tv The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell MSNBC April 6, 2018 7:00pm-8:00pm PDT
one congressional seat in purple wisconsin. that is resonating right now. because democrats and progressives have been winning elections there. they won a seat in a district that had gone for trump by 17 points. last week, a democrat won a senate seat in 13 years that win for liberals led to lots of blue waves for democrats this week. if that prognostication is correct. more upsets are on the way. we'll see you monday, now it's time for the last work with ali velshi. >> good evening, everyone.
i'm ali velshi in for lawrence o'donnell. there are new indications that president trump may be preparing to speak to robert mueller. reports in the last 24 hours reveal mueller is strengthing his case against key figures in the russia investigation. we have an all-star pan ilto break it down. is president trump preparing to sit down with robert mueller. donald trump has begun the initial steps for preparing for a possible interview with the special council. one source familiar with the proceedings, stressed the preparation effort is in its infancy. the preparations have included going over potential topics with the president that mueller would likely raise in an interview. the president has not formally agreed to speak with mueller, but this is the cleesest sign
they are open to the idea. new evidence that calls into question whether a trump ally may have misled congress. according to a report from abc news, robert mueller has obtained evidence that calls into question congressional testimony given by trump supporter eric prince last year when he described a meeting in seychells. documents suggest that eric prince met before and after that meeting with george nader, an adviser to the united arab emirates in the early months of the trump administration. he shared information with eric prince and those sources are telling that to abc news. that appears to be inconsistent
with sworn testimony that the seychells meeting happened by chance. the documents contain 7 search warrants. one of the warrants were data from 5 at&t phone numbers was just obtained last month. two months after mueller issued his second indictment against manafort. suggesting his team may be investigating new lines of inquiry against manafort. the timing of the warrant is significant in that it was issued a week after rick gates accepted a plea deal with mueller's team. joining us now are jill wine banks and msnbc contributor, joyce vance is a former federal prosecutor and professor at the university of alabama law school. and david corn is the bureau chief for mother jones and co
author of russian roulette, the inside story of putin's war on america and the election of donald trump. he's an msnbc political analyst. jill, let me start with you, the idea that the president is getting ready to sit down with donald trump as early in the planning stages as that may be, first of all, would that be donald trump and his team's decision, and if so, what does that tell you? >> first of all, i think it's interesting they're saying its in its infancy in preparation and it's short and informal, which is exactly what you would expect from a president who doesn't read and doesn't have a very big attention span. no it isn't his choice. he can ask anyone he wants, the president would have to invoke a fifth amendment privilege.
which he would keep with him. there is no protection if he committed a crime. >> let's talk a little bit about this. >> in january donald trump told reporters he would look forward to sitting down for an interview with robert mueller, let's listen to what he said. >> are you going to talk to mueller? >> i'm looking forward to it, actually. >> do you have a date. >> there's no collusion whatsoever. there's no obstruction whatsoever, and i'm looking forward to it. >> joyce, we're about a day out from donald trump say something on an airplane that made stormy daniels lawyer very happy. he may not want to be telling reporters what he's got in mind. >> it seems like the worst possible strategy for someone in his position. it's interesting that we learned this week that the president has
been told or alleges he's been told through sources he's a subject of the investigation. not a target. one of the implications of learning that is that it makes it a little easier as jill points out for mueller to subpoena president trump. doj has a longstanding policy of subpoenaing targets to the grand jury. that doesn't really apply to subjects. and once he's in front of the grand jury. his team has no control over what he's asked. he can't take a lawyer into the grand jury with him, he has to answer questions. unless he says, i can't answer this question, because if i answer it, i'll be incriminating myself as a criminal. this is a real problem for him. he has foreclosed the option of not testifying, saying he's willing to go, we know that mueller can enforce that one way or the other. >> let's talk about eric prince.
the black water founder, the brother of betsy devos who spoke with great bluster about this meeting in the seychells that is being investigated in greater detail. let's listen to what he told stephanie rule and me right after talking to the congressional committee. >> you were in the seychelles. why should you meet the russian guy? why should you meet him? >> it's someone we've done business before, it would be an interesting guy for you to know. we were both involved in the commodities and energy space. i had a beer with him. i don't know if he had a beer, he probably had vodka. >> after that meeting? >> after that, i had no contact with him or any of his colleagues at all. >> did you know he was an associate of president putin's when you met him? >> he was described to me as a russian hedge fund manager.
