tv The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell MSNBC February 9, 2019 7:00pm-8:00pm PST
tonight on these explosive blackmail allegations against trump ally, david pecker by jeff bezos. the amazon founder who, of course, owns "the washington post." one of "the daily beast" editors who has been all over this story has the friday night scoop and is here with me momentarily. the context i want to go through. as you probably know as you're watching the news, there's serious implications in all of this for donald trump. today, bloomberg news reports the allegations against trump ally david pecker could blow up his immunity deal. another source telling nbc the same thing. prosecutors probing where the publish the "national enquirer" violated his own non-prosecution agreement by trying to blackmail bezos this week. pecker has one big problem because bezos is accusing him of a crime. but this shows a second problem because as bloomberg and nbc and rachel have been reporting, pecker may have played himself here and blown up his own
immunity in the investigation into how michael cohen and donald trump hid bad stories for trump during 2016. translation, if david pecker told the feds about other crimes he committed during those immunity talks, he can now be on the hook for them. so there can be a lot more pressure on this trump ally. unless he publicly backed down, making claims than bezos says are false. they wanted him to say that the tabloid's coverage was not politically motivated. why did they care? we'll get into that. and second, they wanted bezos to end his investigation into how the "enquirer" folks obtained his private messages. they seemed scared of bezos' theory that the whole world can read and discuss. certain powerful people will wrongly conclude i'm their enemy. donald trump is one of those people. now, trump disseize on that
"national enquirer" about bezos' divorce writing, quote, so sorry to hear the news about jeff bezos, given here a nickname. being taken down by a competitor whose reporting i understand is far more accurate than the reporting in his lobbyist newspaper the amazon "washington post." hopefully the paper will soon be placed in better and more responsible hands. so that is a lot. and there's plenty one could say about it, but today the white house laying low. >> is the president aware of the bezos situation? what's the white house reaction? >> i'm not sure if he's aware of it. we're not going to get into something about a conversation about jeff bezos and a tabloid magazine. >> bezos already drew intriguing attention to this story, saudi arabia. after trump became president he with a white house dinner to which the media executive brought a guest with important ties to the royals in saudi arabia. at the time, pecker was pursuing business there while also hunting for financing for
acquisitions. bezos noting "the washington post's" coverage as well of the murder of a person who wrote for them, jamal khashoggi, of course, many remember this, this was in the saudi consulate in turkey. now, saudi arabia is a huge critic of "the post's" investigation. but now for some reason so apparently is this american tabloid owner david pecker and this, again, to what jeff bezos is asking is a big question because he writes several days ago an ami leader advises uses pecker is apoplectic about our investigation. for reasons to still be better understood, the saudi angle seems to hit a particularly sensitive nerve. so that obviously is a lot, and a lot of it looks bad, even if it's not all true. in other words, even if not every one of those things leads to the worst possible inference about the people involved, namely mr. pecker, mr. trump and anyone doing their bidding. now, let that all sink in and then look at a brand-new report
from "the daily beast" tonight which details the larger patterns here, the inner workings of this tabloid company's tactics, private investigators who have literally directly worked for them. the quote, war of blackmail that goes on and helps explain their business model and perhaps their brazenness that they thought they could get away with this against the richest man in the world. joining me, as promiseed, is the editor-in-chief of "the daily beast." i'm also joined by jonathan alter. a columnist for the daily beast and an msnbc analyst. and david christof. both have been to saudi arabia. i'm not going any time soon. >> you might like it, ari. you might not feel totally comfortable. >> i'm sure there are lovely people there. i'm not sure i would like the way the government plays ball, certainly the way they kill journalists. >> yeah. >> but before we get to that, walk us through new reporting
tonight. most people who heard this story, even if you don't get into all the details say, wow, who thinks they're going to get away with trying to thuggishly take out and intimidate the richest man in the world. these cats. why? >> why? because they've been doing it foe decades. we talked to two private investigators today. they're both colorful characters, i might add. one is a former porn star turned private investigator. the other guy just got out of the joint for a gambling operation. >> our viewers can handle it. it's late friday night. but, nicholas christof is a pulitzer prize winning "new york times" journalist who cut his teeth doing humanitarian investigations. let's keep it at his level of respectability. i don't want nick to regret the booking. >> these two were most recently in darfur helping the refugees. and they came back to describe what they did for the "national enquirer," which is the same kind of intimidation tactic over
