tv MSNBC Live With Katy Tur MSNBC August 23, 2018 11:00am-12:00pm PDT
>> thank you very much. it is -- hello. thank you. it is 11:00 a.m. out west and 2:00 p.m. in new york. breaking news. another of president trump's long-time allies has turned against him. according to sources with knowledge of the cohen investigation "national enquirer" chairman david pecker has been granted immunity. pecker who has been a powerful ally to trump and facilitated a hush money payment to playboy playmate karen mcdougal has corroborated cohen's account of the payment. and as the walls appear to be closing in, the president is engaged in an all-out push to save himself and his presidency. he gave his first major interview since two of his close associates became convicted felons. speaking of fox news, trump unloaded a laundry list of grievances and threats. he suggested he could pardon paul manafort. >> are you considering pardoning
paul manafort? >> i have great respect for what he has done in terms of what he has gone through. i would say what he did, some of the charges they threw against him, every consultant, every lobbyist in washington probably does. >> he said the practice of flipping under legal pressure should be illegal. >> i have had many friends involved in this stuff. it's called flipping and it almost ought to be illegal. >> old regrets about hiring attorney general jeff sessions who, by the way, is at the white house right now. >> jeff sessions recused himself, which he shouldn't have done. he took the job and said, i'm going to recuse myself. i said what kind of a man is this? >> warned the market would crash if he is ultimately impeached. >> if i ever got impeached, i think the market would crash. i think everybody would be very poor because without this thinking, you would see -- you would see numbers that you
wouldn't believe. >> and gave his 20-month-old presidency, a presidency dogged by chaos and controversy, an "a" plus. >> "i give myself an a+." i don't think any president has done what i have done. >> but we go back to the breaking news and our big question. why was another close associate of the president just granted immunity by federal prosecutors? joining me is msnbc news investigative reporter tom winter, sam nunberg, political reporter for "the washington post" amber phillips, host of the daily standard podcast charlie sykes. charlie is an msnbc contributor. tom, to you. david pecker the latest to turn on the president. what do you have? >> well, so katy this relates to count 7. this is one of the counts that michael cohen pled guilty to on tuesday. this has to do with causing abillegal campaign contribution by a corporation.
it says michael cohen was involved with in helping and putting together this deal where american media, which is the company that david pecker runs, that american media paid $150,000 to karen mcdougal in order for her story essentially. it's part of this catch and kill we have heard about over the past several months wherein they get somebody's story and kill the story, meaning it's not published. that story was her relationship with the president. so in this particular case what we see in the criminal information, the court paperwork that was filed in association with michael cohen's guilty plea on tuesday, is be see it laid out the exact nature of this transati transaction. in this particular situation where we hear that the ceo of this media company that was involved in this payment was granted immunity by prosecutors as part of their investigation, we would expect he would be able to provide context, witness testimony perhaps, and that he would be able to provide maybe a bit of a roadmap for federal investigators as they try to look at this deal and say, okay,
how did this come together? who originated it? who was involved in controlling it? and that would have helped them with the potential indictment. of course, we didn't get an indictment. >> can we say he implicated the president here, or is it too early to say? >> since we don't know the exact nature of his testimony and what he provided federal investigators and prosecutors, we would be going a step too far beyond what our reporting is as far as what he was able to provide to hem and if he directly implicated the president. he is a long-time friend of the president. the fact that he would assist in a federal investigation, which he would know, would involve the president certainly his former personal attorney i think is not insignificant. >> sam, just look at this "vanity fair" headline. holy word i can't say on television. i thought pecker would be the last one to turn. trump's "national enquirer"le a lies are the latest to detect. >> it's surprising he had to be granted immunity. i am not sure the crime he would
