tv Weekends With Alex Witt MSNBC December 2, 2018 9:00am-10:00am PST
thanks for watching. in today for joy today. she will be back next saturday at 10:00 a.m. eastern. alex has more. >> now you get the afternoon off. there you go. >> have a good one. >> a good day to all of of you in new york. it is high noon here in the east, 9:00 a.m. out west. president trump in d.c. with one bit of critical news coming in argentina. today new questions swirling over the mueller probe and the fallout from the michael cohen guilty plea. >> i have never done anything politics that was outside the norms of my colleagues and my contemporaries. >> roger stone saying he has done nothing wrong and there's one thing he is never going to do that involves the president. and a tweet that is making headlines. it involves her days as a
waitress. the last days, the last words. plans leading to a last resting place, how george h.w. bush will be memorialized by the nation he served. president trump running to the u.s. from the g20 with a china trade truce but facing headwinds here at home. members of congress pressing for answers. first, why did trump deany business dealings of any kind russia while on the campaign trail? and was roger stone a facilitator? it was publishing hacked democratic e-mails. >> i have never done anything politics that was outside the norms of my colleagues and my contemporaries. i have always made it clear that so called dirty tricks come up
to but do not cross the line into legality. on another front growing concerns. this line of questioning from the man who once said he would take a bullet for trump. michael cohen pleaded guilty to lying congress. he lied about his efforts to secure a real estate deal for the organization. cohen admitting he talked to the president and his family about it multiple times this past january 2016 which he claimed in his original testimony. >> it is coming to an end. the fact that he was lying to the american people about doing
business in russia and that the kremlin knew he was lying gave the kremlin a hold over him. one question does he have hold over him? >> we have more ton latest to the russian investigation. i'll be speaking with him in just a moment. first, let's go to chris tin nono -- christin. let's get to some of the headlines. what do you see them as being? chris tin we-- president trump announcing on his flight home announcing he had in fact struck a truce with china with their mounting trade wars. basically it means there will be a 90 day halt on tariffs. the president threatening to
impose new tariffs. he is not going to do that. it will give them time to hash out a broader deal. alex, this is significant. if they can't come to an agreement in the 90 days the united states threatening to impose 25% more tariffs on chinese goods. president trump making the argument that it will be better for the economy. we'll have to see how that shapes out. trump touting that as a win. he says it all happened during the dinner that you're seeing right there last night with the president of china. it does come amid the mounting headlines. a lot of speculation about whether some of the inner circle might face new indictments in the coming days or coming weeks.
he was saying he doesn't need to testify against the president. take a listen to what he had to say. >> there's no circumstance urnds which i would testify against president because i would have to bare false witness against him. i would have to make things up and i'm not going to do that lying to congress about working on a business deal on the president's behalf and candidate trump's behalf on the summer of 2016. it is something president trump didn't really talk about. i asked him about this before he left for argentina. he said look, he was still a businessman. there was nothing illegal about trying to still work on his business while he was running for president. he underscores the fact that all of that ended when he did win
the presidency. that is where this week begins for president trump who will of course like the rest of the country, start off focused on the passing of former george h.w. bush. >> yes. it is a question of legalities. thanks. good to see you. >> you too. new incite. breaking things down, you speak with a spokesman who said he exchanged e-mails with cohen. what else did he say? >> reporter: yeah. picking up where she left off. he is very powerful. it is his department that
michael cohen admitted to contacteding through telephone calls an e-mails in that guilty plea last week. he actually showed me on his phone what he said were the e-mails that his department received from michael cohen. we have no way of verifying whether that is the case. listen to the way that he depicts the exchange that he had with president trump. they are mr. trump's former lawyer. >> you obviously realized it was coming from the office of the candidate -- of a candidate of presidency. >> every week dozens and dozens are approaching this. mentioning possible investments, searching for contacts. >> this is from the lawyer. >> for us it's not different. >> but a future president trump. >> this is from the lawyer to the future president trump. >> this is different. >> for you he's a future president trump. for us it's one of the
advocates. i mean you to understand that. you to understand that. we have an e-mail address that is public. dozens are coming every week from businessmen and from where ever. because they become formized ill is worth knowing they are denying any kind of contact with the organization, any kind of business contact. here you have someone like him who is in the creme len talking so -- such a relaxed way that. >> thank you for chairing that with us. we have reached out to trump's
attorneys for comment. joining me now, good to have you here. i want your reaction right there about high up in the russian government there saying that he exchanged e-mails. what is your reaction to that? >> good afternoon to you. at the time the e-mails were being exchanged between trump's team and kremlin the kremlin had already begun stealing information from the clinton campaign and starting to release it worldwide to effect the outcome. i don't think it could be lost. you an eagerness to work with the russians both financially and politically. at the same time you also have don jr. moving heaven and earth where russian dirt was offered
to them and then of course this trump tower moscow deal going on. you have an eagerness to see donald trump collected. when they were confronted by it they collide. i think it is pretty clear collusion. >> okay. let's move onto roger stone. as you know, he is a former trump campaign adviser. he is denying the links. what are your thoughts on that? >> i interviewed roger stone with my colleagues. i read, you know, the constant amendments that roger stone had to send to us afterwards to update his testimony because of press reporting had caught him not being truthful with us. now, our position on roger stone is he has always been a self-proclaimed dirty trickster. no reason to believe he was an honest broker. as it relates to his
