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tv   The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell  MSNBC  April 12, 2018 7:00pm-8:00pm PDT

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findings with regard to the president and obstruction of justice. those findings are reportedly close to ready to being reported. the mueller investigation intends to put them in a report form that goes to rod rosenstein, we don't know what will happen to that report. but apparently there are four findings related to the president and obstruction of justice that mueller and his team have basically ready to go. that comes as part of an nbc news tonight, that the president is not going to sit for an interview with robert mueller. that has its own implications, but one of them may be the obstruction report arrives sooner rather than later. we know it contains four elements. and also the james comey book accidentally came out early. oops. that does it for us tonight. now it's time for "the last word with lawrence o'donnell." >> good evening, rachel. i'm reading the end because i want to see how the investigation came out. if you want to take a few more
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minutes i have a couple pages to go and then i'll know what happens. >> i can tell you the last few words, but -- >> let me just tell america this. i don't want to break the embargo on the big stuff in here, but toward the end of this book, james comey says i am writing in a time of great anxiety in my county, i understand the anxiety but also believe america is going to be fine. so there's that. >> sleep tight everybody. >> someone believes america is going to be fine. someone who knows an awful lot about exactly where america is right now. >> we all have a part in making sure that's true. thanks, my friend. >> thank you, rachel. my first guest tonight michael avenatti, stormy daniels's lawyer, says that trump lawyer, michael cohen plans to take the fifth amendment in the lawsuit stormy daniels has brought against michael cohen and donald trump. and that is a huge turning point
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in the stormy daniels lawsuit. i mean huge. but there was a much more important legal turning point in the investigation of the president of the united states today. it has been a day of constantly cascading news about the special prosecutor's investigation of the president of the united states. today was the day the doorman speaks. the doorman. who says that he heard a rumor about donald trump fathering a child with a woman he had an affair with. today is the day that james comey speaks or his book begins to speak for the first time. excerpts leaking out and the "new york times" review is out and it says former fbi director james comey calls the trump presidency a forest fire. into that forest fire tonight a late breaking story from "the washington post" says that trump associate michael cohen has recorded many of his phone conversations and that the fbi might now have those recordings
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after raiding michael cohen's home, his office, his hotel room in new york city on monday. and i wish we had had a camera on michael avenatti when i just said that. the reaction to michael cohen recording telephone calls and those calls possibly being in the possession of the fbi now. but procedurally, the biggest turn on the road to the truth about what the president knew and when he knew it, what the president did and when he did it, was reported by nbc news tonight in an exclusive report indicating that the president of the united states will not submit to an interview with the special prosecutor, who is investigating him for obstruction of justice. nbc news report says special counsel robert mueller's office and president donald trump's legal team are now proceeding with strategies that presume a presidential interview will likely not take place as part of the russia investigation after months of talks between the two sides collapsed earlier this
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week, according to multiple people familiar with the matter. that is the choice you make if you're guilty. if you know you're guilty of the crime you're being investigated for or any other crime you absolutely do not submit to an interview with the fbi or federal prosecutors or any prosecutors any time, anywhere. it is also the choice you should make under many circumstances if you are not guilty of anything. it is a perfectly reasonable choice to refuse to be interviewed by the fbi, even if you are convinced that you are not guilty of anything. but it is an absolutely mandatory choice if you are guilty. if you are guilty, you have no choice, you must never submit to an interview with the fbi and federal prosecutors and then, when they subpoena you to testify to a grand jury under oath in a much more tense and difficult environment than an
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fbi interview, you must be prepared to take the fifth amendment if you're guilty because your answers will incriminate you. and so this week marks the moment when donald trump stops talking as if he has nothing to hide. stops saying things like this. >> are you going to talk to mueller? >> i'm looking forward to it, actually. >> would you still like to testify to special counsel robert mueller, sir? >> i would like to. >> viewers of this program know that i for one never believed that. i always thought that was a pose he was using to draw out the negotiations for an interview with mueller and in the end would decide what he has apparently decided this week, he cannot submit to that interview. the president seems to have decided that all of his friends on fox news who have been telling him not to testify or submit to an interview are right because it is a perjury trap.
