tv Morning Joe MSNBC August 22, 2018 3:00am-6:00am PDT
doesn't stop there. cohen's attorney tells msnbc he has information that bob mueller would want to know and is more than happy to start talking to the special counsel. meanwhile, paul manafort who two years ago literally ran donald trump's campaign is now a felon. he is facing serious prison time and like michael cohen sits atop this list of trump associates who are indicted or convicted criminals. that is a lot of witches. good morning, and welcome to "morning joe" on this wednesday, august 22nd. joe is off. he's tweeting. he'll be filing for the "washington post." we've put together an all-star lineup for this morning's incredible amount of news. a small law firm of legal experts, msnbc legal analyst danny savalas, john thnathan tu and barbara mcquade and two experts or the cohen stories
cohen whisperers, and msnbc contributor emily jane fox and donny deutsch, who both spoke at length with cohen late yesterday for the political implications of the manafort conviction and the cohen plea. former aide to the george w. bush white house and state departments, elise jordan is with us and nbc news capitol hill correspondent and host of "kasie dc" on msnbc, kasie hunt. also we'll ask kasie about california congressman duncan hunter indicted on charges of misusing campaign funds. the second congressman to endorse trump in february of 2016. the first was representative chris collins who was facing insider trading charges in new york. it is a waterfall of news this morning, and for the historical perspective, best-selling author and pulitzer prize winning historian jon meacham has brushed up on his nixon for us this morning, but honestly, john
i do not think there's a parallel. we'll see what you come up with. a legal landslide like none other in the history of the presidency. what the conservative drudge report described as trump hell hour. his 2016 campaign chief paul manafort convicted by a jury on eight counts at almost the exact same time that trump's former lawyer michael cohen entered a guilty plea to eight counts and speaking in open court directly implicated the president in a federal crime. this is the worst day of donald trump's presidency. both personally and professionally. trump's legal team responded, there is no allegation of any wrongdoing against the president in the government's charges against mr. cohen. it is clear that as the prosecutor noted, mr. cohen's actions reflect a pattern of lies and dishonest ly over a significant period of time. they are forgetting that trump is on tape talking to cohen about these payments, and we
hear him on tape. before a campaign rally in west virginia, trump said, i feel badly for both, but only spoke in detail abm m. and continued to rail against the investigation to his supporters. >> it doesn't involve me but i still feel it's a very sad thing that happened. this has nothing to do with russian collusion. this is a witch-hunt and it's a disgrace. but this has nothing to do with what they started out looking for russians involved in our campaign. there were none. i feel very badly for paul manafort. again, he worked for bob dole. he worked for ronald reagan. he worked for many, many people, and -- this is the way it ends up, and it was not the original mission, believe me. >> we continue the witch-hunt. >> fake news and the russian witch-hunt. we got a whole big combination. where is the collusion? you know, they're still looking for collusion.
where is the collusion? find some collusion. we want to find the collusion. >> so we're going to have more on the manafort conviction in a moment, but first, the case that the president has not yet addressed. the one that implicates him in potential criminal wrongdoing. the guilty plea of his former lawyer and fixer michael cohen. cohen pleaded guilty to eight counts, counts one through five, for tax evasion. counts six for making false statements to a bank and seven and eight, connected to campaign finance violations and in a scheme to cover-up the president's alleged affairs with playboy model karen mcdougal and porn star stormy daniels. yesterday cohen told the judge that the payments were made "in coordination with and at the direction of a candidate for federal office" implicating the president without saying his name. >> he worked to pay money to
silence two women who had information that he believed would be detrimental to the 2016 campaign and to the candidate and the campaign. in addition, mr. cohen sought reimbursement for that money by submitting invoices to the candidate's company, which were untrue and false. >> cohen is currently free on bond. the plea agreement calls for cohen to serve up to five years in prison. sentencing is set for december. as of right now, there is no agreement for him to cooperate against the president, but last night the public face of cohen's legal team, lanny davis, said his client has information that mueller might be interested in, and that he is ready to share. >> mr. cohen has knowledge on certain subjects that should be of interest to the special counsel, and is more than happy
to tell the special counsel all that he knows. not just about the obvious possibility of a conspiracy to collude and corrupt the american democracy system in the 2016 election, which the trump tower meeting was all about, but also knowledge about the computer crime of hacking and whether or not mr. trump knew ahead of time about that crime and even cheered it on. mr. cohen is dedicated to telling the truth now. he has no shadow hanging over him. the uncertainty is gone. he has stepped up to the line and he has admit wlad he dted w wrong anderated to tell the truth about everything he knows about donald trump and from this point in time you're going to see liberated michael cohen speaking truth to power. >> okay.
we're going to hear from lanny davis coming up. right now let's get right to our so-called cohen whisperers. these guys speak to cohen all the time. donny deutsch and emily jane fox. donny, you both spoke with him yesterday. what's his mind-set? obviously he has made his decision. >> yeah. you know, it's easy to sometimes forget that these people are people. you know? we see michael cohen, trump's attorney. a very emotional day for michael, obviously. i spoke to him at length. the thing he was most emotional about and the most moved about is children. we forget people going through this, how this is affecting his children. he has a son that just started college. a daughter a year out of college and very, very emotional. this started last wednesday where they reached out to his attorney to start to talk and the talks went through the weekend. michael, i believe, and i've said this from the beginning, that michael cohen will be a pivotal, the "the" pivotal figure that will bring down the
presidency. it started out. talked in the show about it, he was fiercely loyal. the kind of person he is, and obviously that changed over time, and i believe histories will look kindly on michael cohen. he obviously pled guilty to those counts and wants to focus on counts seven and eight. lanny davis mentioned yesterday, he really is looking forward to talking with mueller. mueller reaches out to him in corroborating stories that michael i believe will be able to tie trump to those meetings and to collusion. so on one sense, very emotional for michael. as you can imagine. also a sense of relief. i think he's looking forward to moving forward -- go ahead. >> donny, he broke the law. what is his mindset in terms of, who does this for somebody? over and observer again? to the point where, i mean, look, he's in deep water to keep it clean. he's really in deep. why? >> he is the -- as far as the
first six counts. he can talk and debate about certain issues, but the reality is, he did make the plea and was directed. think about what he said. he was directed by the president. you know, when you were a lawyer, there is a difference. i want to focus on seven-eight, tweet committing crimes and being directed by an employer. it doesn't make them right but you're a lawyer. let us not lose fact that this is the president. the president of the united states directing somebody, who works for him, to do these things. so there is a huge distinction. it does not mean he did not commit these crimes, but there is a huge distinction. i think history will see that. i've said this before and i know your viewers will go, well, i'm not sure. i have found michael to be a straightforward person. obviously, as lanny davis said he stepped up to the step. moving forward i feel we'll see him on the right side of
history. he's taken a big step towards being committed to his family. >> what goes through the mind of somebody like donald trump who would treat someone so badly who obviously has clear evidence against him. tell me about what michael cohen was thinking last night, doing with his family, and what his mind-set is at this point? >> as donny said it was an emotional day for him. i believe last night he tried to live life as normally as possible. went out to dinner with his wife. i was in the courtroom yesterday and watched him go through count by count and describe what he did wrong for each count, and he absolutely got emotional as he was describing them and clearly that's a hard thing to do, to admit to a packed courtroom full of mostly reporters, here are the eight illegal things i did and i'm going to explain what i did and how i did them. it was very striking to me that
on count seven and eight, the counts related to payments made to women, first of all, he was under oath. second of all, no one forced him to implicate the president. he, when he started going through each count, stood up and said, first of all, can i stand. and second of all, will you allow me, judge to read from a set of prepared notes because i want to make sure that i'm focused. imp mr. kating the president in counts seven and eight was a deliberate choice. a choice he wrote out ahead of time and spoke to a courtroom filled with reporters. so that i think tells you more about his mind-set and how he feels about the president than any interview he's done. anything that anyone around him has said to the press that he got up in that courtroom yesterday and threw his boss, who he told me almost exactly a year ago he'd take a bullet for under the bus. just a striking turn in a year. i've watched this whole thing go down. i've watched the change firsthand and it's -- yesterday
was more striking than i've ever seen. >> wow. we want to get to the political ramifications of all of this in just a moment, but first, the legalities. danny savalas, barbara mcquade and go through each of you. jonathan turley, scale of one to ten, how bad is this for the president and what are the possibilities? >> well, it couldn't be worse, and i have to say, i'm not as convinced about this new morality play featuring michael cohen. this idea that he's suddenly liberated in the sense he's going to tell the truth. it doesn't fit with the indictment. look at the first six counts. he's a felon, and he has a reputation in new york of being something of a thug. so he's not that credible of a witness. i mean, if everything that was said yesterday is true, then most of the things he said for the entire year before were lies.
and so that means that -- >> right. >> -- his use as a witness will require corroboration. having said that, he just did implicate the president in a crime. the president is effectively an unindicted co-conspirator, if you believe everything that was in this filing. that makes this campaign finance case a difficult thing usually to prosecute, stronger than the john edwards case. they didn't have a michael cohen who would say, first i knew i was committing a crime. second, i good did it at the be of donald trump and third i'm willing to give evidence and details how we carried that out. >> you know, i tend to agree what he admits to is appalling and this is something, barbara mcquade, he admits to these crimes over the course of years and years, yet michael cohen is in deep. he's in big trouble. can he save himself? through this process?
is there something that he can give them to perhaps mitigate what he's facing now at this point? and what are you seeing as the possibilities? >> potentially, yes. emily reported yesterday they just started talking with michael cohen and prosecutors last week. so the first task is let's get this plea done, and so the conversations i'm sure resulted in the culmination of that plea agreement yesterday, but it appears they have not yet had time to probe all of his knowledge of the 17-year relationship he's had with president trump. i imagine part of that reason is it wasn't until this monday that the judge, retired judge serving as the special master, completed her privilege review of all the items taken in the search of michael cohen's office. it's really not until the prosecutors have their arms around all of those documents they're able to confront him and probe his knowledge of all of those things. my guess is, now is the time they'll sit down with him over a series of debriefings and talk
about all of those thing lanny davis mentioned including the president's knowledge of the hacking and encouragement of it. if he can deliver that kind of information and it can be corroborated, really devastating for the president. i imagine that's coming in the coming months. he really has until december when sentencesing is scheduled to provide that information and get a reduction in that scientistants range of 3 1/2 to 5 years, could be down to probation. he has an additional statute to provide that continuing information. the start of a cooperation with michael cohen. >> i have to jump in, mika. it's absolutely possible and i warn people not to assume just because michael cohen entered into a plea agreement without a cooperation agreement apparent from its face. he still may be presently cooperating, planning to cooperate and the critical information, he only recently started talking to prosecutors. prosecutors need weeks maybe
even months to debrief a defendant like michael cohen or a cooperating witness before they decide to cooperate him and vet him making sure his story is accurate and truthful. only then will they even consider granting that precious 5k1. from this point forward prosecutors are very, very cautious purchasers of the testimony of michael cohen, and might back out of the deal at any time if they decide he's not truthful and not give him the benefit of his bargain. it's very important to realize that he may be cooperating, and he may cooperate in the future. it's absolutely true that defendants can cooperate even after sentencing under the rules, and it'sals important to know that cooperation agreements are often not public. it's often the case that even at sentencing we will address a defendant's cooperation at side
bar away from open court and away from the ears of anyone who might hear because it's too d k dangerous to make these kind of things public as a matter of routine. >> wow. we'll get to how history will look at this in a moment. first, the politics reporters shared inside thinking of those around president trump. the "new york times" michael schmidt tweeted when cohen raid went down it opened up a big second front in trump's legal wars. trump lawyers always feared it more than mueller, because they had no handle on his legal exposure and they never thought they got straight answers from trump on the extent of what he did with cohen. john roberts tweeted, source close to donald trump tells fox news, remember, the president cannot be indicted, while maggie haberman added trump's folks are worried about impeachment more than before. the thinking, tangible, not theoretical and it didn't come from mueller.
