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tv   MTP Daily  MSNBC  November 29, 2018 2:00pm-3:00pm PST

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on a normal day, can't do this without our guests. on a day like today, we die for our guests. thank you. that does it for my hour. "mtp daily" starts now. hi, chuck. >> we'll keep it going. quite the baton hand off we are dealing with. if it is thursday, whose lie is it anyway? good evening. i am chuck todd in washington. welcome to "mtp daily." the president's long time lawyer and self proclaimed fixer, michael cohen, lied to congress about mr. trump's ties to russia and today's developments make you wonder if bob mueller is looking into a larger effort by
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the president to hide his business tigers to russia during the 2016 campaign. as part of mueller's investigation, cohen admitted in federal court that he repeatedly lied to congressional investigators about the trump organization's communications with russia about a trump tower, moscow deal. cohen said he lied about the duration of their talks with russia, that he lied about trump and the trump family's awareness of what was happening with the deal. and cohen told the court that he told all of those lies for mr. trump, although he did not say he was directed by the president to lie. cohen explained some of his motives for lying. i was aware of donald trump's repeated disavouls are commercial and political ties between himself and russia, which included that any contact with russian nationals by the trump campaign or trump organization had all terminated before the iowa caucus. as we learned today, cohen was working the deal well beyond the
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iowa caucus. the deal was in the works all the way through june, which was after donald trump became the presumptive nominee. as mueller notes, cohen was briefing trump about it, talking to him and the campaign about traveling to russia. and oh, by the way, on june 9th, 2016 cohen was working onseting -- on setting up a visit to russia. the same day of the infamous new york city trump tower meeting with the russians, including the russian lawyer from the kremlin. in response to cohen's appearance in court today, the president not surprisingly unloaded on his long time fixer. >> he's a weak person. what he's trying to do is get a reduced sentence, so he's lying about a project that everybody knew about. i mean, we were very open with it. i decided ultimately not to do it. there would have been nothing wrong if i did do it. michael cohen is lying and
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trying to get a reduced sentence for things that have nothing to do with me. >> let's unpack this a little bit. even though there were passing public references to his desire to build a tower during the campaign, to argue everybody knew about it is frankly just not true. if the deal was such a nothing burger as he claims it would have been, why did he go to such lengths in the campaign to deny ever having anything to do with russia. >> zero. i mean, i will tell you now, zero. i have nothing to do with russia. >> i have nothing to do with russia, i don't have any jobs in russia. i am all over the world but not involved in russia. i have nothing to do with russia, folks. they said maybe donald trump is involved in projects with the russians. the answer is no. no. >> everybody knew about it. everybody was talking about the trump tower deal. oh, right. folks, that's why today's news about cohen lying is a big deal.
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joining me, tom leonard, nbc investigations, mimi roker, and chuck rosenburg, former fbi official and msnbc contributor. welcome to you all. tom, let me start with you. this indictment was interesting in that it was filed in new york, mueller kept part of it. explain why this is not an sdny filing and is instead a submit filing. walk me through this. >> chuck, it is an important distinction, one that tells us a little about where it is all headed. special counsel robert mueller's mandate is to look into russia's efforts to interfere in the 2016 election, and whether or not the trump campaign had anything to do with that or instructed that. when you saw this summer, michael cohen pled guilty to a number of counts, some involving
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personal tax evasion, but some involving the trump campaign, but didn't have anything to do with russia, according to the guilty plea then, had to do with payments made to women for alleged affairs involving the president. today is different. in this particular case, chuck, we see something that may have ties directly to robert mueller's inquiry into meddling by the russians in the 2016 election. so he keeps that because that's part of his mandate. as far as him bringing the case to new york, the way i understand it, they've got a prosecution against michael cohen in new york. they have the ability, we have a sentencing coming up from the first case in august december 12th. what we have now, since they're ready to go to sentencing in the announcement in the charge that came out today and guilty plea from michael cohen today, since they're ready to go to sentencing, week bundle it together. let's do it on the 12th in new york. while the cases aren't merged technically, the sentencing for both will take place the same
