tv MSNBC Live With Craig Melvin MSNBC May 16, 2018 10:00am-11:00am PDT
that's it for today for this edition of "andrea mitchell reports." follow us online, on facebook @mitchellreports, and craig melvin is here. >> good afternoon. craig melvin here at msnbc headquarters in new york city. inside the meeting. thousands of pages of interview transcripts shedding light on what happened inside that infamous meeting at trump tower, including, according to testimony, a question that donald trump jr. asked about hillary clinton. also -- the message trump voters have for the president. do not fire special counsel robert mueller. why even if they think it's a witch-hunt, they think it should go on. and -- turning pain to public service. talking to two parents living through the unimaginable. losing their children in the parkland shooting. now they're running for office with a powerful message to make
sure no parents have to deal with the grief they experience every day. we'll get to those stories in a moment, but we start with the latest from those highly anticipated documents on the june 2016 trump tower meeting between trump campaign officials and russia. a story still unfolding at this moment. transcripts released by senate intelligence committee chuck grassley giving a bit of a window into the testimonies of those involved in that meeting, including donald trump jr. and the president's son-in-law jared kushner. nbc news national security reporter ken delanian, literally poring over the documents in the last few hours. what have you been able to glean from them? >> reporter: craig, one thing we're learning, the ex-fetent t which the trump campaign believed the russians had seriously incriminating information about hillary clinton. the loobyist from russia at the
meeting, donald trump opened the meeting saying, i believe you have information for us, and later in the meeting, trump junior asked, what have you got on hillary? it's clear he took the meeting he would receive game-changing, incriminating information about his father's opponent. end of the day, everyone who testified agreed no such information was provided. the stuff the russians had was not very great as far as the trump campaign was concerned and quickly lost interest. testimony donald trump jr. was disappointed. more important, trump jr. said he never discussed the setting up of this meeting or the aftermath with his father and believes his father only found out about it from the news media. hard to believe, but that's what he testified. >> and according, again, to
members of the house intel committee, could not conclude definitively the russians were trying to tip the balance for donald trump. what, if anything, do we know about that characterization based on the report that senator grassley put out? >> reporter: actually, no. a different thing is happening today, craig. the senate intelligence committee had a closed hearing on the very topic you're talking about. looking at the intelligence community assessment of russia interference and came out publicly saying we disagree with the house committee republican finding and absolutely see evidence the russians were trying to help donald trump. not just hurt hillary clinton, sow chaos but help donald trump get elected. we see that in the documents we're reviewing. the finding in the senate intelligence committee meeting. >> no word from the white house. thank you very much. focused on the total diplomatic 180 by kim jong-un. north korea threatened to cancel the upcoming historic summit
with president trump. here's why. pyongyang is taking issue with those routine long planned and well publicized military exercises between south korea and the united states and issue with the trump administration's central command north korea completely denuclearized. president trump was asked about the situation a few moments ago. >> we haven't seen anything. we haven't heard anything. we will see what happens. >> will you stop the -- >> whatever -- >> nbc's white house correspondent kelly o'donnell joins me now. kelly o. what do we know at this point this afternoon about negotiations that are going on to try to save the summit? >> reporter: well, good afternoon, craig. the president buying some time with those comments where he suggests he doesn't have an update yet. we know from our sources that the president's been in touch with his secretary of state and his national security adviser trying to as what has happened with kim jong-un's government about this issue after things had appeared to be on a fairly
good glide path. the president had referred to kim jong-un as honorable at one point, referred to the release of the three american detainees who were held improperly by north korea as a gracious step and now we have this potential impasse. the rocket man perhaps trying to torpedo the summit. sarah sanders was asked about this this morning here on the driveway of the north lawn and was saying this was not a surprise to the administration given the history of north korea being not always a, a stable and predictable partner in dealing with past administrations. here's sanders. >> this is -- something that we fully expected. the president is very used to and ready for tough negotiations, and if they want to meet we'll be ready. and if they don't, that's okay, too, and -- we'll continue with the campaign of maximum pressure. that's the case. like i just said. if they want to meet the president will certainly be ready and we will be prepared,
but if not, that's okay. >> reporter: and the president's national security adviser john bolton talked about looking at the libya model as a way to approach the talks with north korea. a full abandonment of the nuclear program. part of the problem with that is moammar gadhafi was later killed by his own people. by denuclearizing he put himself in a more vulnerable position and that appears to be on the minds of the north korea government. same time, hope this could go forward and viewed as a bump in the road that might be perhaps a tactic for negotiating after north korea had done a few things that were demonstrably in support of the summit. craig? >> kelly o'donnell, 1600 pennsylvania, kelly o., thank you. christopher hill, former ambassador south korea, also msnbc diplomacy expert. peter baker, "new york times" chief white house correspondent. also an msnbc political analyst. ambassador hill, start with you.