>> a russian hedge fund manager. he meets for a drink with a russian hedge fund manager who was introduced to him by that guy who turns out to be george nader, what do you make of this? >> he also gave testimony to the house intelligence committee that -- the transcripts were provided to the public. if you read those, he seems more arrogant and casual about this than he did in his interview with you guys. he doesn't mention that this guy george nader, who is an associate it seems of everybody from the russians to -- the people running the united arab emirates and people related to the trump campaign. if the stories are true that robert mueller has testimony from george nader that he set up this meeting purposefully to create a back channel eric
prince is in a lot of hot water, it indicates or gives a strong indication that he lied or didn't tell the truth when he was talking to congress, whether you do that under oath or not, as you know that's a crime. i think this is a very very significant issue. and speaks to the idea of collusion. at least collusion during the transition. >> we're starting to see a picture here, right. we have this george nader, who seems to be like waldo, he's all over the place. he keeps popping up with connections to a lot of people. we have erik prince. and it looks like these two guys didn't casually and accidentally meet in the seychelles. >> there have been a lot of forgotten meetings with russians or meetings with russians that
weren't very important among people in the trump camp. i'm sure mueller has noticed that, now he has an interesting hook for learning more about those meetings. we have eric prince who by all appearances is on the hook for perjury, that's the sorts of thing where mueller would be able to approach him and flip him. he would get better treatment in terms of sentencing, than he would get if he were to go to trial or be prosecuted for this crime. perhaps mueller will be able to use prince to explain all of these unexplained and forgotten meetings throughout the campaign. >> jill, let's talk about oleg daraposco. he is somebody who has ties to paul manafort. these have been established. he is the one who was paying paul manafort for lobbying work on behalf of the russian
government and perhaps getting some access to the trump campaign as a result. what do you think about this new development. >> i think it's interesting. anybody who ever believed that was a casual meeting in the seychelles. i would like to offer them the 666 building that the kushners now have. it was never believable. that was ridiculous, he's another contact to russia, it's another thing that is manafort and gates are clearly involved with, and they were very much involved in the trump campaign so we're looking at not just obstruction, we're looking at collusion, and i think the evidence is growing on both of those cases. >> i want to ask you something, joyce, the rosen stein memo this week authorizing robert mueller to look into manafort's business
dealings, obviously manafort is the connection the memo specifically authorizes collusion by the former campaign chairman himself. the investigation of russian ties clearly is not limited to more fringe players such as george papadopoulos or the ever surprising carter page. it means the fbi had a basis to suspect russian collusion involving the highest levels of the trump campaign. this gets interest will it's a lot of money laundering, not disclosing business interests. it doesn't look like collusion. now the pieces are starting to fall into place that a lot of money is changing hands. >> it looks like mueller has been circling the whole time, bringing in various players and pieces of this investigation. but never losing sight of the fact that what he's really investigating is whether or not there was russian interference
in the u.s. election. and if so whether there were people in the trump campaign who were involved. it begins to look increasingly like there are players who are very close to the president himself, who had relationships with people in russia, who were enmeshed with them for business or other purposes. there are all kinds of allegations. people who are american citizens, to whom they funneled money, it's very interesting to watch this all come to the middle with manafort who increasingly now there is evidence that he was directly involved with oligarchs. he was present when meetings were held with russians. at the end of the day, these complaints we've heard so far from many people that mueller is well beyond his jurisdiction are
going to be put to rest, we look at that memo that rosen stein wrote and paul fishman pointed out yesterday, there are two little sentences that follow the grant of jurisdiction from rosen stein to mueller as regards manafort. the second one ends with a semicolon. the rest of that memo is blacked out. there's more about manafort than we know at this moment. >> joyce vance, thank you for your analysis tonight as always. michelle obama gave the nation this advice. >> when they go low, we go high. now she's back telling us what she thinks about the current state of the nation, first, we're on pruitt watch tonight after even more calls for his firing. the president himself is viewing pruitt as the victim here as scandals pile up against him. that's next.
