tv The 11th Hour With Brian Williams MSNBC April 18, 2018 8:00pm-9:00pm PDT
williams is here. donald trump says stormy daniels is lying, the russian investigation is a hoax and he gets credit for the success. trump's former lawyer is warning him that cohen could flip and work for the feds and might even wear a wire. plus that meeting with kim jong-un, trump says it will only happen if it's fruitful. if not, he'll bounce. all of it as "the 11th hour" gets underway on a wednesday night. good evening once again pr o -- from our nbc news headquarters in new york. day 54 this was of the trump administration, and during a press conference at his mar-a-lago resort with chinese president xi jinping, he would not say whether he would fire
robert mueller or rod rosenstein. >> did you decide it's not worth the fallout to get rid of rod rosenstein or robert mueller? >> there's been no collusion, and that was clarified by the house intelligence committee. there was no collusion with russia, other than the democrats, or i call them the obstructionists because they are truly obstructionists. we are given tremendous amounts of paper. this was really a hoax created largely by the democrats as a way of softening the blow of a loss which is a loss that, frankly, they shouldn't have had from the standpoint that it's very easy for them. they have a tremendous advantage in the electoral college. as far as the two gentlemen you told me about, they've been saying, i'm going to get rid of them for the last three months, four months, five months. and they're still here. so we want to get the investigation over with.
>> the president also said his team has been cooperating with mueller's investigators. trump's remarks come as the "washington post" is reporting tonight the trump allies in congress are taking part in what reads like something of a shakedown on the deputy attorney general. quote, two of president trump's top legislative allies met with deputy attorney general rod j. rosenstein this week to press him for more documents about the conduct of law enforcement officials involved in the russia probe and the investigation into hillary clinton's e-mail server. rosenstein's meeting at his office monday with congressman mark meadows and jim jordan came days after meadows warned rosenstein that he could face impeachment proceedings or an effort to hold him in contempt of congress if he did not satisfy gop demands. over on the senate side, debate is heating up over legislation to protect special counsel robert mueller. the hill is reporting that senate judiciary chairman
senator chuck grassley of iowa said his senate panel are moving ahead with these comments of mitch mcconnell. >> there is no indication that mueller is going to be fired. i don't think the president is going to do that. just as a practical matter, even if we passed it, why would he sign it? >> so you don't think it's a good idea. you don't think it's something the president would entertain or should entertain? >> i don't think he should fire mueller, and i don't think he's going to, so this is a piece of legislation that's not necessary, in my judgment. >> obviously none of your colleagues fear it enough to say it should be in there as an insurance policy. >> i'm the one to decide what we take to the floor. that's my responsibility as majority leader, and we will not be having this on the floor of the senate. >> that was interesting. the hill also reports, quote, with at least gop senators thom till lis and lindsey graham joining democrats in supporting the bill, it's expected to have
judiciary votes but it faces an uphill climb in passing the conservative house. the senator of utah said if a bill to protect mueller should be debated on the senate floor. >> i don't think so, and i don't think anybody is going to -- i don't think the president is going to be so stupid as to do something like that. >> that's good enough for you, just the idea that the president wouldn't do this so we don't need to pass it? >> that's right, and we ought to let the president be the president, but i don't think he's about to do that. he would take such criticism that it wouldn't be worth it to him. >> meanwhile, the "wall street journal" reports tonight president trump was given a clear warning about his personal attorney michael cohen cooperating with investigators, potentially. quote, one of president donald trump's longtime legal advisers said he warned the president in a phone call friday that michael cohen would turn against the president and cooperate with federal prosecutors if faced
with criminal charges. mr. trump made the call seeking advice from jay goldberg, who represented mr. trump in the '90s and early 2000s. mr. goldberg cautioned the president not to trust mr. cohen. on a scale of 100 to 1, where 100 is fully protecting the president, mr. cohen isn't even a 1, he said he told mr. trump. he said he might be wearing a wi wire. he is accused of several things and has not yet charged with a crime. my panel here, barbara mcquaid
for the eastern district of michigan and also nbc legal analyst. shannon, the president in his remarks today, this was a bilateral press conference for both leaders, kind of went down a couple roads, hopped on the interstate, got off three or four cul-de-sacs. are we any clearer on knowing his intentions vis-a-vis rosenstein and mueller? >> i know some people thought he missed an opportunity to say, no, i'm not going to fire them. that is what he was saying, i'm not going to fire them, that they are here, and he add to do th -- added to that, i want to end this investigation quickly. and i know he's been advised if you want this to end quickly, leave them in place. if you fire rosenstein, that will only drag out this investigation. our reporting also indicates that the temperature has gone down a bit on this whole drumbeat of firing rosenstein. last week he was openly contemplating firing rosenstein, talking to people about it, mulling about it.
