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tv   MSNBC Live With Richard Lui  MSNBC  December 15, 2018 1:00pm-2:01pm PST

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thank you so much for joining us. that wraps it up for here this
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hour. i'm morgan radford on msnbc. the news continues with my colleague, aaron gilchrist. >> thank you. hello, everyone, i'm aaron gilchrist at msnbc headquarters in new york. the white house exodus continues. ryan zinke, the latest cabinet member to depart. he made his first public statement about why he's stepping down. rejected by mueller, days before his sentencing, the special counsel slams michael flynn's excuse for lying to the fbi. meanwhile, the president's former fixer michael cohen is breaking his silence. he says trump directed him to make illegal hush money payments and the president knew it was wrong. it all comes as the president is cheering on a judge's ruling that obamacare is unconstitutional. >> a big ruling. it's a great ruling for our country. we'll be able to get great health care. we'll sit down with the democrats in the supreme court. we will get great health care for our people. >>.
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and we begin with that unscheduled event for president trump this rainy saturday in the d.c. area. he made those comments on health care at arlington national cemetery where volunteers laid holiday wreaths on veterans graves. you may recall the president came under fire last month for not visiting arlington on veterans day. this all comes as the cabinet door is swinging yet again. the president announcing today that interior secretary ryan zinke will step down before the end of the year. sink joins a long and growing list of top administration officials to leave the trump white house and while sizinke i out, mick mulvaney is in and will wear two hats, becoming the new acting chief of staff. the president has repeatedly said the chief of staff job was in high demand. he tweeted this, for the record, there were many people who wanted to be the white house chief of staff. mick m will do a great job. high praise from the president for a man who once mocked candidate trump. >> yes, i supported donald
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trump. i think he's a terrible human being. the choice on the other hand is just as bad. >> i want to turn to my panel, geoff bennett, reuters correspondent jeff mason, and time magazine contributor, jay newton small. geoff bennett, what is the significance of this acting title instead of a permanent replacement for john kelly, that stands out. >> reporter: two sources familiar tell us it was mick mulvaney who requested of president trump to have that acting title. that reflects his desire to do this job for a limited amount of time. his demand, really to have something of a safe exit and a soft landing if this job turns out not to be a good fit. we know from white house press secretary sarah sanders that mick mulvaney isn't entirely letting go of the judge he has.
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what's budget director. he is setting expectations about his commitment to the job and how long he might do it. it was supposed to be nick ay , ayers, president trump ultimately decided he wanted someone to serve in a longer frame of time, someone potentially pull out the entire first term of his time in office. that ultimately broke down, the talks between those two men ultimately broke down. president trump, we understand from sources familiar, relented and then allowed mick mulvaney to take this job in an acting capacity. >> jeff mason, let's talk about these other people. there were three other people, publicly turning it out. nick ayers, mark meadows, chris christie, is the president sort of down playing how hard it is to find a willing candidate for this job? >> well, he doesn't like that narrative, and that's why he's been saying, he's been emphasizing that there were a
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lot of people who wanted the job. he at one point said he was looking at as many as 10 to 12 people. in the interview he did with me and a couple of my colleagues this week, he said up to 12 candidates and he doesn't like the suggestion that somebody would not want to, a, work for him, b, take a job that usually is a very coveted job, and he doesn't like the narrative about really a lot of disadvantages about coming into a job like that right now, looking forward to the challenges that president trump and his white house will be facing in 2019, not to mention, the potential legal woes that you would take on just by being in that job yourself. >> talu, what do you think mick mulvaney brings to the table moving into this job at the beginning of the year? >> one of the things is the camaraderie and closeness with the president. we have heard the president chafed under the administration of john kelly, not knowing the president, having a different style, and we have seen the president kick out members of the cabinet because they didn't have a stylistic match.