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648 house democrats want the president to show environmental protection agency scott pruett the door. in a letter to the president, scott pruett's unethical behavior and his efforts to undermine the epa's core mission to protect our environment and public health demand an appropriate response. his resignation or his firing. hasn't happened yet, it's a
friday night. the new york times and wall street journal report that john kelly is also calling for the president to fire pruitt. kelly told president trump last week that scott pruett needed to go in the wake of damaging allegations and spending irregularities. trey gowdy has begun probing his $50 a night house iing regulati. he values him as a strong advocate for the president's agenda. this morning, trump tweeted, pruitt is doing a great job but is totally under siege. the president met with pruitt to discuss rolling back fuel efficiency standards. during that meeting, pruitt also laid out his case for why he should remain in his post.
joining us now is neera tan den. not only did he get a $50 a night room in d.c., which is a great bargain because normally you get bed bugs for $50 a night. not only did he tell ed henry that the people from whom he was renting that apartment had no business before the epa. turns out he was stiffing the loorngd too. the only thing about this story that makes sense, is that pruitt and the entire trump administration culture of corruption emanates from the top. scott pruett is role modelling behavior he's looking at it as a
way to do business himself. he we have an entire administration that looks at feeding at the trough instead of serving the public. that starts with the president himself, i think the other reason why no one's going to get rid of this guy, i do not believe he will be gotten rid of, is because the people who back the president, the mercers, the koch brothers, scott pruett is their favorite cabinet secretary. he does the bidding for the oil and gas industry against the public every day. >> here's my question, jill, he's doing the bidding for the oil industry. he's been doing that for a long time. he's from oklahoma, he's in tight with the oil and gas industry. you know, if deregulation is the goal. mulvaney is doing it over at cfpb. wouldn't you want to do there are lots of people who do it and don't get all this attention.
scott pruett is drawing attention he's deregulating the economy, why make all this noise about it? >> i think the real reason is because donald trump can't afford to have another cabinet secretary undergoing a confirmation hearing now, he already has so many because he's had to fire so many of his people. so for the man who's going do bring us the best. he hasn't. he's created a deeper swamp than we've ever had, we need to sweep it clean. and that can be the only reason. but i think neera was absolutely -- you couldn't have said it better, it's true. the role model is at the top. that's what's happened. at the top, donald trump doesn't believe there's any ethics that apply to him. it's okay if these people cheat the taxpayers and kill the environment and deregulate to
the point where all of us are going to suffer, science has gone out the window at epa. animals are in danger, people are in danger, we need to stop this. >> david, i want to read you the tweet that donald trump put out about scott pruett. do you believe the fake media is pushing this issue. do people really believe this stuff? so much of the media is dishonest and corrupt. >> you can replace some of those words and names with anything including the russia investigation. what is this defense of scott pruett? what does this tell you about donald trump's position and scott pruett's future. >> he would not fire scott pruett today. >> i can tell you -- >> what time is it here, we have three more hours on the west coast. >> i know i'm going out on a
limb here, but i run a newsroom with 20 people we came in this morning, what's going to be the big news of the day? is it going to be scott pruett? great, at least we're clear into saturday, sunday, monday. the worst thing as a trump cabinet member, the worst thing he can say about you is that he has full confidence in you, that lasts about a week or so. we can do an average at this point. i don't think scott pruett is secure. not because he's not doing what donald trump wants him to do. i think donald trump doesn't like him when there's more noise coming from another part of the government than the white house. he indicated that with tom price. it looks like carson hung on by the skin of his teeth. he doesn't like the mess outside of the mess he causes. i think, you know, if i was
scott pruett, i'm not sure i would sign a long term lease, not even at $50 a night. >> no one will let him. >> he did get. the couple -- the lobbyist -- according to politico, became so frustrated by their lingering tenant they pushed him out and changed the lock. >> on a cabinet member. >> we were lobbying. >> reuters is reporting that he held 25% more meetings. he met with administratives more than 500 times. making up 77% of his total meetings during that period.