and over and over again. everybody we talked to conjunction with the "national enquirer" today, every veteran, and we didn't just talk to those guys, we talked to others, used the term blackmail. they used it over and over again. >> i'm going to slow you down but give you the mike back. this is a criminal business model. >> i'm not going to use the term criminal. >> your sources are describing basically getting material -- >> yep. >> and making money through repeat crime, blackmail, extortion, allegedly. >> allegedly. and not only that, but sometimes they would work with the very lawyers of the targets of this. in other words, you would get some celebrity. their own lawyers would have dirt on them, serve it up to these private investigators who would serve it up to the "national enquirer" and then they would do a kind of blackmail or some kind of trade deal. >> yeah. >> and then, now, it's not just what they do to celebrities, it's also their attitude towards adversarial journalists, which they've done over and over and
over again. they keep on threatening in various ways the reporters that look into their operations. so we have a guy on our staff, actually a former "enquirer" veteran who joined "the daily beast" less than a year ago. they tried to hit him with a $5 million lawsuit while we were reporting our story on them. >> and how did you all handle that? >> we kept reporting. and told them to take a walk. >> how often does this stuff work? >> i don't know how often it works in other shops. i mean, i can just say with our shop, it doesn't work. i bet there are shops in which it does work. look, as we all know, journalism is a tricky trade. the business model is really tough right now and i can imagine that, you know, for some shops being threatened with millions of dollars in legal fees or, you know, millions of dollars in damages, that could be a big deal for them and that might dissuade them from a story. >> you look at the multiple theories here, and one is that donald trump is behind this because he acts like he's behind this.
right? and i want to read for you what harvard law professors lawrence tribe, a big trump critic to be clear, said in describing that. are donald trump and the murderous saudi prince coconspirators with pecker in a failed criminal plot to blackmail and extort bezos as the owner of "the washington post"? asking for a friend in the southern district of new york. that is one unproven but one theory about what this is all about. >> it's unproven. i don't have any evidence for it. but it has the ring of plausibility to it, which is an extraordinary thing to say about a president of the united states. now, noah has just been describing a very seamy form of transactional journalism, which has been going on in the gutter of american journalism for a very long time. what's different is that this is not directly involved the president. we know that he was involved in what they call catch and kill at the "national enquirer" and that it benefitted him in the stormy
daniels and karen mcdougal case. so we know that he's in this world. we know that he's very close to the saudis. we know that even today the trump administration is breaking the law, the global magnitsky act, that requires them to take action in response to the khashoggi killing. and they have not done so. today was the deadline. they missed it. they're in violation of the law. that's how tight they are with the saudis. that's how much they want to sugar coat this brutal crime that took place. so we have a troika now, pecker, mbs from saudi arabia, president trump. they are all in alignment. they all have a motive to have committed this blackmail. >> can you explain why david pecker after getting caught up in this federal probe and getting immunity would go back to what look like such great risk to himself? >> i can't, except, you know, to noah's point, this is the way
they play, and they actually thought they could intimidate the richest man in the world. and they had, you know, strong interest in trying to do the president's bidding. the president just tweeted that he thinks this disgusting publication would be preferable as the owner of "the washington post." he said it's a better newspaper than "the washington post." this is the way despots all around the world are playing now. they are buying up the biggest newspaper in their country to silence it and quell criticism. and that's what trump would like to do in the united states, and taking us away from democracy. he's not going to get away with it because he's met his match in jeff bezos. >> well, it is chilling because you all have a lot of experience working for media institutions. without naming names, there are institutions that have been more or less courageous over the years, right? depending on who is in charge and what the calls are. this is an individual, what everyone thinks anything else of bezos, got hit with something
that really took a personal embarrassment and risk and stood up to it. other people might not. alter here, if i can call you by your last name. >> sure and a mix between -- >> alter is outlining the trump theory that lawrence tribe talks about. there is another theory that wouldn't be as bad for trump but would still go to a very important international intrigue, simply that mbs and the saudis are doing this through the "enquirer" to go after american journalism that matters around the world. do facts matter? do stories matter? you bet they do in the case of khashoggi. brennan, to continue the last names, of the cia is of that theory. he said i have no doubt give the "washington post's" condemnation of mbs he would try to hurt bezos financial if he could. that's the theory that comes strictly from them. >> so i'm a little more skeptical of that because i think that saudi arabia is, indeed, aghast at what "the