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mick mulvaney has been with the president a couple of years, notwithstanding the clip which has resurfaced where he said candidate trump was a terrible human being. over the last couple of years, he spent a lot of time at the white house, worked with the president on the budget issues and been able to manage his relationship with the president. he does bring that. we can't underestimate the difficulties he's going to have with a staff that is really seeing a time where the walls are closing in, whether it's the legal issues of the president is facing or a number of the challenges that are going to come up with the democratic house and the investigations that are going to get launched it's going to be a difficult time as the chief of staff and the trump administration, known to be resistant to following a set path. so he does bring the camaraderie with the president to the table, but the challenges are going to be very vast and difficult for him. >> jay, the white house brought in a former marine corps general in john kelly at a time when there were concerns about leaks
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and general disarray in the white house. how do you think mick mulvaney will differ in the role of chief of staff from general kelly. >> i think it will be hugely different, and i think that, look, john kelly was meant to bring in discipline as a marine, and order, where it was considered to have too much of an open door policy. everybody had access to the president and it was sort of very free wheeling. i think you might see a little bit of a return to that under mick mulvaney. look, mick mulvaney, and mark meadows, a potential candidate for the job are tea party republicans. they were the quote unquote reasonable nut job caucus in congress, and these are guys who are very much closer to donald trump's base. to the republican sort of very right wing base and in that sense, mick mulvaney gets the politics a lot better than i think john kelly might have. or even to some degree reince
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priebus. he has managed a lot of really sensitive issues with the president in a successful way. the thing about this job is that you have to be a gate keeper to the president and sort of pick and choose who has access, and i think that's always the most difficult job frankly in washington, and one of the biggest, most difficult jobs with this particular president because he's just going to go around you almost every time he doesn't like what you're saying and he's going to go with his gut. he's resistant to forming war councils and taking advice. he's given himself an out. he can always go back to o and m, should this not work out. >> i want to turn to secretary ryan zinke departure from the trump administration. he's facing multiple investigations. a couple of hours ago he tweeted i love working for the president and am incredibly proud of all the good work we have accomplished together. after 30 years of public service, i cannot justify spending thousands of dollars defending myself and my family against false allegations.
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geoff bennett, does that confirm what we have been hearing about ryan zinke wanting to be out before democrats can come into power in the house and pull him into probes. >> there have been other trump cabinet members who have endured months of ethics scandals, and public protest, and yet they kept their job. i think the tipping point in all of this is the point you made, that house democrats are set to take control of the lower chamber in less than two weeks, and there was a concern both here at the white house and in the department of the interior, that ryan zinke was going to be a target of the natural resources committee over in the house. if he were to leave, now would be the time to do it. i think he was fairly transparent in that tweet saying that it just wasn't worth it to have to spend thousands of dollars defending himself, and he thinks the past two years of service have been gufood enough. we'll have to see who the president taps to replace him. that person will have to be senate confirmed. there again, though, senate
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republicans as we know have expanded their majority. whomever the president ultimately decided on will probably have an easier time getting through this senate than the last one. >> does it look like sizinkes departure will make a dramatic change. >> i highly doubt. anybody the president picks is in the mold of ryan zinke, someone friendly to energy interests and someone willing to push the boundaries on what the role entails. and as jeff mentioned, because the president now has a broader majority in the senate, he might be more willing to push the envelope and try to get somebody who, as long as you can get 50 votes is able to get confirmed and doesn't appear from anything we have heard the president say that he's looking to make changes after the election in the way that he's approaching, whether it's energy or any of the purview of the interior department. we have heard a few names, including people like dean heller, the nevada senator who just lost his race, as one of
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the potential replacements, this is somebody we expect, that president trump will want to get somebody who can get confirmed in the upcoming senate where he has 53 republican votes. >> before we run out of time, do you think the staffing changes are more evidence of an administration in chaos or is this tightening things up as we look toward reelection campaign. >> this is the latest edition of donald trump's apprentice white house version. it's always been who's in, who's out. this is one of his favorite games. he loves to play around with staffing. it's an unprecedented turn in the white house, in the west wing, we have never seen that rate of turnover in any administration and that's just who donald trump is, and i also think we're going into two years that will be especially contentious and especially full of turmoil, let alone the reelection. it's going to be even more turnover coming soon to a television set near you. >> we'll leave it there. jeff mason, i'll ask you to
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stick around. jegeoff bennett, toluse, thank u all. >> sure. a report claims a member of president's family was involved in a rental between the inaugural committee and the hotel. a new investigation involving the president's inauguration. as a fitness junkie, i customize everything - bike, wheels, saddle. that's why i switched to liberty mutual. they customized my insurance, so i only pay for what i need. i insured my car, and my bike.