we were told it wasn't very serious, but that was a conversation he was having because he was so angry about this michael cohen raid. but then his attention turned to syria and his attention turned to japan, so it seems in that time, for the moment at least, that drumbeat of effort to fire rosenstein, you know, by some of the president's allies, has quieted down. >> so jeremy bash, let's talk about mr. cohen and how he was in the news today. here's the president apparently cold-calling an old lawyer, perhaps because he's having trouble finding new ones. are we surprised that this lawyer advised him, you know, watch for this guy flipping and working for the feds? and would you be surprised michael cohen is a married father of two? people keep saying he could be looking at 20, 30 years, heavy federal time. that could be a life sentence. >> well, the old lawyer, mr. goldberg, i think had very sound advice for his former client, the president, which is that the
president shouldn't assume that michael cohen will always have the president's back. i don't know about wearing a wire, but we do know that michael cohen has a tendency to record conversations. but more fundamentally, he has documents, he has records, he has e-mails and he has his own personal recollections of conversations with the president, so he is very well positioned to provide information to federal investigators about the full gamut of the trump organization's business dealings with russia, and in particular, any communications between trump officials and the russian federation during the campaign about a conspiracy to violate federal election law, which i think is still the heart of what bob mueller is looking at. >> barbara, let me ask a hypothetical. how big a deal, how big a whale could cohen be if he chooses to cooperate with mueller, and are we making a mistake every day in forgetting names like keith schiller, hope hicks, some of the keepers on the inside who aren't necessarily in the press
every day? >> sure. we frequently heard this analogy to the tip of the iceberg that we, the public, only know a small part of what robert mueller is up to and all these people have the potential to be cooperaters. i think michael cohen could be a significant cooperater. people say he would never flip on the president, but as you say, when people have to decide between a long prison sentence and coming home to their families, people, when they're in that situation, suddenly loyalty doesn't look quite as attractive as it did when you were sitting at the table over lunch. and so i've seen it happen, and those kinds of cooperaters can be incredibly important. his own recollection can really flush out what's in documents and recordings. they can become sort of a narrator for a trial to really bring those documents to life and connect the dots. >> shannon, where do you put gop support these days? we talked about the temperature coming down to fire rosenstein. gop support for mueller, the
larger investigation. >> it still very strong both in the house and in the senate. >> strong enough to pass a vote? >> if mitch mcconnell would bring it to the floor, we could find out. the members of the republican party have been very, very clear about this, about mueller and about rosenstein, that they don't think the president should do it that, that would be crossing a red line. but i will say there is a group in the republican party, devin nunez being one of them, of calling the president and voicing their displeasure with rosenstein's cooperation with their investigation. so the president has been hearing from certain members of the republican party, that they feel the doj and rosenstein is not cooperating enough with their efforts to investigate a whole variety of things at the doj, fisa warrants, comey memos, things beyond russia in the 2016 election, and they have not been shy about going after rosenstein. there is definitely a strong part of the party that says
hands off. >> can i just inject a dose of reality here, which is this devin nunez effort is just political interference in a part of justice justification into criminal conduct and national security issues. that's a total side show. with regard to the mcconnell decision not to bring it up to a vote to protect bob mueller, that bill would obviously pass. so the elephant in the room, pardon the pun, is that the only reason mcconnell doesn't want to bring it up is because he fears that mueller would be protected, thus mueller might find something, and that would be embarrassing to the president and his party. >> jeremy, to your point, nunez must have been smiling somewhere today. the president quoted the house intel report in saying there was no finding of collusion. >> that was a partisan report that was basically written before the evidence was in to exonerate the president. >> barbara, a hypothetical for you. what's next? >> well, i think the cohen piece of this is incredibly interesting and the fruits of
