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tv   The Beat With Ari Melber  MSNBC  April 28, 2018 9:00pm-10:00pm PDT

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matters. this person is now -- and this is really arguably for the first time in public reports -- linked directly to the kremlin. nbc news' richard engel reporting that ms. veselnitskaya does work for the kremlin. now, that is big because you may recall she told the u.s. senate -- and this was public -- that she was independent of any government bodies in russia and that she had denied any relationship with the very prosecutor who was considered a key source of potential incriminating material on putin foes. but pressed on the new evidence by engel, she's now admitting to more. >> the only reason i'm asking these questions is because of the contact that you had with the most senior people who are now in our government. >> you said your relationship with the prosecutor general is what?
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>> listen, richard, as the saying goes. there he is. richard engel live to discuss this big interview. but here's part of how mr. engel, my colleague, broke this story, obtaining new evidence from say russian exile and putin foe. putin jailed him after he spoke out. he was in prison for about ten years. he lives abroad, and he told the beat in october that the prosecutor named in this story, mr. chai ca, tends to get permission from putin before making big moves. >> translator: i wouldn't find it at all unusual if mr. chai ca, whom the people of russia have accused of corruption, used an attorney he knew to propose some kind of deal to future influential persons in america. because he would want to make himself useful to vladimir putin. were he to decide to take such a step, he would get permission from vladimir putin beforehand. >> a lot of this is coming
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together in public. that is about the russians' vof involvement in the trump tower meeting. today we're also seeing what donald trump jr. told investigators about it because he's saying the very first topic that veselnitskaya raised was hillary clinton's donors, which indicates that she knew the purpose of the meeting, that is to say, where it started was offering this derogatory information about clinton. so, yes, the meeting was about dirt on hillary clinton. and, yes, now we know the russians had a link to putin, who was kicking off the conversation. you know, the learning curve about what really happened here may not be that steep after all. >> this is the first time we've ever done any of this. you know, i'm still way in the learning curve on all of this. basically, yeah, i want to hear the information. that's what we do in business. if there's information out there, you want it. then you make what you do with it. >> let's be clear. campaigns do want information. but information in someone
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else's office, you can't just steal it. that's a crime. ask richard nixon. information offered by a lawyer for the kremlin? well, you can't take a thing of value from a foreigner in a campaign. that's a crime. so these new leads tonight are shedding even more light on that fbi raid of paul manafort's home whereas has been reported, they were seeking evidence on, yes, the meeting at trump tower. now, i turn to the reporter of the hour, richard engel, nbc's chief foreign correspondent, david roth caph, and former federal prosecutor karen loeffler. welcome all. richard, your story involves one putin foe who we just showed, because it is part of his organization that got some of this evidence. you obviously went about your corroboration independently. walk us through how you got this and what it means. >> reporter: so it's a little
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bit complicated, but as you said, when you look at it in the bigger scheme of things, it's actually not that complicated and the pieces are coming together a little bit like a mosaic. if you just look at one little spot, you don't see it. but if you take all the pieces together, you do start to see a pattern. so there was this meeting at trump tower right in a critical portion in the campaign. president trump was then the presumptive nominee, so he was moving up in the world. and there was a lot of setup going on. who was going to set up this meeting? what was it going to be about? who was going to thereby? and there were e-mails going back and forth which have become public now and which have become a great focus not only in the press but also of the mueller investigation. and according to these communications in the setup to the meeting, the trump campaign inner circle thought they were going to have this meeting with veselnitskaya, who was described to them as a government lawyer who was going to provide some sort of dirt on hillary clinton. and then donald trump jr. infamously said, if it is what
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you say, i love it. the meeting takes place, and we don't know exactly what was said in the meeting. but we know that they talked about some sort of dirt that the russians had or they thought they had on hillary clinton. and it was talking about old financial transactions and apparently donald trump jr. and the others didn't find it that interesting and later tweeted that it was a waste of time. jared kushner tried to get out of the meeting, apparently asking his assistant to make a call. so it wasn't exactly the kind of compromising material they were looking for. now, cia officers and others we spoke to say that the most important thing is that this meeting took place at all and that veselnitskaya, who's connected to senior government officials, which she is now saying -- she still said she didn't work for the kremlin, doesn't work for the kremlin. but she certainly has this role