does not mean it will happen, but this has moved to a different stage in their minds, and what about the minds of lawmakers on capitol hill? kasie hunt, is there reaction, are people going to finally step up, who we've been surprised to hear them go so silent given all the different stages of this presidency when republicans could have really come forward and said, you know what? no. this is wrong. >> mika, i almost hesitate to say this but i did get a text yesterday evening from one member of congress who simply calmed it a dumpster fire. a republican who said that this is kind of in some ways partially what they expected but also beyond what anybody thought could nap a single day or even i think it was the span of an hour. maybe an hour that this news came out. there have always been in these kind of behind-the-scenes, you know, never trump circles that still do exist in washington. this sense that, well, you know, maybe the legal system would
solve the republican party's trump problem for them. now we are so far past that. the republican party is inextricably linked to donald trump. they essentially made their bed. the base of the party is with the president. they are not necessarily with these lawmakers and that puts incredible pressure on republican members of congress. i know jon meacham talked about this before as the historian in the room. remember, what shifted the ground in watergate was republican voters who turned against president nixon. that in turn put pressure on the republican members of congress, who ultimately were the ones that swung the process against the president. so republicans in congress still have an incredible amount of power, but it is not clear to me yet they will exercise it in opposition of this president and possible it may take more than what we saw yesterday. >> that will be fascinating to watch.
you know, it's so interesting, elise jordan, because the news last night seemed to swallow up trump's rally. you'd want to country to the rally to see what the president was saying in reaction to everything, but everything was so big that they kept cutting away, at least most of the networks i was watching, kept cutting away from him because there was too much important news. yet, though, elise, what you see there are lots of trump supporters shouting, hollering, cheering for him, and the question is, this is his base. will the base be moved? >> well, mika, the short answer is, no. it's very baked in as of now, and is not going to change that donald trump is indeed a scumbag. voters know that. they do not expect him to be the kind of man who treats his wife with any decency and dignity, and that is known, and isn't going to necessarily move the most hard-core voters. however, i would say that you
have a lot of women voters who aren't exactly happy to have ever had to vote for donald trump in the first place. they just were not necessarily fans of hillary clinton and while they might have voted for donald trump, this isn't the kind of behavior that makes them excited to keep supporting his party. and you look at the republican party, big picture, just how they have lost completely any credibility as a moral force for virtue as they continue to lie and deny that what donald trump has done is wrong. so as of now, it might just be political corruption. it might be campaign corruption, but you look at what there is to come and still looming, especially with mike flynn and we still have no idea what mike flynn, what he has to say. what he told mueller's team in order to get such a great deal. there's so many unknowns that this is really just the tip of the iceberg.
>> jon meacham, at this stage in the presidency, what's the historical parallel and if there isn't one, that's fine, but put this in context as to exactly how bad this day was for donald trump and this white house. >> i think the closest parallel is, does go back to watergate. goes back to the summer of 1973 when things, be the chain of events, they began unfolding that ultimately showed in the summer of '74 that nixon had done something not unlike what president trump is accused of by his own lawyer in the plea deal, which is, nixon was on tape orchestrating a cover-up using federal agencies to block one another to try to keep the heat away from his own white house's political espionage arm. and ultimately what broke the nixon presidency, and this is
important, i think, is a combination, really, of three things. one was, his own lawyer turned on him. sound familiar? john w. dean, white house counsel. secondly, the revelation of more evidence than you can possibly -- one could possibly have imagined, which was alexander butterfield revealing that nixon had in one of the most ka lousily stupid maneuvers in history had taped himself. besides that, mrs. lincoln, how was the play? richard nixon would tape himself. we just don't know in trump world what possible evidence there could be that, whether it's tapes or memos or testimony. we just don't know. and third was the fact that he actually was, in fact, guilty. and there was a bit -- there was a common sense recognition of this after the supreme court
ruled in late july of 1974 that he had to hand over the tapes and he was gone within about two weeks. here's one of the questions that sort of brings the political and the legal together, and we don't know the answer to this. there is the legal process, and an open question about whether a president, a sitting president can be indicted and tried. there's opinion on it, but it's very mixes. the supreme court has never ruled on this. the politics of impeachment is very much about that. from andrew johnson to bill clinton, to nixon, the nature of impeachment is that a high crime and misdemeanor is really whatever majority of the house decides it is at any given moment. it's a phrase of gerald ford's. so impeachment is a different thing than the indictment question. my own bent and jonathan and the other wos know better, is that the question whether you could indict a sitting president seems to me to be a matter that the supreme court may have to rule
on before this drama enters its fifth act. >> all right. we need to get jonathan turley on that and we will right after the break, and we haven't even gotten to paul manafort. everyone stay with us. still ahead on "morning joe," is one trump associate admitted his guilt, another was judged for his. paul manafort was convicted by a jury of his peers for bank and tax fraud. we'll run through that case and get to all of the political implications on capitol hill. you are watching "morning joe." we'll be right back. so you have, your headphones, chair, new laptop, 24/7 tech support. yep, thanks guys. i think he might need some support. yes. start them off right, with the school supplies they need at low prices all summer long. like these for only $2 or less at office depot officemax. mom: okay we need to get all your school supplies today.
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and that is, can a sitting president be indicted. what's the answer? >> jon is correct how he described it. i happen to be part of that group of academics that believes that a president, a sitting president, can be indicted. the department of justice has two memos on this point. the first one during the nix's period is actually quite good. the clinton memo is perfectly dreadful. both basically say this is a question that has not been answered and adopt a policy that they would avoid that problem. ultimately they don't have to. the statute of limitations runs as in this case past the first term and you can essentially reserve the right to indict the president while giving the matter to congress. jon is also right about the gerald ford quote. i was the last lead counsel in the last impeachment trial and spent a lot of time dealing with that quote. which i have long criticized as inviting a sort of opportunistic
and indulgent standard for impeachment. the standard historically is higher than that, that congress' require more. having said that, this is the first time we've seen a plausible claim for impeachment that could be made, but it can't rest just on michael cohen. michael cohen says the motivation was to affect the election as opposed to simply bury and embarrassing scandal. there's going to have to be much, much more, in my view, to make out a credible impeachment claim. the other problem is this occurred before he became president. that's always an issue for impeachment. now, it is true that president trump as president essentially pulled this into his presidency by denying these facts. so that can be used to essentially bring this in to the realm of impeachment. >> all right. by the way, at some point we have to get to omarosa. but we've got other massive developments to cover this
morning. didn't even get this in the first block. special counsel robert mueller land add victory as a part of his russia probe after the jury in paul manafort's fraud trial found him guilty on eight of the charges he was facing. manafort, who briefly served as chairman of donald trump's presidential campaign was convicted of five counts of tax fraud, one count of failure to file a report of foreign and financial bank accounts and two counts of bank fraud. the judge declared a mistrial on ten of the other charges manafort faced after the jury could not reach a unanimous verdict on them. the charges at the center of this trial were, weren't directly related to russia's interference in the 2016 election. they pre-date his involvement in the trump campaign. when the verdict was read, manafort looked straight ahead offering no reaction. as he was led out of the room he whispered into the ear of one of his defense lawyers and nodded at his wife who was sitting in the front row of the courtroom.
speaking after the verdict, manafort's lead attorney said his client is now evaluating his options. >> mr. manafort is disappointed of not getting acquittals all the way through, or a complete hung jury on all counts. however, he would like to thank judge ellis for granting him a fair trial. thank the jury for their very long and hard-fought deliberations. he is evaluating all of his options at this point. >> barbara mcquade, you were in the courtroom. manafort faces the possibility of seven to nine years in prison. prosecutors have until next wednesday to decide what they will do about the ten mistrial charges. i'll start there, because i want to hear what happened in the courtroom. what this all means. but also, is it fair to say the mistrials are also bad news for paul manafort? they're just going to keep picking away at him?
>> yeah. i think that this should be viewed at nothing short of a full victory for the special counsel. you know, he's guilty on eight felony counts. so the fact that the jury found, was unable to reach a verdict on the other counts really is, i think, not significant. if i were special counsel i would not continue with another trial. you've got the washington, d.c. case, and the exposure of the sentencing here is going to be just as high as it would be if convicted of those counts. the judge is permitted to consider what's known as relevant conduct. all that other conduct that came in during the case, even if the jury was unable to reach a guilty verdict on them, long as the judge finds by the lower standard of preponderance of the evidence, that manafort committed that conduct as well, he can sentence him as if convicted. i think it would be unnecessary to go forward with those counts. now, he still faces this trial in september, in washington, d.c. so if i were paul manafort's lawyer, the moment i would say, time to think about cooperating.