you said something to the "new york times" that caught my attention. caught the attention of a number of folks as well. quoted in the "times," this is a possible serious threat. what makes you think so? >> well, first of all, there was the comment the north korean made a couple of weeks ago and then just yesterday two other comments, which suggest that they're not quite prepared to strip to their underwear and have the u.s. do nothing in response. so i think what happened was, the secretary of state went to pyongyang and the north koreans as they do asked for ankzs eyan and the secretary of state made clear we won't give sanctions relief. the whole mantra from the trump administration. all of those foolish people in the past, played like fiddles because they offered sanctions relief in return for something the north koreans were doing. so i think the problem is, the north koreans think that we expect them to do something
while we just say things, like he's a very gracious man. and moreover, i think a tendency, especially from the president, to be sort of doing and end zone dance in anticipation of having scored something, but frankly, he's doing an end zone dance on his own 20 yard line, and got a long way to go before anything finally happens. and as for mr. bolton, who never misses an opportunity to say something that's not helpful, said something to the effect, well, the united states will not give any economic april simpsss. other countries will. that didn't go over well. overall, created the current atmosphere where the north koreans are wondering, do we really want to go through with this. >> what do they want, mr. ambassador? simple terms. purely sanctions relief? or is there more to this? >> oh, i think there's a lot more to this. i think the whole effort at nuclear weapons is not about protecting themselves. it's rather about a very kind of
aggressive strategy to decouple the u.s. from south korea. and so i think they're looking for things in the way of reduction not only of exercises but maybe of the presence of u.s. troops on the korean peninsula. by the way, something the chinese and russians wouldn't mind seeing as well. the north koreans have been aggressive about this and we have to be extremely tough not to be reducing our profile in south korea or meaningfulness of that alliance. this is going to be a tough negotiation. but it seems to me it behooves the secretary of state to say look north koreans, here's a piece of paper. what we'd like to see out of the meeting. read this paper tell us what you can think so we can have a joint communique and i see absolutely no signs of trying to get this on paper. the idea, a great president, has so much experience in real estate deals in the new york area, will be able to sort this one out on his own. >> you heard what the president said just a few moments ago there, when asked about these
new developments. a pretty tempered response considering some of the rhetoric we've heard from president trump with regards to his counterpart in north korea. this is a live look there. president trump at the white house. this is the president of uzbekistan he's chatting with there at the portico at the white house. peter, is this a calculated shift in tactics perhaps, with president trump? >> it shows the president for all of this, you know, history of sendiary tactics has the ability to hold his tongue when he wants. he doesn't want to respond to the provocation with an ale provocation on the other side, although that's often his instinct. in knithis case told by advisor there would be bumps in the road between now and singapore and june 12th and the meeting may or
may not happen because that's the way the north koreans sometimes operate and be careful about being too definitive declaring victory before it's happened. hasn't stopped him always, but clearly he's looking at this and trying to avoid blowing up what he wants to be a big, high-profile meeting that will feed his case to the american public and the world that he is somebody who gets things done. >> gordon chang. this is gordon chang, author of the nuclear showdown. north korea takes on the world. what he said on "morning joe." >> it's significant that kim has a reversal right after zte tweet on sunday where he just wilted under chinese pressure. i think kim jong-un saw that and decided, yeah. if xi jinping can push trump around, he could as well and good for politics back in pyongyang. >> ambassador hill, does he make a point there?
