tv The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell MSNBC July 18, 2018 7:00pm-8:00pm PDT
very quickly, we're going to have a big night here tomorrow. sally yates, former acting attorney general, the woman who personally brought the warning to the white house that national security adviser mike flynn was compromised by russia, she was fired when she wouldn't defend it because it was unconstitutional. we will join us live tomorrow. i have wanted to talk to her for a very long time. tomorrow night 9:00 p.m. eastern. sally yates right here. can't wait. now it is time for "the last word" with lawrence o'donnell. >> good evening.
"the new york times" has published the breaking news of the night. and it turns out donald trump knew and he knew weeks before the inauguration. listen to this opening for this article. two weeks before his inauguration, donald j trump was shown highly classified intelligence indicating thatvla russia has personally ordered complex cyber attacks to sway the 2016 american election. the evidence included texts and e-mails from russian military officers and information gleamed from a top secret source close to mr. putin who has described to the cia how the kremlin intended to hack. mr. trump sounded grudgingly convinced, according to several people who attended the intelligence briefing. but ever since, mr. trump has tried to cloud the very clear
findings he received on january 6th, 2017, which his own intelligence leaders have unanimously endorsed. >> this is two weeks before the inauguration? he was shown direct, raw evidence not only that the hack happened but that putin ordered it? >> e-mails and texts from russian military officers. perhaps some of those same russian military officers who got indicted last week by robert mueller. >> if that reporting is true, then every single time the president since then has cast doubt on whether or not russia did it or whether or not vladimir putin should be believed when he -- when he denies responsibility for the attack, every single time, that's the president not just being unconvinced of something that other people believe or casting doubt or muddying the waters, that's the president activity covering up something that he knows to be true.
>> that is the president lying. and that is an awful long videotape if we were to compile what you just described starting from january of 2017 right up to today, right up to today, which is the word no said a couple of times in response to this particular issue. it would be a very, very long piece of lying video of donald trump. >> and, i mean, lying is -- lying is a moral failing and lying is a bad thing for a politician, anybody in public life. lying is a bad thing for a toddler. but if you're activity participating in the cover up of a crime that you know was committed, there is a legal question as to whether or not you are helping, essentially, in a conspiracy after the fact, right? >> yeah, absolutely. >> i mean, aiding and abetting are -- well, they spring to
mind. >> stuff like this found its way into a bill of impeachment against richard nixon. >> exactly. richard nixon was not -- they didn't have it in the impeachment papers against nixon because lying is bad but because by lying about the specific things he was lying about, he was trying to cover up existence of a crime that he knew had happened. >> yes. >> and that was in the minds of the people that voted for those articles of impeachment, that was a criminal matter, not just a bad character trait. >> thank you, rachel. >> thanks, lawrence. good luck, my friend. >> well, as you just heard, president trump knew. he has always known. and that has been kind of obvious from the start. president trump's obvious public fear of vladimir putin is as peculiar and consistent as donald trump's hair and both of those consistent peculiarities were on display tonight in the president's latest television
interview, this one with cbs news. >> if you believe u.s. intelligence agencies, is putin lying to you? >> i don't want to get into whether or not he's lying. >> why not? why not get into whether or not he's lying. you know he's lying. but if you say you believe your director of national intelligence, dan coats, then you believe vladimir putin is lying for you. the problem for donald trump is that he is constantly juggling his own lies and his most important lie, the one his future might depend on, is the lie that the special prosecutor's investigation is a witch hunt. but it is russian interference in our presidential election and the investigation cannot be a witch hunt if russia did interfere in our presidential election as we now know donald trump was told on january 6th, 2017. and, so, even though everyone in a position of authority on that subject in the obama administration. now the trump administration agrees that russia did interfere
in the 2016 presidential election, donald trump can never fully consistently admit that even though obviously he knows that to be true. the obama fbi director and the trump fbi director know that the russian government interfered in our election, the obama secretary of state and the trump secretaries of state know it. the obama secretary of defense and the trump secretary of defense, all of the top obama intelligence officials and all of the top trump intelligence officials know that vladimir putin personally ordered the interference and ordered the attack on our election. and we know that donald trump has known it since january 6th, 2017, according to tonight's report in "the new york times." and robert mueller last week gave us the names of 12 russian military officers who conducted the attack on our election. donald trump knows all of that is true, but he can never say it for more than a moment because he always has to be able to come