>> yeah. i don't know what the other options would be, but let's talk about that d.c. trial he faces next month. danny cevallosa va cevallos -- where does that take us? >> originally the mueller team reached out to manafort's team and said will you waive venue and let us charge you completely in d.c.? manafort's team may have simply followed the old rule in the defense bar of just, don't agree to anything the prosecution is asking you to do, or perhaps they want add more favorable venue in the eastern district, because mueller's team couldn't charge him in d.c. for the things that occurred with jurisdiction in the eastern district of virginia, unless manafort's team agreed to it. so they didn't agree to it. that resulted in the case being brought, two cases, brought one in the eastern district of virginia, the other in d.c. and the net result now is that
manafort has to go through a trial in one jurisdiction and then has to turn around, the government's i believe their xzibit list is due today and now have to get ready for a second trial, go through almost everything all over again and be exposed, and by the way, i should add, if he is convicted in d.c. and sentenced he is now considered a convict and that is a major difference in sentencing in your criminal history category, which can add years and years to a sentence. >> jonathan turley, one of the questions i get from people watching this closely and interested in it, couldn't the president just pardon everybody? you write that paul manafort's conviction means only donald trump can keep him out of prison now. can he keep him out of prison? >> he could. i mean, he can certainly issue a pardon. covering these crimes which are federal crimes. the problem that manafort is facing is, he has gone all-in on
this strategy of preserving the chance of a pardon, and you can see why. at his age, even a ten-year sentence could be essentially a life sentence. you're not going to have mueller give him a walkaway deal. he hasn't done that with far less important people who have committed crimes like false statements to investigators. so mueller's unlikely to give him what he wants. the only guy that can give him a walkaway deal is donald trump. i think that he's preserving that. for mueller, the difference between 10 and 20 years may seem immaterial given his age. he's looking down pennsylvania avenue at the one guy who can given him what he needs, which is a walkaway. >> kasie hunt, would a pardon pass muster on capitol hill? i mean, come on. there's got to be some bar. right? >> we have asked, as you know, you have asked, that question many, many times. so far we have not found it.
i do think that already, obviously, this is breaking along political lines. so democrats are predictably arguing that would, in fact, be the wrong thing to do and there are republicans who are also trying to send megs to president trump, which we know they often do, through the tv cameras. look at some reaction from yesterday. >> we do have a problem if the president were to pardon manafort. >> if he was, what? >> were to pardon manafort. >> that's above my pay grade. that's the president's choice, but i think -- i think i'd like to see the case run its course and i'll let the courts do their job. >> i understand the president's on his way to a rally. he better not talk about pardons for michael cohen or paul manafort tonight or anytime in the future. >> would you be at all concerned that he would try to pardon paul manafort? >> i can't think of what mr. manafort's done to deserve a
pardon. he hasn't even gone to jail yet. you have to actually earn pardon. learned your lesson, admitted to the conduct. the pardon is about rewarding a person for doing something right after being convicted. it's not about helping you as a politician. >> the latest episode of lindsey graham trying to explain it all to president trump, but, of course, we no trump has already disregarded that having pardoned joe arpaio before he was ever convicted of anything. and he doesn't seem to feel the need to follow the typical rules of pardoning. >> and he doesn't follow anyone's advice especially lawmakers on capitol hill. you know, he even said on this show during the campaign his best adviser, his top adviser, the person he listens to, donny deutsch, more than anybody in the whole world is -- himself. and so i wonder what trump is telling himself right now, donny? and i go to you, because i know
that you know trump very well. longer than joe and i have known him. we've known him for about a decade, and a lot of his behavior seems to, which was present during the campaign. present during the time that we knew him before he ran for president, but didn't seem really that applicable to anything that was important, but it has devolved, and the question is, is he taking anybody's advice now? because i would probably think that he's spinning, and will probably do something in the foreign policy realm that's a little risky about right now. i'm concerned about a deflection. >> i think you should be. interesting tell last night. every time -- trump prize himself when he gets punched, he punches back. yesterday wasn't just a punch. yesterday was a -- a missile shot at his head, yet at his rally last night, nothing. there was -- that's an interesting tell. because who he is, is, you want to fight? i'm ready to fight back. nothing. he passed. he took kind of the weak road
and schumer gave him bait and he didn't take it. bring up an interesting point and i want everything to understand this. there is nothing, no that is beyond donald trump doing or acting out to save donald trump. i actually believe donald trump would start and international senate. i know this is very controversial, to protect himself. >> i agree. >> we have never seen him this cornered. and it's just the beginning. these two indictments are just the beginning. what plays out now between december 12th and michael cohen's sentencing? what plays out with flynn? when manafort goes to washington, what plays out? and we have not seen him as a caged -- everybody always says, well, donald trump bounces back and he's teflon. this is not teflon. he is an unnamed co-conspiracy basically in a felony crime, and we have not seen donald trump in this instance and i am frightened. the other thing i go back to at least jordan's people about the people at that rally and his base. he does have a base.
all of a sudden, go one, two, three, six months down the road. these people, these coal miners, these people start to see, whether i like donald trump or not, this cage, this corner he's in is starting to affect when he can or cannot do for me i do think that 37% drips down to 30% and 28%. politically, in sis the beginning of a movement that will affect him. >> the problem is i'll add to your predictions, donny, and i will predict that he will sit down sooner rather than later, like in a matter of moments, even, with his friends at fox and his most comfortable place and he will do in nutso deflection that possibly could put our country in danger in some way, shape or form that will cause lots of ripple effects on capitol hill, that will try and deflect, and let's remember. most people who read history, who know history, know that this man is very possibly, like we're
in the high 90% being used as a useful idiot by putin, and now we're waiting for the next nutso deflection by this president who is just endured a one-two punch. the worst day of his presidency and also probably personally as well. so -- everybody, strap in. it's going to be quite a day. donny, thank you very much. we also thank the law firm of savalas, turley and mcquade for being on. and 2016, only a handful of republicans endorsed donald trump early on. now at least two have been indicted. that is coming up on "morning joe." hey allergy muddlers.
house speaker paul ryan has stripped california congressman duncan hunter of committee assignments following news hunter and his wife have been indicted. the couple is accused of converting more than a quarter of a million dollars in campaign funds to pay for personal expenses. according to the indictment, the hunters used campaign funds for ski trips, hotel stays and
european vacations. they golfed, they bought makeup. they paid for airline tickets and for friends and relatives and invested in tequila shots and gourmet steaks. the indictment alleges incident after incident in which the hunters spent campaign money on personal outings and meals and then told their campaign treasurer the expenses were legitimate, including $1,900 spent sending a family member to a pittsburgh steelers game. hunter was the second member of congress to endorse donald trump in 2016. the first was congressman chris collins. both collins and hunter are now under indictment. a spokesperson for hunter said yesterday the congressman believes this action is purely politically motivated. hunter, a republican, up for re-election in november. california's secretary of state says there is no process to remove his name from the ballot. and the state does not allow write-in candidates.
wow. elise, drain the swamp. again, looking like the most ridiculous statement that the republican party and the trump campaign could ever use, but you just wonder. like, who thinks they can do that with money that is not theirs to use? >> mika, the most atrocious part of it was that apparently they spent money at a golf shop that they said, well, let's just, you know, charge it to the campaign funds and we can write it off as a veterans expense. >> right. >> and it's just so disgusting, how this kind of rot and corruption, you know, it starts at the top with donald trump, but when you have a rank and file member of the house behaving this way, it does help democrats to be able to claim that the republican party is completely infested with corruption. so kasie, i would ask you, how do you think that representative hunter's peers, his republican colleagues, are going to respond to this news? >> well, this isn't a huge
surprise to anybody on capitol hill. there have been, you know, conversations around investigations into duncan hunter for a long time and blood in the water, eve in his own pa. congressman darrell issa stepped down from his own seat, had been sort of eyeing it behind the scenes, perhaps he could run in this district that's more republican than the one he was sitting in before, but obviously this indictment came too late for that. democrats have a desend candidate in this race. it wasn't necessarily their first choice of candidate in a crowded primary, but mark is a former obama aide who has really gotten a lot of attention from the grass roots. he's been endorsed by president obama. he's one of this progressive new faces with a compelling personal story. so, this could potentially put the race on the map as well, which, you know, i think for a lot of republicans might -- they probably don't want to admit
that it would solve their problem but it could. >> lord. up next, we'll speak live with michael cohen's attorney, lanny davis joins us straight ahead. attorneys for donald trump meanwhile continue to say their client, the president, isn't the one who was in the courtroom yesterday or as our producers imagine it -- >> excuse me. excuse me. all right. move on. nothing to see here. please disperse. nothing to see here. please.
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so jon meacham "soul of america," what do you make of this terrible, horrible, very bad day for donald trump? you know, when you look at exactly what's at stake, especially with -- think what the bigger story is the cohen story, believe it or not, but if you look at what exactly is at stake in terms of what's behind the potential campaign finance
laws that might have been broken, it boggles the mind how dirty this is and how disgusting this is. >> well, there's the campaign finance question, which is about as you said the president's implication in a federal crime to cover up personal behavior that he thought would be harmful. and in the manafort -- but also with cohen because there's a very pourus border here, you have the question about the ultimate role of russia and the infiltration of a foreign power into american politics. and i think one of the things going forward here is i keep thinking about an old observation of harry truman's. truman said that americans always get the government they deserve. and if you believe that the presidency should be above this kind of behavior, if you believe that character is destiny, if you believe that the life of the
republic would be better without this kind of person in that office, then you have to speak up consistently and coherently and make that clear. >> yep, jon, thank you. and i think it was joyce vance who said yesterday on msnbc, so the truth really is the truth and it is. and donald trump is going to be learning that. the concern i have as we go to break is that we are looking down the barrel of a crazy deflection any moment now from this president because he is always on point when ever he is put in a corner, he deflects like crazy and his deflections are crazy. we have much more ahead on what's being called the darkest day for this presidency since watergate. on one side a long time trump confident pleads guilty. on the other, a former campaign chair found guilty by a jury and is now, quote, evaluating his
options. lanny davis says his client is ready to talk to mueller and has quite a story to tell. davis is stepping up the rhetoric saying cohen considers the president to be a corrupt and dangerous person. well, finally he's found the truth. plus, senator elizabeth warren joins the conversation. "morning joe" is coming right back. this is not a screensaver. this is the destruction of a cancer cell by the body's own immune system, thanks to medicine that didn't exist until now. and today can save your life. ♪ ♪ it's a revolution in sleep. the new sleep number 360 smart bed is on sale now, from $899, during sleep number's 'biggest sale of the year'. it senses your movement, and automatically adjusts to keep you both comfortable.
