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tv   MSNBC Live With David Gura  MSNBC  August 5, 2018 11:00am-12:00pm PDT

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and that does it for me. you have a great sunday. up next, the gura train keeps on moving with david gura. >> richard, thank you very much. i'm david gura at msnbc headquarters in new york. another tweet storm. president trump taking to twitter it attack robert mueller's investigation, but one of his tweets may have created a legal nightmare for him and for his oldest son donald trump jr. that's not the only cause for panic. the president in an all-out effort to save a congressional seat, republicans have held on to for more than 30 years. >> to continue our incredible success we must elect more republicans and we must elect troy balderson. we have to elect troy.
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>> and high hope from a white house communications director. hope hicks spotted on board air force one this weekend. could she be plotting a return to donald trump's administration? but let's begin with that meeting at trump tower. that meeting donald trump jr. agreed to hoping he would get dirt on hillary clinton. that meeting the trumps admitted to after "the new york times" reported on it. well, today president trump's explanation of that meeting is changing once again. in july of 2017, the president via his son claimed it was about the adoption of russian children, adding there was no follow-up. well, fast forward to today and the president is admitting his son attended it to get information on an opponent. well, today one of the president's attorneys is also backtracking. here is jay sekulow then and now. >> the president wasn't aware of the meeting, did not participate in the meeting. the statement that was released on saturday was released by
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donald trump jr. i am sure in consultation with his lawyers. the president wasn't involved. >> i had bad information. i made a mistake. in a situation like this you have, over time, facts develop. i got that one wrong. >> to give you a sense of the importance of those 278 characters, a former congresswoman who voted on richard nixon's impeachment. >> this is the news tightening very, very, very much around donald trump's neck and the neck of his son. >> all right. we will get more legal analysis here in a moment. i want to start with geoff bennett who covers the white house for us at msnbc. jeff, as "the washington post" put it today, president trump has yet again tweeted about his personal legal issues in way he perhaps shouldn't have? >> it's a great point because, look, the president's position is one that's on its face really only leading to more questions. the president is asserting that the 2016 trump tower meeting with the russians was part of the normal course of politics. he says nothing came of it, yet
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he is insisting vehemently he knew nothing about it. why make that argument? we don't know. here's what we do know, and you spoke to some of this. when "the new york times" first learned of the trump tower meeting and pressed the trump white house for a response, the president dictated a false statement that said the meeting was focused on the adoptions of russian children by americans. after we learned that statement wasn't through the president made the argument that, hey, it's not a crime to lie to the press even if it means misleading the american public by extension. today he is saying definitively this was a meeting to get information on an opponent. getting information on an opponent can be legal, but not when you are accepting it from foreign nationals. it's even more problematic that it was being offered by a foreign adversary. and remember when donald trump jr. accepted the trump tower meeting, he responded to an email that had the subject line, russia/clinton private and confidential. it was no secret what they were up to. the lingering question is when did the president know about the
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meeting. did he know in advance as michael cohen alleges? as this drama unfold you have jay sekulow, president trump's outside attorney, who is saying the trump legal team is leaning towards not having the president sit down for an interview under oath with the special counsel. take a look. >> i make this joke that, you know, no matter what the legal team recommends, if we recommend that the president were to give the interview, which i think the inclination is not at this point, but if the recommendation was give the interview, you are going to get 12 lawyers saying i can't believe that sjay sekulow and giuliani allowed them do it. if we say no, the same stwefl lawye 12 lawyers will say what are they hiding? >> last week rudy giuliani indicated the president would agree to an interview voluntarily if the questions were focused only on collusion and not obstruction. now you have jay sekulow saying it doesn't look like this interview is going to happen at all, at least not voluntarily.