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all of donald trump's friends on fox news who say that, that an interview with the special prosecutor would be a perjury trap, are, of course, saying that they firmly believe that donald trump would commit a crime in the interview. a crime of lying to the fbi. essentially the same as perjury. and they are saying that donald trump would commit perjury because he is guilty and he must lie if he is interviewed by the special prosecutor and so we have now entered the deadly serious part of the special prosecutor's investigation of the president of the united states. the president will not cooperate by giving an interview. and so, the most dangerous concentration between a president and a prosecutor since watergate is now fast fast approaching. that becomes more dangerous for the special prosecutor every day as the president contemplates firing everyone he would have to fire in order to reach into the justice department and fire the special prosecutor himself. it becomes more dangerous to the
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president as the special prosecutor considers the option of issuing a subpoena to the president to testify before a grand jury in a room where the president's lawyers cannot go and it becomes more dangerous to the constitution because the president of the united states might refuse to submit to constitutional processes. if the president agreed to an interview with investigators, his lawyers could be right beside him conferring with him about the answer. if the president goes into a grand jury room, he will be alone. a grand jury witness can ask to leave the room to consult with a lawyer, but otherwise donald trump would be alone in a room with prosecutors, fbi agents and 20 citizens who have taken an oath as grand jurors to impartially take the evidence presented to them and evaluate the honesty of witnesses. donald trump knows that his presidency might not survive an appearance in that grand jury room. so we step closer to the phrase
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we've heard so often lately, constitutional crisis. the constitutional crisis that would occur if the special prosecutor subpoenas the president of the united states, the president of the united states refuses to comply with the subpoena, the court orders the president to comply with the subpoena, and the president refuses. no one knows what happens. who goes with the badge to physically seize the president of the united states, and what does the secret service do? they're sworn to physically protect him, to surround him, what do they do? the constitution prevailed against president richard nixon, because nixon allowed the constitution to prevail. when the supreme court ordered richard nixon to comply with the subpoena, he didn't think he had a choice. donald trump is no richard nixon, he always thinks he has a choice, a way out, and he believes that everyone in the
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federal government is supposed to work for him. tonight donald trump sits in the white house as robert mueller decides whether he should subpoena the president of the united states to testify to a grand jury, and as robert mueller considers that he knows he is stepping ever closer to being fired. and donald trump is no doubt spending the evening watching his favorite news network where robert mueller is the equivalent of the nazis, a station where there will be no mention of james comey's book, what he called the golden showers thing, he will be watching the cable news network where there will be no mention of the trump doorman, but even when he's watching his favorite escapist tv shows tonight he has to feel the heat getting hotter, the heat of the forest fire that he created. joining our discussion now,
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michael avenatti, the attorney for stormy daniels, also joining us is barbara mcquade, an msnbc legal contributor, and mike murphey is with us, a republican strategist. and michael avenatti i want to start with you because so much of where we are tonight is related to what has happened since stormy daniels emerged in our news. we have the doorman tonight, we have michael cohen and the tapes, and i just have to get your reaction to that right off the bat. we're going to talk about michael cohen a lot later in the show. but the revelation tonight that michael cohen commonly taped telephone calls, played some of those telephone calls for donald trump himself to show him what a good job he was doing, and that the fbi and investigators may have known about that and might be in possession of those now.