have committed is. >> campaign finance violation. >> but what kind? >> in kind contribution, right? >> an excessive campaign contribution by a corporation in excess of $25,000. since the payment is $150,000 to karen mcdougal, since that was at the direction of a candidate -- >> in order to help him get elected? >> to influence the election, exactly right. >> look, this goes to i don't understand why michael cohen had to structure these agreements like this. >> you are saying this is michael cohen's problem? michael cohen said the president directed him to do this. here is what i want from you, whether you want to blame it on michael cohen. to have "the national enquirer," david pecker, the president's long-time friend, a man he made a deal with, to say i am going to catch and kill these stories to help you along, somebody on his side for years, to have him get immunity in order to cooperate at least on some level
with federal prosecutors, what is your reaction to that? >> that this is something where it was something that we never knew, this is something along the lines that would be investigated, and it's extremely interesting that pecker had to be granted immunity. i am not necessarily sure -- i understand the campaign finance violation, but knowing what i know about what david pecker a claimed to others that he had on other people, i am not sure why selectively this would be a crime, what he committed. >> well it's pretty simple. an organization that makes an illegal payment and they want testimony from him, i wouldn't testify to anything. i would say, look, i am perhaps going to tell you that i committed a crime. i would like some immunity. >> let's move on. the david pecker news is big news. also big news from the president's attorney general. the president, as you heard in that interview on fox news, has pushed back on his department of justice, claiming they are corrupt, you shouldn't be able
to do things like flip. the attorney general who has been under fire by the president quite a bit has release his own statement pushing back on the president. this is consequence because the attorney general did this right as he was going to the white house to meet with the president on criminal sentencing. here is what he said. while i am attorney general, the actions of the department of justice will not be improperly influenced by political conversations. i demand the highest standards and where they are not met i take action. however, no nation has a more talented, more dedicated group of law enforcement investigators and prosecutors than the united states. i am proud to serve with them and proud of the work we have done in successfully advancing the rule of law. just another note. i spoke with the doj official after that statement came out, asked what the mood is at the doj, and the person said, defined is not exactly the right word, but that they are confident that they are doing their jobs there. amber, it is quite a statement
to have jeff sessions put that out as he is walking in the door at the white house to see the president. >> yeah. i'm starting to wonder if in one week we see the president lose not just two allies in michael cohen and david pecker, but his attorney, jeff sessions as well, who was one of the first high-profile members of congress to endorse him. this language that i hear sessions use, the justice department will not be bowled over by politics, is what i hear deputy attorney general rod rosenstein say repeatedly when he has a chance to speak publicly. and until now i haven't seen the two match up in that kind of -- again i agree defiant isn't quite the right word, but that sort of defiant rhetoric towards the president. here they are finally aligned against the president in terms of his attacks on the justice department, specifically it raises the question of what could happen next if the
president keeps blaming jeff sessions for everything that's happened to him so far. >> here is a hint. senator lindsey graham a moment ago said that maybe the president should fire jeff sessions. but if he does, do it after the midterms. listen. >> the president's entitled to an attorney general he has faith in. somebody that's qualified for the job. and i think there will come a time sooner rather than later where it will be time to have a new face and a fresh voice at the department of justice. clearly, attorney general sessions doesn't have the confidence of the president, and all i can say is that i have a lot of respect for the attorney general, but that's an important office in the country. after the election i think there will be some serious discussions about a new attorney general. >> not just that. senator grassley, the current
judiciary dhar, reversed course in what he was saying, which is that the judiciary committee had no time to confirm a new a.g. now he is saying, yes, they do have time. so lindsey graham and then there is chuck grassley, who are saying maybe it's time to get somebody new in there. when you hear this, charlie sykes, i don't see republicans running for cover with the president and all of the convicted felons that now surround him. trying to find a way to it seems help the president push back on all of this. >> and the timing is awfully interesting. you have donald trump's own swamp turning against him at the same time he is giving interviews where he sounds like a mob boss and he is clearly at cross purposes with his own attorney general. this would be the moment i would think for republicans congress to say, okay, mr. president, we will stand with the rule of law. there are limits, but again as we have so many times, you know, in the past seen, they are not doing that.