back to the witch hunt. donald trump's widely condemned fawning performance beside vladimir putin on monday where he equated the value of information provided to him by dan coats and the value of information provided to him by vladimir putin. he said their integrity is equal. he said, quote, i have confidence in both parties. that performance actually ended with the words total witch hunt. after george wills review of that performance calls trump a sad, embarrassing wreck of a man and after the president was condemned most forcefully by senator john mccain and other republicans who remember what honor and decentkrensy looks li. they are claiming he meant to say would not in the sentence in which he said i don't see any
reason why it would be russia who attacked our election. and, so, the president was forced to read a written statement yesterday saying that he of course supports the findings of his own intelligence officials and advisors but within a minute of saying that he had to juggle again and say this. >> let me be totally clear in saying that, and i have said this many times, i accept our intelligence community's conclusion that russia's meddling in the 2016 election took place. could be other people also. it's a lot of people out there. >> could be other people also. a lot of people out there. and there you see the juggle right there. i accept our intelligence community's conclusion. could be other people. and, so, the president will sometimes say the words i accept our intelligence community's conclusion, but he never actually publically accepts
them. he always throws another ball in the air, the other people ball. and he has to throw that ball in the air in order to keep the witch hunt ball in the air. and, so, the juggling went on today when the president was asked, is russia still targeting the united states? dan coats has said that not only is russia still targeting the united states, but the situation is as alarming as the pre-9/11 signals the united states was picking up of a possible attack on the united states. that's how hard russia is still working at targeting and attacking the united states. and the president knows that. and the president believes that. he knows it's true. but if the president says that publically, then robert muell mueller's investigation is not a witch hunt. >> is russia still targeting the u.s., mr. president? >> press, let's go. make your way out. let's go. we're finished here. press, let's go.
>> thank you very much, everybody. >> abc news tweeted her full exchange with the president there. she said getting a lot of questions about my exchange with president trump today. yes, he was looking directly at me when he spoke. yes, i believe he heard me clearly. he answered two of my questions. here is the full exchange. vega, is russia still targeting the u.s., mr. president trump. thank you very much, no. no? you don't believe that be the case? no. but can you just clarify you don't believe that to be the case and trump replies to another reporter's question. so a couple hours later, the white house press secretary offered this explanation for what you just saw and heard. >> i got a chance to speak with the president after those comments and the president said thank you very much and was saying no to answering questions. the president and his administration are working very hard to make sure that russia is
unable to meddle in our elections as they have done in the past and as we have stated. >> here's the thing about what press secretary said about potus, no response, in the countless times i have been wherever trying to shout questions, i have never heard the president say no in order to get us to stop. he says, thank you, or simply ignores us. that is of course what we have all seen with our own eyes. the press secretary's answer seemed to achieve zero credibility in the press briefing room today and was sharply challenged by hally jackson, which we will show you more of later. but the president has a very consistent record, including a recent record of saying exactly what he said today, which is that we're not under cyber attack from the russians. here is what the president in a cbs news interview said this
weekend. >> your dni dan coats said that america's digital infrastructure is at a critical point right now, similar to what it was like in some ways before 9/11 that we're susceptible to a large-scale attack. do you agree with that? >> i don't know if i agree with that. i have to look. >> i don't know if i agree with that. joining us now matt miller, ruth marcus and eugene robinson. they are all msnbc contributors. and gene, i want to start with you. the game is up. saying that on january 6th, 2017, the president was shown texts and e-mails from russian military officers gleaned from a top secret source close to vladimir putin showing the vladimir putin had personally ordered the attack on our