>> i'm not sure about that. i think north korea takes a little more time to formulate these positions. i'm not sure it was represented to xi jinping, but there's an overall view somehow our president wants this meeting more than the north koreans do, and in a broader sense may be playing on that. >> and former secretary of state rex tillerson. just got this in. their commencement, and made pointed remarks that some are suggesting is -- is controlling president trump. take a listen. >> the central tenant of a free society, a free people, is access to the truth. it our leaders seek to conceal the truth or we as people become obsessive of alternative realities no longer grounded in facts, then we as american citizens are on a pathway to relinquishing our freedom.
>> peter what is the secretary of state talking about? >> well, that's a great question, and i haven't heard the whole speech. maybe there's context i don't personally know about. hard to listen to what you just played and not think of it in terms of the current president. what else would he be referring to? why else would he be making comments to these graduating seniors if not to make commentary about the current state of american politics? he was there obviously for 14 months. difficult months for him. he did not thrive in president trump's environment. he did not come out of it way great deal of respect, we think, for president trump. remember, it was your -- this network that reported that he called the president a moron in a prirchd meeting. i don't think that view changed. by the time he was fired over twitter. so -- you know, he's trying to send, sounds like, a pretty clear message that -- there's something wrong, in his view, in the administration from which he was dismissed t. should be noted
the former secretary of state never denied calling the president a moron. mr. ambassador, if you were a betting man, i assume you probably are not. do you think the summit actually happens in singapore? >> i'd say less than 50%. we have to see whether this is a north korean campaign or an effort to simply get the president to stop claiming victory. so we'll have to see, but i think it's -- i would not bet the mortgage on this one. >> skeptical former ambassador there. thank you sir. always good to have you both. also major developing news in the larry nassar sexual abuse case to tell you about now. nassar, of course, former michigan state university professor and doctor who sexually abused hundreds of young girls and women. msu, michigan state, agreed to pay a total of $500 million to settle lawsuits for more than
330 survivors. 425 million of those dollars paid to current claimants. the remaining $75 million will be set aside in a trust to protect any future women who allege sexual abuse against nassar. the settlement, it should be noted only applies to msu in this litigation. it does not address claims against usa gymnastics. nassar sentenced to more than 100 years in prison. facebook saying he deleted nearly 1 billion posts. billion, with a b. a half billion accounts in its, its sweep of the site to protect users. is that even enough? also, teachers in north carolina skipping school. laying out what they are demanding from the state as they rally in raleigh. and trump voters. with an interesting message for the president. do not fire special counsel robert mueller.
some not, gave their take on what would happen if the president fired bob mueller. >> a businessman, move on. >> he has something to hide. >> i think it would draw suspicion. >> i think he'd have something to hide, too. >> the tipping point. >> i think in a situation that i think people would be suspicious, too, if he did. >> i would like to see mueller fired. >> i think he has something to hide. then he's hiding something. >> bring in white house bureau chief for the "washington post," nbc news political analyst philip rucker just published a piece on this. fascinating to watch the piece. for me, like a conversation that happens at a lot of my family gatherings. lots of different viewpoints with regards to the president. what was your big takeaway about what voters in wisconsin, a swing state what they would think if this president decided to do what he has suggested he might in the past. fire robert mueller? >> interesting.
craig, not a lot of agreement in the room about president trump, about a number of topics. they were really divided along partisan lines. one area the voters were pretty united with consensus was that president trump should not fire robert mueller. there was an agreement around the table doing so would draw suspicion, look like the president had something to hide, and that it would be a real mistake for him to take that step. that doesn't mean that they all agree with the investigation going on sort of add nauseam. some trump supporters around the table actually thought the investigation should come to a close pretty soon but do not believe trump should exercise what he says is his presidential power to fire the special counsel. >> you were there, there in wisconsin. >> i was. >> did you get the sense from these folks they thought this was a witch-hunt or the sense they thought this was a legitimate investigation? >> most of them thought it was a legitimate investigation. a few sort of hard-core loyal trump supporters who used
similar language of the president, calling it a witch-hunt. describal mueller, pollster, peter hart, leading the focus group, asked everyone to give a word to describe robert mueller. a few trump supporters says a liar, partisan. talked about how he can't be trusted, but for the most part a sense this was a worthy investigation looking into russian collusion anden interference in the 2016 election and it was up to the special counsel to find the facts and follow where the facts lead him. >> in your piece you write "the opinions voiced here tuesday night about trump's governing record and conduct in office as well as the intensifying mueller investigation largely split along party lines, a vivid illustration of the deep divides across the country ahead of the midterm elections." based on what you heard last night, what are the issues that are going to be driving voters in places like wisconsin? we spent a lot of time talking about the mueller investigation here.
