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tv   The Beat With Ari Melber  MSNBC  January 10, 2019 3:00pm-4:01pm PST

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of it, there are people who are caught in the middle of this. people whose lives are impacted. they can't buy a house in time. they have to delay that. they're getting hurt. all the while, the clock keeps ticking. so in case you missed it, everybody in washington, we're about to hit the end of day 20. that's all for tonight. we'll be back tomorrow. "the beat" starts now. >> good evening. thank you very much. we begin tonight with the news rocking the trump white house. michael cohen is ready for his john dean moment. trump's former lawyer will will testify in public to the u.s. congress. now this is in response to a formal request from house democrats. he will speak on february 7th which he confirmed in a statement late today pledging a full and credible account of the events which have transpired and knows a lot about them. that would seem to include michael cohen's knowledge of donald trump, of the donald trump organization where he work ford a decade and how the senior title and presumably some of the lies that we do already know
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michael cohen told apparently on donald trump's behalf. the hearing as a matter of when it is, timing, well, just weeks before cohen is scheduled to report to prison. now let's be clear. this will be an on camera public hearing with public testimony that is already begun conjuring comparisons to the nixon era. it was cohen's own adviser lanny davis who recently said, "remember john dean? it's just the beginning, dean. he was famously nixon's trusted lawyer until he wasn't. he went from nixon confidante to star witness for the other side unraveling key parts of watergate in public even as critics at the time attacked his perceived credibility." will michael cohen emerge in a similar role as you consider these two white house trial lawyers? will he reveal things he's only told to prosecutors up to this point? and why is michael cohen planning to apparently tell all under oath before he begins his
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prison sentence? well, let's tackle the questions on breaking news with our former watergate special prosecutor and a former prosecutor that served in the office that prosecuted cohen's case. good evening to both of you. nick, how did your approach to john dean as he was preparing for testimony work out in the watergate example? what is important about michael cohen announcing to the world today he's going to do this? >> there are a couple things. when john dean testified, he was given ammunity. the first thing i did for archie cox when he was special prosecutor is put together all of the evidence that we had on john dean so we could show that we had effort independent of the testimony he was going to give before the senate. any time you have a witness that is going to testify as a witness, it is always a problem for the prosecutor. secondly, john dean is not
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nearly as important as michael cohen is in terms of trump. john dean was not that close to richard nixon. he had some important meetings with richard nixon. but he was not his personal lawyer. >> some people view the john dean comparison as a potential inflation, as a dramatization. you're saying it doesn't go far enough to capture just how much michael cohen knows about donald trump? >> that's exactly right. michael cohen is much more intimately involved with the day to day activity of donald trump and was involved. nowhere near as close as john dean was. in fact, if you look at even the other two cooperating witnesses that are involved, michael flynn and deputy campaign manager to m manafort, they're much higher up in the food chain than john dean was in terms of having day to day contact with the president.
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>> yeah. >> you agree with all that? >> i agree p i think this is potentially even more important than the mueller report. and the reason is because we don't know what we will finally have as public from the mueller report when it is finally written. this is a central witness with direct factual information. remember that in the sentencing memo what's we heard is that michael cohen was not only directed by the president at the beginning of his presidential campaign to have direct contact with russians in order to move forward his business interests. we know that there was a transfer from his campaign manager paul manafort of campaign data to a very close putin aligned oligarch. we know that michael cohen,
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remember, he said wasn't in prague for a meeting in the summer of 2016 and now we know that there was cell phone data that demonstrated that he seems like he was. at least close. what does that suggest? and that in that sentencing memo, one of the things the mueller team said was that he was correcting misstatements about interaction with russians except we don't know what those misstatements are. >> two things here. one small and one large. small is that the times ultimately updated the reporting about which oligarch. that is still being tracked down. large is i just want to repeat what one of our trusted analysts here is saying. you think this news tonight and what michael cohen could say under oath to congress could literally be bigger than the mueller report? >> well, in the sense that mueller knows more. i don't mean the mueller report is not important or central. but we don't, because we know there will be a fight about what
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parts of the mueller report we might be able to hear, this is a central witness who will speak directly and publicly and we don't know the substance, obviously. but it's the potential to answer some very big questions that make it completely clear to the public directly that there was actual knowledge on the part of donald trump, potentially of engagement with russians around influencing the election. >> which goes, nick, to the lies. we have an individual who has confessed to at least one lie to congress. and she just put her finger on it. was he lying for himself? was he lying to say i should get a job or i should get something for myself? it would appear the entire lie about trump tower was to help donald trump hide something they felt they needed hidden. and yet, i see how eager you are to get in, yet, it's my obligation as a reporter to press the other side. there are more than one side to these cases. the other side is what you dealt with in watergate.
