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tv   The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell  MSNBC  June 4, 2018 7:00pm-8:00pm PDT

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i'm very sorry you have to cancel your plans for tomorrow night. it's for an interesting reason. tomorrow is election day. there are pry marys for important races in alabama, new jersey, iowa, california, south dakota, montana, and new mexico. california is huge, democrats are trying to flip 25 seats to take back the house. there are districts where clinton won but republicans hold the seats. but that means the primarir pri california are going to be important. we'll be here all night long. that does it for us. now it's time for the last word with ally velshi. >> i'm ali velshi sitting in for
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lawrence o'donnell. nbc news has obtained a new court filing, where robert mueller is asking the court to revoke paul manafort's release. saying he attempted to tamper with potential witnesses. it say gs paul manafort called, texted and sent messages to two witnesses in february, quote, in an effort to secure materially false testimony. this outreach apparently occurred following the disclosure of an indictment of manafort. they're calling for a hearing brought forth by the fbi tonight and to see if the release order should be revoked or revised. joining us now mimi rocah and harry litman. i'm grateful that you're both here to help make sense of this.
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mimi let's start with you. what does this all mean? >> it likely means manafort is going too to jail now. i would be surprised if the judge did not revoke his bail based on this. you know, when prosecutors find out that someone is trying to tamper with a witness, which is what happened here, often it's kind of you're dealing with subtle attempts and you have to sort of explain to a judge and really sort of cut through why this is witness tampering. >> it's not like in the movies where someone sends someone over and says i'm going to break your legs. >> right. but this is pretty crystal. the facts laid out, he was trying to get a witness -- more than one witness, to lie in the trial. you can't get clearer than that. and one important point i think, you know, is it does not appear -- although we obviously don't know all the details yet. it doesn't appear he used
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threats of the kind you're talking about or any kind but you don't need to to violate this statute. this statute talks about corruptly trying to persuade someone. that is very important here. and may be important in other parts of this investigation as well, not just with respect to manafort. >> this is not something that those of us who are not lawyers will understand as clearly. but harry let me read you the filings, d 1 has told the government that he ubnderstands the efforts to support perjury. persond 2 understood that manafort and person a were reaching out to him and d 1 to influence the testimony of potential witnesses. help me understand why this would happen. paul manafort has to know at this point that everybody is watching his every move. what could he or person a
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possibly have been thinking? >> it's incredibly thinking. and as mimi says, it's something that prosecutodespise, the court looks very adversely on. you only have to prove by a low standard of probable cause and then husband conditions of release get yanked. here's what was happening. manafort is charged with putting together this group of european former politicians to lobby on behalf of ukraine. if they lobbied in the u.s., as they almost certainly did, that's a big legal problem. so that was going on here is manafort was very ham handedly, he used simple encorruption technology, reaching out to two persons who worked in a consulting firm, almost certainly asking his right-hand man in kiev asking them to do
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the same thing, we only worked in europe, right? not the u.s. right? and they understood what was going on, they were asked to lie to avoid the lie of lobbying in the u.s. which would be a problem under foreign registration act. so as mimi says, it's pretty ham handed and i think the best explanation is, he was just really stupid. >> so here's something interesting because until this news came out, mimi. the matter at hand was donald trump carrying on about he could pardon himself, but why would he pardon himself because he hasn't done anything wrong? his photographer tweeted out, curious these events took place in february and mueller is only moving out. is this a signal maybe to anybody? >> i do think it should send a signal because the statute that we're talking about here is the
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statute that would apply for example if anyone were to be charged with respect to coming up with a false story about the trump tower tampering with a witness or witsses to that meeting, but i will say that prosecutors, when they get information about witness tampering, they come to a court with that as soon as they are able to. now that doesn't mean -- i realize this happened in february, but for some reason, we don't know why yet, they weren't able to go to a court with it until now. but if you're going to try to revoke bail, you try to go with it in a timely fashion because obviously it would cut against your arm that this person cannot be out on bail and cannot be trusted if you waited. and courts look at that, did you delay or act quickly. so i don't think this was done now in the sense to send a message given what trump has been tweeting about or talking about, but i do think it should send a message.