as they do in d.c., but is the mueller investigation going to be one of those that actually moves the needle for democrats or other issues we're not talking about? >> i don't think so. i think it's going to be other issues based on what these vote herself to say. they're focused a lot on the economy, on tax reform and a number of other concerns that affect their lives in wisconsin, and i would think the same for other americans around the country. the one common refrain, though, just a real dissatisfaction with the political leadership in this country nap same anger we saw, we've seen in the last several elections, including the election that got donald trump into office, is still present. most of the people around the room were quite pessimistic about the direction of the country. felt like this country is as divided, more divided, rather, than united, and really disappointed in the elected officials in washington. >> rudy giuliani planning to jews the anniversary of the appointment of the special counsel tomorrow to call for an
end to the special counsel's investigation. any chance that it happens? is rudy giuliani, does he have that kind of power? >> i can't imagine bob mueller's going to wake up tomorrow and hear rudy giuliani say that and decide to turn out the lights. i think he's going to keep going for a while. >> philip rucker, always a pleasure. thanks for your time. >> thank you, craig. breaking news on this wednesday. we just got our hands on president trump's financial disclosure form for the last calendar year. our top business reporter is going over that report right now. he is going to do his -- his gosh, darn best to break it down for us in english. for him to do that, we're actually going to have to take a quick break and look at a facebook pirurge. why they deleted half a billion accounts and it's not nearly done yet. and two parents who lost their children in the shooting in parkland, florida. trying to take their grief and
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breaking news coming into the newsroom at msnbc. we now have president trump's official financial disclosure report for the last calendar year, 2017. nbc news senior business reporter ben popkin has been going over the documents. again, we've got dozens of documents. i know you're just getting started, but what can you tell us so far? what jumps out at you? >> everyone's looking for the stormy daniels payment, and then right here on the first page, they talk about the office of government ethics concluded the information related to the payment made by mr. cohen is, was required to be reported and information provided meets the disclosure requirement. then they direct you to this other page buried down. page 45. at the very bottom it says, in the interests transparency will not require to be disclosed as a reportable liability. expenses incurred by one of donald trump's attorneys michael cohen. sought reimbursement's those
expenses and mr. trump fully reimbursed mr. cohen in 2017. $250,000 -- >> it would be zero? >> that's the diz clocsclosure. disclosed and out there. >> some people say perhaps this is why rudy giuliani was out there saying it because they knew this was coming out. >> possibly. may have been trying to get ahead of this. they were talking of different ways, different terms it might be described as. a case where maybe mr. cohen looks like the debtor, and that's sort of what it looks like it is here. mr. cohen is seeking reimbursement of those expenses, and mr. trump reimbursed him. that's not the question. everyone knows there was a payment. the real question is, did this meet the disclosure requirements? did this break any disclosure laws? and we have oge saying it meets
the requirements, and at the same time, this came out, there's also a letter by mr. rod rosenstein certifying good housekeeping seal of approval this disclosure meets the requirements. that's what the documents say. >> mr. trump's attorney, mr. giuliani also said cohen was paid $460,000, $470,000 from the president, also included money for incidental expenses. do we know more about that based upon this report? >> we don't know more based on this report at first blush. we have the different llcs. he has hundreds of llcs, and all we get to see is their income, their names and sort of what the underlying assets are. if there is any individual transactions between bank accounts. if, you know, petty cash is taken out to pay back someone in a lump sum nor a series of payments, we're not going to see
that in here. >> the "new york times" seems to be reporting right now that his business businesses, based on this financial disclosure agreement, his businesses are suffering from a decline in revenue. the d.c. hotel, though, does appear to be booming. revenue, according to the "times" upwards of $40 million-plus. what thing that strikes me, we're going over the documents. no graphics prepared to show viewers. the latter capital finance. deutsche bank. the president has a number of outstanding loans with deutsche bank. i'm counting on this one page alone one, two -- three, four. and some of these loans, this one more than $50 million. another one more than $50 million. this one between $5 million and $25 million. >> between $25 million and $50 million, yeah. >> what do we know about those
loans? do we know anything about those loans? >> we really don't know anything about these loans, and there's just -- this is really just, i keep saying it. it's a snapshot, a glimpse of his finances. with all of these limited liability companies that he uses, they all have different shares. partnership shares to be broken into. so his exposure to it, a percentage of it? revenues, is it -- does the money actually just go back into the business? and not get reported as income for the hotel? did they -- put it back to improving the hotel rooms? we don't actually know. we don't know anything until we see his taxes, because that is going to say what income actually gets drawn down to him on a personal level. white house the taxes, without that actual kind of full disclosure -- >> you mean the tax returns the president said he would make public when runs?
