tv The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell MSNBC April 19, 2018 10:00pm-11:00pm PDT
i'm not supposed to talk about our investigation but i don't believe that loretta did anything improper. >> james comey is the author of "a higher loyalty." i'm sorry i thank you for your lifetime of public service. i'm sorry the president ended it the way he did. >> me too thank you. >> that does it for us tonight, now it's now it's time for "the last word with lawrence o'donnell." >> i've been sitting here, taking notes. i haven't missed a word of this. i want to get your reaction to what you think are the highlights of what you just discovered. it's hard when you're doing it yourself. but were there moments you popped and i didn't see that coming? >> in the interest of full disclosure, dude is sitting next to me still and he's 6'8" so there's a looming presence in the room. also i'm not sure i breathed yet because we did an hour long interview, basically, without a
break. i will say it is important to get director comey on the record right now live and in person at a time when his memos, which are part of an active ongoing investigation have been forced into the public eye and handed to the people who are presumably subjects of an ongoing investigation because of congress trying to make that happen. i'm glad he's out talking to the public right now at a time he can give context to the documents when they're being used for political reasons and i believe by people who want to shut the investigation down. so having him talk about that as well as spell out the book, it's valuable. >> based on my fast read of the memos while you were doing the interview, i was listening to the interview and reading the memos at the same time, the basic thing about them that's so
striking is that james comey has used most of this material already publically in his testimony and in his book. there are a few items here and there, as you noticed when you asked about dana boente's notes for example about the suing. i had just read that piece in the memo, where he made a note of it. and, of course, you caught it before your hour was up. but i also am struck in the memos by the kinds of detail -- james comey is a writer. i think that's something that a lot of people in washington are not used to reading when it comes to a government official. he makes observations about the room that writers make. he takes in atmospherics, he has a way of describing generally conversation with the president which i find to be some of the best writing i've seen about it, talking about in the memo the dinner conversation with the president was like a jigsaw puzzle of conversation with pieces falling out here and
there that you then try to put back in and figure out where they're going. so that's one of the challenges he has and admits to in the memos in conversation with the president. we've all seen it publically, they're so disjointed and ramble in so many directions and have so many tangents and circles and references that aren't clear that it's not easy to write a note that summarizes the conversation. >> i thought that was a helpful writer reference he made when he talks about the president seems to speak in monologues even on scattered topics. i've had precisely one personal conversation with president trump in my entire life and i found that to be true. it was a phone conversation where i could have easily put the thing on speaker phone and done work while he was talking because there were not moments to interject. i never knew how to characterize it until i saw comey's and said that's the way i could have
described it. how do you prove your credibility? you prove your credibility by not ever getting caught in a lie and by doing what you say you're going to do and by accurately describing what you have done. and in the case of these memos, and that's why they're so important as evidence, we have a ton of consistency between what comey said publically, what he wrote down personally at the time and what he told other people at the time and they wrote down about those interactions. so that level of consistency, down to the exact phrases from the president, in his recounting them, in his writing them down and in him telling them to other people who also wrote them down, that consistency is powerful when it comes to evidence. it may be hearsay when it comes to these guys being witnesses in any criminal case, but it's powerful evidence of credit credibility and good trade craft as law enforcement officials for
getting it right. >> some of the critics in the house are out with statements on the memos. remember we're reading these because they were handed over by the justice department to the house of representatives today and the clock started ticking on how many minutes it would take to leak them, which has now happened. some of the critics are saying, well, why didn't he take these kinds of notes in meetings with president trump, with anyone else, which is something he talked about publically, he took these kinds of notes after the fact because he was disturbed by these discussions. >> i just asked him about that. i said, why was president trump the only president who you've served under, obviously he served under george w. bush, barack obama, why only, donald trump, and he said they were notable and should be preserved and in case they need to be cited as evidence or he said/he said, because of what he knew
about the president as a person and he was having remarkable interactions with the person in the president's role, and the things he was having to discuss with the president and the president were raising with him, the president's role, and the things he was having to discuss with the president and the president were raising with him, were unprecedented in his life and probably unprecedented in the life of any law enforcement official at that point. he took note of it. i don't know hough anyone is going to use it against him but i'm sure we'll see congressional republicans try. >> the other thing that popped is rudy giuliani, the president engaging him officially as an attorney representing him, as you described, to close the mueller investigation in the next two weeks, which is going to be a fascinating legal miracle to see take place.