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>> extraordinary. we went into the weekend thinking the top item for rudy giuliani and jay sekulow was how they would respond to the request for interview. this has up ended their agenda. thank you. and here with more on what that means for the president and for his son donald trump jr. is glen kirschner, a number toer federal prosecutor. we have john lamear with us, he covers the white house for t"th associated press". the president is on his 11-day working vacation. glen, let me start with you and what's at stake here looking at that tweet, reiterating what we heard from geoff bennett. there are three things at play here. the contradictions from the first statement handed out by representatives of don jr. and jared kushner. then you have this line at the end of today's tweet, i did not know about it. the president trying to distance himself here from what happened in trump tower back in 2016. and finally that third issue,
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that this ran afoul here of federal law. taking those three things into consideration, what's the thing the president should be most worried about? >> well, i think he should be worried about all three. let's start with the nature of the tweet in the first instance. in a courtroom, tweets equal evidence. there is a federal rule of evidence called statement of a party opponent. what does that tell us? it tells us that anything a defendant says whether it is in oral form, written form, tweeted form, if he said it, it can be introduced as evidence against him. now, i know there are some who say, well, you know, you can't indict a sitting president, so those tweets will never see the inside of a courtroom as evidence. as a career federal prosecutor, i actually think there is a pathway to indicting a sitting president. let's set that aside for the moment. even if he were to be indicted and his trial were to be delayed until after he left the office, we would still be having the same debate about the effortry
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value of a tweet. whereas tweets, that is statements of a party opponent, are admissible, you know, walk backs are not admissible. no matter what sarah huckabee sanders says trying to walk back the president's statements, no matter what rudy giuliani says trying to walk back the president's statements, walk backs are not admissible to modify what it is the defendant said. so i think there are a lot of reasons that these contradictory statements that continue to pour out of the president, whether at campaign rallies or, you know, yelled to the press or tweeted out, they are extremely problematic for the president and he really continues to dig his own hole deeper and deeper. >> jonathan, let me turn to you on this point. glen kirschner bringing up the value of tweets. reportedly robert mueller and his team are looking at the president's twitter feed. we heard from rudy giuliani this week after another extraordinary tweet in which he directly spoke
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to the attorney general, rudy giuliani and his team, saying that the president expressing his opinion. nothing more. he wasn't ordering his attorney general to do anything. help us understand the defense that the president's attorneys are beginning to coalesce. >> well, david, so we're outside bedminster here. we haven't seen the president today, nor do we expect to. they have called a travel lid, keeping there won't be any events. we have heard from him. those tweets are jarring. this something the white house has grappled with since trump took office. a few weeks into the administration, sean spicer, then press secretary, said they should be considered formal statement. when you have the president saying things like this, asking jeff sessions to end the probe, saying today that, acknowledging the true meaning of that trump tower meeting with his son and the kremlin-connected lawyer, people are going to take them seriously even as white house officials sometimes behind the scenes try to say that's just how the president blows off steam that it's an outlet for him much like a rally.
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these tweets could cause significant legal implications, as glenn just said. and also it bears repeating how much the stories have changed in the last 13 months. this was supposed to be about adoptions, and then the story shifted. it shifted again. finally, the white house's hand was forced when "the new york times" and others discovered emails from don jr. which he said he would welcome this damaging information about hillary clinton from the russians. and this has come to the period, a per president time for this president. one person said he is in a very dark place. he is staring a of images of the paul manafort on trial every day. he knows the mueller probe is gaining steam. he is very frustrated about the media and how we are obsessing, in his estimation, about the probe and his ties to russia, including what remains a jaw-dropping performance at the
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husky summ helsinki summit. >> we are hearing collusion is not a crime. there are some criminal implications of what we are seeing here. what are they? you as a former prosecutor, walk us through the potential criminality of what we are seeing here. >> i agree with everything jonathan said. let me highlight the distinction between collusion and conspiracy. collusion is a layman's term. conspiracy is a legal term. david, there is not much definition daylight between the two. collusion is simply people getting together to sort of deceive or defraud someone. conspiracy is two or more people agreeing to commit a crime. so we can see there is a slight distinction between those two terms, but who is it that keeps setting up the collusion straw man just to knock it down? it's the president. have we ever once heard bob mueller stand up and say, well, anything, but stand up and say,
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i'm investigating collusion? the president keeps saying there is no collusion, no collusion. bob mueller is investigating conspiracy and obstruction of justice, which is just a fancy term for covering up the conspiracy. and i'll tell you, we continue to hear mr. giuliani trying to discard each piece of evidence that emerges against the president, and it's the same old line that we hear from defense attorneys in criminal trials day in and day out, which is that if you hold up one piece of evidence and that piece of evidence doesn't show you the whole picture or prove a crime in and of itself, you take that piece of the puzzle and you throw it away and then you look at the next piece of the puzzle. well, the american people know that's not how you assemble a puzzle. when you assemble all of the pieces of this puzzle we have seen over the last 18 months, david, you see in the background collusion and conspiracy in.