>> right. those ones, yes. >> okay. and ben popkin, breaking news. the president's financial report for the last calendar year just coming out, just getting our hands on it. it's 92 pages. the highlight, president trump reviewing for the first time he did pay more than $100,000 to his personal attorney michael cohen as reimbursement to a third party. mr. popkin, i'll let you continue to pore over the documents, we'll continue to follow the story. come back and join us in a few minutes if you can, sir. >> sure. >> thank you. and for the first time facebook reveals just how big its battle is against fake accounts and posts on sex, violence and hate speech. in a newly released report, the social media giant said it has deleted more than 500 million fake user accounts. that's a half billion use accounts. all of this in the first three months of this year alone.
it comes as the justice department and fbi are investigating cambridge analytica, the political firm that allegedly harvested the facebook data. millions of users and we learned mark zuckerberg will appear before the european parliament as early as next week. that news breaking a short time ago. tony rahm, tech policy reporter for the "washington post" has been following this story for us and for the "post" closely. tony, always good to have you, sir pup no sir. you noted yourself how big the number is. the sheer number of fake accounts exceeding half a billion. that's nearly a quarter of the nearly 2 billion users that facebook has. how surprised were the revelations to you? >> in way s very surprising because they pourcint out what said. the magnitude facebook who to clean up its platform. talking tens of millions of
content adult in nature, hate speech, that are other things that don't really belong on a social network like facebook. in their defense, the company deployed a lot of resources to start to combat this program. a lot of the fake accounts were spotted by artificial intelligence before the accounts were registered. in the registration process and never really appeared on the site, so to speak. but regulators around the world want facebook to do even more. one of the things that hangs over ceo zuckerberg when he heads to europe next week. >> here's the thing. we have to trust facebook is shooting straight here. not as if there's a third party that's done this. this is facebook telling us they've shut down all of these accounts. taken down these posts. why should we believe them? >> yeah, well, one of the big questions. they want to see facebook open up more of its storage of data to do work and figure out exactly what's appearing on the
platform and who's putting it there and how exactly users digest it. these are the same questions regulators are asking. i just came from a hearing with christopher wily, the whistle-blower from the cambridge analytica controversy. that's a firm, a political consultants firm, inpaperly accessed facebook information to affect voters. each expressed unease, democrats and republicans, with the kind of information facebook collects and what it's going to address many of the programs. >> you mentioned christopher wily in that testimony. he was testifying before the senate judiciary committee a short time ago, and notably, and again, you were probably a bit closer than i was, but he told lawmakers there that facebook, not only knew about the data graph since 2015 but that the company threatened to sue the guardian if they broke the story and banned while fri faom faceb. if those things are true what
does that tell you about the social media behemoth? >> facebook not only threatened to sue and kick wily off, it also told british lawmakers a few days ago it didn't think it had much of an obligation to tell users what happened with cambridge analytica. this speaks to the fact the reason the app appeared on facebook in the first place, the way cambridge analytica collected that data was perfectly allowed under facebook policies at the itime. facebook had to eventually tighten the policy. the question now, another indication there need to be more regulation of these tech giants so we don't find ourselves in a similar situation going forward. >> tony rahm, tech reporter for the "washington post" and practically employ are msnbc as well. thank you as always for your insight, sir. meanwhile, right now thousands of north carolina teachers are rallying at this capital today. they are demanding higher pay. they are also demanding an
increase in school funding. north carolina now becoming the sixth state to join a wave of educator walkouts that swept across the country. this year following similar action in places like arizona, colorado, west virginia and now the tar heel state. msnbc's mariana atencio is there in raleigh. in previous protests, mariana, i noted, teachers indicated it isn't just about fatter paychecks for themselves but also about their students. is that what you're finding in north carolina as well? >> reporter: that is the same case, craig. here you have 12.2% cuts that the state has made on education. that's why you have, according to organizers upwards of 20,000 educators and their supporters rallying right there behind me. the north carolina legislative building. coming occuup at 2:00 p.m. theyt to meet with lawmakers
