tv The Beat With Ari Melber MSNBC June 6, 2018 3:00pm-4:01pm PDT
thursday. that will be one year to the date of that shooting. i think it's safe to say everybody on that field will be feeling pretty much like a winner that day. that's all we have for tonight. we'll be back tomorrow. the beat with ari melber starts now. good evening. the legal walls are closing in on donald trump tonight and not just from the mueller probe. i can report for you on never before seen messages from michael cohen because they just leaked. in a brand new lawsuit filed by michael avenatti in los angeles. this alleges that cohen secretly plotted with avenatti's own p d predecessor to work against her and help trump lie about their relationship. that's one new case. there's another development in another case from another woman former aapprentice with a judge setting a schedule that could force donald trump to be deposed there. all this as bob mueller pursues
paul manafort. it's not just an allegation that michael cohen got stormy daniels to coordinate with him for trump, which we'll get into. there's also new material here. new leaked evidence that shows cohen and daniels lawyer, at the time, worked together. this is while he was stormy daniel's lawyer. >> keith davidson instead of representing stormy daniels was more interested in colluding with his quote, pal. keith davidson was supposed to be representing stormy daniels at all times. not supposed to be interested in helping out michael cohen and donald trump. >> the mine charge here is pretty simple. this man, davidson, was a double agent for donald trump. it show him and cohen talking in january of this year and saying that would make davidson a
"puppet" for trump. that's how avenatti sees it. they describe something very interesting. the idea these two lawyer who is were supposedly against each other actually worked together to do trump's bidding arranging a sean hannity appearance that he would use to deny any relationship with trump. that's the same sean hannity who is a client of michael cohen. the lawsuit alleges he did this with trump's knowledge. the wise men all believe the story is dying and thus they should shut down any interviews. davidson is denying all this. he says this outrageously frivolous lawsuit is to continue a publicity tour. that debate will play out in court but the evidence, the evidence is playing out tonight in public. some of michael cohen's own
words are striking. the text says she was with flotus on march 2nd. it was to prepare her for news of this very lawsuit. here is why all of this matters. these texts that are brand new that we're reading for the first time that the party never wanted to see the light of day, these are michael cohen's own words. they suggest a plan to lie about daniels that maybe went all the way to the top. an allegation that trump and the first lady were in the loop on all of this. i like to be fair, as you know if you watch this show. if you take all this as true, which is an if, and if this is the one and only time it happened, then the trump folks could argue it's not that big a deal legally and the daniels civil case limited impact in the 60 minutes interview already aired. but if this forms a pattern, if what we're see sg a pattern of
how michael cohen fix thing and how he kept trump in the loop when what will his other texts and files show about any other problems he was quote fixing. i can't give you the answer to that tonight. i don't know that but i know tonight that federal investigators are pouring over nearly all those files because cohen lost his bid to protect most of them and what they find in the southern district of new york, it won't stay in the southern district of new york. i begin with you sir. >> a lot changed when we went
from having one of the worst lawyers, who is davidson to the best. michael avenatti. is he here tonight or taking the day off? >> he's got a few minutes. >> the beef he had from the beginning is that keith davidson was not representing his client when he was representing her. it's interesting, davidson's business was sleazy. he was shaking down a lot of b list celebrities. >> you're being generous with b. >> i was trying to get trump in there in the celebrity apprentice era. he would find something on them and extract these payments. it was the celebrities who were the customers. it's very interesting. he wasn't interested in the person's claim he was
representing. he realized that if he could represent multiple people that it was a nice source of business. he wasn't representing in a way they would do. he was running this extortion concession. >> we're going to get more into that because we have some interesting reporting on that. if you're representing someone as a lawyer and you suddenly see there might be a better opportunity business or otherwise on the other side of the case, are you allow eed to then just start actively representing the other side of the case? >> absolutely not. full stop. the first thing we learn if first day in law school, what he need to tattoo on our foreheads is your sense of loyalty to your client is paramount.
