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tv   Deadline White House  MSNBC  August 24, 2018 1:00pm-2:00pm PDT

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hour, though, i'll see you back here at 9:00 p.m. for the rachel maddow show. have a great weekend. "deadline white house" with nicolle wallace starts right /s >> hi, everyone. it's 4:00 in new york. my heart and thoughts and prayers are in arizona. senator john mccain has chose enz to stop all medical treatment for brain cancer. he bravely shared with the world a year ago, friends and family are traveling to arizona. the statement reads in part, quote, john has su partly sunny r passed expectations for his survival, but the progress of disease and inexorable advance of age render their verdict. he has chosen to discontinue medical treatment. john mccain is a giant in american politics, having run twice for president under the banners of the straight-talk express and country first. senator mccain's voice is
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cherished across the partisan divide. now more than ever. after donald trump's helsinki summit, mccain released a statement that read, quote, today's press conference in helsinki was one of the most disgraceful performances by an american president in memory. the damage inflicted by president trump's naivete, ego advertise many, false equivalence and sense of auto kratz is difficult to calculate. but it's clear the summit in helsinki was a tragic mistake. john mccain doesn't mince words. he has a quit wit, deep affection for baseball, heavening way, his friends, and barbecues barbecues in sedona. he loves his friends, his country and has raised his voice in washington at times it most needed to be raised. >> i fell in love with my country when i was a prisoner in someone else's. i loved it not just for the many comforts of life here. i loved it for its decency, for
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its faith, the wisdom, justice and goodness of its people. i loved it because it was not just a place, but an idea, a cause worth fighting for. i was never the same again. i wasn't my own man any more. i was my country's. >> i've got to ask you a question. i do not believe -- i can't trust obama. >> i got you. >> i have worried about him and he's not -- he's an arab. he is not -- no? >> no, no ma'am, no ma'am. he's a decent family man, citizen that i just happened to have disagreements with on fundamental issues, and that's what this campaign is all about. he's not. in a contest as long and difficult as this campaign has been, his success alone commands my respect for his ability and
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perseverance. but that he manage to do so by inspiring the hopes of so many millions of americans who had once wrongly believed they had little at stake or little influence in the election of an american president is something i deeply admire and commend him for achieving. >> how do you want the american people to remember you? >> he served his country, and not always right. made a lot of mistakes, made a lot of errors, but served his country and i hope we could add honorably. >> here to talk about senator mccain on the day that he has made another brave decision today to cease treatment, some people who know him very well. nbc news's andrea mitchell who among many things for us covered capitol hill during much of the time that senator mccain was serving there. mark leib vits, chief correspondent for "the new york times" magazine who has written several ploe files for senator mccain and knows people around
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him better than anyone, presidential historian john meacham who knows the senator very well. let me start with you, andrea mitchell. today is a day, the three clips i played, i happened to be there for all three of those moments. john mccain's been one of the most important voices during the trump presidency, and i read that clip after the helsinki summit because there was nothing that animated this president or this senator, senator mccain more than sort of the urgency of being who we're supposed to be. the urgency of this country being at its best. i think that as he sort of enters the final stages of his fight against cancer, it's that voice during the trump era that has been the most valiant and the most clear. >> absolutely. and as great as he's been all of these years, he acknowledges his ups and downs. you've watched it along the way. this year has been so memorable because of his uniquely strong voice, a searing voice against
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many of the policies and decisions of a very difficuvisi president. having the strength and wisdom to speak out strongly in a way that most republicans, certainly those in the senate, have not. and that is what is so striking about him. also the speech last july 25th on the senate floor where he spoke of his own failures, but importantly of the failures of his democratic and republican colleagues. he chastised them so strongly for being so partisan, for not working across the aisle as he had in the past with, with those he did not always respect. john kerry, ted kennedy and others. hillary clinton would travel with him to iraq and afghanistan as a member of the armed services committee. the fact he always found a way to work with democrats and with republicans whom he did not agree for the greater good of the country. that is what i think of most when i think of john mccain.