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we're following new developments in the russia investigation surrounding two of president trump's former allies. ahead of former national security adviser michael flynn's
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sentencing on tuesday, the special counsel filed a rare rebuttal of flynn's claims in being tricked into false statements. he should have been warned about the consequences of lying to investigators. trump's long time lawyer and fixer michael cohen is telling his story after being sentenced to three years in prison. watch as he disputes the president's claims about hush money payments. >> he directed me to make the payments. he directed me to become involved in these matters, including the one with mcdougal. >> and he knew it was wrong? >> of course. >> and he was doing that to help his election? >> you have to remember at what point in time that this matter came about. two weeks or so before the election, post the billy bush comments. so, yes, he was very concerned about how this would affect the election. >> joining me now is ned price, former national security council spokesperson for president obama
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and an msnbc national security analyst. still with me, jeff mason, reuters white house correspondent, and katie fang, attorney and msnbc contributor. let's start with michael flynn here. this seems like a pretty unusual back and forth. what's the legal value of flynn's statement or the mueller team's response to his statements? >> so what michael flynn was trying to do, aaron is kind of mitigate and kind of make up an excuse. there have been some pundits maybe he was asking for the last ditch pardon from donald trump, but the reality is the guy has already pleaded guilty. he knowingly lied to the fbi and aaron, if you'll recall, the white house was warned about michael flynn possibly being compromised by the kremlin. there's audio surveillance of him talking to ambassador. he's already pleaded guilty. what's interesting is mueller says hold a second, this guy was the national security adviser, we were supposed to warn him it's a crime to lie to the fbi. that's like saying don't commit
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murder, you could be charged for it and go to jail for it. it's not credible. it's not believable. it's a whole lot of nothing before he gets sentenced on december 18th. >> donald trump has not attacked michael flynn in the public. katie mentioned it here, is there consideration about a presidential pardon for him. what are you hearing? >> it's hard to say. the president, whether we ask if he's considering pardons for people like paul manafort, he says he's not taking something like that off the table. i'm sure it's not off the table in this situation either. we haven't talked to him specifically about that. we do know that the president is watching closely this case, and everybody else who was involved and testifying or speaking to the special prosecutor, and it's on his radar, both for how it will affect him and how it's affecting these people who were part of his inner circle. >> ned, i'm sort of curious. based on your experience with the national security council, are there any special cases where a national security
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adviser would need to lie or to make misleading statements about communications with foreign entities? >> i cannot think of one, nor have i experienced one. look, this was at the time the national security adviser, the last time i saw michael flynn in the white house, he was being briefed on all of the covert action programs and the special intelligence programs that were being run in pursuit around the world. this is not an unsophisticated policy maker. this is someone who had been vaulted to the top echelon of the national security council and the foreign policy infrastructure. this is not someone who needed to be reminded that he needed to tell the truth. there's another element. michael flynn's defenders are saying that, look, the fbi said he came off as truthful in this interview. micha michael flynn seemed relax led,t ease. the fbi agents had, is teams, the actual transcript of his
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phone call with the russian ambassador. it's not as if they needed his behavior to tell them that he was lying, they had the answer sheet in front of them. they knew exactly, it seems, what he said on that call that came under criminal scrutiny later. >> katie, we have the sentencing on tuesday. the mueller team has recommended little to no time. what are your expectations for flynn on tuesday? >> i will predict that it's going to be little to no time, especially as the mueller team has recommended it, and aaron i'll point this out, think about the value that michael flynn has as of now. he's spoken to mueller. he's given his valuable information, a lot of which was redacted from the filing that came out a week ago. so really, he has no value left. this last ditch effort for him to sit here and say he was lured or tricked into lying for the fbi, his value was done. he's probably going to get just a few months in jail, i suspect on tuesday. >> katie, i want to get your take on an nbc news report that confirms that the president was the third person in the room when michael cohen and the
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publishers of the "national enquirer," david pecker talked about the tabloid, and how they can help keep a lid on negative stories about trump's alleged affairs with women. look what a former executive had to say about this? >> absolutely no way could he have not known this was happening. look at the scenarios they're outlining here, especially the individual one who you have shown as trump. he was the quarterback. you know, pecker is the receiver. >> trump is still denying his involvement here. what legal challenges do you think president trump could face going forward? >> we now have donald trump in a room with michael cohen, and david pecker, the three of them conspireing to commit campaign violations by expressing stories of women who had elicit relationships with donald trump who was then a candidate. you heard michael cohen say it and it's totally true, timing is everything. on the eve of the 2016 presidential election, we have two payments made to two women
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that could potentially derail president trump in his successful bid to become president of the united states. there are two people that are left to really hear from. that is david pecker, who we know was in the room, and allen weisselberg who got immunity from the southern district of new york a month ago. so you want to follow that money trail, aaron, and you want to see where did that money go, who knew what because those two other men, david pecker and allen weisselberg could implicate donald trump in this conspiracy. >> we will leave the discussion there. ned price and jeff mason, katie, thanks, we'll see you in a little bit here. a texas judge rules obamacare is unconstitutional. what the decision means for the millions of americans who plan to sign up for it ahead of today's deadline.