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day. it is a matter of logistical convenience. the other thing we learned today, chuck, which is interesting and bears watching the next few days, the southern district is going to prepare a letter and talk about michael cohen's cooperation and how beneficial that has been. we have to see, it is a two-page letter. we didn't get the chance to see it today. presumably some point before sentencing we will. that may tell us more. from a logistical standpoint and because of current investigations in new york, this will stay here at this time. it is a special counsel case, the one announced today. >> chuck, you and i were talking beforehand. you think there's a specific reason mueller wants to keep this specific cohen plea in his purview for other reasons. >> tom explained part of it. this is within the mueller mandate. i think that's an important point. but there's another reason. first of all, chuck, practically a ninth count of conviction
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doesn't matter that much for michael cohen, it is all merged at sentencing and comes out about the same. strategically, it matters for robert mueller. if you want to use cohen in other venues, against other defendants in other trials and you have him under oath pleading guilty, having lied to congress, all right, it makes him a more credible witness when he says that other people knew about it, did it with me, also lied, also mislead congress, whatever. the point is that they have cohen under oath admitting to a connection between the trump organization and russia during the campaign which everyone else seems to have denied. it is an important step strategically for mueller. >> why put this on the record today? is he trying to -- why does he want it on the record? is he trying to smoke anybody out? >> i don't think it is a matter
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of trying to smoke other people out per se. i think that we're seeing this sort of different dots that we keep trying to connect are slowly actually getting connected by mueller. i think he needed to wait. cohen needed to be debriefed, he was in d.c., likely testifying at the grand jury. i think things sort of came together. he waited until after the election, and -- >> is this a coincidence that within days of the president submitting his answers to mueller, you have -- or right in that moment you have mueller ripping up the manafort cooperation agreement and essentially getting cohen. is everything coming together or do we think any trump answers triggered action here?
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>> look, i mean, i don't think it was sort of done strategically in the way that guilliani and company are saying of a trap. they gave trump an opportunity to answer questions truthfully. whether he did that or not, they didn't want to sort of give him the preanswers. if michael cohen had come out and the plea happened, trump would have known exactly. prosecutors try to keep information confidential because they don't want witnesses, subjects, targets, meshing stories to fit each other's. so it is not -- here they had to wait for certain things to happen. same with manafort. if trump knew at the time he answered questions that mueller knew manafort was lying, then trump could have crafted his answers differently. so i think what they did is they gave him an opportunity to be truthful on his own, and if he didn't do that, that's his fault. >> tom, it feels like the month of june is becoming an
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extraordinarily important month, june of 2016. june 3rd we know that donald trump jr. e-mail responds if it is what you say i love it, after being told the russians wanted to meet with him about dirt they might have that would incriminate hillary clinton. june 9th, the trump tower meeting. also june 9th, we know that michael cohen was having these discussions on the moscow project at that time. june 14th, dnc announces a hack, likely russians. and then he informs the media he is not traveling to russia. june 21st, manafort takes over the trump campaign. that's a lot of circumstantial evidence. >> we have to see, the way it was put earlier, the dots become connected. we still have links that are still out there, but it is a really important month. one of the things that certainly mimi and chuck can tell you
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about is when prosecutors and federal agents look at a case and again an investigation, the most important thing starts with a time line. so i think when you start to look at the time line of all of this, and even as reporters, we started to work on paul manafort and who this person may have been, and what their connections were, we put together an elaborate time line, almost 20 pages worth. when you start to look at timelines, it leads you to things. you see occurrences. i think you laid them out very well. you start to see occurrences that are a little bit -- certainly warrant extra scrutiny. you have to see there's a lot of russian activity that is occurring one month before, essentially one month before the rnc when donald trump is going to become the nominee. i think that's a really interesting time period, i think that's probably more about that month we're going to hear about.
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>> this time line, feels like we joked about it before, the time line is the evidence. >> the time line is the crime and the evidence proves the crime. so tom is right. time lien timelines are crucial. we start with timelines and documents and e-mails and telephone conversations. >> piece it together like a puzzle. that goes there. >> it is precisely like a puzzle. the difference is you don't have the top of the box to tell you what it looks like before you start. all of the pieces begin to add up. here's what's interesting to me. when you go back and look at the russian military intelligence indictment, the mueller team previewed that there were u.s. persons connected to that and now we start to see some hinlts -- hinlts of that. there are hints of the trump organization and family members also being involved.
