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tv   MSNBC Live With Katy Tur  MSNBC  May 4, 2018 11:00am-12:00pm PDT

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the role of michael cohen. let's go right to the white house. kelly o'donnell is standing by. kelly, with a does the statement say? >> well, it goes on to a couple of issues. this is a statement from the former mayor of new york. he says this sin tended to clarify the views that he expressed in the past few days. he is saying these are his views, separating himself from what the president knows or has said. first, there's no campaign violation, says the former mayor. the payment was made to resolve a personal and what he says is a false allegation in order to protect the president's family. not the campaign would be a parenthetical. it would have been done in any event whether he was a candidate or not. that's on the issue of when giuliani spoke about the timing. what if it had come out in october referencing something he said on television the last few days. second topic. he says my references to timing were not describing my understanding of the president's knowledge but instead my understanding of these matters. putting it on himself as the president's lawyer. and part three, the former mayor
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says, it is undisputed that the president's dismissal of former director comey, james comey, of the fbi -- these are his words -- an inferior executive officer was clearly within his article 1 power as president. recent revelations about former director comey further confirm the wisdom of the president's decision which was plainly in the best interests of our nation. that's the end of the statement from rudy giuliani who's been serving as sort of the lead counsel on the outside of the white house for the president in these matters for about two weeks. of course, giuliani and the president have been friends for many years. giuliani had, according to our sources, been working closely with the president to talk about some of the strategy before he did a series of interviews. apparently the president viewing the fallout from those interviews today was saying that there's been no change in story and saying that giuliani would release a statement. it's taken longer than the expected time, but that statement is now out. we've just gone over it, chris.
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and it seeks to clarify what i think stands out. he's not saying the president has done anything differently. giuliani, perhaps like a lawyer should, trying to take the blame on himself. >> i'm not so sure though what the correction is. i mean i suppose the one piece in here -- and i'll leave it for lawyers to dissect as well -- but when he talks about the timing, are we to take from that that he's referencing when he suggested that it would have been bad for the president if this came out, say right before the election during a debate with hillary clinton. >> i think that is what he's referring to because he again puts it on, this was a family matter. payments made through michael cohen to stormy daniels to preserve the family. his reputation. to not harm his wife. in that vein. to give sort of a sense of it. instead of what he said the other night, which is if this had come out in october, perhaps on the night of one of the debates, in the heat of the
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election with being what would that have done? at that time giuliani went on to say, so cohen did his job, without even asking for the president's approval. he just took care of it. that created what many have observed in recent days a vulnerability with campaign finance law. was this something that had a benefit to the campaign by doing it, which would put it in potential jeopardy for the president, for cohen, for others. if they use this payment as a way to benefit the campaign. he's trying to clean that up, saying this was just about protecting the family. then on the issue of director comey, one of the things that my reporting tells me is that sources have said the giuliani comments were intended to diffuse questions of potential obstruction related to the firing of the former fbi director by talking about the range of issues and the president's very clear power to fire for any reason or no reason at all. and it seems that's part of what giuliani is talking about here. what it does not tell us, chris, is when did the president become
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aware that stormy daniels was paid through michael cohen, when did he know the payments he was making were in fact for that purpose. that remains a big question the president needs to answer. chris? >> i would argue that number one and number three are not new, not corrections either, things we have heard before. >> amplifamplifying. relitigating perhaps. >> yes. i'm not sure it is a correction or clarification. kelly o'donnell, thank you for that. steve kornacki gets to handle the rest of this matter. >> chris, you handed me some breaking news as we are waiting for more news out of dallas as the president is about to speak. good afternoon, everybody, from new york. i'm steve kornacki taking over our coverage there from chris jansing. again we are waiting for a couple things to be happening here in just a few minutes. wayne la pierre, head of the nra, is going to be introducing the president. the president is going to be speaking at the nra's annual convention in dallas. as we wait for that the vice president actually, mike pence, is speaking there right now to the nra convention in dallas.
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as we await the president in that speech in dallas, also the news coming in the last few minutes, you just heard it from kel i hly o'donnell, rudy giuli putting ot what he hopes will be some kind of clarifying statement. all the confusion about this payment of $130,000 to stormy daniels, when the president learned of that payment and when he learned of the nature of that payment. rudy giuliani certainly created some confusion with statements he made earlier this week, the president suggesting that giuliani didn't quite have his story straight so giuliani attempting to bring some clarity into that. let me start with geoff bennett, our reporter on the ground in dallas. we are waiting to hear from the president. any reaction coming in to you to this giuliani clarification now? >> not just yet, steve. i think kelly did a fant jastic job of laying out this statement and what it really represents. the first line, the recall former mayor says, there is no campaign violation.