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she described as an informant. what exactly that means is something she hasn't set forth. not exactly clear what that is. but it's clearly a connection. >> richard, let me take some of what you're saying, which is you're laying so much out. let me put it to karen, our former federal prosecutor, and say does anything in here enter into what prosecutors are looking at since we know they were at least searching for information about the meeting? >> well, yes, i think it does. but i think what -- and thank you, richard, for your hard work. but the connection, the fact that the russians would use somebody to try to reach out to the trump campaign and to the close trump confidants, and i think they had already figured out that this group was to say the least ethically challenged. and while they were using the other parallel lines of social media and everything else, you know, it's a connection. it's like we could reach these
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people. they will meet with us. they will meet with russians because they are trying to use whatever avenues they can to win the campaign. and whether it was successful and whether they provided the information, the fact that you would have the meeting to try to gather the information is significant. >> and all of this is coming out -- some of these independent news reports, on a day when house republicans have put out something more akin to a bit of a defense brief in their report on the republican side. and so, david roth kof, let me read to you, they say in a finding, they did expect to receive but did not ultimately obtain derogatory information on candidate clinton from russian sources. what do you make of that defense, which is we might have wanted to do something unethical and potentially illegal, but we couldn't pull it off. >> well, first of all, we don't know that they didn't pull it off. in fact, we have all the evidence that they did pull it off. they may not have received this
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information at this meeting, but of course information did come from the russians later via wikileaks and others that was damaging, did come at a damaging point in the campaign. and we also see a pattern of meetings with russians, the george papadopoulos meeting, this meeting, conversations manafort had, carter page, other people throughout the campaign. so i wouldn't look at this meeting as the entirety of this whole thing. the other thing about what happened with the house republicans in this whitewashed report by devin nunes, who is essentially the p.r. guy for the white house in this, is that they said donald trump jr. and manafort showed bad judgment. now, i think that's the understatement of the year. you look at richard engel's interview with this woman. you know, it doesn't take -- you don't have to watch a whole season of "homeland" to think, oh, maybe this woman's connected to the russians in not a very good way. she is representing that she has information and will give you
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the help of the russian government in order to achieve something that the russian government seeks. that's not bad judgment. that's seeking the help of an enemy of the united states. >> mm-hmm. >> to win a political campaign. >> let me go to karen and then back to richard. karen, when you look at it that way -- and i'm going to read again from a quote from richard's big interview here where she says, i'm a lawyer. i'm an informant. since 20 13rks i've been actively communicating with the office of the russian prosecutor general. when you look at that statement, that firms up her links. if they didn't get information at this meeting, could this meeting still be used to show the kind of criminal intent necessary for other potential crimes during 2016? >> well, yes, it could because it certainly looks like an attempt and an interest and an intent to try to connect up with russian sources, which is not allowed. but, you know, you have to connect -- everything turns on intent in any of these cases and
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you have to connect it with all of the other connections as was just pointed out. you know, all of the efforts from the campaign and all of the connections between the campaign and the russians. i mean it's not -- to walk into this meeting and say, i'm shocked to discover that this woman had connections to the russian hierarchy is, you know, beyond willful blindness. it's stupidity that's a little bit hard to imagine. >> karen, i feel like you're on the verge of a casa blanca reference. >> i was just about to say that. i was thinking very much of, i'm shocked, shocked to discover there's gambling in this institution. we're thinking of the same thing, and that's where the believability level goes to me. >> richard, what else is important here from this complex story you've been unpacking? >> reporter: so there are two elements here. one, she said for the first time she has this role as an informant, which is something clearly more than she's said before. in the past she had said she has
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no connection with the prosecutor, no special connection. and the other is all of these e-mails that were leaked out that we confronted her with, that she says were hacked. we've reached out to the russian government. we've gotten no official response. i think it's important to say that. but these e-mails show communication back and forth with the prosecutor general, with an official at the prosecutor general's office, apparently exchanging copies of a document back and forth, putting edits together, trying to get on the same page to formulate an official russian response to a request by the u.s. justice department for a legal case for one of her clients. what's important here is also not the specifics about that case. it's the contact, that she had the ability to reach out to an official in the prosecutor's office in russia and coordinate an official russian government response to a request by the u.s. justice department.