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my personal attorneys, good man. and it's a disgraceful situation. it's a total witch hunt. i've been saying it for a long time. an attack on our country in a true sense. it's an attack on what we all stand for. >> so they didn't break in, again, just have to correct the president in realtime. if donald trump was angry back in april, just imagine what is happening inside the white house today. in just moments, we're going to speak live with danny davis, the lawyer for the president's former fixer michael cohen who just flipped on his long-time boss. welcome back to "morning joe." it's wednesday, august 22nd, joe is off. he's tweeting and he's filing for the washington post. you'll hear from him. still, with us we have capitol hill correspondent and host of "kasie d.c." on msnbc, kasie hunt. former aide to the george w. bush white elise jordan. nbc news and msnbc contributor
emily jane fox and joining the conversation, joyce vance. former assistant united states attorney in the criminal division of the u.s. attorney's office for the southern district of new york, daniel goldman and former fbi special agent and msnbc contributor clint watts joins us as well. also with us, pulitzer prize winning columnist eugene robinson. great to have everybody on board on this huge news day. president trump spoke yesterday about the guilty verdict in the manafort trial. we'll get to that in just a moment. you think that would be the lead story. but first the case that has the president not talking at all, at least not yet. this case implicates him in potential criminal wrong doing. the guilty plea of his former lawyer and fixer, michael cohen. cohen pleaded guilty to eight counts, counts one through five, for tax evasion, count six for making false statements to a
bank and seven and eighty connected to campaign finance violations in a scheme to cover up the president's alleged affairs with employ boy model karen mcdougal and porn star stormy daniels. yesterday cohen told the judge that the payments were made, quote, in coordination with and at the direction of a candidate for federal office, implicating the president without saying his name. >> he worked to pay money to silence two women who had information that he believed would be detrimental to the 2016 campaign and to the candidate and the campaign. in addition, mr. cohen sought reimbursement for that money by submitting invoices to the candidate's company which were untrue and false. >> cohen is currently free on bond. the plea agreement calls for cohen to serve up to five years
in prison, sentencing is set for december but so much could happen between now and then. joining us now, michael cohen's personal attorney, former special white house counsel to president bill clinton, lanny davis. lanny, welcome back to "morning joe." >> good morning, mika. nice to be back. >> good to have you on this morning. >> thank you. >> so what's he got? what's sort of -- what's the level of what michael cohen has that he could offer to mueller investigators? is it enough to change his fate which looks a little bleak right now. >> well, let's clear up for some reason an ambiguity, the smoke that rudy giuliani and trump and the people around him are blowing about what happened yesterday. very clearly there is no dispute that donald trump committed a crime, no dispute because his own lawyers said to the special counsel in a letter that he
directed, that's the word they used, michael cohen to do these payments. he didn't want to do them because he was covering up his involvement in the payoff in the hush money. but the issue isn't in dispute. i've been asked, well, how do we believe someone has pled guilty to other crimes. my answer is you don't have to. his own lawyers are -- including rudy giuliani, are the evidence, the witnesses, against trump when he lied on air force one. giuliani contradicted him and said, oh no, he knew about it. then his own lawyers wrote a letter to the special counsel and used the word directed. now that's as good of evidence you can have when your own lawyers are testifying against you. so there's no ambiguity, donald trump violated criminal law. he may not be ability to be indicted. that's an unclear question, but there's no dispute here. he directed michael cohen to do
something that was criminal. michael did it and admitted to it. we haven't heard donald trump say i directed him according to my lawyers who wrote the special counsel. >> so, what does your client have? what evidence beyond what we've already heard and seen which, by the way, includes an audio tape that involves a conversation about a payment to stormy daniel that the president is involved in, but i want to know what else he has, what you might be able to offer to mueller that compares or surpasses with what he's already said and admitted to that implicates the president? >> so that's the big question that i can't answer as an attorney who has consulted with my client under attorney/client privilege and wouldn't want to interfere in many mueller's investigative process by answering the question, but i have been willing to say that my observation is that michael cohen knows information that would be of interest to the special counsel, in my opinion,
regarding both knowledge about a conspiracy to corrupt american democracy by the russians and the failure to report that knowledge to the fbi. >> emily jane fox, you know michael cohen as well as anybody, probably more. could he have tapes of trump? what do you think michael cohen has the capability of doing to protect himself at this point? what could he provide from your knowledge of not just what he has but his personality, his relationship with the president and at this point his anger level? >> well, his anger level is sky high and i think that we saw that yesterday in the courtroom when he electively chose to mention the president when he was going through the guilty counts yesterday. he didn't have to bring up the president. that was his own decision, and it was a very pointed decision at that. look, michael cohen has worked
side by side with the president and it's important to note he's worked side by side with the president's children as well for the last decade. and so, what he knows about the president and his family i can only begin to speculate. lanny, i do have a question for you. what you say is that he has a tremendous amount to potentially offer robert mueller and the special counsel's team. why make that statement publicly? why not go directly to the special counsel? how does it serve michael cohen to be saying publicly we have a lot of things to offer? >> well, i haven't quantified it. i certainly think your interpretation is a reasonable one. i made my observation, we do not want to interfere in mr. mueller's investigation. i have said that michael cohen is going to be telling the truth to whoever asks him. and there are some issues that i think would be of interest. but i do want to go back to family.
he and his family are suffering. he is asking for help. we've set up a website. michael cohen truth fund.com to help him tell the truth about donald trump. we need help. and michael is asking for anybody interested in helping him to go to this website that we just set up, michaelcohentruthfund.com and we ask everybody who is interested in michael being able to tell the truth to help him out. >> just to answer emily's question with a thought, lanny, and i'll toss it to you and then joyce vance can follow up with a question, but did he think trump was going to help him out? is he -- >> no. >> sort of stupefied. >> no. he does not want -- >> why did it take him so long to flip? >> it was evolutionary. in talking to him again i have to be careful what i share as an attorney, but i can tell you that helsinki was a significant
turning point as he worried about the future of our country with the president of the united states aligning with somebody who everybody in his intelligence community who he appointed, including dan coats said that putin interfered and tried to help trump get elected and trump is the only one left denying that. and that shook up mr. cohen. but earlier events shook him up when he first approach eed me, talked about what caused him to change his mind from taking a bullet for donald trump in the statement he made to seriously worrying act his unsuitability as president after he became president. it was an evolutionary process, a painful process. when he and i talked when i decided to help him, it was after several weeks of talking about the evolution that he's gone through. >> so, joyce, hold on a second. i just want to jump on that helsinki comment. that being a turning point for michael cohen. i've always noticed that donald trump deflects sometimes with
foreign policy news of his own. just to get the headlines to go in a different direction. is michael cohen at this point worried that this president will do something unbelievably idiotic to deflect from these headlines? >> are you asking me? >> yeah. >> the answer is of course. everybody in america who isn't a hard core doesn't care whether he lies, doesn't care whether he aligns with putin, doesn't care at all and we're probably down to below 40%, everybody else in america is worried about a president of the united states who acts recklessly, sometimes acts without the ability that you would want to have a president mentally and denies his own intelligence community's unanimous assessment, including dan coats and mike pompeo and everybody else that putin interfered to help him get elected. that is a simple fact. and it's very scary that we have
a president of the united states aligning with putin and i think after helicisinki michael was qe shook up. it happened before then. we spent a lot of time on the telephone talking about what changed his mind about donald trump and it was the unsuitability factor as president. >> yep. >> scaring a lot of people who like trump that he is a scary person, sometimes acts mentally scary. he certainly doesn't care about the truth. he has giuliani saying truth is not always truth. and mr. trump lies and doesn't care he lies. knows his supporters, some of them, know that he's lying and they don't care and that's very, very dangerous as michael cohen and many other people see. and in order to get -- i have to plug it again, in order to get michael to be able to help, we need help on this fund. michaelcohentruthfund.com. we ask everybody to help.
michael cohen tell the truth about donald trump. >> lanny davis, thank you very much. please come back. keep us posted. >> thank you. >> joyce vance, i just think there is something worse than a useful idiot and that would be a useful idiot under legal siege, and that is what president donald trump is this morning. >> it's concerning. i wonder if we'll hear from the president. his twitter feed has been silent up until now, but his defense no matter what happens, mika, has always been that mueller hasn't proven collusion. that's still true this morning. nothing in the cohen indictment talks about collusion between the campaign and russia, but i think we're at the point where we have to ask ourself, aren't there things that are just as bad, perhaps worse, isn't one of them that the certain knowledge that an american president, a sitting president got where he is in part by directing those around him to keep the truths
about him from the american people during the election. that's what we'll have to confront with the disclosure yesterday of mr. cohen's crimes. >> all right, daniel goldman, i would love for you to chime in on all the legal possibilities. i know you were at the manafort trial yesterday, but could you comment on the michael cohen revelations because they seem to be the most serious as it pertains to this white house and this presidency. is it fair to say that? >> absolutely. no doubt about it. the cohen plea implicates the president in a way that the manafort trial simply did not, at least this trial. but what strikes me, mika, is that in a technical term, the way that us prosecutors would view it and i was in the southern district for ten years, michael cohen did not flip. he is not a cooperating witness. he has not reached a cooperation agreement with the prosecutors to cooperate and to testify against anyone else who may have
committed crimes either with him or that he knows about. and that is very unusual given the fact that as lanny davis just says, michael cohen is willing to speak to mueller, he is willing to speak to the southern district. i'm a little perplexed. i know my colleagues have their reasons for doing what they do. but it does seem like this criminal information that was filed yesterday was written as an indictment, ready to go to a grand jury, ready to get an arrest warrant and to arrest michael cohen. as emily reported within the past week that converted into a plea agreement. it may be the case that they wanted to charge him first and then see whether he would cooperate, but with someone who is willing to cooperate ordinarily you would allow them to do so preindictment or prearrest. so i'm a little confused as to where this goes right now with someone who clearly has relevant information to multiple
investigations, wants to cooperate and give that information to the prosecutors, but at least at this point seems unable to do so because of something within the prosecutor's minds or views. >> it's amazing. elise? >> clint, that was kind of amazing lanny davis trying to act like it was michael cohen's extraordinary patriotism that suddenly was sparked with great fervor and so now he's coming forward when also something that davis has teased that he -- that donald trump knew about the hacking and cohen has evidence of that. and so cohen would have been around for all of that. where -- >> so i think one little thing that happened yesterday that we kind of got swept up in the storm was senators bur and warner coming out and saying we want to make sure that we still have access essentially to michael cohen. we would like to talk to him again. one of the things that's never been entirely clear is what did michael cohen know and was he
one of the pieces that can or cannot confirm the president's knowledge about a lot of these things? did he know about the trump tower meeting? was he aware of it? where are the communications? because most of the interactions that happened in the trump campaign were in person. these are human interaction, not on e-mail, not text messages. so it was interesting that they immediately came out yesterday when the cohen deal happened there was this surprise press conference where senator bur made a statement and he was saying we want to make sure we keep our access to michael cohen. i think this is a significant point in here. so we looked at it just from the mueller investigation, but now i think there are other access points, too where everyone was caught off guard yesterday and they were trying to make sure they still had their stake in the game. >> eugene robinson, as this whirlwind of news just whipped up into the night last night, i want to know what you're thinking. so the stage is your's. what's your pleasure. gene, go. >> i was on the air yesterday at 4:00 with nicole wallace as all
the stuff came in, so i said later it felt like being on the wrong end of an artillery barrage. it was in coming all the time. with a few hours and not 40 winks but maybe 20 for perspective. the manafort story is a huge story that we would be talking about endlessly if not for the cohen story. and the cohen story is poses a threat to this presidency. last night on our friend and colleague rachel maddow's how is, lanny davis strongly implied that michael cohen has damning information about the president regarding the trump tower meeting and regarding advanced knowledge of russian hacking. which would just be explosive. and he was not really ambiguous about that.