but when james comey said that rudy giuliani speaking publically during the campaign the way he did, the way you showed him speaking on fox news, that those kinds of comments provoked investigative curiosity by james comey and the fbi when they were being said in the campaign. >> yeah he said he -- when he said he started an investigation he ordered the initiation of an investigation into leaks around that -- around that investigation, around the clinton investigation. and he told me right here that he does not know what the outcome was of that investigation because he was fired before it was seen through. that's interesting. we know, we've been told that the office of inspector general is looking broadly at the handling of campaign related
matters during the 2016 campaign, presumably that might include whatever was going on with rudy giuliani and these contacts he said he was getting from active fbi agents about current investigations that he was then rushing to tell the trump campaign and the fox news audience. presumably that includes that, but i don't know if that investigation that mr. comey started ended up as a separate criminal matter or whether that was folded into the inspector general. i imagine we'll learn that soon from the inspector general. i think that ig report is due out next month. >> the last tweet i responded to before my hour started was someone at 9:59 was, lawrence should give up his time so rachel can keep going with rachel. i responded okay with me! . as you know, rachel, this space is yours whenever you needed it. if you wanted to keep going with james comey, that's fine with me. >> you are a gentleman and a dear friend, i would never ever do that, if only for the good of the guest. >> great job tonight. ground no one else had covered.
we have a lot to talk about what you just covered. >> thanks, my dear. >> joining our discus. benjamin wittes, matt miller, and david frum. benjamin, you know james comey, you're a friend of james comey, you were one of the first people to be aware of even the existence of these memos and these conversations that james comey had with the president. i want to get your overall reaction to what you just listened to in the last hour. >> so i -- i -- i mean, it's obviously a pretty dramatic thing to see the -- to see that interview kind of -- and the memos sort of unfold through the lens of that interview. look, the really striking thing is that these memos say the same thing as the book, and that the
book says the same thing as his testimony. and, you know, as rachel just said, you know, when you're looking for indicia of credibility consistency over time is one of the key ones. and, particularly, the ability to recount in detail an incident that you recorded and talked to people about in real time when you then don't have access to that material, and to do it in a way that's consistent in a lot of particular details, it's entirely consistent. and i think, you know, over time that's going to sink in for people that this isn't a joke, this isn't an effort to smear the president, it's just what happened.
>> matt miller we see in the first memo that james comey wrote, he suggests at that point a classification of secret but he also offers to the archivists and others handling this memo that he would accept any recommendation to either raise or lower the classification level. so he wasn't himself deciding exactly how these memos should be held. >> that's exactly right. one of the other memos, the one that's most important where he reports on the conversation with the president where the president asked him to back off the michael flynn investigation. that's the one he gave to a colleague of his, a professor at cohuman bee ya law school. that was unclassified because that's been dispute among republicans on the hill who said he leaked classified information. but that wasn't a violation of him to share that with someone
outside the government. >> david frum, one of the big news of the day is rudy giuliani signing on as part of the trump legal defense team and towards the end of rachel's interview, james comey reveals that based on some of the things that rudy giuliani was saying during the campaign, about possible october surprises, that the fbi, at james comey's insistence, started to investigate that kind of thing at that time, during the campaign. >> that's something. there's one thing that struck me, it's a picky thing, but this is the picky thing i picked up on. it's an indication of what a strange fantasy world the president lives in. president trump said vladimir putin said we have the best hookers in the world. that is the very first conversation that vladimir putin and donald trump ever had.
