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tv   The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell  MSNBC  May 16, 2018 10:00pm-11:00pm PDT

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that does it for us tonight. we will see you again tomorrow. now it's time for "the last word with the great lawrence o'donnell. good evening, lawrence. plenty to chew on this evening. >> good evening, rachel. and you know, the second here at msnbc, the biggest joy being i get to say good evening to you. the second biggest joy is i get to say good evening to your guests in the hallway, like say ronan farrow tonight when he has the breaking news story of the night. >> this is a remarkable story. >> he walked you through it, what's so fascinating to me about it is there's a deeply personal story inside that technical reporting that he did tonight. that's the deeply personal story of his source, who remains secret, but is a government official who knows that releasing that was a violation of law and he or she, whoever it is, lives in fear of what will now happen to that government official. >> and, you know, we know from
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reporting like ronan's and some of the other reporting where people are trying to figure out how this banking information came into the public domain, we know from the reporting the way that data base of those reports works is that you can tell who looks at what. there's a record when anybody looks at those things, let alone accesses them in the kind of way that presumably would have been necessary to give them to reporters and give them to michael avenatti last week for dissemination to the public. so this person clearly knew they were taking a big risk by doing it, now learning the rationale behind why they took the risk, they thought there was a danger that some important records related to the case were being disappeared potentially for nefarious purposes so the public had to know. it's incredibly human, dramatic and that person is at risk. >> there are hard workers in this story. i'm going to talk to david
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maury, an extreasury official mentioned in ronan's report, he gives a reaction to this information in the report as a former treasury official himself saying there are red flags all over these transactions. so there are all these people at the banks who work for the banks, who are compliance officers, who are doing an extraordinary amount of due diligence investigating these michael cohen transactions, looking at them and saying, these don't make sense for this llc that he told us was about real estate deals. >> we have revelations about the number of suspicious activity reports that there were from this one bank, the number of suspicious activity reports that were filed in other banks associated with the transactions he was making and people he was dealing with. i'm glad you're talking to murray about this because he will know the answer to some of
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these questions. lots of people are raising possibilities of what happened here, maybe the documents were shielded inside the data base somehow or taken off the database or suppressed in the database for a good reason because the mueller investigates felt that needed to be protected from the tens of thousands of people that would otherwise have access to it. it's interesting to find out that's where people's minds have gone, people who understand the stuff. i'm desperate to know if there's any historical evidence that's happened before? do we know of any other instance in history where one of these banking reports has been hidden? whether for a good reason or bad reason, is it possible to do it? where would the order have to come from? how could you pull it off if you were going to try? just those forensic details about how it happened are going to be so revealing when we get them? we'll probably get it from one
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of the experts we'll get to tonight. >> david murray has been listening while you've been speaking so me knows what his questions are. as we said, we now know the source of the information about michael cohen's bank transactions that stormy daniels' lawyer michael avenatti made public last week. ronan farrow stated it was a former law enforcement official. they have a high degree of expertise about suspicious activity reports about michael cohen's banking practices. those reports are filed with the treasury department and maintained by the treasury department's financial network. it is a crime to publically
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release those suspicious activity reports. the official who made the michael cohen suspicious activity report public knows the legal risks involved, the official told ronan farrow to say that i am terrified right now would be an understatement. the official added, this is a terrifying time to be an american. all of the information that michael avenatti first made public about michael cohen's bank accounts comes from one of three suspicious activity reports that banks filed on michael cohen. that suspicious activity report refers to two previous suspicious activity reports that the official who leaked the report says are now missing. the two previous reports do not appear on the treasury department's financial crimes enforcement network. the official told ronan farrow, i have never seen something
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pulled off the system when something's not there, that should be -- that should be, i immediately became concerned. that's why i came forward. this is a permanent record. they should be there. and there is nothing there. the suspicious activity report that has been released shows bank compliance officers repeatedly trying to figure out what michael cohen was up to, morgan stanley smith barnny filed a report saying that the transactions in michael cohen's account there showed signs of, quote, bribery or gratuity. previous reports have indicated that the fbi raid on michael cohen's home and office and hotel room was -- those were in search of evidence of multiple criminal offenses, including bank fraud. when michael cohen opened a first republic bank for essential consults llc, he told
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the bank the llc was set up to use his experience in real estate to consult on commercial and residential deals. he told the bank his actions would be modest and based within the united states. in fact, the compliance officers wrote, a significant portion of the target account depo sirts continue to originate from entities that have no apparent connection to real estate or apparent need to engage cohen as a real estate consultant. a significant portion of the deposits continues to be derived from foreign entities. david murray, who will join our conversation, told the new yorker, there are a ton of red flags here. the pattern of activity has indicators that are inherently suspicious and the volume and source of funds do not match the account profile that was built when the account was opened. there was possibly tax fraud.