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>> john meacham, i had the privilege of traveling with him in 2008 on the campaign trail where the two stories that he and they call themselves the three amigos, lipndsey graham, joe lieberman and john mccain. they talked about traveling to iraq with then senator hillary clinton talking about working collaboratively. in iraq there aren't democrats and republicans, there is american senatorial delegation. the other stories that we heard that they told the most were stories about being on the phone with american allies, nato allies who faced the grave est threats from russia. they called every day, there wasn't a day on the campaign trail where they said headquarters called and said, that better be the state, not the country. these guys were so focused on russia as an enemy and nato allies as our stalwart friends.
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and if you look at how dramatically different today's trump republican party is, you have to think this is one of the sadest sort of political developments in john mccain's life. >> it's going to be a poignant period here, it already is and will be as the senator goes into the long twilight. and one of the things i remember from that same period washington wizards sitting with him. i just looked it up this afternoon. it was almost exactly 12 augusts ago. it was august of 2007 and i remember sitting with the senator and mark salter, his great speech writer and coauthor, in a darkened hotel in times square. and they were by themselves. nobody else was around. he was in new york. he couldn't get arrested in the polls for the republican nomination that year. and we were sitting in the shadowy room, had a vision like
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a c-span version of the godfather. he had bet his entire political fortune on whether or not the surge that george w. bush had put into effect would work. and he said, we're going to have -- we're going to see if there are results. i believe there will be. and then we're going to get back into this in the fall, meaning the campaign, and it will test our mettle. and what struck me then and ever since was it's very rare as you well know for a presidential candidate -- it's now vanishingly rare to base an entire campaign, their personal fortunes, their personal fate on a policy that affects real people. it was affecting the people of iraq and the soldiers who were projecting force there, trying to bring order to chaos. and the other thought, of course, is i had more conversations with him about robert jordan, for whom the bell
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tolls, english class. the closing image of that novel is george's heartbeati beating e forest floor as he tried to take one more shot. i always thought of john mccain's heart beating and always will. >> i've never told this story before. today is as good as any. mark leib vits, he was reading out loud to me, mark salter and a couple other aides with him. i believe we were in wisconsin in a hotel room. let me say, john mccain, i have never stayed at a four seasons or ritz carlton. it was always la quinta or quality inn. he did not eat fancy food. he got canned tuna from costco. i have a new load of groceries. we stayed at down scale lovely hotels, but he was not a fan of luxury, but he did love hemming way. i want your thoughts about that. i also want to put this out there because john meacham
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raised mark salter, i traded e-mails with mark salter today. you've profiled mark salter. he was the man who put, i don't know how to say it, who put poetry to john mccain's patriotic soul. talk about both things. >> yeah, first of all, mark salter and john mccain, that's a true a political alter ego relationship as you're going to find. he truly is amused. they nurture each other in all kinds of ways. yeah, mark is -- marks has been right there. he's right there today. so, he's someone that will always be linked to the mythology of john mccain. i think when you talk about just these little anecdotes, what it's like to hang around him, there are few politicians these days, by the way, who let you just hang around. there is a probably good reason for that. john mccain was never great for the age of twitter. some of these pre-twitter campaigns, 2007, 2008, 2000 were much better suited for mccain. 2000 better than 2008, by the
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way. but he -- it's just trying to remember things and tell stories. first, you try to edit for tv what you can tell and what you can't tell. it's often just the things that are buried in your notebook or buried at the end of the story you've forgotten. i was reading things today. i was writing about him for the washington post in 2004, i think, and we had gone to an arizona diamondbacks game. we were sitting in the front row. the opposing pitcher for san diego, i think, he was a relief pitcher and said up on the scoreboard this guy is the first garage with the ever of institute of technology to make an appearance in a major league baseball game. so this guy comes up, he probably gives up five runs without giving up an out. manager gets him, he's slumping on the mound. mccain said, next up, nasa, pam. we'll see you at nasa. we have a u.s. senator heckling next to me. i don't think it was doing it for my benefit, either. a lot of things that get lost but you don't forget on days
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like today. >> andrea mitchell, obviously his wife, his family, the loves of his life, he had a lot of love affairs with deep, deep, deep friends. the friendships i mention, joe lieberman, lindsey graham, to be honest i understand that friendship to have gone through some turmoil in the time of trump. but the relationship with joe lieberman was one of the most remarkable friendships i've ever witnessed. the relationship with mark salter, one of the most -- for sort of, you know, burly men, i put them both in that category. this truly has been a love affair. one man putting words that are just as exquisite as any poetry to sort of the heart and soul of a man who truly embodies the slogans under which he ran. i remember having a fight with mark salter once who was arguing with something we were going to do for the campaign and salter said, nicolle, that isn't putting country first. i said, mark, it's a slogan.