election process in order to sway the election. >> yeah. >> for the winner of the electoral college, donald trump. donald trump has known this far beyond a reasonable doubt since weeks before he was inaugurated. >> right. and, so, let's be clear. what we are seeing and what we have been seeing is collusion in real-time. >> yes. >> the word collusion is what springs to mind. this was a criminal act and an aggressive act by russia. the president knew about it. the president has colluded in covering it up at the very least. and i hope robert mueller also lets us know whether in fact there was collusion before the fact. but after the fact there definitely has been. it's been going on for a year and a half now. and will continue, by the way. >> yes. >> because, as you said, he has to keep that witch hunt line alive in order to try to
discredit the investigation. therefore, he can never simply back down. >> the juggling act just became much more difficult at approximately 9:45 p.m. tonight when this article came out because donald trump now and the white house press secretary in the future are going to have to contend with this report that the president was shown e-mails and texts that proved that vladimir putin personally ordered this and ordered it to sway the election. donald trump saying i don't know, could be other people is manifestly a publically proven lie now. >> yeah. and it will come out and lie about that lie and say that of course many times you have seen him do this in the past. he did it over the past several days. he has come out and publically said that the russians interfered in the election. they always leave off he then casts doubt on them with other
statements about maybe it was someone else. maybe it was the 400 pound guy. and, you know, one of the things that has been key to their strej, one of the things he figured out about the republican party early on is just the intellectual dishonesty in that party and the rank corruption. he doesn't have to convince the leaders in the republican party that he's telling the truth. they know he's lying about this. he just has to come out after that disgraceful performance on monday, he had to come out over the last couple of days and begrudgingly clean it up and move further today in that interview with cbs just to give the republicans on the hill a big leaf to hang on to so they could say he said the right thing so they could move on and pretend there is nothing wrong here. there is obviously something wrong. he can never admit that what actually happened because that means that the guy who is out indicting russians for the act, the special prosecutor who has
indicted 25 russians for the act already, is not conducting a witch hunt. once donald trump admits that, he gives legitimacy to the investigation and he doesn't know where it's going to go next. or even worse, maybe he does know. >> what i was saying in the opening remarks, that was a concept stolen from a conversation earlier today. so ruth marcus, in this report tonight in the new york sometime sometim sometimes, we are seeing for grounding for john brennan's public outrage this week in particular and in the past, about what this president has said. former cia director brennan has said that what the president did on monday was near treasonous. let's consider this passage of the new york times report tonight when we think about what john brennan has been saying today. the january 6th, 2017 meeting held at trump tower was a prime example. the president was briefed that day by the cia director, the
director of national intelligence and the director of the national security agency and the commander of the united states cyber command. the fbi director james comey was also there and after the formal briefing he privately told mr. trump about the steel dossier. now we know exactly what day this was. we know the setting. we know john brennan was there. he was there when the president was shown the texts and the e-mails and explained the source close to vladimir putin and how they know all of this and how they know that vladimir putin personally ordered it. john brennan was there when this information was delivered to this president. and so he has had to endure all of these public comments the president has made since then that contradict everything that he was told that day. >> sure. and, you know, we knew on some level when the intelligence chiefs came out and told us unanimously and unequivocally
that russia interfered in the election that russia interfered in the election with the intention of helping donald trump that they had a basis for saying that. and we could have also assumed that their basis for saying that was something that they appropriately shared with the president elect. but seeing in black and white in this new york times story the nature of that information, the detailed nature of that information, adding to it the kind of granular information that we got in the indictment there, it really does cause you to engage in a kind of thought experiment. what would a normal, responsible, emotionally stable, intellectually honest president-elect and now president do if he discovered that this kind of interference had been done to aid his election? he would express horror and outrage. he would insist on getting to