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>> lawrence, if you thought the pucker factor was significant on monday night after the raids, that's nothing compared to the pucker factor that is present tonight in light of this "washington post" story. if this "washington post" story is true that there are actual tapes of michael cohen communicating with opponents, potentially leaning on folks, threatening them that he then played because he was proud of them, potentially tapes between him and mr. trump, i don't know how to describe that it's so shocking. it makes the nixon tapes look like a church picnic potentially. i will say this, a lot of people when we first started this started comparing this to watergate and said this is going to be similar to watergate. i didn't agree with that, i thought it was overblown. i think we're beyond potentially watergate at this point if this
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story is true. i think this is beyond a constitutional crisis. i think the president is in an enormous amount of trouble. michael cohen is in an enormous amount of trouble. you know, i feel like i'm running out of -- i'm running out of adjectives to describe what we're seeing day in and day out. i'm getting exhausted because every day it's another revelation, and it's another negative development for the president and michael cohen. but the idea when you hear your attorney's offices and home have been raided, you're upset about that, that is very disconcerting to say the least. when you then find out there are recordings that have been seized by the fbi, you don't even know where to begin. >> michael cohen is taking -- he said -- his attorneys have told you he's going to take the fifth amendment in your case and file some pleadings asking for delay
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based on that. presumably donald trump also would take the fifth amendment in your case at this point. what do you see in those -- in michael cohen's response to your case that tells us how he will respond to where the federal investigation has him? >> well, what we learned today -- look, let's not lose track of the following. seven days ago i appeared on your show and you played the statements of the president of the united states on air force one, and we talked about -- >> that was seven days ago? >> it was seven days ago. it feels like it was seven years ago. it was only seven days ago. i talked about how i thought he placed michael cohen in the cross hairs and he directed the american people to his personal attorney to answer questions. he said, basically, talk to my personal attorney and he'll answer your questions, okay. monday we have a raid of michael cohen, three separate locations, and now we learn that michael
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cohen's not going to be answering questions. he's going to be pleading the fifth amendment against self-incrimination. this is the right hand of the president of the united states, his personal attorney, pleading the fifth amendment about self-incrimination. you asked me is it likely or you made a mention of it that maybe the president of the united states would plead the fifth amendment in response to questions. i mean, we should let that wash over us for a minute and let that realize the seriousness of what we're talking about here. this is a big deal. never before in our nation's history have we had a president of the united states that i know of plead the fifth amendment in response to questions about his conduct in connection with ap presidential campaign. >> let me squeeze in a legal footnote here. your case is a civil case. there's nothing criminal about it. in civil litigation, the fifth amendment does not come up as nearly as often as it does in criminal process. so to be in the middle of a
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civil case and have a witness or a party to the case say, i'm taking the fifth amendment about all questions involving this case is a pretty extraordinary event in a civil case. >> it absolutely is. let's contrast what we learned today from michael cohen through his counsel with what we heard in the last 24 or 48 hours from michael cohen. michael cohen has said he's not worried about the raid. he's not concerned about it. he's concerned about his family, but not concerned about it and he's confident that he's be exonerated. how do you square that with i'm going to plead the fifth amendment against self-incrimination. you can't. >> barbara mcquade reports indicated that the raid on michael cohen's apartment and hotel room, pushed donald trump across the line where he decided he did not want to cooperate with the investigation. i find that hard to believe, i find it hard to believe he was
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ever going to cooperate. let's talk about where that legal cross roads is tonight. this is the moment we were waiting for or the first big moment we were waiting for in mueller versus the president, would the president agree to be interviewed and now nbc news is reporting there is not going to be an interview. >> it seems like the last straw was this search warrant at michael cohen's office and as you say, maybe he never intended to go through with it at all, and this is the fig leaf he needs to say that's the end of it. robert mueller has a decision to make. does he use a grand jury subpoena to compel president trump to testify, which as you pointed out could create a true constitutional crisis. that's a phrase that gets overused all the time but if president trump were to defy that it could create a constitutional crisis or does robert mueller forego that which could take a lot of time in litigation, does he say, i got enough evidence i don't need to
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hear your side of the story, i gave you your chance and i have plenty of evidence to reach any own conclusions about obstruction of justice. i wanted to hear your side of the story and hear whether there was anything other than corrupt intent, but i have the evidence and i'm going to go forward. my guess is he may choose to go forward with his report and forego trump's side of the story since he's refusing to give it voluntarily. >> when a politician is under investigation, you can figure out what their next legal response is going to be because politicians want to maintain their political viability, their political careers matter to them. i'm not sure any of that matters to donald trump, i'm not sure we can use any political analysis in trying to figure out how he will handle himself in this investigation. >> the trump laws of gravity are different. he's always worked base politics where he doesn't have the majority of support.
