tv The Rachel Maddow Show MSNBC April 7, 2018 4:00pm-5:00pm PDT
you can see in the reflection in the windows some of the other units that are on location. there are several sbraxs to this. we're looking at 57th on one side and fifth on the other. there's also an entrance on 56th. there's many ways to get in and out of the building. you can see some of the personnel coming and going. it appears from what we're seeing at this 7:00 hour here in new york city in manhattan, in midtown, at trump tower, a four-alarm fire that is now out. one seriously injured. it was a three-alarm before. flames on the upper floors as you see here, and it looks like -- if we had to count down, unright there in the 50s in terms of what we are seeing where the fire was before it was put out. it looks therefore to be a residential unit. we're not sure exactly which
floor, but what is most important is that the first family is okay, and the one seriously injured that we know of so far is all of the injuries that we are aware of at the moment, but of course this is coming to you in the last 15 minutes. jeff bennett, our white house correspondent, joins us now. we were speaking with your good colleague, monica alba, just moments ago. she was filling in what she knew and what the white house was saying in reaction to this. there is, of course, the tweet that came from president trump. what are you seeing and hearing? enchs we have not seen the president today. he sent out a couple tweets, and he tweeted -- fire at trump tower, confined.
firemen and women did a great job. thank you. remember, melania trump, and barron trump spent the first few months of the presidency living there in trump tower. we understand their penthouse occupation the first top several floors of that building, and they stayed behind so barron could finish up the school year. he attended a prep school on the upper west sigh. they didn't move to the white house until lair two summers ago, actually at this point. we understand that the president -- i think he's already left for dinner here in washington. the first lady ease spokesperson tells us that melania trump and their son barron are here in washington with the president, now currently in new york city and definitely not there at trump tower. >> this is one of the locations, as you know, that before the president had attended his own inauguration there were those meetings, right?
where the cameras were on the elevators, as they would go up trump tower, right. >> that's right, to meet the president-elect, gut through what you see right here on the left-hand side. >> yeah. >> it is, if you will, of recent fame. >> that's right. probably the most famous elevator bank in the entire country. remember, that first floor is a public space, so people could was this in, on the bottom level there's some sort of eatery, and then a trump bar on the second level, and then the waterfall, and the next level is where the president came down the escalators, when he announced his candidacy. >> it's that 60-foot-tall waterfall, according to the organization. those watching our sister network nbc can remember the
series "the apprentice" that famous boardroom, the famous line, and it happened in this building starting in 2004, where that particular meeting featuring that boardroom was there in this building, too. so there's lots of recent history to trump tower, and, of course, if you are a manhattanite, you are used to seeing crowds or folks taking picture as they go by, as tourists, visitors come by. and tom winter, who was early on and got us the information on what was happening here, was looking in to see had they closed off more streets around this area. it's typical for us to see cordons there, to see many nypd units here. but in today's situation with the four-alarm fire, jeff, we're
seeing fdny, instead, and hook and ladders. in at least 100-plus personnel on the ground there. remember there were all kinds of questions, will he spend more time in trump tower? we know the president in many ways is the home body. hi likes the creature comforts, and he enjoys living in trump tower, but because of where that building is, really at the heart of fifth avenue, it's so hard for the secret service to protect, it costs a lot of money. when we were there last summer for the united nations general assembly, the president stayed there, and people who live there know what chaos that served,
just trying to get around it, because all the streets were shut down. there were huge dump trucks blocking pretty much every avenue. so to look at the pictures now and see the response from the fire department, i sort of think back to what it was like there. frankly every time the president is in new york visiting his home, that entire area is shut down. >> it is. on this day, as you can tell, there's nobody on the streets. that's clearly for a reason despite it being a saturday, with fairly good weather, they're all cordoned off. i was mentioning earlier, this is fifth avenue, one of those locations on 57th and fifth on the corner that we are looking at at the moment, and i was mentioning earlier, you name it,
this is all the space that people remember when they come shopping here. now there's certainly a spectacle for many to watch close by. i'm going to go to tom winter right now, who was first to get us information on what was happen at trump tower, getting some video of what's happening on the scene. we'll monitor it with delay, in case, as we normally do, everything does happen. you can get a sent of the crowd i was alluding to earlier. this is pretty typical of this area of manhattan. tom winter, i have been monitoring this very closely with your sources. we went from a three to a four-alarm fire. what do you have on that and more?
