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tv   The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell  MSNBC  June 8, 2018 10:00pm-11:00pm PDT

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mother...nature! sure smells amazing... even in accounts receivable. gain botanicals laundry detergent. bring the smell of nature wherever you are. the next time i see you, which unless you're a trout is going to be monday night, the american summit with north korea will just be getting started on the other side of the world in singapore, unless it gets called off between now and then. we're going to have live coverage at 8:00 p.m. it will be me and brian williams at the helm. we'll have all the experts here. 8:00 p.m. starts our coverage of the summit live while it happens. see you then. now it's time for the last world with katy tur. >> i feel bad for the trout, they don't know what's coming for them. >> they're probably safe.
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>> we have the manafort filing that you talked about a moment ago on your show. we're going to get into it a little more. rachel, thank you, have a wonderful weekend. tonight, donald trump is once again forcing us to ask what is behind the president's public affection for russia? it's a question we've been asking since at least the summer of 2016 when donald trump and i had this exchange right after he asked russia to hack the e-mails of the democratic presidential candidate. >> you said the russians -- >> he has no respect. >> you said i welcome them to find those 30,000 e-mails. >> they probably have them. i'd like to have them released. >> does that not give you pause? >> no. you know what gives me more pause, that a person in our government, crooked hillary
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clinton -- be quiet, i know you want to save her. if russia or china or any other country has those e-mails, to be honest with you i'd love to see them. >> donald trump's strange affection for russia has now opened a new rift between america and its closest allies. before setting off for the group of seven summit, the president said that russia, the country that launched a cyber attack on america's presidential election should be allowed back into the g7. >> russia should be in this meeting. why are we having a meeting without russia being in the meeting? and i would recommend, and it's up to them, but russia should be in the meeting. it should be a part of it. you know, whether you like it or not, and it may not be politically correct, but we are a world to run, and in the g7, which used to be the g8, they threw russia out, they should let russia come back in, because
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we should have russia at the negotiating table. >> the president's comments caught the white house offguard and sparked an immediate backlash from leaders at the summit. a british government official had to remind the president why the g7 kicked out russia four years ago saying, quote, we should remind ourselves why the g8 became the g7, it was after russia illegally annexed crimea. since then we have seen activity from russia in a variety of ways before any conversations can take place about russia rejoining, it needs to change its approach. the response from capitol hill was not any better. republican senator ben sasse called the president's comments weak. adding putin is not our friend and he is not the president's buddy. he is a thug using soviet-style aggression to wage a shadow war against america and our leaders should act like it. donald trump's friendly comments on russia came as he is taking
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more actions likely to please vladimir putin. new york magazine's jonathan shade observes today, one of russia's principal foreign policy goals for decades has been to split the u.s. from its allies. whether by accident or design, president trump appears intent on bringing that dream to fruition. case in point, president trump's attacks on europe and canada over trade. >> they're trying to act like well, we fought with you in the wars p. they don't mention the fact that they have trade barriers against our farmers. they don't mention the fact they're charging almost 300% tariffs. when it all straightens out we'll all be in love again. >> hours later the tensions were on display when president trump met with canada's justin trudeau and france's emmanuel macron, both of who have exchanged tweets with the president. the president was late to the
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summit and is leaving early. chris murphy told me it's like the u.s. isn't part of the g7 and nobody is happier than vladimir putin. >> now it seems like it's going to be a g 6 it looks like we are on the verge of getting kicked out of the g7, they're going to do some of these agreements without us. you can now see why the president -- the russian government cared so much about getting donald trump elected. i think that putin is getting exactly what he wanted. he has paid no substantial price for interfering in our election. he has not moved one inch inside crimea or ukraine and now is being let back into the club. so the message from last week and this week, seems to be if you're a friend of the united states you get treated shabbily, if you're an enemy of the united states, you get top class treatment. >> meanwhile, russian state tv is praising donald trump.
