tv MSNBC Live With David Gura MSNBC May 19, 2018 12:00pm-1:00pm PDT
election. this is according to several people with knowledge of the meeting. that report indicating for the first time that russia was not the only country that might have been involved with the trump campaign. joining me on the telephone is r ronan bergman. take me to the meeting on august 3, 2016. what was being proposed at trump tower? >> so this was an introduction meeting when mr. prince, the former owner of blackwater had brought two of his acquaintances to the trump tower to see donald trump jr. and some other people in the inner circle of the c campai campaign. one of them of the social media specialist, who had a company or presented a company with abilities to give an edge to political campaign.
and the other one was george nader, who presented himself as an emissary for both the united arab emirates and saudi arabia. during the half an hour meeting, mr. prince had said he's bringing donors, organizing demonstrations for mr. trump. and nader had said that his friends where he reacted to both prince of saudi arabia and the emirates are in support of the campaign of mr. trump, they think he's the right leader to lead the united states according to what he described as the lack of leadership during president obama's time and he said that his bosses, both prince will do whatever they can to help the campaign. by the way, donald trump jr. has
told us that both person, also they help but he declined. they pitched him some help and he declined. >> ronen, we're going to situate this in the context of the mueller investigation in just a moment. i want to ask you situated geo politically what was going on at this point. just to read a little bit from your piece here, this was a secret plan being pitched, george nader proposing to use private contractors to reach saudi arabia and the ememirates. talk about this in geo political terms, what nader, what zammel were proposing? >> george nader was lobbying to create a secret plan to create
an intelligence infrastructure that would be funded by the saudi arabia and the emirates. he was trying to convince to fund this project. the police call context is when both countries, saudi arabia and the emirates oppose the iran deal strongly and believe that the united states and others should take a much firmer stand and policy against iran. and at the same time, as we indicate and we publish for the first time during the meeting to offer them help and that meeting on august 3rd has led to extensive further meetings between george nader and people of the inner circle of trump. at the same time a company owned by mr. zammel, an israeli company, has proposed a huge cam
pa camcampaign created many fabricated advertisements and it not clear what happened with that proposal. this is the first indication that mr. mueller and the pieb are looking very extensively into the possible assistance of foreign countries, including countries from the gulf to the trump campaign. this is possibly according to american law illegal. >> thank you very much. i want to drill down on that report and the legal implicat n implications with danny and gabriel and guy lewis, who worked at the justice department. danny, let me start with you and
just get your sense of the mag you'd of the importance of the piece that the "new york times" just broke here. we have spent so much time talking about that infamous meeting at trump tower that was two months before this one reportedly took place. as you read this, how big a deal is this? >> it's the same analysis that we had when we talked about meetings with russians that may have happened with donald trump jr. and members of the trump cam pan. it violates the federal campaign act to give anything of value. to give you an idea of how broad this is, one decision finds that receiving pamphlets from canada would violate this rule. it not just stacks cash. it's in-kind contributions, anything of val yue you can imagine.