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i want to play john dean and have you stitch it back together. what about the other side when people around trump say this person, mr. cohen, is an admitted liar. an admitted felon and thus what about his credibility? why is that worth anything? here's how that came up, as you know, although dean did prove to be quite the witness. it did come in on attacks on john dean. take a look. >> what makes you think that your credibility is greater than that of the president who denies what you have said? >> well, senator, i have been asked to come up here and tell the truth. i've told it exactly the way i know it. i'm telling you what i know. i'm telling you just as i know it. >> how does that relate to did john dean ultimately prove to be truthful and damaging to nixon and how do you relate that to cohen? >> definitely, later turned out he was corroborated by the white house tapes. but i think what is really significant here is up to this point, the big difference with
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watergate was very early on after cox was appointed may of '73, and by june of '73, john dean was testifying in the american public had a narrative of what happened that the story was out there. right now we have been trying to put that story together on this show and other areas. awhat michael cohen is going to do is provide the narrative of of what happened or good part of what happened. and that's what we're missing right now. the report is fascinating for what are complete narrative it gives. so little of that is in public view. to hear from this individual will say more. as for what he intends to sashgs we reported his statement, it is crisp p. it doesn't really give a list. but then sometimes twitter can make you dumber and sometimes it can make you more informed. then i can tell you as i was walking out to the newsroom here
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to the set michael cohen retweeted a journalist that i think our viewers will remember who wrote this. comings announces cohen will testify to ask him beyond hush money campaign finance crime, cohen can discuss. trump dealings in russia and reaching out to putin's office and so much more. buckle up. that is the latest by retweet from cohen. go ahead. >> that's it. >> yeah. that's the narrative. >> i don't have to say anything anymore. >> you're done here? >> i'm done here. >> i know it's a small mike, are you going to drop it? >> can i have a camera? can i drop the camera? but this is exactly -- and so we don't know. i think to your point which is extremely important, it's the bigger question is how credible is michael cohen going to be to the american public? and how much corroboration? we know the response is going to be he's lied before, he's lying now. the difference though is that we
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have been told and we have indication that he has been highly cooperative. he said this is someone that is cooperative and he no longer has anything to gain. >> no longer anything to gain indeed. this is the very unusual situation of the sitting president's lawyer. this is the first time, i know when we cover this stuff people say there is so much going on. no. this is the first time the sitting president's lawyer said to the nation i need to speak under oath, which carries legal liability, before i go to prison. he's going for up to three years and doing it then. you mentioned cooperation. this is what the federal prosecutors in new york who we've been covering, a tough office this is how they put it to be clear. "cohen repeatedly declined to provide what they called full information specifically declined to be debriefed on other uncharged criminal conduct if any in his past." what do you say to people who point to that coming out of
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sdny, that is not hannity. that is not fox news. that is sdny, federal prosecutor saying not full information. >> this is important point. it is the distinction here is mueller has -- mueller's team has said forthcoming. sdny said not. sdny i think rightly has said his cooperation with us was supposed to be about anything and everything. and he was unwilling apparently to be forthcoming about potential crimes of others not connected to russia. >> right. so you have a clean book of health from mueller. but not from the new york fed. something i want to ask lanny davis about when he joins us later tonight. >> he lied to the southern district about the facts. he just refused to do it. he had a very unusual arrangement there. normally whether somebody comes in, they cooperate, sign an agreement. he didn't do that to sign an agreement to testify and provide
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full information about everything he knew. he knew he was going to jail for a good period of time because of his tax and bank violations. that was a given. i think his only get out of jail card here is to testify for mueller, it testify before congress. because he still has within a year of his sentence the opportunity to go before the sentencing judge and ask for a reduction based on this cooperation. >> and when you say cooperation, are you suggesting that it may be in michael cohen's interests to be as full and accurate as possible before congress and then take that to the judge as additional public reason to give him some extra leniency? >> absolutely. absolutely. to be able to go to the judge and say, look, i testified truthfully before congress. i told the american people what i did. i told the american people what they had to worry about with this particular president and what this particular president did. and i broke open this whole case and was first person to provide