what a strange thing even for vladimir putin to say. that story comes from a press conference that vladimir putin had on television in january 2017, where vladimir putin spoke not of hookers but girls of lower social responsibility and said ours in russia are the best in the world. he said that on television. in the course of explaining why donald trump was innocent of the allegations in the steele dossier. it looks like what happened is donald trump saw this on television, as we all did, and internalized this as something that vladimir putin said to him, very improbably, and then told the director of the fbi that this thing that he said on tv was something vladimir putin said to him. it just resonates how many things that donald trump said that are untrue. >> you sent the department
scurrying for that tape of vladimir putin. we're going to be joined by pete williams, who has now read the full set of comey memos. pete your highlights from what you've been able to study in the memos. >> sure. remember we've heard this three times at least, once in comey's written statement before he testified after he was fired, when he testified and again in the book, and i guess you could say in his interviews. in his dinner, he said he has serious concerns about michael flynn's judgment. and the president says that theresa may was the first to collate him, and flynn said no. and according to memo the president pointed his fingers at his head and said the guy has serious judgment issues.
then in the meeting on february 8th at the white house, he said the chief of staff reince priebus asked, do you have a fisa order on mike flynn, and then comey paused and answered, but didn't say what the answer is, and says you shouldn't get the answer from me. and the thing you talked about a moment ago, putin saying we have some of the most beautiful hookers in the world, meaning the u.s., the president does not say when putin told him that, he said i don't recall. finally the thing that was knew was the february 14th meeting where the president asked can't you let this flynn thing go. and they talked about leaks and the president said the way to stop leaks is put reporters in jail. the president said we need to go after them -- he referred to the
fact 10 or 15 years ago we put them in jail to find out what they knew and it worked. and he said to the fbi director, they spend a couple days in jail, make a new friend and they're ready to talk. comey said i laughed as i walked to the door that reince priebus had opened. >> pete, the response so far from -- as only a few republicans, we have three republicans, devin nunes, trey gowdy, and chairman bob goodlatte of the judiciary committee. they are saying what they find in the memos is what was never said. they say they show that james comey believed he was being obstructed and his work was being obstructed or that he felt, quote, obstructed or threatened. that's their reading of the memos. >> nor has mr. comey ever said that directly about the conversations.
what he has said and suggested in the book is that his firing, which comes after the memos, and the fact the president tried to get him to call off the dogs on michael flynn could constitute obstruction but that's a decision someone else would have to make. >> they said the idea that the president wanted the cloud lifted was not reference to interference in the election but a reference only to the allegations in the steele dossier. >> i'm not sure that's entirely clear. i know mr. comey himself has been asked about that. it does seem that it's possible to read the memos also to say it's the -- it's the suggestion that there was a connection between him or his senior campaign people and the russians -- the russian meddling issue, the center piece of the mueller investigation.
i think it's possible to read the memos and think the president is referring to that as the cloud. >> pete williams thank you for joining us and having done a complete reading of the memos. appreciate your input pete. going back to our panel. benjamin wittes, we have two things here, you can blend them as you like, the memos leaked tonight from congress and james comey's interview with rachel, the -- and what we've all been finding so far, including pete williams, is that the memos are fundamentally the same as james comey's public testimony, which is fundamentally the same of what we read in james comey's book, which is fundamentally the same of what we hear in re chel's interview and each interview james comey has done since sunday night. >> i would say speaking personally, it's fundamentally consistent with the tone of my
conversations with him in real time as these events were happening. there's a lot of stuff -- i've been very clear about what he did and didn't tell me at the time, but the memos are entirely consistent with if you go back to what i wrote about our conversations, they're entirely consistent with that, too. look, i do want to say one thing particular about the interview. you know, yesterday i wrote a long piece criticizing the reaction of -- and the focus of a lot of the press in reacting to the book and to, you know, jim's various interviews, that this sort of obsessive focus on relitigating the -- the conduct of the hillary clinton e-mail matter, as well as the physical descriptions of the president and sort of some other odds and
ends in the book. i really think it's striking that rachel really didn't do that. she spent that entire hour talking about the crisis of our current moment. and the way the president's interactions with jim, you know, are a big part of that story. they're not the whole of the story, of course, but they're a part of it. and i really think that the contrast between the focus on -- her focus on those interactions and what they say about the moment that we're in and the margin that a lot of other people have engaged is actually -- was really interesting to watch. and it was, i think, really ed fieing. >> david frum, we have spent the
better part of the week hearing questions about why did you describe the president's hair, and i go to you, as the writer among us to discuss what happens when a writer walks into a room and what a writer picks up in a room and how that is different than what nonwriters might be focussed on. it is inconceivable to me that someone could write extensively about close contact with donald trump, that a writer could write about it, without ever mentioning the hair. >> look, to be personal about this, donald trump gives a lot of people the creeps. and if you were in the room with donald trump and he gave you the creeps, you would notice it, it would be something you would think about. i want to recommend so much ben wittes piece from the day before yesterday, it's so powerful and wise.