pressuring them to look at their demands. and here, teaching 17 years, how do you keep this on lawmakers for the next six months? one difference we've noted from north carolina to other walkouts we've covered. how do you keep that momentum going? >> first of all, this is my first year in this county. i happened to do 17 years total. i would happy that young 18-year-olds would become active voters, and realize the importance of their voter's voice. as an educator, i think it's our responsibility to show what we expect. to model. we do it all the time, and being here in support of teachers and students. sst, students supporting teachers. we support our teachers.
not just in the classroom but outside of the classroom. financially for sure. but it's not something that a lot of people know unless you're an educator. >> thank you so much. >> reporter: denise teaching social studies you can see. very important for her to be here and show that to her students personally. >> absolutely. >> out there practicing civil engagement. in north carolina's capital, raleigh. we'll follow that story. teachers protesting a great deal over the past few months in america. national protests over gun violence in recent months have been happening as well. they've only deepened the debate over how to improve school safety. this week marks three months since the horrific massacre in parkland, florida. today two parents who lost their children in that tragedy are taking the issue into their own hands. they have announced a bid for seats on the broward county
school board. broud xounty sch broward county, the sixth largest in the nation making sure no parent, teacher or student has to go through that again. ryan petty lost his 14-year-old daughter arianna and also lost her daughter alissa. you and i spoke on the "today" show ahead of the march for our lives there in washington. you did not tell me that this was something you were considering, but you've decided to run for the school board. why? >> i decided to run for the school board, because on february 14th my daughter alissa was brutally shot down and murdered. and i do not want any any other parent to go through the pain and anguish that i go through every day. i do not want any child to say to their parent, mommy, am i
going to die today in school? so that is why i am running for school board, broward county school board, district 4. >> ryan, your motivation as well? are are going to run on school safety platform as well? >> absolutely. like lori said, our world's changed completely on february 14th. and my understanding of the policies and programs in the district, you know, my wife and i have always been active in our kids' education and my wife volunteered at every school that my kids have ever gone to, but on the 14th i learned that there's more to the education of our kids than just what happens in that local school. the policies and programs of the district had a huge impact on the safety of our students and our teachers, and quite frankly, our students deserve the best
education that they can get to get that they have to feel safe and secure. our teachers need to feel safe and secure so they can do what they love. >> as you know, one of the things state lawmakers have done in florida, passed the marjorie stone and douglas act. among other things, calls for more school security. limits purchase of guns, 21 and older and imposes a waiting period on all gun purchases and gives police new powers to take weapons from those deemed a threat to themselves. what more -- what more should we be doing? what more can we be doing? >> i'll tell you the other thing the act does. it creates an environment where threat assessment teams are, are implemented in our school districts, and it puts responsibility on the sheriff of the county to certify that the schools are safe and secure. so that's one of the reasons i'm running for broward county school board. i want to make sure the law we
helped pass, that we worked so hard to get implemented in florida are passed in florida, actually is implemented correctly in broward county. >> lori, you are, before you became a politician, you were also a teacher as well. i remember that. as i understand it, you 2r568ed to indiana recently to visit a campus dubbed "the safest school in america" to learn their security measures. what did you take away particular that visit? what did you learn in indiana? >> so they have a lot of great hardening of the school. bullet-proof doors, bullet-proof glass. if alissa the classroom had that, alissa would be alive today. also they have safe zone areas in their classroom, which is an area where the shooter would not be able to see the students in the classroom. they also have a command center where the police can visually, they can see what is going on in the schools. so they have a lot of hardening