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>> harry -- >> ali i want to add, they had to do some investigation here, they had to get phone records here and have personal interviews with d 1 and d 2, wh europe. so i agree with mimi you get this a go in. but witness tampering is really serious. >> mimi rocah and harry litman, stay with us. we have more on the mueller investigation. let's turn to more breaking news from "the washington post." president trump's legal team is preparing to do battle with robert mueller. despite trump's declaration this morning he has the power to pardon himself. it's indicated that his legal team is preparing for the possibility of a presidential interview or a subpoena battle over such a sit down. newly hired white house lawyer, emmet flood, thisman, and other
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attorneys are sfrtrategizing ov several white house offi told "the washington post" that emmet flood has cautioned trump about the unpredicbility of a subpoena fight that could be decided by the supreme court. meanwhile rudy giuliani and other advisers haveun making plans to prepare trump for a sit down interview with mueller. reports indicate that former new jersey veor, chris christie is being considered to help conduct practice sessions wit the president. the post always reports new trump lawyer, janes akin talks with mueller james james quarles at least three times a week. she's reviewing the classified conversations trump and other
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top aides have had. but she's also working to negotiate the terms and limit the questions trump might face in an interview. this all depends on the cooperation of the president. and according to the post it says, the flejing briefgs have not gone very deep because of the president's anger about the probe. the tweet this morning president trump called the mueller probe understand constitutional. so both sides face major risks in a supreme court battle that would likely per sue. joining the conrsation is barrow and curt anderson, author of the book "fan ta si land" mimi rocah remains with us. thank you to all of you for
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being with us. josh, let me start with you. once again, if one is to believe this reporting, the president's team are not all on the same side about how this is going to go, and most importantly the client doesn't seem to be on the same page. he seems to be moving down the road of a public relations battle, generally speaking executed on twitter and at rallies. but rudy giuliani wants to say that the president can't be subpoenaed, but most experts i talk to say it's just not that clear. >> right. given the president's propensity to change his mind, it would be sensible of his legal team and advisers to prepare to fight for a subpoena and the situation where he decides to sit for an interview. that is wise on their part unlike some of the other decisions they made. these reports of the prep sessions remind me of the reports we saw around the debates in 2016. yo had the debate sessions
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where the president was not succeeding in keeping focussed. you had these people in the president's orbits with different agendas, distracting him and getting them off on a je tangents and you have the same people here. and those debates seemed to have worked out fine for the president in that he managed to win the election, but obviously the stakes and terms are different in a deposition rather than in a presidential debate. >> curt anderson, the chris christie stuff makes some sense. he understands donald trump, he's a real lawyer, was a real prosecutor, that could make some sense. i've been away for two weeks so i was wondering if the world changed with regard to rudy giuliani, and it has not. rudy giuliani is still running a campaign of confusion around the president. he's going out there on the media, spinning all sorts of yarns that are very hard to
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decipher. >> he is indeed. it's often as though he doesn't realize the cameras are on and the recordings are recording. as though he's just talking to buddies about what could happen. then he says, well, no, the president could have assassinated james comey, the fbi director. >> unbelievable he actually said that. >> and he can bimpeached. he can self-pardon, he won't. >> yeah. >> in a matter of hours or days on television, he has raised half a dozen different constitutional issues about whether the president can obstruct or is capable of obstructing. it's really richard nixon after he was out of office saying what the president does is legal because he's the president. single handedly is throwing out all of these -- at the very least, unsettled and in many cases it appears dock may my
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constitutional questions about the president is all of these ent way abo the law. so i don't see that he's doing any good, except as you say, sowing confusion, maybe in terms of the political base an effect in his fan ta si land way, he tries that therump strategy is to make all facts be possibly not true -- >> let me give you one example. he was on "meet the press," rudy giuliani was onsunday, i want to give them an example of what you're talking about the way rudy giuliani is describg these things. >> does this mean he can terminate any federal investigation? is that the argument here? any federal investigation he can terminate? >> yeah that is clear. constitutionally it looks that way. i haven't made that argument, don't have to make that argument. >> then he was on this week sunday, let's listen to that.
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>> do you and the president's attorneys believe he has the power to pardon himself? >> he's not, but he probably does. he has no intention of pardoning himself. doesn't say he can't. >> i mean, mimi, again i'm going to use the defense i seem to use a lot these days, i'm not a lawyer. what is he trying to do? in the end, the discussion of whether or not the president needs to face a subpoena and abide by it is going to be dealt with by district court in d.c. or dealt with by the supreme court and possibly both of those things. what does this do? what is rudy giuliani doing? >> i think what he's trying to do is to create confusion, give talking points to trump's base and the legal commentators that do go out there on his behalf, give them something to hang their hat on when things come down and are not good for trump and his inner circle. >> does it matter?