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the mamt was mapayment was made a personal and false allegation in order to pro peserve and prot the president's family. it was certainly an amplification. but to the key question of when this payment was made, if the president knew about it, and whether or not it was deemed a campaign finance violation, well of course this statement doesn't clarify any of that. you pointed out that president trump is set to speak. you see vice president mike p s pence here behind me. we don't expect the president to roll out any new gun proposals today, instead he will try to emphasize some things he talked about in the past in the immediate aftermath of the parkland school shootings, beefing up security, arming teachers, that sort of thing. mr. trump has spoken to this gathering before. this will be his fourth time, but this time he has a bit of a heavier lift. one lady on the way in here said president trump's got to get right with the gun crowd. what she was alluding to, steve, was the fact that, as you
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remember, weeks, maybe days after the parkland shooting, the president hinted that he might defy the nra and get behind some gun policy proposals that even democrats could support. he then met with some nra leaders at the white house and changed his mind. we'll see if the president sticks to the script here today, if he says anything related to the statement that rudy giuliani put out on his behalf trying to clear up some of the confusion about michael cohen and what he did or did not do on behalf of stormy daniels on the president's behalf. >> geoff bennett down there in dallas, we'll get back to you soon. just to take everybody through the order of operations, you can see over geoff's shoulder, mike pence, the vice president. he is now speaking to that convention. when he finishes, the head of the nra is going to come out and introduce the president, donald trump. then we will hear what he has to say. on this subject of rudy giuliani, the news of the hour right now, rudy giuliani in this attempt to clarify his comments about the stormy daniels payment. this statement from giuliani is
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coming a few hours after the president himself on his way to dallas addressed it. this is what the president had to say earlier today. >> rudy is a great guy but he just started a day ago. but he really has his heart into it. he's working hard. he's learning the subject matter. and he's going to be issuing a statement, too. but he is a great guy. he started yesterday. he'll get his facts straight. he's a great guy. >> why did you change your story on stormy daniels? >> we're not changing any story. i will tell you this. when rudy made the statements -- rudy's great, but rudy had just started and he wasn't totally familiar with everything. >> nbc's kelly o'donnell joining the conversation. a white house reporter for the daily beast is here in the studio with me. nick confessore of the "new york times." kelly, about the timing on giuliani's statement, a couple
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days removing from his initially making those statements on fox news. it is only now that donald trump comes out and says, maybe rudy didn't have everything straight and rudy clarifies. there have been other giuliani media appearances between that initial statement and now. why did it take until friday for this? >> well, a couple of things. first, the president is incorrect when he says he started yesterday. he joined the team officially two weeks ago. he's been a long-time associate and friend and confidant of the president. fair to the mayor that he is still learning the portfolio of information that is in this case for the president. but, our reporting had been that he had been working very closely with president trump prior to his fox news appearance and some of the print interviews. he did a series of them over a couple of days and that they were on the same page, believing that the information about payments to cohen as a reimbursement as they describe it for the stormy daniels payment was likely known by
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investigators. therefore, it was in the president's interest to get out in front of it. that is the legal strategy as it was described to us by multiple sources about the agreement between giuliani and his client, the president of the united states. the white house team did not know about that, nor would they have had to know -- although it would be good for them -- but they wouldn't have had to know because giuliani's responsibility is to his client. today after there has been a lot of public dialogue about whether giuliani helped or hurt the president's case on a few points, whether it be the timing issue, the campaign finance issue, talking about reasons for the comey dismissal, there's been a lot of critique of giuliani's handling and the president, we know, is a prodigious consumer of media. today he felt compelled to argue the case himself and to say that giuliani would be making some changes. the changes we just described in the last few minutes, largely
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say that giuliani was acting on his knowledge of the case, not the president's knowledge, trying to make that distinction. the president trying to preserve, two appear, that he is not on the record saying that he knew the payment was for stormy daniels. that seems to be an about-face strategically. the president saying no change. that appears to be where the hot issue still is for the president. not wanting to say yes, in fact he knew the payment was for stormy daniels. steve? >> we also have ashley parker with us, a white house reporter for "the washington post." and msnbc political analyst. ashley, just looking through the statement from giuliani. couple things, he seems to be trying to reframe some of the issues here in terms we're familiar with. in that hannity interview the other night, he talked about the idea of trump firing comey because trump was upset that comey hadn't said publicly trump's not a target of the russia investigation and now in this statement giuliani false balk on something i think we are are mo familiar with, this argument of hey, look, it really doesn't matter on motive, he has the constitutional authority to