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a great ruling for our country. we'll be able to get great health care. we'll sit down with the democrats, we'll be sitting down with the democrats and we'll get great health care. >> that was president trump reacting to a federal judge's decision declaring the affordable care act unconstitutional. the judge arguing that last year's republican tax bill made
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obamacare illegal by eliminating the penalty for not having coverage. the decision came just hours before the final day of enrollment for 2019 coverage, which is today, and it puts obamacare in the coverage of some 20 million americans at risk. so what is next for the affordable care act, joining me are, sarah cliff, republican strategist and political analyst, susan del percio, and fordham university professor of political science, susan greer. what do you make of the timing of this, will this impact people who waited until the end and are enjoling for health care -- enrolling for health care today? >> we're seeing millions of americans waking up to headlines that say things like obamacare is declared unconstitutional, the real situation is that this was a district court in texas. the affordable care act still stands, people's health insurance is is not affected and if people are uninsured and need coverage, they should be signing up before the deadline tonight at midnight, but we will have to
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wait and see what the enrollment numbers look like to see if this bad publicity, and this kind of curious timing on the part of this judge is going to lead some people to decide the law doesn't exist, and i'm not going to try to enroll in coverage. >> susan, there are a lot of republicans that rain in 2018 on a platform that promised to protect people from preexisting conditions. what do republicans do if those protections are rolled back because this law has been repealed. >> it's important to remember the law has not changed. there is a stay on it. it will take its course going up through the courts and eventually the supreme court. people still are covered. yes, there's one day where they think there may not be obamacare. but what the big problem for republicans are, they say they are for preexisting conditions, they say they are on for keeping kids on until they are 26 years old. a lot of ways, just like the deal the president did, nafta
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2.0, the most he's going to do with health care at this point, i think the only thing he can get it something close to a few tinkering around the edges because the central parts of it are going to have to be kept politically because that's what the republicans ran on, and the president couldn't get a major change done when he had a republican house and senate. so without the house on board, i don't see where this goes. >> christina, how likely is it that the ruling in texas could increase support for the affordable care act? >> well, i mean, the thing is we know that the data shows us that most americans, when you say the affordable care act, especially republicans, they're for that. when you say obamacare, they hate it. and i agree with susan 110%. for this particular republican party, they ran on the fact that essentially the tenants of obamacare, and so with a lot of families who have children struggling with opioid addiction, they themselves struggling with opioid addiction, they need this health care. and so once you've given someone something, you can't really take
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it away. right? donald trump would essentially be destroying his party if he did that. so i hope, though, that people will still actually try and, you know, lobby their members of congress to make sure that they fight for it, because, again, trump had unified government and squandered it. >> and just to your point, last week, a poll came out and 54%, one of the highest ever, people favored the affordable care act. >> right. because it works. i mean, this is something that fdr couldn't do. this is something that lbj couldn't do. this is something that bill clinton didn't do. and it's something that obama got done, and we realize, we see all other democratic nations have this as a real central tenant to their populations and we need it. we know that we have sort of as we destroy our environment around us and climate change and real, more and more people need this protection in health care sense. >> so sarah, this ruling and out here now, if this law is struck down, how difficult would it be to craft a real replacement, a
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valuable replacement? >> i think incredibly difficult. i covered the efforts to repeal and replace obamacare last year very closely, and one of the things you saw is republicans didn't have a consensus on what they wanted to replace the affordable care act with. if you throw into the mix a house that's controlled by democrats, who knows kind of where that leads. i think there would be a huge, huge pressure on congress, on the white house to get something done. you know, as was said earlier, once a benefit is out there, it's quite hard to take it back, and we're talking about, you know, about 20 million or so americans losing health insurance if this ruling were to stand, so that would be a huge impetus to get things done. that being said, it's really really hard to see democrats or republicans or even republicans and republicans working together to find a replacement. i think it would be quite calamitous if you did see this ruling stand, and it would be very, a very challenging situation both politically and especially for the people whose health care coverage is at risk. >> how do you think this would play into the republican's
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desire to pick up seats in the supreme court? >> well, we know that justice roberts was the swing decision when obamacare went to the supreme court a few years ago. so that's always been on the republican's mind. i mean, now they have a majority, again, that they could be hearing a case involving the affordable care act, and i don't think that justice roberts would go and reverse himself at this point, but yes, of course, it's one of the issues that republicans will use to foster the importance of the supreme court. >> christina, there's been a slight drop in obamacare enrollment. it's been blamed on a few things. no individual mandate. medicaid expansion, a lower unemployment rate, why do you think fewer people are signing up? >> i think it could be all of the above, but also it could be some other things, too, right. we know the employment rate is sort of how we measure it. that's people who are actively looking, people who have taken themselves out because they're dejected or their companies have left, they're a different population. we have to remember people who
