tv MSNBC Live With Ayman Mohyeldin MSNBC December 2, 2018 1:00pm-2:00pm PST
i wanted to congratulate you on receiving the freedom of the press award that is dedicated to building asian leaders. >> thank you. that means a lot coming from you. and all of you for clapping. >> well deserved pnch. hi, guys. a lot to break down this hour. the walls of the white house must be feeling much tighter. the president lashing out as the muller investigation heats up with the new guilty plea from michael cohen and new denials from roger stone. cohen's plea deal includes new revelations, claims that trump was moving full steam ahead with business as usual even during the presidential campaign trying to line his pockets with russian money. now, all of this as the president returns from a g20 summit that included a truce with china and drive-by encounters with two of the world's most notorious leaders. we're going to take a look at that. we want to begin with new developments in the russia investigation. the special counsel now appears to be closing in on roger stone.
suspected of involvement in the wikileaks 2016 release of hacked democratic e-mails, but stone remains defiant and unwavering in his support of the president. >> this just came out. wikileaks, i love wikileaks. crooked hillary clinton, she's crooked folks. >> you're saying you never spoke to julian assange and never spoke about any of that to president trump? >> that is absolutely correct. i had no contact with a sassang. going back to the e-mail, i think those have been mischaracterized saying these dumps are coming turns out to be incorrect. they don't come in early august as predicted. >> that testimony really needs to be provided to the special counsel for consideration of whether perjury charges are warranted. >> there's no circumstance under which i would testify against the president because i'd have to bear false witness against him. i'd have to make things up and i'm not going to do that. >> we want to break down several
developments in this investigation. the stone situation, which hard evidence is they're tying him, rather, to wikileaks and mueller facing two key deadlines. by tuesday prosecutors will need a file or at least need to file a sentencing memo related to michael flynn, the former national security adviser. factual filing is due on paul manafort's alleged crimes and lies to the special counsel and i have a great panel ready to break all of this down. i'm going to talk to them in a moment. i want to go straight to argentina and keir simmons who has some new information concerning michael cohen and his admitted contacts with the kr kremlin and trump tower moscow deal. you interviewed the kremlin's press secretary. what did he have to say about the contacts between the kremlin and michael cohen? >> until this weekend there really have been two actors in
this little piece of the puzzle. as you mentioned, one, mieg all -- michael cohen, who talked about these communications with the kremlin. the other, the president who suggested michael cohen is a liar as well as saying everybody knew about this plan for a real estate project in moscow. enter a third actor. this is the man you speak of. peskov, one of the right hand men to the president of russia, vladimir putin. i spoke to him. he showed me on his phone some e-mails he said were the e-mails that they had received from michael cohen. at the bottom of the e-mail allegedly from michael cohen it says trump in capital letters. you have to decide for yourself whether you believe what he says next and what you're going to hear next. what he says is receiving those e-mails from the lawyer to the candidate mr. trump, he just -- they just received them as another american businessman trying to do business in russia.