the bottom of this. donald trump, for whatever reason, has been unwilling, incapable of doing that except for these very kind of micro bursts of coerced honesty. and then he just reverts to type, which is no collusion, witch hunt and maybe, you know, some 400 pound guy on a bed somewhere. >> i want to go back to the point rachel raised when i was talking to her about this new report tonight, and that is the lying to the american people. that was one of the counts that was preceding in theism peachment process for richard nixon before richard nixon resigned and short-circuited the whole thing. this is both lying to the american people for going on two years now, approaching two years, but also it is lying during a criminal investigation about this very subject that the president is lying about. and he is trying to communicate that lie to everyone around him
in his campaign, in his administration and everyone who might be talking to the investigators about this. >> yeah. i mean, look, if just lying per se were an impeachable crime, donald trump would have been gone after the first week, right? but this is in furtherance of what one could argue is an ongoing criminal conspiracy, right? because it is to obscure facts that he knows, that putin actually did meddle with the election and indeed is continuing to do so and you could argue, i think, that that is an ongoing criminal conspiracy in which the president on that level, at least, is participating. now, i don't know if you could prove that in a federal court, but, of course, in the house of representatives in terms of drawing up articles of impeachment, that's a different
story. it's high crimes and misdemeanors, and that's up to the interpretation of the house. >> matt miller, quickly before you go, what do you think robert mueller's reaction was when he discovered the details which he has known surely for many, many months now of this january 6th, 2017 briefing of president-elect trump? >> i think first he would be disturbed by the leak. a source very close to vladimir putin, that will put vladimir putin on the hunt to find out who it is. so i think that will be the first thing. second, he won't be very surprised. he knows donald trump is a liar. i think more than anything, he's going to be convinced this is the reason why trump will never, ever sit down with him. he's going to have to move on to the investigation and close it without talking to him or send him a grand jury subpoena. >> there is no answer under oath or to federal investigators of
why have you been saying every day that it could have been someone else after january 6th, 2017, after you were told exactly what this was? he's got no honest answer to that. everyone, thank you very much for getting our first panel started on our first round of this. we have to squeeze in a break here. congressman adam schiff, ranking member of the house intelligence committee will join us. he will react to the news that donald trump knew who ordered the russian attack on our election. fruits and veggies are essential to your health, but it's tough to get enough of their nutrients. new one a day with nature's medley is the only complete multivitamin with antioxidants from one total serving of fruits and veggies try new one a day with nature's medley. you shouldn't be rushed into booking a hotel. with expedia's add-on advantage, booking a flight unlocks discounts on select hotels until the day you leave for your trip. add-on advantage.
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we are back with more of our breaking news coverage of this new york times report tonight saying that headlined from the start trump has muddied a clear message, that putin interfered. "the new york times" is reporting tonight that president trump has known since he was president-elect trump, on january 6th, 2017, that vladimir putin personally ordered the russian attack on our election and ordered it to sway the outcome of the election in favor of donald trump. the evidence according to "the new york times" report tonight the evidence included texts from russian military officers and information gleaned from a top secret source close to mr. putin who had described to the cia how
the kremlin planned to execute its campaign of hacking and disinformation. this was all presented to president-elect trump in trump tower on january 6th, 2017. the director of the cia, john brennan, was there. james comey, director of the fbi was there. director of the nsa was there. it was a full intelligence community briefing of the newly elected president and the president has known beyond a reasonable doubt, having been shown absolute proof of this since january 6th, 2017, that the russians at the specific direction of vladimir putin did indeed attack and attempt to corrupt the american presidential election. joining us is frank, a former fbi assistant director for counter intelligence and a national security expert for msnbc and nbc news. matt miller and gene robinson
are still it was. i want to get your expert view of what we have here, what this new york times breaking report today adds to our understanding of the president's use and misuse of information. the way the president has denied and lied constantly to the public saying it could have been the russians. it could have been someone else. he even said that today. >> lawrence, this significantly changes the equation. and now it is a new lens through which we have to look at all of the conduct and behavior of the president. so every time he came out publically and blamed the fbi for not doing anything, president obama for knowing about this and not doing anything, the utter disdain that he holds the u.s. intelligence community, the fbi in, it is because they knew his secret. they told him the secret. and he was covering it up. let me -- just bare with me.