transcripts, his and many others we believe contain stages of lies and we have tried to forward those lies to bob mueller and the republicans have blocked up. in about 30 or so days one of the first things we can do is send the transcripts to the mueller team. >> i'm also curious about something you said, you have circumstantial everyday. it's about more than the trump moscow potential there. can you be specific about what evidence you have? >> i want the transcripts to be public as republicans promised but just so you know, the mueller indictment on cohen was -- it only related to a two-page letter that he sent to the committee. because our transcript has not been sent to the team they don't have the eight plus hours of questions. we believe there are other areas we hope the mueller team would
be able to probe. i will not violate our agreement. i wish the republicans would hon noir theirs. here we are almost six months after they closed the investigation and they have not done that. >> so are these the transcripts in which you think these are the pages of lies that other trump associates have lied to congress and about who you are specifically talking. >> yeah. >> roger stone certainly have had to update their testimony with letters they have sent once they were met meeting with the russians in florida. they did not disclose to us. there are other witnesses as well whether it relates to trump tower, whether it relates to knowledge that the candidate had about what the russians were doing. what we try todied to do is to able to test their testimony with bank records and
communication records to test veracity. we were stopped every time. without going witness by witness we believe there were enough witnesses that were not truthful that he should be able to take an mri to his testimony. we are not able to do that. >> in terms of moving this forward the incoming chairman said that he will leave it up to mueller to decide which witnesses lied to your committee. let's take a listen to what he said. >> we are going through the transcripts of their testimony. all of these transcripts need to be provided to mueller so he can make those decisions. bob mueller that has advantage of far more information that would allow him to vet whether what these witnesses told our committee was true or not.
>> do you believe that? >> yes. we want to put it in the hands of people that can do something about it. we believe with the 2020 election approaching the russians just as eager to participate. they pointed out they may have other compromising information. we want to do all we can to make sure that no adversary is able to interfere in an election again. >> in terms of how it may have the trump family representative ted lou tweeted let me ask ivanka about the trump tower moscow. oh right. she blocked me because my
questions bother her. how do you interpret that tweet? do you think it should inves gait with all of the efforts during the campaign? >> we should look at any family member who is attempting to work with the russians and was not forthcoming about it. we know that ivanka was a part of the dealings. he bragged about being able to get ivanka to sit in putin's chair. a number of family members did not minimize their dealings with russia. we are not doing it because there's palace intrigues. we are doing it because it is being driven by the president's financial interest . again, a country he has prior dealings with it is a u.s.
publication and we have done almost zero to punish them for that. we find out that the president has financial interest with them. we want to protect and make sure the president is not putting his transactional interest above u.s. values. >> one last question for you concerning 2020 what are your thoughts on that right now? >> i will be back on december 20 as their speaker. i think alex, you know, going forward, our country needs somebody who is connected to the american experience, the american struggle. right now less than half of americans are invested in the stock market. about two-thirds have less than a thousand dollars in savings. while unemployment is down it's not helping a lot of people. i believe in our country if you work hard it should mean you do better for yourself and dream bigger for your kids. i want to do big again in this
country. that is what i'm considering and whether i could offer that and lift the lives of my fellow americans. i hope to make that decision over the holidays. >> okay. you articulated very flinicely american dream. >> thanks. joining me now is carroll and charlie. charlie, you first. what are your top points? >> the biggest one is the sign the democrats are taking over house of representatives. they will be in a position to send all of the transcripts to bob mueller for what they clearly hoping will be intense scrutiny for signs of perjury. it is a pipeline that was jammed up because the house republicans who have been until now and
until january in control of the house did not want to help mueller. they wanted to do defense for the team trump and trump organization. all of that is about to change. you can see how eager democrats are to jump on that. >> how about in terms of for the president? legally and politically what do you think is the greatest for him right now? >> yeah. i think it depends what the transcripts of his associates show. another thing he has to worry about is his long-time bank of choice for the entire family and what it could potentially reveal especially given his complete inability to release his tax
returns. it could be a point of danger for him. the house committees are going to be calling back witnesses potentially under subpoena and they are not going to be able to get away with things they got away with the last time around when republicans were not eager to correct them on statements that were clearly false. we know he was not trooulful about the timing about the trump tower deal and not truthful with regard to what the president knew. now that the democrats are in this position to make the witnesses, you know, more forthcoming it could be a big danger. >> and in the wake of my conversation is there one that you feel leads most strongly to the president? >> i think what is fascinating
to me is that late night filing where a tonover bread crumbs are so casually. he may have a lot more secrets to unlock than the candidates, his desire to push for this much later than january 2016. remember, he is telling prosecutors he was conferring with trump's lawyers and ser ni people as he prepared to give false statements to congress. michael also says in this filing that donald trump was basically proclaiming from his particular podium that he didn't have any push on this project after the iowa kcaucuses.