with that broad -- looking at any country, not just russia, saudi arabia, anywhere else, and that includes citizens of that country, it is very easy to violate this law. the question then becomes how strict does the u.s. enforce it. >> don jr., a reporter for him saying that don jr. said he was not interested. how does that dovetail with what we've seen foreign policy-wise since this meeting took place. we've seen this administration embrace saudi arabia. >> and the crown prince of saudi arabia was just on a grand tour in the united states and welcomed by the political and business community with open arms. so there's been a strategic shift away from treating both
sides the same and now take an aggressive stance toward iran. >> george nader has been asking questions. how does this change, your perspective of the role he played? >> it just adds another difficult and complex layer on to robert mueller's investigation. given the number of people he's interviewed, you always ask some of these kind of questions, to donald trump jr. and to others with whom he's been interacting. specifically were there any other people with whom you've been interacting, speaking to other than russian nationals? the difficulty, though, and danny's 100% right in terms of
the breadth of the law, the difficulty is the authorization that rod rosenstein gave to robert mueller, which we've all seen the one and two-page documents that we've gone over ad nauseam, they're very confined with russian interference to the u.s. election. so it may very well be, david, that mueller, that bob mueller has to go back and ask for a broader authorization, if he wants to investigate this aspect of the allegation. mile-per-ho my guess is, though, given where we are, that's not where he wants to go. >> there's been acute interest in this other meeting at trump tower. who knows how long this is going to last or where it's going to go but in terms of trajectory or direction, what is the
importance of this meeting. mark mazzetti said how close he felt to the moves that the mother team was making. what does it tell you in terms of where they are in this investigation? >> a couple points. paul manafort tried to get rid of his investigation based on that it was beyond the original investigation. that failed. it gives them the broader scope as to anything arises from the russia investigation. it could be these could be tangentially related. i don't think that the team of
mueller and his investigators is bound as strictly as that directive. will mueller tack in this? even if he believes it's something he can't investigate, he has many other in his district he can refer this out to. >> i think a lot of people know who erik prince is. he is the brother of betsy devos, the education secretary. what is your sense of the level of influence he had on the campaign, with then candidate trump? >> he was very close with steve bannon. steve bannon came in in august of 2016 and then obviously during the opening through the transition and the opening
months of the white house, he had that very close line with steve bannon. it was erik prince's plan along with bannon to draft a private military force to take over our role in afghanistan. he wanted to pull out u.s. american troops and replace that with contractors. the trump white house and general mattis did not go with that plan. he was front and center in our foreign policy discussions. >> last question to you, guy. you've got a number of these characters cooperating with, answering questions from the special counsel. i asked danny about the johnsge trajectory of this. what does that tell you about where this investigation stands? >> well, they are trying and if you listen to, david, the mayor, mayor giuliani, they are having discussions, detailed discussions, about the president's interview. and not just who's going to be
president, what's the scope of it, how long is it going to last, what are the topics they're going to try to cover? you got to believe if there was a curve ball being there on here in terms of a whole separate area that we've not heard about, i got to think that mueller, again knowing him as the straight shooter that he is, he would say, hey, mayor, rudy, wait a second. there's this new area that i want to go into and that might blow up the entire thing. so i still think that we're sort of rounding third here. we can see home base and mueller wants to move this thing as quickly and as professional live as -- professionally as we can. >> guy lewis, thank you very much and thank to you my other guests as well. >> tragedy in texas. will the latest school massacre spark any change in congress? that's coming up. and the safey for "most parallel parallel parking job" goes to...
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of it from the local officials from santa fe? >> reporter: a lot of what they were talking about, david, had to do with the shock, the disbelief, the grieving going on, understandably so, in this community as they learned that the ten victims include eight students now and two teachers, a different number than we had initially. once again, what we're seeing here follows a tranl beigic pat with all these mass shooting. the other thing we've learned about these mass shootings is that there are often extraordinary stories coming out of them as well. now both the judge and local congressman are confirming something we had heard, that the local school police officer who is now in critical condition at a local hospital fighting for his life ran toward the danger, that he went toward the gunman with the intention of taking him out. i spoke just a short time ago after the press briefing with