they are apparently very, very comfortable with donald trump's swamp. i'm afraid that lindsey graham appears to be giving the president a green light here. >> the deputies are going to make this at least in part an election about corruption. s sam, saying the republican party is tied to corruption. look what the president has, those around him. look at chris collins, duncan hunter who has just been indicted on multiple counts of improperly spending his campaign money. 47-page indictment that was just jaw dropping. you are working for bannon with the midterms. how do you push back on that? >> i think in terms of those two congressmen, duncan hunter, he can't resign, unfortunately. we would call for it if he could. with that said, chris collins did resign. they will have a new candidate there. and we have to just -- he is not going to run for office. he is not on the ballot. and we'll see. the idea that donald trump or the house is responsible, the
republicans for two specific congress ma congressmen and their conduct, it's a good talking point. >> this is not draining the swamp. the swamp is getting thicker. >> we would say he is not responsible for the conduct of collins -- >> is he responsible for the conduct of cohen? maybe not manafort because manafort d these things before he was involved with trump or maybe not with trump's knowledge. michael cohen, i mean that's directly implicating the president. >> michael cohen is directly implicating the president. his only implication he has is are on these two payments to women, to mcdougal -- >> two serious campaign -- >> but as far as his lawyer, lanny davis said yesterday, multiple interviews, not with you, but he said he doesn't have any new information on the trump tower -- >> so is russia the only crime that the president is able to commit that would hurt him? is that what you are saying? >> if there is nothing going on with this russian collusion and investigation, the idea that you have lindsey graham and chuck grassley saying sessions -- one
of the reasons they are going for sessions to be pushed out is because rosenstein has not been answering their subpoenas and sessions has shown that he has no real authority -- >> recused himself? >> he fully recused himself. he didn't have to fully recuse himself from the entire investigation. that's the issue. that's why i was quite surprised on your reporting there. >> i think it's interesting that the talking point against what michael cohen is saying is that this has nothing to do with russia as if the president can -- it only matters that the president committed that crime and the other crimes he may or may not have committed, that's nothing. >> on the campaign finance, he pled guilty to that. that has not been adjudicated. i can make a sound argument -- >> the moment he walked into the court he pled guilty and the judge accepted it. period. end of story. >> he didn't have a jury of peers -- >> but he pled guilty. >> the judge accepted his testimony and allocution in court. i was there. >> there was something like 20
charges they were talking about bringing against michael. he pled to six. >> i have heard that. there was something like up to 20 that it would have been. >> perhaps i should have talked to you. >> okay. you can talk to me afterwards. he please on these two payments. if you think he should be thrown out of office because he had a bad lawyer who didn't understand the fec laws -- >> if donald trump knew he was breaking the law, you have a strong argument for high crimes and misdemeanors if you are knowingly breaking the law in order to get into office. >> well, yeah. i mean, if michael cohen broke the law by making that payment, why wouldn't donald trump be considered to have broken the law as well? the rot starts from the top right here. you know, the duncan hunter case is fascinating because of the degree and then the scope of the sleaze. also, his trumpian response. you notice how he immediately goes to the trump play back, the attacking of the department of justice, saying this is fake news. this is part of this culture of
corruption that i think the republicans have stumbled into, that by tolerating donald trump, they have also allowed the creation of this environment where you have guys like chris collins and duncan hunter and others who think they can get away with anything because they know that there will be hacks who will come on cable television and provide them air cover. they think they are immuneized from consequences. i think that creates a dangerous, dangerous environment for the republicans and i think they are going to pay a huge price for it. >> it may not be illegal, but look how his cabinet members who have resigned have misused taxpayer money. it goes all around. charlie sykes, amber phillips, tom winter, sam nunberg, thank you very much. when it comes to michael cohen and paul manafort, mum's the word for most congressional republicans. also, the president spreading a new conspiracy theory. he is butting into a racially
charged debate in south africa with all the wrong facts. my next guest says the nightmare is just beginning for paul manafort. all of the president's legal problems next. ♪i believe, i really do believe that♪ ♪something's got a hold on me, yeah♪ ♪oh, it must be love ♪oh, something's got a hold on me right now, child♪ ♪oh, it must be love ♪let me tell you now, oh it must be love♪ and back pain made it hard to sleep and get up on time. then i found aleve pm. the only one to combine a safe sleep aid, plus the 12 hour pain relieving strength of aleve. i'm back. aleve pm for a better am.