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fire comey for any reason at any time at all. what do you make of this statement though? >> well, this statement is a clear effort at clean-up. and it is probably a better venue for rudy giuliani to do it. and the problem was, and to be clear, speaking to sean hannity, that interview that first got him in trouble, that's a very friendly news outlet but there was something about giuliani just being free-wheeling and off the cuff that as we all saw was very problematic. this is something he got to write out. we are still checking this out but i am sure it was checked out by other lawyers unlike that first interview that was sort of hatched by giuliani and the president in secret. no one in the white house -- not the lawyers, not the chief of staff, not the white house teach -- knew about it. this is sort of a more orderly clean-up. on the russia matter, you are exactly right. in that interview he offered yet another explanation as to why the president fired comey, which is exactly what the white house does not want. because we know that this is
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exactly what mueller and his team of investigators are looking at. they are looking at intent. they are looking at the reason. not just the fact that comey was fired. the president did have the power to do it. but why did he do it and how is it tied to the russia investigation. then briefly going back to the first point about trying to clean up this not being a campaign finance violation, it is what he was doing in that hannity interview but in a way at the time he made it worse because he said something along the lines of, imagine if these allegations had come out just a few days before the campaign how bad that would have been. now he is sort of saying in a more clear, methodical way that this had nothing to do with the campaign, this had nothing to do with the presidential election. it was all about donald trump, his family and his personal reputation. >> that's right. he explicitly tied it in the interview to the timing in that campaign here in the statement. i think we can read the whole statement from rudy giuliani. it is a little extensive. couple different claims. first, there is no campaign violation. the payment was made to resolve
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a perm and false allegation in order to protect the president's family. two have been done in any event, whether he was a candidate or not. the giuliani statement continues. second, my reference to timing -- references to timing were not describing my understanding of the president's knowledge, but instead, my understanding of these matters. third, it is undisputed that the president's dismissal of former director comey, an inferior executive officer, was clearly within his article 2 ii power. recent revelations about comey further confirnmed the president's decision which was plainly in the best interests of our nation. three areas there giuliani is getting into. do we have ken dilanian with us? >> i'm here. >> there's ken dilanian. weigh in on this. go to what ashley was just talking about and what we just read from there in that statement. this issue of the campaign finance violation. because this is -- it seems an interesting question to me when
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you get down to this. you had giuliani explicitly saying it was a week before the election, what were you going to do? now he is saying, hey, it would have been done for any reason. i'm curious, do we know how the fec might look at that? if you're donald trump you could say, hey, in addition to being a presidential candidate in on the 2016, i was also an international celebrity and you know what? if somebody is going to come to donald trump international celebrity and say something like this, donald trump international celebrity is going to pay that money. do we know how the fec makes that division between explicit campaign expense and something like that? >> steve, it is a case by case analysis. but this goes beyond his
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own understanding of this, steve. >> let me bring nick confessore in. >> look, the context here is important. a sean hannity interview. sean hannity is in the president's kitchen cabinet. he is basically an advisor to the president. it is more than a friendly interview. rudy giuliani is in the president's kitchen cabinet and at the time he was a lawyer. it just defies belief to imagine that he wasn't briefed or that it was a set-up or some kind of weird freelancing. i think he believed he was doing what the legal team thought was best at the time and i suspect it is because, look. it is almost certain that special counsel or other
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prosecutors have the financial paper trail of these transactions and know who paid what. so to speculate for a second, you can imagine if they know where the money is coming from and it is obviously coming from the president, that lays out this campaign finance problem which ken was talking about. so i think that rudy was trying to clean it up but made a second problem in cleaning it up. it just goes to show you how tangled this web is. >> are you saying that the intent perhaps was to acknowledge that the payment was made, that donald trump had made the payment, but not to take that extra piece and say -- it was a week before the election, what were we going to do? >> exactly. he is trying to cage it and say, okay, yes, the president made this payment, he paid for it but it was not related to the election. i think that was the effort that was going on here. you can see from the first day of coverage that they thought that that was going to cleaver th clear them on the election law violation. then of course it opened up this other pandora's box. >> what do you make of the