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he's focussed on the republican primary electorate, which still likes him. so you create a different narrative, you put testimony investigation on trial, the prosecutors on trial and debate everything except the center thrust of the investigation. the walls are closing in a bit here. we will see, we're trying this by cable tv because we don't have the facts yet. we have the leaks and the reports, but if there are tapes and they're germane, that could be a tremendous bombshell, beyond michael cohen is the worst lawyer in america, there could be other things germane to what mueller is looking at. there's also the federal election committee find. all of us who have run big campaigns know you do that. it's a violation of the fec. it's not about whether a porn star got paid and what rights she has. it's the laws by which we
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conduct campaigns and dirty money now. so this keeps widening with more cracks. and the president is responding as the president does, emotionally and getting more erratic about it. one thing on this will he testify issue. there was a lot of cov raj on this and i believe it, his legal team was afraid to let him testify, for two reasons, one he would personalurger himself. the other is he lives in a moment to please the room. which may also put him in a perjury moment. so i think he had no choice but to not testify. i agree that i don't know if mueller needs to make a constitutional crisis out of that. he may say i gave him a chance to correct the record he didn't do it. >> we'll see if barbara
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mcquade's prediction is the truth. we'll take a break. when we come back, the doorman speaks. everyone knows that the doorman hears everything, every rumor, including in this case the rumor about donald trump having a secret child. later, how long will john kelly last in the trump white house after james comey's new book reveals what john kelly really said about donald trump? ♪ bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens ♪ ♪ brown paper packages tied up with strings ♪ ♪ these are a few of my favorite things ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ these are a few of my favorite things ♪ >> vo: they're getting by starting with miracle-gro
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a doorman at trump world tower, a building near the united nations on the east side of manhattan. today he released this statement. today i awoke to learn that a confidentiality agreement i had with ami with regard to a story about president trump was leaked to the press. i can confirm that while working at trump tower i was instructed not to criticize president trump's former housekeeper due to a prior relationship she had with president trump which produced a child. the associated press broke the story last night saying the enquirer signed the ex-doorman to a contract that would effectively prevent him from going public with the tale. and michael cohen said he
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discussed the story with the talk about lloyd. michael cohen said he was acting as a spokesperson when he did so. we know that the search warrants that the fbi used to search michael cohen's home, his office and a hotel he was staying in in targeted communications between michael cohen and the two top people at the "national enquirer." david pecker, the publisher, and dylan howard, the "national enquirer" editor and chief. ami the parent company released this statement. ami denies that donald trump or michael cohen had anything to do with its decision not to pursue a story about a love child that it determined was not credible. now, it's moments like this when the "national enquirer" is putting out statements about what's true and false. that it would be really great if
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the "national enquirer" never printed outright screaming lies on the cover of the "national enquirer," which it does on a regular basis. a spokesperson for the trump organization denied the story that dino told the "national enquirer" but he said i took a a polygraph test. it seems like the writing is on the wall about that. it's pretty clear he said. he said the story had to come out and he referred further questions to his lawyer. the woman he's referring to in his story about donald trump has denied to the associated press that she ever had an affair with donald trump, the news organizations that know who she is are who wouith holding her n since none of what was said has been verified. they report he did take a lie detector test administered by the "national enquirer" and that
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he passed that test which said how he learned of the rumor but not the truth of the rumor. when nbc news reached people in the white house for comment about this, multiple officials said they do not intend to comment about the doorman's story that the president has a sixth child with a fourth mother who he did not marry, joining our discussion ken white and back with us michael avenatti. ken white, i want to get your reaction to this "national enquirer" story tonight and the concept of the "national enquirer" spending money on a regular basis to bury stories about donald trump and doing it during the presidential campaign. and how that looks in terms of a possible in-kind contribution to a presidential campaign. >> it looks quite bad. the important thing isn't whether the story is true, the rumor is true.