randy weber, the local congressman. is there any doubt in your mind, congressman, that he saved lives? >> oh, no. not at all. not at all. the main thing to stop a bad person with a gun is a good person with a gun. the fact that he got there and engaged that gentleman was huge. otherwise we could have had a lot more casualties. we will have that discussion. i'm sorry, if i could pressure the leadership to have that discussion, well, good luck with that. but yes, i will. i will pressure the leadership. the fact that eight children and two adult lost their lives. absolutely it's tragic and something needs to be done. >> reporter: i think the key phrase there, though, is a bad person with a gun, the only person that's going to stop them is a good person with a gun. that's at the heart of the disagreement that we have seen in congress in the aftermath of
these shootings about what exactly should be done and how they're going to be gauge and part of the reason that in spite of every time we think there's going to be major change, after newtown, after small children are killed, after the pulse night club, after what we saw with the amazing parkland students certainly on a national level things don't change. here in this community, though, they are all going to come together tonight. this is going to be quite a scene at the baseball field. there was an opportunity for the team, which is in the playoffs, the high school baseball team to postpone it. they decided not to. they made a decision that for their fellow players and for the community, they wanted to send a message you are not going to defeat us. there will be two of those players, david, who will be in the stands, the one who had a bullet that went through his neck, there but for a couple of centimeters, he might not be with us at all, another who was grazed by what we believe was a
rick oochetting bullet. they will be in the stands but this community will have something to cheer about tonight they hope. and then on the policy front on tuesday, the governor will bring together the first of a series of roundtables to look at the issue of what they can do. >> what's happening at the high school this afternoon? we heard from the deputy superintendent that students who have left their cars, the school are going to go back to get them. they will not return to school until at least wednesday of next week. is that correct? >> yeah. monday and tuesday are definitely closed. many of the students i've spoken to over the last 20 hours or so have said to me they don't know how they feel about going back into that school and it not certain they would actually be going back into this physical biddi building. we just know it's close on monday and tuesday.
they gathered at the junior how school, brought over in small groups, allowed to get their cars in the parking lot and return. but many of them in the chaos, those who were literally running for their lives, others who thought it was a drill, left their back packs and phones behind, this is still a crime scene. those articles are still in there. it n it's not clear when they'll be able to get those. >> with me now, congressman, what we heard from congressman weber, he talked about the importance of these roundtables. do you feel optimistic in light of this tragedy and shooting, things are going to change? a lot of people see this a
continuation of a string of tragedies in which very little has happened and they are not optimistic they're going to see changes in washington. >> first of all, i want to offer my heart and prayers to all the folks who were affected in texas. and i believe that we need to have a serious conversation with ourselves here in congress and with folks on both sides of the aisle and look at what keeps happening in america. there's no one demographic or one social environment that creates events like what just happened in santa fe, texas. i think we need better security at our schools. i think our children should be just as secure as we are as members of congress coming to work every day. we have metal detectors, we have trained law enforcement. we need to train or kid to be ready for situations like this until we have the safety that every parent can feel comfortable coming to pick up their children in the afternoon at school and know they're going to be there.
i co-sponsored a bill called stop violence act of 2018, which would appropriate $780 million across the country to assure safety and assure we have metal detectors, trained law enforcement, trained teachers to react to a situation. and we need to continue working on better legislation in terms of gun control. i'm an avid sportsman, i own guns responsibly. my guns are kept in a safe locked away from anyone. i think we need to have better responsibility at home when you have children that are not, you know, adults yet. i think adults need to be responsible. if you own a gun, it needs to be kept in a safe, locked away. and do we need to start having a serious conversation of better background checks, maybe connection between mental health officials and law enforcement where there are databases where people want to purchase a gun,
that have better information to assure guns don't end up in the wrong hands. and certainly i'm against bump successes and stocks and limiting magazine capacity. but if you look at what happened in texas, that would not have limited the damage in texas. he had a shotgun and a .38 revolver. in this instance it wouldn't have made a single difference. >> we're looking ahead at those roundtables this week. after each of them, i look back at those conversations with a new sense of dumbfoundedness that congress hasn't been able to do anything. when you look back to the shooting in parkland, florida, one could feel the same way. we heard the president he was going to look at new ideas and he was going to back ideas that
