, in this case, it might be a case that blows up back in trump and cohen's face. why? the requirements for removal are, number one, all parts must consent. that's why we're seeing donald trump's name for the first time in this case. number two, they have to allege a mountain of controversy. that's why today everyone is talking about $20 million. they had to allege an amount, and this is well above the amount needed to get into federal court, but now because of that gambit, it may prove fatal. >> the other problem they have not to get too wonky and weedy, they allege that donald trump is a resident of new york, and e.c., which is an llc, is the individual residency is what matters, and michael cohen, also a resident of new york. we may not have it. >> it's weedy, it's weedy, but good to have you guys on here. >> it's wonky. >> i have asked you in here, brandy, because you've had a
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specific experience of dealing with trump and michael cohen. again, i want to stress michael avenatti has not said michael cohen has had anything to do with the threats against his client. that's not what we're saying. separate from that, tell me your experience with michael cohen. >> i've had a long relationship with him. i've profiled michael cohen, but when trump was running for the election in 2016, some old allegations of rape against him came up. >> by his former wife. >> by his former wife, ivan na trump. and so we were writing about that, me and my colleague tim mack. and so we called like you do, called his attorney and he really let loose. he threatened to sue us, of course, like we would expect from a lawyer, but then he said some things with very never heard from a lawyer. i've never had a lawyer speak to me like this. i will take you into court, ruin you, do things that are effing
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disgusting to you. i will ruin your life. it was said in a way that not only those words the effing disgusting but the tone -- it just another world and michael cohen has admitted he revels that he's the ray donovan of mr. trump's world. he is the roy cohn. roy cohn is no more and he has taken his place and he revels in that. he told the news he was his put bull and grabs on and if anyone says anything about mr. trump, he grabs on and does not let go until he's finished with him. when i heard that, i said, oh, i know him. >> this is their tactics. one more to you, michael avenatti. you now have a new lawyer on team trump. they have put a very aggressive
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attorney on. they're not known for having high-quality attorneys in trump world, just to be kind. this guy is. are you concerned that even you speaking on television could be opening your client up to the notion that you talking is violating her nda? >> well, i want to say two things. first of all, i have no richardson to disrespect the new attorney. i'm sure he's a fine lawyer. he got a great relate for hulk hogan, there's no question about that. joy, i have a saying and it goes something like this. don't tell me the cases you've won. tell me who you've beaten. i don't know the level of competition he's faced in the past. i'm sure it's significant. i can tell you some of the competition i've faced has been some of the finest attorneys in the country in the last few years and i've had the good fortune of doing good in those cases. i want to go back to mr. cohen and some of the threats and tactics that he's used in litigation. that has no place in any case in
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the united states. i don't care how big or how small. no attorney should ever conduct themselves in that manner. and if he conducts himself in that manner in this case, he's going to get his ticket stamped because he's not dealing with some two-bit lawyer from down the street. we're going be as aggressive as we possibly can, but we're going to be smart. but we're not going to tolerate any nonsense with threats and bullying tactics. they will go nowhere with me and my client. if they think that they will, they haven't been paying attention the last few weeks. >> wow. defense actively said. before we go, i want to ask you, brandy, have you heard additioning a -- more since the story broke? >> i've been texting him and he's been unkacharacteristicall silent. >> no more effing -- >> michael avenatti, we're applauding you over here. i would think if your client was
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threatened, i would hope you would bring it up. i know you've thought about it. >> michael. >> absolutely we would. and let me just say this. where is michael cohen? i mean this guy priced himself on being a fixer, he ends his tweets with #raydonovan. he actually refers to himself as the fictional character ray donovan, and yet for the last two weeks no one can get him on the phone, he refuses to go on any show, he refuses to answer a single question. where is this guy? >> yeah. well, i can tell you, michael avenatti, i think you're impressing a lot of people with your skills as a fierce defender of your client. thanks so much for taking the time to be with us this morning. really, really appreciate it. >> thank you, joy, appreciate it. >> also, brandy, please keep us posted if you hear from michael cohen and danny see val lowe and
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lisa bloom. this is a great panel. i wish i could keep you for three more hours, but we have more. donald trump's personal lawyer is calling for the end of the mueller investigation. whether he's speaking for donald trump or not depends on who you ask. up next, this is a power packed show. stay with us. for all the eyes that get itchy and watery near pollen.