take a listen. >> you obviously realized this was coming from the office of the candidate of the american presidency. >> every week dozens and dozens of foreign businesses approach us mentioning possible investments, searching for contacts. >> this is from the lawyer -- >> for us it's no different. >> it's future president trump. this is from the lawyer to the future president trump. >> for you he's the future president trump. for us it's one of the applicants. you have to understand that. you have to understand that we have an open e-mail address that is public and dozens and dozens of applications are coming every week from businessmen, from -- well, whatever. lots of people from all over the world. >> i asked him, ayman, what
happens as time went on? he says that, quote, they just disappeared. but these contacts are from the trump organization just disappeared. the question for many people, of course, is that a true reflection of what happened or there were other contact, were there other communications through 2016? is it really the case that the communication over the potential for a trump you toer in moscow just stopped? >> keir simmons live for us in argentina. it's not that often we hear from russian officials. good for you on getting that sound. let's bring in my panel. kevin, david corn, washington bureau chief. also the co-author of "russian roulette". ben is the editor in chief and senior fellow in government studies at the brookins institution. great to have all three of you with us. david, let me begin with you. i want to pick up on that interview that he just played
for us with peskov. nadler actually weighed in on whether trump knew cohen was lying about the trump tower moscow project. watch what he had to say about the president. i'll get your reactions after. >> the time when he can get away with lying to the american people all the time and evading accountability 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 we have now is does the kremlin still have hold over him because of other lies that they know about? >> so based on your reporting, david, what leverage could the kremlin have on trump and how could russia use this against the president? this could seem at least to the naked eye or to someone who doesn't fall it closely as an n
innocuous leverage. >> the question lied to the american public. he said that he, quote, stayed away from russia, had no business deals with them. well, we now know they didn't stay away. he signed a letter of intent with his name to do business with russia and he had his personal fixture, his lawyer, deal with not just russia, with putin's own office. peskov is the right hand to vladimir putin. you go to him, it's like going to the white house chief of staff over here. they went to peskov and said can you help us with this project? so the russians know that trump is lying to the american people about his interactions with russia. also, there's another dimension to this. at this point in time, the beginning of 2016, the russians are into their plan to hack the dnc and perhaps try to affect the election. you have trump coming to them asking for help. it's basically signaling to the russians who are about to and in
the process of attacking the american electoral system that i want to do business with you. this is collusion. he's talking secretly, privately, to the russians. it sends them a signal that i'm your guy as they're getting ready to attack the election, particular three attack hillary clinton. >> so help me reconcile something. i know a lot of people have pointed this out. we learned from michael cohen's plea that he had this communication with the russians. the president has called him a liar. he's called him weak. his attorney goes out and says that the written answers that the president provide actually matched up with what michael cohen is saying. if the president is calling michael cohen a liar and the lawyer for the president is turning around saying actually our answers match-up with what michael cohen is saying, connect the dots for me here. what did he learn from michael cohen's plea agreement? >> actually, the dots don't connect and we shouldn't try to connect the dots here. we should point out as you just did that, in fact, those dots
don't connect at all. if michael cohen is lying, then the president's answers shouldn't correspond with what he's admitted in this plea agreement. but in fact, the president's lawyers have to say that it corresponds, because they know that mueller is not simply relying on michael cohen's word on this. michael cohen's statements correspond with a lot of other evidence that the mueller investigation developed. that's why this plea materialized the way it did. and so i think this is another example of the president and his lawyers speaking at cross purposes, by the way, in such situations the client shouldn't be speaking at all. the lawyers should do the talking on behalf of them. >> good luck with that. we know that's never worked for president trump. kevin, let me get your thoughts on congress here for a moment.
a lot of people are asking what is it or how is it that congress can investigate whether trump knew that cohen was lying about the trump moscow tower project? even if the testimony was behind closed doors, do you think cohen told the president he lied about it and that's what made the president make his comments or how do you see congress getting to the bottom of this? >> i think michael cohen might have to testify again before congress and i think democrats are going to use the power of subpoena. we've heard this from verse likely committee chairs to call in and subpoena folks to come in to testify publicly. i think also what's interesting here is that it all goes back to that june, 2016, meeting in trump tower with the likes of paul manafort, donald trump jr. and a russian attorney and this is the specific time period that
michael cohen now says, june of 2016, he now says in june of 2016 that he was communicating with the russians. that key meeting happens around the same time. he had previously said that his communications with the russians ended in january of 2016. so that summer meeting still very much a focus. look, i can tell you that no one truly knows for certain when bob mueller's investigation will wrap up and what exactly any element of it will be made public, but it would appear that he is nearing the end of that just given the developments that we've seen. the bottom line, though, for michael cohen to completely now flip and be cooperating fully with the mueller investigation. meanwhile at a time when paul manafort, the president's previous campaign co-chairman is not cooperating, that's pretty interesting sfuf. >> let me switch gears from looking at the week that passed and look to the week ahead. special counsel facing at least
two deadlines. this week. prosecutors have until tuesday to file a sentencing memo related to michael flynn and then on friday a factual filing is due on paul manafort's alleged crimes and lies to the special counsel. what are you looking to learn from these upcoming filings, ben? >> these are two really big filings or at least they could be. in the flynn case, flynn has basically vanished since his plea. his sentencing was delayed at least twice, maybe more, between then and now, which is consistent with his being active as a cooperating witness. and so this is a point at which mueller is going to dirs close at a minimum something about the nature of his cooperation. has he been useful? has he provided important information? are there active cases that depend on his cooperation?