that was the word he said he was getting from the white house. that was the line he towed and into confession lying to congress. i think there's a lot more he probably employee vieded with special council investigators. >> i will can you to stay with me. we'll pick up on late night and the conversations between roger stone and the president that have been chronicled now. we'll talk about critical timing, a leading senate investigator says it is crucial to understand that. also tonight at 9:00 on msnbc watch the global citizen festival concert. it is the 100th birthday of mandela. (chime)
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natasha, he mentioned the atlantic there. what all happened? >> so this is a lie again by roger stone. i'm glad you're giving me the opportunity to respond to that. he said he communicated with the flak for wikileaks. no he communicated with the twitter account. there is kind of a rotating staff. there's no flak that's controlling the account. the sing is he claims we edited the messages. that is also completely false. i asked if he had any other and he declined. he has not said how he thinks the messages were edited, something we would never do. it is more him trying to cover
up something that is significant. she correct that the w iikileak person said stop trying to make it seem like you're connected to us. the fact of the matter is he was communicating directly at least in october with the wikileaks account. the question is was there more communication and why did it seem like wikileaks wanted to reopen that line of kplun ca communication. >> you mean he was brushing off roger stone? >> correct. he said please stop making it seem like we are in anyway connected because it is hurting our campaign to release these e-mails credibly. >> okay. stone also said this morning that he has not been contacted by the special council. what does that tell you? >> well, if you're a prosecutor and you're looking into all of the facts surrounding a particular target you want to get all of your facts before you reach out to the target. >> right. >> i don't see anything
surprising from an investigative standpoint. i want to say that he said he didn't have any contact. well, the e-mails that we wrote about at the washington post earlier this week are so striking because he is alerted, hey, word is our friend in the embassy will be dumping e-mails shortly after i get back in the second week of october. that's roughly the context of it. on august 3rd we know that roger stone actually had a phone conversation with donald trump. remember, stone is one of trump's biggest allies, self-described dirty trickster. how many people believe that when he gets an alert wikileaks will dump damaging e-mails that he didn't discuss with it candidate trump. >> yeah. >> i want to ask you about that
in just a second. i know you wrote about him. i want to stay on the mueller probe because there is peculation about the timing of his guilty plea announce. let's listen in here. >> you said on thursday it might no be a cosince dent he waited until after he received the written answers to his questions from president trump. are you suggesting that president trump was less than truthful in his answers to robert mueller? >> i'm not suggesting anything. i'm purely speculating. i know there had been a four or five -- three or four month time out where he had not taken many time outs. it just appeared he was waiting to get the president's written responses before he announced this plea. >> anything to the timing there? what would be the purpose? >> we don't know what the
president said in those open book exam answers back to bob mueller about the timing of the moscow tower negotiations and when they ended. you know, trump world has let it be known they did not think that cohen's confession created any problems or incon ssistencies o that. the implication is maybe mueller knew this but was holding back. it was to see if trump would be dishonest answering questions about that very issue about when those negotiations sort of came to an end. was it before january of 2016 before the presidential campaign really got going or was it that koe ko hen has let us know deep into the campaign when trump clinched the republican nomination already. >> yeah. >> guys, i'm out of time. the corsi thing that you wrote about where you said he will not accept that as offer by the
special council, what does that mean? >> it means he may be susceptible of being charged by special council. if he is is not going to take a plea deal it means if he lied it is in a position where he could go to trial abdomen be chanched and go to trial and he is facing jail time now. he has been saying she willing to go to jail for the rest of his life. some how i don't believe that but he also said that he had this revelation about the e-mails that made him realize he was going to release e-mails in october. i don't think we can put a lot of what he says these days. >> okay. thank you very much. appreciate it. >> thank you. next, phone a friend, the legal aspects about trump's apparent late-night calls to roger stone. there's no excuse for what they did to you.
