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tv   Deadline White House  MSNBC  June 4, 2018 1:00pm-2:00pm PDT

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entrepreneur here. regularly i'm asked by people here in silicon valley who agree with me, michael, aren't you afraid -- >> hold that thought,t thought. holdought. >> yes, i am afraid they're going to do that. if you can get in front of congress you could. you can retaliate against people like me. >> we're out of time. we can continue the discussion about what to do about facebook next. michael fur tick is founder and managing partner of heroic ventures. that wraps this hour up for me. i'll see you back here tonight. "deadline white house" with nicolle wallace starts right now. >> hi, everyone. :00 in new york. the product of the president's b-team lawyers. that's how one presidential lawyer to date described the memo leaked to "the new york times" in explosive new reporting. "the new york times" report makes clear for the very first time that the president's defense in the obstruction of justice investigation being conducted by robert mueller is essentially to assert that a
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president can't obstruct justice, not that he the memo also lays out the case for depriving bob mueller of an interview with donald trump, something one trump advisor told me today is essential if the president's lawyers want to prevent robert mueller from adding lying to federal investigators in any report he plans to send to congress. from that "the new york times" report, quote, in a brash assertion of presidential power, the 20-page letter sent to special counsel robert mueller and obtained by "the new york times" contends that the president cannot illegally obstruct any aspect of the investigation into russia's election meddling because the nstitution empowers him to, quote, if he wished, terminate the inquiry or even exercise his power to pardon. the story landed with a thud in the oval office. the president started tweeting about it before it even posted online. and is still at it in a flurry of tweets this morning. the president writing, quote, the appointment of the special
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counsel is totally unconstitutional! despite that, we play the game because i unlike the democrats have done nothing wrong. one presidential advisor telling me that trashking mueller is not a prelude to firing robert mueller. the reason, according to this advisor, he said, quote, the president has a sense of when he's at risk and he knows that he's at risk if he fires mueller. but the president also tweeted about pardons today, writing, quote, as has been stated by numerous legal scholars, i have the absolute right to pardon myself. but why would i do that when i've done nothing wrong? in the meantime, the never ending witch hunt led by 13 very angry and conflicted democrats and others continues into the midterms. not so fast, mr. president. your pals don't think pardoning yourself would end well. >> the president of the united states pardoning himself would just be unthinkable. and it would lead to probably immediate impeachment.
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>> listen, there's no way that will happen and the reason it won't it then becomes a political problem, george. if the president were to pardon himself, he'll get impeached. >> one of the reporters on the by line tremendous story matt apuzzo, matt miller former chief spokesman for the justice department, joyce vance, former u.s. attorney law professor at the university of alabama, with us at the table frank figliuzzi, former fbi director counter intelligence. matt apuzzo, take us through this memo and how this has essentially changed the debate from one where nobody went on tv this weekend and said, the president didn't obstruct justice. they were making a very different case in their public comments, basically making this legal argument that he can't obstruct justice because he's the president and he has the right to terminate any investigation he wants. >> yeah, and many of the arguments in this memo we've
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heard varieties of -- variations on in public over the past year. but this really an effort by the president's lawyers to sort of chalk outline a very, very broad boundary on presidential authority. in a nutshell, the argument is the president can do absolutely anything when it comes to an investigation, even if it's an investigation into him, because he has -- he is the ultimate -- he has the ultimate power in the executive branch. he over sees the justice department. he can do absolutely anything he wants and it won't be obstruction of justice. it's remarkable, it's novel, and this idea that the president cannot possibly commit obstruction is one that i think we're going to be talking about a lot. >> let me read a little bit more from the piece and get you to give us some more context. so, you guys report that mr. trump's broad interpretation of executive authority is novel and is likely to be tested if a court battle ensues over whether