9 fire has been knocked down, basically a fire fighting term, mean the seat of it, the visible flame we're not sea anynorth. the bulk of the fire is out they're going to do an extensive serve to make sure there's no fire hiding from their normal view and they have quite a lot of work to do to get the smoke out of the building. that's something that will take some time. this is an opportunity at this point for the fire department to bring some additional units on scene, basically bring additional manpower and additional tools on scene. this was a two-alarm fire
shortly before 6:00. they've been working on for it an hour. though it's not hot out and they're inside a building, still you're working hard for a couple hours, you need some additional people to give some of the fire fighters some rest. so at this point it becomes a manpower issue. i wouldn't be surprised if most of the elevators are shut down and they're operating elevators manually. there would be a decent amount of people 50 feet and before. i don't have a particularly good layout, because it is a private building. the 50th floor issy the fire was. if there's people inside of the apartments, inside of residences or offices that are above the 50th floor, they'll need to get the people down and out. they may need to do that through the stairway or manually operate elevators, so you'll need some
additional manpower. i believe they had 140 firefighters or so on scene, so they're adding more to that now. this is typical. it doesn't indicate there's something else that's going on that we can't see, and to recap what we've said before, there's one person seriously hurt. we don't know if that person is an employee that works in the building from the standpoint of building management or maintenance person. we don't know if that person was a resident or someone that worked in the offices there that may or may not be for the trump organization itself. we know it's not an injury to the firefighter. they are all accounted for and not injured, last time i checked. i know the person was hurt was definitely seriously hurt, and i believe that person has transported to a hospital, but we don't have an update on the
condition. >> tom winters, always great to have you there. he's always the first guy on the seen, first with the information from nbc news' investigative unit. if there were a person to know the answer to this question, the cause. it's probably way too early to know what has caused there fires, but obviously one of the very location where the average cost per square -- or price per square foot is around $2,000. that's nothing to sneeze at here. as we look at the pictures, now we're getting video on the left-hand side of the screen for those of you just joining us. we looked at video earlier of the crowds that are outside of these pictures now, but certainly a big number of folks that have gathered to watch what is happening there at trump
tower. tom, any word or what might be the process outside of the normal steps that they might take to understand what caused this fire? we're talking about this clearly, because this is a building represented to the president. >> so, a very good question. what was not clear to the folks that i talked to, obviously the fire fighters are actually in the building and on the 50th floor with this fire as we understand it occurred. it wasn't clear to me where there were multiple office units or a combination of both. that will determine, if it was in a residence, was it somebody cooking? was it in an office? was somebody using certain
equipment? or if there was construction going on on that floor? as you know well, construction in this city seems to be a 24-hour event, whether it's inside or out. >> right. >> reporter: so if there was construction going on, was it a tool? something being used that started the fire? those are all the thing that by now nods exactly, you ngo know, as far as what type of space they were working with and dealing with, and a pretty good sense of how this fire started. >> tom, really quickly, 15 seconds, no indication other than the possible scenarios you have mentioned so far that there were any bad actors, involved? we need to underline that? >>. >> reporter: yes. there's nothing pointing to this being a fire intentionally set. >> tom winter, always, thank you, sir, for your reporting and always getting to the center of
these breaking stories. jeff bennett, thank you as well. four alarm fire there at the trump tower. first family not there. it appears that the fire is out, one seriously injured. we'll continue to follow this and move after a break. stay with us on msnbc. only eggland's best. which egg has 6 times more vitamin d, 10 times more vitamin e, and 25% less saturated fat? only eggland's best. which egg is so special, i'd never serve my family anything else? for me, it's only eggland's best. better taste, better nutrition, better eggs. i had a very minor fender bender tonight! in an unreasonably narrow fast food drive thru lane.