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ronan farrow wrote that michael cohen used it to pay his american express, at&t, and mercedes-benz bills marking account numbers on the memo lines of his checks. he paid initiation fees and dues to the core club, a social club that the times once described as a portal to power. he also cut himself multiple personal checks from essential consultants amounting to more than a hundred thousand dollars on top of the million he had already deossited into his morgan stanley accounts. special prosecutor robert mueller have been investigating these since at least last year. some of the companies that paid michael cohen for questionable purposes have revealed that robert mueller has questioned the companies about the payments. one of the people paid by the essential consultants account is
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mark co, a korean food company. "the washington post" reports that he insists he served only as a translator for michael cohen in his deal with a south korea aerospace company. the south korean company insists that it was paying michael cohen for advice on accounting procedures required under government contracts. something michael cohen knows absolutely nothing about. joining us now is david murray, a former u.s. treasury official who focussed on illicit financing. he is vice president at financial integrity network. i want to get more of your action as you reported to ronan farrow, in his reporting, about what you see in these reports about michael cohen's banking transactions. you said there's a lot of red flags here. like what?
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>> thanks, lawrence for having me. the biggest red flag really is that the account activity does not match the profile that the institution established. so when first republic one boarded michael cohen, essential consulting, they established an idea of what the company's activity would look like through that account. the activity that actually went through the account did not look like the profile they established. that's a major red flag. and that in and of itself coconspirator cause for a financial institution to file a suspicious activity report. >> i'm so struck by the amount of work it would take for a bank to monitor this kind of activity. this is a major new york bank with a vast number of accounts, massive amounts of money coming in, multi-hundred thousand dollars checks passing through banks like this is routine. what would get their attention to say we need to spend real man hours here with our inspectors trying to figure out what
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michael cohen is up to? >> that's right. it's a tremendous investment for banks in terms of human capital and information technology. the information technology makes this somewhat easier for banks. the suspicion can come nra a number of sources in a bank, an employee or an automated monitoring system. this kind of activity will most likely be detected by the automated monitoring system. when a bank establishes an account, it should establish an acceptable ban for the account. it could include monthly turnover, whether it's receiving incoming or outing wires. whether the account is receiving money domestically or from aboard. so if an account moves out of a band, then an alert should be generated by the bank's automated monitoring systems. at that point a human being
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would start to look at the information, the transaction information and the information collected at on boarding. if a human being decides this looks suspicious, then the human being would escalate that up the chain and that would cause a suspicious activity report to be filed. >> you heard my discussion with rachel maddow about what happened to the other two suspicious activity reports. the two missing reports that provoked this current government official to decide to leak the suspicious activity report that remains. >> right. i did. so that would have been outside of my -- really outside of my scope at the treasury department. i could really only speculate on that, and it would be irresponsible for me to speculate. >> let me try a couple things on you. >> sure. >> the only thing that i can think of that makes a certain sense and would be understandable, is were those reports removed by the special
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prosecutor because the special prosecutor wanted to isolate those for their own purposes? even though, in normal circumstances, all of these reports remain available basically as a data bank for investigators all around the country to be able to look at in whatever cases they might be using? in this particular case, since it involved an investigation close to the president, the special prosecutor might want to say i want those. but my question is, why wouldn't they have isolated all three of them? is it possible that the special prosecutor wanted to isolate two of those? >> i suppose it is possible. ronan reported in his story that there was a provision in their recordkeeping policy that allows them to seg gre gait reports that are deemed to be highly sensitive. certainly, i think, something that is being referred to or used by the special prosecutor,
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is highly sensitive. but really we're in the realm of speculation here. it's very difficult to know what happened. and, you know, i mean, of course the report has been reportedly leaked, i haven't seen the report, obviously you haven't seen the report. so it's difficult to know because so much of this is really, necessarily, shrouded in secrecy. >> i would assume that many of the bank inspectors who do this kind of work within banks might themselves have previous work experience working in treasury at various levels, it's not unusual for people to migrate out to the private sector in an area of expertise they have. what i'm so impressed with, david, is -- is a whole level of investigative interest that i really wasn't aware were capable of working this way. because when i look at what the bank inspectors were doing in-house, it's quite
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extraordinary. whether it's a computer that triggers or their interest or whatever triggers their interest, once it triggers their reaction, they apparently go on google and look up information about michael cohen and linking up information about michael cohen and what he does and they start drawing conclusions that he actually has no expertise in the areas that -- for example the korean aerospace company wants to engage him, and they start writing up reports based on information they're gathering in a wider ranging investigation beyond just the bank's information. >> that's right. banks have made a huge investment in monitoring for this kind of activity. and also in sanctions compliance. you know, i mean, really the suspicious activity reporting program, the sanctions compliance programs, they're