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the important thing is what they did to cover it up, whether or not it's true. because that's where the crime is. there's no crime in an affair, not even a crime necessarily in paying someone to shut up. but there is definitely a potential crime in undisclosed campaign contributions in the form of paying people off to shut up. and yes, ami's story has been no we just made a good journalistic decision not to run this story because we decided it wasn't true. after the third or whatever number of people they pay off, that starts to become factually difficult to believe. and if the search of michael cohen's office turns up communications with ami that's inconsistent with that story, that suggests that the purpose is not journalism but helping the trump campaign, then that's going to be very damaging both to ami and michael cohen legally. >> and michael avenatti, the new yorker is reporting that two
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ami -- two former ami employees say that michael cohen was in close contact with ami about the -- this story about the doorman. >> well, i wonder if ami released that statement before or after "the washington post" article about the tapes. because, you know, the audio recordings if they exist, lawrence, are not going to lie and may completely undercut all kinds of things that we've heard over the last six months, 12 months, two years. it may undercut what the president knew about my client's agreement, where the $130,000 came from. the involvement of ami, and the list goes on and on. audio tapes, i can't think -- maybe a videotape is a more powerful piece of evidence than audio tape, but it's a close second. it doesn't get much better than an audio with the exception of a
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video. so this revelation in "the washington post" if true it could reset the entire table on this saga and really pose huge problems for michael cohen and ultimately the president of the united states. >> and the reason for this is that michael cohen is at the center of everything. he's been with trump for so long. he's at the center of everything. they have reports of him possibly taping phone calls with members of the campaign staff, campaign staff got wind of that and thought we don't want to be on the phone with this guy. so he may have tapes that involve all the stories we're talking about, including as you point out this "national enquirer" story. >> i'm a lot smarter than michael cohen. >> that's not a boast. that's just -- >> look, i think there's a lot of people -- there's millions of people in america that can make that claim. there's nothing special about that claim i just made to be clear. okay. but i wouldn't want my recordings with my clients or my
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opponents taped at all. i would never tape them, for obvious reasons. the fact that if this happened, the fact that this guy would actually tape these recordings, i mean, this is worse than dumb and dumber. i am forever amazed at the stupidity that is demonstrated on a nearly daily or every other day basis. i don't understand this. this is not the guy that you want to be trusting your internal state secrets, if you will. that could potentially bring you down. this is about the worst pick that you could possibly make. >> ken white, the trouble that michael cohen is in, what does it mean possibly for donald trump in this special prosecutor's investigation? let's remember, the michael cohen investigation here in new york city is not being conducted by the special prosecutor, it's being conducted by the u.s. attorney in new york city. but you have someone very, very close to the president and historically close to the president who is under
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tremendous pressure from federal investigators and what kind of worry does that represent for the president? >> i'm sure it's a huge worry. donald trump has not established a basis for anyone to be trustful or loyal to him. and that's why already they've had some success flipping people against him. i think he has to be terribly worried that michael cohen is going to make the decision to cooperate to protect himself and what he will be able to say when he does. we saw today with his decision to plead the fifth, which is the first sensible decision i've seen him make in this whole affair, that he's starting to think about his own best interests. and if he continues to think that way, what his lawyers may be telling him is look, you need to get out of this. the way to get out of this is start telling the truth, cooperate with the special prosecutor, cooperate with the prosecutors in new york and tell them everything you know and see the best way you can possibly get out of this. you can't be a fixer from
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federal prison. >> daily beast is reporting as we speak tonight that michael cohen is saying that he has not made a decision to -- michael cohen's lawyers saying he has not made a decision to plead the fifth amendment in your case. but consider that when you also consider the question of where is your case now and what does your case mean to the president of the united states? we've focussed on your case's impact on michael cohen, but the president of the united states is still a party to the litigation you've started. >> there's no question about that, and we have a pending motion that's going to be heard now in the first two weeks of may by judge james otaro, a u.s. district court article 3 lifetime teen yured judge as to whether we're entitled to the deposition of michael cohen and president trump. and if he orders those two individuals to be deposed we're
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expected to show up at the white house or whatever location is agreed upon to take the deposition of the president of the united states. it's not optional when there's a court order. he may think he has an option with robert mueller, it's not optional with me. >> your deposition is the same as the subpoena with the grand jury. >> carries the same force and effect absolutely. so if the judge decides, and he's going to make the decision, not president trump, not me, not anyone else, the judge is going to make the determination as to whether the president will sit for a deposition in our case, and that order is not optional. it has to be followed. >> the judge ordered you and lawyers for the other side to see what you can work out. a lot of times nothing comes from those conversations, is that where we are? >> yes. we had a discussion, nothing was worked out.