in the case of george papadopoulos, this was an opportunity for mueller to say actually, this guy didn't really help us. this was a fizzle out from our point of view. so what they say about flynn will be really interesting to see. in the case of manafort, we know there's been fireworks behind the scenes because mueller came out and said the guy is in breach of his plea agreement, he's lying and he committed crimes. "the new york times" turned around and reported his lawyer was back channeling stuff to the white house through a continued joint defense agreement. so i think we're going to learn some degree of chapter and verse on what mueller thinks manafort has done in this filing. so this is -- these are two really significant filings that are coming up. >> another busy week ahead indeed. david, let me get your thoughts on somebody else that is now increasingly or at least appears to be the cross hairs of the special counsel, roger stone.
what is your take on roger stone s -- stone? are you expecting him to flip? >> roger stone is a long-time dirty trickster conspiracy theorist whose defense now is that he lied publicly. i have this quote in front of me from august. i actually have communicated with assange. he toll a bunch of republicans in august of 2016. now he says i lied. i didn't communicate with assange. so i think anything he says to abc news or to any other reporters talking these days cannot be believed. was he hyping back then his influence? his influence with donald trump who he says he was in regular contact with? he toll me that during the campaign as well, or was he not? is he downplaying things at this point in time? so i do think it's obvious that mueller finds him interesting and important and has been sort
of circling around him and stone himself said he believes he's going to be indicted for something or another. so how to sort this out, i don't know. i am betting a guy with subpoena power like bob mueller can get to the truth here. >> it seems like that list of people gets shorter and shorter. kevin, ben, appreciate it. david, stick around for us. we'll talk to you again in a little bit. coming up, trump on the world stage. is a last minute trade truce with china off to offset uncomfortable moments at the g20. and memories continue to pour in from george herbert walker bush including this. >> it was an improvised ha handshake. i'm not bros with him. >> hey, buddy. >> wait. i thought i was your number one. >> oh, you're not my side piece.
warm and gracious man who always understood the power in being able to laugh at yourself. >> thousand points of like still operating. coming in from all those areas. not going to do it. not going do it. >> dana, george bush here. i'm watching do you your impression of me and i've got to say, it's nothing like me. it bears no resemblance. it's bad. >> what a difference in the political reality of today's world. today's politicians across the spectrum shared their thoughts on the late president george h.w. bush. >> well, i think that no doubt what he will be remembered as our most successful one-term president and perhaps the most successful -- one of the most successful presidents of all time. >> the naegz wtion was lucky to him. >> president bush was a patriot and a good person.
>> everyone got a smile. everyone got a handshake. everyone got respect. he never rested in his work and dedication to the american people. >> he was essentially fully prepared to be a foreign policy president and he was a successful one, a very successful one. >> in addition to these people, thousands more paid their respects to bush last night at his president at library at texas a&m university with a candle light jig candlelight vigil. tammy leitner is there. >> reporter: people have been coming all day to pay their respects. one of the reason system that former president george bush and barbara really spent a lot of time here. they actually had an apartment behind the library and this was also the site of where he landed for several of his sky dives. it's about 90 acres, the library and the museum. it really shows the different stages of his life.