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based on the executive order i signed in relation to the russian intervention in ukraine, we're imposing sanctions on more of the senior officials of the russian government. in addition we're today sanctioning a number of other individuals with substantial resources and influence who provide material support to the russian leadership as well as a bank that provides material support to these individuals. >> that announcement by president barack obama in 2014 came after russia first co-opted ukraine by pushing it away from the eu and nato and then invaded and annexed crimea. they targeted russian officials, bank, companies who did business with them at the time and some critics at that time thought they didn't go far enough. headline after headline attacked the obama administration for not
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twisting the knife at putin and his cronies. four years later, that seems like a false narrative. in fact, the oil giant clearly hit russia where it hurts, upending a half a trillion dollar oil deal with american giant exxonmobil headed at the tie time by the man trump just fired, rex tillerson. the question is why russia did what it did to go so far as to interfere with the election to elect donald trump. what did he want so badly just to put donald trump in the white house? what if the answer is as simple as $500 billion? a new book "russian roulette: the inside story on putin's america" offers a fast stating story on what russia did
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and why. gentlemen, congratulations on the book. i am reading it and it is excellent. i'm reading about it and thinking about russiagate. you had vladimir putin. he sits out for four years, gets re-elected in 2012. after that they announce this big deal with exxonmobil that's going to happen. then, you know, ukraine is kind of in the way. that's where the oil has to go out. ukraine, yanukovych who used to be paul manafort's client turns away from the eu, we put on sanctions. that deal is then really in trouble. rosneft was sanctioned. how much of a factor is the junking of that deal with exxonmobil in vladimir putin's die sire to put a more favorable let's say secretary of state in place who might get rid of
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sanctions? >> joy, i think that's an interesting approach and theory. you know, there's no -- you know, we have no confirmation of that. in the book what we do confirm and what's clear is that part of the motivation -- you know, putin can have several motives for intervening in the election and subverting american democracy was a grunge match against hillary clinton which criticized the state and accused him of committing fraud and being the head of an illegitimate government. we know the whole sanction you raised there had an impact on donald trump. he was working on a deal in 2014 to build a trump tower with trump tower with banks that would end up being state owned, so basically in business with putin and the sanctions that came on in 2014 that you just mentioned probably contributed to that deal going south. so i think there is an oval app of motives here and impacts, but
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also psychological and as we know from putin and for trump, revenge. revenge is such a powerful feeling. >> yeah. and michael isikoff, you're write, from your book you talk about the fact that this idea of donald trump building a trump tower moscow with felix saider in 2015 would require approval from the russian government meaning the fate of trump's new project waslet matly at the mercy of putin. this is after the anti-gay law ended. here's thomas roberts interviewing donald trump whether he had such a relationship with putin. >> do you have a relationship with vladimir putin? a conservational relationship or anything that you feel you have
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situation over his relationship? >> i do have a relationship. i can tell you he's very interested in what we do today. he's very interested in what you and i say today. look, he's done a very brilliant job in terms of what he roepts and who he's representing. if you look at what he's done with syria and so many different things, he has really eaten our president's lunch, let's not kid yourself. he's done an amazing job. he's put himself -- as a lot of people would say, he's put himself at the forefront of the world as a leader in a short period of time. >> michael is couikoff, is that true? and & was that flattery an attempt to get his deal signed? >> as we documented in the book, he had not met putin at that point. they had no relationship. but he very much wanted a relationship. and as we lay out in the very first chapter, when trump is in moscow during that same trip, he's obsessed with wanting to meet with putin.
