tv The Rachel Maddow Show MSNBC May 25, 2018 9:00pm-10:00pm PDT
good evening from new york. i'm chris hayes. tonight, new evidence of contact between trump world and russia that the trump folks did not want you to know about. now, you remember essential consultants, the hush money slush fund that michael cohen set up to pay off stormy daniels and who knows who else, we learned earlier this month a bunch of companies funneled millions of dollars to cohen through essential consultants, among them a firm called columbus nova. their biggest client is a kremlin linked russian billionaire named viktor vekselberg, and a guy who has already been questioned by robert mueller's investigators. they questioned him when he flew into the country.
there's evidence that vekselberg may have used his holdings to do the kremlin's bidding in the past. four years ago, the fbi warned a foundation controlled by him might have been acting on behalf of russia's intelligence services. so all this led to speculation that vekselberg perhaps acting on behalf of the russian government or not was funneling money to cohen through columbus nova. here's the thing, the company columbus nova stressed it is american company run by american businessmen named andrew intrator. vekselberg is his biggest client and his cousin. but the company says vekselberg was not involved in the decision to pay cohen. the claim viktor was involved or provide any funding for columbus nova's engagement of michael cohen is patently untrue. in other words, how dare you? columbus nova just wanted to pay
michael cohen $1 million for a totally unknown reason which had nothing to do with their biggest client, a russian oligarch. guess what? it turns out thought michael cohen and none other than viktor vekselberg haven't exactly strangers. "the new york times" reporting shortly before trump's inauguration, vekselberg and cohen met at trump tower where they discussed a mutual desire to strengthen russia's relations with the united states under president trump and arranged to see each other during the inauguration festivities. it was shortly after that that columbus nova decided to pay $1 million into the michael cohen trump mistress slush fund. joining me now, emily jane fox. senior reporter at "vanity fair" and someone who is frequently in touch with michael cohen and adam davidson at "the new yorker" who has been reporting on trump world's financial ties for years. i am obsessed with that transition period. >> it's an amazing time. the fact that this all happened with c-span with its live camera
of every person who is going in and so many people went in who should not be on camera going into that building. >> it feels like it was a bazaar. it was, come on in, we just won the presidency. come on in. let's talk. >> open for business. >> let's do some business. we got the guy who runs the qatari sovereign wealth fund, a russian banker, the russian ambassador, viktor vekselberg. >> if i can correct you, it is not that he's the client of columbus nova. i talked to several people who worked there. they refer to it as the vekselberg family office. to refer to a private hedge fund that's primary or so job is to invest the money of one person in their family. that's what columbus nova is. he technically maybe possibly wasn't an owner on the registration but the only assets they used, it is his piggy bank. >> what's your reaction to the story? >> i got a no comment from
michael cohen when i went to him asking what the details of the meeting were about. i talked to someone who is a longtime friend. he made the point that was interesting that the biggest mistake that michael cohen has made and i don't know that this is the biggest mistake but according to this person, the biggest mistake that he made, he used the title personal attorney to president trump. if had just registered as a lobbyist, as a foreign agent, maybe joined the law firm officially that he worked out of, these meetings would perhaps be optically bad and not a great look for cohen and president trump, but now it's not just optics that look bad. these things may turn out to be shadier and dirtier than we know. >> to that point, i think the point about that is, it all goes to his intention. the best case scenario for cohen is that he was sloppy and didn't know the rules. and just thought that he was going to kind of essentially peddle influence as a side hustle without jumping through the hoops. but, and there's another interpretation which is that
he's up to something shady, which is why all this stuff is hidden in secret. >> this is a guy whose entire career has been on the shady side of the new york and chicago taxi business, which is already a pretty shady industry. this is a guy who has -- he worked out of the back of a taxicab office. the analogies to "better call saul" are enormous. this is not somebody who that is anything in his background that would suggest would be an appropriate point of contact for the president other than he knows the president and he willing to do the shadiest of business. i don't think this was a technical regulatory thing. this is who he is. >> and columbus nova works very hard, that statement looks very bad they gave. >> this is another example of a company coming out and saying, we kind of made a mistake in dealing with michael cohen. according to my reporting, people close to him as these things pile up and they look worse and his legal strategy is not come out and defend them or