this is one of the most popular exhibits i'm told, the oval office people like to sit in the chair where he actually sat. one thing that people don't know, though, collin powell used to sit here on the side of the desk and in here there's a phone that goes directly to the pentagon. this is called a partner desk. it was meant for people to sit on both sides of it. he's the only president that had one of these partner desks. if you come over here and take a look, inside the second drawer down he used to keep his baseball glove from his days playing at yale. we've been speaking people the last two days coming through here. claire, you actually live here. you've been here before. why did you come back? >> well, i came with my husband and my mother-in-law. we just wanted to pay our respects to a man, to a former president that we truly admire and respect. and i really appreciate all that he's done for our country. >> thank you so much, claire,
for talking to us. ayman, the library and museum will be open extended hours today. it will also be open tomorrow. then it will be closed as they prepare for his burial which will happen here. >> tammy leitner live for us in college station texas. still to come, president trump goes away from the g20 with a deal on tariffs with china. we'll go live to beijing with reaction.
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welcome back, everyone. president trump's return to the world stage at this year's g20 summit grabbing headlines overseas. >> donald trump pulled the breaking news trigger by tweeting right on the plane i won't meet with putin because of ukraine. the u.s. administration made it clear that we're trying to send a strong message to russia. >> we have these rising tensions between the united states and russia over ukraine. trade tensions between the united states and china. and then we throw into that mix, of course, the presence of the saudi arabia leader. >> hopes china and the u.s. might resolve their deep differences over trade. >> a trade war truce also the focus of international media
outlets. >> and on the sidelines at the g20, president trump and chinese leader xi jinping reached a deal to keep their countries trade tensions from escalating, at least for a while. >> there needs to be a cooling off period. donald trump has been reassessing, especially after 15,000 jobs disappeared at gm. >> and trump's america first policy highlighted. trump diverges from partners on climate change and points out that the u.s. stands apart as g20 summit stumbles saying, quote, donald trump struck his own deals and angered allies. ambassador chris hill, former ambassador to iraq and south korea. uri freedman. and janice who is live in beijing china for us. janice, let's begin with you. we'll start with the trade war and the announced truce, so to
speak. is this deal a substantial breakthrough for you two countries and how is the news playing out in china? >> this isn't a breakthrough. it's more like a postponement. this is just a deal to try to deescalate tensions. if we look at the issues over the last eight months that have fueled the conflict, there have been no substantial changes. there isn't the sense there are going to be those changes that underpinned the u.s. complaints that justified the tariffs p just 90 days. in terms of how it's playing here, it's being seen as xi jinping having the upper hand. an editorial in the global times suggesting the chinese public needs to remember the rest of the world does things differently. it's not china is tthat is goint
on its own. it's the rest of the world that needs to keep up with china and how it goes about doing business. i was just going to add there are no specifics also on the one thing that was held up in this deal in that china would be buying more farm products. certainly good news and a balance for soybeans farmers in the united states, but no specifics from china on how much they'll buy, when they'll buy it, no timeline. so essentially no guarantee that they're going to follow through on what is still a promise. >> so ambassador hill, let me pick up on that for a moment. the president obviously is going to weigh in on this. in fact, here's what he had to say about the deal on board air force one. >> it's an incredible deal. if it happens, it goes down as one of the largest deals ever made. it's a deal between the united states and china made by the president and the president. >> the president and the president. i'm not quite sure what that means at this point, but let me
get your take on this so-called trade cease-fire. it's technically a trade in the sense that it's not being escalated, but the president is pitting this as a deal. what is your take on this? >> obviously it's not a massive accomplishment. it just kicks the can down the road. by the standards of the trump administration, we should be declaring a national holiday. he's come back from a summit without making the world a much more dangerous place for once. we have to look at the fact that he has finally woken up and realized he can't just bully his way through all these trade issues. i think the chinese have kind of brought to bear some of their well known sense of pragmatism and they probably are going to try to buy more products. they're expecting the trump administration to back off and i suspect that's going to happen. it's quite right that we've gotten very little in terms of
ipr, intellectual property rights protection. but compared to what was going on a week ago, we could see our stock market tanking largely over this china issue, i think it's a step in the right direction as was the mexico/canada nafta 1.01 or whatever they want to call it. >> janice, let me ask you about another component of this announcement which is that china has agreed to designate fentanyl, a controlled substance. that is something very important for the united states. they've been pushing hard for it given the problems that we've had here with opioid addiction. explain to us the significance of that decision by the chinese government. >> well, i think it was significant that this was the issue that came up first at this dinner between president trump and xi jinping above the trade war issue that's obviously been lingering. this is an issue that president trump called out china on in augusto twitter saying that china simply had to do more.