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i imagine there are more jigsaw pieces, more shoes to drop, whatever analogy you prefer, to come. >> it is interesting, this is another win for the steele dossier. here's what it says about cohen. cohen played a key role in the trump russia relationship maintaining a koefr maintaining a covert relationship, and his role had grown after manafort left the campaign. another piece from the dossier, cohen is heavily engaged in cover up and damage limitation operation to prevent the full details of trump's relationship with russia being exposed. just because you keep proving one piece of the dossier true doesn't make it all true. once again, another piece of the dossier starts to come into focus. >> right. and every time that happens, people say we should have not discounted it so quickly. i think it is important what we're talking about here is mueller though is looking for
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evidence, and the steele dossier may tell a story that may very much turn out to be true, but bob mueller, the special counsel, and all of the other prosecutor offices involved in the different arms and legs of the cases are relying on evidence, not just a coopera cooperator or witness. they quote e-mails. we know a fact we didn't know earlier. putin's people got back to michael cohen about this trump tower deal. that's huge. do you think michael cohen just told them that? no, they have evidence of that. this comes back to donald trump keeps trying to make it seem like there's no truth, we can't believe what we see, but mueller keeps coming back with evidence every time and facts. at some point it is just going to be overwhelming and to the
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point that people are going to believe what they see. >> you wanted to jump in quick? >> we could read that steele dossier for fun. show you how boring my life is. it was a raw intelligence product, didn't purport to be a finished document and it is remarkable. >> there's your homework assignment. thank you all. up ahead, michael cohen admits he lied to congress. could there be others inside the trump inner circle that did, too. adam schiff believes there are. he joins me next. ♪
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ensure. now up to 30 grams of protein for strength and energy! welcome back. michael cohen's guilty plea for lying to congress is raising questions like who else in president trump's orbit lied to congress. senate committees are combing through witness testimony for misleading, untruthful statements. soon to be chairman of the house intel committee said months ago he believed multiple people testified falsely before his committee. democrats will soon have the power to summon michael cohen and others before congress when they take power in january. congressman adam schiff is joining us in a moment. first, let's bring in the panel. white house reporter for bloomburg news. howard fineman. keep it short as we wait for
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congressman schiff. i want to get the quick answer. over or underreacting to the news? >> this is a big deal. michael cohen has been with donald trump forever. he knows where a lot of bodies are buried and he was dealing with russians on the tower. this is a tale of two towers. >> i say it is both. on one hand, he is tied to the russian investigation. his prior convictions or business dealings. at the same time, donald trump did a lot of deals in a lot of places, he went and tried to do a deal, and the deal didn't work out. that doesn't necessarily tie it to election activity. >> the question is why are so many people close to president trump lying about ties with russia. you have michael cohen and papadopoulos, even jeff sessions couldn't remember his meetings with the russians.
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this guilty plea is closer to the answer of why people around president trump and the president himself lied about dealings with russians. >> congressman schiff has gotten miked up, made it there to the camera. the incoming chairman of the house intelligence committee. welcome back. >> thank you. >> you have been for months, both michael cohen and donald trump jr., you had been concerned you were mislead in committee. let me ask you this. was this part of a criminal referral? >> no, it wasn't part of a criminal referral because we have not been able to get the support from the majority to transmit any of the transcripts to the special counsel, so there's no way the special counsel can evaluate the truthfulness or lack of truthful n ness of witnesses so far. it is our in tetention to do th
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day one if not when we take over the committee. >> do you believe he has been forthcoming on everything else? do you believe this is the only thing he lied to the committee about? >> there's no way for us to know. the special counsel has been strategic about what he is willing to disclose publicly and when he is willing to disclose it. the fact that they chose this particular guilty plea as opposed to other things michael cohen may have admitted to the special counsel that involved the real estate deal, that it involved conversations he is now acknowledging that he did have with mr. trump about it, that may be only a part of what bob mueller knows that may shed light on other aspects of michael cohen's testimony that the special counsel is not ready to disclose. >> let's move to donald trump jr. you know what he said to your committee. now what you've learned in the court filing from michael cohen, what questions do you have for mr. trump jr. now?