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the dean of the moscow state university reportedly said this week that trump is smashing the eu with a sledge hammer adding that's why putin is not trying to weaken the eu. why would he bother, trump is doing all the work for him. let's bring in the panel. ned price is the former spokesperson for the national security council. jennifer rubin is a conservative opinion writer at "the washington post." also joining us is jennifer tan den, she was hillary clinton's policy director during the campaign. ned, let's start with you, donald trump talking about letting russia back into the g7, making it a g8 again. after all the trade talk and the tensions between him and our allies, how was that comment
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likely going down in the inner circles of our allies? >> we saw how it went down. it was widely rejected by virtually all of our european partners and the canadians. only the italians who have some business interests in putin's government want to go along with it. there is a broader principal at play here. donald trump has not only alienated the united states from our european allies, canadian allies, he's trying to do something much more dangerous. he's trying to subvert, erode, trying to destroy the rules based international order that the united states built after world war ii and we have led ever since. frankly, this is what vladimir putin has long wanted more than to tarnish america's image, more than to be seen as on par with the american president, vladimir putin has wanted to tear down this order. this order that in some ways
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assured that america was head, and replace it in his own imagine. as donald trump is saying these things, vladimir putin is in china meeting with president xi where together they hope to build their own version of the g8. if that is the outcome that our g8 is subverted to an order that vladimir putin builds, that's not in our interest. >> does president trump know what he's doing? >> i think it's clear that president trump has a set of clear reasons why he's doing it and he knows what he's doing. today he tweeted that canada and the european union are all taking advantage of the united states. this has been a thing he's talked about on the campaign trail, both you and i covered him, he talked about the idea that america was going to be first. part of the america first campaign was he thought everyone
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around us, including the allies, would have to pay more money to do business with the u.s. i think it's important when president trump was asked today whether the g7 would turn to the g6 he said it doesn't matter what you call it, it doesn't matter to me. the fact that you saw the french president trading tweets with donald trump saying we can come to an agreement with just the six countries we have and we can be isolated from the united states, that tells you this is really an open argument, and that's really i think very striking. >> jennifer, does he know that what he's doing is exactly what vladimir putin wants him to do? i've asked this question of a couple people today. is he trying to create a new world order? is that too outrageous to even ask? does he want to cast aside our allies and create a new alliance with more strong-arm, strong-men
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dictators like vladimir putin, like xi jingping, like the king of saudi arabia, like kim jong-un in north korea who he's praising right now who he's going to see in singapore to try and make a deal on the nuclear program? is he trying to create new relationships and cast off the old on purpose? >> let me first observe that if president obama did half of this stuff the republicans in congress and in think tangs around washington would be up in arms. it's nice ben sasse returned to his twitter feed but i think he can do more than that. as far as donald trump is concerned, i think it is clear he doesn't like our allies. that he finds them annoying. he finds them -- that they do take advantage of us in some fashion. he doesn't understand trade so he thinks that we are losing money to them in some fashion or another. he looks upon mexico as a threat because they send us their
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rapists and their murderers, remember that one? and by contrast the dictators have learned to play the game. they know he's vain, narcissist you can, they role out the red carpet, flatter him, he has an adds my ration for strong men so, of course, he gets along better with them. they are authoritarian they hate their press. so in some sense it is a bizarre affinity he does find for dictators around the world. and as far as human rights, democracy, doesn't really care. >> i don't know what you're talking about, donald trump today said he's a big fan of the first amendment. and i totally believe him. >> you felt it, i know. >> i did. i felt it deep inside from everything i experienced on the campaign trail. it came through. here's what susan glasser wrote in the new yorker today, senior officials in european capitals
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and washington told me they now worry that trump may be a greater immediate threat to the alliance than even authoritarian great power rivals such as russia and china. so our allies are looking at us and saying, hold on, it doesn't look like you're our friend. you might be more of a problem to us than anything else. >> having your greatest ally, the united states has been the greatest ally of every country in europe for decades and having your ally break apart from you is a deep, deep threat. so i would just differ kuwait a little bit, there's a theory that trump just likes strong mans, authoritarians because he's kind of a bully and he likes them. what we should really understand here is that trump has a different relationship with vladimir putin. he treats vladimir putin better than anyone else.
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china -- anyone else. just let's remember it's not just that putin has not receded in crimea, it's that russia recently attacked an ally, basically trying to murder british citizens, and, of course, did what he did to our elections, and helped install donald trump or took actions to help donald trump's election. so essentially think of the message it's sending to our national security apparatus, who's trying to protect us from russian interference in the next election that donald trump is saying, and possibly the cheapest date imaginable, russia has to do nothing and they will reenter the g8. it's frankly, ludicrous. and different than he treats any other country. >> and neera's point is also applicable to the middle east.