period. >> if that's how you feel, why don't you have a face tattoo? >> well because it's an orthodox jew, that wouldn't be cool. at tend of the day, keith davidson is another one of these michael corleoni wannabes. this is guy, who if these allegations are true, michael avenatti needs to take him fishing on lake tahoe. this business doesn't have use for a knuckle head like that. he needs to be working at david and busters. >> matt miller never go against the family. >> that's exactly right. it's clear that keith davidson has a lot of issues. it's obvious he wasn't
representing his party baa party adverse to his client. >> you think the texts already show enough? >> yeah. i think he will have bar problems in california and more than that. it's hard to see who would choose keith davidson to represent him going forward if you look at how this represented this client. i suspect what will happen is the same thing that happened in a previous suit and it will be delayed at michael cohen's request. michael cohen is taking the fifth because of his separate ongoing criminal problems in the southern district of new york. there's a lot of interesting questions. it's clear that michael halkcha noot tee wants to get michael cohen in a room to take his deposition. >> this is not the normal course of events. if people are going and saying it seems like michael avenatti is out with a new punch and new
suit. that's not how it usually goes down. clearly there's stuff here including the texts that they got a hold of that gives them a claim. a nonfrivolous claim to go after these people in a new way. what everyone thinks of cohen, dav davidson and avenatti, this was raised in the karen mcdougal suit. she got the national enquirer company to back off. it was the same set of allegations. we did speak to her lawyer about this and it's pretty fascinating. take a look another this moment. >> why was michael cohen involved? >> i mean it's the $64 million question. >> you don't know in. >> we don't know. >> you think it's nefarious? >> of course it's nefarious. >> what is the link here and if there's a pattern of davidson doing this and cohen and trump
know about it, what other problems does that create? >> you talk about problems. i know you're a huge jay-z fan. this is a man with more than 99 problems. this a man going well into the triple digits. the c word at issue is not collusion. identify nev i've never liked that word. never well. it's conspiracy. it's an agreement to engage in unlawful conduct. if this goes merely beyond keith davidson or michael cohen's relationship as it relates to stormy daniels then not only is keith davidson going to have trouble with the california bar, as long as michael cohen is a target rich environment for michael avenatti, his life as he knows it is only going to continue to get worse on multiple levels. >> i appreciate the 99 problems reference. i don't know why you didn't continue it and say are you a lawyer or somebody important. >> the problem, i think frankly
is that michael avenatti wants to make sure in the words of jay-z that michael cohen's casket is closed. i think he's well on his way to doing that. >> legal casket. i assume you're speaking legal. >> legally. >> there's a lot of metaphors in rap and law. >> you've said it. absolutely. >> thanks for playing as we always say. i want you to stay with me, bryan. the other folks i want to release you. i want to get to this other point and this is super point. keith davidson is someone you may not have heard of. he had this job that michael avenatti had. he initially represented stormy daniels. he's become kind of a one man e resistan
resistance. keith davidson who is not a household name but there's some important pieces of context here. he was involved in this karen mcdougal seauit. she alleged an affair from trump. she fired davidson for working with michael cohen against her. we reported on davidson's past cases including the hulk hogan case. >> allegations that mr. cohen worked with this other lawyer you're referring to mr. davidson in a manner that might be adverse to his client interest in order to help donald trump. you say you believe there's smoking gun tape evidence of that? >> absolutely. >> that was, we now know, a preview of what's happening. hogan testified in a trial in 2016 that led to the demise of a website called gawker.
there was a personality bubba the love sponge and there's a question about the tapes and what happened to them. >> when the video was released, my whole world changed. it's been this over riding haunting of this sex tape that gawker put out there. through this crazy sex tape being released by gawker that i didn't know about. i haven't been able to get back up and be who i was before. >> davidson then became the subject of two different investigations for releasing that tape that hogan was just talking about. a federal one and a local one that was accusations of extortion. attorneys decline to prosecute or file charges but there were reports he's cooperating and right now there's reports he's cooperating with the feds. a lot to get to. i want to bring in new york times reporter.