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. >> how close i want to know did this jury come to convicting paul manafort on all 18 counts? >> by one. there was one hold out. >> you agreed on the eight counts. the ten others, one person kept
you from making that first step? >> that's correct, yes. >> the public, america needed to know how close this was, and that the evidence was overwhelming. i did not want paul manafort to be guilty, but he was. and no one is above the love. >> paul manafort was one juror away from being found guilty on all 18 charges, as you just heard right there. still he is now a convicted felon. one of several in president trump's orbit. which also now includes michael cohen, his long-time lawyer and fixer who the president is suddenly saying was only a part-time employee who he barely saw. joining me now national security reporter kennedy dylan and former assistant u.s. attorney for the southern district of new york, elie hoenig. welcome. so the president is trying to push back here. he doesn't want to be associated with paul manafort. now he doesn't want to be associated with michael cohen. he is saying paul manafort is a
great guy. he is really walking a fine line, ken, when it comes to what can get attached to him. >> i don't think there is anything fine about that interview he gave disparaging the justice department. that was incredible to me. he basically said that he believes prosecutors are regularly putting on witnesses who lie when he was talking about flippers and how people shouldn't be allowed to flip and make up stories. he was accusing his own justice department of unethical behavior. he puts the word justice in quotes and raised questions about paul manafort's conviction and prosecution. you have this juror, paula duncan, who is an ardent trump supporter and thinks the paul manafort is a witch hunt and believes russia did not interfere, yet she sat through the 12-day trial, heard the evidence and concluded paul manafort was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt on all the counts. she was not the hold out. another female juror she is saying was a hold out. she said that person was not necessarily a trump supporter,
she didn't believe, but somebody who didn't want to convict for her own reasons that the rest of the jurors -- but i find it fascinating that this trump supporter who confronted with 12 days of evidence said i don't want manafort to be guilty, but he was guilty. >> it's a witch hunt, but here i trust what the prosecutors did. let's listen to the president talking about why he thinks flipping should be illegal. >> one of the reasons i respect paul manafort so much is he went through that trial -- you know, they make up stories. people make up stories. this whole thing about flipping, they call it. i know all about flipping for 30, 40 years i have been watching flippers. everything is wonderful and then they get ten years in jail and they flip on whoever the next highest one is or as high as you can go. it almost ought to be out laud. it's not fair. >> i was talking to a doj official who said the president doesn't understand the law. you doesn't understand that when a witness flips or a defendant flips, it's something that has
to be corroborated by prosecutors. >> he doesn't understand the law or law enforcement or common sense. you know who hates cooperating witnesses the most is leaders of criminal organizations. >> they call them rats. >> gang leaders hate, i can't say flippers. it's silly. gang leaders hate in cooperating witnesses. corrupt ceos hate cooperating witnesses because that's how the department of justice gets into secret organizations and gets to the top guy. if no one flipped, people at the top of corrupt organizations would be untouchable. of course, that's what the president would like. >> they call them rats. the president called johndina rat the other day. >> that's unconscionable to me. if you talk to police chief, nypd, all around the country, they say one of the biggest impediments is this no snitching, rats culture. >> snitches get stitches. >> for the president of the united states to be promoting
that is beyond the pale. incredibly dangerous to our cities and to our communities. >> let's listen to the president trying to say that the payment to the women were not illegal because the money came out of his own pocket. >> did you direct him to make those payments? >> he made the deal. he made the deals. by the way, he pled to two counts that aren't a crime which nobody understands. >> did you know about the payments? >> later on i knew, later on. you have to understand what he did, and they weren't taken out of campaign finance. that's a bigger thing. did they come out of the campaign? they didn't come out of the campaign. they came from me. and i tweeted about it. i don't know if you know, but i tweeted about the payments. but they didn't come out of the campaign. >> elie? >> so, real quick, that statement is contradicted by tapes. even if true, he is cooked either way. if it came out of the president's pocket, it's a campaign expenditure he did not
support. if he received it from somebody else, it's a contribution. >> he would have had to report what he was paying the money for. david pecker flipping on the president, pretty big news? >> i don't know if he is flipping, but he is granted immunity. they were allies for a long time. he knows a lot of secrets. it seems like the walls are closing in on this president, katy. >> ken dilanian, elie hoenig. thank you very much. and the silence of mitch mcconnell. the sounds of silence coming up next. you're turning onto the street when you barely clip a passing car. minor accident - no big deal, right? wrong. your insurance company is gonna raise your rate after the other car got a scratch so small you coulda fixed it with a pen. maybe you should take that pen and use it to sign up with a different insurance company. for drivers with accident forgiveness liberty mutual won't raise their rates
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>> as republicans scramble to formulate a response to the last 72 hours, senate majority leader mitch mcconnell has a strategy to just ignore the questions. >> senator, do you have any reaction to the cohen/manafort news? do you think it's concerning at all? do you think it will affect the midterms?