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they felt -- they were so, they were so true to the things they said and ran on. so rare. >> i mean, i think mark lieberman rightly refers to the news that samter lter is to mcc that relationship and there were other relationships that were not self evident. he didn't like joe biden's ideas on iraq when he was chair of the foreign relations committee. they forged a bond over their devotion to foreign policy and to the soldiers and with bo biden's diagnosis and that moment when bo biden on the view with megan was comforting her in december, it was around december 13th of last year, shortly after john mccain's last senate vote and he had retreated to sedona, and he was really showing the ravages of the treatment for the cancer as much as anything else. he was in a wheelchair, and she broke down.
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and biden got up and hugged her and said that, you know, john mccain had helped him through so many stages with young bo, and he meant when bo was a child and when john mccain lost his first wife. and when he had these two kids and was just coming into the senate, and people like john mccain and teddy kennedy and others were comforting him along the way. bo had suffered earlier illnesses that we didn't even know about at the time. so john mccain was such a family man and such an embracer of colleagues in ways that people didn't know. and one other thing that i really wanted to point out, he and john kerry were not close on a lot of policy issues, but it was he and john kerry who were opponents on opposite sides of the post-vietnam war debate in this country that gave bill clinton, an accused draft
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dodger, the political cover to make peace with vietnam when he was president. at the vietnam memorial, i was there that day on memorial day, and going with the team to make peace and sign that agreement with vietnam. and that was an incredible contribution to world peace really. >> john meacham, andrea mitchell is talking about joe biden, ted kennedy, john mccain as big-hearted men, which they all are. how will history remember big-hearted john mccain's selection of sarah palin as his running mate? >> not favorably, i don't think. it's one of the moments that i suspect senator mccain means when he talks about being an imperfect public servant. you know, you forgot more about this than i know. he would roll the dice at a
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critical moment in the summer of 2008, elevating someone who did give him a boost in the polls initially. we'll argue forever about whether the palin pick, mainstream, some of the tea party opposition -- we weren't calling it that then, but to president obama. but one of the things that i so admire about senator mccain and bob dole and george h.w. bush, this last group of truly great people whose heroics were mostly in the 20th century, at least as young men, is that they called them as they saw them. if they screwed up, they said, hey, i screwed up. judge me on the totality of my life. you know, we're after a more perfect union here, not a perfect one. >> mark, the author of this town, that town that you live in, doesn't have another john mccain. that's never been more clear than watching people who held themselves shoulder to shoulder with him, people like lindsey
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graham and others, watching them wilt and really disappear, melt like butter in the time of donald trump. what is that town like with john mccain sort of battling his disease in sedona and what will that town be like when his voice isn't part of these debates? i mean, no one else put out a statement like the one i read after helsinki. no one else boiled it down to brass tax, called it a tragic disgrace. there is no voice like john mccain's in that town. >> first i think the point needs to be made for as mavericky and original as john mccain has been, obviously he proved his mettle on battle field and prison you can only revere. he was very much a creature of washington. he loved green rooms. he was probably drn i don't know if he loved green rooms. he knew the back of every green room in washington, no question about it. he probably -- i think he set the record for most appearances on "meet the press." that was true for a while. and so, yeah, he was around. he was very much a creature of
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this town. and he also -- he played a part. he was aware of the many apps he has had over the years, the many cliches he has embodied, the short time people talk about in politics. clearly over the last year his voice has been very powerful. i think it's emblematic of the people who have been most outspoken about donald trump from within the republican party have been those with nothing to lose. whether it's jeff flake or bob corker and put mccain in that category, but i would put mccain in a different category. you would figure he would be pretty outspoken anyway. and, look, it's a much more profound back story and profound lamp of experience he speaks with. >> i think i'm speaking for all of you. i think i'm on safe terrain saying we all send, andrea mitchell, mark leib vits, thoughts to mccain today. >> absolutely. >> donald trump, the cfo, the expression he knows where the bodies are buried was written is
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granted immunity by federal prosecutors. what this big development means for donald trump and his shady empire as it is revealed. also ahead, a safe full of scoops. this is the trump presidency where the "national enquirer" and its owner are at the center of the trump money scandal. news they kept damaging stories and documents about trump in a safe. and donald trump rantchets p his war on jeff sessions, taking tweets and taunts to a new level. who will blink first? all those stories coming up. as king midas, i get special treatment. here at midas, you will too. and your oil change comes with a tire rotation as well. ooo that's good! i could put that on an airplane banner. hmm. maybe. nice work. was that...? yeah, king midas. yeah. at midas, we're always a touch better. which is why our $19.99 oil change also includes a tire rotation.