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he keeps asking everybody around him, is putin coming to miss universe? have we heard from him yet because the trump organization had reached out. he's waiting for a phone call from putin that actually never comes. what does come is a call from his press spokesman in which peskov apologizes and says the president is tied up, meeting with the king of holland, but he hopes mr. trump can come to the sochi olympics coming up. and trump is keenly disappointed by this but then says to one of his aides as we write in the book, well, maybe we can tell people he came and nobody will never know the difference. >> right. >> i want go back to your initial point about the second trump tower moscow project because that's something we write about a lot in the book and it's something that needs a lot more attention because that came during the presidential
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campaign while he w campaign. while he was running for president, he was still trying to do this business deal in russia. the public knew nothing about it. but it just seems on his face it's something the public should have known in realtime. >> it could be something robert moore is interested in. it seems like it happened several months ago but just days ago we had the news mueller is subpoenas the records from the organization. that deal -- both of the deals we talk about went through the mueller organization. >> just to go back to my initial questions about ras nieve, did you find anything that alleged that carter page who was donald trump's con sig leeaire, who went to moscow, was part of the
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raz neve deal? >> that's like some of the other allegations in the dossier remains ununconfirmed. what is clear is carter paige did go to moscow. he did meet with -- he's now acknowledged not meeting with him himself but with a deputy to sessions, the chief of investor relations as well as another senior russian government official prompting him to write e-mails to -- an e-mail to the trump campaign afterward, talking about his meetings with senior kremlin officials and the insight. but the specific claim that you mentioned remains unconfirmed. >> i think you were alluding to a certain tape as the other thing you haven't confirmed. >> no, no, no. the question of the tape, we do quote christopher steele in the book saying it's 50-50 and we can leash it there at that. also i would just --
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>> they can read the book and get the full details. >> and on top of the news today i would just commend people to look. it goes as far as page two of the book because there's a wonderful scene when trump is presented a summary of the steal memos before they become public by jim comby comey in a privat meeting and afterward he turns to his aides and says, this is a shakedown. meaning he thinks the fbi and intelligence community is trying to blackmail him by saying, look what we have on you. that amount of paranoia seems to have driven him in his war against the fbi and mccabe ever since that moment. >> and still doing so today. congratulations on the book. thank you so much. >> thanks, joy. coming up, the big news this morning that the president of the united states, his personal lawyer has called for the department of justice to shut down the investigation into the president's ties with russia. so much more on that next. ♪
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you know what's not awesome? gig-speed internet. when only certain people can get it. let's fix that. let's give this guy gig- really? and these kids, and these guys, him, ah. oh hello. that lady, these houses! yes, yes and yes. and don't forget about them. uh huh, sure. still yes! xfinity delivers gig speed to more homes than anyone. now you can get it, too. welcome to the party. coming up on "am joy," the latest late-breaking news. donald trump shows that the
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. let's get you caught up on the two big stories this morning following the firing of andrew mccabe. donald trump's personal attorney john dowd has called for deputy rod rosen steen to end the russian probe and trump's legal
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team is suing stormy daniels for $20 million. joining us now is nick ackermon, msnbc john capehart. new to the table jonathan capehart, i'm going to get your reactions to all of the lawyering and cross-lawyering and now denying that he's speaking for the president. >> do you see how mute i am sh. >> yeah. >> i feel like i'm channeling the american people. last night andrew mccabe through what we're going through right now, i'm speaking for the president, i'm not speaking for the president, i'm speaking for the president, i'm not speaking for your the president, by the way, i'm trying to move the case from here to there, people can't follow these things. it's part and parcel of the administration, i think, to exhaust the american people that
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we don't care anymore, that the president of the united states is trying to sue a porn star who was made to sign an nda just before the election and now whose lawyer is now saying here in this very space that the president of the united states threatened her. look. the last thing i'll say is when it comes to michael avenatti, he's a lawyer, but he's playing on two courts. the court of public opinion and the league courts. president is something who we all know is masterful when it comes to the court of public opinion. but with michael avenatti, since michael avenatti has come on the scene, what we have seen is the president has met his match, and so that interview that stormy daniels taped -- >> -- with "60 minutes" won't