anyone watching would start with the feeling of wow, a lot of shade balls around this story. what jumps out as important with this new development of the case against davidson. we showed why he's in so much hot water traditionally. >> davidson is somebody who warrants scrutiny and in the winter i flew out to l.a. and was trying to track him down. i went to his office in beverly hills which was like a ghost office. there was nobody there. >> you went to his office before all this. >> i went to his office, his home. he refused to come out and answer questions. some of my colleagues have been able to talk to him. he has recognized that he -- it's not in his interest to be in the spotlight and undergo this type of scrutiny. i think his past, the fact there were these previous investigations is significant but it's also important to note they didn't -- he wasn't charged. as of right now the only thing on his record is a brief suspension of his license and i
think it was 2010 for like 90 days. he has come under scrutiny by various bodies out there in california and retained his license. i think you're right it's also important to note that what has come out today about his communication with michael cohen involving stormy daniels was not isolated communication that he had in fact communicated with michael cohen around the settlement that karen mcdougal, well not a settlement. >> arrangement she made. >> let's read from the texts. as you get into them, this is what he's doing with cohen. "cohen says let her do her thing but no interviews al all with anyone. david says 100%. cohen says thanks no interview unless they're you.
daifrdss davidson, got it." does it read like davidson is taking orders from michael cohen? >> there's no doubt they are add ver sa adversaries. when two lawyers struck a settlement on behalf of their clients, i don't think that necessarily has to be adversarial by nature. i think there is still questions about the significance of that communication. i think what's interesting in the karen mcdougal case, michael cohen wasn't a party to that arrangement that she struck with american media. why was -- >> just popped up like forest gump. >> why is keith davidson calling and messaging michael cohen the day that agreement was struck. >> megan tristriking the measure would expect that these quotes could go different directions.
they're not smoking gun. the larger context that she mentioned and i reported previously on this show is that michael cohen is popping up all over the place and seems to be allegedly corrupting the representation of these women. >> i think you're right. it's the adversarial system. it doesn't mean that you sell out your client. if i'm involved in litigation with an assistant district attorney or an ausa. we can be civil but we're not going to be boys. we're not going to have cocktails and i'm going to do everything i can to have my clients back. while there will is some nuance in these text messages, i think the bigger picture suggests that mr. davidson lost sight of the fact that rule one in the advocacy play book is you have your client's best interest at heart and you have to take a bullet for your client, as long as it doesn't hurt.
>> bryan weiss quick with the references. he may have gotten more than you. >> possibly. >> who's counting? kidding. we count every night. thank you so much. coming up, does donald trump only care about pardons when pushed by celebrities. we'll look at this in the larger context of criminal justice reform and systemic racism. bwhy bob mueller has peep turning over their phone. rudy giuliani with a new conspiracy about bob mueller. >> they are a group of 13 highly partisan democrats that make up the mueller team excludeing him are trying very, very hard to frame him. >> then we take a turn. we'll be right back. over the last 24 hours, you finished preparing him for college. in 24 hours, you'll send him off thinking you've done everything for his well-being. but meningitis b progresses quickly and can be fatal,
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when it comes to criminal justice, one of the most significant justices in the nation is how harshly our system punishing people. a system of mass incarceration that is harsher than any other modern democracy. many of whom are poor or minorities. today president trump did something linked to that problem though not at a policy level. at the individual level he's releasing alice johnson, a non-violent drug offender who is serving a life sentence for a
nonviolent offense. she served over 21 years. >> i'm a mother, grandmother and great grandmother. in less than two weeks, this october 31st will mark my 21st year of confinement in federal prison. i made one of the worst decisions of my life to make quick money. i became involved in a drug conspiracy. if i could go back in time and change the choices that i made and make difference choices, i would. >> that was her plea and today johnson sentence was commuted. a traditional symbol of justice or mercy in cases where the doj recommends someone has been punished enough or too much. was that president trump's motivation? well, we know that it was her sponsor, celebrity kim kardashian west who just met with trump and lobbied for alice johnson in that white house