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really public/private partnerships where the government and the financial institutions work very closely together. a number of banks do have former treasury officials working there, people who were experts in intelligence, sanctions or money laundering. so they understand, you know, not only what money laundering or sanctions evasion looks like but they understand and internalize the importance of the mission. the investment they made, along with the human capital the banks have brought in, it's really what made this program so effective. >> david murray, former treasury official. thank you for your expertise tonight and joining us up on the program. the senate judiciary committee released donald trump junior's testimony today and some of it is hard to believe. and lying to the committee is a federal crime. we'll have more on the report of what happened with michael cohen's bank transactions and the president had nothing but bad choices to make in his financial disclosure
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form regarding stormy daniels as we discussed at this hour last night. and the choice he did make just might be the start of another justice department investigation of president trump. feel the clarity of non-drowsy claritin and relief from symptoms caused by over 200 allergens. like those from buddy. because stuffed animals are clearly no substitute for real ones. feel the clarity. and live claritin clear. but as it grew bigger and bigger,ness. it took a whole lot more. that's why i switched to the spark cash card from capital one. with it, i earn unlimited 2% cash back on everything i buy. everything. and that 2% cash back adds up to thousands of dollars each year... so i can keep growing my business in big leaps! what's in your wallet?
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and here is president trump's financial disclosure report which will he filed at close of business yesterday as reported last night that he would.
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you see right up there in the top right corner of the form, page 1 of the form, it says united states office of government ethics preventing conflict of interest in the executive branch. it really should say, preventing conflict of interest in the executive branch from 1978 to 2016, because they ain't doing that anymore. joining us now david k. johnston journalist, the author of "it's even worse than you think" and also with us jill wine-banks former watergate special prosecutor. and david k you remember when there was no office of pooler enterprises -- office of ethics. before we get to the stormy daniels revelation in the financial disclosure form, i want to pick up on what we were
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reporting on with ronan farrow's reporting tonight, that it is a current government official who has decided to leak, illegally, this suspicious activity report on michael cohen. the government official knows that it's a crime. knows what the government official is risking in this and the government official says that he or she is terrified by what he or she has done but believes that it's important. we have so much information that we are learning in these reports, including tax implications, which we didn't get to in the previous segment and rachel wasn't able to get to tonight. i'm reading in there that michael cohen is using the essential consultants llc to pay his mercedes bill, an at&t bill, to pay personal consumption bills. you and i are sitting here with a strong assumption that michael cohen took the essential consultants and paid mercedes
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whatever it was, a couple thousand a month on a lease, and did not declare that as income to himself on his income tax return, so the mercedes alone is an income tax tax fraud evasion case. also in there is these massive cash movements that could also be tax evasion. but what people like michael cohen are trying to get away with is the nickel and dime tax evasion that ends up amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars, car payments, at&t payments. >> absolutely correct, lots of people do this. and there's almost no enforcement. the cuts that have been made since 2000 in the irs budget are turning the income tax into a wage tax system where those who get wages or pensions and other verified income are fully tax. and other people who are self-ployed, like me, can cheat
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because there was no verification going on. in this, you have to understate your income by more than $10,000 or a number of examples of doing things like paying the lease on your mercedes, not declaring that as income when it comes out of a wrongful account. every indication would be if they wanted to scrutinize michael cohen, this is likely to be a worthwhile activity. >> jill wine-banks this is the kind of thing that michael cohen absolutely would have gotten away with it because one of the things we know about enforcement at the irs is that they have specifically taken enforcement capability away from small personal corporations and large corporations and llcs and the only way an llc like this was going to come to tax attention was through an investigation by the special prosecutor. >> well, i would say it's also like watergate, and the enemy's list, which is you only
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investigated the people who were on nixon's enemy's list. they were subjects for irs targeting. and clearly michael cohen would not have been on that list. he would have been protected because that's how it works in this administration. so it's interesting the story that we can see unfolding through the release of these documents. and we can only imagine, with all the other complimentary information that mueller has, how vivid that story is going to be and what it is going to show about criminal activities by the people involved in the trump administration and campaign. >> and, jill, as an experienced federal investigator, one of things you see when these documents come out is that someone like michael cohen had no idea what kind of footprints and fingerprints he was leaving all over these transactions and had no idea how easy it was going to be once robert mueller started looking at it to find these things.