someone who assists another -- another being putin or the russian federation -- who has committed a felony. after the person has committed the felony, with knowledge that the person committed the felony and with the intent to help the person avoid arrest or punishment. an about soir after the fact may be held liable or obstruction of justice. that's how come this is significant reporting tonight. >> "the new york times" also carries this passage inside the partic article. in july, after meeting mr. putin for the first time, trump said the russian president had made a persuasive case that the government's hackers could never have been caught. therefore, mr. trump recounted from his conversation, russia
must not have been responsible. and there is the president of the united states telling "the new york times" that he was convinced by vladimir putin that vladimir putin's cyber team is better than the united states of america's cyber team and, therefore, vladimir putin must be telling him the truth. >> yachlt taeah. i think that's the point that i take away most from this new report. you go back to monday's performance. it was such a disgrace just based on what we knew at the time. seeing the president stand up and cost out on his own intelligence agencies, attack the fbi, take vladimir putin's side, take his word again. that was bad enough just based on what we knew then. now that we find out he knew a year and a half earlier that putin personally knew about this and personally ordered the hacking and yet he stood right next to him and made excuses for him and helped him cover it up and attacked the investigators trying to hold those hackers
accountable was an absolute moral failing by the president of the united states. >> what we seem to have here is an intelligence community that has had enough. >> yes. >> there are -- there is just a large number of people out there at this point who'd be in a position to be able to supply "the new york times" with this kind of information tonight. apparently, they have seen this president go too far and seeing him up there on that stage with vladimir putin must have been the last straw for this reporting because this sourcing to "the new york times" has become very explicit, saying that the president-elect was shown evidence that included texts and e-mails from russian military officers. information gleaned from a top secret source close to slod mvl putin. >> presumably they certainly might. there is also in the article a
description of a source very close to vladimir putin, such a sensitive source that any reference to the source was kept out of even president obama's presidential daily brief because of its relatively wider circulation and apparently only the president and a few others were told of the existence of this source, who obviously they think is really good. you know, there is all this sort of blabber on the right wing about the deep state. these are public servants who have dedicated years, decades, to public service, to government service, who take their jobs seriously and who were shocked and stunned at that performance on monday. after all that has come before, that was -- that was some sort
of punctuation mark for a lot of people. and i can just tell you just from personal acquaintances who work in the intelligence field, it was -- it was a blow like none that has come before and they had to ask themselves about the loyalty of the president of the united states. and that's a stark question. >> yeah. >> for people to face. and it implies that they then have to think of their own responsibility and the oaths they have taken and their service to the nation. >> and how to express that service, how to best express it. frank, we're now seeing in this report tonight a frame for the agony that john brennan must have been going through for more than the last year and especially the agony he must have been endured when he saw
donald trump standing beside vladimir putin on monday. this explains much of the language and the outrage that we have heard from the former cia director john brennan who personally, personally briefed this president-elect on exactly what vladimir putin did in this election. >> so many of us have been talking for months now on this network about the tip of the iceberg and what's beneath the surface. and we have made references to the top secret intercepts and human sources that must be available to bob mueller. and now unfortunately, due to this leak, this is playing out as we suspected. many of us who have had to provide sensitive briefings to president-elects or candidates for president know that this is routinely given to those people to equip them to help protect the nation. so if you are sitting there as john brennan, you are sitting there as fired fbi director jim
comey and you know the truth and you are watching the president lie daily about what he knows and who is to blame and then asking to sit alone with the man who he knows helped him or tried to help him in the meeting, you understand how outraged some of these professionals are. >> well, this is going to put all the more pressure on this new movement that just bubbled up in the last 24 hours to get the notes of the interpreter who was in that room with donald trump and vladimir putin. we're going to have more on that when we come back. salads should look like this.