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russians. including a billionaire russian on the i gash, who putin gave all the catering contracts to the military and schools. people calm him putin's chef. robert mueller straight up indicted that guy in february. those became the basis for the first significant u.s. government sanctioning against russia. mueller picked those targets, named them, and literally brought federal criminal charges against them. the trump administration glommed on and said, yeah, we'll sanction them, too. since then robert mueller hasn't just charged, but also secured his first prison sentence in the russia scandal for a dutch lawyer, a dutch lawyer who speakses fluent russian, the son-in-law of another russian oligarch to putin.
herman kahn absolutely is a high figure in russia and the kremlin, so the jailing of his son has to have some kind of resonance in russia. since then we have also learned thanks to a fascinating cnn report from a couple days ago that mueller and his prosecutors have been stopping to oligarchs at u.s. airports. so up until today it's kind of been the special counsel's office that's been responsible in the united states for punching back at russia on behalf of the american people whose election was interfered with by russia in 2016. they have done so in some ways that have been quite provocative. well, now today, on h.r. mcmaster's last day in office, today the treasury department
announced what experts in this field consider to be a real list, a substantive list of newly sanctioned russian individuals and entities as punishment for russia, quote, attempting to subvert western democracies. they got close to saying it. of course they couldn't explicitly say it, don't upset the president. whether or not that preamble matters in terms of the exact verbiage, the list they put out today for the new sanctions is aggressive, including putin's son-in-law who he sat up with billions of dollars of shares in formerly state-run, when he married his daughter. there were also a couple people on the list who sanction experts and russian experts describe as clever choices. for example there are sanctions
announced today against igor rotten berg. he's not famous, but his dad is. his dad and uncle are among the richest guys in russia. they have been given gigantic contracts, they are very large and very well padded. because putin's government has used rotten been burg's dad and. they were both put on a very strict sanctions list in 2014, after russia invaded crimea. when igor's dad and uncle god sanctioned, what they did is transferred all of their assets and their companies to the kid. they just gave everything to igor, right? tier still believed to materially controlled it, but
igor is not ascensioned, so put everything on him. today igor got sanctioned. both him, his dad and uncle, are all in a position where they're not stripped, but they're quite internationally constrained. there's two last things to know here. first is that the person who appears to be hardest hit by the sanctions today is somebody who is a familiar figure from the russia scandal. in particular the scandal surrounding paul manafort. his name is oleg gorpaska, a very rich oligarch, close to putin. he rupp the biggest aluminum manufacturing concern. he 'sanctioned personally. on top of that there are 12 oligarch-controlled companies. of the 12, eight of them are controlled by oleg. aside from his being, oleg
deripaska is the known for his longstanding business dealings with paul manafort now awaiting trial on many felonies. the a.p. reported in manage of last year, manafort side a contract with oleg deripaska to promote muten's government around the world. manafort denies that, but a.p. stance by the reporting. court documents indicate that deripaska and manafort tried several business ventures together. he's been trying to get back money that he says manafort stole from him. "the atlantaic quugs turned up
e-mails from when manafort was running trump's campaign, apparently linking the campaign to his outstanding unsettled business hours with oleg deripaska. it was asking if he had seen the press clippings. he asked if there was some way that he could use that to get whole with oleg deripaska. he offered private briefings on the campaign. manafort's business associate, somebody whose mueller prosecutors assess as having current tying to russian intelligence, manafort's business associate e-mailed manafort to saying that he had spent five hours, with several important messages that he need to do deliver in person to manafort. he said the message concerned the future of his country, meaning oleg's country, russia.