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that also suggests that she is not just an average lawyer who represents private clients, but someone whose degree of influence within and over the russian state is greater than that. >> fascinating. on the american front here, david, the other things that were in the house gop report were interesting for other reasons. that's the best way i can put it. let me explain. we'll start with kellyanne conway's odd statement earlier this year. >> so calling every person and go ahead and run a lie detector on them. why don't they do that? >> well, they may. and they may. they may not. there are many different ways to discover who's leaking. >> there are many ways to discover who's leaking. this is one of those trump versus trump issues because a lot of the leaks, by definition, are from very top people in very small rooms in the trump white house. i'm reading to you now from a real document, the house republican report today, which
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says the trump executive branch should consider instituting mandatory polygraphs for non-confirmed political appoint yeefs that have top secret clearances. >> well, that's not going to happen. you know, the leaker in chief is going to be caught up in this. >> is he confirmed? does he get a polygraph? >> well, we don't know. my suspicion is that he doesn't. what's interesting to me, though, when you get to him, is that the minority also submitted a report alongside this. one of the things that the minority focused on, where they offered some new information, was where was trump when this meeting was happening? and trump was in the building. trump was a floor above this meeting. and donald trump jr. called trump -- or called a russian oligarch that they had contact with and then got off that call, called a blocked number, and
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then went back and called this russian oligarch. and adam schiff and others have earlier today pointed out that they wanted to know who the blocked number was because donald trump had a blocked number, and did they call him? was he connected to this? and in fact, it seems like that would have been something a real investigation would go look at, but the republicans said, we're not interested. >> we're not going to look at that. >> we're not interested in who he called in the middle of this. but clearly there's a number of things afoot now that suggest that not only did this meeting with this spy take place and did they know what they were doing, but that the president of the united states may have actually been involved. >> right. and we can't go quite that far because a lot of people have blocked numbers to be honest. >> no, it's absolutely true. >> but you're more speaking to the fact that the process wasn't oh, let's figure that out, but more like, oh, we'll leave that. >> they said they're not interested. >> it's a funny process. karen loeffler, stay with me. david and richard engel, not
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only thank you, but stay tuned as we say because richard's entire interview will be a part of a larger special, on assignment with richard engel, tonight, 9:00 p.m. eastern on msnbc. coming up, a federal judge making a big move in the stormy daniels lawsuit that's breaking right now. also we're going to look at why taking the fifth may not stop michael cohen from eventually having to speak. and new reporting on trump's handling of officials who do fall from grace. also what does john boehner, kanye west, and donald trump jr. have in common? well, they're all potential contacts of fall back friday. i'm ari melber. you're watching "the beat" on msnbc. the thrills keep getting better.
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and add a new line of unlimited. xfinity mobile. it's a new kind of network designed to save you money. click, call or visit an xfinity store today. breaking news at this hour. i am holding a new ruling in the stormy daniels case. a federal judge has issued a three-month stay in this lawsuit against trump and michael cohen. this is something michael cohen asked for because of the other major problems he's dealing with, the criminal case he's facing in new york. let me tell you i'm looking at this because it just came into the newsroom, and it says, mr. cohen's a key witness in this action. defendants think he's the most knowledgeable person with respect to the facts in this action. that has to do with all the fighting over stormy daniels. this is very interesting. page 4 of this ruling which just came down within the last hour here. defendant's fifth amendment rights are heavily implicated. that is a judge here in the stormy daniels case saying tonight that michael cohen has a point when he says he may have
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to plead the fifth to avoid self-incrimination. this is brand-new, breaking right now. it comes as the feds also say they have information from not one, not two, not five, not ten, but 16 different cell phones of michael cohen. now, they turned those over to an independent reviewer, an attorney who will decide what information has protection under attorney-client privilege. the feds also holding on to at least three other phones including basically a pair of blackberries and an iphone because it may take them over three months technico figure ou what's on it. karen, going to you first. what do you make of a judge basically saying, yes, there are gou grounds for a delay here, and, yes, michael cohen's fifth amendment rights are implicated? >> well, i mean to tell you the truth, that is what you would expect. i mean mr. cohen had a right to assert his fifth amendment.