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in the foreground cover up and obstruction of justice. i think only a matter of time. >> jonathan, last question it you. you are in bedminster today. you were in ohio when he went out to stump for a republican facing a democratic challenger on tuesday in a special election. walk us through what the president said last night. was there anything in his remarks that foreshadowed what we saw today? >> there was actually last night in ohio in what was a sweltering j gymnasium. those of us in the press pool almost melted. there was very little discussion of the russia probe other than his usual rejoinder that it was a hoax. a couple days aligo when the national security advisors said russia did this before, they are trying to do it again, and there is a disconnect. the president versus the presidency in terms of trump not towing the same line. last night he was more disciplined than we have seen earlier this week. certainly he attacked the media. not as much as in pennsylvania a
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few days prior. he did not go after lebron james, which he had done over twitter the night before, which stirred up a lot of talk about racial dog whistles and attacking the intelligence of arguably the second most prominent african-american man in the country. but no, we didn't see it last night at the rally. this explosion this morning about mueller. but it's been building. there has been private concerns about what legal exposure don jr. might be facing. whether it's the manafort trial or the news media coverage, the president has told people around him he feels the walls are closing in on him. he feels like there is a conspiracy against him. when that happens, when his back is up against the wall, he is going to fight. >> jonathan lamire, i will ask you to stick with us. thanks to glen kirschner joining us from washington, d.c. today. when we come back, a leading democrat's reaction to president trump's tweet and the alarm raised by the intelligence community about the upcoming midterm elections.
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questions raised today about the meeting that took place in trump tower with russian nationals in the summer of 2016. that meeting in the spotlight again today because of president trump's tweet about why his son took that meeting. he said to get dirt on hillary clinton. donald trump jr. testified before the house intelligence committee about that meeting for seven hours back in december,
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and much of that questioning centered on what donald trump senior knew about that meeting and when he knew it. california congressman eric swalwell sits on that committee. he represents the 15th district in california and he joins me now. let's start with this tweet. where else could we start on this sunday afternoon? you have been focused on this meeting. what happened inside those closed doors and what led to the meeting. how does your understanding of both of those things change as a result of what the president tweeted this morning? >> good afternoon, david. you know, the president and his sons explanations may continue to change by the week, but there is only one version of the truth, and consistently from the witnesses that we have interviewed in our investigation and from the public news reports, donald trump's campaign was all too willing and eager to receive illegally obtained information from the russians. and whether it materialized or not, they were hoping it would materialize. that's what should concern all of us. all of the actions they are
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taking now to try to cover up what happened or change the story as to what happened, that just goes to the consciousness of guilt that they were aware they were doing something wrong at the time. >> i was listening to jay sekulow on abc this morning and he said something that stood out to me. he said, over time facts developed. so sort of a sideways look at what you are saying there. you are saying we are chipping closer to the truth. he is saying things can change in pursuit of that. how do you react to that statement from jay sekulow? >> right. he also said he had bad information. i think facts develop and bad information is really, can be translated as my client lied to me. there is no other explanation than he was given one story and then as other stories started to fill in and were more consistent and his clients stood out the from the rest, it became clear the client's version was the version that best suited the client but didn't suit the facts that existed. >> how tied are your hands at that point? we have seen the division among