say what he believes these meetings were about, they are wearing on him. and he is getting increasingly more frustrated and feeling more isolated. that is a dangerous place for him to be right now, especially for president trump. >> another interesting thing that happened this week, the bbc reported michael cohen received $400,000 from viktor poroshenko, the premier of ukraine. michael cohen and his team and friends of his aggressively pushed back. that's a lie. that's not true. that's not true. and they have not done that with these other allegations including some very disturbing allegations about michael cohen's relationship with other oligarchs. it makes me think this is true. >> that's an interesting point. i wonder about that ukraine story which has not been confirmed by other outlets. i want to bring in the attorney for stormy daniels, michael avenatti. you will recall was the first person to disclose the financial records relating to the oligarch
who met with michael cohen at trump tower during the transition. welcome. you immediately highlighted the columbus nova part of the transaction. what is your understanding of its significance? >> there was a series of payments that began in approximately january of 2017. it would have coincided with this meeting that took place at trump tower. and that those payments continued for some time. my understanding, our understanding is consistent with the "new york times" piece. i think what you're seeing here, is that the noose on michael cohen to the extent it can get any tighter and i don't think it can, but just when i think it can't, it certainly does get tighter, is getting tighter by the day. >> isn't it bad for your client if it gets tighter? because what that means is a long, drawn-out criminal process in which what you're trying to get is essentially paused. >> i don't think so. we filed a motion yesterday to lift the stay in the case in california. arguing that because of rudy giuliani's statements and those of mr. trump as well as tweets, et cetera, that we should be
able to proceed with the case and have the stay lifted. i think that motion is well founded and it may very well be granted. i don't think the court's going to agree to a multiyear stay of the proceeding in california pending michael cohen's criminal proceedings. i think we'll be able to proceed with discovery and we want to depose the president. with each day, there's another story or version of events that emerges that is inconsistent with the last. >> chris, this is for me the key thing to keep in mind. michael cohen for at least a decade, his entire career shifted from outer borough sort of bottom of the barrel bottom feeding to hooking himself up with donald trump. and so in this period, between the election and the inauguration, we have michael cohen in trump tower meeting with vekselberg, meeting with the qataris, meeting with others, selling his wares and either he was going against the man he was most loyal to at his
moment of peak power right under his nose to get money and not share it with the president or he was doing it in full awareness of president-elect trump. >> there was a period of a little bit of discord between the two men. and for much of the first part of his first term or first year in office. there wasn't a tremendous amount of communication between them. his daughter interned at the white house that summer. they actually started speaking again once mr. avenatti's client came out and shared her story. that's when the president started calling him again. there was a cooling period but it heated up against once stormy came into the u.s. >> let's talk about the timeline. i think this is important. we filed our case in the beginning of march. that was only after michael cohen decided to volunteer some information in response to inquiries by "the wall street journal," who broke the story on the nda and the payment and the sar which i was in late february or early march.
>> the suspicious activity report the bank had filed flagging some transactions. >> correct. i mean, i'm sure what you're saying is true, but i find it hard to believe around the publishing of that "wall street journal" article which hit like a bombshell at the time that there was no communication between the president and mike cohen. i think that -- >> that's 2018. >> that's exactly when they starred communicating. > in 2017, to the best of your knowledge, they didn't have any communication. >> no, when they worked in trump tower pre-inauguration, they were thick as thieves. they were next door to each other. >> that's the key moment when michael cohen. >> can i ask a question for the table? so you got essential consultants. my understanding, i'm not a lawyer, my wife is a lawyer. setting up an llc is not hard. like, a half day of work maybe. you set up -- it's an e-mail. you set up an llc. he's got one. it's a fascinating llc. the pay stormy daniels llc, it's
the pay, get payment for arranging for a payment for elliott broidy, an rnc fund-raiser for his affair and a woman who became pregnant by him and terminated that pregnancy. it's the pay, the receivables for novartis and at&t and a korean jet maker and also viktor vekselberg. why is there one llc doing all this? >> i think the answer to that is is that, you know, michael cohen was lazy at the time and he wanted to establish this single llc. when he established the llc for the purpose of making the payment to my client, there's no question that's at least the initial purpose. >> that is when it's created. >> because of the timing, yes, it's created within a couple weeks of making that payment in late october of 2016. what's amazing to me is, or it's not that amazing to me because i have some insight now into michael cohen's ability as a lawyer, which i don't have any
