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tv   Morning Joe  MSNBC  July 27, 2018 3:00am-6:00am PDT

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i'm a healthy 5'10". is this a little better? >> now you look like you're in a high chair. >> where's my mapo. >> if you could lower your chair. and michael schmidt, senior reporter of "vanity fair," and with us from washington, national political reporter heidi przybyla and white house bureau chief and political analyst for msnbc and "nbc news at sunrise," phillip rucker. joe and mika are off. they'll be back monday. and reported on michael cone extensively, wired into that world better than anybody, donny deutsch knows michael well. >> it's like the michael cohen friends, family and tormentoring table. >> michael cohen reportedly has a story to tell. nbc news confirmed cohen is willing to inform robert mueller that donald trump as a candidate knew about that 201 meeting
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between russians and his top campaign aides at trump tower. a knowledgeable source says the president's former attorney is willing to tell special counsel donald trump jr. told his father in advance of the meeting. cohen's plames first rors erepoy cnn, cohen doesn't have evidence to back up his story and cnn reporting a source familiar with cone's testimony to the house intelligence committee says cohen did not testify that trump had advance knowledge, nor does that claim appear in either of the committee's reports. delining comment, his attorney, lanny davis. i have to wonder why the trump people put that story out. it was not from us. rudy giuliani had this to say. >> i expected something from this from cohen. lying a week, two weeks. lying for years. i don't see how he has any credibility. if he had a trial, and there won't be, which lie do you want to pick?
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the first lie, second lie or maybe some new lie. there's nobody i know that knows him that hasn't warned me that if his back is up against the wall he'll lie like crazy, because he's lied all his life. >> emily jane fox. >> doesn't it sound like he was talking about donald trump? if you took those words and applied them to the president of the united states, sounds like -- >> talk about what he's talking about. talking about michael cohen there. it is true michael cohen does not have evidence of his claim it is true it does not appear in either of the reports that came out. cohen testified before the senate intel committee and didn't bring up this allegation there either. according to your reporting is he willing to present some evidence that he knew donald trump knew in advance about this meeting? >> i roberted monday people in cohen world said he had information that robert mueller and his investigation would be interested in, and three people at that time told me that some of that had to do with that
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trump tower meeting. this is something that has been in the air and in the orbit and talked about in cohen world. it is my sense there is not necessarily a smoking gun, a piece of evidence that the government collected from his apartment, hotel room and office, but that doesn't mean he's not able to provide context in respect were other people in the room. rudy giuliani denied last night on cnn the other people in the room said that, but the real issue here is that there are credibility issues on both sides. we know rudy giuliani was untruthful on friday when describing the audio recording that was released. said it was completely exculpatory, the president brought up paying with a check. clear from the audio recording that we've heard now that that is not what michael cohen and the president had talked about in that conversation and so it's hard to know who is telling the truth but i think what is clear is that michael cohen believes he has a lot to offer
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prosecutors, but the fact that this came out limits his ability to do so. this is not a great day for michael cohen and people in his orbit are frustrated and furious and feel like this is not what they wanted to have happen and now how they wanted this to play out t. is it true, michael smith, the report comes out at a time cohen feels his back is up against the wall, has taken a more aggressive stance, hiring lanny davis, putting him on tv, providing tapes to cnn, of course, and perhaps this information cohen is willing to provide to robert mueller would get him out of trouble elsewhere. >> had e has two problems with the justice department. a new york problem and a washington problem. what he wants to do is, he wants to use anything he has to offer to solve both of them. so could he make a global deal with the justice department? could he sit down and say, look, i know mueller's interested in this. i know the guys in new york want to know this. here's my exposure. can i do that? you need a very skilled lawyer to do that, and the justice
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department is going to frown, i think, upon this continued public discussion that has gone on with these lawyers, with lanny out there discussing things the way he has. i'm not sure how this has helped michael cohen. i'm just not sure. >> clear, donny, we're a long way from, i would take a bullet for donald trump in terms of where michael cohen's head is right now. >> yeah. >> and his stance towards the president of the united states. >> we're about as far away from that as you could possibly get. jumping off emily's point also. micha michael, and my past conversations with michael, michael's made clear to mere, number one a man he worked for over a decade. nothing went on in this business without donald knowing about it, and he had led me to believe that he could bring trump back to russia. that he -- what came out yesterday to me was not a surprised based on conversations michael and i had had. that without a specific piece of
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paper, that he -- not exact words, but that everything going on, trump knew about. >> did he reference this meeting in particular when you talked to him? >> yes, he did. this was several months ago and maybe somebody else was even in the room when that discussion happened. so i -- this is what it's going to come down to, and i think michael to emily's point also is frustrated, because other than one or two of the statements he's made, he really, by his lawyer's advice and friends advice, has understood, it's time to be quiet. what's happening, he's being pulled out and very caught in between, i know i have to lay low. got wait for my day in court figuratively but i got to punch back once in a while and a constant battle, frankly, between lanny and his attorneys, obviously, saying nothing. a kind of emotional daily coaster how he does it. the piggest story of yesterday, last month, the cfo that emily
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also -- >> the trump organization cfo, yes. >> that, and i've said it from the beginning. this is going to come back to 15, 20, 30 years of slimy, dishonest, underhanded business dealings. dhaect wi connect that with russia and other things we haven't even talked about. >> john? >> this isn't the first time we've heard assertion from michael cohen. steve bannon acknowledged -- he wasn't in the trump campaign at the time, but formed speculation and retroactive informed speculation, another person super close to donald trump basically has direct knowledge, claims to have direct knowledge or believes what a lot of us believe, that a meeting of this importance held by don junior would not be something not reported to this father. that rings true to a lot of people. the question for you, emily, is this -- you were early, ahead of
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everybody, on the notion that when the information came out there was a tape that it was not michael cohen that would have put that out but the trump side. you hit that head-on. the suggestion, that's happening now. not michael cohen but somehow put out by donald trump's side. i understood in the first instance why the trump people would have wanted to get ahead of a tape and try to contextualize it, spin it, set it up that they knew it would come out anyway. what is, a., do you think this is the trump people for sure who put it out. number one. and two, the new information, this is different. there's not a tape to contextualize. no factual basis, why would the trump people do this? >> it's hard to understand anyone's motivation. you could argue both sides.
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in cohen world, the discussion, how does this serve us? absolutely no benefit for michael cohen. he is not seeking a pardon. not something he's interested in or looking for. not sending a smoke signal there. it would hinder his ability to cooperate with prosecutors if they feel a card has been taken from his deck and he doesn't have as much to offer him now. the trump motivation -- look, michael cohen was very vocal in his step knhanopoulos interview abc. two things stood out. stephanopoulos knew to ask about payments to women, came out in the recording and to ask about the tower meeting. at the time, interesting those two things were asked about. i don't think it was an accident. rudy giuliani and the legal team had a preview of two cards in michael cohen's deck. so it's possible because they knew those were two things on michael cohen's mind, because
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there was maybe this meeting that happened and people in trump's orbit maybe were in that meeting in trump tower, they're trying to get ahead of two things michael cohen signaled he was willing to talk to investigators about. >> if the reported claims are true, no evidence yet presented to that effect, donald trump told his father in advance of the 2016 meeting with russians it would contradict claims from trump and his son after the "new york times" broke the story one year ago. >> a lot of people are going to want to know this about your father. did you tell your father anything about this? >> no. it was such a nothing, there was nothing to tell. i mean, i wouldn't even have remembered it, until you start scouring through the stuff. >> did you know at the time that they had the meeting? >> no, i didn't know anything about the meeting. you know, it must have been a very unimportant meeting because i never even heard that. >> no one told you a word? nothing? >> nobody told me. no. nobody told me. i didn't know. it's a very -- sounded like a
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very unimportant meeting there we have a piece of michael schmidts conversation with the conversation and maggie haberman his colleague. heidi przybyla, go to you first on the congressional side of this, because they're saying that, you know, this never came up in the house intelligence meetings. is it possible that donald trump jr. lied to congress? >> reporter: it's possible. we don't know exactly, because we don't have those transcripts, but i will note a very important timeline in this in terms of who's going to be able -- who's going to be questioned additionally about this. in terms of don junior, what he knew and also paul manafort and what he knew. what we know is that don junior made two calls around this meeting to a blocked number, which was the modem operandi for him calling his father to a blocked number. one before, one after. we know from movements outside and inside trump tower trump was
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physically present during that meeting and we know that within hours afterwards, he was meeting up with paul manafort at a luncheon just down the street. so there would have been every opportunity for the president to have been briefed and, again, to take you back to steve bannon's remarks in the book it is incredulous to believe that the president hadn't been debriefed. so i think where this becomes important if they're going to try to discredit michael cohen is to look for corroboration from others who would have known, and, of course, if don junior told fox news, that may be -- you know, come out as a lie. >> i want to go back to the line john heilemann quoted from steve bannon in the michael wolfe book "fire and fury." called it treasonous, did bannon. went on to say the chance don junior did not walk the russians up to his father's office on the 26th floor is zero. doesn't suggest he knew about it beforehand but may have known
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about it is what it suggests. the man known at the gatekeeper ordered before a federal grand jury. the "wall street journal" reports allen weisselberg, chief financial officer and executive vice president of the trump organization subpoenaed by the southern district of new york in the michael cohen investigation. sources familiar with the probe told the journal weiselberg is considered a witness. last year he arranged for the trump organization to pay cohen after he made a $130,000 payment to stephanie clifford, known as stormy daniels, to keep quiet about an alleged affair. one of the president's closest and oldest business associates weiselberg worked with trump since the 1980s and even featured on "the apprentice." days before inaugurated turned over his business to two grown sons under weiselberg's guidance. neither he nor the trump administration responded for comments. e got this yesterday.