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if mueller decides to go down this road, does it matter? >> no. two things, one these are complicated legal questions you have people on both sides of the aisle, no he can't be subpoenaed. complicated legal questions like this, they're going to be played out in briefs, in the court, if they're going to really get decided it's going to be in a more substantive way than what giuliani is doing or we're doing here. i think that what gets lost in this and this is where i think the strategy comes in, we have now, first of all, an admission that trump dictated a false letter, a cover story. we also now them saying -- >> that he denied and that the white house denied reapedly. >> repeatedly. and that story again is that this trump tower meeting was about adoptions. no, it was about getting dirt on hillary clinton. something they denied, denied,
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denied. i keep coming back to me because to me it's really important if you're a prosecutor looking at potential witness tampering charges. i'm not saying standing alone it's enough. but it's a big important piece. we've focussed on the comey firing in terms of obstruction, i think this can also be a big piece of it, of a potential charge. and second we've gone from there were no meetings with russians, to there were meetings but they weren't illegal to okay iaybe committed a c but i can't be prosecuted for it because i'm the president. i think what this is doing is y diverting from really damaging facts. >> but rudy giuliani is giving lawyers in general, and the president's lawyers a bad name. there are lawyers who are looking at precedent, looking at cases, looking at arguments they can make if a subpoena happens
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to show us. >> they are. but a keep part of the president's conviction behind his strategy and the messaging strategy is the president's fate is a political question. the way a president is held accountable is impeachment power. the framers put it in the constitution for a reason. if the president behaves in an untoward manner he can be impeached and removed by congress. all of that is part of that messaging. when he talks about commuting sentences and pardoning scooter libby, both of these are cases where the judicial branchot into e evaluating the political action, that those things are not properly considered by the justice department. this is another case he's saying this is congress's job and takes that position because he's confident that a republican congress will not remove him through the impeachment power. this is one of several things they've been saying as part of
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the message. >> this is important because a number of people ask why doesn't congress do what it should have done in the nixon administration congress realized lines had been crossed and it was their responsibility to play more of a role, particularly republicans in congress but, in fact, there are few republicans in congress who enjoy the support that donald trump does. he has an edge over them in terms of the public. >> if you look b at watergate it wasn't until late in the game that the phase change of republican support happened. he had it, had it, and suddenly didn't not many weeks or months before he resigned. he was never impeached as well. i think josh is right, this is mostly a political game in trying to give his current majority in the house an ability to say well, it's a witch hunt, whatever version of the trump line is going to be and to keep enough of -- it's two-thirds in the senate to convict.
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so i think that's what he's playing to. >> in other words, he's aware of the fact that the chance of being impeached is very low. >> the chance of being impeached is high, in fact, if the democrats take the house. the chance of being convicted is very low under any circumstances. but when chris christie says because he's generally speaking a reality based character says he'd never self-pardon because that would cause impeachment. i'm not sure that would. but these ore things, the constitutional challenges, there's no crime i can commit for which i can be punished by anything but impeachment. if he would follow through on those things, refusing to follow a subpoena, including self-pardoning, which i
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understand you have to be convicted to be pardoned. >> there's debate on that, too. >> those are the things when they reach the supreme court, lots of members of congress would say this guy is, we're going to start cutting bait. we'll see what happens. >> that could happen or i could grow a big afro. we'll have to see. stick around guys. mimi, thank you as always. stick with us. coming up, a senator's reaction to the president's claim that he can pardon himself. we'll discuss that on the other side. s old. (woman) how old do you think that one is? my guess would be, about... (man 2) i'd say about two hundred. (man 1) yeah... (burke) gives houseplant a whole new meaning. and we covered it. talk to farmers. we know a thing or two because we've seen a thing or two. ♪ we are farmers. bum-pa-dum, bum-bum-bum-bum ♪
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>> senator, the president says he can pardon himself. would you agree with that? would you agree with that? >> that is not a constitutional issue i've studied. so i will withhold judgment at this point. >> you might have thought we made a mistake there because there was all this noise of footsteps. that was senator ted cruz waiting a full 18 seconds before telling reporters he wasn't sure if the president could pardon himself. joining us now is lauren wright, lecturer at princeton