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everything that he is doing there delights russia. dumping the jcpoa and allowing our allies to kind of go it alone. that's great with putin. he's propping up iran. you want to give putin, syria, he'll do that too. he'll sign that away. so everything that he is doing really does enure to russia's benefit in the middle east. it's extraordinary. >> ned, give us the larger picture. what does it mean if we don't have these strong relationships any longer? what does it mean if our allies don't look to us as a great friend or somebody they can rely on? what does that mean for our future. >> i think what donald trump doesn't appear to understand in any of this is not just that this is the rules based international order that we built, but this is the rules based international order that we actually wrote. it works in our favor. that works in the favor of liberal democracies around the
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globe. it allows for free trade, it allows for partnership across the board. this is what the american -- this is what our american system of international relations has been predicated upon since the end of world war ii what vladimir putin wants to replace it with is something that does not at all resemble what has allows us to thrive, what has allowed us with our soft power to spread our values around the world, and what has allowed us to flourish as an economy. donald trump is trying to tear that down. >> what's the reaction like in canada on the ground? >> the reaction is people are taken aback by the idea that the united states which has played a really big role in the g7 and promoting free trade and has been a country that people look to for leadership that they're stepping away from that.
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i think a lot of u.s. officials i've talked to, say they don't know what comes next. if the u.s. backs out and says they don't want to be a leader here, does that mean germany becomes a leader? does that mean that vladimir putin outside of the g7 does he now have a bigger voice on the world stage. and, of course, people bring up the fact that the president is leaving early tomorrow morning. he's skipping a meeting about climate change, which is a big deal for a lot of our allies that are trying to work with us after he pulled out of the paris accord that he's going to leave to meet with the north korean leader in singapore, people are worried that's given someone else more of a voice and a platform. so it's the future of world order. >> as all of this is happening, china is trying to be and is more ascendant in the world. it's not just that the united states is weakening our allies. it's by weakening the western
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alliance it is strengthening the hand of both russia and china at a time they are trying and are being more assertive and powerful in the world stage. so it is a little bit of a zero sum game, the weakening of american leadership is strengthening essentially countries that have been identified as more of our adversaries by this national security council. >> thank you for joining us. coming up what donald trump said when asked if he would pardon michael cohen and paul manafort on the day robert mueller indicted the 20th person since his investigation began. there is breaking news on that story. and will robert mueller consider perjury charges against donald trump jr. for his congressional testimony? that too is coming up. george wo. but he has plans today. so he took aleve this morning.
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above the law? that you can pardon yourself? >> no, i'm not above the law. i do have an absolute right to pardon myself but i'll never have to do it because i didn't do anything wrong, and everybody knows it. there's been no collusion, no obstruction, it's all a made-up fantasy, a witch hunt. no collusion, no obstruction, no nothing. >> that was donald trump this morning once again claiming he could pardon himself and there is nothing to investigate regarding his presidential campaign and russia.
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donald trump was also asked if he would pardon his former campaign chairman and his long-time personal lawyer. >> i haven't even -- i haven't even thought about it. i haven't even -- i haven't thought about any of it. it certainly is far too early to be thinking about that. they haven't been convicted of anything. there's nothing to pardon. it's far too early to be -- it is far too early to be thinking about it. >> today's trump's former campaign chairman paul manafort was indicted for witness tampering. today robert mueller also indicted konstantin kilimnik. these charges are related to the charges manafort is facing regarding his foreign lobbying work before he joined the trump campaign. and breaking tonight the legal team has responded to these charges.