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again, lied today by saying that, no, the russians were not currently trying to attack or continuing to attack the electoral system in the united states or any other kind of cyber attack on the united states. and, so, when white house press secretary -- the white house press secretary tried to escape a very sharp line of questioning from hally jackson by calling on jordan fabian, the most perfect moment of the white house press core team work infolded and jordan fabian no doubt to the cheers of millions at home who have been waiting for this kind of moment showed us how it's done. >> why should this president have any credibility to americans in what he says if in fact 24 hours or in this case three hours later the white house comes out and says just kidding. >> first of all, that's not what i said. i was interpreting what the
president's intention was and stating the administration's policy. it is not exactly what you just explained. we never said just kidding. and i think that you -- >> you understand. >> you can take the fact that the president has creditability because he saw he had mistaspok and he wanted to clarify that. >> just to follow up on my second question. >> you've asked two. i'm going to move on to jordan. jordan, go ahead. >> sorry. hally, go ahead, if you want. >> actually, i'm going to take a question from jordan. >> i just want to know when because i don't remember a time when a president has publically called out vladimir putin. >> that's a pretty bold call out of another world leader. jordan, go ahead. >> and then jordan did ask his
question. and rosie gray, white house correspondent tweeted this was a nice moment of press core solidarity. classy move by jordan fabian. follow up questions are a part of our jobs and it is helpful to be able to ask them. and i just can't tell you how shocked and delighted i was by the jordan fabian moment in today's press briefing and, so, joining us now is jordan fabian, white house correspondent for the hill. jordan, you got a standing ovation from me watching it alone at home, but i'm sure you got it from around the country because we have watched. we who watch these things watch the core yell over each other and the precious moment of being able to ask that question is so important that no one seems to care what has just been asked or no one seems to care that sara sanders is using the next question to evade the last question. how did you decide that this was
the moment? this was the moment where you weren't going to play the game, you were going to hand it back to hally jackson and let her have your opportunity? >> well, thanks, lawrence. and, look, a lot of us in the white house press core have been talking for a long time about press core unity and sticking together and making sure, you know, all of us can do our jobs and get the questions that we're asking answered. i thought that was an opportunity to sort of step aside and let hally get her question answered because, you know, sara sanders was dodging a little bit and i thought that she deserved the chance, you know, to have her question answered. so, look, we all have our questions and the briefings have been few and far between, so it is tougher to get questions in now. but, look, if we're talking about unity, it is important that we practice what we preach and really hand the mike over if someone is not getting their question answered. >> april ryan was trying to
fight her way in and normally there is all this kind of yelling over each other. but there was a moment where it's like the seas parted. everyone stopped talking so that april ryan could actually get through and of course sara sanders refused to answer her question, but i have never seen that happen before where people just got out of the way. just everyone got out of the way and let april ryan try to have her moment. so is this a kind of recent decision that's happening among the group? >> you know, lawrence, i don't think it's really, you know, a kons -- conscious decision, but a lot of reporters have seen how the briefings are going and seen times when people have, like you said, people shouting over each other, people not getting their questioned answered and, you know, i think a lot of us have taken just internally, ourselves