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just got off the phone. echoed the subpoena. allen knows anything and everything about all financials, every dollar that goes in and every dollar that leaves. he knows where all the bodies are buried. what's the significance of this specific story? we know who he is as a character in trump's world but on the specifics here, what's the significance? >> it shows that there's real interest on the mueller team and to the finances of the trump organization, which first of all is going to bother the president intensely. he, i think, is going to view this as an incrouchment. going beyond sort of the russia mandate of thisinvestigation, but troubling for the president so many financials of his company are kept secret, kept from the public. he has not released his tax returns like other presidential candidates and other presidents have. there's a great interest learning more about his finances. where does he make his money? how does he invest his money and how much is coming in and out of the organization, and weiselberg
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is the one character who knows all of that. he has kind of full visibility into the financial portrait of the trump organization and of donald trump personally, and has had that visibility for decades now. so he has a lot of value to the mueller team, you know, if, in fact, he is questioned on this. >> michael schmidt, you've been reporting on this, too, and we know this has been the president's kind of red line as concerns of the mueller investigation broadly, but what is your reporting telling you what exactly it is they want from weiselberg? >> weiselberg knows about -- as we heard from the tape recording, how the payment was going to be made to ami to buy the story from the model. >> that's karen mcdougal. >> correct. he knows how that money was moving. so if you're investigating michael cohen, trying to figure out what that was all about and what the intent was for the payment and whether it violated campaign finance laws, you're going to need to talk to him. the question is, how much
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broader does it go than that? as you said, we tried to pin the president down on this. we spoke to him last july in what i called the faulty red line. most red lines are. looking at finances does that violate the red line? he basically says that. we're talking about mueller at that point. now we're talking about prosecutors in the southern district of new york looking at his finances. his same justice departmepresid. does that violate the president's red line? did michael cohen's home, offices and hotel room months ago and the president has done nothing about that. i can't believe the president will look at them talking to, you know, to weiselberg as a great thing, and i'll be very interested to see what his reactions are. a lot of stories yesterday about a lot of different legal things about the president, and i can't imagine he's going to be happy about it. >> clarify one legal thing. there is no ittant client
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privileg not an accountant client privilege? right? >> no. >> and did bob mueller, does he have donald trump's tax returns? would he have access to those? a question that swirled around sd? does he have full -- >> never been able to answer that in a reporting way. no one has been able to in any way. talk to folks, prosecutors, current and former doj types they say there's no way you would do a big, white collar investigation without starting with the tax returns. >> no bar to him, given the kind of prosecutorial power he has, no way he would be prohibited from those returns? >> a request he has to make and has a lot more powers. >> this weiselberg thing. everybody talking about cohen
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being a john dean. i think this is your john dean. wherever it starts -- if a cfo is complicit, they're as guilty as the person doing it. whatever he's called in for, end of the day, in any kind of trouble what else does he have? he has everything. i ran a company for many, many years. >> donny has a lot of familiarity with corrupt accountants. >> yes, and a cfo, everything he does, executes every dollar in, dollar out, every business -- if donald trump ever did anything dishonest and i'm not accusing him. weiselberg was the financial executor of that. when i read that yesterday, i was like, whoa. you know, rome is really burning, and to say that donald trump is not happy about that, i think to him this is even scarier than michael cohen. >> isn't itny you hear over and over, a lot of people saying
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where the bodies are buried. how many bodies, and where do you bury them? >> the cfo, by your side -- >> running a certain kind of operation? >> yes. any body burrier whisperers those are the people. >> and phil, the president's financial ties, his relationships and business terms with russia and other places have always been in the background of this investigation, always in the background of people's suspicions about how he dealt with russia over the course of the campaign. how his campaign did. this guy might be the key to answering some of those questions? >> that's right, and it's also suspicious, because the president has sought to keep this information secret for so many years from the public. >> right. >> despite the protocols and practices of presidential campaigns in the past. and so that's why there's been such intense public interest in his finances and the tax returns. you know, we simply don't know what the investigators have at this point but weiselberg could be a very key piece in their
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investigation. >> as always, on a reporting spree. the other big story in the "times" yesterday, robert mueller reportedly examining president trump's tweets as part of his probe into the obstruction of justice, or potential obstruction of justice. surprising mueller would look at these? it's public information. i assume he would look at all the tweets. >> the way to look at the tweets is, what if we found out he said these things in private? what would our reactions have been? we would say, wow. i can't believe the president was doing this. i can't believe the president was trying to influence these folks in this way. and because the president has done it publicly, we kind of lose sight of that. >> right. >> if you're looking at trying to understand the president's intei inte intent, by do these things? different actions with sessions, comey and his own lawyers at the white house, you have to look at the things he said himself. these statements that give an insight into his thoughts.
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most lawyers tell you if you're under investigation don't talk about it. especially under investigation for obstruction, you really shouldn't talk about it, but he has continued to do that. if you look at the 49 questions mueller wants to ask trump about, several of them are just about his public statements. what was he saying publicly? >> we talk about this case. funny, somebody said on the set several months ago watergate had to comb clue fithrough and find tapes, with president trump, an interview with lester holt broadcast to 10 million people. >> right. makes potential for the appreciate tapes to be that much more salacious. willing to say these things in public, imagine what he's said in private? >> and not to do with tweets in the context of the president's campaign on the basis of all reporting that i did at that time. every single donald trump tweet was preceded by him saying the same thing to people around him 100 times. 50 times 12shgs ti s 12 times, .
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the thing he would obsess over and say to hoke hicks, campaign staffer, over and over and pop out of the tweet, or the tweet was the first thing on this mind. tweeted it and repeated to everyone around him with more profanity or emphasis. never isolated things that trump comes up with once. these are the things on his mind at that moment and this is the way he vents it. again, i can't speak to specific tweet but the pattern of trump is that the twitter thing is, is one expression of the mental echo chamber that is what's going on in that head of his at any given moment. >> emily before we let e go, what do we look for next with michael cohen? frustrated about this latest story. what's the next move with lanny davis by his side? >> i think the sentiment is they feel like they've been kicked with steel toed boots by rudy giuliani and going forward if they feel they're kicked they're going to kick back and kick back harder. who know what is to come. >> phil rucker what are you
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looking at today? >> i want to see how the president reacts to this. heading to bedminster, new jersey, to his golf course over the weekend. tends to visit with a lot of new york friends there, let's loose on the golf course. see if there's a tweet storm tomorrow morning as there often is on saturday mornings. >> and rainy weather here in new york. important to point out. indoors. plenty of time to tweet. >> thank you so much. >> you know what schmidt's doing today? >> looking to see where all the bodies are buried on you. >> i've seen his work. i don't want him doing that. and still ahead, ahead of midterm elections, "daily beast" reporting the story, and sam stein joins the table with what the "beast" found out. plus, former chairman of the rnc michael steele joins us or sean spicer calls him in his new book, the author of that infamous trump dossier. what? we'll clear that up next on "morning joe." are you ready to take your wifi to the next level?
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former white house press secretary sean spicer's new pook reportedly full of mistakes and errors. white house correspondent jonathan karl wrote in a recent review for the "wall street journal" spicer's memoir is much like this tenuous press secretary. short littered with inaccuracies offering one consistent theme. mr. trump can do no wrong. here's one example. john carl points it out to us. "mr. spice hear not been well served by the fact checkers and copy editors referring to the anger of the infamous trump dossier and michael steele who is in truth the former chairman of the republican national committee and not the british ex-spy christopher steele. >> although possibly one of the co-authors of the dossier. >> michael steele was an mi-6 agent for a time. michael, good morning. what hand did you have in the dossier and why have you kept it quiet so long? >> i just have, only thick -- thing i have to say is steele.
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michael steele tlrchlts . >> there it is. >> and mr. stein, welcome. >> thank you. donny the suit is greater than your entire -- >> probably. >> even when i show the proper respect for the show and dress wa is a torial splendor i still guess abused. >> i'm not abusing you. that was a compliment. >> thank you. >> nobody wants to see that baby gap t-shirt, donny. >> brendan fraser? >> a good movie. yeah. all right. let's get to the "daily beast" big scoop. democratic senator claire mccaskill of missouri first identified candidate targeted by russian hackers ahead of the campaign elections. >> they don't know what they're get toing into. >> the first to report the hack
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attempt. president trump was in missouri chastising mccaskill and asking the crowd to vote her our office. we first learned of russia's midterm hacking attempts last week during a security forum. >> earlier this year we did discover that a fake microsoft domain had been established as the landing page for phishing attacks and saw metadata suggesting those attacks were being directed at three candidates who are all stand are for election in the mid-term elections. all people who, because of their positions, might have been interesting targets from an espionage standpoint as well as an election disruption standpoint. >> senator mccaskill has been highly critical of russia and a top senate democrat facing tough re-election this year issued a statement saying the cyber attack was unsuccessful and "it is outrageous they think they can get away with this. i will not be intimidated." amazing report worth everybody's read at the "daily beast" sam.
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why senator mccaskill? >> a really good question and also an unanswered question. there is the coincidental times of trump going to missouri, vote her out. within a month this happens. she was highly critical of russia, also of wikileaks. those are circumstantial. what struck me about this was just how unsophisticated the whole thing is. really. they set up a fake page. tell you your e-mail password expired and ask you to log in and change it. that's it. anybody can be duped by that. >> the verification. two-step verification. >> i talked to a cyber security expert on the democratic side of the ledger who said this is the simplistic elements of this. they will catch up with people if they aren't prepared. anyone running for 2020, your campaign may not be targeted during that campaign but aides working on campaigns and go to
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your campaign may be targeted now and may bring that hacker with them when they come to your campaign. it's unsophisticated but definitely malicious. >> kasie, something they're worried about on capitol hill before this report even came out? such a high-profile senator targeted it could be anybody? >> sure. something -- not the first time it's happened. other members of congress, on a lower profile scale have been targeted using similar methods as we saw with john podesta's e-mails in the presidential campaign. it's something a lot of members despite the president's repeated insistence none is happening, doesn't matter, don't look at that. members of congress especially those on the intelligence committee have access to deep information about these kinds of attempts to penetrate their campaigns and are concerned about it. to sam's point, a lot of these congressional campaigns, they aren't presidential campaigns. john heilemann you know this. you've covered both. often they're shoestring
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operations, often inexperienced -- people have to start some place. they're often young. you can make a mistake like this. sometimes the people who be most vulnerable are actually people who are older. john podesta, for example, fell victim to this whereas other staffers didn't. >> think about congressional campaigns. a lot of these campaigns, not like they have an i.t. department and their security amounts to a mcafee anti-virus heavy installed in their computers. they're not running with the he of vigilance or technical sophistication of a presidential campaign and not just congress' campaigns. a lot of senate campaigns don't have anybody that resembled, even multimillion senate campaigns don't have anything that resembles an i.t. department unlike the multibill dollar campaign hillary clinton campaign and donald trump campaign is involved in. you said, kasie. even those with all vigilance and focus and knowing they might be targeted, still you can find
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someone like john podesta and others on the campaign, simple mistakes that ended up causing a huge amount of chaos. >> michael steele, a new world. i imagine it wasn't something you worried aen to about when you were chair of the rnc? >> actually not as much then as now. i mean, we did find interestingly enough, when i came in as chairman, that a significant number of state party operations didn't have websites or had poorly managed websites. so every little entry point was vulnerable and has been vulnerable for quite some time. there was a point in that period where everybody was focused on the democratic party being hacked. folks now realize the republican party was hacked as well. so despite this idea that this was a push to sort of help trump or help hillary clinton, the bottom line is that we had foreign agents who figured out the play inside of our electoral system. it's a big deal for 2018, folks.