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it may be the biggest domino to fall yet in the drama that could pose the greatest existential threat to trump's presidency. allen weisselberg of the trump organization is described as the most senior person in the organization that's not a trump, has been granted immunity for his cooperation in the federal investigation into hush money payments to women. the same investigation in which trump's former fixer michael cohen pleaded guilty earlier this week and implicated the president in his crimes. weisselberg is the third long-time trump ally ensnared in the federal investigation in new york and he may be the biggest fish to cooperate so far. his cooperation could be just one of many significant threats facing trump's businesses at this hour. "the new york times" reporting that the trump organization and two senior company officials could face criminal charges in a state probe. and a new report from the a.p. suggests this could be the tip of the iceberg, an untold number
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of damaging stories about the president were once hidden in a safe at the "national enquirer" and the head of the "national enquirer" david pecker of course is now cooperating with investigators. it's no surprise we've heard trump rail in recent days against the growing numbers of flippers and rats in his orbit. "the new york times" mark landler writing, quote, as mr. trump faces his own mushrooming legal troubles, he has taken to using a vocabulary that sounds uncannily like gotty and the mobsters. the curtain has been lifted and the president's new york empire is exposed for what we now believe it to be, corrupt and practically mob-like. joining us national security reporter ken dilanian, former u.s. attorney joyce vance, and with us at the table paul butler, former federal prosecutor now georgetown law professor and i'd love to take your class. can i come? >> absolutely.
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>> i'm coming next week. and the rev al sharpton is back. president of the national action network and host of politics nation, my regular every friday. joyce, let me start with you. why? why weisselberg? >> he makes sense, he's the accountant, like al capone, the bookkeeper. he could narrate a broad story if investigators were looking at the far flung trump empire. but we don't know just yet what his cooperation consists of. we don't know if he's been compelled to cooperate after asserting his 5th amendment right, or if he's engaged in voluntary cooperation, perhaps in exchange for an agreement that he won't be prosecuted. the contours of that will perhaps stay opaque to us for a while before they become clear, but what we do know at this point is that prosecutors believed that his cooperation at this moment was essential to moving forward, and that likely means moving up the ladder for prosecution, not down it.