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narrative as to what really happened here. >> as is often the case, i learn things from both of you. what i just learned from you as a part of what your analysis suggests is michael cohen's rational is a question i will put directly to lanny davis, his legal adviser when he joins me later in the show. so we'll find out if he agrees with what you say is motivating mr. cohen. nick ackerman, thank you. maia, stay with me. coming up, as mentioned, lanny davis, michael cohen's adviser and former lawyer, joins me to discuss all of this breaking news. also, we'll hear from congresswoman jackie sphere who may question cohen behind closed doors. rumors about that tonight. and donald trump trying to rewrite his own history on whether mecxico as promised wil will pay for the wall. >> i would say mexico's going to pay for it. obviously i never said this and i never meant they're going to write out a check. they'll pay n one form or another. they may even write us a check. >> a huge, huge lie. we have the fact check.
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also, we go deeper on why donald trump is just so bad horrifically and embarrassingly at the deals he claims he was good at. two insiders here, a former long time executive with the trump org organization and co-author of "the art of the deal." thor of "the art of the deal." sometimes, bipolar i disorder can make you feel like you have no limits. but mania, such as unusual changes in your mood, activity or energy levels, can leave you on... shaky ground. help take control by asking your healthcare provider about vraylar. vraylar treats acute mania of bipolar i disorder. vraylar significantly reduces overall manic symptoms, and was proven in adults with mixed episodes who have both mania and depression. vraylar should not be used in elderly patients with dementia, due to increased risk of death or stroke. call your doctor about fever, stiff muscles, or confusion, which may mean a life-threatening reaction or uncontrollable muscle movements,
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white house tonight, michael cohen talking and already since we reported this hour, more democrats pouncing. he have one confirmed michael cohen appearance. but also now what looks to be two new additional requests because look at. this the house intelligence committee chairman says it's necessary for cohen to speak with them and tonight we're hearing the senate intelligence committee has democrats reviewing conversations about trying to bring michael cohen back as well. if it people wondering is washington going to be very different with the democrats in charge? well, we're starting to see that in the house. cohen's prior testimony, remember, was always under wraps. no one got to see it live. that's why it wasn't a john dean moment. this time for a lot of reasons, it's going to be very different. let's get right to it. congresswoman sfeerz congresswoman spheres is with us. you made waves talking about why you wanted donald trump jr. to testify under subpoena if necessary.
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why is that important? what is your reaction to michael cohen tonight agreeing to come face the house? >> first of all, i think donald trump jr. should face the music and come back the committee after we have done a subpoena of documents and have him testify once again. i think michael cohen's willingness to testify before the oversight committee and a request will be made for him to come and speak in a classified setting with members of the intelligence committee is very important. the one thing that happened with michael he could scohen is he h religion whether he is truthful on all matters or not, i think he recognizes that he has everything to gain in the long term by actually telling the truth. he's certainly not going to get
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kind of a pass from the president of the united states. so i think we're going to hear some legitimate commentary from him. >> that's interesting. so your view here even though obviously he has confessed to misleading the very body that you're in, congress, but he has also according to the law and according to the mueller findings that we just referenced earlier in the show where they granted him for cooperation, you call it getting religion. your view is at this point your belief is that he would be a very credible witness at this point? >> i think he's much more credible. he won't get a pardon from the president of the united states. he tape record md conversations. it is in the tape recorded conversations that we found out the president once again lied relative to stormy daniels and karen mcdougal because he was in the room with both of those payoffs were being discussed. so i think tapes, once again, are going to give us a lot of answers. >> stay with me.
