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tv   The 11th Hour With Brian Williams  MSNBC  November 26, 2018 8:00pm-9:00pm PST

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house win for the democrats if it goes their way. that is tonight's "last word." "the 11th hour with brian williams" starts now. the breaking news we're covering tonight brings the russia investigation roaring back into the news. he said paul manafort has lied to the feds and has voided his plea deal. we'll talk about the ramifications. plus, after a clash at the border that ended with the u.s. firing tear gas, the president now threatens to shut down the southern border and shut down the u.s. government until he gets the money for his wall. the government report that came out on black friday and paints a bleak picture of our future. tonight the president says he just doesn't believe it. he is in mississippi tonight because they vote for senate tomorrow. all of it as "the 11th hour" gets underway on this post-holiday monday night. well, good evening once
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again from our nbc headquarters here in new york. day 626 of the trump administration, and as we said, we are covering a major development in the mueller investigation. this one is about former trump campaign chairman paul manafort. his plea agreement with the government has apparently collapsed. tonight mueller's prosecutors filed court documents accusing manafort of lying to the feds repeatedly as they question him for the russia investigation, quote, after signing the plea agreement, manafort committed federal crimes by lying to the federal bureau of investigation and the special counsel's office on a variety of subject matters which constitutes breaches of the agreement. that same document includes a response from manafort's defense team which disagreed with the government's conclusion, and we quote. manafort met with the government on several occasions and answered the government's questions. manafort has provided information to the government to live up to his obligations. he believes he has provided truthful information and does not agree with the government's
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characterization that he has breached the agreement. both sides have asked the judge to set a sentencing date. manafort, who is now 69 years old, was convicted in august of financial fraud related to his work as a political consultant just days before his second trial was to start. he pleaded guilty to conspiracy and agreed to cooperate with the feds. now that the deal has fallen through, manafort could be sentenced to at least a decade in prison, perhaps his last days on the planet. it was widely expected that mueller would make some sort of move right after the thanksgiving holiday. that may be what prompted the president to write this earlier today. quote, when mueller does his final report, will he be covering all of his conflicts of interest in a preamble? will he be recommending action on all of the crimes of many kinds from those on the other side? whatever happened to podesta? and will he be putting in statements from hundreds of people closely involved with my campaign who never met, saw or spoke to a russian during this period? so many campaign workers, people
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inside from the beginning, ask me why they have not been called. they want to be. there was no collusion and mueller knows it. on sunday harvard law professor and frequent trump defender alan dershowitz said trump was bracing for what the mueller investigation will conclude and about the political threat it could pose to his presidency. >> i think the report is going to be devastating to the president, and i know that the president's team is already working on a response to the report. the president will say, ah, look, it's political. there's their account and there's our account and the american public will have to judge on credibility. >> during his two rallies in mississippi tonight, trump relied on his usual description of the mueller investigation. >> we have a lot of bad people, we have a lot of phony stuff like the russian witch hunt garbage. >> there is also news on another aspect of mueller's inquiry, the conspiracy theorist veteran bircher and roger stone
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associa associate named jerome corsey says they're rejecting the plea deal. whether corsey coordinated with wikileaks on the democratic stolen e-mails, corsi was interviewed today about his decision, he says, to turn down this potential deal. >> from what they offered, i can tell you it was unacceptable. this is a very politically motivated investigation from mueller, and they're trying to fit facts into their predetermined narrative. >> these new developments in the mueller case come as the president is now just weeks away from the new political reality of a house of representatives controlled by the democrats. to give you a sense of the scope of their victory, this is something. according to nbc news election data, quote, democrats won the house with the largest margin of victory in history for either party.
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the democrats produced 8.7 million votes more than the republicans. that finding comes as the "new york times" reports house democrats are gearing up not just to investigate trump but his family members as well. the latest gallup poll now has the president's approval rating of 38% while 60% say they disapprove. this is the fifth time it's reached that level in trump's two years in office. trump is also facing a crisis on the southern bordeeder after a k of unrest in tee juan a. they're closing factories in ohio, michigan, maryland while cutting thousands of jobs, white and blue collar. this as the death of a lot of known car brands and thousands of families without a paycheck a month before christmas?