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statement we are getting from rudy giuliani? >> as everybody's noting, it is clean-up within a clean-up within a clean-up. i just wrap the to point out that where this all starred on witness night with a single softball interview with fox news's sean hannity who is essentially a presidential advisor at this point. rudy giuliani, donald trump's latest top legal's pit bull, managed to, a, potentially put the president into extra legal jeopardy. b, up-end weeks' worth of strategic communications developed by senior west wing staff. c, do it with virtually everyone at the senior levels in the white house except the president of the united states in the complete dark about it, being left blindsided by the next morning. and meant to just deepen the level of tumult and chaos this trump legal team and west wing have just been made their hallmarks over the past year. if this is an opening salvo from mr. giuliani as a new face of
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trump's legal team, it is a hell of a run so far. >> and again, all of this playing out, this revised statement from rudy giuliani that we've read to you that we are talking about right now. as we await the president himself, he will be speaking to the annual convention of the nra in dallas any minute now. looks like, last i saw the vice president mike pence is still speaking. after him -- there he is -- wayne la pierre is going to follow mike pence, he will introduce the president. but while we continue the countdown to that, ken dilanian, another piece of news breaking on the legal front just a few hours ago, fascinating story. i would like your perspective on this. the case of paul manafort. paul manafort seeking to have those bank fraud charges against him tossed in court in virginia today. the judge who's hearing that case said this. he didn't make a ruling but he said to the federal prosecutor, he said, you don't really care about mr. manafort's bank fraud. you really care about getting
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information mr. manafort can give you that would reflect on mr. trump or lead to his prosecution or impeachment. so the judge there, to my layman's reading, leveling a pretty serious charge at federal prosecutors. >> absolutely, steve. i showed up to this hearing not expecting this kind of fireworks. sort of a run of the mill motions hearing. at issue was paul manafort's motion to dismiss the charges and his legal argument is that these charges, bank fraud, tax fraud, failing to register as a lobbyist, exceed robert mueller's mandate. they had nothing to do with russia collusion which is what mueller's supposed to be investigating. i didn't expect to hear this judge, this republican appointee, t. 1s. ellis, suitly t -- absolutely tee off on the mueller team saying we don't want people with power in this country, criticizing the whole idea of a special prosecutor. legal experts say it is very common for a federal judge to smack the government around in a hearing like this, then rule in their favor because a lot of
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legal experts say it is a real long shot for manafort to get these charges dismissed on these grounds. and special counsel mueller's appellate lawyer made a very co-gept argco cogent argument in the hearing that these charges were directly related to our writ because we were investigating russian collusion with the trump campaign. paul manafort chairman for the trump campaign. he was in business with the russians. the judge was definitely very skeptical of the whole idea of that manafort prosecution and of the special counsel in general. but he didn't rule. >> okay. guy lewis, is a former u.s. attorney. he also worked with robert mueller, james comey, rod rosenstein in the justice department. let me pick up on what ken dilanian was talking about. manafort trying to get those charges tossed. judge did not make a ruling today but was very skeptical of federal prosecutors. let me ask you for this entire russia investigation story, if these charges were to be
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dropped, if the charges against manafort were to be dropped, what would it mean for that broader investigation? >> well, it would be huge for the president. it would hurt bob mueller and his efforts almost hard to describe. whenever -- steve, you're a sports guy. right? whenever you are in court arguing and the government's making their case, making their argument and the judge -- the federal judge has indicated a reagan appointee, looks down six feet above you from the bench and says, come on, man! you know you're in trouble. and i think it is -- i think you've got a very skeptical judge who is going to look at this very carefully. i think mueller's case in virginia is in a lot of trouble here. >> that's curious. ken was just saying that there is one interpretation here. i'm just curious your perspective because you know this a million times better than i do. but when a judge expresses this
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level of skepticism here, how often have you seen the judge then turn around and still rule -- side with prosecutors? >> well, it does happen. he is exactly right. the government walks in generally with the law on their side. they generally walk in the courtroom with the facts on their side. and the defense, it is usually an uphill battle. but when you've got the federal judge telling you that he's concerned about, in his words, unfettered power, the motivations for why you're even prosecuting manafort in the first instance. when he tells you that you may -- really, he didn't say this directly, steve. but he said, look, i want to see the memo, the unredacted rosenstein memo because i hear what you're saying but i want to look at it myself to see if it actually says you're telling me it says. those are harsh words for -- having done it for a long, long
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time, those are harsh words for a federal prosecutor. >> viewers can see i think in the lower right-hand corner of the screen, vice president mike peps h pence has finished his remarks down there in dallas. we expect any moment wayne la pierre, head of the nra, will come out and address the crowd, and introduce the president. let me continue with you, guy. on the news we were also discussing about rudy giuliani, this new statement he's put out, this attempt at a clarification. what is your read on the significance of the posture he's now taking? does it change things in any way? >> it does in the sense that he really refines his remarks. he makes them clearer. that's the problem i had with the mayor's statements. they were too much off the cuff. look, in this kind of case -- again, i've handled some -- on both sides, when i was trying noriega, when i've defended some cases. everything you say and do is