there are people watching the program that are not intense james comey fans. i would ask -- i think this is what ben is asking. separate two things what you think of comey's judgment, you can have whatever opinion you like, and what you think about his truthfulness. a lot of people are truthful with bad judgment a lot of people have good judgment but aren't truthful. what we are seeing tonight is james comey is a truthful man. that's his reaction to the president, the president gave him the creeps, as he gives a lot of people the creeps. the line of donald trump that he quotes about vladimir putin is almost certainly an example of the president seeing it on tv and representing it as his own experience. if this is he said versus he said, we have one of the most truthful men in the america and one of the least truthful men in america. >> matt miller, how do you see the release of the memos affecting the investigation. >> i don't think there will be
much impact on the investigation. if you look at the stuff in these memos, the vast majority of it, other than the things that pete williams flagged a moment ago, was known. long term, though, it's a damaging thing for the department to set this precedence, something they almost never do to release information in the middle of an investigation. it tells congress keep interfering with these investigations, asking for information, pushing, pushing and browbeating the justice department to do things they never do and you might get what you want. it's an inappropriate thing for congress to do. rod rosenstein was in a tough position, i wish he hadn't given them over. but i understand when you don't have a president to back them. one other thing pete flagged. james comey said about the president saying put reporters in jail. 10, 15 years ago we did that. he could only be referring to
one thing, that is judy miller, now you have the president of the united states pardoning scooter libby saying that was an inappropriate prosecution, he was treated unfairly. it won't surprise anyone to hear this, but a president who at one point thought it was appropriate to put reporters in jail when he thought it was convenient to him, now abandoning that principle because it was somehow useful to him to pardon scooter libby. >> that's such an important catch in these memos. i want to include former deputy assistant attorney general, harry litman, get another legal voice in here. i want to leave it hope to react to any moving piece you've experienced in the last hour, the release of the memos, rachel's interview with comey,
what you might have learned there, and where the investigation is tonight after the release of the memos and this point in james comey's revelations. >> okay. and thanks. so clearly the headline is the consistency that -- of what comey has said from start to finish and that you're able to be certain that his account is bona fide. so that's the headline. that will be the headline for the probe as well. there is really nothing new that we didn't expect in terms of the highlights of the probe. i felt, though, reading the memos, they're consistent but they're so much richer. there's this kind of literary quality. if you were, say, a biographer of donald trump in the future, looking to know the man, an
almost word for word account of the dinner where comey says they go an hour and 20 minutes, trump never lets him have a word in edge wise, he's dodging and returning again and again to certain subjects on his mind. the whole thing had this literary quality that really struck me. i also think his habit of reciting the facts gives us valuable information without his really saying it. so we know now that he thinks rudy giuliani is a brow-beating megalow maniac. and maybe loretta lynch wasn't up to the judge. but he's not saying that. he's giving very precise observations that put us there and let us make the conclusion. over all, as a literary document, i thought it was
valuable for the probe and also sort of as a historical window into what trump is like. >> i want to share a passage that i think is the kind of thing you're referring to in terms of the literary quality of the writing, which includes important powers of observation. in the memo of the dinner these two paragraphs, the conversation which was present at all times was chaotics with topics touched, left and returned to later. normally i can recall the pieces of a conversation and the order of discussion, here given the nature of it, there is a distinct possibility that while i have the substance right, the order was slightly difference. it was really conversation as jigsaw puzzle in a way with pieces picked up, discarded, and then returned to. matt miller, that's a tough one to try to, after the fact, sit down and lay it all out in a way
that will make sense. >> i think now james comey knows how it feels to be a reporter covering donald trump's public rallies. that sounds a lot to me like donald trump's consciousness. he has one conversation, heads to something else, focuses on matters that are trivial, important and everything in between. i think he did a good job of putting you in that room in the book. and oddly enough he did a good job of putting you in the room in the memos, even though i'm not sure that's entirely what he intended. >> i had a chance recently to read james comey's writings. when he was a college student he was on the newspaper, he first started as a reporter and a columnist, you can see him flexing his muscles in college as a columnist, it doesn't surprise me that he has matured and improved those muscles. we're being joined by msnbc's