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university. and back with us at harry litman, a former deputy attorney general under president trump clinton. lauren, we should start by saying it's not 100% clear. none of this stuff. the pardoning, the subpoena. there are legal arguments, and sometimes they are led bipartisan but sometimes they are not. sometimes they are people like you who study this thing and say it hasn't necessari been well enough tested to know whether or not the president's statements on twitter today about pardoning himself are true. what does your research tell you? >> this is unclear. man was that a long silence. that's almost your own show. it's way too early to call this a constitutional crisis, i do. what we know and saw in the mueller filing is that this is a presidency in crisis. the president is in very serious trouble. i see this as the culmination of years and years since the founding of administrations of
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both parties trying to expand presidential power and one of the ways they do that is through vaguenesses in article 2, including the pardons clause. and both parties are to blame for that. when our team's in office we want a strong executive. when they're not we want to reign back those powers. now we have a president that's willing to go to the very extent of those tendencies and he's not crossing the line, but he's looking right over it, and that's very different from past administrations. >> this is an interesting distingt because much has been written about the obama administration doing a lot with executive orders, with the bush administrations -- bush 43 administration pushing the limits of executive authority. but that -- to lauren's point that just could be what presidents do over time. when does it cross over into being a constitutional crisis? >> right.
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first, i agree with lauren that we are not in a constitutional crisis. it's a determine that's been bandied about a lot in the past couple years and it's important to distinguish between a constitutional challenge where the constitution has the tools to address and solve it and a true crisis, for example, as would happen if the supreme court ordered trump to testify and he just refused. and the question would be what can the constitution do now? now we're in crisis territory. i would take issue with the fact that this is a natural expansion since the new deal era with both parties trying to flex their muscle with the presidential power. i think trump is a departure from that trend in that he has tendencies of real royalism, an inclination to put himself above the law, contempt for norms,
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contempt for the rule of law, that don't just push on the expowers b, if he had his way, break them in two. for me we've had a point of departure in the last two years notwithstanding the general legal trend that lawyer identified since the new deal. >> if someone dropped in from mars and said tell me about your government system, they may not believe by looking at it today we have co-equal branchs of government. the bottom line, they may get the impression, if they were reading newspaper and watching cable news for the last year and a half that the president is more important, they might think from time to time the judiciary has flexed their muscle. they would wonder what this congress thing is. >> yes, absolutely. i don't always want to be the let's hold our horses not be the person to panic, i sometimes play that part, definitely in my classroom. i would say this, the avenues
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for democratic responsibility are elections and impeachment. and congress does not have to impeach the president to see their influence take head here. they just have to threaten it. it's just the idea that president trump might feel pressure to resign. it's the idea that this is going to be a big cost in public opinion terms. and so, you know, from my studies, what i really look at is the political context is so important here, as harry indicated. there are many checks on presidential power, but the person in the office does matter. it does matter who we elect, character matters. their world view matters and the person has tremendous influence over constitutional interpretati interpretation. way too close for comfort in a lot of people's view. >> harry, let me ask you, is the president at some point still depending not on the
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congressional action b on the fact that he keeps pointing out at every one of these rallies, he is appointing judge if you ared about the matters that manyf his supporters voted for him on the basis of, that might be the most important part of this. he understands the judiciary to understand that loading the courts might be his legacy. >> it's been a successful part of his presidency. it's been under the radars, but in terms of the numbers of appointments, he's done quite a bit. i don't see that his whole card of gettingut of jail, in the sense if there's a subpoena fight to the supreme court. but if he were impeached and removed tomorrow, i would agree with you that this would be a lasting part of his legacy already. and they're really acting a pace. they have a really well oiled machine in their judicial
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appointment mechanisms. >> harry, good to see you. thank you for joining us. thanks to both of you. coming up, donald trump admits he dictated the statement that donald trump jr. released about the trump tower meeting that the younger trump convened to get, quote, dirt on hillary clinton. i'll ask congressman eric swalwell about that next. ♪ bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens ♪ ♪ brown paper packages tied up with strings ♪ ♪ these are a few of my favorite things ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ these are a few of my favorite things ♪ come hok., babe. nasty nighttime heartburn? try new alka-seltzer pm gummies. the only fast, powerful heartburn relief plus melatonin so you can fall asleep quickly. ♪ oh, what a relief it is!