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they're not willing to go to arbitration, they're not willing to go to court. it's obvious we're not going anywhere, we want the depositions. we're in the same place and in connection with the call we found out -- i don't know what the daily beast is reporting but i heard it directly from michael cohen's attorney's mouth it's his intent if this case is not stayed he would be pleading the fifth amendment. i don't know what the daily beast is reporting. but we're not packing up. this isn't an optional proceeding. until the judge tell us we're not entitled to take the deposition we're going to move forward and plan on taking them. >> thank you both for joining us tonight. really appreciate it. when we come back, the president asked james comey to help him out on a little problem he was having with his wife, melania. and what john kelly told james comey about donald trump. e claw"
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we're having a meeting today on syria, a number of meetings today we'll see what happens. >> in his confirmation hearing today. the president's nominee for secretary of state was unable to cite any authority for the president to launch an attack on syria. but most of washington seems to think a constitutional crisis is only when the president fires people not missiles. the man who is the most controversial firing james comey is days away from publishing a book that is sure to enrage the
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president. it will be released on tuesday, but the book compares donald trump to a mafia boss and includes this description of the president. the president is unethical and untethered to truth and institutional values. his leadership is transactional, ego driven and about personal loyalty. rupert murdoch was the first to report about what is called the p tape, the dossier about donald trump's relationship with russia and the russians. it contains a description about the time donald trump spent in a moscow hotel suite with prostitutes that urinated on his bed. that has not been confirmed. that has never been confirmed. james comey's book said he brought up the golden showers
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thing, adding it bothered him if there was a 1% chance if his wife thought it was true. he ended saying he was thinking of asking me to investigate the allegation to prove it was a lie. i said it was up to him. according to "the washington post" comey describes trump as having been obsessed with the prostitute's portion of the dossi dossier, raising it four times. i'm a germo phone. there's no way i would let people pea on each other around me. no way. letter the president asked what could be done to lift it will cloud. comey said he privately wondered why melania might think there was a 1% chance the allegations were true claiming there is zero chance his own wife might be believe such a claim. in what kind of marriage toe
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what kind of man does a spouse conclude there is only a 99% chance her husband didn't do that. joining us is nicholas christophe and mike murphy is back with us. here's the president trying to decide, with a clear head, how to handle the situation in syria, meeting with military leaders and others and he has this to contend with and the comey book landing on him like a sledge hammer. >> there's all these elements -- who have thought about a few years ago you and i would be talking about golden showers. beyond the salacious elements one of the things that comey writes about is the president living in many an alternative reality. obviously that's troubling in terms of domestic policy, in
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terms of law enforcement, trying to impress his spouse not by offering her a tour rather by manipulating the law enforcement system to give him a he didn't do it card. beyond that it's issues like syria, like the iran deal, like north korea where this alternative reality becomes an issue of life and death for people all around the globe and that is where this alternative reality truly becomes frightening. >> i just want to read one other passage about this because it shows how donald trump believes that he can just snow anyone, that he can make anyone think about things the way he does. according to comey's account in the book. trump strongly denied the allegations asking rhetorically, i assumed, whether he seemed like a guy who needed the service of prostitutes. he then began discussing cases where women had accused him of sexual assault, a subject i had not raised. he mentioned a number of women.