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he could be ordered to answer questions. it's unclear how that fight should the case reach that point. it's unclear how it would play out. the attempt to dissuade mr. mueller from seeking a grand jury subpoena is one of two fronts on whichp's lawyers are fighting. in recent weeks they have begun a public relations campaign to discredit the investigation in part to potentially damaging special counsel report that could prompt impeachment proceedings. so, it seems like t l at a moment when the stakes couldn't be higher for trump and his legal team do you have any insight into whether it is imminent? >> i don't have insight. this is a glimpse into the negotiations at the moment that they're sort of reaching their climax, right? will the president be interviewed or won't he be interviewed. we're seeing the back and forth. this is a document the likes of which we don't often get see. presidents usually have their
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lawyers try to write these sorts of memos, you know, privately and confidentially because they don't want to -- they don't want to put down the marker and say this is where i think the boundaries of presidential authority are, and that sort of murkiness has benefited presidents of both parties, you know, since the beginning of the republic. we all -- whether there is an investigation or whether it's congress, kind of -- it always works out best if everybody kind of works it out and we don't have to test the elasticity of the constitution. >> so, matt apuzzo, i want you to put this in the time line for ause you and your cleegds reported on the questions that robert mueller's investigators gave jay sekulow, one of the president's lawyers. that happened after robert mueller received this 20-page memo that was received -- that you guys obtained. but before this memo was crafted, there was -- the memo itself from john dowd and jay sekulow does seek to respond to
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areas of interest to robert mueller. can you take us through where this memo fits into the time line and how w better understand the time line of the obstruction investigation because of it? >> sure. ent was saying end of last year publicly, i would love to meet with bob mueller. can't wait to do it, should be done in a matter of weeks. and then this thing will be over. privately behind the scenes, the lawyers are basically saying you've got no business asking to sit with the president. and one of the arguments is we've given you so much. we've given you 20,000 pa docu we've made everybody in the west wing available to be interviewed. you have everything you need. the president cannot be compelled to sit, and certainly shouldn't even have to voluntarily sit. and i think this is important because what it's doing is it's basically a warning shot for mueller. it's preemptively emptying the canons and saying, here's what you're going to face if you actually go through with a subpoena. here's what's going happen if we
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go to court. you don't want that fight. let's try to work something out. >> so, when you sa warning shot to mueller, frank figliuzzi burst out laughing so we're going to go to you. >> there are no warning shots in the fbi. it's against the fbi policy to fire warning shots. i mean that. >> guessing you surmise robert mueller isn't moved by a warning shot. >> i worked with bob mueller where he's actually told d.o.j. in writing that he objects to their decision making. he doesn't agree with their policy and he puts it in writing and he signs it. that's who we're dealing with here. he's not someone who is going to acquiesce to a theory that the president can't be charged with any crime or can't be brought before grand jury. if anything, nicolle, this has actually energized him to do just that. >> so, two of his peers who worked alongside robert mueller in the years after 9/11 have said exactly this. what the media gets wrong about robert mueller is if he's
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decided whether or not he can indict the president, he wouldn't tell a dying relative. if he's decided whether or not to subpoena donald trump, he wouldn't tell anybody. nobody knows what robert mueller is going to do excepert mueller. so, what does this tell us about the degree of fear that trum legal teamas? i've heard that what scares them the most is mueller's silence. >> look, i've spent my career looking for indicia of guilt in people and studying behavior and i have to tell you, that what we're seeing are the actions of a guilty party. a guilty party saying, i didn't do that, but if i did then it -- >> here' how i'd argue in court? >> i should have done it anyway because i can do what i want. what we're seeing is not somebody exercising their legal rights. this is indicia of guilt. that is what guilty people say and what guilty people do. >> they're nodding. former cia director john brennan making a similar point this morning.
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we'll talk about it on the other side. >> his tweets are not the tweets of an innocent individual so i think it really demonstrates how desperate he is getting, grasping at straws and rudy giuliani well. neither rudy nor his boss feel k encumbered by facts. they're trying to get whatever traction among their base as possible. >> joyce, we're going to go through what is revealed on the flash points of obstruction of justice as we understand to be under investigation by robert mueller, the crafting of the statement on air force one, the firing of jim comey. i want you to address the broader topic of the conduct of a guilty person. >> the most surprising thing that we saw in this letter that the president's team wrote on his behalf is a really weak effort to argue that he's not guilty. most of their arguments are process arguments saying that the president can't be subpoenaed, can't be indicted, can't be investigated, shouldn't be impeached.