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the house select committee on intelligence. we are headed to the midterms. are you in a position now -- we were just watching this unfold. you are watching others try to get to the truth you are talking about here. is there more you and your colleagues can do on capitol hill? >> well, every single day that we're back in washington, d.c., ranking members schiff and myself and democrats on the intelligence committee have tried to reach out to the republicans on the committee and have asked them to reopen the investigation, to bring back donald trump jr., to bring back michael cohen, to bring back roger stone. when they closed the investigation, it was so premature and irresponsible, we never subpoenaed any of the documents that you would want to test the stories we were told. as we learn more and more information that's coming out, we see that there is a lot more to learn and that we should actually conduct a real investigation so the american people know what happened. but more important than that, david, so this never happens again. there will be other foreign adversaries that will try to help other presidential candidates, republican and
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democrat. if congress is not willing to put reforms in place, our democracy will be hit again. >> another tweet. there were a half dozen from the president today. in another one he singled out mueller and the 17 angry democrats. his words. and he said this is the most one-sided witch hunt in the history of our country. some folks in eastern massachusetts might quibble with the president's characterization there. i want to ask you about how this is being waged in the court of public opinion. in sort of a perverse way, the president's attorneys are playing the role of prosecutors in the court of public opinion. they are trying to cast doubt on robert mueller's investigation as it continues. what's your reaction to the efficacy of that? how well they have been able to get americans to doubt what bob mueller and his team are doing. >> well, in the court of public opinion this really comes down to does the public believe bob mueller and his investigation or does the public believe donald trump and his continuing changing stories? and so that's what it will come down to, david. i will also say when it comes to
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congress, james comey, andrew mccabe, rod rosenstein have come to congress. they have raised their right hand and gone under oath to tell their version of what happened. the one person who keeps talking about this who has not done that is donald trump. he is not willing to sit down even when the questions have been given to him. i think what is very telling. finally f donald trump should welcome bob mueller. he has given him the most due process i think of any criminal defendant i have seen. no leaks have come out of this investigation. despite the number of times donald trump keeps trying to move the goalpost as to what his interviewing terms are, bob mueller and the team seem willing to try to accommodate him so he has an opportunity to go under oath. >> i am going to paraphrase karl bernstein talking about how this is potentially worse than watergate. back then the system worked. it held. i bring that up because i want to get your reaction to what we saw in the white house press briefing room this week.
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five members of the president's national security staff saying in a unified voice there are real threats to elections. a few hours later you saw the president totally turn that upside down, not acknowledge the fact there is a threat. what does that say to you about the integrity of the system of government in this country today? >> we have patriots like fbi director wrong-w director wray and rod rosenstein working on our our behalf. i am worried if the driver does not listen to what all the other passengers in the vehicle are saying, we could still go off a cliff. the president will not accept what his intelligence team is telling him. congress, the best check on an executive is not stepping up to assert its role. so i think the voters will have the last word. we may not get protection as soon as we want it. this november the voters are going to do all they can to protect our country from in wrecking ball president. >> eric swalwell, thank you very much for the time.