that search are obviously going to be very interesting. it's also troubling to hear senator mcconnell say no vote will happen. he does control the senate agenda. what i'm not hearing them say is this would be unconstitutional. there is a separation of powers reason not to pass it. what i'm hearing instead is we don't need to do this because the president has not indicated he plans to fire robert mueller. once he does, it's too late and that law can't be passed at that point. so it's frustrating they don't want to head that off at the pass. it doesn't sound like it's imminent. you never know what this president will do next, but i'm sure bob mueller has his head down to get as much of this investigation as possible, as are the people in the southern district of new york. >> many people mistake me for a smart person, and we know this. the southern district court case was spun off from mueller's, and it now has its own heart and lungs. if they find things that belong back in mueller's lap, in his
shop, is there a process for that? >> yeah, absolutely. there are 94 u.s. attorneys' offices all around the country who work together as part of the department of justice. so they share evidence all the time. in the cases that i supervised at the u.s. attorney's office in the eastern district of michigan, if we saw things that spilled over into northern ohio, for example, or even the western district of michigan, we would share it with them if it was properly venued there. very similarly, if they were to find things in the cohen search that related to the russia investigation, there would be nothing to stop them from handing it right over. >> and jeremy, because we're never more than two sentences away from a playmate or adult film star, i'm going to read you this and get your reaction. "new york times" reporting on karen mcdougal agreed to let the former playboy model out of a contract that had kept her from talking freely about her alleged affair with donald trump. the settlement agreement,
reached on wednesday, ends a lawsuit brought by the model, karen mcdougal and protects the president from being drawn into a legal case involving efforts to buy the silence of women who had stories to tell about him during the 2016 campaign. so here we are with playmates and adult film stars in the news. >> lest they were put in the decision that discovery would ensue and allies would be forced to incriminate themselves with an ongoing investigation. that's never a position you want to be in. >> shannon, i want to show you something that came out of the trump event today. here we are as a nation in the wake of the news last night of the death of barbara bush. the president came out to the lectern, read a dignified statement, came to the length of the union between george and barbara bush and proved that
even following the death of a first lady, there is a way to quantify competition. here's the passage in question. >> melania and i send our prayers to barbara's husband of 73 years. i'll never beat that record. >> yeah. you know, they give him a script and, you know, he just can't stick with it. but yeah, he does have a way of making things about him, and that's because friends, people who love him, say, yeah, because he's a narcissist. people who support him don't mind that quality about him, but yes, there is always an element of him in everything he has to say. >> thank you for not shrugging that off as merely a foul ball. you took a good swing at it. with our thanks to shannon pettypiece, jeremy bash and
michelle mcquaid. the whole russian thing, he said again today, is a hoax despite having already snapped up convictions and dimindictmen with a promise of more on the way. a chance for the president to sit down with kim jong-un, one of the few americans alive who has negotiated with north korea standing by to join us tonight. "the 11th hour" just getting started on a wednesday evening.
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fruitful, we're not going to go. if the meeting, when i'm there, is not fruitful, i will respectfully leave. there has been nobody tougher on russia than president donald trump. if we can get along with china, and if we can get along with russia, and if we can get along with japan and other nations, that's a good thing, not a bad thing. >> tonight the president took an uncompromising stance on america's role in the world while hoping to make clear he is driving the nation's foreign policy. the comments came after a few days of whiplash over russian sanctions or not sanctions. trump reportedly grew angry after his u.n. ambassador nikki haley announced new sanctions on sunday morning. the white house later insisted there were none coming. larry kudlow then claims she had been confused. here is how trump responded tonight when asking about those sanctions.