respect for. he actually signed the llc incorporation papers in the state of delaware and that's what tied essential consultants llc to michael cohen and that's what "the wall street journal" relied upon. >> that's how they traced back. >> so he made a crucial error, he did not anonymize essentially his llc which he could have had he not signed the document. >> he made a series of errors. that was one. the second was lying to the bank about the purpose of the establishment of the accounts and what they would look like. the third one was utilizing the same llc on a go forward basis and not making it a single purpose entity. >> and terminating it once it had done the deal. >> he could have spent another $500 or $700 and established another llc to use in connection with receiving payments from russian oligarchs and the like but decided not to. >> i've done a lot of investigation of people hiding their money. you create nested llcs with
various and complex ownership usually designated nominee owners meaning some random person in a law firm somewhere is the official owner. it's actually not that hard to hide the stuff. but the whole period speaks of this desperate, manic, i'm finally winning. i'm finally getting it. i'm just going for it as quickly as i can. >> to me, the ultimate question here and we'll know because i think the facts will out -- is whether that franticness is, the bizarre selling wares in trump tower, whether it ends up being exculpatory or inculpatory. is this a clueless operation happening or is it with the coordination of the man who would ultimately be the president of the united states. which is the question. >> or highly likely to be both. i think, by the way, you see a desperation on the other side. in a certain sense, viktor vekselberg paying off cohen to
get access to trump is exculpatory of collusion. >> you're sending money to michael cohen. >> we see a lot of evidence of people around the kremlin and the saudis and the qataris, around the israelis, people discounting trump like all of us did and then suddenly after november, desperately trying to get in. >> that's when the rush happens. >> adam, emily, michael, thank you all for being with me. coming up, the trump administration goes right back at the doj for asking for another briefing. the latest on the plot to stop mueller ahead. next, the government now taking children away from their parents when they try to cross the border. the horrific stories of what's unfolding in our country in two minutes. wait what? directv gives you more for your thing. your... quitting cable and never looking back thing. directv is rated #1 in customer satisfaction over cable.
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sure. mom,what's up son?alk? i can't be your it guy anymore. what? you guys have xfinity. you can do this. what's a good wifi password, mom? you still have to visit us. i will. no. make that the password: "you_stillóhave_toóvisit_us." that's a good one. [ chuckles ] download the xfinity my account app and set a password you can easily remember. one more way comcast is working to fit into your life, not the other way around. in what appears to be or for what appears to be the first time ever, this country is now systematically taking children from their parents at the border thanks to new directives issued by the trump administration. immigrants arriving at the border often seeking asylum
there to tell border patrol they're there, are having children ripped away from them. immigration and civil rights groups are saying they have never seen anything like this. kids as young as 9 years old or 7 years old, cases of children as young as 18 months, okay? ripped out of the arms of their mother. and putting those children into government-run shelters for a specific reason, to punish the immigrants. to serve as what john kelly called a tough deterrent in an interview this month. when confronted with the idea that separating mothers from children is cruel he added "the children will be taken care of, put into foster care or whatever." that's a verbatim quote, or whatever. if kelly's words or whatever about the fate of an 18-month-old don't fill you with confidence, the federal government has the capacity or the intention to take care of these children, their track record makes it clear your doubts are warranted. because last month, "the new
york times" reported hhs lost track of nearly 1,500 migrant children placed with sponsors. of more than 7,000 unaccompanied minors, who come without parents that cross the border, that's 1,500 children lost by the government. here to help me understand what this administration is doing to these children and their families, the deputy director of the national immigrant rights project, the aclu and laura st. john who provides free legal services to people in immigration custody. laura, i just want to start on a factual basis which is, the government is doing something they haven't done before which is to separate children from parents. right? >> that's correct, chris. what's happening right now is unprecedented. what we've seen here in arizona is actually since january over 200 cases of parents being separated from their children. and some of these children are
extremely young, as you mentioned. we've seen children who are 2 years old regularly. and just last week, we saw a 53-week-old infant in court without a parent. >> i'm sorry. i'm having a hard time thinking about this. so a 53-week-old infant comes with presumably his or her mother and are apprehended by customs border patrol and are processed in some way and at some point someone from the government in a uniform comes and physically takes a 53-week-old baby away from the mother. >> that's correct. yeah, what happens oftentimes at the border is that the parents are separated and taken into separate custody and the children are brought into the custody of the office of refugee resettlement. and brought into shelters that are run by the government. >> there are shelters and then it's hard to run a child care system.
