tv The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell MSNBC June 9, 2018 5:00pm-6:00pm PDT
i'm your phone,istle text alert. stuck down here between your seat and your console, playing a little hide-n-seek. cold... warmer... warmer... ah boiling. jackpot. and if you've got cut-rate car insurance, you could be picking up these charges yourself. so get allstate, where agents help keep you protected from mayhem... ...like me. mayhem is everywhere. are you in good hands? 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 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 the whole team here. 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 word with the great katy tur" in for lawrence today. >> i feel bad for the trout, they don't know what's coming for them. >> they're probably safe. >> 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. >> thanks, katy, appreciate it. 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. gives me no pause. if they have them, they have them. you know what gives me more pause, that a person in our government, crooked hillary 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 have 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 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 malign 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 more actions likely to please vladimir putin. "new york" magazine's jonathan shade observeds 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. 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 whom have exchanged angry tweets with the president over trade this week. the president was late to the summit and is leaving early. democratic senator chris murphy told me that it's almost like the u.s. itself isn't even part of the g7. and that nobody is happier than vladimir putin. >> now it seems like it's going to be a g6, 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. i mean, listen. 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. the dean of the moscow state university reportedly said this week that trump is smashing the eu with a sledgehammer, 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. yamisha cinders, white house correspondent for "pbs newshour," joining us from the site of the g7 summit. ned price is the former spokesperson for the national security council and former cia analyst. jennifer rubin is a conservative opinion writer at "the washington post."
all three are msnbc contributors. also joining us is jennifer tanden, center for american progress, also hillary clinton's policy director during the 2008 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 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 -- principle 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, he is actually 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 more than to tarnish america's 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 assured american hedge mown over the past seven decades, and replace it with something in his own image. 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, if our g8 is subverted to an international order that vladimir putin builds, that's not in our interests, certainly. >> does president trump know what he's doing?
is he doing all of this on purpose? >> i think it's clear that president trump has a set of clear reasons why he's doing it knows what he's doing. today he tweeted that canada and the eupean 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 around us, including the allies, were people that would somehow have to pay more money to do business with the u.s. i think it's important when president trump was asked today whether or not the g7 would turn into the g6, he said, i don't care what you call it, it doesn't matter to me. there's this idea that it's not just as if he's quietlying to this, he's actually doing this very out in the open. 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 strongarm, strongmen 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 findshem -- tha 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 rapists and their murderers, remember that one? and by contrast the dictators have learned to play the game. they know he's vain, narcissistic, they roll 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've figured out the game, and they are in some sense his model. 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,
as far as democracy, doesn't really care. >> hold on, i don't know what you're talking about, donald trump today said he's a really big fan of the first amendment, and i personally totally agree with 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 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 differentiate a little bit. there's a discussion, oh, trump just likes strongmen, he likes 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. china -- anyone else. just let's remember it's not just that putin has not receded in crimea, russia hasn't 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 re-enter 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. 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 inure 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. it works in the favor of liberal democracies around the 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 really, whether he knows it or not, trying to tear all of that down. >> you're there, we're not. 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 has really played a big role in promoting free trade and has been a country that people look to for leadership that they're stepping away from that. i think a lot of u.s. officials i've talked, to people familiar with the summits here, 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 climate accords, that he's now going to meet in singapore with the leader of north korea.
a lot of people are worried that even as he goes to that, that's giving another person who's problematic to a lot of our allies even more of a voice, even more of a platform. people here are very worried about 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 that by weakening the western alliance, it is strengthening the hand of both russia and china at a time where 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 people and 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. peninsula trail? you won't find that on a map. i'll take you there. take this left. if you listen real hard you can hear the whales. oop. you hear that? (vo) our subaru outback lets us see the world. sometimes in ways we never imagined. when this guy got a flat tire in the middle of the night, so he got home safe. yeah, my dad says our insurance doesn't have that. what?! you can leave worry behind when liberty stands with you™. liberty mutual insurance.