>> we'll give them sanctions as soon as they very much deserve it. that is a question. there has been nobody tougher on russia than president donald trump. between building up the military, between creating tremendous vast amounts of oil, we raised billions and billions of dollars extra in nato. we had a very, very severe -- we were talking about it a while ago -- fight in syria recently, a month ago, between our troops and russian troops, and it's very sad. but many people died in that fight. there has been nobody tougher than me. with the media, no matter what i did, it's never tough enough because that's the narrative. >> by the way, that off-camera quote appeared to be "there will be sanctions as soon as they very much deserve it." as for nikki haley who insisted
she did not get confused, she described her relationship with president trump, she said, perfect. we have someone traveling with the president, and also executive start-up of newsguard. i hope they come out with a lotion and a spray for the days when we're really deep into it around here. jill, what is happening with this white house? i don't mean that to sound flip. what of the machinery of the white house, the agenda of the trump white house? all the while we are told this guy just wants to hire a good, relevant lawyer who is willing to take the job. >> yeah. i mean, there is a lot going on right now. the president just finished up this two-day meeting with japanese prime minister shinzo abe where they were talking
about a whole host of very consequential items. this upcoming meeting with kim jong-un, whether they'll do some type of trade ramifications with japan, so these are high stakes issues. at the same time you have this spat going on between nikki haley and larry kudlow, who is one of the newest additions to the trump administration. our understanding of the way this played out, or at least the administration's line on how this played out, nikki haley was just not up to date when she went on television, the idea being there had been a plan to roll out sanctions on friday at the same time as the bombs in syria were dropping, and that was pushed back because the sanctions weren't ready. then there was sort of this wait a and see period over the weekend. russia had all this heated rhetoric saying they were going to respond sle quivery quickly y forcefully to the bombing and that didn't really happen. so the white house considered opening up the sanctions to a
response of russian action that really didn't take place. so nikki haley just really wasn't up to speed when she went to speak on sunday. what this has all taught us is nikki haley is something that has very high political ambitions, who has grown very close to key figures, including mike pence, and is not someone you ever want to mess with. >> we learned that much this past week. jim, i've known you this way for many years and you've bin in this business a long time. as you sit and watch donald trump, as we just did together, what's your reaction to this guy, his command of the facts, his command of the language? >> i thought tonight by trump theatrical standards was pretty low-key, even muted. but the theme was the same, the low-key let's make america great again, and we learned that we are apparently selling more
refrigerators. it was pretty darn curious, and i think when it came to bravado, we all can accept the notion of acceptable political bravado. he had something to do with great attendance at the winter olympics, as if he is ticketmaster in chief. but when it comes to the important matter of collusion with russia, i think one should know, and not just because 48 hours ago, not too far away on the upper east side, pulitzer prizes were announced and two shared a national pulitzer prize for documenting such interference from the russians, documenting multiple meetings among russians and trump family and friends. so as i said, a couple blocks from here in our start-up's office and we want to assess the credibility of websites. it was hard to look at that and say, wait a second, has he perhaps gone beyond the pale?