like, who is watching the 53-week-old infant? >> so again, it's the office of refugee resettlement is tacked with housing children who are unaccompanied minors. and in the past that's always referred to children who cross the border sort of on their own and wasn't really involving young children like what we're seeing now. >> i see. >> but what we're seeing now is that because the government is separating the children from the parents, the government is actually rendering these children as unaccompanied minors and making them unaccompanied and bringing them into shelters. >> now i understand. so you've got a situation where there are unaccompanied minors that cross the border by themselves and they tend to be 14, 15. >> that's unfortunate they're here by themselves and they need somewhere to go. that's one situation. why create that situation? if that's what's happening now. we're creating it. >> we didn't do that before. policy used to be you show up with an 18-month-old old in your arms, you're not going to be told you can come to the u.s. you will be processed with that child.
>> this is unprecedent. this is the worst thing i've seen in 25-plus years of doing civil rights work. i'm talking to these mothers and they are describing their kids screaming mommy, don't let them take me away. 5 years old, 6 years old. they're being ripped away. >> do they see them? >> they don't see them. they get to speak to them once in a while. if you're talking about an 18-month-old, 2 years old, they can't even speak on the phone. i feel like these debates are becoming so abstract, if the policy makers could sit in the i.c.e. offices for a day and watch these little kids begging not to be taken away, they're already traumatized from having to flee their countries and then they're taken away. the medical evidence is overwhelming, we may be doing permanent trauma to these kids. and yet, the government's finding every way they can to try and justify it. let me make two points about the statements that the secretary has been putting out, secretary nielsen. she's saying you don't want your child taken away, go to a port of entry and present yourself and say you want asylum.
people presenting themselves at a border still had their child taken away. >> i want to talk about this story for a second. a woman fleeing the congo comes to the united states. not sneaking in. she is showing up at a port to say i am here seeking asylum in america the beacon of liberty with my child. i throw myself on your mercy and the u.s. government does what. >> they put her in a makeshift hotel with the daughter for four days and they say we want the daughter to come in another room for a second. the daughter goes in the other room. the mother hears the child screaming, please don't take me away from my mommy. the mother wasn't told where the child was going for four days. she went to chicago. the mother was in san diego. chicago might as well as be the moon for someone from a little village in the congo. gets to speak to the daughter once every few weeks. for a few minutes. when we filed a lawsuit, the government says by the time she made it to the congo, she no longer had her papers. of course not. they said maybe she wasn't the mother.
the judge said why didn't you do the dna test. they do the dna test, of course she's the mother. >> i want to read to you laura, from one of the declarations from a mother named miriam separated from her 18-month-old son just about that moment that happens. immigration officers made me walk out my son to a government vehicle and place him in a car seat. he was crying as i put him in the seat. i didn't have a chance to comfort my son because the officer slammed the door shut as soon as he was in the seat. i was crying, too. i cry even now when i think about that moment when the border officer took my son away. is that a common -- is that happening a lot? >> you know, i think what our clients report in terms of the devastation that they feel having been separated from their children, i hear stories of that nature pretty regularly, unfortunately. and the type of devastation
we're talking about, you know, what lee mentioned where a family or a separated mother doesn't know where her child is for four days, that's entirely common right now in administration is that children and parents who are separated sometimes don't have any way to communicate with each other for days, for weeks. i've seen months where a parent had no idea where their child was after the u.s. government took the child away. >> you're suing. >> we are. >> can they do this? >> we don't believe they can. we are waiting for the decision and think it will come any day. we are hoping the judge says this can't happen any longer. i want to make one other point. even the women and fathers who cross the border are being prosecuted. we don't think asylum seekers should be prosecuted. what we've said in court is, you want to prosecute them for a misdemeanor and they get a few days in jail, give the child back after. we have a client, the named plaintiff in our case, one of the named plaintiffs did time served for a few days for the prosecution. it's been seven months, they haven't returned her child.
>> where is the kid? >> in a facility in chicago. >> in chicago? >> and she is in texas. they told her your son is in chicago and she said to us, i don't know whether chicago is a man, a place, a facility, that's all they said to her. your son is in chicago. >> what does a lawsuit contend about why they don't have the power to do this? it's morally odious and despicable. i'm sorry, i'm editorializing. why is it not permissible? >> we say the due process clause prevents a parent and child from being separated unless there's a compelling reason, that the parent is a danger to the child. of course, if the parent is beating the child or neglectful. you don't separate for no reason. now the government won't in court admit they're doing it to punish even though that's what they were saying publicly. they're trying to come up -- >> they're not being clear about that?