>> you still support mueller, right? >> this as congressman tom cole, former head of the national republican congressional committee, has advice for fellow republicans. quote, keep your powder dry and don't rush to attack or defend anybody because you just don't know enough to have a reaction that you can still defend three months from now. with me now director of progressive programming for sirius xm zerlina maxwell. former republican congressman, david jolly. david, in the mcconnell case i think his silence speaks volumes. >> it does. listen, and in the words of tom cole and in the silence of mitch mcconnell, we see the real truth, which is the republican party right now is terrified of what comes next. and you can look at it in real time, a snapshot of what is it that cohen can share regarding the president's knowledge of
these payments, right? we see the four corners of the document, but the reality it is if cohen begins to talk about the fact that he and trump knowingly had these conversations to try to deflect and make these payments. something else we saw, the fact that bob mueller wants to delay the sentencing of mike flynn, that mike flynn continues to cooperate. the reality is there are a lot more shoes so drop. republicans know that. katy, i would also say this. they deserve this situation. i mean, you lay with dogs, you are going to get fleas. they have so embraced donald trump that the brand of donald trump and the brand of the gop are indistinguishable to voters. >> there are signals that they want to call michael cohen back in. at the same time we are hear from senators grassley and senator lindsey graham that the president could get rid of jeff sessions. graham saying do it, he deserves somebody loyal to him. do it after the election.
grassley says i have time if you want to do it. >> it's a fun game to play in fantasy world when you don't have to count the votes up to 60 to get somebody confirmed if you were to fire jeff sessions. with the midterm election coming up i think this is a lot of bluster. donald trump is probably not going to fire jeff sessions because of the first reason, which is you can't replace him and you need to. but i think that what we're seeing is desperation from the president, from his allies in congress who have, up until this point, defended everything and sort of echoed his line of it being a witch hunt. it's funny to see how that talking point, you have to put it aside when you have convictions and guilty pleas that implicate the president directly. and not one, but two conspiracies that potentially impacted the outcome of the election. something that is unprecedented in this country. >> it's also interesting that the robert mueller approval polls are suddenly getting better. an 11 point jump in approval
from a fox poll just this month. 59% in august say they approve of the job that robert mueller is doing. in july that number was 48%. this poll began on sunday before the cohen news broke. it makes you wonder where it would be with the cohen news. clearly, mueller with the conviction of paul manafort, i mean, clearly this is gaining some traction among people who only last month were saying that this was a bit after witch hunt? david? >> because i think bob mueller's actions are being validated. he is putting points on the board, if you will. when you have convictions, when you have plea deals, when you have people now cooperating, look, the american people don't necessarily have to understand all of the elements that go into these various alleged crimes. but when they see convictions and plea deals, they know that something stinks. that's the reason democrats are talking about corruption. listen, what happened this week, and the american people can understand this whether they care about the facts of the case
or not, is you had a federal judge affirm a plea deal regarding campaign, a campaign finance violation that has been entered into federal court as a crime. the person who copped to that, named the president of the united states, and the president of the united states went on tv an admitted that he cooperated with that and aided in that and conspired with that. the american people understand conspiracy if they don't care about the underlying crime. they know conspiracy is a crime that the president is a focus of. >> it's interesting how the deputies will use this. we are seeing, zerlina, democrats really start to pump the brakes on impeachment. senator blumen that wi senator blumenthal was calling for impeachment. he is pulling the reins back on that. >> senator, you are one of the only democrats to utter impeachment. >> i have never --