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. >> everybody knows. 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. 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 wasible dieted for obstruction
of justice for alleged witness tampering. special counsel robert mueller also indicted konstantin kilimnik, former associate of paul manafort. 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 manafort legal team has just responded to these new charges in a filing which reads in part, 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 of witness tampering made by the special counsel should be seen for what it is, an attempt to fee rail the modified conditions of release at the 11th hour. there's no reason to believe the latest charge has somehow increased the risk of flight in this case. joining us now barbara mcquade, former federal prosecutor, now professor of law at the
university of michigan, an msnbc legal contributor. and matt miller former spokesman for attorney general eric holder. and msnbc contributor. 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 created a lot of news coverage that will negatively impact paul manafort's ability to get a fair trial. >> well, of course today we had the indictment where a grand jury found that there is 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 already been indicted twice in two separate forums, but this is a special crime. it's a crime on the court. it goes to the integrity of the criminal justice system.
in many ways prosecutors have a lot of discretion to decide what to charge, what to let go. when it comes to something like this, witness tampering, prosecutors feel strongly to exercise their discretion to charge because they need to defend the honor of the system. in addition, i would think they want to make sure that this conduct becomes part of the trial, because it shows evidence of what's known as consciousness of guilt. someone who tries to get witnesses to lie for them shows evidence that they believe they're guilty and will be found guilty if the witnesses testify truthfully. >> i read the filing from manafort's team. they don't mention -- they do mention the text messages, they don't mention what mueller's team mentioned which is what barbara just alluded to, that the people that 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.
heat going to argue at trial, because of the underlying charges, he's going to argue that he was not acting as an unregistered foreign agent. that the what happens burg group this group of foreign politicians, was operating only in europe, not 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 only what they were doing? the problem is that version of the truth doesn't match the underlying 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." so it's not exactly a private piece of information. 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 is in europe? that is contradicted by the facts, he should know it, those people obviously know it, and that's why they were so concerned when they got those phone calls and text messages. >> here what's the "new york times" is reporting, even after
mr. manafort was indicted by the special counsel in october 2017, he continued communicating with mr. kilimnik, several allies urged him to stop communicating with mr. kilimnik, known to associates as k.k., because they fear his communications are being monitored and he is neither discreet nor tactful. barbara, kilimnik is a russian citizen. it's believed that he is in russia right now. by indicting him what is the special counsel hoping to achieve? it seems pretty clear that he wouldn't be extradited for this. >> it's unlikely he could bring him 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 hands on him, that's one way of dealing with it. the other thing is they can put out a red notice with interpol, so if mr. kilimnik was trying to travel to some third country where we do have an extradition treaty, he could be extradited to the united states to stand ial. so there is value in naming him in this situation. >> robert mueller was trying to get the terms of paul manafort's bail revoked. there was supposed to be 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 put 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 presumption 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 something to satisfy the judge. >> there's also news out about michael cohen. a federal judge said u.s. president donald trump should publicly 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 donald trump to
publicly 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 actually properly protected privileged communications between michael cohen and your client, you're not going to be able to do that in secret, you're not going to be able to do that under seal. you have to do it publically and let not just the parties in the case see it but all of the public. i would assume the president's lawyers would like to do as much of this in private as possible. it's not comfortable for him to have this drag out publically. so it's not a win for him. >> will he have to say -- 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 a specialty privilege, they might try to do that, take another run at that in a redacted file organize private argument to the judge. because if it is protected, the point of attorney-client communication 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. for allegedly lying to congress. that is coming up right after this. kyle, we talked about this. there's no monsters. but you said they'd be watching us all the time. no, no. no, honey, we meant that progressive would be protecting us 24/7. we just bundled home and auto and saved money. that's nothing to be afraid of. -but -- -good night, kyle. [ switch clicks, door closes ] ♪ i told you i was just checking the wiring in here, kyle. he's never like this. i think something's going on at school. -[ sighs ] -he's not engaging.