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we didn't really see a strong core argument saying, he's not guilty in the first place, so let's put an end to this. most surprising aspect of this e letter to people who looked at it. the very weak defense on substantive grounds, very little >> a this the distinction, ok. matt miller, that the president's allies make, that he is probably innocent on collusion because he was too incompetent to work that out and nail it down, but on obstruction, whoa, and sitting down in an interview, nway. this guy is full of hyperbole. i think chris christie has said that in interviews. he's a salesman. and i think rudy giuliani when confronted with some of the lies that are caught and what "the new york times" has reported said, hey, no objection from me. that's why he can never sit for an interview. what do you say and where are we, even the people defending the president are essentially calling him a liar who likely
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obstructed justice? >> i think they're really left with the nixon argument made in the memo. it essentially boils down to if the president does it that means it's not illegal. i think they're making that argument because they know at this point in the investigation muller has collected a tremendous amount of evidence. they're t goibe able to say trump didn't take the actions he knows he took. they will dispute somewhat that he said what he said to comey, but no one believes the president in a decision whether he or jim comey is telling the truth. i doubt they are going to be able to dispute any real way his motive when they get down to the end of it because they're going to have all of these people who he complained to about comey, all these people who he complained to about jeff sessions, his public comments to laelts abolester holt about why was firing comey. plenty of evidence. what you're left with is the legal argument if the president does it, it can't be illegal. i think the thing that was really striking about this memo, it wasn't just a retrospective argument. it's a prospective argument.
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it can't be illegal the president fired jim comey, an action as president. if he moves forward and terminates this investigation by either firing bob mueller or reaching in the justice department and ordering it be halted or exercising s pardon authority to pardon people close to him, that can't be structio justi either. they're really kind of ting to the most narrow argument they can make to defend the president. >> matt apuzzo, i want to drill down on some of the substance because one of the things -- one of the people having a bad d because of what you and your colleagues have reported, sarah huckabee sanders caught in another lie. i'm not sure if that makes her uncomfortable any more or not. let's watch sarah at today apartmen's briefing getting pushed about the air force one statement. >> if you're saying one thing from the podium it wasn't dictat dictated from the president, how can we believe what you're saying from the podium if his lawyers are saying it's entirely inaccurate? >> once again, i can't comment on a letter from the president's outside counsel and i direct you
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to ask them to answer it. >> you said he did not dictate. the lawyers said he did. what is it? >> i can onlyespond t er from theresident's outside counsel. we purposely walled off and i would refer you to them for comment. >> matt apuzzo us s the back story and don junior has been caught lying in his testimony bec he was also asked about the crafting of that statement. give us a little back story on what sarah was being pressed on and why. >> so, obviously last july, as my colleagues and i were kind of putting the finishing touches on this story, revealed the trump tower meeting had happened. we of course went tthe white house. we went to donald trump, jr., and went to everybody and asked for statements and we got a comment from donald trump, jr. through his lawyer that said, you know, this was basically a nothing meeting. it was mostly about russian adoption policy. basically pay it no mi and then of course we found out
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a couple days later and reported that the president had personally signed off on this. everybody at the white house and the legal team kind of went ballistic at that. and then the washington po >> mark corallo quit over this. mark corallo was the president's kind of p.r. guy on the legal team. he quit over this. he felt perhapstion of justice was happening in front of his eyes. this is one of the central flash points in robert mer's obstruction of justice investigation, right? >> yeah, and of course not after over the top.t comes he didn't just sign off othis,h. once again everybody gets spun up and says no, that's not true, it's fake news. everybody is lying. and, you know, the truth will come out. well, the truth did come out and this just happens again and again and again where reporters find things out. they go to the white house or they go to people around the president. they are told something and then it turns out to not be the case.