of the schools that really creates an environment and a safe environment for students. >> all right. ryan, thank you. and lori, thanks to you as well. and keep us posted. this is a race we are going to follow closely on msnbc. >> thank you. we want to return to that breaking news that we brought you just a few moments ago. breaking news of the president's financial disclosure form. i am joins now on the phone by michael avenatti. michael, of course, the attorney for stormy daniels. mr. avenatti, i assume that you had an opportunity to pore over these documents to a certain extent. seen the letter from the deputy attorney general rod roasenstei as well what is your major takeaway, sir? >> well, my major takeaway is that, you know, either the, either mr. trump was lying then or he's lying now. one of the two, but you can't
reconcile this disclosure with what he previously stated to the american people on air force one. you can't reconcile it with what michael cohen previously told the american people earlier this year. you can't reconcile it with what michael cohen's attorney, mr. schwartz repeatedly told the american people on your network and other networks earlier this year. so you know, it brings up that old adage, i keep using it, oh what a tangled net we weave when at first we practice to deceive. i think that this is remarkable now that the president has come forward and now admitting that he paid these monies when he denied it on videotape to the american people about, in early april. >> we should note that we have been told that we are going to be having a briefing of sorts from the white house. this is their daily press briefing. we do not know when that briefing is going to happen, but so far have not gotten a
statement or a comment from this white house on the disclosure form that we just have gotten our hands on, but, michael, again, for folks who might just be joining us. this is a 92-page disclosure form we've been poring through and this is at the bottom of -- what page is this, ben? >> page 45. >> page 45. a footnote, in the interests of transparency, while not required to be disclosed as reportable liability on part 8 in 2016, expenses were incurred by one of donald john trump attorney's michael cohen. mr. cohen thought reimbursement of those expenses and mr. trump fully reimbursed mr. cohen in 2017. the category of value would be between $100,001 and the interest would be zero. mr. avenatti, you're saying that based on that footnote, the president was, again, to use
your words, either lying then or is lying now? >> well, that's absolutely true. and, look. i mean, you've got to go back to take a look at michael cohen's statements that he heissued in march of this year where he stated that he had facilitated the payment and was never reimbursed by the trump organization or the campaign. it was purposely deceitful and deceptive, and i pointed this out at the time that it left open the question as to whether mr. trump reimbursed him and now, of course, we find out that mr. trump did reimburse him. they perfectly crafted that statement. michael cohen did. to suggest he was the one that pays the monies, and that neither mr. trump nor any of his affiliated organizations reimbursed him. that's what he wanted the reader to believe of that statement and now we find out that that, in fact, was absolutely false. >> michael, do you believe that this might also help explain why
your good friend and the president's new attorney rudy giuliani was on television just a few weeks ago and made that sort of, dropped that bombshell that caught a lot of folks by might this help explain that? might giuliani have known that this was going to come out and there would be no way they could hide it any longer? >> well, that may help explain it. i think he also knew that we had evidence and there was other evidence that had been seized in connection with the raids that were going to render the prior representations absolutely false. i'm sure that he knew that. but also, let's not lose track of the following -- even after mr. giuliani came forward and made those statements, he then seemed to suggest when confronted with the air force one video denial by the president, when he was confronted by that, or with that by the media, he seemed to suggest that it was only a recent act or recent instance where the president had become aware of this reimbursement. well, we now know that that's not true, because the
reimbursement took place in 2017. i mean these guys can't keep their lies straight. >> michael, couple minutes ago here on this broadcast we played some sound from a group of voters in wisconsin who were asked about the special counsel's investigation into this administration and how much they really cared about it. some of them said they did, and some of them said that they did not. that's one of those issues that number of political experts have suggested that it won't necessarily move the needle during mid-term elections. simple question here. why should people care about this story? why should people continue to care about this drip, drip, drip of information as relates to a president who paid an attorney, who may have in turn paid an adult film star to keep an affair quiet? >> because it is all about a cover-up. i think the american people, regardless of whether you're on the left, on the right or in the center, regardless of your political persuasion you deserve honesty and transparency from