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going to get looked at. and in this case, it is times 100. right? so they did two things that i think are critically important. one, from the defense side, from the defense perspective. one, they came out and made clear that the allegations are false. the allegations are false. it didn't happen. this was basically an extortion right before the election. number one. that was critical i think to come out and make that clear. secondly, to the extent that there was any sort of scratching of your head with the way that the payments were made through cohen, there was no campaign violation. the payment was kosher, it was okay. there's no violation of law. and those are the two points i think that really needed to be made and the clarification memo makes pretty good. >> nick, let me ask you about the relationship between donald trump and rudy giuliani. it is fascinating to me to watch this play out for a lot of
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different reasons. but one thing that i keep thinking back to is the transition after donald trump got elected president, reporting was he offered giuliani the job of attorney general and giuliani wanted to be secretary of state, said i'm not going to settle for attorney general. watching this back and forth now between federal prosecutors and donald trump, rudy giuliani could end up his attorney general. >> on top of that, so rudy got pushed out of the inner circle. he got pushed out of the job he wanted. he was a little bitter about it. you kind of wonder watching him maneuver now how much is at play in rudy's head. i talk to folks in trump world that worry that rudy is a showboat. that he likes being in the limelight. he wants to be on hannity. he wants to talk about this stuff. he wants to freelance. that's a very different role if you're going to be the personal lawyer to the president. but, yeah, look. if he had ben in that job in the first place, this whole investigation could have been moot. imagine that. >> we know this president -- he
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changes his mind about people very frequently. and rudy seems to be, at least earlier this week, was in the president's good graces. do you think that's already changing or do you think he's got a little more latitude here than we've seen with others perhaps? >> i think you are seeing both. i think he does have a little more latitude, but today you saw maybe the first tiny signs of change, which was the president, unprompted, stopping to talk to the press and saying, we love giuliani, he is a great guy. but, he's not up to speed. he's barely even been with me. he has his facts wrong. that's hardly a ringing endorsement. that doesn't mean the president is about to throw him overboard. they are very much ideologically aligned. but more so aligned now in this moment in terms of strategy and approach. the president wanted someone who could be aggressive who could go on tmv, be an attack dog and fight for him. that's what we saw giuliani
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doing, albeit a little ineptly. so i think the president wants to see a higher performance from giuliani. but in terms of going out and taking it to the media and taking it to mueller's investigators, that's what the president likes, that's why the president brought him on. i think giuliani has some room for error before he is ultimately dismissed. >> that is striking to watch giuliani in these appearances. the tone, the way he talks about comey, the way he talks about this investigation. it does seem a little different than we've heard from other legal folks around trump and maybe more trumpian in tone. >> oh, absolutely. rudy giuliani had a long-standing track record as an attack dog for donald trump going back to the 2016 presidential campaign. i remember him going on tv, one of the sunday morning shows, to talk about how in war, anything is legal. therefore, that donald trump's pronouncement that we should when it comes to iraq or whatever other country, keep the oil or take the oil, that that would be perfectly kosher. and also, i just have to add one
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more thing about giuliani's defense, starting on wednesday of his new boss, president trump. even though he has doubled down again today during his friday statement clarification that there was no campaign finance violation, something he may have inadvertently done starting on wednesday was the way he described how donald trump in giuliani's description reimbu e reimbursed his personal fixer and attorney, michael cohen, it could have amounted to a different kind of violation of federal law that has to do with certain financial disclosures during a presidential campaign. it is not like rudy giuliani acquitted his own client in this episode thus far. >> let me bring you back in, guy, on that question. there is a lot of talk about poe tense campaign finance violations with this payment. different sort of ways looking at the payment and different potential statutes or laws that might come into play. from a legal standpoint, what's your read on that payment and
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what we know about it right now? >> steve, i think the critical thing is the source of the money and whether or not it was either hidden or described inaccurately either on forms, banking forms, or otherwise. look, money laundering laws and campaign violation -- campaign finance laws are pretty straightforward. not many campaign finance violation cases out there. those are sort of few and far between. as a prosecutor or an ex-prosecutor, i was always wondering, okay, are they going to be able to make a money laundering case about the source of the funds. where did they come from. look, nobody believes -- i mean let's be honest. does anybody believe that before cohen stroked the check for $130,000 out of his own money, he didn't give his client a heads-up? i mean come on. nobody does this a.