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are in mixed status households. if i'm a citizen or a green card holder and a loved one is not, i may be less likely to interact with the government in any capacity. we're seeing this with families all across the country. children not going to school. people not going to their houses of worship because they are afraid of the policies of donald trump, his administration, and the republican party right now. that could also be something that we need to look at. we're going to see a drop in the census because of mixed status families and, people who are afraid of the american government right now. i think we need to keep that in mind. >> ladies, thank you so much for the discussion. sarah cliff, we appreciate your time, susan and christina back with us later. defending america's democracy, the stark warning issued by a group of former senators on both sides of the aisle to the current and future lawmakers. you're watching msnbc. (chime)
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. as robert mueller moves closer to finishing his investigation into russian meddle, former lawmakers are expressing their concern over what comes next. a bipartisan group of 44 former u.s. senators have penned an open letter, published in the "washington post" addressed to the current senators. it reads in part quote as former members of the u.s. senate, democrats and republicans, it is our shared view that we are entering a dangerous period and we feel an obligation to speak up about serious challenges to the rule of law, the constitution, our governing institutions and our national security. joining me now is one of the former lawmakers behind that piece, former democratic
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senator, max baukus of montana. senator, what specifically are you looking for the senate to do to defend democracy? >> this letter is basically a wake up call, it's a spine stiffener, it's a reminder that senators who ran for office and got elected took an oath of office to support the constitution of the united states. the rule of law. independent judiciary. that's what they are supposed to do, not have an obligation to their president or democratic party or republican party. we're in a very difficult time, i think, in american history and in flexion point, anyway, are we as a country going to stand up for the rule of law or are we going to bow to the whims of an authoritarian president who seems to not care about the rule of law. it's that serious, and we also have to remember, that, you know, the united states has been the beacon of light around the
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world. countries are looking at us. are we going to pull the rule of law as special council mueller comes forward with more charges or not. it's a very critical moment. >> senator, what would you have senators or incoming senators do, if the president is the driving force behind your concern about a challenge to the rule of law, what's the effort? what's the action that needs to be taken? >> well, first, there are lots of questions that arise here, one is will the president be charged criminally. we don't know yet. then there are lots of legal questions there. second, will special counsel mueller be replaced? that raises lots of questions. the senate has the power to advise and consent so a lot of roles there. after that, if the house were to impeach the president, the senate is the body which decides whether or not to convict the president. it depends on the facts. it depend upon what happens going forward. the real key here is to follow
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the rule of law and maintain the integrity of our independent judiciary. that's the north star of this, help to guide america through lots of difficult times in our history, and i just hope, and all of us who signed the letter hope the senators are going to do what they should do, that is stand up and remember, they took an oath of office to support the constitution of the united states, not support the democratic party or the republican party but the constitution and the rule of law and if they do what's right, i think the country is going to weather the storm well. >> i want to show people a portion of what you wrote in the "washington post," you cite the conclusion of the mueller investigation and the beginning of house investigations happening, at the same time we're seeing major issues regarding security, economy, geopolitical stability, what are you concerned will happen as the u.s. tries to face all of these issues at once? >> well, those are all separate issues. national security is a very important separate issue. the economy is a very important
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separate issue. so is upholding the rule of law. that's a separate issue. we have to do what's right, and if we do what's right, i think those other issues will tend to take care of themselves. if we don't do what's right. if we don't uphold the rule of law, the other issues are going to be more perplexed. they're going to be more difficult to deal with, but for a country that up holds the rule, that's what the united states is known for, upholding the rule of law. if we maintain that, we'll do better. if we don't uphold the rule of law in the other areas, then that's very clear. >> former senator max baucus, sir, we appreciate your time today. thank you. >> you bet. much of the focus has been on the mueller probe, there is a growing list of other investigations involving president trump. the latest, the "wall street journal" reporting that federal prosecutors are investigating whether trump's inaugural committee misspent some of the record $107 million it raised from donations. that's according to people familiar with the matter. nbc news has not independently verified the report, and neither the white house nor michael