separate and apart from -- i care less about pruitt's spending habits. a lot of us hold the epa dear. among republican administrations, the head of the epa has been someone who at least sort of side glances a hug to the environment. scott pruett doesn't seem to care, he doesn't believe in climate change, he's set the science is not clear on this. that's not typically a position held by the person who holds that office. >> absolutely. this is actually -- i think one of the key issues here. donald trump has had many incompetent cabinet secretaries. he's had many corrupt cabinet secretaries. the issue with scott pruett is he is an enemy of this agency. he hates the mission of this agency, which is to protect the environment. and he is very smart about his tactics, he is rooting out climate scientists, this agency
is a shelf what it was. we've heard stories in the news recently about people who opposed his spending habits. people who believe in climate are being pushed out. donald trump's strongest backers are the group that loves scott pruett the most. they're rolling back regulation after regulation that has protected people, but has cost a dollar or two or some money to the oil and gas industry. scott pruett was well known for this in oklahoma and he's bringing those tactics effectively. he's been smart about destroying. his effort to truly detroit this agency that was created by a republican president. >> the legacy of the epa may be a bigger concern than scott pruett's spending habits in the end. david corn and jill wine-banks,
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>> trade war against china, you could have serious economic consequences throughout the american economy and significantly higher risk of recession in 2019 as he's preparing to run for reelection. >> good to talk to you as always. john harwood joining us tonight. coming up, michelle obama, what she does now that she's observing the current political climate. >> well, take a deep sigh. >> more from the former first lady up next. woman: i'm a fighter. always have been.
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there's never been a presidency that's done so much in such a short period of time. >> there's certainly something donald trump can take credit for and that's spurring political activism. among the resistance for sure but even among those who support him. from the first women's march the day after trump's inauguration, the largest single day protest in american history to the parkland students march for our lives in washington, dc last month and then the teacher walkouts that continue tonight in oklahoma. "washington post" sums it up. rallying nation. millions of americans are joining protests and getting political. the sheer size of these protests and the fact that they have maintained their intensity after more than a year of the trump presidency have political analysts musing about waves and even mitch mcconnell admitted this week that republicans could be facing a category 5 storm in the midterms.
today, the koch political report shifted 13 congressional races all to the left and numbers to explain who is in these pictures and why they are there. "the washington post" and the kaiser family foundation conducted what they say is, quote, the most extensive study of rally goers and protesters in more than a decade. one of the first attempts to quantify how many americans are motivated by trump to join these increasingly frequent political events. here's what they found. a stunning 20% of americans say they participated in a political rally or protest in the last 2 years. the issues that motivated them to rally were women's rights, the environment closely followed by lgbt rights, the affordable care act, abortion and police shootings. 40% are democrats, 36% are independent and 20% are republican. 70% of them disapprove of president trump. 83% of them say they are certain
to vote in november. former first lady michelle obama shared her thoughts about the leadership in the conference in boston. >> there are times in history when we feel like we're going backward, but that's part of the growth. you know, you take two steps forward, and one step backward, but you're constantly moving forward. and that's a hard thing for people to understand, especially when they think or know they're right about many issues. but that's how things go and i think we're at a point in time where we have to figure out who we want to be as a nation. and we've had two stark examples of what we can be. i certainly know what direction i want the country to go in. we've got to fight for that vision. it just didn't happen and we
can't take it for granted. i think a lot of what we're seeing is what happens when take things for granted. i felt like the 8 years barack was president was like having the good parent at home, you know, the responsible parent, the one that told you to eat your carrots and go to bed on time and now perhaps we have the other parent in the house and we thought it would feel fun, maybe it feels fun to some for now because we can eat candy all day and stay up late and not follow the rules and, you know, we're going to sort of, at a point in time, look at those two experiences and see how we feel. and i think it's going to take young people the next generation of leaders to really determine what kind of world they want to be in, and voting has got to be
part of that equation. >> will americans listen to michelle obama's advice and turn out for the 2018 midterm elections? that's up next. this is the ocea. just listen. (vo) there's so much we want to show her. we needed a car that would last long enough to see it all. (avo) subaru outback. ninety eight percent are still on the road after 10 years. come on mom, let's go!
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representing part of the great city of milwaukee and back with us. lena, good to have you with us. you're in a state that's purple that donald trump risks losing the next time around. what are you seeing in wisconsin in terms of ground swell movements and protestse and peoe who are not going to sit on the sidelines as donald trump leads this country? >> i'd like to say we're a blue state with red polka dots, but i will say in the last election that it's very clear that we have just on tuesday and the new way that will come and then just was able to flip several districts, several counties that had gone for trump. she flipped those in those districts that went to her. in all areas of the state.