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do not underestimate the opportunity here with so much on the line in terms of power and control of the house. how that plays out in ledge installation could impact russian interests, between now and 2020. so there's a lot at stake and claire mccaskill's campaign is the tip of a very, very deep iceberg. >> just one really quick thing. the reality is, like in presidential campaigns. back to john kerry, 2008 campaign. always have been successful hacks of presidential campaigns. the difference between what happened 2016 and what will happen now and in past effort, the past efforts generally done by the chinese looking for information, not weaponizing that information. 2016 to 2018, hacking the information and putting it out in order to cause political damage as opposed to just gaining intelligence. >> donny, what's the obligation these campaigns should have? one of the big fights i've covered on the hill is calls for people to stay away from whatever information is gleaned
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by russian hacking attempts. don't put it in your ads. don't spend money pushing a claim that was hacked? >> speaking, before i get to that question, speaking of hacking. still stuns me. last week, week before, the republicans voted down a bill that would have added additional money to protect our voting apparatus. talking about hacking into people's e-mails. actually said, no, no. we're not going to spend money to make sure the process of 2018 and '20 going forward is protected. the same technology. hacking is hacking. if we ever get to the point where people are doubting electio elections, it's over. as far as, kasie, your question, i go back to bringing it back to trump. i believe at the time in the idiot defense. i even believed at the time when trump was getting the information from russians. this is great! you know? i think that there's now obviously a heightened understanding of anybody, any gray areas whatsoever about getting money from i mean,
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getting information from hostile foreign actors, i think right now every campaign would have an over sensitivity to it. >> there's actually conversations happening right now between the top people at the democratic house campaign arm and the republican how campaign arm about this very question. what do you do when hacked material makes its way into the public domain? they're at an impasse right now. the democratic campaign arm is saying under no circumstances should anyone use that material whatsoever. make a pact in that way. it can't be weaponized or can be but won't be as damaging. the republican position has been, how can we ignore hacked material that makes its way out into the press? say the "new york times" writes a big expose. are we at that point not allowed to reference the "new york times" or the "washington post" material? so that's where the impasse is, and i don't see how you bridge that divide. i know they're trying to figure
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out a way, were ut if it's in the public domain and republicans say we should have to use it, democrats saying, no. can't use that. >> that's what happened in the 2016 campaign with the podesta e-mails. flooded out and the public's fear. >> 2016 campaign one instance i believe on the debate stage a candidate specifically referenced -- not the president's, congressional. specifically referenced hacked materials. that would have been a step too far in the current discussions that they're talking about. >> and heidi przybyla, you cover capitol hill. a public case of senator mccaskill, attempted hacking. not successful. what's the level of concern you pick up among other members? >> reporter: i think there a divide between the hill and this administration, because you saw recently the department of homeland security secretary kirstjen nielsen downplay this threat and at the same time if there is one issue where republicans and democrats are aligning, it is on the issue of election security. they've already, without making a lot of hay, disbursed more
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money to the states for election security. there is now pending consideration for another disbursement of money to the states. to the question of why claire mccaskill, though? as you discussed earlier. go with the most obvious explanation, which is that donald trump has had no pretense unlike with some of the other red state democrats of having any kind of a good relationship with claire mccaskill. they've -- he went to missouri and criticized her in her own state, unlike what he's done with some of these other red state democrats. she came out early in opposition to brett kavanaugh, unlike the other red state democrats. they've had prediction frfricti beginning. she's an obvious target and where you see the interests of these russian bots and the russian campaign, aligned directly with the president. it will be interesting to find out who those other two democratic members are, and also to understand what the scope is going into 2018, because
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facebook, zuckerberg, was just questioned in a conference call recently and he flat out refused to say what they know about what's already going on in 2018 on his platform. >> worth reading the piece at "the daily beast" today. and jonathan swan coming up. going to break, the white house note add minor change to the president's travel plans yesterday morning. citing bad weather and fog. a problem with that. our own hallie jackson 30e679po the view from my white house window, the president will take a car to andrews rather than is via helicopter where reporters can gather to take questions. perhaps even the weather has become fake news. we'll be right back on "morning joe." ♪
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joining us now from washington, national political reporter for axaxios, jonathan swan.
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a rapically changing view of president trump. what did you find? >> michael cohen told friends after the helsinki press conference he felt that was a turning point in the trump presidency, and he said that he's long questioned trump's fitness to the president, but had no occasion to question trump's loyalty to the country. quite a different thing. i texted with michael cohen about this and quite significantly he didn't deny it. he said he wasn't going to comment on somebody's innuendo. would you like to deny it? as emily and others on the panel who have dealt with michael know, he's never shy to correct you when you have something wrong. so i thought that was quite telling. >> jonathan, he says he's long questioned the president's fitness to the president. he defended him at every turn until about a month ago. >> seems a little convenient, willie, and count me in the camp of skeptics who don't quite
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believe yet tbd on michael's moral awakening. i'm still putting a little asterisk next to that one. two things out of last night. number one, emily is absolutely correct that the line from the cohen camp is, why in god's name would we have leaked this? it's not in our interests. and look, i do kind of buy that. i mean it would be as michael, as schmidt pointed out, it's insane. i mean, if you take this to mueller before you would air it publicly. there is no strategic reason for doing that. i don't know who leaked it but i can at least buy their line there. another, a friend of michael's also pointed out to me that they described it as ironic that president trump, who lied about this meeting in a statement from air force one would then deploy rudy giuliani to describe michael cohen as a liar. so, you know, that irony was not lost on them.
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>> donny, the idea michael cohen turned because of helsinki brought a smile to your face. >> interesting. i spoke to him a day after that. he was like, can you believe it? i think it's continued validation of decisions he'd made. that was not a turning point. that was, maybe, the opposite of buyer's remorse or buyer's validation. >> isn't this the simplest thing in the worlds, always been the simplest thing in the world. michael cohen realized there's no loyalty in donald trump, headed in his direction and now he's going to protect himself. not going to jail for a guy totally disloyal to me. >> the irony in all this, bizarre part about trump, talked about it on tv at the beginning, to the point i wouldn't understand. michael what are you doing? in his dna it wasn't in him to turn on trudge. and, yes. i don't think there needs to be
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anymore prognostication what's happening here. >> jonathan is your view, and your reporting out of the white house, that michael cohen is a dangerous problem for this president? or do they feel they can discredit him in a way rudy giuliani tried to do last night? >> well, firstly, just to donny's point, to be clear. i don't believe that michael cohen -- this was a turning point for him. i think it's interesting that he's saying this to people. it's, again, more of an indication he really quite violently turned against the president and questioning his loyalty toy country and things like that. i don't believe for a second this was a turning point. inside the white house, look, when the revelation came out about the investigation and cohen's office raided, there was no single event that got people's attention and rattled people around the president like that. and i don't know about -- i mean, i'm curious to know about weiselberg. i still don't have firsthand knowledge how trump reacted to that, but seems to me that's the
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only event with the same level of personal exposure to trump. >> okay. been at trump's side something like 35 years. jonathan swan, find his reporting at axios. thank you. and north korea handed over the remains of u.s. servicemen killed during the verien war. we go like to the pentagon for the latest, next on "morning joe." so, dave here is taking the family up to the lake for the weekend. but without the white knuckles this time.
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north korea returned 55 cases of what is believed to be the remains of u.s. service members killed during the korean war. the turnover happened overnight on the 65th anniversary of the signing of the armistice that ended the fighting. the remains still need to be authenticated by the jiunited states. we bring in hans nichols. >> reporter: the hard part.
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figuring out who the remains are and a total count how many remains were returned. president trump falsely said 200 were already returned. 200 is the number they're expecting. 55 cases. the remains will go to hawaii for cultural anthropologists take them apart doing dna testing trying to line up everything and make sure you can let the families know their loved ones have returned. i have to say, willie, there's more than symbolism here. there's substance. to have this operation take place you had a c-17, a u.s. military plain, cross the demild demille tearization zone. they worried if it didn't happen, a strategic blunder, but it's a success this morning. >> could be good news for a lot of families. hans nichols at the pentagon.
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the president tweeted, the remains of american servicemen soon loving north korea headed to the united states. after many years this will be a great moment for so many families. thank you to kim jong-un, tweeted president trump. still ahead this morning, much more on michael cone's reported willingness to inform the special counsel donald trump as a candidate new an inn advance of the infamous trudge tower meeting in 2016 with russians. plus, president trump has a history of making personal attacks on twitter. now it seems robert mueller may take a look into that. "morning joe" is coming right back. >> i love this twittering and tweeting. i love it, because, you know, i'm bigger than the "new york times." i got tons of people. >> if i didn't have social media i probably wouldn't be standing here. i wouldn't be able to get the word out. >> you see all over television. we have breaking news, and i may
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through the stuff. >> did you know at the time that they had the meeting. >> no. >> it must have been a very important -- must have been a very important meeting. >> no one told you a word. nothing? >> no, nobody. donald trump talking to the "new york times" a year ago. donald trump's former lawyer michael cohen says those claims are a lie. nbc news has confirmed that michael cohen is willing to inform special counsel robert mueller that donald trump as a candidate knew in advance about the june 2016 trump tower meeting with russians. welcome back to "morning joe". it's friday, july 27th, 2018. i'm willie geist alongside kasie hunt. get lawrence in. we got john hyland, donny
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deutsch, michael schmidt, former chairman of the renational committee, michael steele and joining our conversation, eugene robinson, the former u.s. attorney for northern district of alabama joyce vance and as promised the host of msnbc's last word lawrence o'donnell, joe and mika will be back on monday. >> this is no longer a show, it's a gathering. >> i get an hour every night. joyce vance, go ahead. >> genuinely curious how we got you up early. >> the threat came late at night. i can't remember what the terms were. but here i am. >> we caught you at a weak moment. nbc confirmed michael cohen is willing to inform robert mueller that donald trump as a candidate
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knew about that 2016 meeting between russians and his top campaign aides at trump tower. he's willing to tell special counsel that donald trump jr. told his father in advance of that meeting. cohen's claims were first reported last night by cnn whose source said cohen does not have evidence to back up his story. cnn reported the source familiar with cohen's testimony to the house intelligence committee says cohen did not testify that trump had advance knowledge nor does this claim appear in either of the committee's report. cohen's lawyer declined comment but reportedly told cnn i have to wonder why the trump people put out that story, it was not from us. president trump's lawyer rudy giuliani had this to say. >> he's not credible. i wouldn't accept him as a witness as a prosecutor. if mueller has any kind of case this is a kind of witness that can destroy your whole case
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because any finder of fact loses confidence in the case when you rely on a guy like this. when you rely on a guy before you're finished with him you'll have a string of lies, you just can't trust him. when you put him under this kind of pressure, what's his history. history is lying under pressure. >> let's sort through this. we got this reported claim made by michael cohen, reported that he doesn't have specific, hard evidence to support it. that he did not testify to this when he was in front of the house intelligence committee. he also testified in front of the senate house intelligence committee. do you believe his claim that president trump knew beforehand about the june 2016 meeting? >> no. there's no reason to believe the claim. we haven't even heard the claim from the person who we expect at some point possibly to hear the claim from. we're some distance from believing it. what's really fun about rudy giuliani saying well, you know, michael cohen is a liar and he's lied about other things therefore you can't believe anything he says and you never
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use a liar in court. this is an experienced former u.s. attorney. never use a liar in court. one thing we know about this meet sewing far, one big lie that's been told is donald trump's own version of this meeting which he dictated to the "new york times". that's proven tube lie. we know donald trump has already lied about the meeting. but rudy giuliani and using liars in court, rudy giuliani ran mafia prosecutions down here in the same courthouse that michael cohen is going to find himself in possibly some day. he used mafia murderers as his witness to testify against other mafia murderers. and the jury sat there and decided which mafia murderer do they want to believe and they believe rudy's. they took his mafia murderers and said yes we believe you that guy is guilty. as joyce vance can tell us, prosecutors and lawyers have been using proven, demonstrated
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liars in court to testify and testify successfully for literally hundreds of years. >> since the invention of courtrooms. >> yes. >> joyce vance, to that point, i mean weigh in here. aside from the richness of the rudy giuliani saying you can't trust anybody who doesn't tell the truth in public when he represents the president. >> prosecutors don't get to pick their own witnesses. the defendants pick the witnesses that prosecutors end up using. they pick the people that they choose to participate in crimes with who become government cooperators. really the prosecutor's job is to explain to the jury in a credible, candid way why the witness has lied in the past and why the jury should have some comfort in believing them now and prosecutors cluing rudy giuliani have done that with great success over the years.