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and so this is the challenge of covering this administration. you know, they never look back on statements that are proven to be false and they just sort of plow ahead. and i think it's -- it's really why we're seeing the president so reluctant to sit in the chair with bob mueller because it's so easy to just brush off "the new york times" and tell them something that's not true. the lawyers even put in the letter to mueller, hey, this is a private matter between us and "the new york times." kind of buzz off. but they won't be able to do that if they end up talking to prosecutors. >> they gloss over their lies, but we're not going to let them. here are thoseies. >> the president was not -- did not draft the response. the response was -- came from donald trump, jr., and i'm sure in consultation with his lawyer. i do want to be clear, the president was not involved in the drafting of the statement and did not issue the statement. it came from donald trump, jr. so that's what i can tell you. >> he certainly didn't dictate, but, you know, like i said, he
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weighed in, offered suggestion like any father would do. >> like any father would do, lie. hang on, before we let you go. i want to tell you don junior also lied aboutthis. donald trump, jr., was your father involved in drafting your july 8 statement? i don't know, i never spoke to my father about t. do you know who drafted the statement? well, there were numerous statements drafted by people who were involved. opined. to the best of your knowledge, did the president provide any edits to the statement? he may have commented. do you know if hope hicks' comments were incorporated? i believe some but this is an effort through lots of people. lies, lies, lies. they make it all up. >> it's not only run throughout the trump family, but it's spread to jay sekulow. you heard the statements jay sekulow just made, right? before he said that, he had written this memo to mueller saying -- >> right, he wrote the memo -- >> my client drafted the response to the trump tower
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meeting. on tv, he says, no. he may be facing state bar issues, jay sekulow and someone should bring this up for investigation at the state bar. >> joyce, let me let you jump in on that. so, jay sekulow, as frank points out, is one of the authors of this memo, we believe, or he was at least co-counsel with john dowd. he wrote in this memo that the president dictated the statement when he media started asking. we now know that he was lying at the time that he made those statements to the press. we don't know if he's the one that directed sarah huckabee sanders to lie from the podium, but he could have been someone she reached out to. what sort of predicament does that create for jay sekulow? >> it's a serious predicament, and every state bar takes this function of self-policing its members very seriously, so he may face charges actually not just in the district of columbia, but every place where he's barred. i'm not sure how many states he has bar membership in. but any or all of them could investigate him.
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he may have a story. he may have an explanation. he's certainly entitled to bring it forward. but the time line here is very damaging. it indicates that he lied, that he permitted that lie to be perpetrated on the public at the same time he was telling a different story to mueller's team. one wonders how mueller's team will evaluate that and whether that will have any effect on their consideration. >> no one is going anywhere. when we come bacore on the debate whether robert mueller will subpoena the president and how is that standoff could end. the impeachment debate. donald trump's allies are eyeing the senate as a safeguard. also ahead the very best for last, my most favorite and perhaps the most outlandish claim in the 20-page memo leaked to "the new york times" is one that you won't want to miss. ways to lose stubborn belly fat. the northern percussion massage. not cool. freezing away fat cells with coolsculpting?
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if the president is asked to testify, subpoenaed to testify before a grand jury and says, no, not gonna do it -- >> you have to do it. >> that was vintage rudy giuliani 20 years ago saying yes, the government has to comply if he's served with a subpoe. he believes a subpoena from mueller could be on the horizon according to "the new york times." giuliani has apparently had a convenient change of heart telling the huff post yesterday, in no case can be subpoenaed or indicted. matt apuzzo, matt miller, joyce and frank are still with us. matt, let me start with you since this is your piece. put a lot of these debates in motion and i know you don't know
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where this stands. is it possible that he's already been subpoenaed and that some of the president's lashing out is in response to something they are trying to game out right now in real time? >> we don't have any indication of that. i suppose in the realm of anything is possible. you know, i don't -- i don't blame -- certainly funny the old clip from giuliani. but you know as well as i do that lawyers, lawyers take whatever position they need to take when they represent people, so i understand that and frankly there is some debate constitutionally about whether the president has to comply with a subpoena for testimony. the only case law on point here is a subpoena for documents. obviously in the nixon case which didn't go nixon's way. you know, so smarter people than me are going to debate this. i don't know whether it's going to come down to a subpoena