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he led bold action against climate change. and only de león fought for universal, medicare for all. democrat kevin de león the only true progressive for senate. alornia now is responsible for the content of this advertising. for almost a year the president's lawyers in the white house have said he did not dictate or draft a misleading statement fro donald trump jr. -- or from donald trump jr. about the infamous trump tower meeting promising damaging information about hillary clinton.
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there's been much speculation about the truth of those statements, and n we know for sure they were lies. this weekend, the "new york times" published a 20-page letter that trump's legal team sent special couel robert mueller on january 29th. here's the key part of the letter that pertains to the trump tower meeting, quote, you ve recved all of the notes, communications a testimony indicating that the president dictated a short but accurate response to the "new york times" article on behof his so donald tmp jr. his son then followed up by making a full public disclosure regarding the meeting, including his public testimony that there was nothing to the meeting and certainly no evidence of collusion. now back in august 2017, the white house press secretary was asked about a washington post report that the president dictated the statement. here's what she said. >> the statement that don junior issued is true. there's no inaccuracy in the
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statement. the president weighed in, as any father would based on the limited information he had. >> can you clarify degree to which the president weighed in? >> he certainly didn't dictate but he weighed in, offered suggestions like any father would do. >> he certainly didn't dictat e the white house press secretary was asked about that discrepancy today. here's what she said. >> this is a letter from the outside counsel, i direct you to them to answer that question. >> interesting. joining us is eric swalwell a democrat from california who sits on the house intelligence committee. congressman, good to see you again. >> you too, al li. >> it seemed implausible at the time because whoever you thought dictated the letter, it wasn't true, you know more about this than most americans but we knew the conversation wasn't about adoptions we know that the magnitsky act is the biggest
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thorn in vladimir putin's side and that no citizen lawyer would be asking to meet a presidential candidate's top advisers to discuss adoption. but the bottom line is we now know this to be a lie. in the grand scheme of this what does it meano you? >> thank you. it means to me that we have a campaign businesses, trump family members, and a president who's willing to deceive the american people day after day. as a former prosecutor it shows more and more consciousness of guilt. often times the way a person acts after an investigation is launched can tell you a lot about what they were doing about the underlying conduct that is being investigated. here it's so clear, with so much of the other behavior, like the james comey firing and the shifting and moving statements
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about why he was fired, they're trying to cover up what they did with respect to the russians and what they want the american people to believe. >> so much time has passed since we learned about that infamous meeting in trump tower, and information was just trickling out one after another of people involved in the meeting. just to remind people, why would it be necessary to lie about what the meeting was about? if it was russian interests wanting to meet with the trump administration to overturn policies that the russians didn't like, that is a much more serious matter? >> that's right, ali, and it doesn't add up that in the midst of a presidential campaign, about a month before the republican convention, they would sit down for a meeting to talk about russian adoptions. no this gang was all too willing and eager to meet with the russians and receive their help. when you look at the e-mail that
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set up the meeting, donald trump jr. moved heaven and earth to have that meeting, he wanted it as soon as possible and make sure the dirt would come out in the fall. but proximity here matters a lot. in three wa one donald trump candidate was one floor above where the meeting took place, and two donald trump was close with the family who asked to set up the meeting, three donald trump was close with his son who set up the meeting. we have evidence they talked about the work that donald trump was doing for the campaign. it would be unbelievable that donald trump our president would not have known about the meeting at the time. >> i want to read you an excerpt of the letter that was sent by trump's lawyers to mueller. the subject is a private matter with the "new york times." the president is not required to answer to the office of the special counsel or anyone else, for his private affairs with his