chief legal correspondent ari melber. the release of the memos tonight seems to be the big new news of the night. >> i agree, lawrence. long-time viewer, first time caller, thank you for having me. the special coverage has been fascinating. i think what comes through, that some of your guests have eluded to, is james comey's memos do match his testimony under oath as well as his book which i finished this weekend. so count 1 in honesty and authority for him there. i think rachel did explore some of the questions about judgment, including his treatment of loretta lynch, but i think the other thing that comes through here is this is still a president who is canny and detail oriented in private and
the number of times the memos cite his interest in andy mccabe, his worry that mccabe was a threat. this is a president who sees law enforcement only as a personal threat, not as public servants who are enforcing the law. >> how do you see the release of the memos affecting the ongoing investigation? >> as people have said, it is very odd for them to come out. it doesn't make it automatically bad, we can see the redactions, so that is a good process. i do think that the public feuding between james comey and andrew mccabe is what donald trump wants and not what bob mueller wants. i think the memos in some ways help comey, like i mentioned. but in other ways they do what i think some republicans in the congress want, which is to further muddy this up and make it look like some kind of standoff where everybody has done something wrong, quote, unquote, and everyone is a little dirty. so in that sense, the short
impact of the memos in the public realm may not be good. in the end, bob mueller already had this stuff, he's gone through it and used it in most of the high level interviews and is moving forward on his probe, which is why we're talking about this while there's a criminal referral in new york and while michael cohen is under serious pressure and that's why he dropped the buzz feed lawsuit on the dossier. so the memos are more interesting to us in public as we learn, than i think they are in the private process of the probe where they've existed for a long time. >> before we squeeze in a break, i want to get your reaction to the fact these memos might allow republicans in congress to muddy the waters, benjamin. >> they are committed to muddying the waters and they're using all kinds of material in order to do that. including, when you don't release the memos, they threaten to impeach people.
i'm sure people will manage to find things in these memos that they'll use to muddy the waters, but i -- i actually am not all that concerned about that. i share matt miller's concern, however, that the precedence that we're setting by releasing significant material in the middle of an investigation is very damaging. and this isn't the first time this has happened. of course, in the same we've released the nunez documents, pressure to release some of the underlying fisa materials, and, of course, we released a large quantity of text messages between fbi employees. and so, i -- i do think the precedent of releasing this material midstream is extremely damaging.
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play [music plays]his". when everything's connected, it's simple. easy. awesome. joining our group discussion now, ron klain, the former everything, former chief of staff to joe biden and al gore, former senior add to president obama, and also a chief counsel on the senate judiciary committee. ron klain, i want to catch up with you on your reaction to
rachel's interview with james comey and the release of these memos, james comey's memos tonight, the leak of the memos. >> the first point is i think the biggest mystery in washington tonight is why did the republicans on capitol hill think these memos help their side of this debate? i think the memos absolutely establish jim comey's credibility and paint adamning picture of our president, no doubt about that. the point that david frum made earlier, whether you agree or disagree with jim comey's judgment, i disagree with the way he handled the e-mail controversy in 2016, these memos drive home the fact he is a credible witness in the case against donald trump. i think that's the biggest thing we should take away from this tonight. lastly, the person who comes under the micro scope a bit is rod rosenstein because we've seen him as a protector of the investigation but his decision to turn these over to congress to save his job and the report
today that he told the president he was not a subject of the investigation those things raise pretty serious questions about rod's judgment and his role in this mess. >> the report today is he told the president he was not a target. >> yes. you're right. >> may very well be a subject. harry litman, to ron's point about rod rosenstein, your reaction to that? >> i mean, i really agree, you know, rosenstein started his tenure coming out of the box with basically being exploited by the president to write that memo about comey. and his stock basically fell 50% all over d.c. people thought he had been really used. and it seemed since then he had hunkered down and tried to focus on his job.