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>> thank you. well, talk is not cheap as the trump legal team negotiates a possible sit down with robert mueller. we are going to take a look at some of the dangers that previous presidents have faced when they have been forced to testify. i thought i married an italian. my lineage was the vecchios and zuccolis. through ancestry, through dna i found out that i was only 16% italian. he was 34% eastern european. so i went onto ancestry, soon learned that one of our ancestors we thought was italian was eastern european. this is my ancestor who i didn't know about. he looks a little bit like me, yes. ancestry has many paths to discovering your story. get started for free at
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the president's been clear that he wants to interview. i will tell you his legal team is concerned. so what we have to do is put away all the clutter of what all the commentators are going to be saying and make a decision based on the law and what's in the best interest of our client. >> that's jay sekulow on whether the president will sit down with robert mueller for an interview. we may be in the final stages of the will he/won't he game. rudy giuliani tells msnbc news he is spending the weekend preparing a response to robert mueller's latest request, although in light of today's tweets i suspect his agenda may have changed. a little history. donald trump wouldn't be the first sitting or former president to testify under oath. >> monica lewinsky says while you were in the oval office area you touched her breasts, would she be lying? >> that is not my recollection. my recollection is that i did
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not have sexual relations with miss lewinsky. i'm staying on my former statement of that. >> do you have any other recollection of sending these specific letters to congress? >> it's a case of memory. i don't recall whether i did or not. >> it depends what the meaning of the word is. >> i assure you that there was never at any time, any agreement whatsoever concerning a pardon to mr. nixon if he were to resign and i were to become president. >> david ignatius is an associate editor at "the washington post" for which he writes a column on foreign affairs. w i want to start with this debate or maybe a parlor game is a better way of characterizing it, whether or not robert mueller and his team needs president trump to sit down for the interview. bob mueller's team continues the
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silence we have come to expect from it. how essential is this interview, do you think? >> well, i think mueller certainly has to make the request and he has done so, make the request clearly. presumably, this interview is the last step before mueller would issue a report to congress. assuming for the moment that mueller believes that if he finds a crime, the proper judge for that activity is congress through our process of impeachment. he would send a report initially to the justice department. that could then be sent to congress. we do need to remember that there are two separate strands of mueller's investigation. on the obstruction issue, he absolutely needs to talk to trump because trump is at the center of the issues, was there an attempt to obstruct, derail the investigation of russian meddling. there is another much more complicated part of this story, which you can call collusion or conspiracy to violate election
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laws. that's going to take longer. i think the president's testimony, statement to mueller is less central to that. i think the evidence gathering is going to continue. all of this should be seen in the question of whether mueller will issue a report quickly before the midterm elections or wait. i think that's the essential question people should consider. report now or later. >> let's spend a little time talking about those midterms. i was discussing those a moment ago with congressman swalwell of california. that moment in the white house this week when these five national security chiefs came out and spoke with a unified voice about the threat the american electoral system still faces. a lot has been written about what happened then and immediately afterward, the fact that there were two administrations, in effect. you have president trump's team of advisors, the heads of these agencies. then you have the president saying something totally different. how did you react to what you saw this week when that happened, and what does it say to you about the way this administration is operating? >> david, i thought when our
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intelligence chiefs stood in the white house briefing room and talked about the russian threat and their vigilance as leaders of the key agencies in combatting that threat, that that should be encouraging to all of us. they run the bureaucracies that collect the information to try to stop this meddling. when the president came out later and spoke, he was angry. he was very much a on a personal defense. i think the question we need to ask is has the president done anything to stop or alter the actions that his intelligence chiefs described to protect our elections in this midterm cycle and in the future. has he done anything other than make these statements? if the protective measures that the intelligence chiefs, chris wray from the fbi and others talked about are going forward, then i think people should be reassured. the mechanisms are in place and the right people are acting on them. >> secretary of state mike pompeo is in singapore.
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he is becoming more and more familiar with the place. i think he has moved on to jakarta now. the latest when it comes to north korea, he was there in part as a courier, picking up mail from the north korean leader, sending a new letter back through an emissary while he was over there. this is a role he has played time and time again now. i was struck by a line in an interview he gave to channel news asia about denuclearization which is at the center of all of this. he said the ultimate timeline for denuclearization will be set by chairman kim, at least in part. the secretary of state concluding, the decision is his. my how far we have come since that summit this singapore. >> well, i was struck by that, too, david. it was, in effect, a concussion of reality. if kim jong-un isn't going to play, if he isn't going it denuclearize, this whole thing falls apart. the singapore summit has been shown to be a farce. if he is going to move forward,
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the u.s. is insisting, pompeo has been insisting there needs to be an inventory of the essential elements of their nuclear program, and then a timetable for dismantling them. and, yes, delivering the initial inventory and then the timetable is what the north koreans say they can do. the u.s. says, well, that's not quick enough. what are we going to do about that? we have sanctions still in place. i think we would say the sanctions stay there as long as you fail to comply. that's the stick. but it was a fascinating, i thought, attempt to keep this process going and move towards the next phase, which i think, david, will be a statement, a declaration formally ending the state of war between north and south korea, north korea and the u.s., which will come by the end of the year. >> as you point out, a lot of these discussions, the real action seems to be taking place
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between the two koreas. thank you for the time. appreciate it. >> thanks. up next, family feud. president trump's own daughter and wife pushing back at some of his most insindry rhetoric. stop fearing your alarm clock... with new*! zzzquil pure zzzs. a drug-free blend of botanicals with melatonin ...that supports your natural sleep cycle... you can seize the morning. new! zzzquil pure zzzs.