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>> i think people under estimate how easy it is to find things these days. i think even an average citizen realizes if you take out $10,000 from your bank account that triggers a report. and michael cohen was playing with much bigger funds than that. why did he not realize he would have been seen to have possibly suspicious activities that would be reported to the treasury and then clearly available to mueller or any other prosecutor, the southern district of new york, for example. so really i think we've seen over and over again, he's not the smartest lawyer that's ever existed. he's not the one that donald trump should have ever had. and certainly he needs a good lawyer himself now. >> david, the president was in a box of his creation and rudy giuliani's creation when the president said on air force one i didn't know anything about payments, and rudy giuliani
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comes out and said, no, he reimbursed michael cohen for the payments to stormy daniels. he has to do a financial disclosure, and he did it this week. he had to pick a story to tell. we're not saying any of this true, we're saying this is the story to tell, and that story is a footnote on page 45 saying, it's none of your business, but i reimbursed michael cohen between 100,000 to $250,000. and the office of government ethics immediately this morning said it is our business. it's not just our business, it's the justice department's business. they send a referral letter to the justice department, rod rosenstein, to say, you might want to investigate why this didn't show up on his report last year. >> during the campaign donald trump was quite clear and after the electoral college victory he does not believe he's subject to
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any conflict of interest laws, he's made that clear repeatedly. so the information to that president trump is not above the law is not part of donald's take on things. here's the thing i think will be most interesting about this. if we believe that steve bannon was correct and telling the truth when he said to michael wolff, there are lots and lots of cases like stormy daniels' are we to believe from the time of the election up until now that's the only case? if there is a single other hush money cake out there in the time covered by these reports, now you have multiple examples. let's remember there have been 40 revisions to jared kushner's financial reports. at some point you have to say you're hiding things, violating the law. this is a civil law, but you sign it under penalty of perjury and that exposes you in theory
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to criminal prosecution. of course, luckily for donald the justice department is headed by a man he appointed. >> a quick bit of your guidance on this report because there are numbers on here that are big. this is supposed to reveal your personal income. donald trump puts down $40 million from a washington d.c. hotel. it is impossible that he personally derives $40 million in income from the hotel. is he putting down the total revenue number of the hotel without subtracting any expenses of the hotel. >> he is putting in these categories revenues, not income. it's a business i know well and studied. he is not filling these out in a way that i think is appropriate. he overstates the value of all sorts of assets. he lists revenue rather than income. imagine how well apple would be if it kept every dollar as pure profit.
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coming up the senate judiciary committee released donald trump junior's testimony today. and if you believe it, you're probably a member of the trump family. alright, i brought in new max protein ...to give you the protein you need with less of the sugar you don't. i'll take that. [cheers] 30 grams of protein and 1 gram of sugar. new ensure max protein. in two great flavors.