>> no, they're coming with retroactive justifications. >> they're saying they're doing it for a reason not as a blanket policy. >> when the judge pressed and said, what's the reason. they said well, maybe it's not really the parent. and the judge said what about dna. it went like that one after another. they are not -- >> they won't admit what the policy is. >> they won't admit the rationale for the policy. when you go through the rationales, none of them make sense. >> i want to be clear because i know there's a lot of things about the way that immigration policy works in this country that center been broken and terrible for a long time. sometimes people find them in the trump administration. turns out there's been stuff like this happening for a long time. this is not that, right? you've been doing this work. this is new. >> yeah, absolutely. again, this is unprecedented. the number of people that we are seeing being separated is like nothing i've seen. i've been here for nearly a decade in arizona doing immigration work. >> does it take a toll -- i keep thinking about having that job
of taking a screaming child away. >> does it take a toll on the people doing this? >> you know, i can't speak for anybody who works for border patrol. but i will say that i think what is happening is absolutely inhumane. you mentioned that a lot of things about immigration law are complicated. and can be confusing. and i would say this is not that situation. you know, taking parents and children and separating them for no good reason, there is no reason to do that. it's just unjustifiable frankly, and inhumane. >> if you're watching this and feeling it is inhumane, i would urge to you contact people that represent you in the united states government to tell them that you feel that way. thank you both. >> thank you. we'll be right back after this. kyle, we talked about this. there's no monsters. but you said they'd be watching us all the time.
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today, president trump unleashed another series of absurd conspiratorial tweets asserting his unfounded allegations that a spy was placed in his campaign. it cannot be said enough when you think about all this that there were two investigations by the fbi during the 2016 presidential election. the investigation of hillary clinton and her e-mails which was conducted in excruciating public detail and yet, we heard nothing of the investigation in the trump campaign even as a foreign adversary sabotaged his rival with the possibility the trump campaign was colluding to commit that sabotage. let's bring in msnbc analyst mimi rocah, daniel goldman, also
former federal prosecutor in the southern district of new york, and harry litman, attorney general at the department of justice. i want to sort of look where we are at the end of this week. let's start with the recent news which is the president's lawyer rudy giuliani saying a day after this unusual briefing happened about a confidential classified confidential information about an informant that this information should be briefed to the white house now which is, you know, part of the investigation. what do you make of that? >> i think this shows that the pretext for the meeting that happened, the supposed congressional oversight was just a complete lie. >> they didn't even wait 24 hours. >> exactly. and giuliani, you can think what you will about his strategy but he certainly comes out and says what the rest of us see as implied in what they're doing. he's admitted it. this was really about the president and his legal team subjects and targets, i'm not
saying he's a target or a subject, i don't know which one but he's part of this investigation. them getting information about that very investigation. and that is just preposterous. no other american or person in the world would be entitled to that, nor should they. >> do you agree? >> i absolutely agree. and there were some rumblings that emmet flood and john kelly were going to sort of broker this thing. that was bad enough. the meeting itself was bad enough. but now for giuliani to sort of spout these incoherent and nonsensical rationales as to why the president should get information about a confidential informant under the guise of this newfound interest in transparency, they're called confidential informants for a reason. >> cis. >> they are confidential.
the fbi does not operate in a transparent world set aside hillary clinton. but, you know, this is -- this is a fallacious rationale to even be as mimi says the pretext for it. >> harry, to me there's also this seems like a red line. so the question at the beginning of the week was, nunes and his crew and the white house are leaning on rosenstein to give them this meeting and is shown this information and to start an investigation at the department of justice. rosenstein boots it over to the ig and he gives this meeting. and the thought is, okay, he's threading the needle there and trying to keep his job. if the white house demands something like this that seems to me something you can't brook compromise on. >> a red line for two reasons. everything that mimi and dan said, spot on. you don't play an open hand with a defendant in this subject in a criminal investigation which is what trump is. but in some ways even more seriously as the reddest of red
lines, you don't give information about a longstanding confidential informant who we're now reading all about in the newspapers what all it means for him and future fbi recruits. it was stunning. as a matter of principle of the real sort of dna of what the department does, i agree with you. that second one, that giving up of a confidential informant seemed awfully close to a point where you have to say, enough already. every sort of appeasement has brought an encroachment in short order and a more serious one. but, look, we also know that rosenstein and wray are doing the highest of high-wire acts with principle on one hand but really practical concerns about mueller on the other and wins coming in in every direction. there are things we don't know about what they're trying to safeguard with mueller.