in addition, there was all this improvisation as i think nikki haley now knows, and you can understand how particularly foreign leaders wonder, whether it's in a q and a like tonight or a tweet, is this to be believed? it's one thing for a manager, tv host to keep staff a little off balance, to create a certain creative tension. it's another thing to keep them totally confused and perhaps even totally scared as to what you're going to do and ultimately not trusting what you're going to do. >> about those pulitzers, we had two of the winners. we had rutger and parker on with us the night they won. i didn't envy the pulitzer judges this year, because it seems to me pulitzer-quality work is being done every day. >> when you hear no collusion, no collusion, no collusion. just go to google and google their stories. >> hey, jill, when people ask you what is it about this west wing atmosphere that allows
nikki haley v. kudlow dust-up to happen? here we are wednesday night. she said what she said sunday morning. it allows people like us to still be talking about it and kind of gearing up for the next encounter. >> i mean, it's because this is a white house that is all about a single individual, president donald trump, and it doesn't matter what anyone around him thinks. many people around him have no idea what he's going to say from one day to the next, and just to loop in to what you were talking about earlier, this is a president who one day will suggest in a random meeting that maybe i'm open to rejoining tpp. he'll actually, in that meeting with a number of members of congress, actually designate certain members of his staff to look into rejoining the tpp negotiation process. and then you get a tweet last night saying, never mind, we don't really like tpp, and then another statement today saying, well, you know, if they come to us with a great deal, then maybe we would be totally into this. you've got a president who takes
multiple positions on the same issue in the same day, and all these staffers around him are trying to figure it out, who are bakely setti basically setting policies in place based on tweets and based on responding to what the president has proclaimed, and all these different people who may have spoken to the president, may have spoken to people in the know at different periods in the process who just aren't on the same page, and as we've seen this week, are really willing to throw each other under the bus as a result, which is such a toxic environment. >> jim, as much as we like to think we make the news fresh around here, the real purveyor of news is the president. he used the word collusion several times, he called it a hoax multiple times. what do you do with something that's designed to weed out the truth and false news? >> you try to get folks to tell you what's the deal.
put personal idealogies aside, put your prejudice aside, put aside who you voted for in the last election. what were the facts? you mentioned having those two reporters on. the facts are it's been amply documented. there were multiple meetings between trump family, trump aides and russians of various sorts. so to say no collusion, i think, is arguably beyond traditional, political bragging. it's not like saying, oh, there were people wautching me at the hockey game. it's nlike counting the respons to the missile attack. not one, zero. you step back and do what you can do, and you hope folks out there in the heartland, in
portland, oregon, albuquerque, new mexico will stop and think and say, hmm, okay, i'm going to weigh these facts. this is what i conclude. >> two more of our favorites, jill colvin in sunny florida except when it's dark, and jim melvin for us in new york. glad you mentioned albuquerque, because we have advice for donald trump in dealing with north korea from one of the few americans, and there's a hint, in history who has been there and done that, including negotiating with north korea for hostages. we'll be back right after this.
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or visit saveonlantus.com. i hope to have a very successful meeting. if we don't think it's going to be successful, mark, we won't have it. if i think it's a meeting that is not going to be fruitful, we're not going to go. if the meeting, when i'm there, is not fruitful, i will respectfully leave the meeting. and we'll continue what we're doing or whatever it is that we'll continue. >> interesting points there from president trump on plans for a meeting with the dictator of north korea, kim jong-un. earlier in the day trump confirmed on twitter that cia direct director mike pompeo had met with kim. he said it was a good meeting and a relationship was formed. details of the next meeting are
being worked out now. the president misspoke. it was easter weekend, in fact. bill richardson is a former member of congress, cabinet secretary, ambassador to the u.n., among all the other things he's done in life. mr. secretary, thank you very much, because your name is the one we settle on when we need to talk about this topic. thank you for coming on. let me ask you a question i like to ask, and that is, what could go wrong? and let me pair that with what could go right? >> well, what could go wrong is overexpectation, that the president says that he wants north korea to denuclearize. for the north koreans, that is basically meaning that they're going to reduce their nuclear weapons. for us, they're going to dismantle their nuclear weapons. that's not going to happen. so that's what could go wrong.
what could go right, brian, is a lot of good things that could happen. the release of three americans. the remains of our soldiers, some of them coming back from the summit. the president today talking about the japanese abductees, the human rights issues. but i think we've got to lower expectations. i have gifrven credit to the president for making this decision to go to north korea or meet with the north koreans in the summit. very high risk. but at the same time, things couldn't be worse in the korean peninsula, so i give him credit. the problem is there are expectations. the problem is he won't be prepared. i commend him for this trip of pompeo to north korea. richard nixon, that was good. so this is a positive step. but my worry is, one, we won't
be prepared. north koreans are relentless. i've negotiated with them. they're tough. they have an agenda. but they're not going to denuclearize. they've got 60 nuclear weapons. maybe we can get them to reduce the weapons, curb their use, missile activity, reduce it, stop pointing their artillery to south korea. i think it was good he met with the japanese prime minister. we've got 15,000 american troops. japan is vulnerable, the japanese have been left out of the negotiations. i think abe was a little resentful. tariffs on steel and aluminum. that doesn't mean abe looks good in japan. we helped the politics of japan. so far so good on north korea. my worry is, you know, the president is talking about collusion, russia. he's delusional about that issue. he should leave it alone.