visit which trump rushed to promote in a tweet. the president wanted that celebrity cameo and was willing to do something for it. in manner that laid bare what this transaction was to him. we know the president is mia on the larger question of criminal justice reform which has grown into a bipartisan call lately to address. the excesses and discrimination of america's long running drug war. >> mass incarceration makes our country worse off and we need to do something about it. >> we need to make sure the war on drugs is equal protection under the law and we don't unfairly incarcerate another generation of young african-american males. >> this has devastate sod many of our communities. >> we should not be incarcerating addict who is are not dealers and not violent. >> by contrast, trump hasn't pushed for those kind of reforms even as jared curb kushner
claims to back it. exkuecuting people who have not committed capital offenses. >> the toughness includes the death penalty. >> that was this year. let's report on this issue tonight. let's explore it but not pretend this was this president's goal. we lived during a presidency that was obtained by a man obsessed with attention. trump occupies the job now with the most tension in the world. if do you took taylor swift, kanye west, pusha t, had them all meet for dinner in time square, there would still be fewer video cameras there than every time the president of the united states walks down the street. this communation is in the news tonight because trump still
wanted more attention, more celebrity. why did trump suddenly discover criminal justice? you can capture this strange exchange with a few lines from travis scott. why'd you do it. why'd you switch up? was it for the images or the pictures? we know it was for the pictures. for her part, kim ckardashian thought of way to barter her time and a picture for another person's life. maybe the next celebrity to visit trump will push for wider policy reform. consider half of state prisoners are in for non-violent offenses. 3,000 people doing life without parole for nonviolent offenses. just like miss johnson. black men will get 20% longer sentences for the exact same federal crimes as white men. meanwhile, there's 10,000 people in america waiting to hear from trump will approve their
application for the same kind of communations. this man is doj pardoning attorney. from what we know, this is important, after over a year of trump, it appears that none of the seven people that he's pardoned or commuted were recommended to him by that lawyer who does this all day at the justice department. the recs came from kim kardashian, sylvester distal loan and people trump saw on fox news. whatever your view, this process right now unfolding under trump is obviously publicly broken, which isn't good for mercy or law and order. when it appears kim kardashian is something like the shadow pardon attorney of the united states of america, well she may have gotten this recommendation right but if this process sounds terribly wrong to you, it's
because this process is terribly wrong. i turn now to a former chair of new york city police oversight commission, civilian complaint review board. thank you for being part of this discussion. your reaction. >> my reaction is that donald trump is not missing in action on criminal justice. he's actively working to unravel the reforms of the obama administration put in place to make it more fair. he's doing that through jeff sessions who is, for example, taking a memorandum that eric holder put in place telling u.s. attorneys offices around the country, for example, to not throw the book at low level offenses and rack up the charges so that folks would become subject to ridiculously long sentences that far out paced the
actual allegations that were happening. just to add to another important statistic is pardons themselves have been racially diskr discriminatory. >> there was a process under president obama for clemency. exactly like the person done today. it's more like a broken clock twice a day that's thought out. >> or a broken instagram tour, as it were. >> because you're younger than me. you can do that. what i would say about the obama administration had in place, the
pardons of about 1,000 people who are in this process. hundreds of volunteers including my law firm. schools, churches taking people who had been in prison for more than ten years on drug charges when african-americans were charged for crack cocaine at 100 times more sentencing than a white person would for regular cocaine. there was a process. if this was a president who cared about that kind of issue, all he had to do is continue that instead of cutting it off. >> does it to disturb you that to get to the right answer it might take this kind of celebrity lobbying? is that worth the price? >> i don't think we paid a price for fact we had some justice done in one particular case. i think we pay the price if there is a perception that donald trump actually cares about something he actually care about something he does not care
about. remember, donald trump, this is the man who when he ran for president said things that were factually inaccurate an racist. for example, he said that 80% of murders of white people in the united states were committed by black people. that's not true. it actually reenforces a stereotype, which is one of the reasons why we see such discrimination in the justice system that suggests that black people or latino people are more dangerous, more likely to commit crimes which is simply a stereotype. it's much more about the fact that we spend much more time criminalizing behavior that we do not criminalize in white communities. >> i will read something that miss ckardashian said. i hope to continue this important work with working together with organizations who