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maya whily is with me. when you look at this and the discussion of what to make of mr. cohen's conduct and testimony, he actually stayed out of the public view for quite some time during this period. when he did speak once after all the sentencing came out, he was very clear with george steph nop list in the interview what he thinks of his old boss donald trump's credibility. take a look. >> the special counsel did say that you were doing your best to tell the truth about everything related to their investigation, everything related to russia. do you think president trump is telling the truth about that? >> no. >> how important is that when you have a figure who is going to be debating a witness presumably? >> i think it's incredibly important because you have someone with direct knowledge of not just some specific transactions that will be at issue but literally the behavior and the way the president has operated as a person in the
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world for a decade. this is someone that knows and said he was directed by the now president then candidate for office to make payments. we haven't raemy talkeally talk this but we're talking about someone who literally hid and violated campaign finance laws that are in and of themselves crimes and can testify more directly to the american public to congress about crimes. >> that goes into something we just got in the newsroom. congresswoman, i want to play this for you. congressman cummings talks about the limitations they might expect to hear from mr. cohen. as just referenced, much of the campaign crime issues were not in the mueller probe. so they could be discussed. let's see what your colleague just said moments ago. >> he said that the questions
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about the russia investigation. n >> i'm sure you recognize what they sometimes call scrum there which is how your colleague on camera was overwhelmed by reporters with their phones out. but what he is saying very clearly is they're going to focus on what does not interfere with mueller n your view in the cohen case, what would that involve publicly and what else would it involve if they hear from him privately? >> so what i've been told is that mr. cohen wants to tell his full story so it will probably be outside of the issues relative to the campaign in which he was directed to make these payments. but there are probably many other aspects of his ten years with donald trump that will come into focus whether it's the moscow hotel or the other
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various hotels in which donald trump invests in toronto and soho and in panama. i mean i think what we're really going to find over the long run is the money laundering that went on very intentionally by donald trump's organization is probably what's going to bring him down. >> i mean don't we have to call it alleged money laundering at this point or you are breaking news with a confirmation of that tonight? >> no. i would think that the foreign corrupt practices act require him to make sure the money that he was receiving, whether it was for the purchase of condoes or for those investing with him in the properties in toronto and soho and panama would have to be clearly reviewed to make sure that they were not money laundered. and so many of those individuals were, in fact, persons that were oligarchs that were laundering money in my view. >> congressman spear, also a
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very interesting stuff. thank you for joining me. >> thank you. >> as promised, i turn now to lanny davis, michael cohen's former lawyer and legal adviser and a veteran of many white house conflicts including the clinton era investigations. the first of all, this is a big news night for you and michael cohen. thank you for coming on "the beat." >> thank you for having me. i am now back to being a legal adviser for the purpose of helping michael through these congressional inquiries. >> so let's start there. what does today's announcement, the first time mr. cohen has ever confirmed publicly that he will address the congress and the public. what does this mean? >> first of all, michael's family is in severe distress as is michael because he's going to be going to prison in about six or seven weeks. and secondly, he wanted an opportunity after his life has been so virtually destroyed, he wants an opportunity to at least
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tell the truth as he said to mr. stephanopoulos on july 2nd wlat was like working for a man in the private sector who lies, acts immorally or abusively and has no barriers on ethics. what is it like when you actually realize that this very same man who michael admitted to shamefully helping in his private sector job as an attorney when he recognized the same man was now president of the united states, he wants to tell a story about what caused him to change and to now want to tell the truth, how dangerous it is to have this very same man that acted this way in the private sector to have the powers of the presidency and how dangerous that is for his family and for his country. >> mr. cohen's testimony reflect a very busy executive and candidate in donald trump who is out of the loop or a detail oriented one who knew what was
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going on on his behalf and inside the trump organization? >> he'll answer the questions truthfully what it was like working for donald trump. he told me many times that nothing went on inside trump tower that donald trump didn't know. it was kind of a rotating door in and out of his office. and he'll get into anecdotal personal memories of what it was like to work for trump. but i just want to clarify something earlier. the only time that michael has admitted to lying was lying on mr. trump's behalf, not for michael cohen's benefit but at the time even consulting with the white house on the lie about the moscow tower and that trump was involved in those discussions all the way through even mr. giuliani says through november of 2016. >> you're saying michael cohen consulted with white house staff about that misleading testimony
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to congress? >> it's a matter of public record that he did talk to white house officials. but the point is -- which officials? >> well, i don't know now and i won't say now what specific officials there are matters that mr. mueller is looking into that we are going to be careful about. but i did want to -- >> i'll let you make your point. do you that i mr. cohen will be in a position to name names in that testimony? >> i don't know. we're still going to be looking for guidance from mr. mueller as i know mr. cummings is. and i want to clarify -- >> how does that work? do you, you know, lawyer to lawyer, lanny, i got to do it, do you and the other folks on this team pro actively call the special counsel's office to find out the boundaries for this testimony? or how does this work? because this is a is somewhat unusual situation. >> for sure. i know mr. cummings has and i intend to be sure that areas under investigation by mr.