if you look at resignations as reserved for the point of sort of high principle, this more than anything that's happened i think all year, crossed a clear line of the doj mission and lifeblood. >> would you -- think about the advice that you would be giving to rosenstein and wray right now. if they called you up and said, what's the move here? i think i'm sympathetic to the position they're in and i also sense that rosenstein, there's two things that make me think he's committed to protecting the investigation. he said the justice department won't be extorted, a word associated with organized crime and made it sound like he was talking about a mafioso group and "b," the fact that he signed off on the search warrant on cohen. i don't know what he saw that he signed off on, but that makes me think he's seen stuff that cases that, yeah, there's some real
probable cause of criminal activity here. >> you talked about this last night in your show. it was informative. about mueller's filing most recently. and the nuggets that are in there about how much more there is going on and that's why when giuliani, part of his rationale for saying why the white house should be briefed, the informant didn't find anything, because if he did, we would know about it. no, we wouldn't. that's the point. this is ongoing investigation. there's a lot that mueller knows and rosenstein has seen. that gives me faith. i think how much more they know than we do. >> right. but if that's the case, if you think that rosenstein is a sort of good faith guarantor of the integrity of the investigation which, i just want to be clear, if the investigation minds that the president is totally blameless and innocent, it would be a good thing for that to be found by someone with integrity to then be able to go to the country and say, look, right? that if we think that or if you think he is a guarantor of that and the question becomes, don't you think it's dangerous if he quits, if he's being baited into quitting?
>> i think that's what his rationale was. i think this is, harry's right. it's a red line that no one has crossed since watergate. but i think rosenstein wanted to live to fight another day. this was not the hill that he wanted to die on. this was somewhat of a secondary incidental issue in the broader picture of what this investigation is. and i don't think that rod rosenstein felt like this is what i'm going to resign about. and if that really are the two, if those are the two options, i mean, we've been talking months and months and months about rosenstein getting fired, mueller getting fired. he has held on to this point. he's not ready to give this up unless there's just something that he cannot in good conscience deal with. >> as i understand the strategy, right, watching this, harry, the strategy seems to be this kind of, there sort of alley-oop of where devin nunes throws it up for the white house to dunk, right? where the idea is, congress is -- congress is going to keep
escalating the asks and escalate the asks until they get a no, basically. and that's going to be the predicate for firing rosenstein. that seems to me what the strategy is. what do you think? >> i think it's spot on. and you do think at each stage when he gives them a little bit more, ah, maybe this will satisfy him. but threw are insatiable. there's no issue of principle here or no sort of limit based on outrage. so, yes, i think dan has exactly what's in rosenstein's mind but there has to be some kind of limit if trump said shoot this guy or resign. >> or turn over all the files, like, we're going to go through them. >> that's right. so but it's an incredibly difficult calculation for him with everything else he knows because he doesn't know how trump's going to react, who the
new person would be. but surely, you know, people who have been in this position in the past have thought there are lines that can't be crossed. we haven't seen those lines yet. there may not be any because he maybe has his eye exclusively on the ball of safeguarding mueller who we expect to be coming out with the first part of his report within weeks. and that will change the whole complexion of everything. >> mimi rocah, daniel goldman and harry litman, thank you for your time. still to come, harvey weinstein makes his first appearance in court. i'll talk to one of the reporter who broke the weinstein story next. plus, wyatt cenac will join us, still ahead. can make you feel unstoppable.