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>> paul butler, let's listen to this lording recording of micha cohen's secret tape talking about allen weisselberg's role. >> i've spoken to allen weisselberg about how to set the whole thing up with delivering funding -- yes, and it's all the stuff, all the stuff. because you never know -- >> he gets hit by -- >> yes, i'm all over that. and i spoke to alan about it when it comes time for the financing which will be -- >> what financing? >> well, i have to pay -- no, no, no, i got this. no, no, no. >> there we have it on tape, donald trump and michael cohen talking about this intersection which is now i think under investigation is probably saying it too softly, which is now being prosecuted. people are pleading guilty based on crimes at this intersection of donald trump, michael cohen, david pecker and now allen
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weisselberg. how does that look to an investigator? >> remember, robert mueller forwarded this case to the southern district for an investigation of michael cohen. well, on wednesday michael cohen became a convicted felon eight times over. so a question now is what's the southern district's "enend game? they have managed to prosecute and convict michael cohen. it seems like their target now is the president of the united states, but he cannot be indicted and prosecuted in a criminal case while in office, according to d.o.j. guidelines, which the southern district is bound to follow. and so what are they trying to do? it could be that they are looking at people who are higher up than -- in the trump organization, so that would include don junior, jared and ivanka. >> and it could include, ken dilanian, donald trump. i mean, donald trump's friends have warned me for months if not years now not to view donald
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trump as some titan of business. they said he was a reality tv guy who ran a mom and pop family office. >> that's right. and look, i think paul and joyce have raised the important questions to which unfortunately we don't know the answer yet, which is what kind of immunity did weisselberg get? my colleague tom winter is reporting and suggesting that it was the kind of immunity where they are essentially compelling him to testify, suggesting that he's not really cooperating voluntarily, and then the question of what is the southern district's end game. i've been talking to people with ties to the southern district all afternoon trying to get some opinions on that. it's really all over the map. one thing we know, though, is drop once said robert mueller would be crossing a red line to delve into his personal and family finances. that line has exploded. it was ingenious of rod rosenstein to farm this part of the investigation out to the southern district of new york because now what can anyone say about it? they are going where the evidence will lead and, you know, the question is -- and
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they're doing it in cooperation with robert mueller, nicolle. at the end of the day, who is responsible for ferreting out the culpability of donald trump in this scheme to violate the campaign finance laws? is it prosecutors or a congressional committee towards an impeachment? right now there is no congressional committee that is actually investigating this matter. the senate intelligence be committee says the michael cohen stuff is beyond the scope of their inquiry. but i think that would certainly change if the democrats took back the house in the fall. >> i would have led with this next story if there wasn't other news, but there happens to be a safe with dabblimaging stories t donald trump and documents related to hush money payments that was in the possession of david pecker who we learned yesterday had, had received immunity for his cooperation with federal prosecutors. what could be in the safe? you've known donald trump a long time. >> well, a lot of information that donald trump has maybe gotten through pecker, by having
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pecker allegedly buy stories to bury them. and pecker may have put things in the safe to protect himself if this day comes. you have to remember, nicolle, you have omarosa. you have michael cohen. you have pecker. all of them seem to have taped trump or put things in saves because anyone that has dealt with trump didn't trust trump and realized that trump may be keeping something on them, so they all play defense. very few people do you meet in the world that everybody around them is taping them and putting things in saves, because that's the kind of character he is. so i think when you look at pecker and now when you look at his cfo, everyone -- he can call them any name he wants. everyone knows that he would not take a fall for them. and whatever it is that they're looking for was to his benefit. it's not that he was doing something for someone else.
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this was all for donald trump. and it reminds me of guys when i was growing up and would hang around james brown, the music industry or boxing. he sounds like a mobster calling people a rat and calling people flippers. this is the president of the united states. and when someone -- i think you said in the opening saying that it sounds like gotty or mobsters. we're talking about him sitting on national cable television saying this. they didn't pick this up on a tape of him saying it. he was saying this where kids are in the living room hearing the president of the united states say this. that's scary within itself. >> ken dilanian, i want to give you the last word. i was thinking today about sally yates heading over to the white house telling white house counsel don mcgahn, you have a problem with mike flynn. he could be blackmailed by the russians. don't we have the same problem with donald trump, he could be blackmailed by a guy named pecker? >> of course. the comments he made to fox news were a travesty.
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every prosecutor and everybody who has ever worked in law enforcement in this country read that as a direct insult to their work. he was eventually saying prosecutors put liars on the stand, that every cooperating witness is doing it to get out of a prison sentence. this is how most cases are made with cooperateers and people who flip. every defense lawyer is going to put that in their case. somebody tweeted this week that nixon talked like a crime boss in private, on the tapes. trump was talking like a crime boss out in the open, as al sharpton said, for everyone to hear. it's extraordinary. >> welcome to 2018. ken dilanian, thank you so much for spending time with us. >> thanks. >> when we come back, come on, jeff. once again targeting his own attorney general on twitter. can he get him in a corner, rally support while they rack up pleas and convictions?