he doesn't want to talk about it more right now, but it seems to me he's sending a very clear message to the prosecutors that he would love to sit down and talk, he would love to have a deal. and i wonder if there aren't perhaps other charges that prosecutors might have filed against cohen this time around that he's worried, that they might file. so, i think the prosecutors feel they're in a strong position as he asks to talk and at some point they're going to be willing to listen. i know joyce vance is there. joyce, is that the way you read it? how do you see this unfolding? >> dan and i both have the same reaction to this. it's so unusual to see an agreement like this concluded that doesn't have a cooperation component to it. and we also have this really, i
think, very odd campaign by lanny davis to reach out to special counsel mueller through the press and prosecutors. that's something of a red flag to me that everything here is not as it seems. "the washington post" has reported sort of cryptically that mueller told law enforcement that he doesn't need cohen to make his cases. i'm not sure what to read into that. i think one possible explanation for this information being filed before cooperation agreement is reached could be that they feel a little bit of pressure to comply with this artificial labor day date that rudy giuliani has set up. everyone wants to maintain the appearance of propriety so maybe they get the indictment out of the way and then talk about cooperation. but there could also be as you suggest some problem with cohen, other charges, maybe an inability to be fully truthful
with prosecutors that's behind this decision to not let him plead guilty with a cooperation agreement already in hand. >> i just think that at this point you're looking at even this -- who is now -- they're recommending a six month sentence, pop populoapadopoulos being truthful? i think truthful is what you want to be no matter what jurisdiction you're under. daniel goldman, for all the people looking at these blaring headlines, what do we look for to expect next in the legal realm realistically? >> well, there's a lot going on. michael flynn's sentencing was just adjourned an extra month which indicates that mueller's investigation is still going full bore because -- and he still needs michael flynn potentially down the road as a cooperating witness. i think we're all going to be paying very close attention to our good colleague emily jane fox who seems to have the most access to michael cohen because
ordinarily prosecutors and defense lawyers talk about this stuff. you don't go through the press to reach out to prosecutors. and as much as michael cohen wants to paint a picture of being a true patriot and an honest person just interested in the truth, that would be a real conversion in his life that may or may not have something to do with the fact that his plea agreement calls for four or five-year sentence which i think is probably motivating him a little bit more. so i think that where we really do need to focus is michael cohen right now because i think gene is right. if he does cooperate, if he does testify in the senate and he has this information, he clearly wants to get information that he has about the president out there because what he said yesterday was completely unnecessary for the proceeding that he was in. it was not in the charging document. he did not have to say that in order to plead guilty. ordinarily you would not have a
guilty plea that lengthy and that detailed. but he intentionally did that for a reason. and i think there's more where he is and oddly enough, as many people have said, michael cohen may be far more of a serious threat to the presidency than robert mueller. >> okay. one other sub issue is a big question for fox news today because the president i predict will end up on the cozy, comfy couch or in the arms of sean hannity trying to deflect, trying to use fox as a bull horn to run over all these headlines. and the question for fox news executives and for fox news journalists is are they going to ask the right questions? are they going to ask the real questions? or are they going to aid in his deflection? that is the question and the challenge for fox news because the president will be coming your way and will be using you. and history will be following this story as well.
joyce vance, thank you. emily jane fox thank you as well. the new york attorney general is increasingly at the center of legal issues involving donald trump. we'll talk to one of the candidates gunning for that job, law professor straight ahead. plus, the democratic leadership senator elizabeth warren is standing by. where does she see herself in two years. "morning joe" is coming right back. ♪
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brian's back? he doesn't get my room. he's only going to be here for like a week. like a month, tops. oh boy. wi-fi fast enough for the whole family is simple, easy, awesome. in many cultures, young men would stay with their families until their 40's. and we're back with elise jordan, gene robinson, daniel goldman, clint watts and kasie hunt. in the latest example they are suing the trump administration, acting new york state a.g. barbara underwood is threatening legal action under trump's proposal to replace the clean power plan. aimed at combatting climate change, meanwhile, in a separate action filed in june, a.g.
underwood is suing trump and his three adult children, alleging a pattern of illegal activity relating to the president's personal charity. joining us now, democratic candidate for new york state attorney, she has recently received the endorsement of the new york times. very good to have you on the show this morning. >> oh, it's wonderful to be on. thank you so much. >> so the president just put this out there he is not above pardoning anything. that could happen in all of this. >> yeah, yeah, yeah. >> what stands out to you in everything that has gone down in the past 24 hours and how does it affect your campaign? >> well, it's really critical to understand that federal pardons do not apply to state law crimes. and while new york state has some limits on what kind of crimes could be prosecuted after a pardon, those are not
absolute. it's important that we send a signal that there are no get out of jail free cards and if donald trump moves forward with a federal pardon, we in the new york working with local d.a.s will be ready to investigate criminal activity that happened in new york of the person who is pardoned. >> it's an interesting time for your legal specialty to come into play. can you talk about what you have specialized and dedicated your career to and why you think that could be an asset as attorney general. >> yeah. i'm an anti-corruption expert. i have three days after donald trump took office, in fact, i was one of the lawyers who brought a lawsuit in the southern district of new york demanding that trump divest his business interests because they're violating the foreign and domestic i mall ewement clause. i've been working on this litigation that will require trump to basically choose between the presidency and his
businesses and we just had a major victory in june, but that deep expertise in constitutional law, anti-corruption law is really important right now because we are dealing with new legal issues that we haven't faced before. and we got to be ready in new york. new york state may end up being the firewall, against all kinds of things that donald trump could do to make sure donald trump does not apply to him or to his associates. >> it wouldn't hurt in new york state as well. >> we have a local crisis as well. that's absolutely right. that the background that i have, i happen to be one of the few people in the country who had already been engaged in investigating the emoluments clause before donald trump became president, but also one of the key things to understand here is new york state plays a special role, all state attorney generals are important, but new
york state plays a special role because donald trump's foundation is here, his organization is here and if you look at what happened yesterday, you can see that the lines between the foundation and the organization and the campaign just from news reports are very blurred. barbara underwood brought this really critical, civil action in june. it's a block buster case about the donald trump foundation, but we already know enough to know that we need investigations into the organization as well. this is like you have to follow the money. that's corruption 101, follow the money. >> zephyr, the only person who has not pled guilty in the mueller probe is paul manafort and many people including me think he is aligning himself for pardon and some of the language the president has used in relation to paul manafort is similar to language he used before pardoning other people. can you explain what kind of state charges you think may be
brought against paul manafort if he does receive a pardon from the president? >> well, it's a very fair question but since i may be in the position of actually bringing such charges i don't want to name particular kinds of charges that might come. but the key thing to understand is that new york state has a broad array of criminal statutes involving financial crimes, false statements, a whole range of crimes that we should investigate and barbara underwood is an incredible attorney general. he ke she keeps her hands close to the vest as she should. but i will tell you that when i am the next attorney general of new york, we're going to put real resources into those investigations because we have to be ready for the real constitutional crisis moment of donald trump doing a self-serving pardon to try to protect himself. >> i would like to point out a know your value moment. i love it when i hear a woman saying i'm going to win because
women just don't say that. they always are like, well, i might. maybe i might do my very best. yeah. yeah, i'm going to win. exactly. i love that zephyr. clint watts, i want to you comment on this and then you can take a question to zephyr. given the first hour of the show i'm a little struck by what lanny said about michael cohen's turning point, that it was helsinki and that he saw sort of a deinvolving in trump's brain that his bad behavior was going to extend instead of pull back and that he could hurt this country. that matches what i feel and know about trump that he deflects when ever he's under siege. and many consider this president to be vladimir putin's useful idiot. and i am concerned he will make a huge effort to deflect, probably using fox news hosts as his sounding board, and try to
deflect from these headlines but in the process put our nation at risk. and as an fbi profiler, is this something that you would be concerned about? is this a realistic concern? do i sound crazy? >> you're not crazy. in fact, i think the president said at different times he sort of offered up it would be a good time for a war. maybe i need a war. maybe i need a trade war. i need a conflict to distract. >> maybe we ought to take him seriously. >> he tends to tell you exactly what he's going to do later on. i always wondered sometimes it's hard to tell north korea, that was a critical issue a year ago we started talking on the show that suddenly just fizzled out. we have not seen any progress on nuclear negotiations. now we see a lot of ramp up with iran. is that because we need to deal with iran or because it's a useful distraction for the president to try to build some sort of a conflict. so i'm worried about those things. this kind of ties into zephyr,
the question about federal versus state. i work a lot with federal and state law enforcement, so you've got attorney general sessions really pushing on crime, immigration, ms-13, that's what you'll hear him say. you were talking a lot about public corruption and really white collar cases. how do you see yourself, if you're in new york, really working with the federal government in terms of investigations and law enforcement? >> well, clearly it's going to be important to work with the mueller investigation and work also with local d.a.s. there's different levels of these investigations, but again new york state and the new york attorney general has to be a fire wall against illegal actions against cases where -- and we've already seen so many with the trump administration where the federal government is violating the law, pushing past the limits of what the administrative procedure acts and its epa roll backs. and unfortunately what we see
with i.c.e. and cbp is this unbelievable willingness to argue essentially immunity for agents. the extraordinary crisis moment where it looks weeks ago a court ordered a plane to get turned around because sessions was on the verge of not following a federal court order. again, it's going to be really important for states to play the role the new york state attorney general in particular as a real firewall against illegal activity at the federal level and unfortunately we cannot trust -- this administration has been pretty out there claiming immunity, claiming the law doesn't apply to the president, willingness to push the limits of what the federal government should do under its own laws. states will be more and more important in protecting against that. >> all right, new york state attorney general candidate
zephyr teachout, thank you for being on. daniel goldman, thank you as well. senator elizabeth warren is trying to ban members on capitol hill from owning individual stocks. we'll talk about that and much more next on "morning joe." hi, kids! i'm carl and i'm a broker. do you offer $4.95 online equity trades? great question. see, for a full service brokerage like ours, that's tough to do. schwab does it. next question. do you offer a satisfaction guarantee? a what now? a satisfaction guarantee. like schwab does. man: (scoffing) what are you teaching these kids? ask your broker if they offer award-winning full service and low costs, backed by a satisfaction guarantee. if you don't like their answer, ask again at schwab.
joining us now from washington, democratic senator elizabeth warren of ma massachuset massachusetts. she is digging on issues that have long muddied capitol hill. it's great to see you. >> good to see you. >> okay. so, you've got the anti-corruption and public integrity act, the legislation contains six big ideas. we're going to go through them rapid fire. >> okay. >> i promise you because this is important and it's all related. but first, i do want to ask you, what's your take on what went down over the past 24 hours? what do you think is finally happening in washington? are things closing in on
president trump or unraveling in any way, and are you concerned that he will try and deflect in a way that could hurt our country? >> so, i think what's been clear from the past 24 hours is that donald trump cares about exactly one person and that one person is named donald trump. and he will do anything he has to do to protect donald trump. and we watched this -- that's why we're talking about corruption today, right? you make secret payments, you do whatever has to be done. remember that michael cohen also had taken half a million dollars at least to come in and influence donald trump on behalf of some of the biggest corporations in this country. this is all about corruption, influence peddling. this is why we have a problem with donald trump, but as you said, we have a problem in washington. it's time now to make some serious changes. and that's what this bill is all about.