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handcuffs taken down to criminal court and charged with first and third degree rape for an incident at the double tree hotel in 2013 and charged with a first degree criminal sex act in relation to another accuser for an incident in 2004. >> that investigation revealed that this defendant used his position, money, and power to lure young women into situations where he was able to violate them sexually. >> weinstein continues to deny having engaged in nonconsensual sex. in that courtroom was megan tuohy, the investigative journalist from the "new york times" whose pulitzer prize winning reporter helped exposed the allegations along with jodi kantor. what was that scene like? >> it was surreal. when jodie and i started our reporting in the spring, summer of 2017, we were continuingly coming across women who were terrified to go on the record and share their stories. there was the sense what we now
understand to be decades of sexual abuse allegations and sexual assault allegations against him, there was the sense it was never going to catch up with him, that he would escape untouched. today that came to an end. today to see him in handcuffs brought into the courtroom, he looked terrified. he looks out at us and there were reporters in the rows of seats there and to have him step out and look around, you could tell it felt like something was finally shifting in this power dynamic that he had been able to abuse for so long. >> how did this come about? how did the charges come about? >> so we broke our story and ronan farrow broke his story shortly after in october of 2017. and that really once that sort of unsealed all of these allegations that came spilling out of sexual assault, of rape. >> dozens and dozens. >> and dozens. and at that point, the new york police department launched
an investigation. they've been working with the district attorney's office. there's a separate federal investigation here in new york. there's one in l.a. there's one in london. so you've had the simultaneous criminal investigations under way. and these are the first charges. >> this is being prosecuted by the manhattan district attorney cy vance who is quite famously declined to prosecute or whose office declined to prosecute him in the past. >> it's worth noting it wasn't starting, just starting in the fall of 2017 and women came forward with allegations. what we saw in 2017 was an avalanche of allegations that spilled out. but there were women who stepped forward in previous years with allegations of abuse by him. and in 2015, there was italian model who showed up at his office for a work meeting and within hours went to the new york police and said that he had groped her and tried to sexually abuse her. she wore a wire. she worked with the new york police and wore a wire and was
able to obtain what, you know, the recording certainly sounds like a taped confession by weinstein. and the district attorney's office chose not to prosecute that case and has come under a lot of criticism for that. it certainly was under a lot of pressure here in the last eight months to execute criminal charges i think if they found they were warranted. >> there are two women who are accusers here, one is anonymous. tell me about the other one. >> so the other one is a woman who was a college student, aspiring actress, in 2004 when she also showed up for a work meeting at harvey weinstein's office here in new york. as she has described it, he proceeded to force her into performing oral sex on him. >> have you talked to your sources today about how they're feeling watching all this happen. >> when the news alert went out yesterday evening, late afternoon, yesterday evening
with the news that he was going to turn himself in today and there were going to be criminal charges and the first thing i did was to send that out to many of the women that we have worked with who say they have suffered sexual assault and rape by him and other misconduct. and it was immediately started working the phones and talking to these women. and it was something that you could just feel the relief, the pent-up fear many of these women have been carrying around for months and months. one of the things that's happened in the last eight months is this global reckoning over sexual harassment and assault. his company has crumbled, weinstein's company. there still is a major question of whether or not the criminal law would catch up with him or whether or not this alleged predator would continue to walk streets. >> megan tuohy, thank you. after the break, wyatt cenac joins me in studio. don't go anywhere. ♪ this is a jungle gym... and a baseball diamond...
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you're living here on the street and you need to use the bathroom or you need to wash up, what do you do? >> so let's say we live right here. man, we've got a tent right here. this is our tent, right? so it's 2:00 in the morning. >> do we have a nice tent? >> yeah, yeah, yeah. this is a big one right here. we got bicycles, too. >> oh, nice. all right. >> so let's say we're right here. let's say 12:00 at night you've got to use the bathroom. where do you go? look around you. where do you go? >> in somebody else's tent? >> comedian wyatt cenac's new show on hbo is called "wyatt cenac's problem areas." each half-hour episode cuts back and forth between cenac on the set and him doing some feature reporting in the field. the show devotes most of its first season looking at issues of policing. and even though some of these stories can be distressing to watch, cenac doesn't seem inclined to righteous indignation. perhaps that is because as "the new yorker" writes, he is black, he lacks the luxury of venting anger through your television set without risking being profiled as a threat.
with me now, wyatt cenac, host of "wyatt cenac's problem areas" which has just been renewed for a second season by hbo. congratulations. it's a really, really, really good show. >> thank you. >> what do you think of that description? >> that's an interesting description. i do think to some degree as a person of color in this country you are taught from a young age how you engage with law enforcement is different than perhaps white people can engage with law enforcement. and especially how affluent people can engage with law enforcement. so there is a real guard that you have to kind of walk into the world with. and anything that is, you know, that seems untoward or seems emotional all of a sudden does seem like a threat. we hear that as it seems like a threat to law enforcement but i think it's also a threat as how people perceive you even being critical of law enforcement or anything in this society.