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these may worsen with anoro. call your doctor if you have worsened breathing, chest pain, mouth or tongue swelling, problems urinating, vision changes, or eye pain while taking anoro. ask your doctor about anoro. ♪ go your own way get your first prescription free at welcome back. i'm david gura. to the domestic discord on planet trump. the president's wife and eldest daughter continuing to publicly
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contradict the commander in chief. melania trump stepping into the middle of the lebron debate saying she would be happy to visit the nba player's new school, which he was trumpeting on cnn. ivanka admitted that child separation at the border was the low light of her time in government. tiffany cross is joining me. the co-founder and managing eder of the beat d.c. back with me, jonathan lamire, a white house correspondent and msnbc political analyst. tiffany, let me turn to you first. we saw the tweet about lebron a faw hours later we got a response from the first lady via her spokesperson saying she disagrees with the president. what should we make of that? how much should we care about what seems like domestic discord in the white house? >> i don't think we should make much of it at all. melania trump is neither an ally nor a friend to what's happening in the country right now. she is someone who is married to donald trump. she was a birther. lebron james certainly didn't
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build this school to give her a photo-op. i don't know why we all, you know, clutch our pearls and dance in gratitude every time she says something about this president or the things he says. i predict as soon as the circus of the presidency is over so too will be their marriage and she will go on a tour about where her silent -- i don't buy it. i remember sound bites from her when her husband was a then candidate saying racist things, bigoted things, saying misogynistic things, and she stood by him then. i am grossly unimpressed with her statement. >> jonathan, i want to talk about family and the role it plays in this administration. a quote from "the washington post" that may have been what triggered the president to tweet what he tweeted this morning. the line is, trump has also expressed to confidantes unease about including how donald trump
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jr. are ensnared in the russia probe because of their connection to him. some children have officials roles in the administration. some don't. help us understand the role of family and the particular complications of running a government in this way, having one's daughter work for him, having a son-in-law work for him as well. >> well, remember that donald trump when he ran his business, the trump organization, he ran it with don jr., ivanka and eric trump. their offices were one floor blow h-- below his and they wer involved in the projects. that has transferred into his political life. they were major surrogates on the -- during the campaign. a little less tiffany trump as well. and then, you know, now in the white house we have ivanka trump and her husband, jared kushner, being involved. ivanka and jared have tried to -- and ivanka in particular -- walk this fine line where they publicly break with the president on certain things and then not with others.