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earlier today the president described the discussion he had with gm's ceo. >> i said, this country has done a lot for general motors. you better get back to ohio and you better get back there soon. get a car that is selling well and put it back in. i think you'll see something else happen there, but i'm not happy about it. >> let's bring in our lead-off panel on a monday night. not forgetting our lead story tonight, tori advance who spent 25 years as a former prosecutor. knox who was a prosecutor as well who has worked with robert mueller, and michael crowley, security editor for politico. good evening actual of you. joyce, i would like to begin with you. as you read this filing, let's just assume it's all bad for manafort. how good and how bad is it for mueller? >> well, it's not the outcome that mueller had hoped for here. what you really wanted out of manafort was a fully cooperative
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witness who could walk you through his story and give you details that you could corroborate. i think it's unlikely that manafort was ever intended to be a trial witness, but he could have been a storehouse of knowledge had he chosen to cooperate. so that's not the outcome that they would have hoped for. on the other hand, mueller has spent the last 18 months or so doing nothing but amassing evidence. he has rick gates who apparently has been cooperative. he has a lot of other sources of information, including bank and phone records. i don't think that mueller walks away from the falling apart of the manafort deal damaged in any way. >> cynthia, as joyce points out, i don't think paul manafort was going to take the stand at any time, but you do lose the ability, correct, of being able to cite him in any charging documents? he goes from being a big name in your marquee of witnesses to suddenly being discredited, isn't that right? >> well, a man convicted of 20
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felonies is pretty discredited, anyway. i would agree with joyce. not only was he not going to be a witness, he probably wouldn't have been the marquee in the indictment, either, but he has been providing information. he has spent hours and hours. so my guess would be that mueller did get some good information from him that he can build on, even though he can't use him as a witness and is essentially closing down his cooperation completely. >> and cynthia, there is also this way of looking at it. mueller knows more than enough about the case. one would presume that he neuman a fort was lying about the case, correct? >> exactly. the one thing we know about mueller is he follows the general rule for prosecutors, and we like to ask questions that we know the answers to. he's obviously been doing that with manafort and he's caught manafort in a lie. at the same time, the same thing happened with corsi, which is
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another sort of dual track part of the investigation. he asked corsi questions that he knows the answers to, and corsi lied to him and he confronted corsi with it. i'm not surprised that's the way he's handling it. we're going to learn a lot more in the coming weeks and months about all the things he does know, and i, for one, am looking forward now to the soon-to-be coming corsi indictment which if mueller sticks to the way he's been doing it would be a speaking indictment or an indictment that really tells a story about what was going on with corsi and wikileaks and julian assange. >> you know the method of communicating especially where former aides are concerned. we got the guilt did i verdict
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from manafort and then we got this from donald trump. i feel very badly for paul manafort and his wonderful family. justice took a 12-year-old tax case, among other things, applied tremendous pressure on him and, unlike michael cohen, he refused to break. make up stories in order to get a deal. such respect for a brave man. the president is clearly trying to be a sympathetic figure. what do you imagine might be going on? >> we do have to wonder whether the president is trying to signal, and there is reporting to suggest that there have been more direct contacts between manafort's camp and the president's camp about the possibility of a presidential pardon. it's still conceivable that manafort is -- maybe was willing to cooperate in certain ways and started getting questions from mueller that were going places where he wasn't prepared to sell out potentially the president or potentially other people.
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but if it was indeed the president, for example, he may have thought he would take the risk of giving untruthful answers skmoand hope that a par might be still forthcoming from the president. a pardon can't do everything to manafort. he's had property and assets seized by the government that he can't get back. he might be vulnerable to state charges if he were cleared of federal charges. and brian, i think it's probably a bit of an out lyer scenario ad it's highly speculative, but you have to think of some of the characters he may have come across working in ukraine, including the oligarch delipaska who has been known for frightening behavior in his post soviet russia.
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manafort knows about delipaska and appears to be connecting with him during a campaign. is it possible he got questions about deripaska that he wasn't prepared to answer because it could be dangerous? that's highly speculative but we have to consider that also. >> that report he was referring to was the "new york times" report back when o'dowd had at least dangled the possibility of a pardon. that is a weighty thing to dangle in the middle of a conversation. the question to you, joyce, as david gergen speculated tonight, this is someone who is trying to hide something very big or protect someone very big. do you concur with that? because clearly he is not enjoying life in prison. he came into court last time in a wheelchair. >> i think that that's exactly right. the question we don't know the answer to that perhaps mueller will give us some hint about when he files his more deliberate pleading in this
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matter is, what is it that manafort is sitting on? what did he either do or what did he know about that's so sensitive that he's willing to go to jail that for him will be a virtual life sentence in prison rather than coming clean with mueller. one suspects that's a weighty secret. we don't know if it goes in tandem with the corsi allegation that he had a plea arrangement with mueller that has now fallen apart, whether it's somehow related to the president turning in his answers to the written test that he took for bob mueller. we don't know if that's all related or if it's the special counsel saying in his filing, manafort was simply not truthful on a variety of topics, and at some point the special prosecutor became fed up with that and decided to pull the plug on the plea deal. >> counselor, you hear what your co-counsel slipped in there. does it have anything to do with donald trump submitting his written answers? that happens and a few days
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later we get this. do you think the two are at all related? >> i don't know. there is obviously a sexy argument that it was ole oleg deripaska or the pardon. he's been dangling the pardon. he does it not just with lawyers but with tweets right in front of us. there is a mindset of a guy like this. he's basically a grifter. he's been stealing and cheating and lying for so long that he just can't give it up. and there's something about the type of person like this that it's possible it's as simple as that and not necessarily a big -- you know, something bigger ask dand darker or a parr a fear of the russians. it's possible. >> joyce, quick legal question. will we ever know the truth here? will it come out in subsequent documents? >> i think that there is a good chance that it will.