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children. in any event, the president ap son, son-in-law, and white house advisers and staff have made a full disclosure on these events to both your office and the congressional committees. the bottom line here, congressman, is that if that meeting did have to do with either dirt on hillary clinton or a quid pro quo about overturning or somehow mitigating the effects of the magnitsky act, which the president can't overturn, it's a congressionally passed act, that does involve the public. it does involve the investigation. that's not a private matter. >> that's right. i wasn't the best law school student but i learned there's no you're allowed to include with your kids in crimes and what the special counsel is allowed to investigate. this just goes back to the president would serve the country well if he sat in bob mueller's chair, shot straight with the american people and came clean about what happened. but when your campaign team
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members tamper with witnesses, when your former advisers lie to investigators and you obstruct the investigation, it's going to take longer and that's going to hurt the country. >> the -- the testimony that, you know, i to put up some of the testimony that don junior made to the senate judiciary committee in which he said several times he was not clear on who was involved, what role his father had in the drafting of the testimony, he , there were numerous y father statements drafted, other people were involved, and opined. he was asked very, very clearly about this, i assume by your committee as well, what are the implications of the fact that it is now evident that donald trump jr. lied to congress? >> what it means if this were to go to a jury is that the jury would be told if you find that a witness lied about a term fact in a case, you can choose to
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just throw out everything else that they said. so that goes to his credibility. we did ask donald trump jr. a number of times about this conversation with his father and he refused over and over to answer. and again, cooperating witnesses, they just come forward and they tell you the truth. witnesses who want to obstruct or invoke privileges that don't exist, those are typically people that have something to hide. there's ever reason to believe up and down the trump organization, the campaign and the family they have a lot to hide and hopefully bob mueller is given the ability find that because the republicans on our committee were completely unwilling -- not only unwilling, they took out the shovels to bury the evidence we kept unearthing. >> they did. if you're not inclined to believe there is collusion or you're inclined to believe the media is piling on, or it's a
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conspiracy, why the lying? it makes one wonder what's going on. congressman, thank you for joining me. . they've had enough of president trump at least when it comes to his trade policies that's making it uncomfortable for those in congress and on the ballot. that's next. ♪ when i first came to ocean bay, what i saw was despair. i knew something had to be done.
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help take control by asking about your treatment options. vraylar is approved for the acute treatment of manic or mixed episodes of bipolar i disorder in adults. clinical studies showed that vraylar reduced overall manic symptoms. vraylar should not be used in elderly patients with dementia ncreased risk of death or stroke. call your doctor about fever, stiff muscles, or confusion, which may mean a life-threatening reaction, or uncontrollable muscle movements, which may be permanent. side effects may not appear for several weeks. high cholesterol and weight gain; high blood sugar, which can lead to coma or death; decreased white blood cells, which can be fatal; dizziness upon standing; falls; seizures; heat sensitivity;; and trouble swallowing may occur. you're more than just your bipolar i. ask your doctor about vraylar. president trump's tariffs on steel and aluminum imports are upsetting a lot of allies. british prime minister theresa may told the president his
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decision to apply tariffs was unjustified and deeply disappointing. that came a few days after french president emmanuel macron told trump, the new tariffs were, quote, illegal and a mistake. they've also angered a group of people that never seems to get angry with the president. republicans in congress. >> i think that the authorities are being abused and i think a number of people around here do. and so, you know, we're crafting some legislation, working with other officers to try and pull back some of those authorities to congress. >> that was republican senator bob corker today. over the weekend he also tweeted that the trump tariffs feel like something i could have read in a local caracas newspaper last week, not america. venezuela here we come. the coke brothers turned against the tariffs. today their political network
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said it will launch a multi-year multimillion dollar initiative to champion the far reaching benefits of trade. president trump tweeted today, quote, the u.s. has made such bad trade deals over so many years we can only win. but american families and workers are not going to see any winning on trade according to donald trump's own budget director. >> they're going to face short term pain in the process is what you're saying. >> that's the way the world works when it comes to international trade, specifically. yes, but in the long term they're going to be better off. >> president trump is upsetting a lot of allies but may soon with two of america's biggest adversaries, kim jong-un and vladimir putin, that's next.