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cohen's attorneys responded to request for comment. there are also lawsuits into whether the president violated clause, payouts to women he had affairs with, trump foundation business dealings and the defamation suit brought by former apprentice contestant, summer. let's start with the inaugural committee allegedly misspending more than $100 million in private donations. ivanka trump was involved in negotiations for trump hotel rentals during the inauguration. her legal team seemed to down play her role in a statement saying when contacted by someone working on the inauguration, mrs. trump passed the inquiry on to a hotel official and said only resulting discussions should be at a fair market rate. ms. trump was not involved in any additional discussions. katie, could the president's daughter face some legal issues here, some fallout from this? >> ivanka trump could have liability in and of her own self-. she's apparently involved in
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negotiating what are higher than fair market rates. it was $107 million. the most that was ever raised for any inauguration, and really what's at issue is the illegality of pay to play. did foreign nationals give money to curry favor with the incoming trump administration, and was there overcharging by the trump inauguration committee, excuse me, to the trump inauguration committee by the trump organization and so really there's going to be a lot of discovery that's going to go if there's this investigation. they're going to look at the financials. they're going to be able to see what's going on. part of this investigation is based on evidence that was seized during the michael cohen raids on his office, his hotel room, and his home, and so the michael cohen gift that keeps on giving is the evidence that mueller has, the southern district of new york has, and those of us are not aware of. >> katie, there's also this reporting in the "new york times" that prosecutors are also looking into whether foreigners illegally funneled donations to the president's inaugural
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committee. that's according to people familiar with the inquiry. what happens if those allegations are found to be true? >> that's definitely against the law. we have one person who's pled guilty to allowing a ukrainian to purchase four tickets to the inauguration for $50,000 through a straw person. and so that's exactly what they're going to be looking for. the southern district of new york wants to know, was it just that one person, how many people were involved because $107 million, nobody knows where all of the money went. you're going to follow that money trail and see what pockets it ended up in. >> congressman adam schiff also says that the house intelligence panel is going to look into possible foreign funding of the president's inaugural committee at the same time the white house is pushing the blame on democrats. listen to this. >> this didn't have anything to do with the president. the president was focussed on the transition and building out a new government and preparing to take office. the role that the president had in the inauguration was to raise his hand and take the oath. this is a perfect example of democrats recognizing that all
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the accusations that they have made and the information that came out in the michael cohen case has nothing to do with the president, now they're going to plan, i wouldn't say plan b, but plan d or e or f to take this president down. >> so susan, who does this investigation hurt more politically, democrats or republicans? >> it's probably a wash for both of them at this point meaning that the republican, politically speaking, unless there's convictions, this story, if you will, will be fine. the trump base won't go out of control, and it also gives something for the democrats to go after. katie said, there's already been one person found guilty of using a straw person to make a donation, and we know that trump is transactional, so we shouldn't be surprised but the one thing that's been portrayed as such a negative is the amount of money raised. you know, that shouldn't be too surprising given how little the
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canal pain raised. -- the campaign raised. hillary clinton raised something like $670 million, where donald trump raised about 330 million. so this is typical donor action. they wanted to get in. they were like, oh, my god, we never thought he could win, and there he was. and now how the money was spent should be investigated. it seems like there's good reason when 40% can't be accounted for, and if there was foreigners trying to buy influence, that is also very significant. >> so christina, you have all these reports out here now with all these investigations that could be happening. are the president and his legal team ready to take on all of these investigations? >> i don't know. as i said before, this isn't a shady business deal in queens anymore. this is the federal government and this is the state of new york, and pretty soon we'll have a new attorney general in new york who's been very clear that she will go after the trump organization if she has to. i mean, the problem is donald trump and all of the people who surround him are so rotten from root to tip that it seems as though the democrats and the
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mueller investigation are sort of nitpicking the problem is there seems to be a pattern of illegal activity from the very beginning. it appears to many people, why do they keep going after him. it's just 50,000 here, and just 50,000 there. >> we haven't seen the mueller report. this is just like the acorns around it. >> exactly, and so we know that this is, you know, any new yorker will tell you, this is one of the most corrupt americans we have ever seen in the history of any business, to be quite honest, and now he holds the highest, most respected office in our nation. so for the people around him, and who have helped him get there, because we have never seen his taxes, because he says that, you know, he can do what he pleases in many ways, this is just the beginning, unfortunately, and so here we are as american citizens watching. >> and no legal team is prepared for all of this. >> to be continued obviously, katie phang, susan did he el pe christina greer.