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and seemed to have memorized their allegations. and mike murphy, this is donald trump trying to plead his innocence on these matters after he knows that the director of the fbi has heard him on the "access hollywood" tape bragging about his preferred methods of sexual assault. >> there's an old saying in texas politics that the guilty dog barks the loudest. i'm torn about this book. i'm a day one donald trump critic. i agree with former director's summary of trump's character flaws. i only read the excerpts. but there's something petty about this. he could have made the larger observations in an op-ed peace and gone quiet dignity, which is apparently illegal in washington officials anymore. these details are getting press now and if you're comey and know
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the president has an al tern gnat reality problem and you know the president doesn't understand how things sort of work and he's a fragile personalty, do you poke him now with this gratuitous stuff and the pressure of the mueller thing. i can't disagree with his fundamental opinion of the president and he was there to see it upclose. >> this was the first. all presidencies now have the insider book come out. this is the first one from someone who was inside the trump administration for a relatively short period of time, it turns out, but in a very important position. so he is delivering us what his experience of this was. >> yeah, and i see mike's point. but i also do think that there is something illuminating about a president who is trying to use the head of the fbi to -- you
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know, for incredibly domestic purposes. and you know, the remarks about -- that john kelly apparently made. obviously we in the news media are pouncing on these statements, assertions, but this may lead to john kelly being ousted as chief of staff, his statement that it was dishonorable for president trump to fire comey. i take the point we are jumping on these sensational elements but i think there is something genuinely illuminating about what they say about our president. >> we're going to take a break there. when we come back, we are going to talk about the john kelly part of this. james comey has a report in his book about a phone call he had with john kelly after the president fired him and the president is not going to like what john kelly had to say. our yard, but so are they. the triple threat of dandelions, lurking crabgrass and weak, thin grass!
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he's a show boat, he's a grand stander. regardless of recommendation i was going to fire comey, knowing there was no good time to do it. in fact, when i decided to just do it, i said to myself, i said, you know, this russia thing with trump and russia is a made-up story. >> back with us mike murphy and chris christophe. i want to go to a point in comey's book where he describes what john kelly said to him
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after the firing. this is james comey talking about john kelly. he said he was sick about my firing and that he intended to quit in protest, comey writes. he said he didn't want to work for dishonorable people who would treat someone like me in such a manner. i urged kelly not to do that, arguing that the country needed principled people around this president, especially this president. and mike murphy, tonight john kelly is saying that that's not the way it went. it was a very brief phone call. james comey has a witness on his end of the phone call who says that the comey version is accurate. >> yeah. i mean who knows, but we've seen a couple of these general kelly u-turns and it's starting to remind me of the old niagara falls vaudeville routine. slowly i turn. step by step. go ahead and quit. if he doesn't want to serve a dishonorable person, and we've seen all these leaks about how
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fed up he is. i don't believe in giving of these guys halos for working for donald trump. now that it's gl to be all over the media, we'll see if kelly makes it to lunch because trump may indeed fire him. trump wants to fire somebody. >> that's the question. how long can john kelly survive that quote because donald trump's going to have to decide who does he believe, john kelly, nick kristof, or what he believes in james comey's book. >> he's been on thin ice before. i think this maybe he plunges through. >> nick, i want to get your view on the possible scooter libby pardon. nbc news is confirming that the president is planning to pardon scooter libby. he was dick cheney's former chief of staff. scooter libby was convicted of lying to the fbi and obstruction of justice. and as you know very well, james comey was the deputy attorney general who appointed the special prosecutor who got the
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conviction on libby of obstruction of justice. >> you know, i obviously disapprove of what scooter libby did, but in general i do think that our justice system is too punitive, and he has been punished. he has been barred from practicing law, his profession. he broke the law, but it was not to enrich himself. and if president trump wants to pardon him, i have no objection. >> mike murphy, it does seem to be a trump opportunity to make the point that obstruction of justice and lying to the fbi are pardonable offenses, especially if james comey is anywhere in the chain of that prosecution. >> yeah, exactly. i'm torn on this because i kind of agree with nick about scooter, and i have a lot of sympathy for his situation. but i don't like the president or his people laying down the predicate to start stamping out pardons by starting with scooter