>> you did a lot of reporting in the first season on policing, looking at attempts to sort of do community policing, you know, the kind of iconic, like, the police play basketball with the kids. what sort of surprised you most? what did you learn? what did you come away with from the law enforcement policing reporting you did? >> i think one of the biggest things was wherever we went from city to city it felt like the places where there was actual real substantive change were the places where law enforcement and community actually had a real dialogue and real conversation and, you know, with something like community policing oftentimes what it can wind up looking like is law enforcement saying, we know what you need without actually talking to community members and saying, right, we work for you, the
taxpayer. what is it you want us to do? >> a service model, if you will. >> yeah. i think that's one of the sort of most interesting things, just traveling from city to city and also just recognizing how localized everything is. we kind of talk about policing in this sort of national very polarized conversation. and then as you drill down and you get into communities it becomes, well, what does it look like for this community? going to a place like skid row, their interaction with law enforcement in l.a. is so different than someone -- you know, the interaction that law enforcement has in new york with people or even just in other parts of l.a. >> it's the crazy thing about the american criminal justice system is that it's not one system, it's thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands of systems. you've got police departments with 12 cops. you've got -- >> yeah. and you have police departments with 12 cops that have like full s.w.a.t. -- >> tanks.
exactly. >> you have police departments with two cops that have that. and it's like, why do you have that? >> it's interesting right now because i think in the last three or four years there's been so much focus on police and police equity and civil rights and dealing with the police and people shot by the police. we're having an interesting moment right now. there's a lot of occasion -- attention being paid to people calling the police. right? like the barbecue in oakland. the starbucks incident. what do you think we're learning right now as people start to talk about -- particularly people of color talk about the experience and record the experience of having the cops called on them? >> right. i think there's a couple things that exist there. on the one hand there's this thing of, like, what is it that we actually want law enforcement to do? >> exactly. >> why is you see someone using charcoal at a grill in a park, why does that somehow rise to
the level of having to bring out armed people who have authority by the state to take a life? why is that the level of force that is needed to deal with briquettes? >> or like two people sitting in a starbucks for two minutes. >> yeah. where is -- on some level it seems like the way that people look at law enforcement, it has become like a television remote control inasmuch as, okay, i remember the days when you had to get up and walk to the television and turn and say, okay, i'm going to turn it to channel 39 and then it's like i don't have to do that, i can just pick this thing up and cops in this weird way for a lot of people in this society have become a remote control because i don't want the awkwardness as starbucks manager to have to go say to these people, hey, excuse me, you know, i have my own personal bias where i see you and you haven't bought anything and i think there's something
wrong with you because i don't want to deal with the fact that there's something wrong with me that i see a threat that doesn't actually exist. >> so much of this is, yeah, calling in the people with guns and the authority to kill to avoid awkwardness or vulnerability or avoid seeming i think there's also a funny white liberal guilt with avoiding seeming racist. >> so i'll just call -- >> right. because that looks weird and bad. and instead of that being the thing that checks you in your head instead i call the cops so they do it. >> yeah, let them -- they'll stand on the front lines, being the racist i don't want to be. >> wyatt cenac, the show's called "problem areas." it's on hbo. it's really, really good. i hope you check it out. >> thank you, yeah. >> congrats on the second season. be sure to watch "wyatt cenac's problem areas" every night friday night on hbo. also on tuesday joy reid and i will be hosting a town hall where we'll dive into some of these very same themes and
issues and a whole lot more. it's next tuesday at 9:00 p.m. eastern. also happening next tuesday, a new episode of my podcast, "why is this happening?" make sure you're subscribed now. be the first to listen to the new episode. it's a really, really fun one. i'll tell you about my teenage years. i'm joy reed in for lawrence o'donnell. we have breaking news on the russia investigation. just in tonight and it's something that will likely cause concern inside the trump white house and inside the immediate family of donald trump. the reporting comes to us from michael isikoff of yahoo news and the headlines gets to the point, trump's son should be concerned. fbi obtained wiretaps of a putin ally who met with trump jr. isikoff reports the fbi obtained secret wiretaps collected by spanish police of conversations involving aleksandr torshin, a deputy governor of russia's central bank, that led to a