so manafort and his business associate then met up in new york in early august, 2016, to discuss whatever those message with respect from oleg deripaska. at the time manafort was trump's campaign manager. oleg deripaska is now sanctioned, his big entire has just had an anvil dropped on it. and he is close to putin. nobody now how the russian government will respond. they say they'll respond in kind, but there's no russian equivalent to locking multibillionaires out of the u.s. economy. not when your country is economically weak. russia is the biggest country by land area, and it's so corrupt that they have to create oligarchs to do their work everywhere. nobody knows what russia means when they're going to retaliate in kind. hopefully they won't do anything
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we work with everyone both in the united states and here in russia. they're more alike -- we're hunters, we shooters, we value the same kinds of things, and we need to work together. >> no peoples are more alike than the americans and the russians. nra president david keene. that happened during a visit when david keene and other nra officials traveled to moscow to attend a conference by a group called the right to bear arms. the right to bear arms is reportedly a gun rights group founded by a senior member of putin's political party called united russia. what is funny is vladimir putin and his party, united russia, they don't actually support gun rights in russia. so why did they create this group? a deputy governor of the russian central bank, a former senior member of the russian parliament, a close ally, a
ranking member of his party started this gun rights group. they didn't do much to promote gun rights. they also named themselves the right to bear arms, which has a lot more resonance in the english language than in russian, what they did do is started making lots and lots of connections to the american nra alexander torsion started cultivating ties, and became an nra member. he and a charismatic female protege, they started attending the yearly conferences in the u.s. they cultivated friend ships with officials, they sought out republican introductions whenever they could, and they twice got senior nra officials and affiliated selects to come visit russia, all expenses paid, as guests of this putin-affiliated fake gun rites group, that honestly wasn't
promoting gun rights in russia. among the u.s. officials who promoted this group is john bolt bolton, who is supposed to start in monday as national security adviser. here he is as you have never seen him before with russian subtitles. >> thank you for this tune to address the russian people on the 20th anniversary of the adoption of of the russian constitution. today we were engaged in a historic die bait about the expansion of your freedoms. should the russian people -- >> they're not actually engaged in that debate. to be clear, vladimir putin and his political party do not believe the russian people should have the right to bear arms. they hadded to after to have been doing so for effect, for effect on an american audience. they were trying to cultivate ties.
mcclatchy reports that the fbi is investigating whether they used this relationship built with the nra to funnel foreign cash into the u.s. to support the election of donald trump. that of course is awkward for john bolton starting on monday as national security adviser if that is in fact an active investigation. all of these contacts form part of a new article in "rolling stone" called the decade-long russian campaign for infiltrate. nra and eventually help elect donald trump. russian experts believe that torsion's interest masked a motive. the idea is an anathema to meting, so the question is why? why was a pro-gun campaign being hatched inside putin's own
party. >> a few weekal -- went to help trump through what happens to be this russian op targeting the nra. the nra spent triple what they spent on the previous presidential election. central to that reported investigation is the head of the fake russian rights group. you know, it's funny, since this has generated a scandal for the nra, the nra has grudgingly admitted to taking foreign money, but they don't do so for election purposes. the one donation that they had admitted to a a $1,000 payment from alexander torsion for his own life membership in the nra. they say that's -- it's just -- well alexander as of today finds himself unible to interthe
united states or attend any more conferences or do business with any of his american friends, because he has just been named on the new treasury department list of 17 top russian government officials saintsed by the u.s. government because of interference in our election in 2016. will our new security adviser john bolden have to ask for his video back? joining us is tim dickinson. he wrote this article. thank you for big with us. i'm cure with by why did sorshin end up on this sanctions list. in storms of what it said it was about, i'm not sure how that connects to torshin. >> i think one thing that's been missing is how big a figure he