that you are a target? >> well, it suggests nothing at all. again, where is the crime? i have always made it clear that so called dirty tricks come up to the do not cross the line into lie galty. >>. >> roger stone denying he may have. it comes as the washington post reports the president made late-night calls from a blocked number. joining us now is msnbc legal and it. good day to you. i will get to the washington post report in just a moemt. your reaction? >> a couple of things. he says it does not cross the line. i think it depents what the dirty tricks are. one of the things is that he framed it not as just the hacking crime but as a crime to defraud the yietsz by interfering with our elections.
if others provide advice they could be added as coconspirators. he is saying i did talk about wikileaks. when people change their story he amended the testimony so congress. when people change their story it raises a red flag. people don't lie when the truth is something to be fired. only when it is something to be damaging. >> the fact that he is karging that it is legal, how do you see it? >> he admits he hired corsi to do additional research, he was dealing in dirty politics.
how dirty is dirty and does it become illegal? roger stone can never explain. i was telling your producer, i spoke on thursday and i asked him, how do you dweet out about him being in the barrel and he says that is categorically false. as we know you can say something false but we know that you have committed a crime. roger stone is definitely looking at his time in the barrel. he will be indicted for collusion we ch we know isn't a crime but conspiracy to commit some offense with russia as a hos style state. we know he has to amend his testimony three separate times before congress. so there's got to be that somewhere there. >> and to the point stone admits but is defending the actions to contact corsi let's take a
listen to what he said here. >> and like every political reporter i was interested in knowing what exactly they had. there was no response to that. if i send you an e-mail saying george, you should rob a bank but you don't rob a bang. >> yeah. i'm curious, is that something that would hold up in court? aren't you guilty if you're working towards completing it? >> yeah. what he said is not accurate. there is a crime called solicitation. if you ask someone to commit a crime on your behalf you're guilt dpts y even if they did not follow through with the crime. that alone is not true. it is possible to engage in conspiracy by agreeing to commit a crime. it did come to fruition. i think on either level roger stone is wrong. i think i share the thoughts that he is perhaps facing his
own time in the barrel. >> so this former trump associate saying unless mueller has tape recordings what would that prove? if mueller wants to prove discussions took place how could he do it? >> mueller has no shortage of evidence. they can be in the form of e-mails, recordings, text messages, etcetera. the news tightens so slowly or more quickly. w what we don't know is what mueller has. we don't know what he obtained because he had been having hours of testimony he has been doing. we don't know what he has but we can assume he has the evidence to prove his case. >> these late night phone calls reporting by the washington post, if it's accurate how likely is it that stone and the
president discuss wikileaks? >> it is hard to know. one of the things a prosecutor will often do is put together a time line of events to look at how things match up. as time goes on you learn additional facts that you can layer onto the time lines. it becomes significant later. i imagine what they would want to do is look at the timing of the calls and how they relate to other activities. it is hard to know what was said if it was only stone and trump involved. some times you make circumstantial infrances based on timings about things that happen. the calls alone are not going to be dispositive of anything. i think you can draw some fair inferences. >> okay. thank you good to see you. thank you. >> thanks. coming up next as we remember the 41st president of the united states one of his adoring sons provides a touching account of his father's last moments.