>> we're going to talk about the bill, but are you concerned, as i am, that he is going to do something to deflect probably in the next few hours because this is probably the biggest challenge to his presidency so far. and when we see this man under siege, he deflects. >> yes. he says, look over there. there's something else exciting going on, threatening whatever it is. this has been his action from the very beginning is always look some place else when ever he got into trouble. but, you know, i think this is a moment when it is important that the american people stay on the core issues here. and that is this is a corrupt administration. the most corrupt administration in living memory. and that we're going to insist on some accountability, not get distracted and pulled off somewhere else, some accountability. we want a government from the top down that works for the
american people. >> so you're looking at the big picture. you've got the anti-corruption and public integrity act. give me a line on each one. i'll start with the first, padlock, the resolving door and increase public integrity how? >> stop this business of somebody works on wall street, draws a big salary, gets a big present going out the door to go regulate the very industry that they just worked for and are likely to work for in the future. as long as they're doing that, they're not working for the american people, they're forking for the industry that lines their pockets. >> end lobbying as we know it. >> so on this one, when you leave public office, whether it's as a senator or member of the house or a cabinet official or president or a vice president, a life time ban on lobbying. no more of this business if you trade your contacts in washington, sell them to the highest bidder, huh-uh. >> cashing in.
corporate capture of public interest rules. what does that mean? >> so what this means is when the regulatory agencies are try to make rules on behalf of the public and they get overwhelmed by the giant corporations that come in and spend zillion of bucks. the regulatory agency will have the resources to fight back on behalf of the public. >> you want to improve judicial integrity and defend access to justice for all americans. >> you know, on this one, i think that the judges both -- this includes the supreme court justices, should not be able to take fancy speaking fees, trips to hunting lodges and golf courses and they should not be permitted to own and trade in individual stocks. by the way, federal judges shouldn't be able to do it, senators shouldn't be able to do
it, congressmen shouldn't be able to do it, the president and vice president shouldn't be able to do it, heads of agencies shouldn't be able to do it, cabinet officials shouldn't be able to do it. if people want to keep their investments, put them in big index funds. but the people who are actually making policy and deciding things in the public interest should have no conflicts, no trading in individual stocks and let's just remember, no owning businesses on the side. >> i get it. here is my big question, though, because you also want to strengthen enforcement of anti-corruption ethics and public integrity laws and boost transparency in government. >> yep. >> so if this all happens, elizabeth, senator, who would be left in washington besides you, claire mccaskill and ben sass? seriously. >> seriously, that really is the question, mika? who are we here for? have folks come to washington
just to line their own pockets, just to improve their careers going forward? or are they here to work in the public interest? we've had corruption scandals in american history before. and each time the american people have responded, we have tightened up the laws. it's gotten better and then, you know, corruption has found new ways into this system. now it is time for us to come together and to say, enough of this. no more taking care of yourself, if you want to work in public interest, you really have to work in public interest. >> yeah. i'll just say this obviously opinion but as the fish rots from the head, the people do need to rise up. casey hunt, go ahead. >> senator warren, good to see you. i want to pull it back to the news that we've seen unfold over the past 24 hours rapidly. you as recently as a few weeks ago with our colleague john harwood were asked whether you thought conversations around impeachment were productive at
this point. you said, you know what, we got to let mueller finish his investigation. the headline on the front of the new york times now says president implicated in a campaign finance a campaign fine violation by his own lawyer. i'm wondering if that revelation has changed your view on whether democrats should be focused on impeachment, is that a conversation that you should be having. >> what it means to me is that we have to be even more intensely protective of the mueller investigation. and let it come to its own conclusion. i want the special prosecutor to be able to follow his investigation wherever it goes without interference. and i want him to be able to make a full report to the american people. to me, that is what is critical. and right now, what i think we should be doing in congress, is
we should be passing laws to make sure that donald trump cannot fire the special prosecutor. that is where the real threat is to trump. and it is powerful important that we protect that special prosecutor. >> this is gene robinson. also yesterday in a little known story, congressman duncan hunter and his wife were indicted for using $250,000 in campaign money for personal expenses. that follows the indictment of congressman chris collins of new york for insider trading. and they are both republicans. my question is, are democrats going to use this issue and elaborate on it and develop it for the midterms and beyond or not? what do you think? realistically what do you think. >> to me this is the moment when we need to speak out against
corruption. as mika started out, i've written a big bill and it is sweeping. and notice its not just about campaign finance. campaign finance is something we've been talking about for years. the influence of money on candidates. this is about even if you fix that problem, which is a terrible problem, which i work on with others, there are still so many other ways that corruption has eaten away at the system here in washington. that is why we need a comprehensive approach to fight that back. i want to see -- look, i'll be blunt, i want to see everybody do this, i want to see democrats and republicans say you know it is time, we've had it, let's make these simple rules the law now in washington. and beat back the influence of big money. this really is a world now where too many americans believe that washington works for the wealthy and the well connected.
but it is just not working for them. and you know what, they are right. and it is time for us to make change. >> and if you read about senator l be elizabeth warren, her book, you will find that this message is her life's work. and senator, you are announcing when? >> i am running for senate, we've got 76 more days i think. i just finished my 34th town ob hall in massachusetts. i take nothing for granted. it is a great honest or aeat ho to washington to represent the people of the commonwealth before. >> senator warren, thank you very much for being on this morning. and coming up, democrats have an emergency plan in case the president tries to fire mueller. we'll have more on that. plus new reporting on the president's mood after yesterday's back to back legal blows. "morning joe" is coming right back. you've tried moisturizer after moisturizer
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still ahead, guilty. two top aides, his former national security adviser, now his long time lawyer, and his campaign manager. we'll have more on all the president's felons when "morning joe" comes right back. >> show's over. nothing to see here. oh, my god, a horrible plane crash. hey, get a load of in flaming wreckage. crowd around, don't be shy. only fidelity offers two zero expense ratio index funds directly to investors.
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are you worried michael cohen might flip? >> i did nothing wrong. you have to understand, this stuff would have come out a long time ago. i did nothing wrong. >> is michael cohen still your friend? >> i always liked michael. i haven't spoken to michael in a long time. >> is he still your lawyer? >> no, he's not my lawyer. but i always liked michael. and he's a good person. do you mind if i talk? you're asking me a question. >> i just want to know if you're worried that he will cooperate. >> no, because i did nothing wrong. >> got it. >> oh, he flipped. in june president trump said he wasn't worried at all that michael cohen would flip. he should have been. the president's former attorney admitted in federal court yesterday that donald trump personally directed him to buy the silence of two women whose claims of sexual affairs with the presidential candidate threaten to derail his white house ambitions. and it doesn't stop there.
cohen's attorney tells msnbc that his client has information that bob mueller would want to know. and is more than happy to start talking to the special counsel. meanwhile paul manafort who two years ago literally ran donald trump's campaign is now a felon. he is facing serious prison time and like michael cohen sits atop this list of trump associates who are indicted or convicted criminals. that is a lot of witches. good morning, and welcome to "morning joe" on this wednesday, august 22. joe is off. he is tweeting. he will be filing for the "washington post." we've put together an all-star lineup. a small law firm of legal experts, danny cevallos, law professor jonathan turley, and former u.s. attorney barbara mcquaid. and also two experts on the michael cohen story, senior
reporter at vanity fair emily jane fox and donny deutsch who both spoke at length with cohen late yesterday. for the political implications, former aide to the george w. bush white house, elyse jordan, is with us. and a nbc capitol hill correspondent and host of kasie d.c., kasie hunt. >> and also jon meacham says he has brushed up on his nixon for us this morning. but honestly, jon, i do not think there is a parallel. we'll get to that. we'll see what you come up with. its of a legal landslide like none over in the history of the presidency. what the conservative drudge report described as trump hell hour. his 2016 campaign chief paul manafort convicted by a jury on eight counts at almost the exact same time that trump's former lawyer michael cohen entered a guilty plea to eight counts.
and speaking in open court directly implicated the president in a federal crime. this is the worst day of donald trump's presidency both personally and professionally. trump's legal team responded there is no allegation of any wrongdoing against the president in the government's charges against mr. cohen. it is clear that as the prosecutor noted mr. cohen's actions reflect a pattern of lies an dishonesty over a significant period of time. they of course are for getting that trump is on tape talking to cohen about these payments. and we hear him on tape. before a campaign rally in west virginia, trump said i feel badly for both, but only spoke in detail about manafort. and continued to rail against the investigation to his supporters. >> it didn't involve me, but i still feel -- it is a very sad thing that happened. nothing to do with russian collusion. this a witch hunt that is a disgrace. this has nothing to do with what
they started out looking for russians involved in our campaign. there were none. i feel very badly for paul manafort. again, he worked for bob dole, he worked for ronald reagan, he worked for many people. and this is the way it ends up. and it was not the original mission, believe me. we continue the witch hunt. fake news and the russian witch hunt, we got a whole big combinati combination. where is the collusion? you know, they are still looking for collusion. where is the collusion? find some collusion. we want to find the collusion. >> so we're going to have more on the manafort conviction in just a moment, but first the case of the president has not yet addressed, the one that implicates him in potential criminal guilty plea of fixer michael
cohen. cohen pleaded guilty to eight count, one through five for tax evasion, count six to making false statements to a bank, and seven and eight connected to campaign finance violations and a scheme to cover up the president's alleged affairs with stormy daniels and karen mcdougal. yesterday cohen told the judge that the payments were made, quote, in coordination with and at the direction of a candidate for federal office on, implicating the president without saying his name. >>on, implicating the president without saying his name. >>n, implicating the president without saying his name. >>, implicating the president without saying his name. >> . >> worked to pay money to silence two women who had information that he believed would be detrimental to the 2016 campaign and to the candidate and the campaign. and in addition, mr. cohen south south reimbursement for that money by submitting invoices to the candidate's company which were untrue and false.
>> company len hen is currently bond. the agreement is up to five years in prison. as of right now, there is no agreement for him to cooperate against the president, but last night the public face of cohen's legal team lanny davis said his client has information that mueller might be interested in and that he is ready to share. >> mr. cohen has knowledge on certain subjects that should be of interest to the special counsel. and is more than happy to tell the special counsel all that he knows. not just about the obvious possibility of a conspiracy to collude and corrupt the american democracy system in 20916 election, which the trump tower meeting was all about. but also knowledge broabout the computer crime of hacking and whether or not mr. trump nookne
ahead of time about that crime and even cheered it on. mr. cohen is dedicated to telling the truth. now he has no shadow hanging over him. the uncertainty is gone. he has stepped up to the line and he has admitted what he did wrong, but he is now liberated to tell the truth. everything about donald trump that he knows and from this point on, you are going to see a liberated michael cohen speaking truth to power. >> let's get right to our so-called cohen whisperers, these guys speak to cohen all the time. donny deutsch and emily jane fox. you both spoke with him yesterday. what is his mindset? obviously he has made his decision. >> yeah, you know, it is easy to sometimes forget that these people are people. we see michael cohen and a trump's attorney. mike was a very emotional day for michael obviously. i spoke to him at length. and the thing he was most
emotional about and the most -- it was about his children. we forget people going through this and how it is affecting his children. he has son that just started college, a daughter that is a year out of college. very, very emotional. this started last wednesday where they reached out to his attorney to start the talk and the talks went through the weekend. michael i believe, and i've said this from the beginning, that michael cohen will be a pivotal -- not the pivotal figure that will bring down the trump president is i. it started out, and we talk a lot about it, where michael was fiercely loyal because that is the kind of person he is. and obviously that changed over time. and i believe history will look kindly on michael cohen. michael cohen obviously pled guilty to those counts. he really wants to focus on counts seven and eight. and as lanny davis mentioned yesterday, he really is looking forward to talking with mueller. mueller reaches out to him, in corroborating any stories. and i've talked about that michael i believe will be able to tie trump to those meetings and to collusion.