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manafort says in the pleading that he intends to contest the decision by special counsel that he has breached the plea agreement. he is more than likely entitled to get a hearing on that matter, so it may well be we'll see information in written pleadings, it may be that we'll hear more about it in court. one possibility that occurs to me is that the special counsel doesn't have to list every way that manafort breached the plea agreement. they could just pick a couple of choices, maybe, you know, the least sexy, the least interesting ones but sufficient to show breach of the plea agreement. that would allow them to avoid revealing too much of their hand publicly, but we do know that mueller, when he speaks, often likes to use what prosecutors call a speaking indictment. a document that's very much storytelling in narrative and much of what we know about the investigation we know from his pleadings. that may well be the case here as well. >> okay, michael, and all along, the president is under water
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with six out of ten americans, fully 630% disapprove of the job he's doing. you folks at politico are reporting a bare bones white house counsel's office that doesn't seem to have a wartime concilary. this would be bad timing, michael. >> it is a house crash at the midterm elections and it's going to crash again at the president's white house early next year. democrats are going to have to take some time staffing up and getting their investigations running, but they are going to come down on this white house, to use another metaphor, like a ton of bricks, and it doesn't seem that the white house is prepared for it. you need an enormous number of talented, highly competent lawyers to respond to the kinds
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of document requests and subpoenas, demands for testimony that the white house is going to get on a huge number of different potential issues. so not only do you have to deal with the actual requests, but you have to be ready for the potential ones. you have to be ready for the investigations you think are coming. our reporting is showing the white house counsel's office is a little bit over 50% of capacity, where they would like it to be still not a fully installed white house counsel to replace don mcgahn, and you just have to wonder if they really know what's going to hit them and if they're prepared for it. and what is the result of that? you could have witnesses who give bad testimony that get them into legal trouble, you could have huge embarrass mts fments e white house, you could have process scandals that looks like you're covering something up when really you're just incompetent or ill-prepared.
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they were always confident the democrats would take over the house, but they were very slow at getting their ducks in a row. it will be painful to watch. >> we were still talking about football in our newsroom until the fueler folks handed us this breaking news story. i can't imagine a better panel to help us start things off tonight. our thanks for being part of our conversation tonight. coming up, our country has now fired tear gas at migrants rushing our southern border. and now threats from the president to shut the border entirely, perhaps shut down the government entirely to get funding for his so far mythical wall. the government warns so much more will be lost because of climate change. the president says he doesn't believe it. "the 11th hour" just getting started on this post-holiday
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we will not tolerate any sort of attack on our border agents like what happened yesterday or any attempt to destroy federal property, overrun federal authorities or bring chaos and violence to american soil. >> president trump weighed in tonight. can you tell he was reading that part off a teleprompter at a rally in mississippi at what's been a tense 48 hours along our southern border with tee juanij mexico. authorities used tear gas on hundreds of migrants who tried to enter the u.s. illegally.