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obviously he's in deep trouble with the southern district of new york investigation. and once he asserts his fifth amendment right, the judge is -- you know, the judge is correct to say that case can't really go forward without his participation. and once he says he's going to assert it, that ruling, i think, would have been expected. it has happened in many cases that i did if there were parallel civil and criminal proceedings. there isn't an indictment yet. >> right. >> in the federal case. but i think this is really what you would expect. >> right. it's what you'd expect when you have a situation, liz, where the person seeking the delay can credibly say, i need this criminal fifth amendment protection. in other words, in normal civil cases, if you say, hey, someday i might be under federal investigation or might get charged, they say, that's not good enough. here the judge is saying, hey, michael, you should be worried. >> right. and michael cohen, to your point, should be worried and probably is worried. there was a story in "the wall
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street journal" that came out about the relationship about donald trump and michael cohen. and it's so fascinating to see, you know, there are sort of 12 signs showing the signs of a co-dependent abusive relationship, and i think the article knocked down every single facet of that. we see a relationship with michael cohen completely being dependent on the president and the president spending a lot of time sort of embarrassing michael cohen and discrediting michael cohen. >> you think the relationship between these two is unhealthy? >> it is unhealthy. if i was -- if they were in couples counseling and i was their counselor, i would for sure label it as abusive. >> do you think that donald trump got michael cohen to sign an nda about this relationship? and if so, who would negotiate it? >> that's a really good question. you are a lawyer. would you take that on? >> well, michael cohen -- >> if i'm their couples counselor, would you be their lawyer? >> the article you're mentioning as turned a lot of heads.
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boss, i miss you so much. the awkward exile of michael cohen is sort of the headline. this part, mr. trump decided that bringing mr. cohen inside the white house carried too many risks. this is a president who loves defying rules and risks and who brought mike flynn -- pled guilty, rick gates, pled guilty. bannon, fired. kushner, something amounting to a subject of a review. he brought all of those people into key positions and for some reason he said michael cohen, too risky. >> right. that's really fascinating. now with these 16 devices, these 16 phones that are in his office, which he was probably not just holding on to in case like his phone breaks down, like you don't keep 16 of those devices for nothing. there's definitely something in there. i guess it's just a matter of time until we find out. >> karen, because of your decades of experience in service to the justice department, to our nation, i would obviously be remiss if i didn't get also your analysis of that rather unusual
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interview that donald trump made potentially against his own interests with fox news. take a listen to this part on cohen. >> mr. president, how much of your legal work was handled by michael cohen? >> well, as a percentage of my overall legal work, a tiny, tiny little fraction. but michael would represent me and represent me on some things. he represents me like with this crazy stormy daniels deal. he represented me, and, you know, from what i see, he did absolutely nothing wrong. >> karen, what is your analysis of that? go ahead. >> well, you know, one, whoever has trump for a client has a client without a filter, which is a problem. i mean the issue is he's now saying, you know, to the former judge that's reviewing for attorney-client, that the vast amount of this is not attorney-client. and he makes it hard to the extent that the attorneys for the president or for mr. cohen
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are going to try to protect things broadly when you have the president saying, oh, no. there would only be a really tiny part. and then there's what he handed to, you know, obviously ms. daniels by saying, you know, he represented me in that case. you know, that there are plenty of lawyers to deal with. but he's basically announced there should be a very narrow group that is attorney-client privileged. now, you know, the special master that's been assigned will go through and take the view of the parties each time to determine it. >> right. >> but it certainly handed a lot of stuff to the federal prosecutors when they try to get the information. >> no doubt. and as we are talking, i said this was a breaking story. i have a breaking response from the stormy daniels side because all of this just happened. they say while they of course respect the ruling, they are considering filing a, quote, an immediate appeal to the ninth circuit as early as next week. justice delayed is justice denied. then #basta. that's not a legal term, but
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that's clearly a sign that the stormy daniels lawyers want to keep this going. i expect we'll hear more from michael avenatti on this. fascinating to see the fifth amendment criminal side of this exploding tonight. thank you. a programming note. i will be hosting a special edition of headliners on michael cohen. it airs this sunday night, 9:00 p.m. eastern on msnbc. coming up, the turmoil in donald trump's cabinet, the surprising new criticism even from ex-trump employees speaking out about the patterns they say. later we have the immortal fab five for what could be an epic fall back friday when we're back in 90 seconds. ghting elevated comfort powerfully efficient and one more thing the world comes with it ♪you can go your own way...