was in the russian senate. he was their number two and briefly rose to be their acting chairman. dorshin was there in 2014 when russia was officially annexes crimea, so he helped to steer that legislation, he appeared at the signing ceremony with vladimir putin. this guy is a big deal in russian politics, far apart from any of the scandal that we are talking about. there was a plausible reason to sanction him back in 2014. that didn't happen. other high-level officials were sanctioned then. so the question i guess that raises for me is why now? why targeted now? and steve mnuchin, the outgoing treasury secretary talked in pretty specific, brought terms about russia's mall lined influence, including in interference in western elections. it seems that the right question is -- does someone in the
administration have other information that has come to light that makes this person of significant interest now to be seeking to punish. and on the why question here, i think this we can agree that it would be unnatural to the point of impossible to exist in nature, that there could be a putin supported russian rights goo that would progressively promote gun rights, if we can set aside the possibility that that is actually what the group is for. is it clear from your reporting what exactly they were after in south investigating the nra, running what appears to be sort of an op to try to get lots of visits, to cultivate these friendships, what was it all about? >> well, we're looking through a glass darkly here. we don't have all the
information. having gone back through years and years of social media posts, you know, extensive research, what you're drew iing is absolutely right. we see a sophisticated influence campaign, where torshin and his protege are seeking to open nra as a condue you to do russia's bidding in u.s. politics. in america they become a conduit to meet people like david keene, who's a conservative everywhere man. he ran the organ asian for many years that run cpac. he's one of the most connected guys in washington, and likely the reason that john bolton appeared in this video, the only public discussion that david keene asked bolton to record this video. but the idea that bolton is
mixed up in this speaks to the depth and the success of this rushes effort to influence the nra and to open his doors and pathways. what this allowed was for torshin in 2016 to back channel there an nra operative, a deputy of keene's named paul erickson, to extend an invitation to the trump campaign to try to broker a meeting with putin and trump. right? so this is the pathway that was open, the level of communication that was opened. torshin claimed he met trump personally in 2015 and environmentalually ended up meeting in beautiful at the nra convention, where trump received the endorsement of the group. he met with the president's son just week before the infamous trump tower meeting where trump junior is meeting with other russians. just a couple weeks after that, torshin receives a very interesting medal from the fsb,
which is the successor organization to the kgb. maybe this is just a lifetime achievement medal, but it gives the impression that this is a reward for something much more current. >> well done. like when we kizlyak these basically crowd surfed him to moscow. >> and go back to 2012, because torshin is an observer of the 2012 election with obama and romney. he's thinking about american politics. he goes and visits nrahood quarters after that, and visits sergei kisliyak. what is going on here? i suspect on some level the nra got the wool 3u8d over its eyes here. what we are left to is understand is there may have been a way to steer money
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appointees have come forward to the committee that has oversight over the epa, to kip to that committee that embattled administrator pruitt hired a senior staffer at the agency for what was essentially a no-show job. according to the whistle-blower epa boyeeemployees is that a st was hired for a job with full pay, but no responsibility to actually go to work. for what is reported to be a three-month period. we have more on that breaking news coming up. stay with us. trying something new can be exciting. empowering. downright exhilarating. see for yourself why chevrolet is the most awarded and fastest growing brand, the last four years overall. switch into a new chevy now. current competitive owners can get five thousand dollars below msrp on this 2018 equinox when you finance with gm financial.
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. one of the weirdest con jobs you have ever heard about in government, the kind you can't believe that some pulled off, particular for as long as this dude did. his name was john beale, he world for the epa over 20 years, one of the leading experts on climate change. while doing that expert work, he was also pretending to be moonlighting as a cia agency. for more than ten years, he told his epa supervisors, i'm going to need some time off, because i have highly secret work to do for the cia. apparently everybody just believed him. they apparently really believed he was involved in some covert operation, so best not to call too much attention to it.