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to keep our community safe. before you do any project big or small, pg&e will come out and mark your gas and electric lines so you don't hit them when you dig. call 811 before you dig, and make sure that you and your neighbors are safe. the breaking news never stops on michael cohen. we have more breaking news tonight on trump lawyer michael cohen. yahoo news is reporting prosecutors and congressional investigators have obtained text messages and e-mails showing that president trump's personal attorney, michael cohen, was working on a deal for a trump tower in moscow far later than cohen has previously acknowledged. the communities show that as late as may 2016, around the time trump was clinching the
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republican nomination, cohen was considering a trip to russia to meet about the project with high-level government officials, business leaders and bankers. about a month after michael cohen was still reportedly working on a trump tower moscow deal, donald trump jr., paul manafort and jared kushner met wp russian officials in trump tower. today the senate judiciary committee released thousands of pages of information from that meeting. donald trump jr. took that meeting with the promise of receiving dirt on hillary clinton. prosecutors asked about the exchange with music publicist rob goldstone. you say if it's what you say, i love it. what is the it that you love? potential information about an opponent. >> potential incrumb nating information on hillary clinton? >> yes. despite that donald trump jr.
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said that he didn't actually ask for incriminating information on hillary clinton during the meeting saying i don't believe i specifically asked that, no. one russian associate, the russian lobbyist and former soviet counterintelligence officers together investigators that donald trump was in charge of the meeting. he was definitely in charge. he said, i believe you have some information for us and ms. natalia veselnitskaya said yes, indeed i do have information. a second russian associate contradicted donald trump jr. saying donald trump jr. asked both natalia veselnitskaya and akhmetshin if they got anything on hillary. phone records anything that on the day donald trump jr. was planning the meeting he placed two phone calls to blocked numbers. days later after the meeting occurred donald trump jr. placed
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a third call to a blocked number. the senate committee members asked who he had spoken with, he replied. i have no idea. former trump campaign manager, corey lewandowski, told the house investigators that donald trump senior has a blocked line in his residence. donald trump jr. was asked if his father ever used a blocked number, his reply, i don't know. and when asked if he ever discuss the russia investigation with his father, donald trump jr. said, no, not that i remember. multiple times throughout his testimony, donald trump jr. denied that he ever informed his father of the trump tower meeting saying, i never discussed it with him at all, and i wouldn't have wasted his time with it. but hours after donald trump jr. confirmed the trump tower meeting would take place, donald trump with candidate said this
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in a campaign speech. >> i am going to give a major speech, on probably monday of next week, and we're going to be discussing all of the things that have taken place with the clintons. i think you're going to find it very informative and very, very impressive. >> no, donald trump jr. never -- never talked to him about that trump tower meeting. congressman eric swalwell and michael isikoff will join our discussion next. i feel a great deal of urgency...
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plus get $1000 bonus cash. today, on the same day that the senate judiciary committee released its interview transcripts describing what donald trump jr. said in his meetings with russians in trump tower, the senate intelligence committee released a statement saying that russia did indeed interfere in the 2016 presidential election with the explicit intention of helping donald trump. joining our discussion now, democratic congressman eric swalwell, and michael isikoff, co-author of the new best selling book, "russian roulette". >> congressman, i know the house intelligence committee -- the republicans on the house intelligence committee said they could not find anything about russia in any way trying to
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influence the election, it must be a bittersweet moment for you that the senate intelligence committee says the obvious yes, russia interfered and they interfered to help donald trump. >> good evening, lawrence, and also bittersweet for the country because unity is the best antidote for future russia interference or interference for any country. we'll have a hearing tomorrow on china, i'll be asking about other countries and similar capabilities. so the house republicans are now isolated. isolated from bipartisan reports, isolated from the intelligence community assessment and just isolated from the facts. also the senate judiciary committee, they released the transcripts of the june 9th meeting, their investigation is narrow, they only focussed on that june 9th meeting, however we have learned a lot more about a lot of other awe proechs similar to what we saw the russians do on june 9th. so we should release our transcripts to.
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we should let the people see for themselves how eager and willing the trump team was willing to work with the russians. and to make sure that bob mueller has the ability to follow the evidence and subpoena the records that the republicans wouldn't do. >> michael, in your book you were following this closer than a lot of us, what's your reading of the transcripts today? >> there were some fascinating new nuggets we didn't know before. one which i found absolutely fascinating and we posted a story tonight on yahoo about it. remember, this meeting was set up at the request of aris agalarov, the billionaire oligarch who was donald trump's business partner in the ms.