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fight, but if it does, it's just going to drag on and on and it's going to be -- if the president's goal is to get this cloud cleared over the white house, this is just going to darken the cloud and have it linger there evenonger. >> matt miller i talked to someone today and i made the point that george w. bush willingly sat down with pat fitzgerald who was investigating the leaking of valerie plame's name. i don't remember, any of this standoff, anybody afraid he was going to lie. we are where we are because even the president's advisors know that he's a liar. so, take me inside what that looks like from the justice department perspective. i mean, how does rod rosenstein preserve the integrity of an investigation when the person at the top of his chain of command is a known liar. >> it's a difficult question. i think the -- you hit on a key point in this, which is rod rosenstein's role. we talked in the last segment about what the president's lawyers are trying to do here is pressure bob mueller through this -- i actually think there is another target, that's rod
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rosenstein. before any subpoena was executed it would have to be approved by rosenstein, the deputy attorney general. if you look at the way this memo is written, it very plainly talks about the fact rod rosenstein wrote the memo that justified jim comey's firing. it mentions he edited the president's termination letter firing him. if you take that and the fact this memo has become public now, look at what's happened the last few weeks where there is constant pressure from the white house and the president's allies on capitol hill on rod rosenstein to do things that compromise the department's core interests, compromise the independence of the department's investigations, i think one of the things they are trying to do is, look, they know he can't end this investigation. he can't take some radical step and fire mueller, shut this investigation down. but he's going to have to approve close calls. he's going to have to approve calls does he let mueller subpoena the president if he wants to and they're just trying to push him hard enough when it comes to those close calls, he sides with the president and not with the special counsel. >> joyce, a source told me that the pressure they're really trying to apply is on timing. they're trying to get bob
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mueller to wrap this up by september 1st with or without an interview. i'm told without one. >> you know, they'de to see this wrap up and what they have on their side quite frankly is d.o.j.'s historical lack of willingness to take steps too close to an election. the view in public corruption cases is you need to go into a quiet mode 30, 60 days before an election so you're not influenced by an investigation that hasn't yet decided whether anl be indicted. i really don't think mueller is going to be concerned with what their timing goal is here. i don't think he'll take it into consideration. i don't think that it will play here. they can want that just like they can want the president to not be investigated, but that's not where mueller is headed with this much like frank talked about in the first segment. >> so, frank, one of the people we've been talking about rod ros enstein, he's very much thrown
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under the bus in this memo. they go back to putting the comey firing on rod rosenstein which we know from video we air all the time and the president telling lester holt, no, i was going to fire him all along because i didn't like the way the russia investigation is going, we know from what the president said to russian officials in the oval office, you know, i'm so happy that the pressure is off of me. it was relieved by firing comey. they go back to blaming rosenstein for the comey firing in the memo. is that likely to be viewed by robert mueller's investigators as a credible defense? >> unfortunately rod rosenstein finds himself now in the thick of this and that's the worst place for any prosecutor to be to actually become a possible fact witness. and i think that mueller is going to have to interview rosenstein if that hasn't happened already. and this creates the whole taint of a possible conflict and a possible call for recusal of rosenstein, which i predict is the next thing we're going to hear from the white house. >> let me press you on that.
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what happens if rod rosenstein has to be recused from this? >> we know he's overseeing the special counsel investigation because the attorney general himself is recused so now we have the possibility of an insertion of a new deputy attorney general -- >> who would it be? >> it literally does not have to be anyone in the line of succession. it could theoretically be someone the president places there himself. >> what a scary thought. all right. matt apuzzo, matt miller, thank you forrer for spending so much time for us. it's not 5 minutes. we appreciate you. when we come back the real impeachment strategy it doesn't necessarily involve avoiding impeachment at all. ette for 20 . i bet i'm the first blade maker you've ever met. there's a lot of innovation that goes into making our thinnest longest lasting blades on the market. precision machinery and high quality materials from around the world. nobody else even comes close. it's about delivering a more comfortable shave, every time. invented in boston. made and sold around the world.