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imposing the 232 tariffs protect the steel and aluminum industries because they're very critical to our national security. >> wouldn't that reinforce the u.s. national security? in what form the u.s. feels more secure now that canada has been targeted by tariffs? >> the president feels strongly that the steel and aluminum industries are critical to our national security and our ability to protect ourselves. >> back with us are josh barrow and kurt anderson. josh, let me start with you. there's a valid economic
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argument to re-evaluating trade relationships, even very strong ones like nafta over time. it's been around for a long time. e's a valid economic argument for looking at china and taking some action on things china does. but the arguments that the white house is using in favor of these tariffs and the way that it is going about arguing and creating fights with our allies doesn't seem to make economic sense. >> no. i mean so the official legal rationale for these tariffs is they're in the interest of national security. and the claim is basically that, you know, if we got into a war where we needed to build a whole bunch of tanks and ships and stuff, we'd need access to these basic metals to build things out of and that importing is therefore risky. the problem with that argument of the steel we u in the u.s.,t and we import most of the steel that we import from allies -- canada, mexico. >> the likelihood of being in a war with canada is low. >> right. one hopes. it's not like we principally
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import steel from russia and china and other countries that we're worried about hostility with. the rationale is frankly weak and the that's not way the president is imposing them. it's one of the few topics he's had a -- he thinks it's going for the economy. the problem is about 400,000 people in the u.s. work inel and aluminum there's about 4 million people who work in industries like metal fabrication, machinery production, aerospace, autos and auto parts that use steel and aluminum. when you impose these tariffs, it increases for them, discourages them from hiring, and even encourages people to import other finished products because you don't pay this tariff on things made out of steel. you only pay it on the raw material. this is likely to cost a lot more jobs than it creates in the u.s. it's a hobby horse of the president's and it's something he's doing at a time when you think he'd want to be looking at ways to cooperate with these
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countries. we want mexico to accept people for asylum. we ask mexico for that. at the same time we impose these tariffs. >> in fact we need south korea to do things for us as it relates to north korea. >> we need our nato allies. >> it is because donald trump has picked fights with a lot of our allies as he continues to build stronger relationships with those we might not think of as allies. >> indeed. beyond the brilliant macro economic analysis that josh just gave us, i actually think that part of this is kim and putin, gangsters. he can sort of deal with gangsters. our allies in europe, canada, i think he feels as though these are sort of elite swells who have contempt for him and for whom he has contempt, and there is an emotionalism, in addition to his long-standing protectionism which is antithetical to one of the very
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core republican ideas of free trade. i really think he resents the europeans d, in this case, canada as well as people who because they don't like donald trump and trumpism. i really think that is part of his motivation. >> i think there's some of that. i think the thing that cuts against that, the one democratic nation leader, the one that trump seems to have developed a strong personal rapport with is shinzo abe, the prime minister of japan. it doesn't seem to have done japan one bit of good on these trade disputes. they didn't get a temporary reprieve from metal tariffs. the golfing doesn't seem to have helped there. >> there is this anticipate -- the globalist boogeyman, he seems to buy that on a certain level. >> and the europeans don't, and the canadians don't. they see themselves as big players in this global market. they only see themselves as more successful, at least on a governmental level, although there's something to be said for this growing european populism. thanks to both of you.
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all right. tonight's last word, time for it now. well, we're going to take a break, and i'm going to tell you about the last word on the other side of this break. stay with us. hey, w ok here you go... over... under... hey whoa, pop, pop... your shoe's untied. ♪ ensure he's well taken care of, even as you build your own plans for retirement. see how lincoln can help protect your savings from the impact of long-term care expenses at do not mistake serenity for weakness. do not misjudge quiet tranquility for the power of 335 turbo-charged horses. the lincoln mkx, more horsepower than the lexus rx350. and a quiet interior from which to admire them.
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more for your thing. that's our thing. visit now it really is time for tonight's last word. this weekend in bell county, kentucky, high school valedictorian ben bowling told the crowd of students, teachers and parents that he had pull inspirational quotes from google for his address. and then he said this. >> don't just get involved. fight for a seat at the head of the table. donald j. trump. [ cheers and applause ] >> ben bowling told the louisville courier journal that he didn't mean anything bad by it but said most people wouldn't like it if i used it, so thought i'd use donald trump's name. it is southeastern kentucky after all. that quote from president barack
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obama came at his commencement address in 2012 at barnard college in new york. that's tonight's last word. i'm ali velshi. coming up, brian interviews congressman adam schiff, ranking democrat on the house intelligence committee. "the 11th hour" with brian williams startnow. the breaking news we're coveringnight, the former trump campaign chairman paul manafort is in even hotter water. a new court filing from the mueller team tonight alleges witness tampering. plus donald trump's claim that he has the absolute right to pardon himself. we'll ask the top democrat on house intel whether the president is indeed above the law. and bill clinton 20 years after impeachment back in the headlines for his comments about the "me too" movement and monica lewinsky. "the 11th hour" on a busy monday night begins now. well, good evening once again from our nbc


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