what has been happening, despite china being identified as the biggest producer of illicit fentanyl, the laws here have been able to be skirted. the manufacturers and exporters of fentanyl and fentanyl like products have modified their formulas to include molecules that have similar effects on the body but were able to skirt the laws th laws that are currently in place here. if there is follow through on this, it will mean that fentanyl will be considered a controlled substance abuse here. what that ultimately means it extends the power of chinese law to go after these producers and to make them subject to the maximum possible punishment which here is the death penalty. so this could be seen as a significant step in the war against fentanyl which of course is a huge national security issue not only for the united states but for china as well. >> i know that president trump surprised many by canceling his
meeting with the russian president vladimir putin at the g20. he was saying it was over the issue of ukraine and the fact that russians ceased ukrainian sailors and two navy vessels. he also avoided putin for most of the summit, but according to the white house they did have an informal conversation. does it negate the fact they had this discussion if the president was trying to posture on the world stage saying he's kaucancd the meeting? do we even know what they discu discussed? >> they exchanged plaes an plea. president trump has tried two different modes with putin. we saw in finland, he said i'm going to meet with him but i'm not going to confront him. here the decision was i am going to want meet with him. he hasn't yet tried i'm not
going to meet with him and confront him on the issues that decide us. that is not a good taboo in diplomacy. macron had a press conference where he stood next to vladimir putin and you were use interfering and if you use -- there is another alternative to the approach donald trump took, but here he really did take an approach of avoiding putin. beyond some exchanges at both the russian government and the u.s. government acknowledged, there really wasn't much of substance that they discussed. i think president trump was trying to say there, you know, we are taking a hard line. the alternative explanation is this is domestic politics and international politics colliding and the mueller probe is heating up. they didn't want the optics. of course the state department, mike pompeo denies that and says this was all about russia -- let me ask you about exchanges that happened at that level.
they can be awkward. there is one exchange that happened this summit that caught the attention of the world. it is this video we're playing of the saudi crown prince mohammad bin salman essentially being greeted by the russian president vladimir putin. what message does that convey on the world stage given the history of these two and given the spotlight that has been on the crown prince? >> well, certainly from the crown prince's point of view, he's trying to show that he's been normalized around the world and it's very helpful for him. i think in putin a case, it's just a case of somebody saying i can do what i want and i don't care about what you think i'm doing. this issue with the saudi system going to be a big problem going down the road. it's a problem for everybody. the saudis are not going to turn to the russians. i think that's more theater. the question is how are we going to manage this? because what we've got right now is kind of a place holder. we don't have a clear policy going forward. >> absolutely. especially with the change of
leaderships in both countries in the years ahead, how are they going to deal with this history? before we let you go, i wanted to ask you about your recent reporting on the chinese internment camps. you reported one million muslims mostly uighurs have vanished into these camps. what more can you tell us? >> in terms of the chinese perspective, despite the rest of the world and the mounting fury over these camps, calling the largest internment of civilians in the world today, some people calling sm calling them concentration camps, china sees it as a public relations problem. these are job education centers, job training centers. it's all about voluntecational training as their way to fight extremism. the problem, of course, is that simply does not mesh with what other people are saying. we went to kazakhstan. we spoke with a former detainee.