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as governor, you can trust me to do what's right- because i always have. two sources close to the president have told me the real impeachment strategy isn't to avoid being impeached in the house. it's to avoid conviction in the senate. these sources pointed to the fact the president loves a good fight, that the democrats may
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regain control of the house, and that bill clinton's approval ratings were in the 60s when he was impeached. to that end "the new york times" reports, quote, trump's lawyers have also begun a public relations campaign to discredit the investigation and, in part, pre a potentially damaging special counsel report that could prompt impeachment proceedings. it looks like their strategy may be working. more republican members of congress are coming forward repeating the president's defense and therefore making impeachment charges less of a worry like house majority leader. >> mr. leader, are you bothered by the fact the white house lied about the president's involvement here? >> look, one thing i have found, this has gone on for more than a year. millions of dollars have been spent, the white house has been cooperating all the way through. this was all based upon was there collusion involved in the election. everyone has looked at this says there's no collusion going forward. >> trump has a unique power over his party and phil rucker of the washington post describes how he's been able to rally their
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support writing, quote, in trump's telling which can off be be more imaginary than real, he's a victim, a long suffering tormented vicktive. this posture makes him preserve political power. he has created around himself an aura of unfair persecution by the nation's elites, democrats, the media and law enforcement. that inspires sympathy from and solidarity with his supporters. let's bring in the rest of the panel. joining me at the table elise. david jolly, former republican congressman and jason johnson, politics editor for the root. all are msnbc analysts and bu joyce is still with us as well. let me start with you on, i don't know what other word to use. lameness of the republicans. >> so, i was one of the lone republican hold outs to vote for kevin mccarthy and i never did. when i ended up voting against him, i said to a colleague of yours on a different station, this probably makes him the next speaker of the house when the
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vacancy opens up. but the reality is what he did yesterday shows that he is not a loyalist to the constitution. he's a loyalist to donald trump. look, what we have seen this week and where -- it's monday -- is a white house prepared for the courtroom, a white house with allegiances on capitol hill that realize they're about to get into this in a very heavy way. and what we saw from kevin mccarthy is not an allegiance to article 1 authorities, that he may be seeding to should he become the next speaker. i think it's disqualifying what he said yesterday. it is not a man prepared to be speaker of the house and a trump administration. >> you know, the other thing that strikes me is that you can't put the tooth paste back in the tube. >>ight. >> the republican party now stands against the rule of law. they now stand against the legitimacy of an investigation being runy robert mueller. i mean, this is not an investigation being run by some gun slinging cowboy.
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this is a combat veteran. this is a man who was such an effective fbi director that a republican and democrat his ten tour.t -- obama extded the republican party is now on the record smearing the legitimacy of an investigation being run by robertueller. >> and they will continue to be so unless they see electoral consequence because that's what a lot of this positioning is about. it's positioning yourself to say, these crazy liberal democrats are going to try and destroy the government and impeach this president and we are here to protect him and we're saying this to all of our supporters out there. they are going to maintain this party line because they know if trump goes down, their party goes down. if trump goes down, their agenda goes down. >> what agenda? what are they trying to do? >> deregulation, scaling back -- >> isn't pruitt doing that from his soundproof phone booth? let me show you what i remember. this bugged me at the time. i remember geraldo saying to sean hannity a couple months ago that if fox news had been around
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nixon never would have had to resign. i think we have that sound. >> nixon never would have been forced to resign if you existed in your current state back in 1972, '73, '74. it's too bad for nixon because nobody like youed then. i s that bau i believe our prime responsibility now is to unshackle the 45th president of the united states. >> this is a mission statement of fox news in 2018, to unshackle the president of the united states from an investigation being run by robert s. mueller into russian meddlingn our democracy. and >> and funny you mention that geraldo quote. who has said that, none other than john dean himself who said he doubts that nixon would have actually been forced to resign had fox news existed back in the day. you have the echo chamber being so extreme on the right of the
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narrative of the wrongdoing by law enforcement officials that it may overcome what the actual findings are. >> law enforcement ispo to be part of the trump base. his convention was all about law and order president. >> a law and order president except when the law and order is aimed at hi this becomes very interesting because we hear the phrase constitutional crisis repeated oefrd and over again. >> yeah. >> essentially by unshackling the president in the way he wants to, he wants to usurp the other two branches of government. he wants to say the head of the executive branch has more power and authority than the other two branches. that's not how we're set up. that's not the country we live in. >> is that a constitutional crisis? >> if indeed he usurps the power of the supreme court to decide on whether he's sent to a grand jury or charged with a crime, if he decides he controls the congress to the point where impeachment can never occur, if he's attacking the rule of law and the constitution, we do have a crisis. >> nicolle, this is very important because historicaly
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matters here. this is not clinton, not nixon. this is saturday night massacre. when we try to draw advertise or cal parallels here, it really does matter. whether or not civil perjury or obstruction existed or not, that might get tested. butha we are seeing in the trump presidency is somebody who is behaving like nixon. somebody who is flirting with dismissing the very people who are investigating them. somebody like today, and it has been too normalized to suggest that he can pardon himself. that was not bill clinton's narrative. bill clinton's narrative was, i'm allowed certain civil defenses even though i am president of the united states. richard nixon was the constitution be damned. i'm the president and if i do it, it counts and itatters and it's legal. that's what donald trump is doing and why it is going down a road of impeachment. >> it's basically when we don't know what to do. i've said this about this president all along.