so on one sense it was very emotional for michael, but also a sense of relief. and i think he is looking forward to moving -- >> but donny oig, he broke the law. what is his mindset in terms of who does this for somebody over and over again to the point where i mean, look, he is in deep water to keep it clean. he is really in deep. why? >> he is the -- as far as the first six counts, he can talk and debate about eacertain issu but the reality is he did make the plea. and let's think about what he said. he was directed by the president. and when you are a lawyer, there is a difference and i want to focus on seven and eight between committing crimes and being directed by an employer. once again, it doesn't make them right, but you are a lawyer. let us not lose fact that this is the president, the president of the united states directing somebody who works for him to do these things.
so there is a huge distinction. it does not mean he did not commit the crimes, but there is a huge distinction. i think history will see that. i've said it before and i know your viewers will go i'm not sure. i've found michael to be a straightforward person. obviously he says -- lanny davis says he has stepped up to the plate and taken responsibility. and i think moving forward we'll see michael cohen on the right side of history. as i said from the beginning, michael will always do what was right for his family and the country and he has taken a very big step toward both of those things. >> emily jane fox, he was treated so badly by trump. you wonder what goes through the mind of somebody like donald trump who would treat someone so badly who obviously has clear evidence against him. tell me about what michael cohen was thinking last night, what he was doing with his family and what mindset is at this point. >> and it was an emotional day for him.
i believe last night he tried to live life as normally as possible. i think he went out to dinner with his wife. i was in the courtroom yesterday and i watched him go through count by count and describe what he did wrong for each count. and he absolutely got emotional as he was describing them. clearly a hard thing to do, to admit to a packed courtroom full of mostly reporters hooer are the eight illegal things that i did and i'm going to explain what i did and how i did them. it was very striking to me that counts seven and eight, first of all, he have under oath. and second of all, no one for the forced him to mply indicate the president. when he started going through each count, he stood up and said first of all, can i stand. and second of all, will you low me, jud -- allow me to read from a set of prepared notes so i make sure i'm focused. so inchly kagt tmplicating the s
a deliberate choice. he spoke to a courtroom filled with reporters. so that i think tells you more about his mindset and how he feels about the president than any interview he's done, anything that anyone around him has said to the press, that he got up in that courtroom yesterday and threw his boss who he told me almost exactly a year ago he'd take a bullet for under the bus, just a striking turn in a year. i've watched this whole thing go down, i've watched the change firsthand. and yesterday was more striking than i've ever seen. >> so what are the legal, political and historical impacts of what we just saw? we'll break down the story from the courtroom to capitol hill, the pages of the american history books, as well. you're watching "morning joe." hey allergy muddlers. are you one sneeze away from being voted out of the carpool? try zyrtec®. it's starts working hard at hour one. and works twice as hard when you take it again the next day.
this wi-fi is fast. so it bounces back. i know! i know! i know! i know! when did brian move back in? brian's back? he doesn't get my room. he's only going to be here for like a week. like a month, tops. oh boy. wi-fi fast enough for the whole family is simple, easy, awesome. in many cultures, young men would stay with their families until their 40's. welcome back. we've been talking about the
personal fallout from michael cohen's guilty plea yesterday. let's drill down on the legal angles. we have jonathan turley, danny cevallos and barbara mcquaid. we'll go through each of you. jonathan, i'll start with you. a scale of 1 to 10, how bad is this for the president and what are the possibilities. >> well, it couldn't be worse. and i have to say, i'm not as convinced about this new morality play featuring michael cohen. this idea that he has suddenly been liberated in the sense that he will tell the truth. it really doesn't fit with the i i i i in-indictment. he has a reputation in new york of being something as a thug. and so he is not that credible of a witness. if everything that was said yesterday was true, than most of the things he said for the entire year before were lies. and so that means that his use as a witness will require corroboration. but having said that, he just
did inch pli indicate tmplicatea crime. the president is an unindicted co-conspiracy tore if you believe everything that was in this filing. that makes this campaign finance case which is a difficult thing usually to prosecute stronger than the john he had waedwards . they didn't have a michael cohen to say i knew i was committing a crime and second i did it at the behest of donald trump and third, i'm willing to give evidence and details as to how we carried that out. >> you know, i tend to agree what he admits to is appalling and this is something, barbara, he admits to these crimes over the course of years and years. yet michael cohen is in deep. he is in big trouble. can he save himself through this process? is there something that he can give them to perhaps mitigate what he is facing now at this point?
and what are you seeing as the possibilities? >> potentially, yes. they just started talking with michael cohen last week. so the first task is let's get this plea done. and so the conversations i'm sure resulted in the culmination of that plea agreement yesterday. but it appears that they have not yet had time to probe all of his knowledge of the 17 year relationship he's had with president trump. and i imagine part of that reason is it wasn't until this monday that the judge, retired judge who has been serving as special master, completed her privilege review of all the items that were taken in the search of michael cohen's office. so it is really not until the prosecutors have their arms around all those doemt document they can probe his knowledge. so my guess is that they will sit down and talk about all those things that lanny davis has mentioned, including the president's knowledge of the hacking and encouragement of it. if he can deliver that kind of
information and that can be corroborated, that could be really devastating for the president. and so i imagine that will come in the coming months. he really has until december when his sentencing is scheduled to provide all that information and get a reduction in that sentence range of 3 1/2 to 5 years. could be all the way down to probation. he even has a year under thafteo continue to provide information. so i think this is just the start of a cooperation relationship with michael cohen. >> and i have to jump in here. it is absolutely possible, and i warn people to not to assume that just because michael cohen entered into a plea agreement without a cooperation agreement apparent from its face, he still may be presently cooperating, he may be planning to cooperate. and the critical piece of the information is that he only recently started talking to prosecutors. prosecutors need weeks, maybe even months to debrief a defendant like michael cohen or a cooperating witness before they decide that they are going to cooperate. they have to vet him to make
sure that his story is accurate and truthful. only then will they even consider granting that precious 5k1 motion. so from this point forward, the prosecutors are very cautious purchasers of the testimony of michael cohen and they might back out of the deal at anytime if they decide he is not truthful and not give him the benefit of his bargain. so it is very important to realize that he may be cooperating and he may cooperate in the future, it is absolutely true that defendants can cooperate even after sentencing und under the rules. and also important to know that cooperation agreements are often not public. often it is the case that even at sentencing, we will address the issue of a defendant's cooperation at side bar away from open court and away from the ears of anyone who might hear because it is just too dangerous to and ongoing
investigation to make these kinds of things public. coming up, congressional republicans will likely say they have nothing to do with michael cohen and paul manafort, but by extension, they actually do. we'll dig into how this could impact the balance of power in washington. straight ahead on "morning joe." (ford chime) it's the ford summer sales event and now is the best time to buy. you ready for this, junior? yeah, i think i can handle it. no pressure... ...that's just my favorite boat. boom. (laughs) make summer go right with ford, america's best-selling brand. and get our best deal of the summer: zero percent financing for sixty months on f-150. get zero percent financing for 60 months- plus $2,800 bonus cash on a 2018 f-150 xlt
reporters sma s sure insigho the thinking of those around president trump. michael schmidt tweeted when cohen raid went down, it opened up a big second front in trump's legal wars. trump's lawyers always feared it more than mueller because they had no handle on his legal exposure and they never thought they got straight answers from trump on the extent of what he did with cohen. john roberts tweeted source close to donald trump tells fox news remember the president cannot be indicted. while maggie haberman added trump folks are worried about impeachment more than before. this is something tangible, not theoretical. and it does not mean it will happen, but this has moved to a different stage in their minds. and what about the minds of lawmakers on capitol hill?
kasie hunt is there, will people finally step up who we've been surprised to hear them so silent given all the different stages of this presidency when republicans really could have come forward and said, you know what, no, this is wrong? >> i almost hesitate to say this, but i did get a text yesterday evening from one member of congress who simply called it a dumpster fire, a republican who said that this is kind of in some ways partially what they expected, but also beyond what anybody thought could happen in a single day or even i think the span of an hour, maybe an hour and a half that this news came out. there have always been in these kind of behind the scenes, you know, never trump circles that still do exist in washington this sense that, well, maybe the legal system would solve the republican party's trump problem for them. thousand we are so far past that, the republican party is
inextricably linked to donald trump. they have essentially made their bed. the base of the party is with the president. they are not necessarily with these lawmakers. and that puts, you know, incredible pressure on republican members of congress. and i know jon meacham has talked about this before as the historian in the room, but remember that what shifted the ground in watergate was republican voters who had turned against president nixon and that in turn put pressure on the republican members of congress who ultimately were the ones that swung the process against the president. so republicans in congress still have an incredible amount of power, but it is not clear to me yet that they are going to exercise it in opposition to this president and it is possible it may take even more than what we saw yesterday. >> that will be fascinating to watch. you know, it is so interesting, elyse jordan, the news last night seemed to swallow up trump's rally. of course you'd want to cut to
the rally to see what the president was saying, but everything was so big that they kept cutting away at least most of the networks i was watching kept the cutting away from him because there was too much important news. and yet though what you see there are lots of trump supporters shouting, hollering, cheering for him. and the question is, this is his base, will the base be moved? >> mika, the short answer is no. it is very baked in as of now and is not going to change that donald trump is indeed a scum bag. voters know that. they do not expect him to be the kind of man who treats his wife with any decency and dignity. and that is a known and isn't go going to necessarily move the most hardcore voters. however, i will say that you have a lot of women voters who aren't exactly happy to have ever had to vote to donald trump
in the fir firhe first place, t not fans of hillary clinton and while they might have voted for donald trump, this isn't the kind of behavior that makes them excited to keep supporting his party. and you look at the republican party big picture, how they have lost completely any credibility as a moral force or virtue, as they continue to lie and deny that what donald trump has done is wrong. so as of now, it might just be political corruption, it might be campaign corruption. but you look at what there is to come and still looming, especially with mike flynn, and we still have no idea what mike flynn, what he has to say, what he told mueller's team in order to get such a great deal. there are so many unknowns that this is just the tip of the iceberg. >> jon meacham, at this stage in the presidency, what is the historical parallel and you know what, if there isn't one, that
is fine. but put this into context as to exactly how bad this day was for donald trump and this white house. >> i think the closest parallel does go back to watergate. it goes back to the summer of 1973 when things -- chain of events began unfolding that ultimately showed in the summer of '74 that nixon had done something not unlike what president trump is accused of by his own lawyer in the plea deal which is nixon was on tape orchestrating a coverup, using federal agencies to block one another to try to keep the heat away from his own white house's political espionage arm. and ultimately what broke the nixon presidency, and this is important i think, is combination really of three things. one was his own lawyer turned on him.