he was last week saying here i stand, i can do no more. he was ready to be fired. and then what ron says is exactly right, troubling and puzzling, sort of boom, boom, you're not a target, which can't mean any more than what was said to the lawyers before, and then the release of these memos after this barrage of pressure. his personal decision and the poorest of reasons to deviate from long-standing policy. i think stormy daniels can tell him, don't ever get in bed with president trump and he's somehow done it just in the last week and i don't think it will lead to any good for him. >> harry litman gets the last word in this segment. thank you for joining the discussion. we're going to come back with more discussion. and some of my extraordinary discussion earlier today with a trump lawyer, a long-time trump lawyer, who told me that he
believes that michael cohen could, if he testifies and cooperates in the investigation, that michael cohen could lead to the impeachment of president trump. that is from a trump lawyer that michael cohen could be the path to impeachment. you'll hear that next. this is something that i'm really passionate about- i really want to help. i was on my way out of this life.
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trump in both of his divorces. he has known donald trump much longer than michael cohen has known donald trump and unlike michael cohen jay goldberg has served donald trump in court as a real lawyer in touch situations. jay goldberg is himself a former federal prosecutor and has decades of experience watching the way fbi investigations work and what they can lead to. and with all of his legal experience and his personal knowledge of donald trump and his acquaintance with michael cohen, it is jay goldberg's carefully considered legal judgment that the cohen case is more dangerous to his friend donald trump than robert mueller's investigation, and that if michael cohen turns against the president, which jay goldberg thinks is an absolute certainty, then michael cohen's testimony could lead to the impeachment of the president of the united states. jay goldberg joined me in a discussion earlier this evening, and here is just some of what he had to say.
>> let's take your theory out to its logical end. >> yes. >> michael cohen cracks. you said there's less than a 1% chance -- >> it's not the issue -- >> let's take it through. michael cohen cooperates with the fbi, with the prosecutors, he tells them what they want to hear -- >> yes. >>. >> -- in your view, and that leads to what jeopardy for donald trump? >> i'm going to correct you. he doesn't testify to what he thinks the prosecutors want. he sits there and figures out himself and how he can earn -- >> when all that happens, what happens to donald trump? >> well, i would hope that there would be no trial, because prosecution discretion decision, and that the president is not put upon to disregard world affairs like the syria and north korea and the rest of those
things, to engage in colloquy back and forth that can only cause disrespect for our country. >> you remember richard nixon during the impeachment investigation was conducting the vietnam war every day of that investigation. >> yes. >> so we've seen a president being able to handle his job while being investigated. so when you say trial, do you mean of the president or michael cohen? >> that being the case, any -- >> so you think that the michael cohen case taken all the way, in your theory of how it might work, could lead to the impeachment of the president? >> i think various review processes within the department of justice might see that justice is done. he certainly can't get justice done from networks that are committed to attacking him. i saw some commentator from your network say -- >> wait can i get you to answer
the question. you used the word impeachment, are you saying the end of the road of the michael cohen case could lead to impeachment of the president? >> it depends on what michael cohen is willing to say. >> so it could? >> it's believable. >> knowing donald trump, michael cohen, their dealings, when you say it's conceivable that the michael cohen case could lead to impeachment of the president, what do you think would be the elements of the impeachment? what do you think are the kinds of things that they would discover or use from michael cohen? what would michael cohen tell them that would lead to impeachment? >> there may be business affairs between the two of them. they may see events quite differently. but all i know from dealing with the man for two decades is that you, lawrence, have him wrong. >> okay. >> and i don't know whether you're willing to accept that, but i sort of doubt that because