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i think what we're really seeing here from giuliani is he's trying to talk to an audience of one, but it's not the president. it's bob mueller. he's trying to give mull ear reason to not pick up cohen as a cooperator, cohen is not credible, he's a liar, no jury will ever believe him and that tells me that giuliani and the president are deeply frightened of what michael cohen might have to offer prosecutors. >> donny i want to draw you out more on something you said in the last hour. this isn't necessarily news. news to a lot of people. reported by cnn and confirmed by msnbc last night. you had conversation with michael cohen where he made this claim that we're hearing now today. >> i was not surprised when i heard that. i was surprised it was out there. i was wondering how it got out there. clearly the trump strategy and giuliani strategy is let's get all of his nuggets, put them out there now so collectively they won't have the same impact which i don't think this true. this is not in defense of maurn,
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donald j. trump lies several times a day. you may like michael cohen, may not like but there's not been these thousands of lies that he's told out there. michael cohen's story whether you like it or don't like it has been kind of a fairly consistent one. so that's the other -- that's the other -- there's been contradictions. i'm not doing his biding here. the other thing i don't want to let slide because you get numb to all this. lawrence you have such a good time with this. we forget he was the mayor of new york. a u.s. attorney. this baffoon right now i hold him in lower esteem than donald trump. he's become a circus act. i want to meet him on the street and go dude how are you doing this? we forget these are human beings that let go of any sense of morality, any sense of fair play, any sense of decency and
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it's tragic. >> can i put a fine point on what you said. michael cohen told you some time ago that donald trump knew about the june 2016 meeting before it happened? >> yes. >> let's just say as we mentioned in the last hour we had a previous account, which is steve bannon's account where steve bannon said effectively of course donald trump knew about this meeting, of course the russians were marched up to donald trump's office by donald trump jr. we know steve bannon was not present. steve bannon knows donald trump really well and knows the dynamics of what are the kinds of things that don't jr.,erratic, van okay tell their father. what other things rise. what are the things that donald trump is interested in. i ask you michael based on the totality without the necessary to stand up to the question right now what michael cohen is alleging, i you know don't know. we don't have the evidence. you covered donald trump for a
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long time now. is this the kind of thing on the base of the totality of your reporting, does it strike you as plausible that such a meeting could be occurring in trump tower, and that donald trump would be publicly touting the notion there's new information coming out about hillary clinton in days, we know that's in the public record, is this the kind of meeting that's going to likely that donald trump would not have any inkling of in this moment? >> seems if there was any currency in trump world, if there s-it's providing donald trump with information, with telling him how you're helping him, what you're doing for him. whether that's saying i'm push forge this here or i have this information from you there. so it seems like that was the way that people could gain access to him. and they could raise their stock and have more power. so, from that perspective, it makes a lot of sense that to take such an audacious meeting,
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take a risk, when they are looking for anything. you have to remember this was not a campaign that was leading in the polls at that point. they were looking for any type of thing to undermine clinton. they knew they would lead a negative campaign and looking for information. the idea they would go to such lengths to have this meeting and not say anything, i see why people would be very skeptical that nobody said anything to the president. >> eugene's your column, is this the best that rudy giuliani's got? >> yeah. i mean, on that occasion, with the cohen tape, giuliani's reflex bizarre was to compare it to the mafia tapes he listened to. it's not a good look for your client if your first impulse is
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to compare his recorded conversations to recorded conversations of the gambino family. that's not a good thing for the president. again, last night, giuliani -- i agree with everything donny deutsch said about the decline and disintegration of this man who was once widely admired. you remember when he was america's mayor after 9/11. it was just -- and his fall from that stature has been precipitous and disgusting, frankly, to watch because he's doing it himself and doing it deliberately. it is a show of hands, who believed that this meeting could have taken place without donald trump's knowledge? i mean really believe that? i think -- >> no hands. >> i didn't think any hands were going up. so where did this story come from? obviously, i don't know the
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sources. but i am inclined to think it probably -- more likely coming from the trump camp than from the cohen camp, kind of try to neutralize or get out there the bad stuff that he's going to say about the president and i think it reflects what joyce vance said, how freaked out the president and his aides are, and all those around him are about michael cohen, about all that material that was seized in those raids, about what michael cohen has in his head. i think that they see that as an threat. >> michael steele, show of your hands. do you think there's no way the president knows about this? >> oh, no. donald trump if he doesn't do anything he controls the universe around him, he controls the flow of information, he controls who has access to that information, he also controls the folks he puts out on the street to get that information. so, i think the idea from the very beginning was laughable to
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think donald trump had no idea that this meeting -- tell me his son is not going to go to him and say, hey, dad, this is a meeting we're about to have with some russians. just wanted to you know. this is how it plays out. what struck me about all of this is giuliani going out last evening and saying that, you know, michael cohen is a liar. you go to the president telling us from the ginger only hires the best, he only hires the best people. so he's hiring the best liars to lie for him. they are no longer relevant when they start to tell the truth. that's what you see now when the truth becomes a reality for this presidency and this president. guys like rudy giuliani are tasked to go out and recast the lie. and that is where i think the credibility problem is going to be interesting to watch, whether cohen's rise, rises as donald trump's falls around issues like
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this. >> actugiuliani has made a poin michael cohen is a known liar compared to my client donald trump who is credible. it makes no sense. that being said -- >> you just won. can you rest your case. >> the question -- i talked to a lot of people about this who made the point and i would like to take this to joyce, that if news of this trump tower meeting came out now as opposed to a year ago or whenever it came out that we would be like in a crisis. this is insane. this is crazy. this is collusion. but we've grown numb to this. joyce, as a pure legal matter, let's say trump did know about it. doesn't really matter. if you take a meeting with a foreign agent, where they promise dirt on you, let's say they didn't produce the dirt but is that meeting, taking that
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meeting, does that get you in any sort of legal trouble at all? >> you know, with the caveat that the devil is always in the details, you have to look at all of the evidence and then decide what it means in terms of the legal statute, the crime that prosecutors would have to prove. i think that there's a takeaway from this. assuming cohen can be proconvenient credible and there's some good circumstantial evidence that might back up his claim that the president knew. two days before this meeting we have president trump going out making this pronouncement something dig is coming then meeting itself. after the meeting -- today is the anniversary, july 27th that trump called on russia to hack hillary clinton's emails. it's appropriate we're all talking about this. but assuming there's a phone call, dismissing phone call that the house subcommittee passed on getting legal records on that backs up cohen, then we might be actually talking about the federal bribery statute,
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something that's been lost a little bit as we talked about this idea of foreign assistance to a campaign which is a crime, but it's also a crime for someone, even someone who has been selected for office but not yet been installed to either solicit or to accept an offer of assistance from someone in exchange for doing certain kinds of acts. and here's where it gets interesting. one of those acts that would support a bribery charge would be colluding in a fraud against the united states. and right now bob mueller has a fraud against the united states charge in that russian hacking conspiracy. so if it shown that trump colluded in the commission of that fraud, using the stolen emails or allowed that fraud to occur, quo have a very interesting legal battle ahead of us. >> lawrence, does it matter whether the president knew about this meeting before or
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afterwards? in other words, he knew about the meeting. and he knew enough about it it was a little shady he helped draft the statement on air force one to change what the meeting was about and to say it was about adoption. this is an interesting story with michael cohen if it's proven to be true. but we know donald trump knew about the meeting and knew who it was with. >> new after the fact. yeah. it's huge. because there's a part of the reporting on this indicates that we don't have the dialogue yet but michael cohen version of the dialogue might include donald trump approving of it and saying, yes, let's do this. but when you're presenting something to the boss and the boss says that's a great idea, that is the same thing as a formal go ahead approval. so that puts donald trump in a conspiratoral mode which is the essence of what mural was to
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investigate and try to find. it is without question natural evidence on its face, if it was supported would be an impeachable offense. that would be an article of impeachment no question about it. whether it gets over the line in a courtroom, is another matter and it's always been another matter. people have to separate channels in their head as opposed to impeachable which is very different. this is going to come down to the other people in the room, we don't yet know who those people are. but we do know that people who might be in that room like hope hicks have already spoken to robert mueller. we have to ask ourselves if robert mueller went in on this issue, and if michael cohen is telling the truth, and if hope hicks was in a room like that, what are the odds hat hope hicks would lie, commit perjury basically, expose herself to that in talking to robert mueller. and the question for everybody else who might have been in that room is, you have a choice when
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robert mueller asks you this question if he does. your answer can be, did you hear donald trump say that and donald trump jr. say that to donald trump your answer is yes, no or i don't recall. so one reason on the giuliani side of this case why you might want this out there is it is now extremely difficult for the trump-giuliani side of the case to communicate directly to all the other witnesses who could have been in that room. so getting this out there is saying to them, you have to make a decision on your answer. is it yes, no or i don't recall. it's warning them. and the more of them who know about this ahead of time that they have to make that decision, it is slightly more likely that they can reach for the i don't recall than might be the case if it is sprung on them by surprise. >> you got to come in lock and loaded on c. you walk in the door with c. always c. >> as you say some of those
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people may have given their answers. >> mueller might already have this from someone else who was in that room and might already have been using it tactically in conversations and interviews with other people. >> new reporting this morning on another important figure, the man known as the financial gate keeper of the trump business empire reportedly has been ordered before a federal grand jury. alan weiselberg was subpoenaed by the southern district of new york in the michael cohen investigation. sources familiar with the probe told the journal that alan weiselberg is considered a witness. alan weiselberg is believed to know details about payments to alleged trump miss stress stormy daniels and also to alleged miss stress karen mcdougal. one of the president's closest and oldest business associates, wise has worked with trump on the 1980s and was featured on "the apprentice". he turned over his business operations to his two grown sons
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over alan weiselberg's guidance. neither he nor the trump organization responded to the journal for comment. let's bring in tim o'brien. tim's new piece called newco hen tape surface a bigger trump fish. he argues alan weiselberg knows far more than michael cohen. tim, tell us more about this guy. you reported on him for a while. you interviewed him for a book. how important is he to the donald trump and why is' significant figure? >> he's important to donald trump because he's worked with donald trump since the 1970s. he first came into trump organization as fred trump's accountant and then graduated into cfo. but he signs off and has signed off on most of the financial transactions of size that trump has done for the last 30 years. and i think the other thing that's significant beyond his relation with donald trump is it
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starts to bring the investigation into donald trump's wallet. i think there's been a lot of media around michael cohen is he's the man who knows everything, he played a pivotal role in the trump organization and i don't think de. i think president trump used michael cohen as an attack dog. he was sort of a third rate cone. there were two other people in the trump organization that trump relied on to do business. one was jason greenblatt the lawyer for the trump organization. he signed off on everything. he's now a special envoy to the middle east and alan weiselberg who was the money man. and we've seen now at least two public incidents over the last year in which he structured payments to trump's paramours in order to quiet them down. those are two llcs in a company that has a universe of limited
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liability companies where they park debt and money comes in from the overseas. so to the extent the veil gets pierced because of the stormy daniels payment or the mcdougal payment, bob mueller and other investigators have a field trip around some of these things from an investigative standpoint. >> tim, when you say alan weiselberg knows everything about trump's finances, knees everything. you report he even was handseling his household bills even down to the nickel. >> and personal taxes. >> it's clear he could be more important figure in all of this than michael cohen. >> yes, no doubt. >> joyce vance, what's the significance of this reporting here? what does he mean to all of this? >> prosecutors love to say follow the money. this is literally the man who followed the money for decades. he can explain transactions to prosecutors the. he can narrate trump's taxes. he's a key witness and a key part of figuring out the puzzle
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here. >> michael, what's the likelihood in this kind of a scenario that alan weiselberg pleads the fifth. how would that work? >> i'm not sure. you know, you would really have to, you know, show that he has done something wrong here and the question that we really don't know is how much of this is simply focused on michael cohen, the payments that were made to these women making accusations against the president or is it broader than that. >> are they looking at anything large center we do not have an indication that there's a larger sort of investigation afoot of trump organization. we only know that they are looking at the payments and we only know that alan weiselberg's name comes up on a tape between the president and michael cohen in which, you know, they are talking about how the financing of this would work. so, in a sense it makes sense that they would want to talk to him to get to the bottom of michael cohen's involvement here, but we'll have to see how much more of it is a real trump
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organization. >> alan weiselberg's name will turn up. michael thanks for you reporting. bloomberg's tim o'brien. joyce vance thank you. lawrence o'donnell i'm so glad we tricked you into waking up early. >> it wasn't a trick it was a threat. >> the last word, week nights at 10:00 p.m. on msnbc. still ahead a federal judge has rejected president trump's latest effort to stop a lawsuit that alleges he's violating the constitution by continuing to do business with foreign governments. we're digging in to that new reporting when "morning joe" comes right back. are you ready to take your wifi to the next level?