the people that you elect and those that are close to those individuals. and you deserve not to be lied to, especially when the president stands on air force one. and i think that it cuts to the core of what our democracy is all about, transparency and honestly with the american people and that's why people should care. >> michael avenatti on the phone there. again, mr. avenatti, the attorney of record for stormy daniels. mr. avenatti is also going to be back here on msnbc this evening at 6:00 on "the beat" with ari melber. michael, thanks so much, as always, for your time, sir. let me bring in jim mussina, former white house deputy chief of staff or operations for the obama administration. also ceo of the mussina group, as well. jim, full disclosure here -- we had booked you to talk about something else. that was before this news broke. but let's start with this particular news. what do you take away from all of this, the president's
disclosure forms here from 2017? what do you make of it? >> it is unprecedented. two things i think are drg about this. first, they just admitted the president of the united states stood on air force one and openly lied to the american public, that he did in fact reimburse and did know about this. he just lied to the american public. the second thing -- i've never seen this, as you said, when i was in the white house, i was deputy chief of staff for operations and i dealt a lot with these public disclosure documents for white house staff and the president. they decided to put a footnote in there saying, we don't need to reveal this information but we're going to because basically they needed to buttress the giuliani cover-up story. so they put this footnote saying, oh, by the way, he did reimburse his lawyer for this and we just wanted to let you know. i've never seen a pfd used to do that. i agree with avenatti, the problem's going to be which lie do you believe? this is going to now have more days of people saying, okay, which version of the story does
the white house now want us to believe? i think this is just another point as they try to build this giuliani cover-up story. they're going to look back some day and say, we don't have a real story here. >> jim, here's the thing. i'm speaking objectively here. this is a president who has a long record of complicated relationship with the truth, a president who's been caught in lies before. what makes you think that people are going to care about it this time? >> look, polls and all those things are trailing indicators. i saw the voters you talked to, some of them were interested and some of them weren't. you could say the exact same thing about watergate until the very end here. what people are beginning to see out there is that president trump isn't in it for them. he's not out there fighting for them every day. he's spending his time tweeting and trying to do cover-ups and going crazy on people and the american public is starting to believe the truth, which is
donald trump is not in this for them. and that's going to be the long-term damage. people look at this and this is going to start to add up. lie after lie after lie. and we have investigations that are continuing to uncover more and more things. and voters -- people underestimate voters. they are way smarter than people expect and they will figure this out. when they do, the president's going to be in real political trouble. i predict that will be in november when the democrats take at least one of the chambers back. >> lynn popkin is also with me, senior business reporter here. again, for folks who might just be joining us, president trump purporting this payment through his attorney. this letter from rod rosenstein, deputy attorney general, what exactly does this letter certify? >> what that letter certifies is, it says that this disclosure is proper, they are meeting the requirements to report this payment to michael cohen as
determined by the office of government ethics. it's kind of a good housekeeping seal of approval that says that this checks the boxes. it says it there on paper and we'll see what happens next. >> thank you both, as always. michael avenatti, thank you to you as well. we'll be right back. ♪ ♪ (baby crying) ♪ ♪ don't juggle your home life and work life without it. ♪ ♪
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coverage. >> craig, it is always so great to see you. miss you a lot when you're not around. >> you're sweet. you say that to everybody. i'm going to come back more often then. >> craig melvin, thank you very much. 11:00 a.m. out west, 2:00 p.m. in the east. a lot to get to this hour db including those newly released transcripts of witness testimony about that trump tower might be between members of the trump campaign and a russian lawyer. but first we have breaking news. president trump's most recent financial disclosure is out and in that 92-page document it is right there in black and white, that infamous -- now-infamous 2016 payment by the president's personal attorney, michael cohen. here is what the financial disclosure says specifically. i'm sorry you are looking at this picture. it is not the financial disclosure but we're going to keep going. in the interest of transparency while not required to be exposed as part of liabilities, expenses were