set then afc an 18-month-long stretch, where again he just didn't show up to work. and the fine with it. they kept paying him. he kept getting paid and he kept getting promoted. he became the highest paid official at the epa. he was getting paid more than the head of the epa. what did he say he did with the time once he got caught? he said he was working around the house. riding his bicircle and reading books. we know that basically he's my hero. he was eventually caught. he pled guilty in 2013 to defrauding be u.s. government of like a million dollars. he was sentenced to a lot of time in prison. it still kind of boggles the mind, that real life person, not character in the movie could pull off something that -- any
way. something of that magnitude. tonight the yes that really happened adventures of that one mag nif se mag nif sent epa con man, those adventures are back in the news. scott pruitt's amount of scandals. word that multiple epa staffers have come forward over a period of four to six weeks. by phone, e-mail and in person, in person meetings. they have come forward to ie letter the senate committee that there is another scandal of this type at the epa. another senior no show staffer. in this case t a senior council to scott pruitt. she's an official said to be the closest aide to scott pruitt. she has resigned in the past week but according to these staffers who have come forward, she was allegedly being paid
full-time even though she wasn't turning up at work for months at a time. for three months between november and january. joining us now is chris lew. he managed obama's senior cabinet. thank you for being here. this is a weird story. >> it is but it's part in parcel of a culture of anything goes. we have seen with pruitt the excessive spending, first class travel. the salaries he gave to a couple of his officials. when you have a culture of misconduct, this is not surprising at all. >> when you were managing the cabinet in the obama administration, if you got word of some alleged scandal involving not necessarily the administrator him or herself but a senior staff. something weird about some hiring. there's some money that was paid to augment somebody's salary where it looks like that's not where the money should have come from. there's allegation about a no show job like in this case. is that the sort of thing you would expect the administrator
to fix or is that something where the white house might get involved. >> that's the important point is we in the obama administration all salary increases for political appointees has to be cleared by the white house. that's to ensure there's party n -- parity in the agency but across as well. we had tone of ethics because president obama set that tone. you have donald trump who, frankly, not only is indifferent to ethics but been blatantly hostile to it. they clearly haven't set up the processes to check these kinds of abuses. >> on the staffing issue, the large raises that we're discussing, the way that's been reported out and i should say that scott pruitt denies having known about it, it looks like the white house may have not cleared some of the people he
wanted to hire and therefore scott pruitt decided he would use the safe drinking water act as a way to circumvent the white house turning them down to get those people hired any way. is this going behind the white house back, that would seem to be fatal offense this any cabinet because of insub board nation. >> there are processes in place. those cabinet members trying to follow the rules and submitting salary increases don't take well to somebody who goes around the process and gives yunilaterally gives raises. one of them is a former chemical lobby is. it's not even clear this person qualified. that deliberate flouting of the white house process in and of
itself should mean he gets taken to the wood shed by the white house chief of staff. >> we saw 64 house democrats. there's been three house republicans call for pruitt's resignati resignation. 64 house democrats came out today. does congress have any recourse here? >> yes, they do. what we have found in this administration as the president has been fairly defiant of congress. he's turned blind eye to ethics. as long as scott pruitt is turning a blind eye to climate change, he's doing what donald trump wants him to do. we can never normalize this disregard of ethics and we have to keep talking about it. i do think at some point there's something that's going to be the final straw but what it is, i'm not sure. >> someone who has been there but never had to con front shotg something like this.
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for how those 13 races would go. for all 13 of them they shifted the races. predictions lean more in the direction of the democrats. meaning for all 13 of these seats, if they were kind of leaning democratic, they are now leaning more so. seats leaning solidly republican are leaning less solidly republicans. the list of moves toward the democrats include one congressional state in purple wisconsin. that is resonating because demonstrates and progressives have been winning upset elections. in a district that had gone for trump by 17 points. last week, a liberal leaning candidate for the wisconsin supreme court won a ten-year term. that was the first time a candidate backed by liberals won an open seat on that court this 23 years. that led that wisconsin win led to lots of blue wave prognostication and lots of blue
wave fear by republicans. if that gold standard prognostication is right then more upsets are on the way not only this wisconsin but beyond. that does it for us tonight. see you again on monday. now it's time for the last word the ali. >> great show tonight. thanks as always. >> happy weekend. >> and you. good evening. there's new indications president trump may be preparing to salespeoppeak to robert muel. mueller is strengthening his case against key figures in the russia investigation. there's lots to talk about tonight. we have an all star panel to break it down. is president trump preparing to sit down with special prosecutor robert mueller. quote, president trump has begun the initial steps of preparing for a possible interview with