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now he may not know the details. he may not be involved in you a the minutia. but you got to know about these things. as lawyer, i would never do that kind of thing without at least giving the client the heads-up and getting his authorization to do that. >> let me bring kelly o'donnell back in flt white house. i think you have more reporting here, more context on this issue of the campaign finance question. >> well, steve, let's remember the president also gave us an alternative on this, kind of the celebrity strategy. so we may see, if the president chooses to reveal that there were in fact more nondisclosure agreements to quiet any kind of possible injury to his reputation or his marriage, that that would be a body of evidence you could say has nothing to do with the campaign but everything to do with celebrity factor. that could be an argument they could make. when you look at the john edwards case, the money came from a very prominent donor and it was money to benefit the woman who was a campaign
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employee, rielle hunter. it was definitely within the confines of the campaign. trump may be able to make an argument that this is a strategy he has employed for reputation and family protection separate from the campaign. that may be something we see. in addition, we know that the giuliani strategy of the last couple of days had been something he and the president were working on together, as sources tell us, including mayor giuliani himself. but, we may have seen some of the intervention of other lawyers on the team since the critiques publicly have come out. you may have a footprint or fingerprint of some of the other lawyers saying these were the areas where you exposed us, mayor giuliani, let's try to refashion that in this statement to clarify. again, it all goes back to putting the onus on giuliani, the lawyer, taking some of the heat off the president's knowledge. that's really what this boils down to. steve? >> we are going to keep this conversation going. just to update folks on what's
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going on in dallas, you have been watching that in the corner of your screen. we think we are looking at right now is the introduction of wayne la pierre. he will bring the president out. so i'm going to keep an eye on that podium when wayne la pierre comes out there, we'll bring that to you. but nick confessore, i've been wondering, too, about the politics of all of this. we are having this scandal play out about the president of the united states, about the pay outto a former porn star, all the allegations of this stuff. with a past president i feel like something like this would have come as a shock. it would have come out of left field. with donald trump, it seems like there was this seamless shift from this campaign where there was one shocking revelation after another, to a presidency where there's one -- does any of this surprise any of the voters who went to the polls and made him president? >> no, it doesn't. i can imagine if a different era trump leaking news of his affair with stormy daniels to page six to brag about it because it is so part of his brain. but just to go back for one second to reframe are the campaign finance question.
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what gave stormy daniels the leverage to push for this money in that period of time? what was happening that changed this thing from something she was willing to stay quiet about for years and years after the fact, to something where she finally was like, look, i'm going to go and demand this money. it sounds like the election, to me. right? and second, think of what communications she has or her legal team has about this payment and what the reasons were given for why it had to happen in a certain time frame. i suspect we'll learn a lot more from her side in the coming days. and it just does not pass the smell test to me in any sense that this wasn't about the election. because again, it had been years earlier. the scene there in dallas, it looks like the president himself walking up to the podium. there may not be a wayne la pierre speech. we're just going to hold on this shot here for a second. looks like he is getting ready to speak so i think we are going to listen to what he has to say. here is the president.
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>> thank you. thank you very much. we love you, folks. we love you. thank you. thank you, folks. thank you very much. it is a great honor to be here. i want to thank you chris who's done such an incredible job. these are real patriots. they really are. and they don't get the kind offedof adulation. i want to thank wayne la pierre.
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my great friend, our vice president, mike pence, for his great remarks. i also want to recognize our great texas leaders. do we love texas? do we love texas? governor greg abbott. my friend. where is greg? governor greg abbott. and he's running and i've already done it but i will tell you, greg, i fully endorse you. you are endorsed. he has done a great job. i'll tell you, you had your water just pouring down on top of you. just kept coming and coming. he kept calling and calling, we need more money, money, money. and you know what? we gave it to you. fully endorsed. attorney general ken paxton.
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tremendous guy. by the way, ken, you have my full endorsement. and angela, your wife, has my full endorsement. she just had a big victory. senator john cornyn. be with me right from the beginning. thank you. full endorsement for this man. ted cruz. where's ted? where's ted? thank you. boy, that was very rousing. that's a good sign.
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congressman pete sessions and congressman mike burgess. great friends. we're also joined by pete rickets, dana loesh, charlie kirk. diamond and silk. they're so great. mark geist. richard hudson. pete brownell and leslie rutledge. finally, i want to thank all of you, the true american patriots of the nra who defend our rights, our liberty, and our great american flag. thank you. thank you very much. the people in this hall have never taken our freedom for
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granted. never. and you have never stopped fighting for our beloved constitution. incredible people. thank you. you give your time, your energy, your vote, and your voice to stand strong for those sacred rights given to us by god, including the right to self-defense. and now thanks to your activism and dedication, you have an administration fighting to protect your second amendment. and we will protect your second amendment. your second amendment rights are under siege, but they will
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never, ever be under siege as long as i'm your president. all of us -- thank you. thank you. all of us here today are united by the same timeless values. we believe that our liberty is a gift from our creator, and that no government can ever take it away. we believe in the rule of law. and we support the men and women of law enforcement. we have pride in our history and respect for our heritage. we put our hands on our hearts for the pledge of allegiance, and we all proudly stand for the
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national anthem. we proudly stand. [ crowd chanting usa ] what people. what great people. and this is your record crowd. you know, all-time record crowd. you do know that. just remember. nice to set records. we love our country and we believe our citizens deserve a government that shows them the same love and loyalty in return.