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this didn't happen. they just follow. they are dying to see us make a little bit of a mistake. they analyze every word. they say did he say that? could it have been? did he say something positive about russia? i think he loves russia. >> president trump speaking in illinois yesterday after first traveling to iowa. the trip comes as new polling from three midwest states shows the president trump's approval rating at 36% in michigan. 38% in minnesota. and 36% in wisconsin. asked if the president deserves re-election about three in ten in all three states say yes. three in ten. about six in ten say no. joining us now democratic senator tina smith who was appointed to her seat in minnesota earlier this year and will face voters in a move to special election. senator, great to have you with us. we're looking at your most recent polling. has a 14-point spread for you.
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as you go across the state of minnesota, we talk about russia, the mueller investigation, what's top of mind for voter. >> trade is top of mind and these tariffs and impact of tariffs on minnesota farm country is what everybody is talking about. >> it is killing it them? is it killing your farm sneers? >> i was talking with a farmer in the southwestern part of the state and he said look around, you can see a mile in every direction we just lost over $100,000 just in the last month by the fall in prices. this is happening on top of prices that have been low for several years. starting to creep up a little bit and then with all of these tariffs they are crashing again. both beans and corn. >> are these people you talk to, do they blame the president for what's happening? >> well, you know, what they are saying is this is -- you know we're collateral damage in this trade dispute that he has --
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they realize he's behind it. people say i really think that we need to stand tough on trade, we need to have good tough trading negotiations especially with china, but they also say you can't really start a multiple front war on trade and expect to win and that's kind of the situation we're in. >> senator, isn't the other thing and obviously in your state trade but in all of the democratic polling it's health care, health care, health care, that's the constant. it's one thing we don't have. when you give it to someone and take it away that's something that's across the basis of democratic polling a hot button. >> people are freaked out by what's going on weapons the high cost of prescription drugs. i talked to this woman in minnesota whose daughter has type i diabetes and lays out the five insulin pens she got. she traveled around the world. they are exactly the same
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manufacturer, same product. this one she bought in greece for like $12. this one she bought in canada for like $14. this one she bought in st. paul, minnesota for $140. she's going why is this? how do i afford this? >> do you have a proposal to help her afford it? >> i have a couple of proposals. one of them is to say, boy, you know, there's this loophole that allow the big drug companies to basically pay the generic drug companies to keep their lower cost products off the market, it helps boost up the cost of drugs. that's one proposal. medicare ought to negotiate with drug companies to lower costs. >> given the president's performing according to polling in state of minnesota is your opponents putting some distance between herself and the president? >> my opponent in the general election gives donald trump an
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a, so now she's trying to distance herself a little bit but i think actions will speak louder than words. >> how does the dynamic in our own party affect you. you come from one of these midwestern states that were key to the president's victory. the left of your party is ainge we need to abolish i.c.e. is that helpful? >> minnesotans are practical. they want to solve problems. they don't want this to come to washington and light our hair on fire. they want us to figure things out. some of the most kinds of left wing stuff, you know, there are people in minnesota believe that. >> what would you say to your colleagues pushing that message. >> everything works. things work differently in different states. minnesota people care a lot about immigration. they understand we need border security. we have to have some immigration enforcement. >> one of the things you have to vote on likely is the supreme
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court nomination of brett kavanaugh. you've been critical of him. we had dick durbin on. he refused to say whether or not senate democrats should call for a freeze on a vote of bret kavanaugh's nomination bill bob mueller reports his findings. whose right in that situation, is corey right or senator durbin right? >> the most important thing is we get all of the information out on tabling. we shouldn't rush into that. that's what we did with sotomayor. we have to get all that information. there are volumes of information. we shown rush through that. we don't know what's in that bunch of data. and that's what i think we ought to do. >> your considering voting against or voting for kavanaugh? >> i don't see how i could possibly vote for him. this was a person who was picked from this specialist put together by very ideological
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partisan groups and he's guaranteed to vote to support things that i just think are wrong for america. >> you made up your mind. republicans say democrats say we need to see documents but most know how they are will vote. >> a lot of people haven't decided. we don't know what's in those materials. we should see all of it. he should answer questions. that's the big problem. these candidates, these judges looking for confirmation don't really answer any questions any more about how they will vote. >> senator booker to support judge kavanaugh is to be complicit in evil. do you believe that's true? >> i think that he is, would interpret the constitution in a way that i totally would disagree with. >> he is evil? >> i can say he's evil but some of the impacts of his decisions would have great harm to the american people. >> one of your colleagues, sam stein's "daily beast" said claire mccaskill was hacked.
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unsuccessful hack. what level of concerns do senators like you and your colleagues have about these attacks coming from russia in the 2018 mid-terms? >> this is, i think, the core issue in front of us, right? our president stands next to vladimir putin and says, i trust him just as much as i trust our intelligence community and at the same time the core issue is what impact did russia have on our elections, how did they interfere with our elections and how can we make sure that never happens again. >> why aren't we doing more about that? that seems to be complaint from senators who have the power to do something about it. why isn't it happening? >> we need to get more election security dollars passed. that's the most important thing. this mid-term election is less than four months away and it's the core principle of our democracy that those elections will be fair. >> one small thing you could do is collectively all senators could enter into a pact saying we'll never use in ads or
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debates or anything else material that was the product of a hack. have you entertained of doing that with your opponent, have you suggested -- >> information was hacked about your opponent that was helpful to you -- >> that's a great point. >> would you use it in an ad or pledge not to use it. >> i think that would be wrong to use it in an ad. >> very hard to put information back in a bottle. one of the problems today with the fake news is none of us remember where we got our last piece of information from. that's an idealistically great approach but i don't think it will be practical in real life. >> senator tina smith of minnesota, not running for re-election but election as you were appointed to your seat. i want to clarify something on the michael cohen story. earlier we reported on a statement lanny davis gave to cnn alleging that trump's team put out the reports that cohen wants to tell the special counsel that the president knew
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of the trump tower meeting before it happened. lanny davis said this morning he did not give cnn that statement and declines to comment to nbc news on that story. coming up the trump organization made $151,000 in profit last year from doing business with foreign governments. we'll talk about why that matters now that a judge has ruled president trump could be violating the constitution. "the washington post" david farenhold joins us as we follow the money. i'm a fighter. always have been. when i found out i had age-related macular degeneration, amd, i wanted to fight back. my doctor and i came up with a plan. it includes preservision. only preservision areds 2 has the exact nutrient formula recommended by the national eye institute
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it's the ultimate wifi experience. xfinity xfi, simple, easy, awesome. joining us now investigative reporter for "the washington post" and msnbc contributor david farenhold and also joining us, there he is right there. >> i don't know how much time he spends in a nightclub but we're calling him bill kristol. >> genius. >> bad meaning bad meaning good. thrilled to celebrate one year anniversary of the beat. i've watched them together off
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set now. >> it's real. not like a tv friendship. >> real friendship. i mean offset, i mean off the set. >> key run all day. we'll do it off the set. >> they were in a club off the set. >> at 2:00 in the morning, 1 oak, bottle service. bill kristol don't sell the guy short. you want to be out with him at 2:00 in the morning with fat joe and see what happens. >> i love bill kristol but no. >> don't sell him short. >> i'll say this in all seriousness a lot of people don't know when fat joe said it's about us, it's about trust, he talking about "the weekly standard". >> wow. >> amazing thing. congratulations on the one year anniversary. >> thank you. no one knows where to go from here. >> we're doing fat joe lyrics. david farenhold let me get you
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and your reporting on trump. the clause has been thrown about. people looking for ways president may have violated that. what your finding. >> here's what changed. there's this clause in the constitution you mentioned. it says presidents can't take quote-unquote emolliments from foreign governments. we didn't know what it meant. now we have an answer from a federal judge in maryland. the answer is, it means almost any business transaction that trump does with a foreign government not bribes but foreign governments paying his business to rents a ballroom or hotel room. now there's a huge, sizable universe of transactions that the trump organization has done.
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>> what have you found? you had your legal pad out for three years keeping track of all that? . what have you found? >> there's no sort of official list from the trump organization. they've given us nothing. so what we've done is piece together things from media reports. a new instance wherefore rent embassies hosted big events at the places in washington, d.c. a state-run chinese bank rent space in trump tower. that lease is coming up for renewal soon. beyond that we're still trying to figure it out. >> there's been so much conversation about the emoluments clause. people will say is this a legal pipe dream. never been defined. does this fundamentally change that? >> this doesn't fundamentally change that but courts getting back in the business of overseeing things that donald trump is doing. look, any other president could
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have done this. many presidents have been lawyers. they could have operated a law firm while in office, technically done that. if they took on foreign clients they would have run into this. the difference no other presidents have push this hard to profit while in office. so it's unlikely to be the kind of thing that has a systemic or a threat to the trump presidency but important that judges are saying very clearly we will, if forced by a president acting so brazenly while in office we'll oversee this. >> gene robinson i want to ask you, you have a situation where a lot of people have pointed to the notion that a potentially salient political argument against republicans and donald trump is that the swamp is supposed to be drained, the swamp is not drained. this emoluments question is a piece of that and yet it seemed to get very little traction over the course of the last 18 months. why it is that donald trump's obvious abuse of the office in
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violation of the emoluments clause why is this not getting more political traction. and might it in the future? >> i think it might in the future y-it hasn't to this point, i'm not entirely sure. it could be because we've never had -- we've never been here before. this federal judge in maryland just for the first time told us what he thinks the emoluments clause means. so nobody has in politics has any muscle memory as to how to use that clause in the constitution, and really how it applies to donald trump. we don't know. but we're going to find out. i would think on its face the whole thing is scandalous. look at the way he promotes his golf properties, for example. when he was in britain he went to scotland for the weekend, had
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no official business there, wanted to play golf, i guess but also wanted to raise the prophiladelphia his faltering golf club up there. if i sound a bit distracted i'm still picturing bill kristol and fat joe in a stretch navigator, sort of cruising, you know, the streets of lower manhattan. i just think that's -- >> we need to change the chyron. >> absolutely. >> i'll bring it back a little bit here because i don't have to say anything about bill kristol. one of the things that, that work for democrats in 2006 when they retook the house is they said the republican party is the party of corruption. that was irmoniker. it was an effective tool. i think that when we're talking about these foreign government payments, and literally any
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business happening at the trump hotel you can effectively make that argument. i guess this is a good question for michael steele because he's been in the trenches. you've certainly seen the kind of statements democrats can th fact, trump is using his position to enrich himself? how potent a political weapon is that that the democrats can use? >> i don't think it's that potent at this point largely because roughly a strong solid third of the electorate doesn't give a -- they don't care. so it has not been able to get the kind of traction that you would think -- i think largely because the remaining two-thirds are rather agnostic about it. i think to the earlier point about being -- that gene made, being in the space for the first time, we really don't know. most people can't say ee monthly ewements, let alone know what it is. that is the truth across all
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lines. it's not just something that's out there that people have some understanding, some muscle memory for. this is new space. and until there is a defining moment in that space, that credit crystalizes or crysta crystals-s, i think we're going to see this on a day-to-day base. >> so pleased with himself. look at that. how happy that man is with himself. >> i want to pick up with that, i was at the dnc yesterday with tom perez and all his folks. and the way you can mold that ee monthly ewement, there is a lot of polling showing voters, democrats, independents want fair play.