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from a scant record the special counsel conjures a sinister plot to corruptly persuade two of mr. manafort's former business associates to perjure themselves in the upcoming trial in september. the new charges should be seen for what it is, an attempt to derail the modified conditions of rae lease at the 11th hour. there's no reason to believe the newest charge has increased the flight risk. joining us now barbara mcquade, an msnbc legal contributor. and matt miller former spokesman for attorney general eric holder. barbara, first to you in this argument that manafort's lawyers are trying to make, they're trying to say not only is there very little evidence that mueller's team has produced, a couple text messages that were short text messages but also in talking about or filing this it
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created a lot of news coverage that will negatively impact paul manafort's ability to get a fair trial. >>, of course, today we had the indictment where a grand jury found there was probable cause to issue these charges. so they were satisfied based on the evidence of text messages and statements made by the witnesses who were approached. i know it may appear to some people that robert mueller is piling on, paul manafort has been indicted twice, but this is a crime on the court. it goes to the integrity of the criminal justice system. in many ways prosecutors have discretion to decide what to charge and what to let go, when it comes to something like this, witness tampering, prosecutors feel strongly to charge because they need to defend the honor of the system. in addition they want to make sure this conduct becomes part of the trial because it shows evidence known as consciousness of guilt. someone who tries to get witnesses to lie to them, shows
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evidence they're guilty and will be found guilty if the witness testifies truthfully. >> i read the filing they don't mention what mueller's team mentioned which is what barbara alluded to, that the people he was contacting told the special counsel that they believed that paul manafort was trying to get them to perjure themselves. >> it's an important thing he left out. manafort's attorneys are making the best arguments they can, which is that mueller has a different interpretation of the facts than they do. he's going to argue that he was not acting as an unregistered foreign agent. that this group of politicians was operating only in europe and not in the united states and that's what he was trying to tell these witnesses he wanted to talk to them to say don't you remember that's what they were doing? the problem is that version of the truth doesn't match the
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reality. we know the former european politicians he hired came to the u.s., met with members of congress, one of them wrote an op-ed for the "new york times." there is public documented evidence that the work he hired them to do was in the united states. so when he goes to them and says don't you really remember the work we did in europe that is contradicted by the facts. he should know it and those people obviously know it that's why they were so concerned when they got the phone calls and text messages. >> here what's the "new york times" is reporting, even after mr. manafort was diet by the special counsel in october 2017, he continued to communicate with konstantin kilimnik, they urged him to stop communicating with konstantin kilimnik, he i'll ignored them and he is neither discreet nor tactful. by indicting him what is the
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special counsel hoping to achieve? >> it's unlikely he could bring konstantin kilimnik to stand trial in the united states but it brings him into the narrative. it is the department of justice policy not to name by name anyone that you're not going to charge. and so, by charging him, they can now bring him into the conversation and talk about him. it's possible they have evidence that names him by name. there's a phrase in the justice department called name and shame. so if you know that someone has done something wrong, even if you aren't able to get your hand oshim, that's one way of dealing with it. the other thing is they can put out a red notice with interpol, so if he were to trying to travel to some country we have an extradition treaty, he could be extradited to the united states to stand trial. so there is value in naming him in this situation. >> robert mueller was trying to get the terms of paul manafort's bail revoked.
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there was a hearing next week but i guess that could get moved up because he has to appear in court to respond officially to this new indictment. what are the chances that the judge is going to decide to him in jail as he awaits trial? >> i think the chances are quite high. i think witness tampering is a serious thing. and we have the additional step that has been taking of a grand jury finding probable cause that this crime has been committed under the bail reform act that means there is a rebuttable presujs of detention. so the burden is now on paul manafort and his lawyers to convince the judge that there are conditions that can satisfy her that he will not continue to contact other people and try to influence witnesses. and so, the ball's in his court. it puts him in a tough spot because he doesn't want to testify at this stage. probably wants to preserve that opportunity for trial. doesn't want to incriminate himself. i think he's facing a high burden now that will favor detention unless he can say
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something to satisfy the judge. >> there's also news out about michael cohen. a federal judge said u.s. president donald trump should pick cli file his objections to findings of a court appointed special master reviewing documents seized in a probe of the business dealings of his long-time personal lawyer, michael cohen. the special master has reported that 162 files out of more than 292,000 reviewed so far were privileged or partially privileged and seven were highly personal. allowing president trump to file his objections, is that a win? is it a loss? how does that play for the southern district of new york? >> i think they're saying to the president's lawyers, if you want to argue that some of the materials that the special master found are not privileged, if you want to argue they're protected privileged communications between michael cohen and your client, you're not going to do that in secret,
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you have to do it publically and let not just the parties in the case see it burr all of the public. i would assume the president's lawyers would like to do as much as this in private. it's not comfortable for him to have this drag out publically. so it's not a win for him. >> will his legal team have to say what's in the e-mails that they're objecting to or can they be more vague about it? allude to it? >> i would suspect they'll make some of the arguments public and if there's something they want to argue is privileged, they might take another run in a redacted filing or private argument to the judge. because if it is protected, the point of it being privileged is you don't want to make it public. >> good point. matt, barbara, stay with us. i want to ask if robert mueller will consider perjury charges against donald trump jr. and erik prince. that's coming up after this.