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>> we are going through the witness transcripts, looking at donald trump jr.'s testimony, jared kushner's testimony, felix sader and others, what missing pieces does it fill in, what other documents should we pursue when we have the opportunity, who needs to come back to committee, who else do we need to raise concern with the special counsel in terms of truthfulness. we're undertaking that analysis now, and i'm not prepared to reach any conclusions. >> look, you have a ways to go, i get it. you're not chairman yet. you don't have the staff yet. i get that. you have mueller's investigation and a parallel track, if anything, farther ahead of intel committees in congress, he had a level of subpoena power that as you said you didn't have thanks to lack of cooperation on the other side.
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how aggressive can you get in the first six months versus what mueller is doing now? do you feel you have to stand back for a little while? >> no, i don't think we have to stand back. we'll do our best to de-conflict with the special counsel. that's how we started out our investigation. of course, things broke down when the majority decided their agenda was different and their agenda was to try to tear down the special counsel, not work in concert in any way. so we'll try to make sure we're not stepping on their toes, but there's a lot we can and must do. i will say this, chuck, it is not just a question of staffing, although we'll have a greater staff to be focused on this in the future, it's also the fact that the special counsel has the entire resources of the bureau to work on these issues, and that kind of law, investigative power we can't possibly duplicate. we also look to the day when bob
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mueller provides his report to congress because that will help guide us and what further investigative work needs to be done. >> do you think there's enough from what you understand about donald trump jr. for a criminal referral? >> i don't want to comment on that. we're still going through the transcripts. we ought to provide the body of evidence to the special counsel because among other things, he is privy to a lot of information we are not. there may be aspects that we have concerns about about a witness's testimony when it may be clear to the special counsel that that's only the tip of the iceberg. >> there was something about today's court filing that, and i'm sure you had the same feeling, which is well, that's not a surprise. of course michael cohen was lying about this at the time, and now he's not. i guess the question is am, is any part of your narrative been
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shaken by anything mueller has surfaced? >> it hasn't been shaken, but i'll tell you one thing i was left with a feeling of déjà vu about this, michael flynn. we know from sally yates was making public statements and others were making public statements on the basis of what michael flynn said that the russians knew to be false, and that meant that michael flynn was in a position to be compromised. well, donald trump was making statements that were false or misleading about this deal in moscow and certainly michael cohen was making false statements under oath about this. the russians would know that because the russians were on the other end of the transaction which means they were in position of exposing this anytime, any place they wanted. >> you say were. why past tense? >> because now it is out in the open. they can still prove when the president says michael cohen is
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making this up, the russians may be in a position to say actually there's quite self evidence that he is not. that is leverage over the president of the united states. and of course our most serious concern is is there other financial leverage the russians have, and this is why i continue to emphasize the money laundering issue. if there was laundering of russian money, the russians would be aware of it. that would be criminal activity, the most compromising. >> that's a big leap, congressman. where would you begin that conversation? you need to find evidence to prove sort of the money line. i know the theory of the case on how it could have been done, whether it is golf course investments and things like this, but how do you get at that? that's a theory. do you have some evidence that you can begin to sort of -- does the cohen -- i guess does today's news give you the
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opening to go down that road? >> today's news shows that the president and his associates were willing to lie or mislead the country about the nature of their financial interest in russia. i think that tells us one thing. it tells us we can't rely on what they're telling us. there have been credible allegations and statements by the president's sons about how much money they're getting from russia or don't need u.s. banks because they get money from russia and there are other indicia of money laundering that raise this serious concern which i think someone needs to look into. it would be my hope that bob mueller is investigating this but i don't know that that's the case and the president has certainly tried to draw a red line, tell the special counsel and justice department you can't cross this line, maybe they made a decision they wouldn't cross that line, but i don't think it is his position as president to be drawing lines and i certainly don't think when the national security of the united states is
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at stake that we can afford to just hope that these allegations are untrue. >> well, just remind people from a trump tweet november, 2013, i had a great weekend with you and your family, this is to his buddy. trump tower moscow is next. is that enough for you to look at all of the financial records of the trump organization going back to 2012? >> i don't want to comment on what period we're going to look at, the specifics of the next investigative steps. we have to prioritize as all the committees are, what are the most concerning issues, what are the investigative threats we were not allowed to pursue. if you look, chuck, and this is available publicly at the majority report on michael cohen, it accepted everything michael cohen said as perfectly true and proven.