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air for another week and yet we're going to be talking about stormy daniels. we're going to be talking about her for at least another week and going forward. >> and it's going get higher ratings, i think we'll get that. >> i can't wait for that tweet. >> we've had richard nixon have his legal issues and bill clinton. this is a president fighting a two-front war. he has a set of lawyers fighting the mueller probe, a separate set of lawyers trying to deal with somebody he claims he has no relationship with, but for some reason his personal lawyer paid $100,000 to because he felt like giving her money. which of these two has the greater peril for him. you talked earlier in the show about the discovery being sort of the death knell. which of these two cases. >> the stormy daniels matter quietly -- i guess i shouldn't say quietly -- has the potential to be the most devastating and possibly the undoing of the
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trump administration and here's why. if the case stays in court, federal court, state court, i don't care. if they get into discovery, if anyone gets trump or his team into discovery, especially as it relates to some apparently really goody looking contract where one person is signing for another and it's all to pay off a important star, that could be -- there's precedent for this. getting a president into a deposition was almost the undoing of another president. >> bill clinton. >> so any litigation -- by the way, that is stormy daniels -- one approach she could have taken a long time ago. i'm going to violate the nda. come after me and see what happens. you're not any normal person, you're the president. and you could expose yourself to discovery and it's devastating for any litigant. as a final matter, this latest thing on the other side raises a real concern in the legal community and it's that an
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attorney is communicating using purple comic. i'm not saying that in jest. all attorney communications even with the advent of details are important. i think about every e-mail and i guarantee these two do. before they send it out. and the fact that someone for a long time is using purple comic seance journal -- >> want to bring betsy woodruff. you have new reporting for us. please tell us what you've got. >> what i can tell you is michael bromwich has confirmed to me he's representing andrew mccabe for the purposes of the firing. i'm sorry to be changing tactics. what this indicates is that mccabe is taking this seriously, the nature of his firing, and i
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think we can expect to see more aggressive steps from him going forward. a little background on bromwich, he was the inspector general for the justice department for years, i believe during the clinton administration. inspectors general have really hard jobs. they're independent watchdogs over federal agencies. so bromwich knows the justice department and the fbi inside out. he'll know exactly how the rules are supposed to work, the way somebody like mccabe would or would not appropriately be able to be firing. he's representing mccabe for this matter. he specifically handles this situation and i think that's a big part of the reason that they thought the immediate firing back from mccabe last night. he proudly sent out a statement, basically, you know, saying the justice department was in
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political cahoots with the white house. that's very different from the way james comey handled his firing. it's like a little bit more aggressive, a little more assertive and causing a lot in view of the fact that bromwich is working on him with this. >> and the attack is a quote from andrew mccabe's statement. the attack on my credibility is not just to slander me personally but to taint the fbi, law enforcement. and intelligence more appropriately. it's an ongoing thing which continues to this day. the persistence of this cam paint only highlights the importance of it. betsy, let me ask you this. when you say michael bromwich is now representing andrew mccabe, would this be for the purposes of his firing, saving higgs pension or something else like potentially a lawsuit against the people who fired him? >> you know, i spoke with braun which this morning. he would not tell me any more
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details on the legal plan and what they're potentially looking at. i'll have to defer to the lawyers on the panel as to what type of recourse many cake would have. that said, what i can tell you is at of right now, bromwich, he's keeping it close to his chest. they're not telegraphing what the next step is going to be. that said, i think we can expect to see this story stay in the news. >> absolutely. well, betsy woodruff, thank you very much. we really appreciate your great reporting today. you've been terrific. we're going to see you tomorrow. i'm going to let you go so you can get back to writing. thanks so much. for "the daily beast," whom i right for as well. let me bring you in. you were nodding. >> nick and i were talking about this during the break as to mccabe making statements and if that was going to interfere with his ability to pursue a lawsuit or appeal the decision and also pursue the pension matter as well. so i'm glad that he has a lawyer to handle all this, because it's
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always dangerous when someone starts speaking out, whether they're saying, oh, they're attacking my credibility or not, but these are really precarious matters especially because in the earlier block there was mention of the waiting for to find out what that says. and i think mccabe shouldn't be releasing that unless his lawyer says you can release it. >> i think because that is what they're hanging the entire firing on. does his lawyer have the independent ability, i'm assuming they received it, do they have the independent ability to release it? >> i don't think they necessarily do at this point. but certainly -- i know michael bromwich, he was in the u.s. attorneys office with me. he is going to be extremely aggressive. he will go after them, if he can sue the president, he will sue the president. i don't think they're going to take this laying down, nor should they take it laying down. i mean, this is a subversion of our civil service laws. it's a subversion of all the