>> you said -- >> all remedies should be on the table. >> including impeachment? >> i never mentioned impeachment. >> why are democrats shying away from this? >> i am not mentioning the specific remedy, and they are others. the special counsel ought to be permitted to complete his investigation. >> that is interesting. i think democrats are having a tough moment because i actually was in the camp a few months ago arguing we shouldn't run on impeachment and because it's nearly impossible because you need 67 votes in the senate to remove the president from office. in this political climate that's not realistic under these facts. however, this week changed things in my view. the president was implicated in a federal crime in a court this week. that's what happened. so i think in this particular moment that is unprecedented. we have to perhaps consider something like impeachment. >> request are democratic lawmakers now saying, we have heard on -- elizabeth warren,
too. kamala harris not uttering it. they are not doing it because i presume they believe that the political implications of doing that before the midterms are not going to help them? >> i don't think it's before the midterms. i think it's before mueller is finished. they don't want to count the chickens before they roost. they want to make sure the facts are on their side. if they called for impeachment three months ago, look what we learned this week alone in terms of the facts that are implicating the president in multiple crimes. you know, we have lived through this for the past few years and it seems like every single day there is a fire hose of news and controversy. we are not talking about controversy. we are not talking about something that's politically incorrect in terms of a comment the president is making or a 1:00 a.m. tweet, which is alarming. if your mother tweeted at 1:00 a.m. i am sure you would call her to make sure she is okay. i think this moment is historic because we are talking about crimes and not just something that's controversial. >> the news headlines are like a
category 5 hurricane hitting the shore since june 15. >> yes. i need a life boat, katy. >> i don't think you need a boat. i think you need a bunker, my friend. thank you so much. >> and have you noticed both parties are debating the president's fate like it's 1999? with a twist, of course. your mornings were made for
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divisive president is accused of breaking in the law in order to cover up a politically dangerous extramarital affair. the president's party plays defense kwhiel twhile the oppos begins to call for impeachment. the year is 1988 and the president is bill clinton. many have pointed out the parallels between the two scandals. how similar are the situations in with me msnbc national political correspondent steve kornacki and author of the upcoming book, preorder it, the red and the blue. >> the 1990s and the birth of political tribalism. steve, how similar are we between now and 1999? >> you put it out there. the main similarity, and you can see on the board, compare the headlines from when the clinton scl clinton/lewinsky scandal broke. you had in 1998 a president accused of a crime. the crime was perjury. it was lying under oath.
it was possibly suborning perjury, accusing others to lie under oath to cover up a politically damaging extramarital affair with monica lewinsky that had the threat to take down his presidency. with trump it would be conspiracy to cover it up during the campaign. to keep him from getting elected. in one case, to keep a candidate from getting elected. another case, to keep a presidency from collapsing. in '98, bill clinton survived. w why? because point after point in '98 '98, the revelation of the apair, clinton's admission of the affair, the reese lease of the ken starr report that accused clinton of perjury. election day, the midterm election '98 clinton's popularity went up. the public sided with him. this was amazing. this was the story. if you asked voters did clinton commit a crime? did he commit perjury?
overwhelmingly people in 1998 said yes, the president of the united states is guilty of a crime. should he be removed from office? overwhelmingly, the answer the voters gave was no. they needed democrats if they wanted to throw clinton out and convict them. democrats saw those numbers and said safe to stay with the president and bill clinton survived. >> let's takie impeachment out for a moment. president clinton, 66 approval as you said. president trump, and we will see it in a moment, here it is, donald trump 42% right now. why is there such a disparity between their popularity? is it because -- i mean, listen, donald trump has been plagued by controversy. he has been accused of being a rays racist, zeno phobe, et cetera. >> the context, obviously, this is latest trump story hitting after endless controversy since he became a candidate really.