he said it's very much a roundup. people are classified as either too religious. they're pegged for traveling abroad. or in some cases there are some petty criminals that are being pulled into this system. he described prison like conditions that are designed to indoctrinate people, to put them back out into society once they are released from these camps in order to be compliant and loyal to the state. in our efforts to try to report on this, we were stopped at every step from the moment we arrived at the airport. we were followed. we were questioned at the hotel. we couldn't leave without being tailed by four cars. this is really a narrative that china is trying to control. and one that they were flatly denying just two months ago. >> i encourage all of our viewers to catch the full piece
at nbc news kom. michael cohen's new guilty plea reveals information about donald trump's efforts to make a deal for trump tower in moscow far into his presidential campaign. what it shows about how trump did business for years. it powerfully cleans from floors to carpets, even pet hair, with ease, and now for cleaning surfaces above the floor, it comes with a built in shark handheld. one dock, two sharks. the shark ion robot cleaning system. tailored recommendations, tax-efficient investing strategies, and a dedicated advisor to help you grow and protect your wealth. fidelity wealth management.
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celebrated today. watch this. ♪ the first name is free ♪ ♪ >> so that was grammy winning artist pharrell performing his hit "fwrreedom". the festival is celebrating nelson mandela on the 100th anniversary of his birthday. al sharpton and joy reed will host special coverage of the festival tonight. it begins 9:00 p.m. eastern only on msnbc. a gleaming new trump tower in moscow, that was the prize donald trump was chasing along with his presidential dreams back in 2016. according to michael cohen's new
guilty plea, we'll take a look at the trump business mod. an emergency meeting called in paris by president emmanuel macron to discuss the violent riots. security forces are being asked to prepare for future protests. angry groups torched a monument. 133 have been injured and 412 have been arrested during the riots so far. yet it's very gentle on the denture itself. polident consists of 4 powerful ingredients that work together to deep clean your denture in hard to reach places.
he put out a statement talking about a project which was essentially i guess more or less of an option that we were looking at in moscow. everybody knew about it. it was written about in newspapers. i didn't do the project. i decided not to do the project. >> that was president trump saying pursuing a trump tower deal in moscow even during his campaign, president at campaign, was just business as usual. so this after trump's former fixer michael cohen pled guilty to lying to congress about the president's pursuit of that property while also running for president. the president followed up with a tweet saying, quote, lightly looked at doing a building somewhere in russia. put up zero money, zero
guarantees, and didn't do the project. witch hunt. joining me now is david johnston and david corn, washington bureau chief is back with us once again. david johnston, let me begin with you, if i may. the president's exact words, put up zero money, zero guarantees. that seems like it could be the model for the trump organization, most of the deals overseas, actually. was this just business as usual? is it fair to say that it is business as usual if the president was just considering putting his name on a tower in russia? >> donnalald's typical business deal has no money. the only deal he's ever done was the scam called trump university where he put up a million dollars of seed money. so his standard deal is other people do the financing and the guarantees. donald just signs his name, gets a fee, and promises to show up, which he doesn't always do, by the way. and of course, this completely
undoes his claims that i had no connections, no dealings with russia. he was doing this right up to the point where he knew he was going to be the republican nominee for president. >> david, one things the language the president uses is his verbiage. he tends to say, "i didn't," "i don't have," tries to keep it in the present tense to suggest he didn't explore it, necessarily. now he doesn't have any leverage. and we know that years after claiming he has no deals with russia, he claims his interest in moscow trump tower or trump hotel was actually not a secret. what is the significance of whether or not the deal was publicly known or not? >> it wasn't publicly known. he lied when he just said that on the white house lawn. one of many lies i noted early i think in the show that he said during the campaign and after the campaign. i stayed away from russia. that's a lie, too. so this was a secret deal. it wasn't the first time, you
know, in the book that i wrote with mike isikoff, we deal in 2013 and 2014 after the miss universe contest, he had a kede to build a tower in russia too that fell apart in part because of the invasion of ukraine by putin. so i think what's really big here is that while he's running for president and saying he's going to be an american-first candidate, he is secretly basically besieging the office of vladimir putin to help him getting a deal through. and he also knows, as in 2013, 2014, you can't do a gigantic $100 million deal, $1 billion deal in russia if putin doesn't like you. so he's out there publicly saying all these positive things about putin. why? one reason could be he wanted to do a deal there. so he was thoroughly, thoroughly compromised as a candidate for president, and he never shared