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this, if anything, should show the flaw in the reasoning that you can accept people at face value when they testify if they have interest to the contrary. >> i am guessing the majority of that report may be in a shredder. adam schiff, incoming chair of the house intelligence committee. thanks for coming on. >> thank you. we know a lot of people would be happier if president trump hadn't been elected president. when president trump could be one of them. >> i didn't need to do this. i didn't need to do this. it is a lot of work, i didn't need it, but i'm doing it. hey there people eligible for medicare.
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welcome back. news about michael cohen has me and a lot of people obsessed. how different would things be if donald trump lost the presidential election? lots of people would probably be happy today. let me go through a list. donald trump would be happy. he could have built his moscow tower with his besty. paul manafort would be happy, he could be living in luxury anywhere around the world, sitting at a bar, not behind bars. melania trump, my guess is she would be happy, she could be living in new york. and she wouldn't have to care. republicans, they could be happy, they would have likely won 40 seats in the midterms and
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may have a 60 seat majority in the senate. conservatives would be happy, bigger republican majorities could be handy in impeachment proceedings against hillary clinton. rex tillerson, jeff sessions, tom price and others would probably be happier than today and still have their reputation intact. ted cruz, jeff flake and others would be planning the next run for president. and james comey, he would be -- no, he would still be at the fbi -- strike that. i think he still would have been fired. be right back.
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welcome back. we've got much more to talk about on the big breaking news of the day. let's bring back the pan em.
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all right. -- the panel. all right. i want to play this clip. he is confirming michael cohen's version of events and disputing them. look at how many times he denies having a deal with the russians. just watch. >> i didn't do the project. i decided not to do the project. so i didn't do it. we're not talking about doing a project, we're talking about not doing a project. that was a project we didn't do. i didn't do. i decided ultimately not to do it. this was a deal that didn't happen. that was no deal. it was an option i decided not to do. we had a position to possibly do a deal, to build a building of some kind in moscow. i decided not to do it. >> 11 times he decided not to do it, but it is not a big deal, could have done it if he wanted to. >> could have ran for president, did his business, worked with
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them -- i think he is worried people are thinking there was something going on in terms of his business interests and the campaign inter mingling. you look at how solicitous candidate trump was towards vladimir putin during the campaign, talking about how he wanted to get along with putin, how he was a greater leader than obama, watering down the platform during the convention. there are a lot of reasons to wonder why president trump or then candidate trump was willing to bend over backwards to support russia. this makes it questionable whether the president was putting his business interests in front of the interests of the country while formulating foreign policy. >> don't you think he opened himself up and what michael cohen has done, he made it more legitimate for adam schiff to say i am subpoenaing, i am going back with tax records ten years now. sorry. there's something fishy here. >> that was likely before michael cohen, but this certainly gives democrats more
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cause to go do that. the interesting thing about this development to me is on the one hand, yes, it is potentially tying business transaction to certainly more russian conversation, whether it had anything to do with election interference is what the special counsel is looking into. it's also just possible they were trying to do a deal and he was out being kind to putin the course of doing a deal which certainly looks bad as a candidate and presidential aspirant, but doesn't necessarily mean there was election interference going on. so this is one of these things to me where if the president would have said when he was then nominee trump yeah, my company looks at deals all over the world and do deals sometimes, and if the economics make sense we do, and if they don't, we don't, and it would have made