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it's almost like a nervous twitch. donald trump hitting away at his human punching bag, his own attorney general jeff sessions. the president fired off three tweets this morning once again demanding the department of justice look into all the corruption on the other side, adding, come on, jeff. you can do it. the country is waiting. and today new indications that the a.g. may not have a job for much longer. politico reporting senator bob corker of tennessee says he believes moves are being made to oust sessions after the mid terms. but can the president afford to fire sessions given how public he's been with his criticism? paul waldman, an opinion writer with the washington post thinks trump has painted himself in a corner. movie super villains often commit a grave tactical error when in a moment of overconfidence they tell the hero all the details of their evil plan. in this case he's told the entire world. from the moment of the firing everybody will be asking, is this another saturday night
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massacre? the nominee will be asked by every senator and 100 times in their confirmation hearings whether they discussed the matter with trump, what they promise and had what they intend to do. joining us at the table, jason johnson, politics editor for the root, and msnbc contributor and jess mcinto be, former clinton campaign advisor. joyce is still with us. let me start with you, jason. we also know the president is under investigation in the obstruction of justice probe for his public statements and private conduct as it pertains to jeff sessions. >> yes. so, this basically proves mueller's case. i mean, if you fire the guy who recused himself, you can have no other reason for doing so -- >> intent, right? >> right, intent. it makes it abundantly clear. which is why i said for months mueller and their investigation, they know they're under a clock. there is going to be a political and attitudinal situation that will happen. if democrats do well, trump will feel nervous.
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i want him out of here because the democrats will come at me with an impeachment. he's probably going to end this by the spring. we're coming to a crucial moment in the next five or six months especially if there is a change in the house of congress this fall. >> it makes my head explode when i see democrats taking up in defense of jeff sessions who is to the right of a till a tatill hun. jeff sessions is viewed in this action as recusing himself as having done right by the justice department. >> we have to separate the man from the institution in terms of what democrats are defending. jeff sessions was the democratic nightmare for attorney general. he has implemented some of the most racist policies this country has ever seen. that was what he wanted to do. it is what he state ed would do, that is what he's doing. let's set jeff sessions the man aside. the institution matters a lot and the disrespect being shown
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to our own d.o.j. is appalling. but trump does this strategically. there are two institutions that he undermines every time he feels like he's in hot water. one is the press, and one is the department of justice. because those are the two institutions that can hold him accountable for possibly committing crimes to get the white house. >> joyce, keep us honest here. the attacks on jeff sessions, "the new york times" has reported they are being examined by special counsel mueller as part of the obstruction of justice probe. but the president either doesn't read "the new york times" or does preside doesn't believe his under investigation for obstruction of justice. i've talked to chuck rosenberg and others. he could very well be a target of that investigation save for the belief that mueller is following d.o.j. policy which holds that he can't indict a sitting president. >> i think that's right, nicolle. the only thing that keeps sessions in the status of being a subject, not a target of this investigation, is the job that he currently holds. and presumably that won't last
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forever. he could either be impeached and then prosecuted or this could even form the basis for impeachment, depending on what mueller's findings are. i think, though, to go back to your earlier question, it's interesting to note that when jeff sessions responded to the president's criticism, he did two interesting things. the first one was that he defended him se defended himself against the president's charge that he failed to take hold of the justice department. by saying i have done a better job of implementing president trump's agenda than any other cabinet secretary. he pointed to some of the policies he viewed as successes, including immigration. so it was interesting that he defended himself against the president's attacks by supporting the president's agenda. and then he did something that we should have seen him do months ago. i was glad to see him do it yesterday. he stood up for the justice department and said, the justice department doesn't bend to political pressure from the white house. that was long overdue. it's important to say federal
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prosecutors, both working for mueller and in the southern district of new york, proved that this week when they indicted cases that the white house probably didn't want to see move forward. >> and it's important to say, as joyce is saying, paul butler. it's more important for the justice department to not be under a barrage of bull elets f the commander in chief day in, day out. >> it is important. it's also important to remember why sessions recused himself, which is because -- >> he lied. >> he misled -- >> he lied. >> congress about his own contacts with the russians. that's what this investigation is about. as far as the president now doing everything he can but firing him, jason, you're right. that's more evidence of his criminal intent, in part because sessions is the most effective cabinet officer at implementing the president's policies, including family separation. but he's doing the right thing in this investigation by staying out of the way and letting rod rosenstein do his job. >> so, here's my question. he wants to fire sessions. he wants to fire rosenstein.