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the top democrat on the house intelligence committee believes some witnesses in the committee's russia investigation committed perjury. and he wants special counsel robert mueller to investigate. yesterday congressman adam schiff released a letter he sent to the committee's chairman devin nunes two weeks ago asking him to give mueller the transcripts of the interviews the committee conducted. in the letter schiff wrote, these materials may be important to mr. mueller's investigation and shed additional light on the issues of collusion and obstruction of justice. i also have concerns that certain witnesses may have
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testified under truthfully before our committee and believe that mr. mueller should consider whether perjury charges are warranted in light of the additional evidence in his possession. congressman schiff told msnbc news he thinks donald trump jr., roger stone and erik prince are among those who should be investigated for perjury. according to schiff the committee was supposed to publically release the transcripts after chairman nunes ended the investigation in march but the republicans on the committee went back on the promise. here's the explanation that congressman schiff gave on this program last night. >> i think they did for a couple reasons. for one thing the transcripts showed how often the republican majority act as defense lawyers for the president rather than true investigators. how often the witnesses were evasive with us, as well as some of the evidence we found occlusion and obstruction of justice.
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>> barbara mcquade and matt miller are back with us. matt is this something that could potentially happen? >> it ought to happen. i know schiff has said he's exploring ways the committee doesn't vote to release the transcripts to mueller, whether he can do it on his own, which would be a dramatic step but this is a committee where the usual rules have broken down. we know that erik prince, his transcript has been released it appears he does not tell the truth in this meeting we don't know what particularly it was that has gotten adam schiff concerned about donald trump jr.'s testimony, we know he told the senate judiciary committee that other than this famous trump tower meeting with natalia veselnitskaya he did not accept other meetings with foreign officials offering help, we later found out that wasn't true. if he said that same thing to the house intelligence committee, that would appear to be a false statement. so i understand why maybe the committee wouldn't want to release them publically.
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although they pledged to do it. it's hard to see what the harm is turning it over to robert mueller who is after all conducting a perfectly lejat mat legally authorized investigation. if the republicans don't want to do it, it's a clear sign they don't want to do anything to let this investigation move forward. >> wouldn't robert mueller be interviewing donald trump jr., erik prince and roger stone, wouldn't he get to the interviews if he hasn't already done them, and wouldn't need the testimony done in congress? barbara? or matt go ahead. >> that gets you to a difference between the house committees and the department of justice. it depends on the status of those witnesses. we know that roger stone has never been called before the grand jury, never done an interview. >> that's what he said. >> that's what he said. and that would typically lead you to believe he's probably a
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target of the investigation because the department typically won't subpoena targets of the investigation to the grand jury. so there may be an instance here because of department of justice kind of rules and the way they typically operate he may not have subpoenaed donald trump jr. to the grand jury, may not have subpoenaed roger stone, where they have testified before congress. >> barbara, what's your take? >> i think that robert mueller would like to see those transcripts because they would shed light on things. also to the extent they said statements that may be false. i know there was some suggestion that representative schiff wants to have an inquiry as to whether they committed perjury there. so i think robert mueller would be interested in looking at the transcripts one to gain information about his investigation, and two to determine whether there is perjury. i will tell you charging someone with perjury is more difficult than it sounds. you have to prove the person then and there knew they were making a false statement. it's often easy to wiggle out of that, to say i didn't understand the question, we were talking
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past each other. and frankly members of congress aren't always the best questioners. they have time limits. so i don't know if he wanted to robert mueller would be able to look at the transcript and prove there was false testimony. >> if robert mueller did want to see those transcripts, does he have any recourse to get them from congress? can he go to rod rosenstein? is there a process? barbara or matt? jump ball. >> i don't know that the department of justice likes to send subpoenas to congress. there is a respect for separate branchs of government. usually these things are worked out informally. if adam schiff wanted to turn them over on his own, they could. in the same way senator feinstein released transcripts earlier. but even if had the power, i'm sure he'd be reluctant to serve a subpoena on a congressional committee. >> matt, true? >> yes. it's difficult for the department of justice, there
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have been repeated court fights over the department of justice trying to get congressional records over times. congress has protections under the speech and debate clause. it would be a long court fight if they were to send that kind of subpoena. >> barbara mcquade, matt miller, happy friday. thank you for joining us. many republicans have tried not to oppose the president, at least in public, but some new polls say maybe they should. you like dinosaurs? so do i. hey blue. i brought you something. okay. we're getting out of here. you're welcome. run! holy! this is gonna be awesome. rated pg-13.