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if you play it that way, things are just not fair right now and that's a very resonant message. >> well, i think you're right that there's certainly a possibility there. i think michael is right, the public seems not to care that much about the president getting rich off his presidency. we're talking about a guy who has power over america's foreign policy, doing business with the other players in the world of foreign policy. so the question there could be is he serving his own interests or your interests when he deals with the government of the philippines or china, others paying him money on that side? >> that's exactly the message. is he working for himself or is he working for you? that's the simplified message. >> well, they haven't used it. you look at the ads, they haven't run that message.
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>> in the 2012 presidential campaign, one of the things barack obama did to mitt romney was to frame it in the notion of he's never been in it for you. and the notion of mitt romney ripping off the american public was an incredibly salient political message in a presidential campaign. and donald trump makes what mitt romney did or could be accused of doing look like small potatoes on the level of self-dealing, self-enrichment. why democrats can't capitalize on this given the history they've had in doing it in the past is mystifying to me. >> i think part of it is because of exactly what you just said. with mitt romney, he was aloof and away from those very same people who then made a judgment about that. here, people see donald trump as fighting for them. so his rich guy connections, his new york background, all of that, they consider an asset in the war against those they felt they needed to go out against
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and donald trump has been the tip of that particular spear. that's why it doesn't resinate or stick on him the way it did mitt romney. >> david farrenthal, thanks for your reporting. we appreciate it. ari, let's talk about the cohen revelation from last night. what should we glean from it? what should we take away from it? >> this is very big. i don't know where it came from. the sourcing remains technically anonymous. but it raises the question was donald trump working with advanced knowledge to be part of an international conspiracy, number one. number two, is this why he made the air force one phone call. because the trump defense never made sense. why do you need to advise people how to defend a meeting that you say you knew nothing about and then didn't attend? and three, did anyone along the way lie to authorities about this? e-ma mueller has proven he is willing to charge people just for that. so if somebody was basically lying about who knew it, who was
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in the room where it happened, michael cohen is putting himself and donald trump in that room. so the question is, did other peopler already lie about that and is this coming out publicly because it is a time for choosing. >> or have other people talked about mueller and not lied about it. >> and simply who else was in that room. >> important follow-up, did jay-z ever lift the boycott on crystall? has that been lifted and now it's okay to call business bill crystal bill crystall? >> you bring up a good question. on 44, the most recent solo jay-z album, he refers to the fact that he's frustrated people are still buying those other competing champagne labels when he's launched his own black-owned business. >> but you realize he was not talking about that, he was
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talking about bill crystal. >> to michael steele, i want to say thank you for that reference earlier and i will say it was lloyd banks who famously said the ice on my neck kooems keeee crystal cold, also a bill crystal reference. >> you can get a lot more of this on "the beat" at 6:00 a.m. eastern. michael steele, former mi-6 agent michael steele. >> there you go. dossier author michael steele. >> what is going on today? >> according to sean spicer. >> is there a tape, yes or no, michael? >> there's always a tape, baby. there's always a tape. >> michael, thank you very much. have a good weekend. we'll have much more on the michael cohen story just ahead. plus, one of donald trump's longest serving employees with inside knowledge of the trump organization finance reportedly has been ordered before a federal grand jury. more on that when "morning joe" comes right back. (vo) this is not a video game.
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good morning and welcome to ""morning joe." i'm willie geist alongside kasie hunt. also joining us, john heilman and next to him the great -- >> my seat looks really low. >> pop yourself up there. >> i have to do this. >> the world is finally starting to understand that you are actually not -- you're a little
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person. >> no, no, i'm a healthy 5'10". is this a little better. >> now you look like you're on a highchair. >> i'm getting a view i'm not interested in having this early in the morning, don, so if you could, lower your chair. with us from washington, nbc news national political reporter heidi presbelli and white house chief and political analyst phillip rutger. joe and mika are off but will be back on monday. busy morning, right? i feel like we have michael cohen reporting extensively. >> it's like a michael cohen friends and tormenter's table. >> michael cohen reportedly has a story to tell. cohen is willing to inform robert mueller that donald trump
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as a candidate knew about that 2016 meeting between russians and his top campaign aids at trump tower. a knowledgeable source says the president's former attorney michael cohen is willing to report that donald trump jr. informed his dad about the meeting in advance. cohenen's lawyer, lani davis, declined comment. president trump's lawyer, rudy giuliani, had this to say. >> i expected something like this from cohen. he's been lying for years. i don't see how he has any credibility. this is basically if you had a trial. you'd say which lie do you want to pick? do you want to pick the first lie, the second lie or maybe some new lie? there is nobody that i be that
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knows him that hasn't warned me that if his back is up against the wall, he'll lie like crazy because he's lied all his life. >> so emily jane fox -- >> it sounds like if you took those words and applied them to the president of the united states, that sounds like the president. >> in that case, though, he was talking about michael cohen there. it is true that michael cohen does not have evidence of had his claim here. it is true that it sdp appear in either of the reports coming out the of the house intel committee. >> i reported on monday that people said he had information that robert mueller would be interested in and three people at that point told me that some of that had to do with that trump tower meeting.
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so this has been should go in the air that they talked about in cohen world. there is not necessarily a smoking gun, a piece of evidence that the government collected from his apartment, hotel room and hotel and office. but that doesn't mean that he's not able to provide context to other people in the room. rudy giuliani denied last night on krn kit. there are credibility issues on both sides. he said it was completely ex kul thattor -- exculpatory. i think it's pretty evident now that is not what was talking about. michael cohen believes he has a lot to offer prosecutors, but the fact that this came out
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limits his ability to do so. this is not a great day for michael cohen and people in his orbit are frustrated and furious and feel like this is not what they wanted to have happen and this is not how they wanted this to play out. >> and it is true that this comes at a time when cohen does feel like his back is against the wall. providing those tapes to krn. and perhaps this piece of information that cohen says he's willing to provide to robert mueller would get him out of trouble elsewhere. >> so he has two problems. he has a new york problem and a washington problem. and what he wants to do is he wants to use that. he says, look, i know the guys in new york want to know this. here is my exposure.
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the justice department i think is going to frown on this continued discussion that has gone on. i'm not sure how this has helped michael cohen. >> what is clear is we're a long way from i would take a bullet for donald trump. >> we're about as far away from that as you can possibly get. michael, in my past conversation with michael, what michael has made very clear to me is number one -- and this is a man he works for for over a decade. nothing went on in this business without donald knowing about it. and he had led me to believe that he could bring trump back to russia. that he -- what came out yesterday to me was not a surprise based on conversations i had had. that without a specific piece of paper, that he -- i don't want
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to use his exact words, but everything that was going on trump knew about. >> did he reference this meeting in particular when he talked to him? >> yes, he did. yes, he did. this was several months ago and maybe someone else was even in the room when that discussion happened. this is what it's going to come down to. i think michael, to emily's point also is frustrated. other than one or two of the statements he's made, he really, by his lawyer's advice and his friend's advice has understood it's time to be quiet. what's happening is he is kind of being pulled out and he's very caught in between -- i know i've got to lay low, i know i have to wait for my day in court, but i have to punch back once in a while. and there's a constant battle between lonnie and his attorneys going say nothing. i also think the biggest story of yesterday, probably last month, is the cfo that emily -- >> the trump organization cfo.
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>> yes. and i've said this from the beginning. this is going to come back to 15, 20, 30 years of slimy, underhanded business dealings, connect that with russia and everything else. >> michael has a piece on that and we'll talk about it in just a second. john. >> this isn't the first time we've heard this assertion from someone who knows donald trump really well. steve dan, his comments about this were seen as informed speculation and retroactive informed speculation, but it's going to come to another person super close to donald trump who basically is either has direct knowledge or is claiming to have direct knowledge or believes what a lot of us believe is that a meeting of this importance held by don jr. would not be something that would not have been reported to his father. i think that that rings true to a lot of people. the question i have for you, emily, is this. you were early ahead of everybody on the notion that when the information came out
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that there was a tape, that it was not michael cohen that would have put that out, that it was the trump side. that was something you were way ahead on. the suggestion is again that that is happening again. this isn't michael cohen putting it out, but somehow this is being put out by donald trump's side. i understood in the first instance where the trump people would have wanted to get ahead of the tape and try to contextualize it, try to spin it, try to set it up. a, do you think this the is the trump people for sure that put this on out, number one, and number two, this is different. there's not a tape to contextualize. what does the trump side have to claim on this particular claim? there is no actual factual basis, no piece of evidence he has. >> i think the waters here are so muddy and it's so hard to understand anyone's motivation. but in cohen, the discussion is how does this serve us?
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for this to be out here, there is absolutely no benefit for mike equal cohen. he is not seeking a pardon. that is not something he's interested in, not something he's looking for. this could potentially hinder his ability to deal with prosecutors. the trump motivation, michael cohen was very vocal a few weeks ago. there were two things that stuck out to me. one, the fact that stephanopoulos knew to ask about payments which now came out in the recording and stephanopoulos knew to ask about the trump tower meeting. and at the time i had said it's interesting those two things were were asked about. i don't think that was an accident. so ruledy giuliani and the legal team had sort of a preview of two cards in michael cohen's deck. so it's possible that because they knew those were two things on michael cohen's mind, because there was maybe this meeting that happened and people in
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trump's orbit mayber were in that meeting in trump tower, they were trying to get ahead of two things michael cohen signaled he was having to talk about. >> if michael cohen's reported claims were true, that donald trump jr. told his father in advance of the june 2016 trump tower meeting with russians, it would contradict claims from trump and his son after the "new york times" broke this story one year ago. >> a lot of people are going to want to know this about your father. do you tell your father anything about this? >> no. it was such a nothing, there was nothing to tell. i wouldn't even have remembered it until you started scouring through the stuff. >> did you know about the meeting? >> no, i didn't know about the meeting. it must have been a very important database must have been a very unimportant meeting because i didn't even know that. >> nobody told me. i didn't know -- it sounded like a very unimportant meeting. >> so there we have a piece of
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michael schmidt's interview. on the congressional side of this, they are saying this never came up in the house intelligence meetings. is it possible that donald trump jr. lied to congress? >> it's possible. we don't know exactly because we don't have those transcripts. but i will note a very important timeline in this in terms of who is going to be questioned additionally about this in terms of don jr., what he knew, and also paul manafort and what he knew. what we know is that don jr. made two calls around this meeting to a blocked number which was the modum operandi for him calling his father. one was before and one was after. we also know from movements that trum was physically present during that meeting and we know within hours afterwards, he was
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meeting up with paul manafort at a luncheon just down the street. so there would have been every opportunity for the president to have been briefed and, again, to take you back to steve bannon's remarks in the book. it is incredulous to believe the president hadn't been debriefed. that may come out as a lie. still ahead, a man who knows more about the trump organization's finances than anyone has been subpoenaed to testify in the criminal probe against michael cohen. we'll talk about why this is pivotal. but first, here is bill karins on the check with the forecast. >> we're waking up to horrific news out of northern california because of the carr fire. it exploded last night and
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crossed over the sacramento river. california highway patrol, a local reporter just got a quote saying hundreds of homes have burned. the official number right now that nbc news has confirmed is 15, but that was before this destruction happened last night where these neighborhoods just caught blaze. quickly just try saving lives. we do know that one firefighter on a bulldozer did lose their life. we know there were numerous injuries from last night and burns treated at the hospital. we're trying to get a confirmation of the exact number as we go throughout the morning. but, yeah, our hearts go out to all of those people that evacuated and they're still trying to find out if their home still stands there. so today, it's hot. it's blistering hot. there's about 6% containment after this exploded last night and raced down through the canyons. today it's going to be 111. you imagine your firefighter and your gear on in this blaze at 111 degrees, that is insane. so for today, as far as the weather actually goes, cold front going through the east.