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who is he going to put there? i mean, weisselberg has immunity and is cooperating. cohen is going to jail. i mean, who is he going to put there that would be his roy cohn? >> i think that what is the most disturbing thing is he's actually normalizing that you can tell a prosecutor, don't prosecute me, because think of what he's saying. he's saying if i knew you were going to recuse yourself -- >> if i knew you were going to follow the law -- >> your job description is you can't prosecute or investigate me. he's saying that in plain sight. you're talking about gangster, i mean it doesn't get any more gang. you mean you're going to investigate me? i would have never gave you the job if i thought you were going to do the job against me. that's what he's saying. so whoever he would put there, are you saying, first question in the confirmation hearing, have you agreed not to investigator prosecute the president? because that's what he says is among your -- who would want
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that job? whose self respecting prosecuting attorney would want that job, you are saying i am the president's patsy? >> the ball is in the court on the senate republicans because -- >> don't say that. that's crude. >> rosenstein is in charge until the senate confirms an acting attorney -- confirms that attorney general. before it does that, rosenstein still leads the investigation. >> everyone is on fire. we have to sneak in a break. joyce and paul, you're leaving us. do you have any last word, joyce? >> i wouldn't say under the vacancy and reform act the president can replace rosenstein with anyone else ho has been senate confirmed. he could slide someone into sessions' seat to run that investigation until he gets a nominee through the senate. >> scary thought. after the break, throwing in the towel. donald trump today calls off nuclear talks with north korea, a major set back on what he once hoped would be a foreign policy win that he could ride to midterm election glory.
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by the way -- >> i don't want to see -- excuse me. i don't want to see a nuclear weapon destroy you and your family. i have solved that problem. now we're getting it memorialized and all, but that problem is largely solved. hey, they've been working on this for so many years and they got nothing. i just got -- i just left, what, three months ago or less. i left singapore, we had no missile shot, we've had no rocket shot. we have no nuclear testing and we got back our hostages and i have a good relationship with him. >> it's a done deal until it was 7b9. this announcement from the president this afternoon, quote, i have asked secretary of state mike pompeo not to go to north korea at this time because i feel like we are not making sufficient progress with respect to the denuclearization of the korean peninsula. secretary pompeo looks forward to going to north korea in the near future most likely after our trading relationship with
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china is resolved. i'd like to send my warm est regards to chairman kim. i look forward to seeing him soon. nbc chief foreign affairs correspondent andrea mitchell. are he being played? is he playing his art of the deal like salvos to kim? >> yes. >> so dirty. >> this really blind sided a lot of people in the state department. yesterday with great fanfare they announced a great envoy to be in charge of the north korea talks. mike pompeo came out on camera and said he's taking this trip next week. that's the first time they officially announced a trip long rumored but they have been denying that anything was planned. and so only yesterday it was all systems go to north korea despite the fact that mike pompeo had twice had disappointing engagements with the north koreans. once when he went there, did not see kim jong-un and came out and was blasted by the north koreans as soon as he left. and then more recently he was
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back in singapore at an asian sum et, the asean summit. he left with a hand cheick with the envoy's counterpart. he was again criticized by the north korean envoy. they have been rude twice. talks have not been going well. there are no signs as nbc was first to report and others have since reported, no signed of denuclearization, per se. yes, there have not been any tests but there hadn't been any se tests months preceding the singapore summit. this was ballyhooed, precipitously announcing they are not going forward with the talks and also blaming the chinese. and it was obvious to everyone that the chinese would back off from sanctions as soon as the president had begun cutting a deal, you know, with the north koreans. why would the chinese take on the north koreans and exert maximum pressure as leverage after the president had made
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these grandiose claims about the singapore summit? >> and steve beagan is who was going on the trip. was there anythingbeegen was wh talking about. >> he's well respected. he's got a great reputation, although is not korean, speak korean, as the ambassador to the singapore does. so there might have been better ambassadors for this arms negotiations. he's not an experienced arms negotiator because worked on the hill. has a good relationship with mike pompeo and the white house. he's the envoy. they seem to be getting envoys in places where they need heft and have not been able to name ambassadors because of the time wasted by mike pompeo. >> andrea mitchel, thank you so