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the constitution wasn't written for a president like this. it was written for a moral man or woman. it was written for someone who had a sense of shame. it was written for parties and organizations and branches that didn't want to see their power usurped. everything in political science and history tells us congress is battling with the president to make sure that he doesn't usurp their authority and yet we have this congress that is perfectly happy to lay down and do whatever it is he wants. we are in a constitutional crisis because no one is doing their one job. and we don't know what the answer will be if the president finally pulls a trigger, gets rid of mueller, says he's going to pardon himself. we have no textbooks for this. that's why we're in crisis. >> when we come back, one of the first men charged in the mueller probe is back on the president's mind. could paul manafort be close to flipping on the president?
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we're not a private investigation firm to help you with vetting your people who you employ in your campaign. the fact isha the reason we operate that way is because in the justice department we're supposed to keep those things secret. we're legally bound to keep them secret nlgs unless and until we have some type of charges to announce. >> that is a little bit of tough love from the president's friend former u.s. attorney chris christie responding to tweets from the president. he wrote, quote, as only one of two people left who could become the president, why wouldn't the fbi or department of justice in quotes for some reason have told me they were secretly investigating paul manafort on charges that were ten years old and had previously, i think he meant to write been dropped during my campaign, should have told me. he continued. paul manafort came to the campaign very late and was with us very short -- i'm not reading the rest of this. anyway, he's tweeting about manafort, joyce vance. is he worried manafort is taking a deal? he was the campaign chairman.
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he said no one ever talked to any russians. they were awash in russians. they were bathing and showering with russians. there were russianseverywhere. he's been charged with gazillion counts ofiolation andthis and that. his son-in-law or former son-in-law just did a deal. what's the worry with paul manafort? >> you know, paul manafort was also charged with a crime conspiracy. that's a conspiracy to defraud the unitedstates. and mueller could but not necessarily will broaden that conspiracy and that has to be at the core of the president's concern. wiha conspiracy reach into his inner circle? could it, for instance, grab a family member or another close aide or even lead to himself if not for indictment purposes, but in the report that mueller ultimately writes? so -- go ahead. >> no, no, keep going. i want to add another question so, answer this and address this. steve bannon said in "fire and
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fury" the money laundering investigators, folks like an dry weissmann would go straight through paul manafort to get to jared to "f" trump. that was a theory posited by the president's most senior political advisor. >> you don't have to be aocket scientists to get tre. that's how prosecutors work. they go up that chain. and if paul manafort, who had a lot of capacity and who had a lot of ability to be around these people during the campaign and be involved in conversations, we saw in his daughter's tweets that were unfortunately leaked that he was running up and down the back stairs at trump tower talking to the president. he would have a lot of information to share with mueller, and it might be both historical information about trump's business dealings in russia, more modern information about what went on during the campaign, and even perhaps some insight into whether there was an expected payoff if there was collusion after the campaign. and the pressure on manafort at this point will be tremendous. he is close to trial in at least
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one of his cases. he is no longer getting friendly readings from the judges. there is a little blip there where one of the judges in alexand alexandria wanted to explore the constitutional power. mueller is close to the end of esident either knows something has happened or is worried manafort who he is increasingly trying to distance himself from he would have never hired if mull he had been told there were problems, trying to rule manafort out of the circle. >> and manafort was one of the first people charged. i think it was manafort and george papadopoulos who pleaded guilty or the guilty plea was unsealed that first day. but manafort also may be the person about whom they know the most. there was the no knock raid. they have dozens of zip files andrs and phones. manafort could tell them a lot if he were to cooperate. >> and if you're paul manafort and you're reading the president's tweet that is now starting to shift tone about you, right, it's sayinganafor may have been a bad guy and the
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fbi should have told me that. no long, i'm holding out for a pardon i'm the president's buddy. the president is wishing the fbi had toldow bad i am. so, what does that do to manafort? i think it makes him more incliei inclined to cooperate. >> it's different than the tweets sent out about mike flynn. stay strong, mike. >> the president senses something, manafort is close to cooperating or it's getting worse. manafort's former son-in-law has now flipped on him. things are bad. the president changing his tone. manafort is a bad guy, i wish i had known. >> we've heard this about george. this is a pattern for sure. >> ok, manafort is a bad guy. he knew better. he broke the law. it's clear he did that. and donald trump danced with the devil. donald trump is a guy who takes a lot of devils to the dances and that's exactly what he's caught up in. and you heard it from manafort's own family. we know that that's the direction that mueller is looking at. mueller is saying, donald trump,
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you sought counsel from all these people. people who likely violated the law and some we indicted or gotten plea deals from, what did you know and when did you know it? it is the reason that his attorneys will not let him sit with bob mueller. >> all right. joyce vance, thank you for spending so much time with us. when we come back, the one portion of that 20-page memo that might be, might be the most absurd. that chevy won a j.d.power dependability award for its midsize car-the chevy malibu. i forgot. chevy also won a j.d. power dependability award for its light-duty truck the chevy silverado. oh, and since the chevy equinox and traverse also won chevy is the only brand to earn the j.d. power dependability award across cars, trucks and suvs-three years in a row. phew. third time's the charm...