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with fewer than five months before the midterm elections speaker paul ryan has a tough job trying to hold on to the house of representatives for republicans while conservatives in the house are making that more difficult. on wednesday ryan showed some distance from president trump when he said he agrees with representative trey gowdy on spygate. here's what trey gowdy said and paul ryan's reaction. >> i'm more convinced that the fbi did exactly what my fellow citizens would want them to do when they got the information they got. >> do you agree with trey gowdy? >> normally i don't like to comment on classified briefings. let me say it this way. i think chairman gowdy's initial assessment is accurate. i have seen no evidence to the contrary of the initial assessment that chairman gowdy has made. >> and that night on fox news one of trump's most loyal supporters issued this threat. >> i run in the more conservative sections of the house. i have never heard about one
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person saying removing paul ryan from the speakership. today i heard colleagues saying if speaker ryan won't stand with us in the essentials in our fight for democracy, do we need to look at other choices. >> yesterday paul ryan attacked back. >> let me say one more point in all of this, in any of this, there's been no evidence that there's any collusion between the trump campaign and the president trump and russia. there's no evidence of collusion, let's make that clear. this is about russia and what they did and making sure they don't do it again. >> making matters more complicated for republicans, 48% of registered voters say they mother likely to support a candidate who promises to be a check on trump versus 23% who are less likely. that is a 25-point difference.
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democrats are also favored to control congress by 10 points, 50% favor democrats while 40% back republicans. now do you want to know what president trump said about paul ryan today? that's next. mutual stood with me when this guy got a flat tire in the middle of the night. hold on dad... liberty did what? yeah, liberty mutual 24-hour roadside assistance helped him to fix his flat so he could get home safely. my dad says our insurance doesn't have that. don't worry - i know what a lug wrench is, dad. is this a lug wrench? maybe? you can leave worry behind when liberty stands with you™. liberty stands with you™. liberty mutual insurance.
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this week paul ryan displayed a little bit of independence from president trump when he said he agreed with trey gowdy who said he's convinced that the fbi did americans would want them to do during its investigation of the
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trump campaign. now here is what donald trump had to say today about that. >> what's your response to paul ryan saying the fbi did the right thing? >> i think if you look at what paul ryan is saying -- it didn't come out that way. the fact is they had people in our campaign. they had people doing things that have never been done in the history of this country and it really is a disgrace. >> back with us are neera tan den and jennifer rubin. paul ryan didn't say what he meant to say. that's what the president says. >> it's really remarkable. no matter how many times this is disproven by how many people the president will repeat the same lie after lie after lie. there was no evidence. there was no supply planted on the campaign. maybe you should talk to trey gowdy, who apparently saw the documents and got the briefing. i would also say, his continual
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claim of no collusion, no collusion is also false. we know for example about george papadopoulos reaching out to a russian source to get dirt on hilly. we know about the trump tower meeting in june of 2016 which they're promised dirt on hillary and they a foreign power information, something of value to help you win an election, yes, we have evidence of that already. the question is how extensive it was and who all was involved in it. >> jennifer just laid out all the points, neera. why is paul ryan, somebody who is retiring in january -- why would he stake his reputation going out and saying something like there's been no evidence whatever of any collusion. nothing to see here. what's going on with paul ryan in. >> i think what the polling show and "the wall street journal" poll shows paul ryan is between a rock and a hard place.