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>> what i will never forget is that as dad was going through his final stages of the transition almost every grand kid had a chance to either in person or by phone weigh in and express their love for this great man. all of my siblings, of course, were able to do the same thing. to have jimmy and susan baker there praying over him and expressing their love for him and our pastor it was a beautiful beautiful moment to see him. he didn't suffer. he was in the loving embrace of family. it was a prayerful incredible time to be able to share at the end of this incredible life. >> tomorrow the former president's remains will fly on board air force one to the u.s. capital. he will lie in state until wednesday morning. that is when there is a state
the fact that he was lying to the american people about doing business in russia and that the kremlin knew he was lying gave the kremlin a hold over him, and one question we have now is does the kremlin still have a hold over him? >> congressman gerald in addition -- nadler who is expected to be the chair of the judicial committee in january. it appears the mueller investigation is moving on several tracks. first, whether the trump campaign colluded with russia to interfere with the 2016 election. second, the trump's organization efforts to cut a deal for a trump tower in moscow and what the president knew about it, and possibly third, michael cohen's claim of regular contact with the trump legal team when crafting false statements to congress. let's bring in former governor howard dean and msnbc
contributor and political analyst susan del percio. in your mind, howard, the russian collusion during the campaign, does that take a backseat that there would have been trump collusion? >> it looks like there is a whole lot more this week than last week at this time. now you have credible witnesses and evidence that the trump campaign was, in fact, doing a business deal with putin, that putin was apparently offered a $50 million apartment on behalf of trump. so it's pretty clear to me -- then you got the circumstantial evidence of the way putin behaved at the g20 summit, basically refusing to budge at all and making fun of trump, which was extraordinary. you know, this is getting tougher and tougher for donald trump and his family. >> what about, susan, what congressman adam schiff said. of course, he's expected to be the intel committee chair come january. take a listen to this. >> the president continues to
dangle a pardon for paul manafort which only adds to the growing body of evidence that the president is engaged in obstructing justice. >> so he right there suggesting a pardon is evidence of obstruction. what about cohen's regular contact with trump's legal team when crafting a false statement to congress? does that potentially put the president in peril? >> it could, and one thing that comes to mind is that white house counsel mcgahn spent 30 hours with mueller's team. and i think that there could be some real significant issues there as far as what he knew when it came to the president's relationship with comey, the president's relationship with the russia deal, if there was anything that was coming out. maybe he knew about it. so i would be very concerned about those 30 hours. >> let's take a listen to senator brasso this morning. he's pretty much echoing the
sentiment on the trump tower deal. here it is. >> the president is an international businessman. i'm not surprised he was doing international business. cohen is in trouble for lying to congress, not anything related to the campaign or russian influence. >> so, howard, do you buy that argument? is it fair to expect businesses in the united states are trying to cut deals everywhere, especially donald trump and the kind of company that he was running? ah. i guess we're having a problem with howard's ifb. susan, have you heard the question? your thoughts? >> i did. just one thing that sticks out there, though, is that the president and michael cohen have been named in the southern district as having corruption with the campaign in the payments to stormy daniels. so just taking that off the table, there has been problems within the campaign. now, granted, it was a separate issue. but when it comes to russia, the president lied to the american public. now, that is not a chargeable offense.
but for what reasons was he doing that, and that's going to be the concern, and i think that's what we're going to see laid out by the special counsel. and i think that we have to be patient and see the whole case laid out because we only are seeing kind of bread crumbs now, if you will, and trying to speculate based on charges that have been brought against some individuals and the great reporting that's been done. >> yeah, some of those bread crumbs being laid out by the president himself, frankly, because here is what he has said consistently with respect to his russia dealings. let's take a listen. >> i have nothing to do with russia. >> she always likes to tie me in with russia. i have nothing to do with russia, folks. >> i have no deals in russia. i have no deals that could happen in russia because we've stayed away. >> how many times do i have to answer this question? russia is a ruse. >> howard, when you take all this together, how damaging is this if the president knew that he was lying?
>> legally it's not. you're allowed to lie to the public and that's not a crime. what you're not allowed to do is lie to investigators. one of the things i find fascinating is how much jeopardy is the president's legal team in? if the president's legal team was colluding with cohen to lie -- concoct cohen's lies, then they're in trouble, not just the president. this is a really big problem. look, trump has no credibility except with those people who sort of believe in him as a religious figure. he has no credibility. everybody knows that he lies, and the question now is, has he crossed the line legally? and it looks every day that this goes on that he has more and more. >> guys, i want to make a very quick and final sharp turn here. i think it's worth it because it is a tweet from alexandria acosta cortez. it raeeads, in my on-boarding t congress, i get to pick my insurance plan. as a waitress, i had to pay more
than twice what i'd pay as a member of congress. it's frustrating that congressmembers would deny other people afford ability that they themselves enjoy. time for medicare for all. >> what's she going to do about it? that's what her constituents will start questioning. sometimes you see people talk a really big game, but once they get to washington, they realize it's not as easy to talk the talk, you have to walk the walk. >> do you see it as a dig to establishment there? >> i see it as a dig to congress. it's been going on for generations where congress feathers their own nest and makes their lives a whole lot cushier than everybody else's in this country. and now we have the most corrupt president we've ever had. they're sick of it. that's bipartisan, congress doesn't like the corruption, either. we need a system in this country
where everybody gets covered, period. end of debate. we need that. it has to be universal, it has to be unfailingly successful. health care is a right, it is not a privilege. that is just plain the way congress ought to be thinking and they ought to be doing something about it. >> guaranteed we'll have that conversation. howard and susan, thank you very much. >> thank you. new this morning, james comey and the court challenge straight ahead. your brain changes as you get older. but prevagen helps your brain with an ingredient originally discovered... in jellyfish.