-- >> well, tell the president next time he calls you to give me a call and explain the case to me. then i can -- >> you better look at these things more dispassionately and realize that people of the type of person that michael cohen is do not want to go to jail. >> i know that. i agree. you have me convinced on that. >> and when they're under pressure, they're not only under pressure from their own inner thoughts, they're under pressure from their family. and going to jail means that the family is in jail. the wife has to travel four hours, wait on line, submit to examination. >> i believe every word you say about michael cohen and about michael cohen's possible threat to the president as a witness. it was an extraordinary 20-minute discussion. we're going to put the whole thing online. he talks about just how michael cohen will crack. he goes into great detail. he's known donald trump for decades. it was just a stunning set of
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>> i think rod rosenstein has not set limits on the roving commission given to mueller. >> and do you think the president will fire him? do you think he'll take your advice to fire him? >> i have no idea. he said nothing to me. i don't know that. >> back in our discussion with ron klain and david frum. ron klain, your reaction to jay goldberg, and i urge you to watch all 20 minutes of it online. it is extraordinary. >> yeah, my reaction is i'm racing home after the show to fire up my computer and listen to the rest of it. but, look, lawrence, i think what strikes me and hearing that earlier segment and all the speculation in the past 24 hours from anthony scaramucci and other allies of the president over whether or not michael cohen will flip and the peril to donald trump if michael cohen flips. you know, there is a technical phrase in the law for people who are at risk by their lawyers flipping on them, and that technical phrase is criminal. that is the kind of conduct that is at risk if your lawyer flips.
and they're just betting on whether or not he's -- we're not having a discussion about whether or not the president is a crook. we're just having a discussion about whether he will be caught by his lawyer turning on him. >> david, jay goldberg who knows michael cohen, knows donald trump, is 100% confident that michael cohen is facing serious jail time, and when he's presented with that, he will start talking about donald trump. >> well, as ron said, what you normally say if you're associated with the president anyway in a situation like this is, we hope that everyone involved will testify fully and truthfully because we know that the more fully and truthfully they testify, the better it will be for the president who is of course completely innocent of any wrongdoing. and that is the thing that no one is saying that. they all hope that everyone involved with donald trump will testify as briefly and untruthfully as possible. that's the president's only way out. >> and, ron klain, to be fair to jay goldberg, he's trying to insist that donald trump has done nothing wrong, but these prosecutors will manipulate michael cohen to come up with
something that accuses donald trump of doing something wrong, and it will be so bad that it will lead to impeachment. >> yeah. i mean maybe. i mean i think it sounds like mr. goldberg thinks that trump may be innocent on the russian collusion stuff but that the business dealings that are there in michael cohen's files, a lot of the tax stuff -- who knows what's in there? it's crazy to hear not trump's political opponents like me saying that, but trump's own lawyer saying that. that is just a stunning thing to hear. >> and, david, jay goldberg was on the phone with the president, giving him legal advice on friday when, in a federal court here in new york city, a judge was considering how to handle the evidence obtained by the fbi in michael cohen's home, apartment, safety deposit box, hotel room. and among the advice jay goldberg was giving him was,
fire rod rosenstein for allowing that to happen. >> one of the things that as i watched that interview that i found most amazing is did anyone ever tell jay goldberg that one of the options before him was not to go on the lawrence o'donnell program and not to talk to you? the idea that, like, he's talking to the president and then he goes on tv and blurts whatever is in his head. amazing. >> i asked him about that, and i asked him about attorney-client privilege because he says he still represents the president. all of that is in the video that will be posted online. david frum, ron klain, thank you both for joining us. really appreciate it. we'll be right back. i'm not a bigwig.
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that's tonight's last word. we will have more on rachel's interview with james comey and the leak of james comey's memos in "the 11th hour" with brian williams, which starts now. the breaking news we're covering tonight, those memos james comey famously wrote about his conversations with donald trump. they've been handed over to congress and promptly leaked to the media. and tonight comey has already weighed in. plus so many moving parts this evening. the president's new lawyer, rudy giuliani, coming onboard to negotiate a speedy conclusion in the russia investigation. there are new developments on a slew of major players, michael cohen, rod rosenstein, andrew mccabe, and what it all means for the president during another day at his resort and under investigation as "the 11th hour" gets under way on a thursday evening.