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mueller and others he will not be able to answer. and i do want to get the opportunity in here to clarify no agreement has been reached with either the senate or the house intelligence committees. i will wisay during some conversations to day, i have to consult with my client mr. cohen, there is no need for a subpoena. we are voluntarily testifying before mr. cummings and the truth will now empower michael cohen, the michael cohen truth website is going to be looked at by the american people to help michael cohen through this ordeal. and i also do want to remind you that on this program i mentioned the disproportionate prison time that michael cohen is now forced to endure compared to many others who have much more grave offenses compared to his,
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disproportionate injustices and issue that i hope i will bring to the attention of the american people as i did first on your program. >> you mentioned two things. one is as you say how the federal prosecutors in new york handled this and the sentencing. that is something we've been reporting on. and discussed with you. let's take both of the two points you just raised. first, you're referencing the fact that in addition to tonight's news that mr. cohen will address the democrats, house request and the oversight committee. there are other discussions with other committees. so when you say tonight that no subpoena is necessary, you are suggesting that you are close to having a voluntary agreement to address other committees as requested? >> i have to consult with my client. this is all very new today. but the answer is we have had constructive discussions. i don't want to name the specifics. but i know that mr. cohen wants to be voluntary, wants to be truthful. his days lying for donald trump, directed to do a crime of paying
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hush money to corrupt the presidential election which he did at the direction of mr. trump, those days are over. he's now committed to telling the truth and we'll work with the other committees to answer your question to be voluntary rather than under a subpoena. >> it's very possible there could be an agreement for him to do more than one appearance although you're not confirming that. i take your point. as for the other issue raised, this came up with nick ackerman, he was saying that it may be the case that a truthful and full account before the house by mr. cohen could help in reducing his sentence in the future through the legal process that occurs. is that in your view possible? is it a goal that's been discussed? >> it's certainly my aspiration, my hope and i will remind your viewers that mr. mueller praised mr. cohen while also obtaining a
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guilty plea for the lies regarding the moscow tower matter. praised mr. cohen for cooperation even the southern district of new york prosecutors praised him for being credible and the judge did as well. i'm hoping, yes, the answer to your question is that by looking at the actual length of the sentence, he's taken responsibility to all of the crimes he confessed to. but the lengzth of the sentence to me together with his testimony and his commitment to the truth. and let me remind your audience, he already said he would not accept a pardon from donald trump if it was offered and i am sure it won't be offered. he's committed to the truth and the michael cohen truth fund, i have to give that a plug again. it is about helping him and his family as he goes off to prison for now a three year term that i hope will be reduced. >> i think there is two ways to
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look at. that one is you're doing your job, advocating for this individual you represented and he and his family have a great personal interest, obviously, in any potential reduction of the sentence. the other way to look at it is for people who are simply following this at a distance and wonder who is telling the truth in an environment i think you and i could agree, washington d does not feel normal. there are a lot of people accusing each other of lying. does the fact that mr. cohen have -- that he has and his family has an incentive here to be truthful, to avoid or reduce prison time, does that in your view make him potentially a more credible witness against donald trump when he speaks to the house? >> well, i would simply quote the answer as yes. i would quote mr. mueller who praised had him for 70 hours and seven days of conversation and cooperation and whatever credibility issues that have
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been raised that he has confessed to, i remind everyone was for the benefit of donald trump and his admission to complicity and enabling donald trump when he worked for him in the private sector has been converted into fear for our country and our family knowing donald trump's flaws deeply flawed character traits that we now are witnessing as endangering our country. >> i appreciate you coming to share your views on this big news night. it's not every night in american history that you have a situation like this, a former lawyer to a president pledging to address the public under oath before he goes to prison. and as a past lawyer for that lawyer, i really appreciate you walking us through your perspective tonight, lanny. >> thank you for having me on. >> thank you, sir. we're going to fit in a very short 30-second break and come back with the man that michael cohen was retweeting tonight about russia issues, david corn