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about 30 plus million or so under the slight risk of severe storms. washington, d.c. included, new york, also an area from kansas up towards the northeast corner of colorado. so we're still hot throughout the south. as far as we go out west, there is no hope of rain anytime soon. saturday, in redding, about 105 and we do it again on sunday. be expecting more stories and more destruction from our horrific fire season well under way in california. new york city, time for your thunderstorms, about 8:00 p.m. to about 11:00 p.m. this evening. it will last for about an hour or two.
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sources familiar with the probe told the journal he is considered a witness. last year, weisselberg arranged for the trump organization to pay cohen after he made a $130,000 payment to stephanie clifford known as stormy daniels to keep quiet about an alleged affair. one of the president's closest and oldest business associates, weisselberg has been affiliated with trump since the 1980s. neither he nor the trump organization responded to the journal's request for comments. so bill, you tweeted about this yesterday. quote, just got off the form with a former trump organization employee who echo katie tur's reporting on weisselberg saying he knows everything and anything about the financial organization. he knows where the bodies are buried. >> so we know who he is as a
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character, but on the significance here, what is the significance? >> it shows that there's real interest on the mueller team into the finances of the trump organization, which, first of all, is going to bother the president intensely. he, i think, is going to view this as an encroachment as going beyond sort of the russia mandate of this investigation. but it's also troubling for the president because so many of the financials of his company have been kept secret, been kept from the public. he has not released his tax returns like other presidential candidates and other presidents have. and so there is a great interest in learning more about his finances. where does he make his money? how does he invest his money? and how much is coming in and out of the organization and weisselberg is the one character who knows all of that. he has kind of full visibility into the financial portrait into the trump organization and of donald trump personally and has had that visibility for decades now. so he has a lot of value to the mueller team. you know, if, in fact, he is questioned on this.
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>> michael trent, you've been reporting on this, too with, and we know this has been the president's red line as concerns of the mueller investigation broadly. but what does your reporting tell you about what exactly it is they want from weisselberg? >> so weisselberg knows about how the payment was going to be made to ami. >> and that's karen mcdougall. >> correct. so he knows how that money is moving. if you're investigating michael cohen and you're trying to figure out what that was all about and what the intent was for the payment and whether it violated finance campaign laws, you're going to need to talk to him. the question is how much broader does it go than that? we tried to pin the president down on this when we spoke to him last july and created what i called the faulty red line, as most red lines are, where you said look, is he looking at your finances, does that violate the red line? and he basically says that.
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we were talking about mueller at that point. now we're talking about prosecutors in the southern district of new york looking at his finances, his same justice department. does that violate the president's red line? the are the hasn't done anything about that to enforce the red line of such. so, look, i can't believe the president is going to look at them talking to, you know, weisselberg as a great thing. and i'll be very interested to see what his reactions are. a lot of stories yesterday about a lot of different legal things about the president. and i can't imagine that he's going to be happy about it. >> to clarify one legal thing, there is no accountant-client privilege, right? >> i don't think so. but even in this case, the attorney-client privilege has not really seemed to help the president. >> and i want to ask one other thing. i think this is the question people ask all the time. does bob mueller have donald trump's tax returns?
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is that a reasonable presumption? would he have access to those? because it's a question that's swirled around since the mueller probe started. does he have full visibility to the american's finances in the way the american people don't? >> no one has been able to answer that question in a reporting way. but if you talk to folks, you talk to prosecutors, you talk to current and former doj types, they say there's no way you would do a big white collar investigation without starting with the tax returns. and there's no bar to him given the kind of prosecutorial power he has, there's no way he would be prohibited from -- >> no, it's a request that he has to make and he has a lot more powers. coming up on "morning joe," claire mccaskill claims russian hackers tried to gain access to her office computer. could it be the first alleged attempts of a cyber attack in the midterms? we'll talk about that, next.
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welcome back to mortga"morn
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joe." claire mccaskill, the first to be linked to phishing attempts to infiltrate her campaign through staff's e-mail passwords. around the time of the hack attempt, president trump was in missouri chastising mccaskill and asking the crowd to vote her out of office. we first learned about the hacking attempts last week during a security forum. >> earlier this deal, we did discover a fake microsoft domain had been established as the landing page for phishing attacks and we saw metadata that suggested those phishing attacks were being directed at three candidates who are all standing in the midterm elections. i can tell you that they are all people who, because of their positions, might have been interesting targets from an espionage standpoint as well as an election disruption standpoint. >> senator mccaskill has been highly critical of russia and is a top senate democrat facing tough re-election this year. she issued a statement saying the cyber attack was
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unsuccessful and, quote, it is outrageous that they think they can get away with this. i will not be intimidated. it's an amazing report. worth everybody's read at the daily beast. why senator mccaskill? >> that's a really good question. i think it's an unanswered question. there is the coincidental timing of trump going to missouri saying we've got to vote her out and within the month this happens. she was highly critical of russia. she's been highly critical of wikileaks. but those are circumstanceal. what struck me about this was how unsophisticated it is. they set up a page, tell you your password has expired and ask you to change it. that's it. anyone can be duped by that. i talked to a cyber security expert on the democratic side of the ledger who said this is the
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simplistic elements of this. they will catch up with people if they aren't prepared right now. so anyone who is not running for 2020, the aides who are working for campaigns now and go to your campaign, they may be targeted now and bring that hacker with them when they come to your campaign. >> is this something they're worried about on capitol hill before this report even came out? >> sure. this is something -- this is not the first time that this has happened. other members of congress kind of on a lower profile scale have been targeted using similar methods as to what we saw with john podesta's e-mails and a presidential campaign. it has been something that a lot of members, despite the president's repeated insistence, that none of this is happening. it doesn't matter. don't look at that. members of congress, especially those in the intelligence community, have access to deep information about these kinds of attempts to penetrate their campaigns and they are concerned
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about it. to sam's point, a lot of these congressional campaigns, there aren't presidential campaigns. john, you know this. you've covered both of them. they're often shoe string operations. there's often inexperienced people have to start some place. they're often young. you can make a mistake like this. sometimes the people who are most vulnerable are people who are older, john podesta, for example, fell victim to this whereas others didn't. coming up, michael cohen's recording of donald trump brings a game of of cat and mouse.
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moments ago, president trump responded to the report that president trump knew about the trump tower meeting before it
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took place. the tweet was, arrived back in washington last night from a very emotional reopening of a major u.s. steel plant in illinois. only to be greeted with news that the only collusion with russia was with the democrats, so now they are looking at my tweets, along with 53 million other people. the rigged witch-hunt continues. how stupid and unfair to our country. no, i did not know of the meeting with my son, don jr. sounds to me like someone is trying to make up stories in order to get himself out of an unrelated jam. he even retained bill and crooked hillary's lawyer. gee, i wonder if they helped him make that choice. let's bring in jonathan lamir, michael warren and white house correspondent for pbs news hour yamish al sinder.
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michael, i'll start with you on this. the part about robert mueller not being able to find collusion, that's fought true. we don't know what robert mueller has found so far. we're basically now in a position of do you believe michael cohen or do you believe the president of the united states? >> and what are we supposed to do with that? i don't know. ultimately, it's a problem of credibility. it's the problem of the president now said don jr. didn't tell him. we would have to get don jr. up on the stand in a trial before a court of law to explain whether or not it's true or not. so this is kind of the problem when this initial story kacame t from cnn. cohen said he didn't have any evidence, he didn't have any tapes. and i think that has sort of hurt his credibility. it may still be true. the other problem here is that is anybody else from the trump organization who might have been in that meeting going to corroborate cohen or are they the going to side with the president? i think this tweet this morning
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suggests we're not going to hear from any more trump organization people. >> and jonathan, this helps explain or further illuminates the rudy giuliani strategy we saw already, where he is saying michael cohen is a liar over and over and over again. >> this tension with trump has been simmering since the day of the race. initially they weren't sure what he had or what he was going to tell investigators. cohen's camp delivered that first tape to cnn and then the leak last night with this saying that he would tell mueller that he knows about -- that trump knew about this meeting. and now the president's response here. and this comes on the heels, of course, of the reporting that bob mueller is watching the president's tweets. that is part of his investigation. these public statements. it seems like things that are said in private seem to carry more weight than something trump would say out loud. but this president is so transparent, there isn't much of a closed doors/open door thing.
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these tweets will be looking at. here he is on record again saying he didn't know about this meeting which is perilous if someone else steps forwards and says he does. we know don jr. made that phone call to a blocked number after this meeting. if that can be proven that that was donald trump as candidate, that's a problem. >> and that tweet is pretty definitive from the president again. but we are in the case of he said/he said. and as michael suggested, michael cohen doesn't have any evidence, at least that he's presented so far, that he knew about the meeting beforehand, that the president did. he also, according to reports that came out of the house intel committee didn't bring it up there, either. >> well, what we have is a situation where we have a he said/he said and both men have credibility issues. and i think this is an open war between michael cohen and donald trump looks like. it's about them really trying to assert themselves and having this argument publicly over twitter about whether or not the president knew about this
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meeting. what we do know is that michael cohen has a lot more secrets that he knows. he obviously was a big confidant of the president for a long time. so what we can see is that michael cohen probably is going to be asserting all sorts of other things that donald trump is going to say no. when you have rudy giuliani saying, listen, he taped my client without knowing, he is someone who has an ax to the grind with the president, all ofs those things make it hard for michael cohen to completely say i have credibility and i'm only doing this for the good of the american people. he had months to talk about this and only now that he feels backed against a wall and feels isolated from the president is he now offering this information. >> michael cohen learned long ago that his lifetime of loyalty to donald trump would not be repaid. he gets that now. but when the president brings up the taxi cabs and everyone else, doesn't that push michael cohen further towards robert mueller? >> yeah. i think he's been pushed already. but i don't think michael was choosing to come forward.
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he has not chosen to come forward. and he's been very, very, very, very quiet all along. it's just very recently, and i think since he's hired lonnie davis, that there needs to be some punchback. so he is not being quiet and now all of a sudden is chirping up because there's some other thing going on other than he is just getting pummeled. and i think all of this will be academic because this will all play out in a courtroom, this will all play out in real life, and play out with robert mueller and the truth will come pup donnie, you mentioned lonnie davis. bill cook and hillary clinton's lawyer. what's the relationship and the back story? >> lonnie davis is not really acting as his lawyer. he's acting as more of a communication director. a giuliani role. >> yes. and i don't think it has anything to do -- i don't think he went out and said i'm going to find clinton's person. if anything, i think that's a branding problem for him.