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. the other top story tonight, a veritable dumpster fire of top trump campaign officials with serious problems. consider his va nominee, his epa head and his budget director all caught up. the big theme, a staff that may reflect a tone from the top. the same values that are often visible throughout trump's business kecareer and this goes back years. >> a lot of businesses in the atlantic city area went out of business because they could not sustain the loss from the monies they couldn't collect from trump. >> how much money is to be collected? >> for us, $1.2 million. >> and for all the contractors? >> i don't know that figure. it's in excess of $60 million. i do not know the exact figure. >> he attacked weak people
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because he found their weakness and then just exploited it. >> it would be publicity, lots and lots of publicity. >> these are themes from donald trump's business career, and we're charting some of them in the presidency. back then, trump left a trail of unpaid contractors and business partners alleging really a type of fraud through billing. today, scott pruitt accused of dealing out pay raises that the career professionals opposed as well as taking in kind donations from lobbyists and trying to hide it. in business, donald trump often would like to talk about using people for their expertise and sometimes extracting whatever value he could from them. >> you take their advice. you pay them for their brilliance in some cases. unfortunately, in some cases you pay them for their stupidity. >> but consider the trail of former and current staffers with their own depleted reputations after trump took whatever he wanted from them. rex tillerson, h.r. mcmaster, john kelly and jeff sessions.
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there's a lot of talk about loyalty and whether that means something you owe each other or in donald trump's case a one-way street. consider the former president of trump plaza hotel talking about trump distancing himself from admiral ronny jackson, the va nominee who just had to withdraw under scrutiny. quote, crashing and burning, it means nothing to trump. he might put on a public frown for a day because he's upset in his mind the admiral got railroaded out, but trump couldn't care less about the admiral. that is a statement from a former trump employee. i am joined by democratic strategist, aisha moody mills and howard fineman. howard, do you see an echo here in the cabinet's problems and the way donald trump actually ran the company that many voters on his side of the aisle saw as a plus in making him president? >> well, no doubt. this is his whole career pattern. there are few categories of people. if i can use an analogy, it's the row boat on the lake
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situation, okay? and who gets in it and who doesn't come back. contractors, banks, everybody he did business with in new york who was considered to be reputable, who is considered to be fair-dealing, he had bad relations with. most of them in the end wouldn't work with him anymore because he would not pay on time or not pay at all or demand to be sued and then threaten to take depositions that would cost a half a million, and he dealt with smaller contractors that he rolled over and big banks that he didn't repay, which is one reason why he went to russia. so those are the dupes, the disloyal, the dumb, and so on. they get in the row boat. they go out in the lake, and they don't come back. there's another category of people that he has to distance himself from, but that he doesn't completely reject because they may be useful or dangerous to him. right now those are people like corey lewandowski or paul manafort or michael cohen. and then there are people that he rejects, makes fun of, and
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sometimes brings back in a cold blooded transaction like rudy giuliani, who he dismissed and who is now back at his side. there will be other people like that. the only people who have stayed in the house and have never gotten in the row boat right now in this administration, as i take it, are kellyanne conway, roger stone down in florida, brad parscale, who is going to be the chairman of the 2020 campaign, and his personal business friends, tom baric and harold ham. that's it. that's the pattern with trump. it's not only a one-way street. it's a one-way superhighway. >> it's well put. howard fineman running deep into the trump archives. >> that's not an ar kriechive. that's current. we often turn to wisdom from other writers around here. ernest hemingway said never mistake motion for action. and i want to put on the screen the chaotic motion of these aides that you see -- not that
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one, guys. the one, 49% of trump's a team, recognized decision makers, has turned over in these periods. if you total it together, it's half of the top aides and a-team. this is according to non-partisan brookings institute. it's literally one out of every two people in every room, coming and going, fired or reassigned, which suggests constant motion and less action. >> and lots of incompetency starting from the top of course. i always chuckle when you play these clips back. it amazes me we elected a president who has a history of saying ridiculous things, of having a horrible legal record, of him not paying people, of him grabbing people by, you know, the places. the fact that -- >> or bragging about that. >> bragging about that. the fact that we even elect this guy completely miffs me. i just feel like we should have -- congress should pass some legislation that says, you know what? there has to be at least some
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decency clause, some sensibility around like morally how you've moved through the world in order for you to be qualified for this office. >> what about an evidence of decency clause where tax returns and business records could be held up to review? to you and then howard in the brief time we have left, do you think if people knew all the facts about donald trump's business finances and debts that he would have still been elected? >> absolutely not. absolutely not. i don't think he would have been. >> howard? >> well, he got the benefit of calling himself a successful businessman without enough research and exposure of what he'd done in the past. that's partly our fault. it's partly the nature of campaign journalism. by the way, i'm not convinced if people had known more, they necessarily would have rejected him, but it would have been closer than even the 72,000 votes that elected him. >> 72k. that's the number to keep in mind. thank you both. wishing you very good fridays and weekends. up ahead, michael cohen taking the fifth, but he actually might still have to talk. i have a special breakdown for
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you why that is. next, friday night on the beat with you're looking at a very special set of fallback friday guests. that's next. yeah, my dad says our insurance doesn't have that. what?! you can leave worry behind when liberty stands with you™. liberty mutual insurance. fthere's flonase sensimist.f up around pets. it relieves all your worst symptoms including nasal congestion, which most pills don't.