that with any of the american voters while he was running. >> david, i saw you -- david k. johnson, i saw you shaking your head. do you want to hop in and give me your two cents? >> i think that david said is exactly correct, and the book that david did with mike isikoff is a really valuable guide to what was going on during this era. understand that donald trump's entire career is based on fake news. he plants stories about things, i'm the biggest developer in new york. not even close. i have the most successful casinos. not really. you know, i'm dating these three famously beautiful women, two of whom he's never met and one of whom says he's a lunatic. it is the acceptance of these stories for 30 years by most journalists that got trump where he is today. so lying to him has actually helped him. it makes sense that, of course, he doesn't see anything wrong with telling the biggest whopper in the world. and when you show it's false, what does he say? fake news. >> so let me play you guys this
sound bite. this is the incoming house judiciary chairman -- excuse me, jerry nadler. i should say, it's not a sound bite but him saying that cohen's guilty plea is proof of russian leverage over trump, something he said earlier on the sunday morning shows. david corn, do you agree with jerry nadler, incoming chair of the house judiciary committee? >> well, i think this is what he's getting at. trump is telling the american public during the campaign, i have nothing to do with russia. never had anything to do with russia. it's all fake, nothing, nothing, nothing. well, putin's own office who trump -- michael cohen had contacted on behalf of trump, knows that's a lie. they know that trump is not -- is lying when he says he had nothing to do with russia, because they heard from him. and they also know about the deal in 2013 and 2014. so that, you know -- knowing he's lying to the public conceivably could have given him -- could have given the
russians some element of leverage over him, because he's obviously keeping this a secret for a reason. could he actually have won the republican nominee if he said he was working with putin privately at the -- while he was running? i don't know. so that's a big piece of information for the russians to know that the public doesn't know. >> so david johnson, as a businessman, president trump has made a lot of money from both russia and saudi arabia. he's boasted about that. he's talked about how saudi arabians bought millions of dollars of condos in his towers. and though he has been back and forth about this business dealing, take a listen to this. >> i like the saudis. they're very nice. i make a lot of money with them. they buy all sorts of my stuff. all kinds of toys from trump much they pay me millions and hundreds of millions. i have nothing to do with -- just so you understand. i don't make deals with saudi arabia. i don't have money from saudi arabia. i have nothing to do with saudi
arabia. i couldn't care less. i have no dealings with russia. no deals in russia. i have no deals that could happen in russia, because we've stayed away. i have nothing to do with russia. i have no investments in russia. none whatsoever. i don't have property in russia. there would have been nothing wrong if i do it. if i did do it, there would have been nothing wrong. >> it's kind of hard sometimes to kind of like -- i see you guys both shaking your heads because it's like flip-flop. let me ask this question and play devil's advocate. are we split hairs when he says a lot of wealthy saudi arabians are buying properties and want to bring him to the country? it doesn't necessarily mean the government of saudi arabia or russia would have leverage. am i reading that incorrectly? you tell me. >> well, eamon, that's what he would like you to think. the problem is that in both russia and saudi arabia, the
government is so intermingled and intertangled. and in saudi arabia, through blood, that you can't really separate the official actions of the government from what's going on at the top. >> yeah. that's a very valid point. david corn and david k. johnson, thank you very much. we'll be right back. the meeting of the executive finance committee is now in session. and... adjourned. business loans for eligible card members up to fifty thousand dollars, decided in as little as 60 seconds. the powerful backing of american express. don't do business without it.
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hello and welcome to "politics nation." coming to you this weekend from johannesburg, south africa. i'm here for the global citizen mandela 100 festival, celebrating the 100-year anniversary of nelson mandela's birth. the festival brings together beyonce, jay-z, oprah and many other amazing artists and activists that will honor, celebrate and inform the world about nelson mandela. global citizen is working to eradicate extreme poverty around the world by 2030. and we're proud to partner with this extraordinary organization in honoring the legacy of a man who spent his