the west, the north, the southeast, only one flipped in the southeast as well as there have been many rallies around the issues of the women's march, in madison, in milwaukee, and so there really milwaukee, so there has been a huge movement, and then the youth, they even marched to paul ryan's district to tell him that they need to do something about gun control, in particular, saying that universal background checks should be done, and they said they're not going to take no for an answer. and they're going to be involved not only in marching, but in registering people to vote, and going to vote, and that really is what's most important, people must vote. >> neera a couple weeks ago, i was out there on the mall in washington for the march for our lives. a lot of the groups we talked about, and the causes for which people march, are people who have had some experience. they've been part of a constituent group that has marched, the march for our lives
introduced another constituency into politics, a constituency in many cases, too young to vote or not yet able to vote. that tells me this is multigenerational. >> absolutely. >> it definitely is multigenerational. >> yes, i would just say there are so many dark spots to the current moment, the one silver lining is that in the united states donald trump has at least created a counter response, a large scale resistance that started with women, but is moving across the country. it's reaching millennials, it's reaching out to college students. as that -- as the polls show, that you indicated, we're seeing people who have never been in politics take political action, and 83% of them will vote, more
importantly, if they stay engaged in politics the future, they will transform this country not in 2018 or 2020. not just in those two times, but for decades to come. just as the generation of civil rights activists and activists against the vietnam war changed the country as well, that is the one thing i am incredibly optimistic about in these special elections, you're seeing democratic turnout much higher than republican turnout, that happened in the wisconsin supreme court justice race. that happened in conner lamb, in alabama, just democrats are just voting at higher levels than republicans. >> lean, that i remember back to the day when public service workers were staging protests in the wisconsin state house, back then, that was a big deal, we covered it for days and days and days. here, the washington post foundation poll indicated that 40% of adults polled had contacted their officials, their
elected officials in the last two years, there's a sense of citizen responsibility here, a sense of movement among people who are not the most active, but the idea that they'll call or e-mail or let their elected officials know what they think. that alone is a development for america, where our voter turnouts are not all that great. >> that's very true. if nothing else, you can say that the 45th president has inspired individuals who normally have not been engaged in politics to be in politics. and i even see individuals from senators like pat speer man in vegas, that is running for congress to citizens like kim hill knot who is running for congress. you have all types of individuals who normally had not been engaged to people who have been engaged, who are not only running for office, they're engaging in talking to their elected official, people are engaged, people i had not heard from are asking to volunteer and
be involved edinvolved. now it's also showing that people are doing it by going to vote. if we can keep that momentum, i really believe the 45th president has truly encouraged people to be engaged, to be the change that they want to see. >> we talk about being the change you want to see, we talk about michelle obama's admonition that people should get involved, neera, do you see the obama's getting more involved? >> i hope so. i think they are uniquely inspiring not just to democrats but to the whole country. and i think the contrast between the demeanor and adulthood i think michelle obama would call it, of president obama and what we're experiencing every day with donald trump is important, i appreciate president obama's interest in not being in the news every day, and not being the foil for donald trump, but i think you'll see as he did for
ralph northam and in other races, you'll see more in the summer and the fall of him campaigning for democrats. i think the obamas recognize that the 2018 election is the most important midterm we've ever been through. every day we know republicans will not hold this president accountable. if we care about accountability, rule of law, democracy, we need people to vote on election day, and the president and mrs. obama can both inspire that kind of action. >> thanks to both of you for joining us tonight. tonight's last word is up next.
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time for tonight's last word. >> according to the washington post, advisers are concerned that robert mueller told president trump's lawyers he is only a subject of the russia investigation to bait trump into an interview that could put him in legal trouble. and apparently it's not the first time they've tried to bait h him. >> trump has been trading tariffs with china this week. we're getting closer to a trade war. today he proposed an additional $100 billion of tariffs on chinese goods. everyone on both sides thinks is a terrible idea. yesterday he defended his plan by highlighting our trade deficit with the chinese. when you're already $500 billion
down you can't lose. which by the way, is the trump company motto. >> that is tonight's last word. up next, president trump's trade ideas are getting slammed by a lot of republicans. the 11th hour with brian williams starts right now. tonight more damaging headlines for epa chief scott pruett. word he spent millions on travel, but flew coach when it was on his own dime. word of a forthcoming report from robert mueller, a look rat the legal advice being offered up to donald trump. from surprise policy announcements to staff issues, the wild week in this trump white house. the 11th hour on a friday night begins now. good evening once again from our nbc news