sound familiar? john w. dean, the white house counsel. secondly, the revelation of more evidence than you can possibly -- one could possibly have imagined, which was alexander butterfield revealing that nixon had in one of the most stupid maneuvers in human history had taped himself, which is besides that mrs. lincoln, how was the play. richard nixon would take himself. and we just don't know in trump world what possible evidence there could be, whether it is tapes or memos or testimony, we jur don just don't know. and third is the fact that he actually was in fact guilty. and there was a bit of -- there was a common sense recognition of this after the supreme court ruled in late july of 1974 that he had to hand over the tapes. and then he was gone within about two weeks. here is one of the questions that sort of brings the
political and the legal together and we don't know the answer to this. there is the legal process and an open question about whether a president, a sitting president, can be indicted and tried. there is opinion on it, but it is very mixed. the supreme court has never ruled on this. the politics of impeachment is very much about that, from andrew johnson to bill clinton to nixon. the nature of impeachment is that a high crime of misdemeanor is really whatever a majority of the house decides it is at any given moment, a phrase of gerald ford's. so impeachment is a different thing than the indictment question. my own bet is that the question of whether you can indict a sitting president seems to me to be a matter that the supreme court may have to rule on before this drama enters its fifth act. >> coming up on "morning joe," the michael cohen saga played out in the southern district of
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i have all these examples where michael cohen had said that the president didn't know, that he did it on his own, and that he didn't do it with any expected payback. michael cohen says today at the direction of the president. there are numerous times that he said it. why do i think that that was the special sauce that the prosecution wanted? because remember, this was fed to them and served up to them by robert mueller. >> that was michael cohen's former plan, sean than it heity talking about cohen implicating another one of his clients donald trump in a crime. joining us now, former assistant attorney for the southern district of new york ellie hoenig, and reporter david
o'brien, and white house correspondent for bloomberg news shannon petty. ellie, i'll start with you. i mean, the michael cohen news i think is the most important of the day yesterday even though there were multiple mastiff breaking news stories at once. but he implicated the president in a crime. how important is this in terms of the risk to the presidency for donald trump? >> it is hugely important on its own. to have a lawyer go into federal court and under oath admit a crime and directly implicate the president of the united states. but it gets exponentially more important if michael cohen cooperates. and that i think now is the huge question moving forward. will he couldn't. t cooperate. the way this played out is a little unusual. typically we would have an exhaustive series of interviews with a person. we call them proffer sessions.
someone like cohen would take weeks to get through. and the last thing the public would know is the day he pleads guilty. this seems to be reversed where sort of the first step is he has gone in and taken this guilty plea and the question now, will he couldn cooperate. seems clear he wants to. i'd be interested in at least hear whaeg hing what he had to . if he does cooperate, we're at a whole new level. >> you've been all over the michael cohen story. why don't you tell us about what is on his mind, what is he doing. >> we don't know what is on his mind. he certainly seemed yesterday in court, i was there is a few feet from him, and he seemed -- he was at some times as he was signing the documents in front of him, he would quietly shake his head and look around. and sort of seemed overwhelmed by the surroundings. and you know, he obviously was presented in addition to these remarkable admissions about the
campaign finance violations, he was also presented with obviously some significant tax fraud charges. which can put pressure on anybody. so we can't imagine what is in his mind right now. >> what are you hearing from the trump legal team in responsibility to yesterdrespon yesterday's developments? >> i think sometimes their silence speaks louder than any tweet or any, you know, bombastic interview. they have been incredibly disciplined in not saying too much about this. giuliani put out a very brief statement. there were no television appearances. and i think the president's silence also speaks very loudly to the seriousness for which he is taking this. i can given you a little bit of color into what things were like on air force one last night. my colleague jennifer jacobs and i were talking to people close to the president and wer were told that the president was in a very somber mood, but he was calm.
they did not hear him say anything negative about cohen and manafort, no talk of pardons. for the most part aides tried to distract him. he did watch the coverage on fox news a bit, wanted to know how it was playing out in the press. but for the most part his staff was trying to reassure him, distracts him, keep him focused on the rally, trying to lift his spirits with the rally. and there is a general sense that this group has been so battle tested by so much news that a lot of aides just saw this as one more crisis to manage. and there could be the situation of the frog in the hot pot of water where, you know, you don't know when it gets to the boiling point. and i think that is the risk that they are at to some extent of not knowing when the real crisis is real or when it is just another crisis of the day. >> and quick question. the other trial yesterday, the manafort trial which would have been the headline if it wasn't for mr. cohen, it comes out, eight charges. ten that are mistrial. from both teams' perspective,
how does this play out? i've heard discussions about man fman -- man forth has to weigh his options. where to they go from here? >> yesterday's verdict was a big win for the prosecution. i know it was eight convictions and ten hung, and that can be read as a sort of split. absolutely not. manafort's sentence on the eight convictions is almost exactly the same as what it would be if he was convict beinged across b. now you have the d.c. trial set for next month, but also the ten hung charges. what i would guess will happen, i would dismiss the ten that were hung and say we got enough, we're good on the virginia trial, we'll dismiss the ten that are still out there and we'll get ready for d.c. next month on. now, i think the bigger question is what is manafort going to do. i don't think manafort will accept this sentence. he is 69 years old. he is looking at probably a
sentence that will keep him behind bars for most or all of the rest of his life. and i think he is thinking about two possibilities here. one is cooperating, he has to think about that. and two is hoping to that pardon. >> rebecca, you've been covering michael cohen. what more could he possibly have to offer mueller? you see something happening with lanny davis where they are setting up this website. you know, it doesn't look completely solid to me when they are setting up a website trying to get support for michael cohen himself. i mean, could he -- you would think because he is donald trump effex's fixer that he would hav lot of information that would be really useful and obviously the information on these women, some of that is on tape. so we know he has something. and we know that he is in really big trouble. but what else could he have? could there be more women? >> well, there is a remarkable point that is made in the charging documents yesterday about how early on mr. cohen
started speaking with david pecker, the chairman of american media, about how to coordinate to keep bad news about president trump out of the press. so it went back pretty far and the allegations are obviously -- not the allegations, the charges yesterday were just the tip of the iceberg. >> yeah. interesting. well, president trump just tweeted, if anyone is looking for a good lawyer, i would strongly suggest that you don't retain the services of michael cohen. gene robinson, i'll toss this one to you. >> thank you. >> so the guy that has been by his side to decades, the guy who was his closest partner, his friend that he likes very much, he is now throwing over, under and behind and in front of the bus. so here is the thing. here is the thing. i just -- some might ask, some
might say, when -- when -- is someone in team trump going to turn to the president and say, sir, the emperor is naked and your attorney is drunk. like at what point is someone going to tell the president the truth, the emperor has no clothes and even worse, his attorney is a runaway beer truck. >> well, first of all, i predict that this is the first of probably many tweets about michael cohen because we know how president trump feels about loyalty above all else. and he clearly perceives this as disloyal. look, he has to be tremendously worried about -- he's already been worried about what was in all the material that was seized in those raids of michael cohen's office and residence and his hotel room.
and now with cohen just sort of champing at the bit apparently to make a deal with prosecutors and spill list ghis guts about everything, this has to have the president in a state. and so whatever they did to try to chill him out last night, it won't last. it won't last forever. and shannon, what -- i know you don't know what is going through michael cohen's mind, but doesn't he have to be weighing family versus, you know, his obligation as a lawyer versus donald trump? i mean how is he trying to think of these things? >> it seems like that alliance to president trump is long gone. and i mean, i do know from talking to people before all this occurred that michael cohen
felt he was left out on an island, that he was abandoned by the president. and i've even talked to some of the president's allies who have said, boy, that was -- they looked back and said that was a mistake. looked back and said that was a mistake. how was he able to just let michael cohen go out there and drift. that's the kind of person you want to keep close. there was a sense of the president that michael would never turn on him. and there wasn't risks. i know the president was ash shired, oh, michael doesn't have anything, he doesn't know anything. there's a lot of people reassuring him because after this michael cohen raid. the president was furious. one person told me they'd never seen him as angry as he was with the michael cohen raid. there was a lot pressure to get him thinking about this michael cohen situation. i think maybe that resulted in cohen feeling alienated and pushed aside. but i do know his allies look
back and sees that as a critical mistake that led cohen to turn, as we can see. >> rebecca, with that tweet, you see how donald trump was going to proceed with his defense. that he was ill-served by an attorney who should have been able to advise him on campaign finance law. that's my read of the direction it's going to go. he's thinking of himself right now. but what michael cohen's relationship with the trump children, hoom he's been arouwhd and advised for years, too? >> i don't know the version of what michael cohen and the trump children, but we do know that he's advised on matters. and he has had unique access to that trump family go back decades. >> will he be loyal to the trump children, the way he's been disloyal to donald trump? >> well, loyalty is such a tricky thing. i think he's now confronted with
some facts and some materials that all prosecutors, you know, the irs, have on him. and, you know, it's a tricky thing. >> well, it's something that, you know, five years or whatever, in federal prison concentrates the mind and it making loyalty into a totally different thing. >> all right. el elie, rebecca, and eugene, thank you all. the emperor has no clothes. up next, democrats are hoping that the president steps up as the president tried to fire robert mueller. we'll have more plans on to protect the special counsel when "morning joe" comes right back. (vo) this is not a video game. this is not a screensaver. this is the destruction of a cancer cell by the body's own immune system, thanks to medicine that didn't exist until now.
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fire mueller. nbc news can now report for over a year, democrats are now at work on a wide-ranging contingency plan, should they try to shut down the russia probe. josh, what you got? >> mika, the concern here is that the 24 hours after the president were to fire mueller or to pardon a key witness like possibly manafort or cohen, would be really critical for those who would feel that was an unacceptable move. because of the need in the raca of a mueller fire to preserve his doubts and try to freeze the action in place before there was a chance to try to stop it. so democrats have spent the last year trying to come up with a real wide-ranging contingency plan just minutes after the president were to take that kind of action. involving protests in close to 1,000 places around the country that have been preorganized.
letters that have been prewritten from senate and house leadership demanding new communications between the white house and the justice department. along with a push that would happen very quickly to try to move legislation through congress that would retroactively protect mueller and his investigation. >> republicans say they're going to be there. but can they be really counted on in a case like that? >> that is the huge variable here. obviously, if this is just democrats crying, you know, that this is something they're opposed to that's not going to have a whole lot of impact. now, democrats have what they believe is a pretty good list of republicans that have singled privately that if the president were to cross that line they would be prepared to act either privately by calling the white house chief of staff and saying you can't do this, or publicly. but how many republicans would come out would it be enough to actually force the president to
change course? or would we see what has happened over the last year and a half that republicans tend to protect the president. >> josh, thank you for your reporting on nbcnews.com. >> elise jordan, we'll start with you. >> i just can't get over that last tweet. the gall lchlgallows humor of i. >> i think it's an loyalty he hasn't figured how you don't have to demand the loyalty of your subjeordinates. if you're doing the right thing. >> gene robinson, wrap up in ten seconds or left. >> president's personal lawyer implicated the president in crime yesterday. his campaign chairman who has
connections to russia through ukraine, is now examining his options after being convicted on eight felonies. yesterday was a huge day in the trump presidency. and a very, very bad one for donald trump. 12k3w4r ye >> yes, it was. and that does it for us this morning. 9:00 on the east coast. stephanie ruhle picks up the coverage right now. >> thanks so much, mika. hi there, i'm stephanie ruhle, we begin the day with all the president's guilty men. has trump's paul manafort is found guilty on eight felony counts and his longtime attorney and so-called fixer implicates the president in a federal crime. i have an amazing team of reporters and legal analysts standing by. but first, i want to take you through what exactly made it such a historic day and possibly the worst day in