personally, the attitude that, you know, we're all in this together and that we all have a job to do. i know the briefings can seen like a televised circus times but it is a group of 49 reporters just trying to do their job. so in order for that to happen, i think a lot of us have taken the attitude that, look, we all have our jobs to do and everyone needs the opportunity to do it. >> jordan, it is very clear for people watching at home that sara sanders has been exploiting the process and trying to use reporters against each other to evade the pressures of what goes on in that room and the way you handled it today is the way so many of us have been waiting to see it handled for so long. and i hope that you are treated tomorrow and in the future as the leader that you were in that room today and people follow your example. thank you very much for joining us tonight, jordan. really appreciate. >> all right. thanks, lawrence. >> thank you. we have much more ahead,
especially on this breaking news night where the new york sometimes is reporting that president trump has known for two weeks before his inauguration that vladimir putin personally ordered the attack on our election, the cyber attack by the russian military and that president trump was shown texts and e-mails in an intelligence briefing in trump tower when he was president-elect, a fact that president trump has denied every day of his presidency. we will be right back. (vo) i was born during
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there was an extraordinary moment in today's white house press briefing. one of the true low points of the trump administration and one that would again provoke people like john brennan to consider just how treasonous the people in this white house in addition to the president can actually be. let's listen to this question and the answer. >> authorities yesterday named several americans who they want to question they claim were involved in crimes in their terms, including former ambassador to russia. does president trump support that idea? is he open to having u.s. officials questioned? >> the president is going to meet with his team and we'll let you know when we have an announcement on that. >> is that a topic that came up in their conversation? did president putin raise this
with president trump? >> there wasn't a commitment made on behalf of the united states and the president will work with his team and we'll let you know if there is an announcement on that. >> the president needs to make it clear that in a million years this wouldn't be under consideration. not something that should require a half second of consultation, dangerous. back with us for our discussion, gene, frank and matt. and, gene, this was a moment like, again, like no other, like nothing we have ever seen. will the president consider handing over a former ambassador to russia for investigation, questioning and, what, arrest and conviction and imprisonment? >> there are not words. i mean, this is -- this could never -- that response that sara
sanders gave that didn't have an answer, of course there is an answer. of course this is completely out of the question. yet, this was apparently discussed in that private meeting. and, so, what else was discussed in that the russians saying there were important agreements that our government, that our officials know nothing about -- to say nothing about you and i, we have no idea what they decided but according to the russians, they might be trolling us. they reached important agreements, those two leaders in secret. it's just extraordinary. >> matt miller, we know trump personnel are the least experienced people in the history of the government. sarah sanders would not be a press secretary or department assistant, assistant, assistant in any other white house, so
there is always the rank ignorance explanation for everything that they say and because she doesn't know what she's actually talking about most of the time, she thinks that that might be an acceptable answer to this but then, there is the much more extremely dangerous possibility here and that is that donald trump as gene says did actually discuss this with vladimir putin and did come to an agreement of well, of course, if you want to talk to mcfaul, we'll tedeliver him to you. >> she didn't feel she had the runway to say this is an absurd idea and one the united states would never agree to because she has no idea what her boss did agree to in the meeting and would be worried if the president saw her say that, he might be mad at her for coming to the defense of someone like michael mcfaul, who is a former obama administration appointee who goes on television and criticizes the president.