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i think when you look at his experience, and lonnie has represented a wide swath of people, some roguish people at the same time, not all boy scouts, but he's very good at what he does. the times wrote a very good extensive piece about him. and michael knew, he actually didn't listen to me. i kept saying, michael, nothing, nothing, nothing. but at some point, you get punched enough. i think the stephanopoulos move was a declarative space to make a statement without seeing what's going to happen here. there's been one or two punchbacks since. but if you think about it and you look at the narrative, 99% of the narrative has been coming from the other side. so it's not like he's been out, you know, kind of -- >> and, you know, we're so used to these types of things being played out in courtrooms or in the halls of congress, but this is just a different breed of conflict. and these people are tabloid -- products of the tabloid world obviously products of the cable news world. and in that context, it makes sense to bring on lanny davis.
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he will go on tv and duke out identity with rudy giuliani and michael avenati. the thing i have to keep going back to is that sometimes we get a little bit lost here. the forest in the trees type stuff. in the end, what we know is this. the russians aufd the president's eldest son dirt on hillary clinton and he took it. he took the bait. he did it. yes, it's significant if trump knew beforehand or afterwards. but in the end, he took the bait. same thing with these payments to karen mcdougall. the approximately president clearly knew that a hush money was being paid to a playmate to have an affair with him. obviously there's legal ramifications to that stuff. but in the end, he was privy to a hush money payment to a playmate. these would be career killing crises for anyone else. but we are so overwhelmed by
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them, they don't have the metabolism to fully digest them all that they just sort of go away and we move on to the next crisis. >> but we do know, michael, that the president knew about this meeting after the fact, right? he was drafting the memo up on air force one to say it was about adoption and later we learned it was not about adoption. but it does change the author story if he authorized it beforehand and said, yes, go pursue this with a foreign power. >> and this is ultimately the question. the line from trump world is that this meeting was supposed to be about adoption policy, the magninski act. but if it's found out -- and i can't quite understand the exact timeline. remember, when this broke last summer, the story from trump world changed several times, repeatedly, and -- but the idea that if the question is did don jr. go into that meeting knowing he was going to get dirt from a foreign agent against hillary clinton. i think that is ultimately the big question here that we don't know the answer to. the secondary question and i
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think the question that mueller would be very interested to know is, of course, did the president. >> but we do know the answer. in the e-mail, they were promising them dirt on headquarter had headquarter. and the whole -- they're talking points have been, in fact, when they sat down, the meeting was so dull and so stupid about adoption policy, who wants to talk about that had? that they ultimately checked out. that's why jared kushner left early. that's why don jr. said it's so unforgettable, i wouldn't talk my father. but the fact of the matter is they took the meeting because they were being offered dirt on hillary clinton. in the end, we still know that took that meeting. we have breaking news here. the economy grew 4.1% in the second quarter. just getting that number in. it matched expectations from economists and is the best reading since 2014. u.s. markets are getting a big boost on this news. great news for the country and the president is sure to capitalize on it. >> i'm watching my phone for the
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tweet that's coming at any time. but this is also at the heart of the issue. as much as this investigation matters, the stories matter, the tape matters, right there about the economy, that is going to play more of a role in his re-election chances than anything else. and this is something if the economy keeps roaring -- we certainly have plenty of time for it to slow down -- but if that is something that the president is going to wrap his arms around, we expect a full-court press into next week about the economy, how the trump economy is bringing back jobs. that's the turf he wants to be on right now and not all of this. >> let's separate the economy from health care and jobs and wages and they're not the same thing. >> but i would say there are republicans, including some in the administration, who are worried that some of these trade actions are going to undo the tax cuts. some of the good economic news is because companies weren spending money. it's remarkable to me the economy is doing well, those numbers are good. what's remarkable to me is his poll numbers have not gone up
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because of this. if i were sitting in the white house and looked at the job numbers and the gdp numbers and said, man, i can't get above 42%, that's a big siren for me. >> the trump economy is moving ahead. he telegraphed that there would be a good gdp number today. >> well, the president, despite all the scandals around him has beat this drum that he is good for the economy, that he can bring back american jobs, that american -- making america great again was really about the economy. i think that if people's jobs and their wages also grow and that people actually see this personally impacting their lives, then president trump is well on his way to at least keeping his base happy, at least keeping possibly a growing number of republicans happy. and i think that the other important thing is that the president wants to talk about this. there's all these things about russia, there's all these things about immigration and separating families. and yesterday when all this stuff was going on, president
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trump was in the midwest. he was in illinois, in iowa making the case that he is the president who brought back jobs and who really believes in american steel. so i think that's the case. i talked to a farmer yesterday for a piece i was doing about farming and trade. that person is very angry about the aid package farmers are getting, but they still feel very good about the economy. >> you talk to some of those farmers, they say we want a bailout, we want an open free market around the world. 4.3% growth in the second quarter. that's the best number since 2014. community organizations like united way, non-profits like the american red cross, and our nation's veterans. we knew helping our communities was important then. and we know it's even more important today. so we're stepping up to volunteer more and donate over a million dollars every day. so our communities can be even stronger. it's a new day at wells fargo. but it's a lot like our first day.
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jonathan lemire, the president will do you better than a tweet, he's going to speak at the white house at 9:30, in about 37 minutes about the economy. this 4.1% growth number we just saw. meanwhile republican congressman jim jordan has launched his bid to run for house speaker. the house freedom caucus founder made the announcement in a letter writing president trump has taken bold action on behalf of the american people. congress has not held up its end of the deal, but we can change that. it's time to do what we said. kasie, you cover the capitol very closely. there's a lot of elements to this, including an investigation into his time as a wrestling coach at ohio state university. why is he jumping in on this? >> he's only going to do it if republicans retain control. he's not going to try to be the leader of the republican party. this is -- i think we can say
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flat out jim jordan will never be speaker of the house, he just does not have the votes. but the battle inside the republican party will be incredibly bloody. think about how this midterm election will play out. even if republicans retain control, they're going to lose seats. the people that they're losing are going to be people in moderate districts who are willing to push back against the president. that's going to be wiped out. what you're going to be left with is a very narrow majority potentially of republicans that are, therefore, further dominated by this right-wing freedom caucus. and that gives jordan potentially more leverage. and fighting that out internally, this is kind of what they have always been waiting for. >> i think if they don't retain the house, then it's all for nothing, right? if they lose so many seats that it really is a rump of freedom caucus folks, it really doesn't matter. ultimately even conservative members of the house are frustrated with jordan and the freedom caucus' tactics and may even put some of the blame for losing the house if they do on the freedom caucus.
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>> who is jim joer drdan talkin about when he says congress hasn't done its part. is that a shot at speaker ryan? >> yes. it's certainly not mccarthy, who's much closer to the president. it's a shot at ryan and a general shot at sort of the establishment, which is kind of the playbook, if you're a freedom caucus or one of the most conservative members of the house. >> it's impossible to overstate how this dynamic with this group on the far right defines how speaker ryan has done this is job day in and day out, how he has responded to the president. all of the times that he has been accused of being craven in the face of something president trump has done. it's all because we use the phrase all politics is local. that's true inside the house of representatives. paul ryan's local problem is these guys. >> jim jordan, mark meadows, the freedom caucus brought up those arls of impeachment for deputy attorney general rod rosenstein. here's what speaker ryan had to say about that yesterday? >> do i support impeachment of rod rosenstein? no, i do not. i do not for a number of
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reasons. first, it takes -- i don't think we should be cavalier with this process or with this term, number one. number two, i don't think that this rises to the level of high crimes and misdemeanors, a really high standard. number three, we, since i got involved, have been getting a lot of compliance from doj on the document requests. we do not have full compliance and we have to get full compliance but we've been making tremendous progress to that point. >> that's a rare sight, as you know better than anyone at this table, to see the speaker kind of give a smack to the freedom caucus. >> yes. and he normally avoids that at all costs. i do think there's an interesting -- and it actually raised a question i hadn't thought through. if you're mark meadows and you are conservative republicans and worried about potential impeachment of the president in the long term, do you really want to build a potentially flimsy impeachment case against a lower level official? i think that's a little bit of what you're hearing from ryan there. >> sam, what do you see there?
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>> it's tough to tell with paul ryan. on the one hand i do understand he has problems with the conservative base, the conservative faction, but on the other hand, he's retiring. >> but he's trying to protect mccarthy and scalise. he's trying to protect the establishment legacy. >> fine. i understand that. >> i'm not defending, i'm explaining. >> you could make the case if he could go a little bit more rogue, mccarthy could slap him down and it would be good for mccarthy. anyway, there are existential problems for this country, including the system of checks and balances and whether we have an independent judicial system in this country. far too often paul ryan has not been able to do what he did yesterday and his critics have a serious point here. >> donny, let's put the last three hours in perspective in terms of where michael cohen is right now. the president has now weighed in saying, no, i didn't know anything about that meeting beforehand. what's the next move for michael cohen here? >> the next move for michael cohen is for at some point to be
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indicted. michael cohen wants this to play out. he is in a very difficult position. right now he's in a lose-lose position. if he says nothing, he's letting the giulianis of the world just punch, punch, punch. as soon as he punches back, everybody goes there's no credibility, there's no credibility. if michael had his wishes, tomorrow he would want this to come to a head. michael has stories to tell. michael is other than now the cfo, michael is the guy who i believe can be the john dean and bring this presidency down. >> does he's enough to get that deal from mueller? does he have enough on the president? >> i believe he does. i believe he does, and i believe that he puts a lot of pieces together. i think the weisselberg thing gets very, very interesting also, when you think about those two guys. those are the two pillars. if you are a ceo and running any type of organization, your legal tough guy and your cfo are just doing everything. whether it's good, bad or indifferent that's being done. michael cohen has a story to
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tell. he wants to tell it. and he wants to be seen, i think at this point, as an american hero. i really do. that's what he feels. >> jonathan, you cover this white house very closely, obviously, and i've asked this to our correspondents as well. how concerned is the white house about michael cohen? we see the strategy, we saw it again last night. giuliani says don't believe michael cohen, he's a path logical liar. are they worried about him? >> they are worried about him. there's a school of thought among the people closest to the president that the threat posed by cohen and sdny might be greater than the one posed by the russia collusion question and here we see the merge with the idea of cohen suggesting that trump knew in advance of this trump tower meeting in june 2016. i think there's a lot of deep concern in his world about this. we know what happens when the president is under pressure. i think he'll be on an all-out attack the next couple of days. >> the job growth in the second quarter likely to be the headline coming up in just about
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30 minutes. we went the full three hours without any red sox fans gloating about the fact that aaron judge got hurt. >> we're classier than that. >> no, you're not. >> aaron judge, get well soon, my friend. that does it for us this morning. joe and mika back on monday. for now, ali velshi picks up our coverage right now. >> thank you, my friend. good morning to all of you, i'll ali velshi in for stephanie ruhle. at this hour trump tower tell-all. president trump's fierce response after a source reveals to nbc news that michael cohen is ready and willing to tell the special counsel that then candidate trump knew in advance about the 2016 trump tower meeting between donald trump jr. and a russian lawyer, contradicting their past claims. >> did you know at the time that they had the meeting? >> no, i didn't know anything about the meeting. >> did you tell your father anything about this? >> it was such a nothing, there was nothing to tell. >> trump's money man, federal prosecutors repo

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