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universe pageant and the first attempt for a trump tower deal in moscow, that was signed and arranged during that 2013 visit that trump made to moscow, and that was part of an ongoing relationship that the agalarovs, father and son, had with the trumps. so it was aris who requested this meeting through emin, and rob goldstone, the music publicist sets it up. the day after the meeting, rob goldstone finds out that the agalarovs have a gift for donald trump. a rather sizable gift. it was a painting that they wanted to deliver to trump tower. now -- and they did arrange to do so. there was some technical
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difficulties about, you know, because they had special security at trump tower. but i found that rather curious. that the agalarovs wanted this meeting to take place, they got the meeting, and then right after that, there's a sizable personal gift for donald trump himself, who according to donald trump jr. knew nothing about the meeting, although as you pointed out, there's lots of questions about that. >> congressman swalwell, donald trump jr. didn't want to take any credit for running this meeting, so you have the difference in the testimony about donald trump jr. saying i don't -- he didn't ask anything about, you know, what do you have for us? and you have the russian witnesses saying he asked right away, what's the information you have for us? >> when he says, i don't recall. that is code for, yes, you're getting too close. that's something we heard from so many witnesses.
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they showed a tremendous willingness to make this meeting happen. if you look at it, this is a very busy campaign, yet they moved heaven andert to accommodate this meeting. on the question of whether donald trump knew about the meeting, he either knew about it and they're all lying or they knew enough, the family did, to not tell him because proximity matters, one the proximity of how close the agalarov family was to donald trump, proximity the meeting was one floor from donald trump and proximity with donald trump and donald trump jr. and how much they talked about the campaign for a year. so it's hard to believe he didn't know. >> when donald trump jr. said i didn't want to bother him with it, this is someone we heard talking on the "access hollywood" bus, we see him spending his entire weekends playing golf, this is a guy who publically, donald trump, has all the time in the world to
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discuss all the trivial things that cross anyone's mind close to him, the credibility of i didn't want to bother the big guy with anything as small as this is rather strained in this situation. >> sure. look, you played the clip before of the comment trump made right after this meeting is being set up, which he says he's going to give a speech about some very interesting information about the clintons. and this is right after the e-mail trail shows that rob goldstone is promising the russians meeting at trump tower is going to have some very incriminating information from kremlin files about hillary clinton. so the parallel in the comments there are rather striking. >> michael isikoff and congressman eric swalwell thank you for joins us. coming up what robert
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mueller did not say to rudy giuliani even though rudy giuliani said he said it before rudy giuliani changed his mind tonight and now said that robert mueller didn't say it. prepare for your demise, mr. billingsley! do your worst, doctor. i will. but first, a little presentation. hijacking earth's geothermal energy supply. phase 1. choosing the right drill bit. as long as evil villains reveal their plans, you can count on geico saving folks money. fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more on car insurance. you might be missing something.y healthy. your eyes. that's why there's ocuvite. ocuvite helps replenish nutrients your eyes can lose as you age. it has lutein, zeaxanthin and omega-3. ocuvite. be good to your eyes.
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oh hi sweetie, i just want to show you something. xfinity mobile: find my phone. [ phone rings ] look at you. this tech stuff is easy. [ whirring sound ] you want a cookie? it's a drone! i know. find your phone easily with the xfinity voice remote. one more way comcast is working to fit into your life, not the other way around. >> radio rudy giuliani inadvertently revealed exactly what he is worth to donald trump today. he said he's not being paid
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anything for his services in defense of president trump. and so the president's defense is getting exactly what it's paying for from rudy giuliani. earlier today, rudy giuliani tried to create a good news story for the president. and it wouldn't be a good news story for any other president. but donald trump and rudy giuliani have lowered the bar rather dramatically for good presidential news. and the good presidential news rudy giuliani thought he was delivering for the president was that the special prosecutor robert mueller has told rudy giuliani definitively that he knows he cannot indict the president for crimes because of it is against justice department policy to indict the president. and so the good news is the president is not going to be indicted. that's what rudy thinks is good news for the president. the trouble is, robert mueller never said that to rudy giuliani. and we know that because rudy giuliani changed his crazy story a few hours later, telling "the washington post," mueller didn't say that. one of his, i have to check with jay.