leave mueller alone. finish the investigation. stop saying that everything is the press's problem. foreign policy in my judgment is not moving in the right direction. but on north korea, i give him credit for what he's doing and for what pompeo did on this secret trip. that was good. >> you snuck aid something that think most people agree with you. we don't have an expert in south korea who could be an expert on the region and sit like a briefer and go over with the president what to expect from those guys and to expect that he'll try to wear them down. >> that's the problem, no ambassador to south korea. what i think is interesting here is that the channel of north korea has been through intelligence channels, not the state department, not the new york channel, the cia. the good thing is that pompeo is
moving to the state department, and what i would like to see pompeo do is be a diplomat. he's no longer a spy. it's like the cia is back with a secret plane. if he talked to kim jong-un, the good thing is kim jong-un is engaged. he's his own nuclear negotiator. kim gay won used to be his father's negotiator. it looks like kim jong-un wants to make this summit work, but if we expect the north koreans to denuclearize, to get rid of nuclear weapons in one meeting, it's not going to happen, i can tell you that. >> final meaning, if you were asked to brief the president, would you do it? >> well, i would, but he's got
good people in the state department. go to our diplomats, our asia specialis specialists. maybe mike pompeo could do that. i wish him the best. >> i didn't say right field for a reason, i said left field. bill richardson, i hope you'll continue to come back ask talk about this matter as it continues in the news. when we come back, does the president trust his diplomats. does he, in this case, prefer a spy in this job? and how is this playing into the overall strategy and beyond. lots of conversation when we continue. ♪ bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens ♪ ♪ brown paper packages tied up with strings ♪
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trump's decision to send former kansas congressman and current cia director mike pompeo to secretly negotiate with kim jong-un has gotten a lot of attention. we should say this. if the president's approach to north korea works, it will be a colossal bank shot and a philosophy triumph. mike landler of the "new york times" has chosen to highlight this quote. the central role that spies, rather than diplomats, played in brokering what could be the historic opening between mr. trump and mr. kim. landler also adds this. it also underscores mr. trump's unorthodox approach to one of the riskiest diplomatic gambits of his presidency. however trusted by the president, mr. pompeo is hardly a traditional emissary.
we have special opposite, 35 years of working in the business of counter-terrorism and intelligence. that's why he happens to be our analyst in this area. malcolm, i happen to know you think too much is being made of this choosing a spy over diplomats. this might well be a case of mike pompeo of eq and iq, who knows enough about the president to realize if he briefed him once every morning in person, he would be kind of a quality hang for this president around the white house. >> i think ambassador richardson put it quite well, that perhaps mike pompeo was the right choice to go to north korea to carry out this mission. you know, he comes from congress. he also now has run the cia and he's going to the state department if he's confirmed, and this may be the only type of
person donald trump can listen to, that he can trust. if he can trust him, then some things can be done. the state department has been decimated. donald trump seems to think that he wants to do diplomacy directly, but if mike pompeo can bridge this by using his intelligent quotient and bring this over to foggy bottom, then i think we have more negotiations outside the defense department and the cia. >> let me ask you, as you heard the president again as we did tonight, "no one has been tougher on russia than me." as author of the book about what russia did to us during the campaign, how do you react to that? >> first off, it's laughable. we all knew who ronald reagan was, and he may have been the
person to break the soviet union, to go over with the federation it it is today. granted, russia has become more of an authoritarian state, but donald trump is certainly not done as much toward russia as anybody else. if anything, he supercedes his subordinates, he acts in an obsequious way with donald trump. donald trump insists he'll gifr it to him, he's just being held back on this delicious thing called democracy. >> do you believe this report that originated on cnn that the white house said to the russians, don't worry, there are no new sanctions in this round? poor nikki haley.