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it's become a washington cliche. the president will make a perhaps unpopular decision or decision perhaps unpopular with the manhattan liberals that ivanka trump and jared kushner used to live among and we would have leaks and whispers after the fact saying, well, ivanka and jared tried to rein him in. this would be more conservative if they didn't play that role to the point where it's a tired cliche in washington and jared and ivanka have had their influence diminish for a while. it seems to be on its way back up. as far as melania trump goes, she has been more careful. there have been a few moments where she created distance between herself and the president. she never directly criticizes him. she mentions the policy or goes out of her way to praise lebron james, but again she doesn't -- she never publicly criticizes her president, which of course is a tough thing to ask any wife
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to do, particularly when they are the first couple. she seems to be trying to walk a fine line with some success. >> tiffany, i want to return to that cliche jonathan was describing. it was the center of this massive piece in "the new york times" last weekend talking about the role of jared kushner and ivanka trump, and also talking about what liberals him booed into them, what they thought ivanka trump could deliver. a voice of reason, could carry their grievances to the president. were you ever a believer in that? did you see her working in that capacity this administration? >> i was never a believer. while their influence may have diminished, their income hasn't. they have raked in $80 million since being in this white house. they are profiting off the backs of the american people using their positions and leveraging their power and proximity to power to fill their own coffers, and that's a problem. so, no, they are not tugging at my heartstrings whether she said
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the media are not the enemy of the people. that comment was followed by a but. but i have been the victim of a false reporting, et cetera. we need her to say the media is not the enemy of the people. full stop. period. check her father when he says that. she can't have it both ways. too many times she and the family have been extended a mulligan that is grossly undeserved. >> if you follow john lamire on twitter, and you should, you saw this photo last night. it says spotted at the morristown, new jersey, ahead of air force one departure from trump's ohio rally. hope hicks. we talk about the president's biological family, the role they are playing in the administration. he had a family of close confy daun daunt /* confidants. what do you make of her presence at the rally last night? >> first and foremost, thank you for the twitter plug. secondly, hope hicks also almost resembled a family member here for president trump over the last few years. she used to work for ivanka
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trump. she is very close with all of the president's children. she became, when that campaign first started in june 2015 with a staff of about five, she was one of them. she was the press secretary. she didn't ever go on camera and rarely publicly spoke to the press. she was more than that. she was sort of the trump's body person, if you will, and closest con confidant on the trail. a role she took in the white house for a number of positions she held. she is good for the president, people feel. she has a calming effected on him, according to people close to him. seeing her yesterday was a surprise. we didn't know it was coming. we spotted her at the airport. she flew to the rally in ohio, attended the ohio. we saw her on air force one on the way back. she said hello to the press pool in the cabin. she has been laying low. she has -- someone who has not found a new job since leaving the white house. she is taking time off. she told people close to her she
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would consider a return to the trump world at some point whether that's in the administration or re-election campaign in 2020. she is someone who was part of -- it always comes back to this -- the russia probe. she sat down with bob mueller. she testified before congress. she is someone who is still -- has a lawyer, is still dealing with this. and it shows when you are not working with the president anymore, you can't escape the scanned isle. >> bringing it full circle. thank you very much for your time. slipping away, next, how close are republicans to losing a congressional seat they have held since president trump cut the ribbon at trump tower here in new york? 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.
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we have a man that's going to fight for you. he's going to fight for ohio, and he's going to be here for a long time. he will never, ever disappoint you. i found that out for the people. he's just not going to disappoint you. he's really smart and he's a really hard worker. troy balderson, come oh up. >> president trump on the campaign trail going all out for the republican candidate ahead of tuesday's high stakes special house election there. the reliably red congressional seat, looking a little less reliable now after republican
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troy balderson lost a lead. but after special election defeats in pennsylvania and alabama, can the president throw a hail mary pass like he used to? joining me now is henley gomez, a political reporter for buzzfeed news. owen doherty with the columbus dispatch. i want to start with you. i was following your coverage last night on twitter and something stood out to me. you said you spoke with dozens of folks there at the rally. you ducked into an arby's and talked to a few more. this stood out to me. very few actually lived in the 12th district. many out-of-towners, you wrote on twitter. turnout is so important here, so important when you look at the calculus for the president making this visit there, you've got a pretty moderate democratic candidate going up against this republican. what is that, the turnout you saw anecdotally tell you about the prospects for the republican candidate looking ahead to this special election on tuesday? >> yeah, exactly, david. i mean, trump's rallies are two-fold. one, to get his base out. and that base comes from all