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to use whatever merits of his case to establish a rationale for a wider maybe misuse of pardons in these cases. i'm kind of troubled by it in the larger sense. >> nick, on the comey book, which we have right here, this is going to be, one assumes, the tidal wave of next week when everyone really gets a chance to open it up and really dig through everything in it. comey's going to do a series of dramatic interviews, including next week on rachel maddow's show. >> and this is a completely self-inflicted wound for president trump, of course. you know, nobody who be reading comey's book if trump hadn't made it a best-seller, and it underscores president trump's capacity to shoot himself in the foot, his country in the foot. i hope that he learned a lesson by firing comey and then doesn't try to follow that up by firing mueller or rod rosenstein and in some way try to hamper the
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investigation again. let's hope he looks back and sees comey as number one on the best-seller list and learns a lesson from that. >> mike murphy, we've never seen anything quite like this, and we're going to see a week of it with all the big interviews that james comey is doing. and donald trump is not one to sit back and just watch. >> yeah, he's totally reactive. the book is going to play big. it's going to drive him crazy. he's increasingly got a staff around him that has yes manitis and reinforces his bad instincts. for a lot of people, career is apparently more important than country. so i am said to say, because i don't really love the idea of a banana republic acting super power, but i think it is going to get worse in terms of presidential erratic behavior before it gets before, and the republican party in this election year is looking at paying a pretty heavy electoral price. >> all of this while the
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president has this issue in syria to consider. >> i mean i think that missile strikes were very likely already, but i think with this on the tv news, i mean as mike suggests, i think this makes that chance almost 100%. >> and it's impossible to watch the action the president takes and not think or wonder if these other issues like james comey's book actually increased the number of missiles fired or in some way informed his reaction to syria. >> i mean i would say, though, that i think that's absolutely true. i do think we in the media have to also look ourselves in the mirror because president trump has been very successful at making us chase the latest shiny object and making us change the subject, and i think we need to be more careful about that ourselves. >> go ahead, mike, quickly. >> in defense of missile strikes, i think the real -- i'm all for destroying the syrian air force as a weapon of terror,
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but diplomacy should never be driven and national security policy by emotion. so what trump could do is screw up a needed policy by being erratic or demanding something in time for a news cycle and that would be terrible. >> thank you both for joining us tonight. tonight's last word is next. it comes when your insurance company says they'll only pay three-quarters of what it takes to replace it. what are you supposed to do? drive three-quarters of a car? now if you had liberty mutual new car replacement™, you'd get your whole car back. i guess they don't want you driving around on three wheels. smart. with liberty mutual new car replacement™, we'll replace the full value of your car. liberty stands with you™. liberty mutual insurance. going somewhere? whoooo. here's some advice. tripadvisor now searches more...
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time for tonight's last word. with the president reportedly ready to pardon scooter libby, here's what special prosecutor patrick fitzgerald said on the day scooter libby was convicted of obstruction of justice in
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2006. >> it's sad. it's sad that we had a situation where a high-level official, a person who worked in the office of vice president, obstructed justice and lied under oath. we wish that had not happened, but it did. >> that was 2007. patrick fitzgerald gets tonight's last word. more on james comey's book with two reporters who have actually read it, and that's on "the 11th hour" with brian williams, and that starts now. the breaking news we're covering tonight. james comey and the book that could rock the foundation of the trump presidency. tonight the detailed allegations revealed by the former fbi director and two reporters who broke the details of this story are standing by. plus an nbc news exclusive. interview talks break down between the mueller and trump teams in the wake of the michael cohen raid. and tonight "the washington post" is reporting trump allies are worried that cohen raid swept up audiotapes of sensitive conversations. and the


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