hadn't been backed in the past. that has not happened. why is it there has been so little action, no action whatsoever in the months as soon as th-- since that last shootin as we look ahead to more after this one? >> we should have already acted since the last incident when we had when the president joined the conversation and assured the american people that there was going to be more gun regulation. >> you'll admit i'm sure you probably said the same thing after that shooting in parkland. the rhetoric is the same time and time again. >> it is. i agree with you. we need to work harder and find members who are completely opposed to better legislation to keep our children safe and our environment and our country in general. >> last question here just on the policy front. you mentioned you're a gun owner. when i reported on this after sandy hook, something that struck me as a common thread and those who were for gun control
and gun owners was that training was important ehere. why hasn't that led to more progress? you as a gun owner i imagine prize the fact that a person who holds a gun needs to have training. why hasn't that caught on, that there hasn't been a requirement for training? >> you can blame lobby groups across the country that have prevented good laws from becoming law. yes, the nra is one of many other organizations that are out here pushing members to oppose common sense legislation that will bring security to our communities and to our schools and churches and concert venues. but as we reach that legislation, i think we should get ahead it have and assure that we have school security in all our schools in this country. children deserve the same security that members of congress have when they come to work every day. going to an airport shouldn't be
any different than going to school. it's unfortunate that's the day and age we're living in. we can't be kicking the can down the road. this is something we should be taking up next week and legislation that should pass in a week and signed by the president immediately. it's gone way too far. i hate to be here again a month from now talking about the same situation. the way i see congress today, it looks very possible. >> gentleman from the 15th district in texas, thank you very. >> the president's eldest son held another meeting at trump tower before the presidential election. how other countries may have tried to influential the outcome of that presidential election.
california values senator dianne feinstein welcome back. as we continue to process a bla blockbuster piece from the "new york times," donald trump jr. mental health with an emissary of two wealthy princes offering to help win the election. that's according to several people with knowledge of the matter. the meeting was arranged by erik prince of blackwater fame. eli, let me start with you.
i called it a blockbuster piece here. a lot of hay has been made of another piece. when you look at this one in concert with that, how big a deal is it what "the new york times" is reporting today? >> i think it is another blockbuster. there's a pattern with donald trump and his whole operation that even before he was in politics, the countries most hospitable to him, the banks willing to lend to him, they were foreign. so there's this pattern of dealing with other people in foreign countries, doing business with them. it just seemed to sort of extend into politics. there was no realization, it seems, during the campaign and even the presidency that this is against the law, that the constitution strictly tries to prevent foreign interference in our election and corrupting our foreign policy. i think there are just more questions that obviously the special counsel is looking at and all americans should really be asking when you see this openness from the president and the people around him to meeting
with foreign officials and then you see a policy, a foreign policy especially that appears to satisfy the interests of those countries that he's met with. >> jay, it about 13 pages long when you print out this whole thi thing. in attendance, erik prince convened this meeting. he was there along with george nader, who has been cooperating with robert mueller's investigation and joel zamel who heads up a social media consulting firm. what's your sense given all of this? what does it tell but what this campaign of willing to entertain back in 2016? >> david, it just really surprising. there's always countries unhappy with the status quo and unhappy with parties and their policies. what brought this disparate group together, israeli, saudis, and the uae is this real
unhappiness with the iran deal. none of them liked the deal obama had done in iran. they all thought it hillary would be re-elected that she would continue and strengthen that deal so they wanted to work against it. but what's striking here is that there's always, again, unhappiness from our foreign either allies in this case or adversaries, if you look with russia at what's going on with the way america decide things internally. but this absolute comfort in approaching campaigns is really unique this time around. it's almost unheard of to have presidential campaigns meet with these kinds of folks. they usually meet with ambassadors, it's a very official, perfunctory thing. they don't get into discussions of any kind until after elections, it's usually a meet and greet. the idea you're discussing policy at this level or hinting at discussing policy at this level and in a campaign is really unusual. >> eli, there was another big piece in the "new york times,"