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obviously that rock is donald trump, and the stranglehold he has on republican base voters, who paul ryan and the rest of the republican party are desperate to ensure they turn out for a republican congress that is not that popular. and the hard place is independent voters, obviously democrats, but really a strong majority of independent voters who would like the -- who are basically tired of the insanity that we're dealing with every day from donald trump and want a check on it and want a check on it by a very strong margin. and i think that's really the basic problem for paul ryan, who has demonstrated no conviction, obviously did basically a 180 within the course of a day because i'm sure someone at the white house explained that the president had some disfavor about what he said. and so he came up with this
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statement, which is absolutely patently false. it is -- jennifer's 100% correct. we know there's been collusion. the question is whether it's criminal collusion. but there has actually been determined facts that the trump campaign itself was colluding with russia to ensure hillary lost and donald trump won. >> does that explain, though, the rock and the hard place -- does that explain -- and the desire to maintain control in congress. does that explain what mitt romney said about donald trump? i believe this was today. i think president trump will be renominated by my party easily, and i think he'll be re-elected solidly. i think that not just because of the strong economy and because people are increasingly seeing rising wages, but i think it's also true because i think our democrat friends are likely to nominate someone who is really out of the mainstream of american thought. this is mitt romney, who went to a stage during the campaign in 2016 in utah and sai donald
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trump was a con. he was a fraud. he was a fake. he was very, very not smart, and who mocked him for all of his failed businesses. what is going on with mitt romney, jennifer rubin? >> i think he had a spasm of conscience during the campaign, and that quickly passed, and he is now back to the finger in the wind routine. this is, of course, what many of us who were formerly in the republican party predicted. that donald trump has had an utterly corrosive, corrupting influence on just about everyone in the republican party, whether it's paul ryan, whether it's mitt romney. apparently. the only republicans who see fit to challenge him in any fashion are those who not only want to retire, but they want to run for president 2020, or if you're a governor of ohio. other than that, the republicans are essentially rolling over and playing dead time and time again. and it's pathetic. it really is. >> the profiles in courage are also the profiles in retreat. neera, what do you make of this,
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though? if you look at what voters want, would you vote for a candidate who promises to be a check on trump? 48% say they are more likely to do that. 23% say they are less likely. these are just registered voters in general. it's not down to party. >> well, so i think this is -- first what i'd say about mitt romney is that mitt romney is running for senate in utah, and he actually, in the state party nominating process, he had a real threat from a hard-line conservative. and i think he's trying to prove, just like a lot of republicans but particularly because he was critical of donald trump in the past, he's tries to prove his conservative bona fides. we can't forget that a house member this week almost lost her seat because she was critical -- a republican house member was critical of donald trump a year and a half ago, and she faced a threat and was forced into a runoff.
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so donald trump is obviously a deep threat to any republican who is willing to step up and say he's done -- you know, criticize him in any way. they face deep political consequences. but i think what your poll shows, deep political consequences with republicans. but what the poll shows is that a strong majority of americans need -- and just for sanity's sake, i'd say at this point need a check on the kind of constant barrage, the culture of corruption, the day in and day out news. we have five instances of pruitt's corruption a day these days. you know, people want some accountability, and republicans in force said they can't do that. >> and a president who says he can pardon himself if he wants. there's also that. neera tanden, jennifer rubin. happy friday. thanks so much for joining us. and tonight's last word is next. find the remote yet? nah. honey look, your old portable cd player. my high school rethainer.
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time for tonight's last word. >> some sources are saying that president trump has been complaining that he can't watch porn at the white house. yeah. yeah, complaining about it. yeah. when he heard this, bill clinton said, wow, thank god hillary lost, man. dodged a bullet, man.
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>> that's tonight's last word. president trump is going to singapore this weekend where he will meet the north korean dictator, kim jong-un, early next week. you can learn everything you've early next week. you can learn anything you've ever wanted to know about the north korea ab dictator, "head liners: kim jong un" airs. up next, "the 11th hour" with brian williams. >> tonight there are new charges for paul manafort as robert mueller alleges obstruction of justice, false statements and conspiracy against the united states. plus, you don't see this every day. our president with a straight face making an argument for russia joining the g7 after russia hacked our presidential election. as one person says of this

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