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he's in israel right now. one of mueller's top people told him that. when rudy giuliani was making up that story about robert mueller, it seemed he was hoping to draw attention away from the release of the senate judiciary commit stee transcript from its investigative interviews. it didn't work. we will have more from those tran scripts after a break. un-stop right there! i'm about to pop a cap of "mmm fresh" in that washer. with unstopables in-wash scent boosters by downy.
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believe the donald trump jr. testimony, but it seemed very protective of his father. >> yeah .. and very improbable for anyone with an iq over room temperature. donald trump would not be meeting with russians. he would not be looking for dirt on hillary clinton without his father knowing. do we really think that donald trump jr. had the independence, had the authority to be acting in this fashion without the knowledge of the president? it's absurd on its face. and what we do know, even in these little lies is oh, by the way, he does acknowledge talking to hope hicks. well, talking to hope hicks is just as -- he might as well have been talking to the president himself. so even their lies upon lies and their evasions don't really hold up. and let me tell you, there is that blocked number that you and rachel were referring to that he spoke to after setting up the meeting and then after the trump tower meeting itself. who can get through that blocked number? the special prosecutor so the
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lies they tell are silly, they don't show any awareness of the powers of banks, of prosecutors, of all sorts of evidence. and so he digs himself deeper and deeper and deeper. >> and hope hicks' testimony becomes really interesting in this because donald trump jr. does say that he may have -- talking about his father, he may have commented through hope hicks. she asked if i wanted to actually speak to him and i chose not to because i didn't want to bring him into something that he had nothing to do with. now surely hope hicks' testimony will flesh that out. when she's saying to donald trump jr., would you like to speak to him, there's, you know, a strong chance that she can just physically hand him the phone on air force one. he knows she's on air force one. >> right. and he also knows that hope hicks is at that time, was the longest serving, most reliable aide that donald trump had.
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talking to her was the same as talking to his father. maybe they didn't want to communicate or maybe they gist made up this little lie. it also became extremely relevant, as you said, lawrence, because remember hope hicks' words about all of these communications and e-mails. they're never going to get them. that was a peculiar phrase which set off a former spokesman mark carallo for the legal team. and it does take on an ominous tone where she is acting as a buffer, some would say. some would say a cut-out so there's not a direct record of donald trump jr. speaking to his father. this is all becoming unratling. it's like a sweater with a loose thread. you pull on it and you pull on it and pretty soon, there's not going to be very much left of it. >> and we discover donald trump's free tv lawyer rudy giuliani is in high speed
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reverse on his comment of several hours ago saying that robert mueller has told him that he knows he cannot indict the president. >> yeah. isn't that amazing? listen, my own theory about this is that rudy giuliani has been essentially kicked off tv. we haven't seen him in a number of days. he's desperate to do something for zond trump. he's not a real lawyer, he's a tv lawyer. what does he do? he makes up a ridiculous story, tells it to "the washington post," has to rewind, has to pull it back in. makes another statement. so i think at this point, the only one less equipped to be a lawyer than rudy giuliani -- are the other lawyers for donald trump. >> jennifer ruben gets tonight's last word. thank you, jennifer. four people who have all worked with special counsel robert mueller will join brian to talk about the special counsel's investigation, and that is next on "the 11th hour" with brian williams, which starts now.
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the breaking news we're covering tonight, rudy giuliani says robert mueller cannot indict a sitting president. donald trump's financial filing reveals he did pay michael cohen who in turn pald stormy daniels. while the leaker of cohen's while the leaker of cohen's financial record showing those payments is speaking out tonight. there are new details on donald trump jr. and his trump tower meeting with the russians. and in one hour, it marks one year since mueller was appointed. tonight, four of his former lieutenants at the fbi are here to talk with us about their former boss and this investigation. all of it as "the 11th hour" gets underway on a wednesday night. and good evening once again from our msnbc news headquarters here in new york. and fair warning right here at the top of the broadcast, we have an unusually high volume of news to get through together in the course of this broadcast and so we will. day 482 of the trump administration, and we are tracking breaking news

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