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will pay the entire value plus depreciation. liberty stands with you. liberty mutual insurance. it's friday on "the beat." you know what that means. it's time to fall back. and we have a great panel tonight. the legendary fab five freddy, a hip-hop pioneer. today he is a member of the kennedy council's hip-hop cultural council. also my colleague, willie geist, host of sunday today as well as co-host of morning joe. and peter rosenberg, co-host on one of the leading hip-hop radio stations in the nation, new york's hot 97. he's not a new show with complex. willie, who needs to fall back? >> i can't believe i'm setting next to fab five freddy. he helped raise us. i'm going to start my fallback friday and say that amazon needs to fall back just a little bit. they had a big week, big earnings, but they also
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announced they have this new technology where they can get into the trunk of your car if you give them permission, which means if you have a certain kind of car with onstar, they will deliver a package and you don't even have to be part of the process. i love amazon. we all love amazon, but they're moving a little fast in the relationship for me. they want the keys to the car. >> what happened to the drones in front of the house? i was waiting to see that drop in harlem. >> that's coming soon. but the trunk thing is here now. amazon needs to back off just a little bit. >> jeff bezos, are you listening, baby? >> fab five freddy, who needs to fall back? >> i just directed a major documentary which is going to be on a major platform. it's about the history of cannabis in america, looking at people of color from louis armstrong to snoop. i've just been immersed in this amazing plant. what's so sad is when you see somebody like john boehner come out, like i've rethought my positions on the plant without acknowledging the hundreds of thousands of black and brown in
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jail for non-violent cannabis offenses, non-violent drug offenses. one of the things i went down to film two weeks ago was a black man in new orleans that was given 14 years for two joints. his name was bernard noble. we went down to film him come out of jail. he's one of hundreds of thousands of people in jail. i'd like to see people getting on this cannabis money train, the green rush to acknowledge some of the people that are in jail as this plant becomes did. >> you're saying john boehner needs to fall back because when he had the power, he did the wrong thing. now he's doing maybe the right thing but for the money. >> right. when he was the most important republican in washington, he voted against cannabis -- medical cannabis in washington, d.c. so john boehner, it's okay to change your thoughts, but acknowledge the hundreds of thousands of people in jail for non-violent cannabis offenses like bernard noble, who just came home. >> peter rosenberg, who needs to fall back? >> it seems almost redundant at
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this point, but i got to say kanye west obviously has to fall back. >> kanye? >> it's time for kanye to fall back. listen, i've been a part of many of these and watched these kanye rollouts before. i've seen t. i know what he's doing. i'm tired of the term trolling being the excuse for people to say and do whatever they want. >> good point. >> if kanye west had been a supporter of donald trump from the very beginning and that was just his politics and that was his guy, while i wouldn't agree with him, i would be all right, that's who you are. but kanye west doesn't really believe in anything except kanye west. right now this entire thing, to leave this whole thing open-ended and talk about his admiration and put on the hat, we know that putting on that hat, there's a bigger symbolism. that's more than simply i voted for a republican. it actually has nothing to do with partisan politics. it has to do with racial politics. and kanye west playing with that, to me, is very serious, and he needs to fall back. >> it s. i'd like to say that i sometimes see kanye as literally playing three dimensional pop culture chess. a hit record, i've seen people