have been fighting the fight longer than i have. she did stand up for someone and got this result. the question is what everyone wants to do about it at a systemic level and not getting confused about what the president's goals may have been. thank you. both. up ahead, investigative reporter on how the water gate reporting model could apply to the trump era and next when fantasy land meets your legal defense. rudy giuliani accusing mueller of a frame up. (woman) so beautiful. (man) beautiful just like you. (woman) oh, why thank you. [both scream]
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i want the show you an odd legal argument. >> there are a group of 13 highly partisan democrats that make up the mueller team excludeing him. are trying very, very hard to frame him. >> joined by author of fantasty land. how america went haywire. let me start, john. is that a crime that rudy giuliani is accusing him of? >> absolutely. there's no way to frame a person unless you're making charge for which you have no facts or law to support it. the outrage is he and i served in the southern district of new york. we were republicans and democrats appointed by a republican u.s. attorney during the nixon administration and we prosecuted democrats and republicans. the separation of your choice of how you vote is very separate from the professional responsibility to choose to go
after one person or another for misconduct, they actually do. what rudy giuliani has done is a shame and disgrace as a former u.s. attorney and a former justice official. it's an out right lie. >> you think he's out of line? >> i think it's outrageous. he is an officer of the court and putting down an entire system based on the exercise of an individual's right to choose to elect one candidate or another separate and apart from your professional job. all across washington, d.c. and this nation there are people working in jobs, doing their best for the taxpayer, in the government and they are partisan preferences do not have anything to do with the job they do. it's a slur on all american employees of any government, state or federal. it's outrageous. when you can't answer an allegation, you attack the alligator. that's lowball and not deserving
of public discussion by a person with his background as a prosecutor, justice department official, mayor who was celebrated and he's using what was his good name to defame all these people. it's an outrage. >> well it's true. it's extraordinary that he would use the phrase frame them. it's of a peace with his employer, with donald trump, who until rudy giuliani came along had lawyers who whatever you think of them or their competence or skill kept more or less to the lawyerly decorum of how they spoke about the process and they were cooperating with mueller and the rest. with rudy giuliani you have somebody willing to propagate the spectacular falsehoods that president trump is, in the kind of language he is. he could have murdered james comey. they're trying to frame him.
he's playing to his audience of one in this extraordinary way. >> most lawyers don't talk about murdering former officials? >> usually not when their client is being investigated. >> the way this gets normalized because truly u out ranlous things are pushed oond then they migrate. look at trump's favorite quality of promoting people. he promotes the russia hoax. the doj is out to frame donald trump. joe tried to pull him right off the fox screen but it didn't work out. this is the kind of stuff he would say. >> there was a brazen plot to
illegally exonerate hillary clinton and if she didn't win the election, to then frame donald trump with a falsely created crime. make no mistake about it. a group of fbi and doj people were trying to frame donald trump of falsely created crime. >> you've been exploring this. the work that fantasty and conspiracy does in modern life. we have more access to information than ever before, but it doesn't seem like things are going that well. >> it's extraordinary every day especially when we're getting into the legal system and questions of the judiciary will judge which i regard as the final fire wall between fantasy and reality based governance. we've been creeping this way and donald trump has exploited it. he got elected by exploiting it
by brazenly asserting falsehoods and conspiracy theories every -- all the time. that's how he got into politics. that's how he was was like a president. now he's doing it as president and we have the noform erp maer new york not just enabling it but padsing it. donald trump will end. the trump administration will end. the fantasy land history that gave rise to him will not end when he's gone. i worry as the president and his lawyer are continuing this and encouraging it, it will not end this trouble when he's gone. >> that is the ultimate dark note to pause on.
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the criminal cloud over donald trump's presidency can get so dark it's become common place to compare his problems to nixon which is bad news for trump which the probe into water gate didn't begin until years his nixon's presidency. my next guest was there breaking key stories for the new york times like the news that it was the nixon campaign funding water gate burglars which tied the scandal back to the white house. >> the new york times says mccord believes a lawyer from the committee to elect the president used money to persuade the water gate defendants the plead guilty and not talk.