i think that's the one big difference potentially between what happened in '98 and what may happen here. we will see. but democrats in '98, there were folks on the democratic side who had an instinct to bolt from bill clinton. maybe they were decision gusted by his conduct, bothered by the purgery. every time they thought about doing it, they looked up and saw the polls that showed clinton's approval rating 65%, 70%, and then the midterm elections democrats won. republicans if they take a bath this november may face a different calculation. >> if republicans end up losing the house, say, not the senate, but the house in the midterms, how does support for the president shift? >> that's the interesting thing to see. that is what saved bill clinton in '98. it was so shocking when democrats -- the white house party gained seats in the midterm election, basically doesn't happen. and democrats gained seats in '98 as a backlash to republicans pushing against impeachment. so democrats then said, because the impeachment took place after
the election, democrats said, we are all going to be against it, it's totally safe. that's the question here. if you have a 40 seat democratic gain, do republicans have a different attitude after the election? >> let's talk about nixon. i have heard you in the past say that the only reason that republicans started to break with nixon during that whole impeachment, not quite impeachment, but that saga, and the tapes and whatnot, watergate, was when there was a special election that they lost? >> there were signs in 1974. 1974 became -- the midterm election after nixon's resignation was one of the worst ever for a presidential party for the republican party and there were special elections, signs and special elections. i think one in jirld ford's district. gerald ford was the vice president under the president when spiro agnew resigned and the dermocrats did better in tht district. another one out in ohio in the cincinnati area. you were getting a lot of rumblings there was something big coming in the midterms and that started to scare and unnerve republicans. >> interesting.
steve kornacki, go out and buy the book, everybody! preorder it. i am excited. >> thank you. >> it's a good book. >> next up, with a single tweet the president took his pattern of racial politics abroad. dear foremothers, your society was led by a woman, who governed thousands... commanded armies... yielded to no one. when i found you in my dna, i learned where my strength comes from. my name is courtney mckinney, and this is my ancestrydna story. now with 2 times more geographic detail than other dna tests. order your kit at ancestrydna.com
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>> for the first time in his presidency, donald trump tweeted the word africa. and in doing so promoted a myth about the rise in killings of white farmers in south africa. here is what grabbed the is wha president's attention. shock, it was on fox news. >> the president of south africa, cyril ramaphosa, has begun, and you may have seen this in the press, seizing land from his own citizens without compensation because they are the wrong skin color. that is literally the definition of racism. it's totally okay for south africa to steal property for racist reasons because they are, quote, a strong democracy. >> moments later, the president asked his secretary of state to closely study the south africa land and farm seizures and the large-scale killing of the farmers. but as vox laid out, it's all a conspiracy theory promoted by neo-nazi and white nationalists, quote, a theory based on the very real and very controversial issue of post apartheid land
reform in south africa, but the white nationalists who propagate it have taken what is a genuinely thorny issue and magnified it beyond all objective facts, twisting it into what they see as a nightmare cautionary tale of white genocide. joining me, host of msnbc's "politics nation" and present of the national action network, reverend al sharpton, and national security correspondent for npr, greg myrie. gentlemen, thank you very much for coming. i want to get some basic facts laid out before we really dig into this. and that is that south africans, black south africans were legally barred from owning any property, living on operating businesses or owning land in vast swaths of the country that were set aside for whites only during apartheid. when apartheid ended in 1994, 90% of all the land in the country was owned by whites, despite the fact they made up only 10% of the population. 23 years later in 2017, an audit
by the south african government found that whites still owned 72% of private farmland in south africa. and greg, what the government is trying to do is they're trying to correct that disparity, because the black south africans were not able to get any land, really, at a large pace, since apartheid ended. >> that's true. and it's been an issue that's been moving very, very slowly. and the most intense poverty in south africa is in the rural areas. so that's where it's felt the most. now, they are starting to talk about it. the ruling african national congress and the president are talking about the possibility f appropriating land without compensation. but it's not something that has happened in the 27 years since apartheid or something that would happen overnight. it looks like it would take a change in the constitution, so st it would be a long, drawn-out process if it happened. >> and the idea that the owners