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for the last 15 months, that is exactly what we have been doing. we are all finally putting america first. and we are seeing the incredible results. as a result of our massive tax cuts -- and everybody is benefiting and everybody is happy. and the democrats are very concerned. you watch how well we do in '18. you watch. you watch. get out and vote. don't be xla sent. don't be complacent. you know, history says that when you win the presidency, you get complacent. we all know the feeling. you know the feeling? not too many. like 90% of the time you win the
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presidency, and for whatever reason, you lose the mid-term. we can't let that happen. and the word is complacent. i kept thinking to myself, why is that? i wonder why. think about it. you win, you have this great win. now you take a breath. you relax. all of a sudden two years is up. they're fighting like hell and you're complacent. we cannot get complacent. we have to win the mid-terms. because since the election, we've created 3.2 million jobs. unthought of. if we would have said that three years ago during the campaign, people would have said, what a horrible exaggeration. that's so terrible. they wouldn't have believed it. 3.2 million. the unemployment rate -- we saw that just today -- just fell beneath 4% for the first time since the beginning of this
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century. you know, i heard it was about 19 years. i said, wait a minute. the beginning of the century sounds better. so i say the beginning of the century. more beautiful. african-american unemployment has reached another all-time in history record low. in history. and by the way, kanye west must have some power, because you probably saw, i doubled my african-american poll numbers.
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we went from 11 to 22 in one week. thank you, kanye. thank you. when i saw the number, i said that must be a mistake, how can that happen? even the pollsters thought there must be a mistake. no. we've come a long way. you remember i'd come into big rooms, big audiences, and i'd say, what do you have to lose? because the democrats have always had that vote. i said what do you have to lose? horrible on crime. horrible on education. horrible on everything. i'd say, what do you have to lose? and they voted for me and we won. but now the numbers are much higher than they ever were with african-american. and we're happy. and the same thing with hispanic
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american unemployment which is also at the lowest level in history. unemployment, lowest level in history. and women's unemployment -- women. many women. is at the lowest level in almost 20 years. think of that. so we have the best employment numbers we virtually ever had. and yet all we hear about is this phony russia witch hunt. that's all we hear about. so, just when i'm walking on the stage, a highly respected judge in virginia made statements. it says "wall street journal." it says, judge questions mueller's authority to prosecute manafort. now paul manafort is a nice guy. but you know, he worked for me for a very short period of time.
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literally for what? like a couple months? little period of time. then what happens, he work for romd r ronald reagan. he work for bob dole. they worked i think as a firm for john mccain. they worked for others. does anybody say that? no. but he's out there fighting. on fake news cnn -- i think nbc may be more distorted and worse, but. no. but on cnn they have a headline, judge in manafort case says mueller's aim is to hurt trump. you believe that? this is what we're up -- it is called the witch hunt. so i just said, give me that article. i want to read it. just happened a few minutes before i walk on stage. a federal judge friday questioned special counsel robert mueller's authority to bring tax and bank fraud charges, unrelated --
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unrelated -- nobody knows that. everyone thinks, oh -- unrelated to the 2016 election against former trump campaign manager, chairman paul manafort. he was there for a short while. but he is a good reason. he really is. i believe he is a good person. judge ellis, who is really something very special, i hear from many standpoints. he is a respected person. suggested the charges before the u.s. district court for the eastern district of virginia were just part of the mueller team's designs to pressure mr. manafort into giving up information on president donald trump or others in the campaign. i've been saying that for a long time. it is a witch hunt. then, none of that information has to do with information related to the russian government coordination and the campaign of donald trump. doesn't have anything to do.