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who have been just in the throes of the most devastating negative media turn it around with a hit record. so once again, it's very dangerous stuff. i mean i heard he lost 9 million followers, but i'm hoping if those records are correct and he can give us some more expanded statement, we can give him the benefit of the doubt. >> hip-hop -- american culture in general is shockingly forgiving. hip-hop is beyond forgiving. >> yeah. >> listen, in hip-hop, we defend our people. >> yeah. >> like kanye, i've been in many situations, especially being where i'm from, i've heard a lot of people they'll say crazy things about kanye, and i defend him at all costs. >> right. >> this is the first time in which i was like, i got nothing for you today, kanye. listen, maybe one day he will explain it and we will understand it more. but right now the pain that he has caused a lot of people is to me still real hurt. >> that makes a lot of sense because there's severe pain and we're dealing with a president who literally endorsed white supremacy after someone was murdered at a white supremacy
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rally. i suppose the question i raise respectfully is does this mean we're entering a place where people do want partisan litmus tests for their artists. even if you critical of kanye in this instance, is that at all problematic? >> it's a dangerous kind of bed of fire to walk on right now. so i would hope kanye gives us a bit more of a clarification because it's really, you know, unfortunate to see the imagery without having more clarity. >> remember -- >> that was a rockefeller republican, no pun intended. >> this is a different sort of thing. i think the partisan politics being brought up in this situation was a total cover-up. that's not what this was about. this this was never about kanye saying he was a republican. in fact he never said he was a republican. this was about a very specific
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thing he was doing that he knew was riling people up. that's why he did it successfully. >> you guys know there's a long history of hip-hop loving donald trump. go through and read the lyrics. they love his lifestyle. this is before he was president or was running for such a powerful office. but even the people who tried to get to and explain what you guys are saying, john legend texted him on the side and said this is why what you're doing is problematic. it isn't a game to play with words like this. he put john legend's text up on wee twitter and said, you can't control me. kanye is going to keep pushing forward, but he's got an album to sell. >> to me, kanye west plays three dimensional chess with pop culture. i've seen him make dramatic moves that looked like he was in check mate. then he was able to turn it around relatively. and one of the things that i think we like about kanye, like him or not, is his true, full, honestness on records, the way he confronts his personal, you know, inconsistencies and things
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of that nature. fans of kanye's lyrics will attest to that. >> i've heard there are people behind the scenes close to making that check mate that he may not be able to recover from. that's what i've heard. >> you just did a pop cultural version of rudy giuliani on fox news two weeks out from the campaign. you're promising a big payoff, and i'm intrigued. i'm intrigued. rudy. >> i don't want a check mate. i'm just saying i've heard that. >> the lightning round, your other fallback nominees, but short. >> i would go with the governments in arizona and colorado. i mean seeing those teachers talk about having to sling burgers and wait tables to educate our kids is appalling. so i want to see teachers get a living wage. >> i'll have mitt romney fall back a little bit when he's rooting for the utah jazz. he came at russell westbrook a little bit while wearing a jersey with his own name on the back. >> with gingham.
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>> by the way, the hip-hop community wants to thank you for your incredible flavor and your knowledge of all the hip-hop. >> thank you. i didn't know there was flavor, but thank you, sir. >> donald trump jr. for he knew perfectly well that chance the rapper was not saying he was a trump guy. he was simply sticking up for his friend, and donald trump jr. used this as a way to play chance against the hip-hop culture, and it just was not -- relax. fall back. >> are there basketballs on that tweet? i never figured that out. >> that is a great, great question. my fallback nominee is scott pruitt. mr. pruitt, you know why. my special thanks to fab five freddy, willie geist, and peter rosenberg for fall baback frida this week. michael cohen taking the fifth. what does it mean for his federal criminal case? my breakdown, and what it means according to donald trump's own standard.