of this farmland are getting murdered by blacks because they -- it's a racist thing and it's a hate-filled crime, not entirely correct and not so easy to define, right, greg? >> exactly. south africa has a terrible crime problem. its victims are black and white, urban and rural. south african farmers, as the few people in rural areas who do have resources, they tend to have cash and guns and cars, are therefore a target. and so, yes, they are victims of crime. but it seems that it is very prosaic criminal actions rather than any sort of racially based attacks in the main. >> so, what's the president doing here? >> well, i think he's doing what he does often in these united states, and that is, he's trying to distract from this cloud that he's now clearly under with the manafort convictions and with the michael cohen taking a plea. he goes to race and what better
way than to give this neo-nazi propaganda, that white farmers are being killed until south africa, when, in fact, that is not true, not based on them being white. there is a very well-thought-out argument going on and to deal with the fact that blacks were the ones for racial reasons that couldn't own land because of apartheid. and now, almost a quarter of a century after getting apartheid politically correct, they have to deal with the fact that people's land were taken because they were black in the apartheid era. how they do that, they're wrestling with it. the anc has voted on this, but this is a real issue there. i've been to south africa twice in the last three years. on the ground, you hear the issue, but you don't hear anybody talking about killing whites because of it. and for the president of the united states to put that out there like it's a fact and to act like, in fact, this they have come up with a formula is a
falsehood and an attempt from him to distract from his own problems. >> bob corker, senator bob corker was asked about this and he says, it appears to be a base stimulator. he's asked, what do you mean by that, and corker says, well, there are portions of those who support the president that are, pause, i'm sure that generates excitement, i mean it's, you know what i'm saying. and then he walks in the senate chamber. and just one more thing. david duke has endorsed this tweet and applauded the president for this tweet, saying, russia has already agreed to take in 15,000 white south africans. your move, mr. president. thank you! >> so david duke and that ilk is who pushes this. this is who the president gets in bed with. there are no facts. senator corker, who is a republican, by the way, is identifying it correctly. this is a base move of those same elements that think there's a moral equivalence between neo-nazis in charlottesville and those that are fighting
confederate statutes. but when you really think about this, on a global scale, from a global perspective, katie, you've got the land of mandela being maligned by the president of the united states on a plan that has not even been fully formulated. this is insulting. he -- nothing is sacred to him, to try to get people's minds off of what he's doing. >> greg, for foreign policy, do you have any thoughts about what this would mean for the president? >> well, the united states does not have an ambassador to south africa right now. and if it did, the ambassador or the state department could explain the nuances in this case. the president has said very little about africa. a couple times, he has, he's stepped in it, created a controversy. so i think it's not only south africa, but the entire continent that has, reacts badly when these kind of comments come across. >> and we should note the first lady is expected to make a trip to africa soon. not the president, just the
first lady. reverend al sharpton and greg myrie, gentlemen, thank you very much. we'll be right back. and i'm still going for my best even though i live with a higher risk of stroke due to afib not caused by a heart valve problem. so if there's a better treatment than warfarin, i'm up for that. eliquis. eliquis is proven to reduce stroke risk better than warfarin. plus has significantly less major bleeding than warfarin. eliquis is fda-approved and has both. so what's next? seeing these guys. don't stop taking eliquis unless your doctor tells you to, as stopping increases your risk of having a stroke. eliquis can cause serious and in rare cases fatal bleeding. don't take eliquis if you have an artificial heart valve or abnormal bleeding. while taking eliquis, you may bruise more easily and it may take longer than usual for any bleeding to stop. seek immediate medical care for sudden signs of bleeding, like unusual bruising. eliquis may increase your bleeding risk if you take certain medicines. tell your doctor about all planned medical or dental procedures. eliquis, the number one cardiologist-prescribed blood thinner. ask your doctor if eliquis is what's next for you.