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 during its investigation. 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 testified untruthfully 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 nbc news he thinks donald trump jr., roger stone and erik prince are among those who should be investigated for potential perjury. all the house intelligence committee's interviews were closed-door. 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 the issues of coconclusion and obstruction of justice. >> 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 unilaterally on his own, which would be a dramatic step. this is a committee where the doke core rum and the usual rules have broken down. we know that erik prince, his transcript has been released it appears he doenot tell the truth about this meeting he had in the say she wills and the circumstances of that meeting. we don't know what particularly it was that has gotten adam schiff concerned about donald trump jr.'s testimony, but 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 from foreign governments. we later found out that wasn't true, he met with emissarieses of the united arab emirates.
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'tanto release them publically. 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 legitimate, legally authorized investigation. there's no harm to them in doing it. 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 don jr., erik prince, roger stone? aren't we under the assumption at some point robert mueller is going to get to those interviews on his own if the team hasn't already done them? and wouldn't necessarily need the testimony that was 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 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, whereas 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. there was some suggestion that they may have -- representative schiff wants to have an inquiry into whether they committed perjury there. i would think robert mueller would be interested in looking at the transcripts, one, to gain information about his own investigation, two, to determine whether it 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 past each other. and frankly members of congress aren't always the best questioners. sometimes they're engaged more in political posturing than following up with their questions. 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? could 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 branches 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 grand jury subpoena on a congressional committee. >> matt, true? >> yes.
absolutely. it's difficult for the department of justice, there have been repeated court fights over the department of justice trying to get congressional records at times. congress has protections under the speech and debate clause. i think it would be very difficult. it would be a long court fight with an uncertain ending if they were to send that kind of subpoena. >> barbara mcquade, matt miller, happy friday. thank you for joining us. most house republicans, including paul ryan, have tried not to oppose the president in public. but new polls say maybe they should. never thought i'd see one in real life. [ dinosaur screeches ] the park is in the past. run! we're not on an island anymore. there is a town five miles from here. am i dead? not yet, kid. change was inevitable and it's happening now. welcome to jurassic world. 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 am even 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. to paul ryan. >> i run in the more
conservative circles of the house. i have never up to this point heard a single person talk about removing speaker ryan from the speakership. today for the first time i was hearing colleagues say, well, if speaker rein won't stand with us in this fight over the essentials of our democracy, do we need to look at other choices? >> yesterday morning, paul ryan tacked back towards trump. >> 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, in the nbc news/"wall street journal" poll, 48% of registered voters say they're more likely to support a candidate who promises to be a check on trump
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convinced that the fbi did what americans would want them to do during its investigation of the 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, aneera tanden and jennifer rubin. paul ryan didn't say what he meant to say. that's not what he meant to say at all. 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 is no evidence. there was no spy 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 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. hillary. we know about the trump tower meeting in june of 2016 which they promised dirt on hillary and they meet. if you think collusion is seeking from a foreign power information 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. 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 whatsoever of any collusion, nothing to see here? what is going on with paul ryan? >> i think what the polling
shows in the nbc/"wall street journal" poll shows, paul ryan is between a rock and a hard place. 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 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 renomina my parteasily, 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 said donald 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 in 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, 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. 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.
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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. >> 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
ever wanted to know about the north korean dictator sunday night on msnbc. "headliners: kim jong-un" airs. sunday night at 9:00 right here on msnbc. up next, "the 11th hour with brian williams." tonight there are new charges for paul manafort as robert mueller issues a new indictment alleging 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 of our guests tonight says about this moment right now, this is not a drill. and then it's on to singapore and the huge stakes as the president meets with the north korean dictator. "the 11th hour" on a friday night begins now. well, good evening once again from our nbc headquarters here in new york. day 505 of the trump administration, and special counsel robert mll