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and reaction from nick ackerman. and reaction from nick ackerman. he's saying very clearly that he never directed you to do anything wrong. is that true? >> i don't think there is anybody that believes that. first of all, nothing that trump organization was ever done unless it was run through mr. trump. he directed me, as i said in my al statement in the plea, he directed me to make the payments. >> he was trying to hide what
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you were doing, correct? >> correct. >> and he knew it was wrong? >> of course. >> michael cohen making waves and now pledging to testify in response to democrats' requests in the house. david corn joins me. nick ackerman is back. david, what is your view of both the news that michael cohen is doing this and what we just heard from his adviser lanny davis? >> well, we knew we were heading in this direction. lanny and others have been talking about a big moment from michael cohen really seeing that michael cohen wants this moment and the question was, okay, when is this going to happen? what committee? and also now the question is what are the limitations? you noted that earlier, i'm going to look at this you noted earlier today michael cohen retweeted one of my tweets. now i noted in this tweet that he could talk about campaign hush money issues that he pleaded guilty to.
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for the viewers, it's on the screen. we have your cartoon face, david. you went with the cartoon picture. you say much to ask cohen beyond hush money, cohen can discuss trump dealings in russia and reaching out to putin's office and he retweeted this tonight. >> yeah. that was interesting to me. you know, in this case to retweet may be an endorsement. but lanny just pointed out to me during the break after you funnishfun finished with him that cohen is committed to not saying anything at this particular hearing that we're talking about on february 7th that might reveal anything that robert mueller is still working on. presumably he'll still be working. we don't know. maybe there will be some finale before that point. but at the same time, the house int intelligence committee is interested in speaking with him as are the senate intelligence committee and that may in closed hearings that may become, you know, maybe made public later.
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so i still think at the end of the day whether it is february 7th or not, cohen will be talking about all he knows about donald trump's russian connections. and there was a very interesting line. i think you and you talked about it. in the mueller sentencing memo about cohen that came out a month ago or so. can i go through this quickly? cohen provided the special counsel with useful information concerning discreet russian related matters core to the investigation that he obtained by virtue of his regular contact with company executives during the campaign. executives. >> yes. >> plural. that is donald trump and who knows, donald trump jr., who else works with the trump organization? so there is still more to the trump-russia story that michael cohen can tell us and whether it comes out on february 7th or not, i believe democrats and the house will get it and eventually the public will learn about it. >> what do you think, david,
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coming to us from washington of the way this has come about? that it is congressman cummings scoring the ultimate witness if you will and then the other committee chairs quickly clambering about how they want a piece and what mr. davis confirmed was not a full blown scoop but is what we might call a scoop lit, lanny davis made a little news tonight on this show and saying, well, we're going to try to do those as well. meaning, there may be additional under oath are opportunities for testimony. >> well, you know, we say this all the time. elections have consequences. for two years you had a congress controlled by republicans who really didn't give a damn about the trump-russia scandal. at least not telling the public what really happened. >> i think they gave a darn. >> a darn. i said a damn. and they tried to smother it. they tried to come up with distractions on the house side. we don't know exactly what is happening with the senate intelligence committee. but now we have not just the
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trump-russia stuff. not just the hush money stuff, but whether it is monuments, nepotism, complicates of interest. we have members of congress who care about oversight. >> yeah. >> in a is a basic function of congress. >> and as you lifted out, it sounds like several chapters, nick, in a criminal law textbook. >> exactly. a lot of chapters in a criminal law textbook. the real question is going to be is mueller going to step in and not let him testify about what is the really juicy stuff here which all relates to russia. i mean the on going investigation here clearly is the russian conspiracy, the one relating to the break in at the democratic national committee and use of social media. will he allow him to do that before he comes out with on indictment? >> nick and david joining me on a big news night. thanks to both of you. coming up, trump's wall fiasco and unpresidential comments about where the blame should go. i've got trump insiders tony
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schwartz and barbara rez with us right now. barbara rez with us right now. if your moderate to severe ulcerative colitis or crohn's symptoms are holding you back, and your current treatment hasn't worked well enough it may be time for a change.