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sense. >> i hate to keep mentioning a movie reference, a few good men when tom cruise is asking jack nicholson that santiago hadn't packed his bags, why he hnlt call hadn't called a soul. >> the fact that he is denying or pointing out that they never built the building is completely beside the point. the question was what did he think he might be doing during pendency of the campaign, and was there compromise between the business and politics that led to the collusion that the special counsel is looking into. but i would like to make a more general comment about trump out there today as he gets ready to go to argentina. usually somebody that follows politics, i can't help but admire his skill at getting out of situations that might seem
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perilous to others, or overriding them, blustering his way through, being the donald trump who in an odd way is unbelievably skillful at running through the rain drops. >> is this a skill? i'm just saying. >> the donald trump i saw there is one of the first times i have seen him basically doing the -- like he had no explanation. it was so obviously contradictory that even he couldn't do it. >> couldn't do it. >> i think that's significant in the theatrics that are important. >> i was trying to figure where you were going. my first reaction, i was thinking i am going to play poker with that guy. he is terrible poker. he has all of these tells. >> that's one of the worst i have seen him defending himself in indefensible situations. >> you hear him say michael cohen is a liar and weak. >> weak. jump on the weak. that means he won't stick by me. >> he said that other people in
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this are not weak and are brave, he said it explicitly in the interview with "new york post," manafort, corsi and stone are brave because they're not cooperating with federal investigators looking to make a case about what happened during the campaign. so it is a very interesting dynamic where you have the president of the united states saying people that cooperate with investigators are weak and those who lie or refuse to cooperate are the ones who are brave. interesting to see that dynamic playing out. >> so we have this come out today, i think it is clear why the president is so agitated about mueller the past ten days, knew something was coming. >> also just his own questions. he submitted his questions and the manafort plea bargain fell apart and now this. i suspect they did know it was coming. taking a step back, looking at this from the white house's perspective, particularly if you believe there's no "there" there, which they have said all
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along, there's been no collusion, there's nothing to do with this election interference, it feels like you have an investigator that's probing every aspect of the trump business, the trump relationships, and one thing prosecutors don't do ever is stand up and say i looked at everything and i didn't find something here and i'm going to close up my shop and go on, and that's very frustrating as somebody working inside a white house. they feel like their business is being examined when there was no collusion and it is not appropriate. >> in fairness to most white house staff, they weren't on the campaign so they don't know much about it. >> the problem with that is, as outrageous as it may feel to donald trump and some people around him that the special prosecutor wants to look at his business, it is his business to
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be the theory of the case. >> not a proven case at this point. >> but you're looking for motivation. that's where the motivation ostensibly is. that's why schiff is doing it and that's why mueller is doing that. >> we're going to pause. this took an international diplomacy turn if you will. after the break, i want to dig in to that. stick around. meanwhile, potential 2020 knl candidates hit the road today. we'll be right back. moderate to severe plaque psoriasis. with tremfya®, you can get clearer. and stay clearer. in fact, most patients who saw 90% clearer skin at 28 weeks stayed clearer through 48 weeks. tremfya® works better than humira® at providing clearer skin, and more patients were symptom free with tremfya®. tremfya® may lower your ability to fight infections and may increase your risk of infections. before treatment, your doctor should check you for infections and tuberculosis. tell your doctor if you have an infection or have symptoms such as: fever, sweats, chills, muscle aches or cough.