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the u.s. government shut down the san psidro for several hours. teeter gas was used after several migrants threw rocks at border agents. the tear gas was fired mostly at adult men but some of it hit women and children, as this already famous photo shows, including maria meza, who is the woman seen in this photograph. she spoke to our own gabe gutierrez earlier today. >> when i see that photo, i just want to cry, she says, claiming that she wasn't crossing the border illegally but trying to reach it to apply for asylum. >> we have to show you that before departing for mississippi, the president defending authority's actions at the border. [ inaudible question ] >> they had to use because they were being rushed by some very tough people, and they used tear gas. here's the bottom line. nobody is coming into our
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country unless they come in legally. >> president trump also threatened to close the border saying, quote, mexico should move the flag waving migrants, many of whom are stone cold criminals, back to their countries. do it by plane, do it by bus. do it any way you want but they are not coming into the usa. we will close the border permanently if need be. congress, fund the wall. jonathan la mere, reporter for the associated press . alan, i want to show you a tactic used at the border before you decide whether it is usual or unusual. >> how did you feel when you saw the images of the women and children running from the tear gas? >> i have to say, why are they there, first of all. the tear gas is a minor form of the tear gas itself. it's very safe. the ones that were suffering to
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a certain extent were the people putting it out there, but it's very safe. but you say why is a parent running up into an area where they know the tear gas is forming and they know it's going to be formed and they're running up with a child? in some cases they're not the parents. these are the people they call grabbers. they grab a child because they think they'll have a certain status having a child. you know, you have certain advantages in terms of our crazy laws that frankly congress should be changing. if you changed the laws, you wouldn't be having this problem. >> so as we note the body language, we also note the verbiage. a lot to react to there, alan. how far from normal is this? >> like we were saying, there are several parts of that i would like to break down, but the idea of tear gassing and deploying tear gas in these kinds of situations, it's not unheard of, it's happened at the border before, but not when there are concentrations many
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women and children trying to reach the border. his reference to grabbers, coming across into the united states, there have been instances of that in the past, but after the saga of the summer, it has shown the vast majority of parents coming in with their children and why they're coming, i think, is one of the most important parts, is that conditions in el salvador, honduras and guatemala where a majority of these people are coming from are that bad. these folks know what a dangerous journey it is, and what they're trying to do is what president trump has urged them to do is present themselves at a port of entry to ask for asylum, but they cannot process more than a hundred people a day even though there are thousands of people in tijuana trying to get in. >> so jonathan lemire, we have a
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president at 60% disapproval. how does this play to his base wheelhouse? a lot of it in his estimation he said he was going to do for a while, is carry out the centerpiece of this midterm election. many believe this is what put him across the finish line in 2016. the the draconian policies he put out there is what he got elected for that his base responds to. what we're seeing is a step towards his reelection campaign. the images here, the tear gas, the migrants running for the border for that entry, might as well have a donald trump reelection campaign ad. this is ain't crisis he created, but he certainly has heightened it with his rhetoric over the last weeks and months, and what we can only call it is fearmongering. there is such tension on both sides of this issue and he's put the russian government, mind you, in a real bind as well,
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that this is exactly what he wants in many ways, is to have this sort of crisis here where he can look tough, he can respond, we're going to secure the border, he didn't back down even with the use of tear gas. you heard him say there was a mild use of tear gas. >> the good kind. >> the good kind of tear gas, and he feels that looking tough here is going to get his base to respond, and he feels they're supporting these efforts. >> so, alan, hardly mourning in america, but if we take what jonathan said as kind of political fact, we then learned today that mike pence and ivanka are going to represent the united states at the pen investigation. how does going to look for the united states? >> it just shows that this relationship with mexico is going to continue to be a turbulent one. december 1st is when the new
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president assumes office down there in mexico and it's already been an interesting back and forth between the two. lopez won office in part by being the anti-trump candidate. he said that mexico would no longer do, quote, the dirty work of rounding up migrants on behalf of the united states. after he won, things got a little bit better. they talked on the phone. president trump called him a terrific guy. lopez had nice things to say about trump as well, but just in the last few days, we saw what sounds like the president -- the incoming president of mexico starting to fight back. the u.s. and mexico have been working on some kind of agreement to try to formalize a process in which these migrants would be able to stay in mexico while their asylum cases were being adjudicated here in the united states, but then that quickly fell apart. and i think that's a clear indication that they're starting to -- that those fault lines are starting to be established, and yes, the fact that the president of the united states is not going down to the mexican president's inauguration is
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pretty stunning and i think it shows that this could be a very, very difficult relationship between the two. >> jonathan lemire, in the seconds we have remaining, let's say you're a federal wildlands firefighter in northern california. you're hearing the president talk cavalierly about shutting down the federal government. is this one of those issues that goes straight to the base, doesn't cut so well with others? >> i was with the president when he went to california two weekends ago to inspect the damage out there, just purely devastating. he seemed moved by it talking to the people who lost their homes, lost their family and loved ones. of course, this is another moment where shutting down the government may be a good political bplay in the president's mind to get this border wall and has yet to materialize. but it has other effects. certainly they're trying to manage. the northern california fire is largely under control, but there is still a huge rebuilding effort to come. it is hard to argue that this would be seen as a positive move beyond that narrow base that the
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president still seems so overly focused on. the fox news watching trump supporters who were there for him every day in his rallies but perhaps would not be enough to guarantee him a second term. but we have seen him time and time again not to try to broaden his base. he only seems to focus on those corridors. >> gentlemen, thank you so much for joining us once again on our brad cast. coming up, it just might be the hottest place in the world right now in terms of tensions. we'll have the latest on the back and forth between russia and ukraine after russia seized ukranian ships this weekend. a former u.s. ambassador to russia will be here with us when we continue. wednesdays. at outback, they're for steak and beer.
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