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. donald trump did a photo op at the boreder today. this is a trip he told reporters he didn't think was worth making as the shutdown gets longer. it is on pace to break the record for the longest shutdown by this weekend and all this can turn the focus away from the wall and back inside the u.s. where furloughed workers and protesters are hitting the streets and getting attention for it. meanwhile, u.s. residents, many saying they oppose the wall in their backyard. all that has some republicans in both chambers starting to walk away from trump. that's a problem for the self proclaimed deal maker who likes to be the one threatening to walk away. two former insiders of trump. >> reporter: with me to explore why the bluster isn't working this time. trump used to claim his strategy was to take things to the edge but then make a deal. once saying you take people to
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the brink of breaking them without having them break to get a better deal and trum cop always walk out if he didn't get a better deal. he could walk to bankruptcy. but the federal government cannot declare bankruptcy. they cannot stay closed forever. trump insisted mexico would pay for the whole wall. he didn't push them to the brink of breaking or get them to cover say half the wall's cost or a quarter. he got nothing. and he got nothing from the u.s. congress for the wall. and when called on all that, trump says now the buck doesn't stop with the president anymore. watch this sad decline. >> mexico's paying for the wall. okay? it's an issue of least importantly dollars. we have to finally do it. the wall will pay for itself on a monthly basis. >> does the buck stop with you over this shutdown? >> the buck stops with everybody. >> i want to bring some special guest barbara rez, a former trump organization executive and author of "all alone on the 68th
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floor" and tony schwartz, co-author of "the art of the deal." wonderful to have both of you here seated together. barbara, it is easy to normalize what should not be normal. so for your view, the man you know, i to replay that last moment, the president of the united states on where the buck stops. take a look. >> does the buck stop with you over this shutdown? >> the buck stops with everybody. >> what kind of deal making are we seeing here? >> i never thought he was a great deal maker, to be honest with you. and in terms of taking the responsibility for the buck, just would never do it. it's not in his dna. he never responsible. it is always someone else's fault. >> yeah. i found myself going back to the art of the deal and looking over those deals that i unfortunately
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described 30 years ago and realizing that most of those deals in that book were failures and the number of deals he's made over the years since then have overwhelmingly been failures. st it's a accident of history that he is president. but as a deal maker, he is really one of the worst i've ever come across. you know, when you think about deal making, what is it actually require? it requires understanding the other side. it requires empathy. it requires humility. it requires courage. these are qualities donald trump does not have in spades. >> and to your point, if the deal is about agreeing to do something real, there may be negotiation and some exaggeration of business, the fundamentals have to be true otherwise you end up with a fraud which is illegal even in tough business deals.
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here was donald trump claiming that he actually is honest when he negotiates. take a look. >> a lot of negotiations about honesty, be honest. the other side you're dealing with intelligent people. they're going to see it. but have an idea. make sure it's the right idea. and never, ever quit or give up on it. >> and yet he has been lying about the funding for this wall from the start. isn't that the fundamental con? if someone else could be made to pay for it, some people might feel differently about the proposal. that was always the proposal. other people pay. >> it's been fraud all along. so when you say that a deal has to be legitimate or else you're libel for fraud, well, that hasn't stopped him in the past and we know he made a series of fraudulent deals and this is, or the failure to make this deal, this is the most fraudulent attempt yet. he's got a claim about what's going on at the border that is transparently not true. >> and when you look at how nancy pelosi is dealing with
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him, how does that compare to other people you saw on the other side of the table? is she doing this the right way? >> she's doing i think a great job. part of the reason for it is she has as much power as he does. this is a very first time i've ever seen him in a situation where he doesn't have the leverage. he was a great deal maker because he sued everybody. and ran them dry. i mean he dragged them through the courts until he reefrp a point where they go broke or make the deal he wanted. now he's up against a woman which is a whole other story and she's got as much power as he does in the circumstances. >> so do you think he understands that right now? >> no. >> no? >> no, i don't. >> so how many people this is one of those things that happens ni in interviews, a potentially unanswerable question. but how many people in america are going to have to pay for his learning curve? because both of you have a unique insight into this.