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donald trump's fixer, michael cohen, is now doing what no personal lawyer for a president has ever done while the president was in office, pleading the fifth. >> michael cohen says based on advice of counsel -- this is in the stormy daniels case -- i will assert my fifth amendment rights in connection with all proceedings. >> the president's personal attorney is pleading the fifth in the stormy daniels case. how was your day? seeing it written out this way in black and white in a court filing, it is a good reminder of how much legal jeopardy the president's personal attorney seems to be in. >> now, that legal jeopardy, that's not just an interpretation of events because you cannot automatically plead the fifth in a civil case and get away with it unless you can demonstrate legal jeopardy, which cohen just asserted. and as we reported tonight, a judge just accepted. i want to be clear, and i've said this before even if it's a
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little annoying. cohen has a right under our constitution to protect himself against self-incrimination. pleading the fifth does not confer guilt. in fact, as we all know from pop culture, some people even do it gleefully. >> i plead the fifth. >> i'm pleading the fifth until i speak to my lawyer. >> on the advice of counsel, i must respectfully decline to answer your question based on my rights under the fifth amendment to the united states constitution. >> i'll plead the fifth. >> did he tell you where he was on the day mcalester was murdered? >> i plead the fifth. >> you have the right to do that. but even if fair-minded legal experts note that there is no implied guilt in exercising that right, let's be clear tonight. not everyone applies that standard. in fact, michael cohen's move means he is failing donald trump's own standard. >> if you're innocent, why are you taking the fifth amendment? >> that was donald trump's knock against hillary clinton aides,
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some of whom did plead the fifth in the e-mail probe, and trump aides invoked that in their campaign. one of those aides has now pled guilty to his own crime of lying to the feds. another still works at the white house but was blasting clinton aides in the probe as liars. tonight there's more here because even though federal rules bar juries from looking at a defendant negatively for pleading the fifth, it doesn't mean that pleading the fifth is always okay or an innocent move. take president nixon, who was ultimately advising his aides to plead the fifth as, yes, part of the watergate cover-up. he told his aides -- and this is a quote -- i want you all to stonewall it. let them plead the fifth amendment, cover-up, or anything else if it will save it. that's the plan. that's the whole point. the whole point. at first, nixon's white house counsel, his lawyer, john dean, did exactly that in a watergate grand jury. it was just three months after getting the advice i just read. he later conceded that was
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partly an effort to save himself at other's expenses. but even pleading the fifth has its limits if there's a cover-up. in fact, it only protects incrimination when there's an effort to incriminate you. so what if you get immunity, aka, the word of the week? what if you flip? well, john dean got that. he flipped in dramatic fashion, publicly incriminating his boss and his former client, richard nixon. >> i concluded by saying this is going to take continued perjury and continued support of these individuals to perpetuate the cover-up. >> that is lawyer speak for obstruction of justice, which is a crime that people do time for. the president's lawyer there, john dean, faced a fork in the road that does test many criminal conspirators. do you want to risk everything to protect your boss, or at some point do you look out for yourself? do you think it's going to surprise your daughter?
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absolutely. wait, is mom here yet? where's mom? she's in this car. what the heck? whoa. yo, whose car is this? this is the all-new chevy traverse. this is beautiful. it has apple carplay compatibility. do those apps look familiar? ohhhhh. do you want to hit this button? there's a hidden compartment. uhh, whoa. mom, when i'm older can you buy me this car? i wanna buy me this car. ♪now i'm gonna tell my momma ♪that i'm a traveller ♪i'm gonna follow the sun♪
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the breaking news tonight, you can't make up. michael cohen, president trump's lawyer, having said he would plead the fifth to avoid self-incrimination, has been granted a delay in the stormy daniels case as we've been reporting. quite a turn of events. this was the filing that just came in. the stormy lawyer says they'll appeal it. a programming note that is related, i'm actually going to be hosting a headliners edition on michael cohen that debuts this sunday night, 9:00 p.m. for the first time on msnbc. that does it for me. be sure to check out "the beat" week days at 6:00 p.m. eastern right here on msnbc. hi, everyone. it's 4:00 in new york. it is a rare news cycle and the president has a clean shot at claiming progress toward a goal that unites much of the free world. but that's exactly what he woke up to today with news this morning of that historic summit between the leaders of north and south korea. but if we know anything about this president one year and
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three months in, it's that he's expert at snatching defeat from the jaws of victory in terms of muddying his own potentially positive news cycles. the president consumed this morning on twitter russia investigation again. tweeting his daily collusion denial. quote, just out, house intel committee report released. no evidence that the trump campaign colluded, coordinated or conspired with russia. clinton campaign paid for opposition research obtained from russia. wow! must end now. it was one of the clearest articulations, if you can call it that, of his intention or desire to end investigations into russian interference. and it also came on the very same day that nbc news is reporting that a key figure in that trump tower meeting in which the president's son, son-in-law and campaign chairman, two of those men under scrutiny by the special counsel, one charged with numerous crimes by the special counsel, met with a russian informant. that's right, the russian lawyer


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