"the washington post" reporting on this as well, we've heard the president talk about a would-be spy dispatched to his campaign. "the washington post" suggests there is no evidence to support someone was planted in the campaign. neither of these newspapers, "the times" or "the post" identify who this individual is, he is a professor who had a long-time history of being an agent for intelligence agencies in this country. let me play a tape of chris wray on capitol hill this week talking about the gravity of doing that should it happen. >> human sources in particular who put themselves at great risk to work with us and with our foreign partners have to be able to trust that we're going to protect their identities and in many cases their lives and lives of their families. the day that we can't protect
human sources is the day the american people start becoming less safe. >> eli, i want you to react from what we've learned from "the post" and from "the times" what we've learned here and a distinction between the criminal investigation and counterintelligence. what we've learned from the newspapers is this gentleman met with these three aides here, trying to suss out what they were thinking when it came to foreign policy. >> right. he did that because american intelligence officials did that out of suspicion that something was going on. not to spy on this campaign for no reason but because they had cause to believe there were conversations taking place between the campaign and foreign governments. that is incredibly serious. what director wray was talking about in that clip was about national security. wret what we' yet what we're seeing in realtime from this administration, from the president and devon nunes, who
are eager to unmask this agent, they are so dead set on trying to undermine the public's confidence in this investigation that they are looking for anything they can find to sew doubt about the political motivations, to basically argue that the mueller probe, the intelligence community, that all of these people are motivated by politics and some preexisting antipathy towards donald trump that is personal, that is not based on actual facts and intelligence that led them to believe that something may have been going on between the campaign and the russians. >> congressman nunes, pushing on that and the president, cheering him on. >> coming up here, my sitdown with nate yo secretary-general s stoltenberg.
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welcome back, i'm david gura. nato secretary-general jens stoltenberg was at the white house. they did address reporters after and before the bilateral meeting. president trump has spoke about something every time he has spoken to the secretary-general, and that is the need for each country to contribute at least
2% of its gdp to the nato alliance. >> nato is wonderful but it helps europe more than it helps us. why are we paying the vast marriage of the cost. >> there was a moment when president trump said that nato violates europe primarily. i wonder if the president understands the mission of nato. >> i think two cold wars show that we have to stand together. we are stronger together than alone. >> does he get that, though? >> absolutely because the president is aware of that the only time we have involved article 5 was after the attack on the united states, 9/11, and hundreds of thousands of european and canadian soldiers have served alongside u.s. soldiers in afghanistan, which is an operation that was a
response to the attack on the united states. i think for a super power like the united states it is a great advantage to have so many friends and allies like the u.s. has in nato. no other power has anything similar and we go together in the fight against isis, iraq, syria, in afghanistan but also in deterring russia from aggression against any nato a y ally. >> president trump talk about defense sharing and burden sharing during those comments. it's clear lay top priorily a t him. how big a priority is it for you? >> it's my top priority and mi me -- my message is we are making progress but we sill hatill hav long way to go. after years of decline, we see all allies have stopped the cuts, all allies have started to increase defense spending and
more and more allies spend more h than 2% on defense, which was the nato target. so the trend was down and now it's up. >> all allies are decreasing the defense budget. >> do you give me credit for that? >> your leadership has helped do that. >> there was a moment that the president asked you if you give him credit for that turn around. how much credit does president trump deserve for that? >> his message, his leadership has been important and it has an impact because we see now that allies have started to increase. so his clear message is really making a difference and i thanked him for that. >> i want to thank the seven nato nations in addition to the
united states who will meet their 2% nato defense spending. we have some that don't and they'll be dealt with. >> president trump said those allies who don't meet that target will be dealt with, his words. how do you interpret what that means? >> it means that all allies have to make good on the promises we all made together. we are an alliance, so where we protect each other and stand together, of course we have to share the burden. but i'm optimistic because we have really turned a corner after years of cut in defense spending, we see now increase. i understand that most like to spend on health, education and infrastructure but when tensions are increasing, when the security environment is becoming more unpredictable as we see now, then we have to invest more in defense. >> nato is of course not a party to the iran nuclear deal, but i wonder what you make of what the