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you look at the actual data we're seeing, i just want to put up on the screen so people understand, you have 38 million low-income americans that are not going to have food assistance. you have 800,000 people, the government being a major the federal court system slowing, which is part of the security he claims this is for. >> you know, what has happened to humanity? in a way it's almost not about trump because he is lacking the shame gene. so he doesn't care that there are 38 million or 380 million who are suffering just as a whole series of autocrats he admires don't care what happens to people. but sitting behind him are 50 plus republican senators 180 republican congress people for whom you would assume this would be meaningful. they're being intimidated by
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someone who is just barely human. >> i wonder, barbara, when you see howma many people including the president's allies, republican members of congress, narrators who try to be objective referring to him in a way you would refear a 6 or 8-year-old's level of discipline. when you work would him was it something where people said he got through a whole day without a tantrum? >> it's gotten worse. there was a time when he would actually listen to people's advice and often follow it. mine included. >> dud he know you were a woman? >> he never, ever treated me like a woman and i always said he didn't discriminate gns me. >> he didn't treat you demeaningly, you're saying? >> you're saying he didn't treat
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you the way he's accused of treating some other women? >> no. >> when did it slide? this idea that don't talk to him before he has lunch? he got through the meeting wut tantrum? >> i think after trump tower was done i left and went to work for leonard -- and i came back and saw a very different man. >> i think it's been progressive. you can mark november 2016 as the it biggest moment of shift, which is the more power he has -- you know this is the classic example of power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. he was corrupt with power. he's absolutely corrupt now and insensible to any kind of inpresident trump. >> it's fascinating listening to both of you.
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congress has proposed ending this whole shutdown by just funding border security. president trump says it's not good enough. you need a physical wall because walls stop people. a point he once argued against.
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>> nothing will stop immigrants from trying to come to america and i know he understands this because of this video we found from 15 years ago. >> never, ever give up. don't give up. don't allow it to happen. if there's a concrete wall in front of you, go through it, go over it, go round it, but get to the other side of the wall. >> this actually is not the first time he's mused about getting around a wall. during the campaign he oddly speculated how people might use different objecs to scale the wall he planned to build which john oliver highlighted. >> there's no ladder going over that. if they ever get up there, they're in trouble because there's rr no way to get it down. maybe a rope. >> this. the most brilliant plan has been undone by mankind's third invention. >> maybe a rope.
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it's funny because it's true or not funny depending on your point of view. the joke is a actual story. you are looking at trump's own actual steel slat prototype and you're looking at giant hole tin that was cut by saw. this is a real thing, not comedy and this real thing was documented in a photo that nbc obtained exclusively. howard stern offered a window into the mindset saying the wall's only appealing if you ignore the obvious examples of how to get around it. >> the wall's a problem because it's a waist of money. the wall's a sim +ic answer to our problem with immigration. something morons can get behind but it's not that simple. >> it's not that simple and as you just saw the people who know that include donald trump
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recently, donald trump a long time ago and whoever can cut the giant hole in donald trump's steel slat wall model. that's all the time we have on "the beat." "hardball" with chris matthews is up next. cohen to testify. let's play "hardball." ♪ good evening. i'm chris matthews in washington. we begin with bomb shell news that president trump's long-time lawyer and fixer has agreed to testify in public next month before the congressional oversight committee and appears ready to really set the record straight. as co cannen said in a statement today i look forward to having a privilege to giver a full and credible account of the


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