she's going to have to decide wheth whether. it was good diplomacy, good alliance building and donald trump for some unknown reason decided to kill it, and that's why we have the mueller investigation. thank you for coming on for us tonight. when the business is good and when the president's win david. what's going on? oh hey! ♪ that's it? yeah. that's it? everybody two seconds! "dear sebastian, after careful consideration of your application, it is with great pleasure that we offer our congratulations on your acceptance..." through the tuition assistance program, every day mcdonald's helps more people go to college. it's part of our commitment to being america's best first job.
the southern white house. it's going to be great. >> former cabinet secretary there, former secretary of va, david shulkin. trump has spent 146 days of his presidency at trump properties. it is clear his favorite is mar-a-lago in florida, where he has spent 6 d8 days. when he is on site, he talks up the amen knities of the mar-a-l club as if he is vice president of sales. this visit with abe of japan gave him the opportunity. >> many of the leaders request to come to mar-a-lago in palm beach. they're comfortable. they like it, i like it. we were here and president xi of china was here. it was originally built as the southern white house. it was called the southern white
house. many, many people want to be here. many of the leaders want to be here. they request specifically. >> i'd like to conclude by saying that it's an honor that you wanted to be at mar-a-lago. we have a lot of people, they want to be here. it's just a special place. somehow it makes people feel good. that's good for our relationship. >> a note about these repeated mentions of the southern white house. that never happened in the end. the heiress of the post cereal fortune marowned the property. she dounated the property to th federal government. because it would have cost so much for the government to maintain, the famously frugal jimmy carter gave it back to the heirs in 1981.
donald trump bought it in 85. other presidents did have vacation places in florida. all of it brings us to the issue of trump's businesses and their operation during his presidency. our friend anita kumar writes that according to a new report set for release on monday, trump's u.s. businesses have received at least $15.1 million in revenue from political groups on federal agencies since 2015. the biggest chunk of money come from his campaign, mar-a-lago is listed as one of the recipients of that money. coming up after one more break for us, why the lights are off again tonight across puerto rico.
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some people on the streets are saying this is the new normal. is it? >> yes, it is. it's a sad situation every time. >> the last thing before we go tonight is a simple question. how much more can the people of puerto rico be expected to take? tonight they have been forced to endure an island-wide blackout because someone operating an excavator cut through a transmission line. that's all it took to bring down the patchwork electrical grid. tonight 1.4 million power customers, american citizens all, have been forced into the dark. just like the aftermath of hurricane maria, those who have generators will be better off than those who don't. luis rivera, a computer technician who just got his power restored two months ago
told the "washington post" today, this is too much. it's like the first day of maria all over again. once again we are forced to ask that hypothetical question because we know puerto ricans did not receive the same level of rescue effort that american citizens here on the mainland have received after catastrophic storms. what if the power was out tonight for the american citizens on nantucket, on sanibel island in florida? there would be outrage and a massive effort to fix the problem. as you head to bed tonight and turn out the lights, please reserve a thought for our fellow citizens, who spent this entire night in the dark and may well be forced to do so again tomorrow night. that is our broadcast for a wednesday evening. thank you so very much for being here with us. good night from nbc headquarters
here in new york. ♪ we lead tonight with an exclusive interview. an exclusive interview with a lawyer we have never talked to on the show before, someone who will likely be new to you as a character in this ongoing national drama we are all living through as americans. but our exclusive guest tonight is somebody who is right in the middle of what appeared to be the president's legal troubles right now. at least he used to be right in the middle of the president's legal troubles, until this story took a sharp, surprise turn this evening, one that i will admit to you right now i don't get. i do not yet totally understand it. but i'm hoping that the