>> dean said the president authorized both. mr. nixon denied both. >> he made the front page of the new york time with five different stories in six days. his new book says a washington press corp. that was too desperate for access. he says water gate's legacy does help keep presidents accountable. he's my guest tonight. thanks for being here. >> sure. glad to be here. >> let me run one by you. it seems that donald trump knows that no matter how bad something may look, if you actually do it in public, it will still play as vaguely less sinister than if you keep it a secret. he literally talks about things
that are in the ballpark of investigation interference that if they were on a secret tape might get you in trouble but here they are out there being laundered and normalnormalized. >> if we had tape of what went on in the white house, i think we would be disappointed. what you see is what you got with this guy. i don't think there's this dichotomy you had with nixon. talking in vulgar terms about other races in private and publicly playing the christian story. >> you detail you had it all ready to go with one publisher but they wanted to add a paragraph that you felt was too anti-war and thus you pulled the whole story. how did you have the guts to fight like that and why was it so important to you not to compromise? >> you know, i think journalist
are allowed to have opinions. a root canal and the guy who did it, i didn't ask if he was for or against trump. if he does the job professionally, that's what i cared about. we're very objective even though we have views and thoughts. i felt strongly about the war not because i was a left wing wing bat. i wasn't. i covered the pentagon for the associated press for a couple years. i learned from officers. ojt, on the job. how awful it was. how much killing went on that wasn't needed. i came away thinking this is a mess. that was my view based on -- not on a political judgment but what i learned. when i got there i think that's maybe follow the tip. i news bad things happened in vietnam. i found him. i found his lawyer. i wrote a story. i had trouble getting it publ h published. when i worked for the new york times i did for many years. i learned there were many
stories that the paper wanted to be second on. it's hard to go after a president big time and before nixon, didn't happen often. >> you said something very fascinating that many outlets want to be second. what do you think today out lets want to be second on in national news or trump administration? >> today is very complicated. you guys are dealing with a president that's catnip for you. people want to hear everything bad about you. i'm not talking about in general. both television and print. it's great reading to read about the idiotic things that happen yesterday. >> it hurts my feelings when you lump me in with the media. i'm an individual soul. >> i try to caveat.
if you want to hear bad news about trump. if good news is bad news, msnbc, cnn, et cetera, the new york times are always willing to give it to you. i think it gets harder for the average american, it seems to me, he can fun ytune you out. >> let me read from the book about watergate. you say there will never be a period like that in our business. nobody can understand what it was like. boy, wake up. boy get story, boy put story in paper. no trauma. how do you compare the watergate era to this trump era? >> this is brand new watergate. this is doing something that hadn't happened before. you could go and get a story as i did in a new york times about grand jury information. the new york times never would public a grand jury story. i remember the wonderful former columnist coming up to me one day when i was filing one about it and he was very upset. we don't do that.
times were changing. this is standards -- they didn't erode. it was just a different world then. i think we've gone there. i worry that some of the things that trump does might not be so bad. >> for example. >> i see him as a circuit breaker. the idea of going off to see the guy in north korea. i don't think he's a big player. there's been four or five big peace conferences. i saw a lot of second guessing about it. sure trump didn't plan it. he operates on instincts. s >> you're raising something that's hard to do which is proportion. you seem to be suggesting that because he's extreme in certain ways, race and gender being an
example. what he's trying to do on north korea or iran, those are mainstream 50/50 positions holds. it's depicted as not. >> you just said it. that's exactly what i'm saying. >> you said it first and i it. that's what i do here. >> you are a characterizer. you do more than that from what i see. anyway, this is a man who if you want to talk about collusion, you're talking about somebody that takes step a because he wants to impact step b and a man driven totally by impulse. how are you going to prove collusion. it must be a real tough deal. mens rea. it's very hard to prove criminal intent. my god, he's a real estate guy. would you buy a used car from a real estate guy? >> cy, i think it's a note weekend on. thank you for what you've done
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hope your hump day is going well. that does it for "the beat." we'll be back at 6:00 p.m. eastern tomorrow. "hardball" with chris matthews is up next. rudy calls it a frame-up. let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm chris matthews in washington. president trump is being framed. that's what rudy giuliani says. the special counsel bob mueller and the u.s. justice department is building a dishonest case against the president. also today, the lawyer for stormy daniels is accusing michael cohen of corruptly getting daniels to deny her etchule entanglement with trump all together.