washington post" has been writing. in my conversations with the saudis, they haven't tied that so directly to jeff bezos. they've tied it very much to "the washington post" leadership directly. i would just emphasize, i think we have to be really careful about speculating here. essential we have a bunch of dots and we should just be careful about connecting them. what we know is that, indeed, as noah said, we have sort of this blackmail model on the part of the "national enquirer." we know, as john said, that the "national enquirer" has previously leveraged the material it has for the benefit -- the political benefit of the president of the united states. and we also know that saudi arabia has indeed had very close ties with the president, mbs with jared kushner, that the "national enquirer" has had very close ties and has wanted to have business ties with saudi arabia. >> there are several dots but there is also a line, and the line is that these e-mails have come out and the "enquirer" is
not saying that they are fake or false. and these e-mails outline goal that go beyond the "enquirer's" obvious desire to simply enrich itself or make money. they seem to be a goal that they wanted to cut off bezos, "the post," finding out where they got the stuff. if they had just got it from a private i, that wouldn't have been so bad. >> jeff bezos clearly seems to think there is a saudi connection, but we don't have further evidence of that. i just think we should be careful about a rush to judgement on whether this goes beyond the "national enquirer." there are reasons for suspicions for a lot of questions. i think we should be careful about answering them. >> i think the other thing we've got to note is that bezos' mistress has a brother named mark sanchez. he is a -- is associated with many trump world figures. carter page and roger stone, to name two. he's also had something of a relationship with ami over the years, the "enquirer's" parent company over the years.
he's somebody who has been interviewed in this sort of private investigation that bezos has funded. so it may be all of these geopolitical political forces or it may come down to something much more personal or some combination thereof. >> i agree that we don't have any evidence. as i said at the outset, you know, that would led us to firm conclusions, but there are other data points, and one of them is a 100-page publication called "the new kingdom." it was put out by ami, the owner of "national enquirer," that just slobbered all over mbs in a way that, you know, was reporting that they -- well, i guess they did some of the same kind of reporting on donald trump during the campaign, but it was very un"national enquirer"ish. there were no adds. pecker said that he paid for it out of his own pocket for reasons that are a little bit unclear. the state department, interestingly last year when this came out, was asked whether
there was a connection between the united states government and the publication by ami of this 100-page magazine about how great saudi arabia is. and they sort of issued a non-denial denial. like, i think the quote was, to our knowledge there is no connection to the u.s. state department, which raised some real eyebrows. so there is a lot of reporting yet to be done on the connections between the saudis, david pecker and the trump administration. >> you know, when you look at -- back at iran-contra, one of the things that struck people was that it seemed like such a stupid idea from the start. and this stuff just seems so whacky, you know? if it were a movie -- >> right. >> and at this scene in the movie, you know, right after the midterm elections, the president's tabloid killer who hides bad stories is back in the mix with internation intrigue,
you'd say it's too much. >> the whole catch and release idea of the "national enquirer" paying for these stories from women to not publish them for the benefit of the president was pretty wild. this is kind of one more layer of wildness on top of that. but i would just make the point that, look, we don't know exactly whether there was some terrible malpractice or conspiracy here, vis-a-vis this affair. we do know that there was vast malpractice vis-a-vis saudi arabia more broadly. the cia concluded that the crown prince murdered a "washington post" columnist, that the president has refused to hold the crown prince accountable, that jared kushner seems to have inquired about whether the u.s. could help the crown prince take over the succession, that meanwhile the crown prince is torturing and imprisoning women's rights activists and that the u.s. government refuses to even mention their names. so these are things that are
indisputable. >> right. >> and i think we have to, you know, above all, hold the american government accountable for that failure to act on the murder of a journalist and on the imprisonment and torture of -- >> just one more thing, is that the crown prince was quoted as saying that he, quote, wanted to put a bullet in khashoggi. their effort to distance themselves from that they us in cri heinous crime is not going very well. >> you're talking about state sponsored murder and freedom of speech around the world. that's why you bring nicholas christof to the table. i know all three of these individuals and they're very talented journalists. that was a joke. your story was great. >> thank you. >> my special thanks to noah shactman, nick christof and jonathan alter going deep on a story that i think we're going
to keep hearing about. coming up, we have a lot of other stories, including a big wake-up call when the acting attorney general goes before the house judiciary committee and gets a taste of oversight now that democrats are in charge. later, roger stone has been talking a lot about the fbi raid on his home. he says it was outrageous, even an abuse of power. tonight if you keep watching, i am going to show you actual footage of the raid itself. it's the first time we've seen the feds arrest a mueller target. you're going to see that tonight on "the last word." later, a theory about what kind of base bob mueller and federal prosecutors could be working on even though the trump family has denied they're worried about any legal jeopardy. worried about any legal jeopardy esurance saved an average of $412," you probably won't believe me. but you can believe this, real esurance employee nancy abraham. look her up online. esurance, it's surprisingly painless.