president has done. he's stepped away from that deal. he called it a ridiculous deal for the world. you have allies who would disagree with that statement. what's your take on what's happened here with the iran nuclear deal? >> it's correct that nato allies disagree when it comes to the iran nuclear deal, and that's something which is of concern. having said that, all allies agree that we have to prevent iran from developing nuclear weapons. weep are concerned -- all allies are concerned about the ballistic missile program of iran and also the destabilizing activities of iran in the region. and my responsibility as secretary-general of nato is to try to help us to work together to address these concerns and also to make sure that the disagreement on the iran nuclear deal doesn't have repercussions or too much negative
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ten people are dead and 13 wounded after yesterday's shooting in santa fe texas, that's according to the most recent figures from the fbi. this latest school attack is the 16th of its kind bringing the number killed this year to 31. nationwide kpl nationwide -- joining me now a 20-year-old intern with congresswoman gabrielle giffords when she was shot in 2011 in an attack that claimed the lives of six people. he is credited for helping save her life. i want to get your reaction to what we saw yesterday. how many of these we've had thsz far. you tweeted this -- more
children killed in school shootings than that. >> this is a fundamental problem with what's happening with gun violence where we become so desensitized, oh, god, what new shooting. i was at an event in phoenix when we were talking about gun violence. of the this is what i'm used to. this is what happens every couple days i think that's a problem we've come to accept nothing can be done. listening to the congressman from texas, let's put security gar guards, those aren't solutions. to me and someone who's a survivor who had to hold the head of my boss when i was 20 after she was shot in the head, this is so personal and frustrating but it's so frustrating say -- increasing the amount of mental health counsellors, to help provide the intervention if it's someone
having issues when they're a stun student making sure we have universal background checks and all gun sale vs. a background check. but also talking to parents and adults about responsible gun ownership. your child being able to access your firearms is not you being a responsible gun owner. we have the nra and their allies who have said we want to do nothing because we need to maintain the status quo. >> just a few hours have passed but there will be many survivors who are wondering about the future. wondering about the degree to which it is going to shape who they are. i want to get your perspective on that. you went from working with the dongs wom congresswoman. how has it shaped you? >> when the shooting happened i was only 20 years old, not much older than a lot of students in at the high school in santa fe. this is something that's going
to stick with them for the rest of their lives. there's not a moment that i don't think of the victims in tucson. people all over the country who have been impacted every single day because the gun violence. something that will stick with them. i hope these young people realize there is something that can be done and we need their help, whether running for office or advocating to people like me, their elected officials to make sure we change some of the laws. a child should not go to school afraid that they have to go somewhere where they may get shot. you shouldn't have to go to airport-style security to get to kindergarten class. i'm always telling people, your state legislator says there aren't solutions, have them talk to me. i will sign up and send you five
different policy ideas we can implement to try and reduce gun violent. >> thank you. sorry about the circumstances. your passions, education and you're there at the center. >> thanks. >>. coming up in the next hour, russia may not have been alone in attempts to influence the it would 16 election. reaction to that report in the "new york times" that donald trump junior, the son of president trump held another meeting at trump tower. then you might have a common condition called dry mouth... which can be brought on by many things, like medication and medical conditions. biotène provides immediate, long lasting relief from dry mouth symptoms. it is clinically proven to soothe and moisturize a dry mouth. plus, it freshens breath. biotène. immediate and long lasting dry mouth symptom relief.
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that does it for me. i' david gura. i'll be back here tomorrow at 2:00. >> indeed a lot to pick up. david, thank you sir. i'm aaron gilchrist. breaking news at this hour. "new york times" reports donald trump jr. was involved in a 2016 meeting with an em sere for two arab princes who offered to help the then candidate trump win the election. students return to the high school in the aftermath of the shooting. we'll hear from survivors as the debate intensifies. say hello to the new duke and duchess of sussex. we will have the sights and sounds from today's royal wedding. but we begin with new reporting today that it was not just the russians who were trying to influence the