it gets back to the question that we don't know what happened in this meeting and what our normal president would say, a president sticking up for america, when vladimir putin raised something like that would say look, it's absurd and insulting and absolutely not going to make a formal am ber ambassador available. mr. trump knew putin ordered himself with a conspiracy theory. it's an absolute false equivalence. you saw he was intrigued by the idea and brought it up twice after the press conference and some part of me would love to know whether or not the president didn't say something that he was a former obama administration appointee and criticizes me. i'm not that disturbed by the idea. >> frank, the answer we head sarah sanders give is, and this is something donald trump and sarah sanders doesn't understand
is fund mentally unamerican. >> so let me address this ignorance as a defense issue first. i stopped buying into that ignorance defense a long time ago with this administration because look what you lead off with tonight. this story tonight that the president knew two weeks before the inauguration an adversary was trying to assist him responsible for hacking removes the ignorance defense and talking up, coughing up american z citizens, coughing up a u.s. ambassador, the conclusion is he's aiding and abedding. >> we're joined by adam schiff, he just left the house floor forecasting votes. we have a breaking news report from "the washington post"
indicating that president trump has known since january 6th, 2017 the new york times reports tonight that the president was briefed and real specifics how vladimir putin specifically ordered the invasion, the attack on our election and that donald trump has known this for a couple of weeks before he was inaugurated. >> lawrence, i'm permitted to comment specifically on what the president was briefed and given the briefing but i can say this, as a member of the gang of eight, i was kept abreast of what the russians were doing in realtime during the election. i continued to get briefings after the election during the period in which donald trump was in the president elect and not just the gang of eight members, the candidate, the major presidential candidates will get a briefing on certain intelligence. when they become the president
elect, they will be given specific intelligence and when they become president, the briefings will continue. there is no way to claim the president was unaware of what the rubbssians were doing and specific evidence of what the russians were doing. we indulge ourselves in this fiction somehow maybe this is a problem of donald trump not knowing but clearly, he has been briefed time and time and time again. i would argue begins as the republican nominee until the present day, he just can't acre set it and there lies the problem. >> when it seems that the problem for the president in his strategy is that he wants to call the investigation that you've engaged in a witch hunt, he herbespecially wants to call investigation a witch hunt but it can't be a witch hunt if the russians actually did attack our
election processes. >> that's exactly right. it's hard to escape the conclusion there is some pathology at work here because of course, he would have said yes the russians did it. i acknowledge the russians did it but nonetheless, i don't believe it was determinative in the impact on the election, even if it were, i deplour. the problem for our country is that means the president of the united states will not, cannot, isn't capable of accepting the russians interfered, that the russians are likely to interfere again and he has a responsibility to the country to do something to protect our sells in the next election, and this just isn't happening. >> congressman, this seems -- tonight's news seems to put more pressure on an idea advanced by
sole debt cram tick s some democratic senators that the interpreter present in the room with president trump and president putin should reveal her notes of that meeting and tell congress in testimony evening that she can about what was said in that room sgr. >> i fully support that. there are reasons they should have private conversations but not under this circumstance where the president demands no references and makes reference to comments under taken in the meeting and the public seating, he under cuts our national interests and our intelligence agaencies and we can only imagie what was said in private under these circumstances where the president of theatively workingt
our own sbheinterest. we should haul in the interpreter. >> it doesn't customerry for interpreter's notes to be archived? these notes in the past found their way in that route, not things that need to be kept secret forever. >> i cthink that's exactly righ. they need to be shared to determine the further steps we need to protect the country yes from russian intervention we from a president incabpable of axcrcepting what the russians d and might do again. the russians would have noting about recording this and using anything he said against the president of the united states. i have to imagine if our
intelligence agencies ask the president if they could record what took place, the pmtd would say no. i can't imagine they will go forward recording. here again, the president has given the russians a unilateraled a ven van tielg over our country. >> others said they believe vladimir putin has a recording of what went on in the room. what does that mean for the president? >> i think what that means is i would fully expect our intelligence community would have briefed the president going into the private meeting that you have to fully expect the russians are record everything you say. it's one thing to advice and another for him to act on the information. if the president should do or say something that is either at odds with what he said privately to putin or just at odds with russian interests to the degree putin decides he'll let the
president have it, putin is in the possession of recordings of what was said and can release them. it's more for the russians. >> thank you very much for joining us. really appreciate it. >> thank you. >> thanks to all my guests tonight. the "1 1th hour" with brian williams starts now. coverage of another incredible day, another instance of hearing the president's answer to a question followed by the white house telling us difference. the president tries to sound tougher on putin, "the new york times" reports before the inauguration, trump was shown putin ordered the 2016 attack. details out of streaming tv series on the russian woman, the gun enthusiasts, she's in jail tonight accused d od of being russian mole and allegedly using sex to gain