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over the area. i parked in a lot right behind the high school, and you see license plates from all the surrounding states. and then from the people i talked to, you know, they're excited. they love trump. they will support anyone that trump kind of picks. that doesn't mean they can vote in that district. so a lot of these people, they come for the rally, balderson, the republican candidate in this district is kind of the second fiddle to trump, if you may. >> henry gomez, you spent some time in the district. help us understand it. as i say, you've got this democratic candidate, who is more moderate, about 31 years of age. what's appealing to folks in this district about him? how does he fit into the geography, the political geography of the 12th district? >> well, david, this is one of those districts that democrats really hope to tear down the margins and back in 2016. it includes a lot of affluent, highly educated, independent-leaning conservative voters. and these are the types of voters hillary clinton thought she would do well with. now that we have this special
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election here, it makes sense to see daniel o'connor attack more toward the center. the republicans in their primary were very worried about nominating somebody who would be too conservative for the district. and so they end up with troy balderson, who is more of an establishment pick. you know, they were relieved he made it out of that primary. what we're looking at in terms of turnout is going to be the actual columbus suburbs, and franklin county, and in delaware county north. these represent huge chunks of the district, and particularly in franklin county, where danny o'connor is an elected official. he needs to run up the score and needs to keep it really close in delaware county, which has been a republican county for, like, 100 years. and if he can do that, then democrats are very confident that they picked this seat up. >> owen, you wrote in your piece that the president mentioned the democratic candidate as much as he mentioned the republican candidate. how finally tailored was this message he delivered last night? i was listening more closely to the rally he gave in wilkes-barre, pennsylvania, earlier in the week.
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was 90% on other issues, 10% on the midterm coming up where he was speaking. how much of this was geared toward ohioans, how much was he talking about issues they care about? >> mr. balderson got about five minutes of speaking time at the podium. he had a few attacks on the democratic candidate, o'connor. kind of taking a page out of trump's playbook, calling him dishonest danny and trump had his own attacks. but i would say, same percentage. about 90% was trump talking about really any issue that seemed to come to mind with a little bit of tailoring it to ohio for jobs and industry, touting manufacturing jobs coming back. but very little was specific to the 12th district and issues that the voters build up to the special election. >> henry, last question to you. we'll spend time later in the show talking about the national import of this race, what it might mean for the midterm elections. i want to focus not that broadly, but a little more broadly here on what it might mean for ohio. we all know that so goes ohio, et cetera, et cetera.
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you've been looking at this. if a republican were to lose this special election on tuesday, what could that mean for other counties, other parts of this state, which went for donald trump back in 2016? >> i think it means -- >> two or three other republican house seats become much more competitive. donald trump tweeted about steve stivers in a neighboring district. in a way, that wasn't an accident. steve stivers' district represented by steve chabot, the democrats have a strong candidate in that district, as well. so you're going to see at least two, maybe three or four districts become more competitive in ohio. republicans i've talked to over the last week there are really, really frightened about what it means for them in a state they've dominated for 30 years if they lose this seat on tuesday. >> henry gomez and owen
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dougherty, thank you both very much. ahead in our next hour, much more on the fallout from president trump's morning tweet storm, and the implications about that one tweet in particular about the meeting that took place trump tower back in 2016. plus, two races to watch this coming week that could tell us a whole lot about the midterm elections in november. sfx: [cell phone dialing] no. no, no, no, no, no. cancel. cancel. please. aaagh! being in the know is a good thing. that's why discover will alert you if your social security number is found
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welcome back. i'm david gura at msnbc headquarters in new york. character witness.
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president trump using 278 characters to tweet about that june 2016 meeting at trump tower. a tweet in which he may have conceded to collusion with russia. another account, rick gates, paul manafort's former business associate, about to testify in manafort's ongoing trial for fraud, but could he also hold the key to figuring out what really happened in trump tower more than two years ago? and the court of public opinion. president trump continuing to face backlash from both sides of the aisle to his criticism of lebron james. but let's begin with one potentially pivotal tweet from president trump. the president claiming the 2016 trump tower meeting would was to get dirt on hillary clinton. ask by posting that tweet, he is changing the narrative surrounding that meeting yet again. the president told the "new york times" then that the meeting was actually about russian adoptions. earlier today, jay sekulow, the pr


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