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three u.s. officials familiar with a top secret u.s.
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mill i tear assessment tell msnbc news that north korea is evading sanctions by transferring oil at sea. the fuel is a vital resource for the regime's military, which is why the u.n. security council put a cap on the refined oil imports in 2017. let's get right to it with christopher hill. am bass tor hill, north korea is still violating u.n. sanctions. there are still small ships working to smuggle that oil. what else could the u.s. do to enforce sanctions? >> i think we just have to keep it up. all sanctions regimes leak, the question is how much are they leaking. there's a little less robustness in the way china has followed up on sanctions so i think we need to keep it up and i think we need to be talking to the chinese day and night about the need to get these sanctions
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done. frankly speaking, there has been very little, if any, progress in singapore. you could argue the issue has gone backward since singapore. when the issue doesn't seem so urgent, often sanctions regimes suffer. i think that's what we're seeing. >> if more sanctions are added, could that work or would it serve to embolden north korea to work harder to smuggle oil? >> they will work harder to smuggle oil, no question. the more we work closely with countries in the region, especially china, the better chance we have of really making it hurt. the decision of china to joining in sanctions on refined petroleum products was enormous. they never did it in the past. the concern i had is that singapore has kind of weakened chinese resolve and we should be working with the chinese on this day and night. the problem is we have so much on our plate right now with
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china, i sometimes think this kind of falls in the importance it should have. >> while i have you, i want to turn to policy in the middle east. obviously we've been keeping a close eye on saudi arabia. the senate voted for a resolution backing the cia that the saudi crown prince played a key role in the murder of jamal kashoggi. what pressure do you think this adds to the white house to act differently? >> it's clearly a new thing for the white house to look over at capitol and see that everyone's kind of not fall into line. this is something new, and i think it is a very important additional pressure on the white house. the white house has this idea that with saudi arabia, we have one stop shopping in the middle east. we just needed to work with the saudis, meaning agree with everything they suggest whether a war in yemen or trying to blockade qatar or going after iran. once we learn that one stop
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shopping doesn't exist in the middle east, the saudis are not going to do the right thing on israel and think we're going to see a shift to different power sources in the middle east, to work with others. i'm not saying we're going to completely have a cold shoulder with saudi arabia, but i think the senate was sending a very important marker on the fact that we're not going to be funding a war in which children seem to be the main victims. >> the senate voted 56-41 to end funding to saudi arabia's campaign in yemen. what's the next sktep? >> we have to see how the house reacts. they seem to be scurrying to hide under their couches and tables on it. but in january when it comes under control of the democrats, i think we're going to see a lot of pressure in the house. i'm looking forward to a joint resolution at some point, to an agreement between the house and
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senate. then the administration is going to have to show that they have something they've done with the saudi relationship. a couple of weeks ago secretary of defense mattis, secretary of state pompeo went on the hill to say look we're making a lot of progress on resolving this war in yemen. well, it's still going on. >> thank you. coming up, with reverend al sharpton on politics nation, sherrod brown shares his ideas on the best ways to defeat president trump in 2020. aquem g. take your razor, yup. alright, up and down, never side to side, shaquem. you got it? come on, get back. quem, you a second behind your brother, stay focused. can't nobody beat you, can't nobody beat you. hard work baby, it gonna pay off. you got this. with the one hundred and forty-first pick, the seattle seahawks select. alright, you got it, shaquem. alright, let me see.
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that wraps it up for us this hour here at msnbc. stay tuned for "politics nation" with reverend al sharpton. ♪ good evening and welcome to "politics nation." tonight's lead, donald trump's legal picture is as cloudy as it's been during his presidency. and according to sources, even he's worried that his luck may have run out. as trump associates go down and talk of impeachment ramps up, look at it this way. as of today, trump is under criminal investigation for his campaign, his transition, his inaugural committee, his private business and his presidency.


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