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we're back. at least i read this with my highlighter and my pen and i burst out laughing and spit my tea all over myself. i thought i would share. i am reading along. i'm not a lawyer so i'm struggling through parts of it. but this is i get to this. we express again as we have expressed before that the special counsel's inquiry is and remains to be a burden for the president and his office, has endangered the safety and security of our country and has interfered with the abilities of the president to govern domestically and conduct foreign affairs. um, he's not busy. his intel briefing was at 11:30. he had four hours -- george bush's used to be at 7:00. 110 day time t a golf hene event on his schedule every day this week. there might be a lot of excuses, a lying liar, pants on fire, executive authority, privilege,
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whatever it's called. but busy ain't one of them. >> it's incredible how everything in this white house, the victimhood complex seeps in. it's what a burden it is for donald trump to defend imz had had, to wage a defense against thesehat hey, maybe if he hadn't put himself in this situation it wouldn't be this way in the first place. >> this to me called into question the credibility of everything else. i made five calls today. nobody describes him as busy. >> nobody: and this is the thing. i read through part of it of it's like a conservative republican mad list, throw in whatever words that you want to try to justify what it is you are doing. the n are lawyers. >> and their name is on it. >> exactly. their name is on this non-sense, these kinds of documents. we know donald trump isn't busy because he tweets, complains about "snl" and goes to golf courses. also, if one of your most
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compelling arguments is he is too busy to deal with the fact he may have gotten into the position ial you don't have much of a defense. you can argue this may be exposing the country to national security issues, et cetera, but not i'm too busy. >> george bush's policies were unpopular and polarizing but he sat while wars were raging. he actually was busy. and may have been doing thing that people hated but he found time to sit with special counsel. >> the launching of that defense, i have got thing to do and people to see, will prolong this investigation because he is saying you can't subpoena me. you can't interview me, can charge me. all of that is headed to the suprurt. all of its going to drag out endlessly because of the president. the i'm too busy thing isn't cutting night why would they put that in there? >> on the record, this is more nixon than clinton, but we are informed by something that happened during the clinton
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impeachment and it's this. ken starr, long after the impeachment said privately, may have alluded to it publicly. he thought the president of the united states had a higher duty to the law and to the american people to invoke certain civil defenses that the rest of the americans would be afforded. president clinton's attorneys used every one of these defenses. ken starr said he had a higher duty. no, heas allowed to do that. i think what we are seeing in this memo, though there are absurdities in, many, his defense attorneys are making a defense attorney case, and they are allowed to do that. >> all right. we have to sneak in our very last break. we'll be right back. ♪[upbeat music]
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of the non-agent fbi work force, they are majority female. so you are wrong again. my thanks to frank, elise, david, and jason. that does it for our hour. i'm nicolle wallace. "mtp daily" starts right now with the fabulous katy tur in for chuck. no basketball hazing from you. but i won so i wouldn't get any anyway. >> should i admit that i didn't watch? >> no. i watched enough for both of us. >> another fact check. robert mueller and rod rosenstein are republicans. and he appointed rod rosenstein. >> we are all over you, mr. president. >> nicolle wallace, thank you very much, and congratulations. ifs monday, allow myself to pardon myself. tonight, absolute power, and absolution. >> the president hasn't done anything wrong. >> then why is presi

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