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acts that we have that is supposed to keep the civil service totally separate from the politics. and trump and his attorney general and his other lacki iee have done everything to subvert that system. >> we love to debate this issue of obstruction of justice, but i would think as a political matter, in any normal universe, this would be a litigatable manner for the house of representatives. how surprised are you at how silent the republican majority has been as all this madness has unfolded? >> given the silence we've been met with throughout this, given that the house intelligence committee aborted their investigation before it was completed, it isn't surprising at all. it is sad. i would relish there being any bipartisanship or strength from the republicans standing up to the president for the behavior
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that he has engaged in, and could mean consensual sex because i don't care about that. i'm upset about them for ignoring, for example, the 18 women who had nonconsensual sex with the president, who were harassed by them. why are they not looking at at that? what about when the attorney general cannot remember things to save his job? there's something wrong here and it isn't anything that we can identify because we haven't seen the report. john dowd has no grounds for saying this interpretation should be terminated because he doesn't have any more facts than the viewer of this show. >> i'm going to go around to get a final thought from anybody. the one thing that's consistent is that donald trump is in the business of trying to shut down all the various investigations into him and shut down anyone who could talk about him in any
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way including somebody who claims he had no relationship with stormy daniels. >> that's much easier accomplished when you're a private individual, even someone in the public eye. once you become the leader of the free world, your existence is public and you don't have the same ability that you had as a private individual to intimidate and litigate with wreck littrec abandon. >> jonathan, there's a deafening silence from the republican party here. >> that's exactly the way to put it, and it's shocking. i can't even think of the words to describe just how shameful it is that the republican speaker of the house, paul ryan, hasn't said anything, how the republican senate majority leader mitch mcconnell hasn't said anything. these are the same two people who couldn't shut up during the eight years of president obama.
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no matter what he did, you heard them all the time, all over the place. now when the president of the united states is being investigated, when the president of the united states is in a public battle with a porn star, when the president of the united states is firing one person after another who could implicate him in these investigations, they're suddenly mute? but here is something i take heart in. mccabe lawyering up, that statement he put out last night, add to that james comey's book that's coming out in april, the president's been at war with the intelligence community and law enforcement for more than a year now. law enforcement and intelligence and the people who care about the rule of law are fighting back. >> there's another dowd, matthew dowd, who tweeted that if barack obama, president obama, had done one tenth of what donald trump has done, republicans would already be impeaching him. it's sort of unimaginable, nick, impeachment isn't even on the table with this -- >> not yet. >> not yet.
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>> but there is going to be a major conspiracy indictment very soon. it's going to start with the theft of the e-mails from the democratic national committee. it's going to involve violations of the federal hacking statute and a conspiracy to hack those e-mails and use them to help donald trump get elected. and you're going to see that sweep up a whole bunch of people in that administration. >> are there indictments coming? >> i think there are more indictments coming. but with stormy, it's not about the sex, it's about the money. it's not about the sex, who cares about the sex. >> absolutely. thank you guys very much. more "a.m. joy" after the break of 4 others who felt a connection. many more who never saw it coming. but now they know... they descend from the people of ireland. in fact, more than half of our community have discovered their irish roots... which means your smiling eyes might be irish too. order ancestrydna and find the surprises in you.
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. i want to take a second to note that early yesterday morning our country lost a pioneering force in congress who spent 30 years knocking down barriers on capitol hill. louise slaughter, in the middle of her 16th term in office, at age 88 she passed away after being hospitalized for a fall last week. our condolences to her family. i want to now pass it over to my friend alex witt who has a full show ahead of us. >> a liberal lion, louise slaughter. have you had time to breathe? >> going downstairs to do it now. >> thank you so much, joy. i'm alex witt at msnbc world headquarters in new york. here is what's happening right now. late night bombshell, the former
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fbi deputy director fired just 26 hours before his retirement, igniting harsh reaction in the intelligence community today. >> it kind of files like they're warming up the playbook for taking apart the mueller investigation. >> is mueller's time up? the new comments from the president's personal lawyer about the special counsel that are causing quite the stir right now. turning up the legal heat on stormy daniels as she gets closer to revealing her story. >> the details relating to these threats. and they will judge for themselves as to whether she's telling the truth. the trump team prepares its next move against the porn star's claims ahead of a tell-all interview and it could cost her millions. but we begin this noon hour with explosive breaking news. fresh reaction to the firing of former fbi deputy director andrew mccabe. senator ben cardin spoke with me about it earlier today.

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