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welcome back. we have the 2020 goggles on. that doesn't mean we can't focus in on 2020 because of the michael cohen deal today. what this was was her big first speech presenting a vision for a progressive foreign policy. >> we need to end the fiction that our domestic and foreign policies are somehow separate from each other and recognize that policies that undermine working families in this country also erode america's strength in the world. >> while the massachusetts senator is mapping out her thoughts on international relations, she may want to take care of business in her
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backyard. a new umass amherst poll has her trailing in a field of democrats in her home state. then again, that happens a lot in home states. cory booker headed to new hampshire next weekend. michael bloomberg in iowa tuesday, and tom steyer in south carolina the same day. haven't even gotten to christmas season. it is the season to plot a run for president. we'll be back with more "mtp daily" after this. sometimes bipolar i disorder can really get you going. but mania, such as unusual changes in your mood, activity or energy levels, can leave you on shaky ground. help take control by asking your healthcare provider about vraylar. vraylar treats acute mania of bipolar i disorder. vraylar significantly reduces overall manic symptoms,... and was proven in adults with mixed episodes who have both mania and depression. vraylar should not be used in elderly patients with dementia,
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time for "the lid." the panel is back. all right. the president in the south lawn q and a was asked about meeting with vladimir putin at the g20, should be on the ground pretty much now. here's what he said before he got on the plane. >> i probably will be meeting
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with president putin. we haven't determined that meeting. they would like to have it. i think it is a good time to have the meeting. i'm getting a full report on the plane as to what happened with respect to that and that will determine. >> totally was it ten minutes later word came out the meeting was cancelled? >> he tweeted from the plane a half an hour later. >> did michael cohen have anything to do with it? >> maybe a little coincidental. if you ask the president, he said it had to do with a briefing on the plane, how what happened with ukraine and the russians made it seem like he didn't want to have the meeting. you have to wonder whether the news about michael cohen and the trump tower and russia may make the meeting look less of a good optic for the president when he is down there at the g20 meeting with world leaders, whether he gets questions about whether foreign policy was driven by his personal, financial interest. >> you don't even want that
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scrum. say you're john bolton, mike pompeo, trying to get him to cancel, doesn't want to look weak, then they say the michael cohen stuff. okay. i mean, it is a theory. >> on the other hand, you could argue there would be no more important time for the president to meet with vladimir putin and tell him to keep his mitts off ukraine. >> do you think it is weakness? >> yes. this is one of the concerns that lay behind the whole appointment of a special counsel, a special prosecutor. you don't want a president's personal business life or personal life or any other consideration other than the good of the country and protection of the constitution to be why a president does what he does. if he is doing it because of concern of investigation of his business affairs and possible collusion, that's why this is a concern to begin with.
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i would like my president meet white gold him and put the wood to him. >> i have a different view. he should cancel the meeting, he shutdown not be meeting with him given the way russia is conducting itself around the globe, not the least of which is ukraine. the united states should not be validating people who are engaging in terrorist activities, who are annexing land and doing things he has done routinely, but howard makes a good point. the timing is bad for a lot of reasons. >> here's the thing. he could have done what you did a week ago, or could have stuck with it, but instead he chose this moment, which then complicates. you can't help but wonder how much did cohen impact this decision. >> and when we heard from sarah sanders, she told reporters the president was having briefings with john kelly, ambassador bolton, that's the reason he made the decision. you have to wonder if advisers said listen, last time you met with vladimir putin didn't go well for the united states.
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>> also raises the question if he were to have had the meeting and done what i suggested he should do, vladimir putin is sitting there. >> if he has leverage. >> if he has leverage, he has a big stack of it to tell the president to go jump in the black sea. >> in fairness to president trump, though, you are seeing presidential decision making in real time, which journalists have never experienced ever. he was considering it. they had the meeting on the plane, he decided not to. you saw the whole thing play out. >> do you take him at that? >> i do take him at his word. >> you hesitate. it is hard to see the news today and say that didn't have an impact, but i'm confident, at least the foreign policy advisers i know that work in the trump administration all were in agreement he should not do the meeting. >> correct. my point is, for a week they have been trying to get him to do that?
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>> perhaps, and perhaps they hnlt had the meeting -- hadn't had the meeting yet. >> a lot of time meetings are planned, and vladimir putin may walk up to trump. >> i think there's a 40% chance they meet anyway. thank you very much. i'll be right back. today, 97% of employers agree that skills like teamwork, attention to detail, and customer service are critical to business success. the kind of skills, that work for you.
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of the day. anyway, that's all we have for tonight. we'll be back tomorrow with more "mtp daily." it is a friday tomorrow. you know what that could mean at a courthouse. meanwhile, ari melber starts now. with breaking news tonight, bob mueller gets michael cohen to plead guilty again. tonight, washington on edge right now. you can see the building behind me. a lot of people are thinking about what bob mueller is doing, securing another guilty plea from a trump con if i -- confidant. this is the first public evidence that someone inside the trump organization was actively doing outreach to the kremlin in the middle of the 2016 campaign. on top of that, admitting to lying about it. this is footage of him leaving court. mueller revealing he lied about three things, trump's involvement in

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