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it's from years before. then how does this have anything to do with the campaign, the judge asked? let me tell you, folks. we're all fighting thank you. thank you. can you imagine if we ever called for a rally in washington, d.c.? there wouldn't be enough room. there wouldn't be enough room. we have a lot of love going on. people don't realize we have great love going on in this country. great love. it's right here. we have -- and by the way, you just saw the recent poll that came out, 51 or 52. it's the highest level i've ever been at. how does that happen when you only get bad publicity? how does that happen? that's because people realize -- that's because people realize
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that a lot of what you read and a lot of what you see on television is fake. they realize it. the people are smart. so you have a battle also. you have a battle to keep your rights and whee're going to kee those rights. you're going to be so happy. you weren't sure that trump was going to win but you all went out there. you all went out there, and you voted. you voted. and there were times they'd put up that trump, pence, trump, pence, there were times you say, gee, a week before they were saying, they came out with a lot of phony polls. you know what that's called? suppression. they convince you that you are wasting your time. why should you vote? go to a movie instead. come home and watch the results. very few of the people in this room and in this country did
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that. and we really had a big night. remember they said there's no way electoral college. there's no way to 270 for me. there is no way to 270, and they were right. but 306 was okay, right? crazy. 306. so we had a great time, and i think we're doing better now than ever before. i think we're more popular now from the standpoint, now we've produced. when i was running, i said we're going to give you tax cuts. we're decimating obamacare. we got a bad vote the evening -- we got a bad vote the evening we were going to terminate obamacare. we got a bad vote. you know about that, right? that was not a nice thing. that was an unexpected vote
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accident but if you look at the massive tax cut bill, we also got rid of the individual mandate which is the worst part of obamacare, right? i don't know if the people in tex ars going to like this, but we also got anwr and alaska. but it's call energy for this country. it's called energy. that we like. so, ted, i think they're happy with that, right? so we've delivered. and when we were running, i would say we're going to this, we're going to that. we're going to that. a certain person that's not a very fair person in the media said, i have to say, trump has actually delivered more than he promised, which is probably the first time people have ever heard that statement. we actually delivered more than we promised, and let me just
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tell you this. we're really doing well with north korea. we're really doing well, okay? right? we're doing real well. it's going to be terrible. they were actually saying three months ago when the rhetoric was rather sharp, do we agree? i won't use the rhetoric. i'm trying to calm it down a little bit, so i won't use the rhetoric. but let's put it -- he goes, use it. i know you come from texas, whoever the hell you are. for years they've had this problem. and everybody has said sort of, don't talk. don't talk. please don't talk.
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the last administration had a policy of silence. don't talk! you may make them and him angry. don't talk. if a horrible statement is made about the united states, don't say anything. we have no comment. please, please, oh, my god. same thing with iran, snrm we're signing that horrible deal and they're marching in the streets saying death to america. i said who signs a deal when they're saying death to america? who watches? they're saying death to america, and we have the former administration --
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as represented by john kerry. not the best negotiator we've ever seen. he never walked away from the table except to be in that bicycle race where he fell and broke his leg. that was the only time. i said don't tell him you broke your leg. just stay inside. you want to negotiate. you'll make a much better deal. but he broke his leg. and i learned from that. at 73 years old, you never go into a bicycle race, okay? just don't. you just don't do that. i'm not 73. he was, okay? just -- but i'll be there. but we have great things going on. and with respect to north korea,
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remember how strong it was and they were saying this is going to be nuclear war? we're going to have -- no. you know what gets you nuclear war? weakness gets you nuclear war. being weak gets you nuclear war. that's what gets you nuclear war. so let's talk about guns, shall we? paris, france, has the toughest gun laws in the world. the president just left washington. emanuel. nobody has guns in paris and we all remember more than 130 people, plus tremendous numbers of people that were horribly, horribly wounded. you notice nobody ever talks about them. they talk about the people that died. but they never mention that 250
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people had horrible, horrible wounds. i mean, they never mention that. but they died in a restaurant and various other close proximity places. they were brutally killed by a small group of terrorists that had guns. they took their time and gunned them down one by one. boom. come over here. boom, come over here. boom. if you were in those rooms, one of those people and the survivors said it just lasted forever. but if one employee or just one patron had a gun, or if one person in this room had been there with a gun aimed at the opposite direction, the
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terrorists would have fled or been shot, and it would have been a whole different story. right? we all know what's going on in chicago. but chicago has the toughest gun laws in our country. they're so tough, but you know what's happening. it seems if we're going to outlaw guns, like so many people want to do -- democrats -- you better get out and vote, then we will get -- and you know what i'm going to say. we are going to have to outlaw, immediately, all vans and all trucks which are now the new form of death for the maniac
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terrorists. right? they take a truck and they run over eight people and wound 16 like what happened in new york and what just happened. it's happening all over. so let's ban immediately all trucks, all vans, maybe all cars. how about cars? let's not sell any more cars. love you too. thank you. i recently read a story that in london, which has unbelievably tough gun laws, a once very prestigious hospital right in the middle is like a war zone for horrible stabbing wounds. y that's right.

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