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there's two additional counts that it appears directly involves the president of the united states. michael cohen told the court i worked with a company to keep
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the information of the candidate from becoming public. he made a second payment in 2016 just a few weeks before the election. he said he was later paid by that candidate in restitution for those funds. the judge asked him, did you know what you were doing was illegal. he stood up and he said yes. >> one of the most remarkable days in our era. that was tom winter in the beginning of what might be donald trump's worst week ever as president. thank you forring with there in that moment. thank you for that moment happening at 6:00. i guess i should thank the helps above. i feel like we whirl past these things. three big pillars in place. you were the first person to stay on our air. you explain counts seven and eight and how they implicate the president. a lot of conversation has descended into the weeds. big picture, the president's
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fixer implicate the president in an i legal scam. >> yeah, it's a -- we have to look at it from a homework standpoint. the president's attorney stood up under oath and said the president told me to pay payments to two women for sexual affairs, which the president denies -- in a -- for the campaign. we have never had anything like this. it happened with bill clinton. that's a different type of scandal, but this is another major kind of earthquake moment if your nation's history. so yeah, we immediately go to what the president said about people flipping witnesses. then we turn into michael pecker had immunity. then allen weisselberg had immunity. there's still the core moment -- he was on the line right there.
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michael cohen is admitting his guilt and anything he says is under oath. that's a pretty strong moment. >> regardless of where the russia investigation ends up, the campaign was illegally influenced by donald trump who gave contributions to woman. that's why pecker sought immunity. would it be more than campaign finance issues? would it be a conspiracy to influence an election? >> i've been told clearly that as far as michael cohen in the southern district of the new york, it's over. i don't think we are going see any other charges. i don't think we'll see anything else tied to these two payments. if it was anything else other than the president -- it has nothing to do with donald trump. if this was a mayor, a congressman, a governor, you would be inviting me on to say, when is the mayor getting
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indicted? when is the govesenator getting indicted? but you can't indict a sit president. that's the only reason we are not wondering what michael cohen is going testify to in court. the next step, i don't think there's much with michael cohen, but on the political side of things which is where the the crime reporter leaves the scene, but for you is there going to be a political reckoning? >> the only thing they had left to say is you can't indict a sit president. it's the same place they have arrived on the russia investigation. well, collusion isn't a crime. how do we not have a serious conversation in this country about impeachment? >> i think we have to. their only defense is he's a crook. he tried to influence an election. he paid off a situation so it wouldn't affect the election but we can't touch the crook because he's the president, you have got to same or similar circumstance wait a minute, we have to change
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this. i don't think most americans understood that when we talk about checks and balances, they're in effect saying there's no check or balance on me as long as i'm president. that's outrageous. you have got -- he said it well -- you have got his personal lawyer saying that i hit this at his direction in a federal courtroom. how do we just ignore that? i thinks that more critical. other than that, it's just crime and criminals. you talk about the president of the united states directed me to commit a crime, and i'm pleading guilty to it. >> i agree with everything the rev just said. before we get to impeachment we have to talk about stopping brett kavanaugh. the fact that the president told a lie to get to the white house means he should not be salding us with a supreme court justice. >> where's that safe? i also want the tape of
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hannity's face when rudy giuliani said the money was funneled from donald trump. those are two things i hope end up on my doorstep. we are out of time. my thanks. that does it for our hour. i'm nicole wallace. "mtp daily" starts right now. hello, chuck. >> you have a credit today. congratulations. >> i gave you four seconds. >> i'll see you later today. lifestyles of the rich and infamous. ♪ good evening and welcome to "mtp daily." i'm chuck todd in washington. we begin tonight with what appears to be another big blow for president trump in a week that's already dealt him a lot of big blows. another long time trump confidant is now working with federal prosecutors. this time


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