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bob mueller is getting a new boss pretty soon. this will be his third during the trump administration and today was actually the first time that one of mueller's supervisors ever faced a committee backed by a democratic majority. this is a new development. members of congress grilling outgoing acting attorney general matt whitaker who has been widely criticized as both underqualified for his job and not all that serious about mueller's independence. well, today, he showed that not just by being combative, which is common in hearings, but in an unusually rude and even juvenile way to a degree that "the new york times" reported today whitaker's conduct at the hearing was a, quote, remarkable preach of decorum. whitaker clashing with democrats calling him out for ducking all kinds of questions. >> there's no sentence in the u.s. constitution that says a sitting president of the united
states cannot be indicted, correct? >> congressman, because that is the opinion of the office -- >> i don't actually care what doj policy is. i'm asking about the constitution. it's a yes or no. >> you know, i -- >> i have it right here -- is that -- >> i have a copy myself. >> i'm just going to -- >> mr. chair, i'm just going to submit the u.s. constitution for the record and say, no, that sentence is not in there. >> democrats also confronting whitaker about his own job qualifications. >> this hearing is important because there are many americans throughout the country who are confused. i'm confused. i really am. we're all trying to figure out who are you, where did you come from and how the heck did you become the head of the department of justice? so hopefully you can help me work through this confusion. >> all right. well, i mean, congressman, not -- >> mr. whitaker, that was a statement, not a question. >> okay. >> i assume you know the
difference. >> some democrats scolded whitaker for the breaches of decorum noted by "the new york times." >> can the clock be restored? >> it was. >> i'm sorry, what was your -- i don't know if your time's been restored or not. >> mr. attorney general, we're not joking here and your humor is not acceptable. now, you are here because we have a constitutional duty to ask questions and the congress has the right to establish government rules. the rules are that you are here. >> democrats also looked at pushing whitaker into any uncomfortable positions that could contradict what they believe his boss wants to hear from him. >> is mr. mueller honest? >> congressman, i have been on the record about my respect for bob mueller and his ability to conduct this investigation. >> so you don't believe -- you believe he's honest, you don't believe he's conflicted. can you say right now, mr. president, bob mueller is honest and not conflicted?
>> congressman, i'm not a puppet to repeat what you're saying -- >> are you able to say it or do you not believe it? >> congressman, i'm not here to be a puppet to repeat terms and words that you say that i should say. >> can you say that to the president? >> whitaker's goal through a lot of this may have been to evade and try to grind down the hearing into a parsing petty foggy haze that, frankly, exhausts the people participating or watching. and we've seen that tactic before. when a witness does that, they can achieve a kind of tactical progress, even though they also look bad. they look kind of uncooperative. there were, i can tell fwrou from going over this, a lot of moments of petty fogging today. ultimately when you get through some of that and what we just showed you, there were important moments. the democratic chair, jerry nadler marched whitaker into an explicit claim under oath that he and president trump never spoke about the mueller probe. >> it's a yes or no question.
have you communicated anything you learned in that briefing about the investigation to president trump, yes or no? >> mr. chairman, as i said earlier today in my opening remarks, i do not intend today to talk about my private conversations with the president of the united states. but to answer your question, i have no talked to the president of the united states about the special counsel's investigation. >> boom. not talked about it. and that's under oath. so either it's true or if it's something other than true and at the end of the day bob mueller and other people may ultimately provide the evidence on that. so that's why these hearings can matter. whitaker also stated under oath that during his admittedly brief tenure, he says he hasn't had any occasion to make a direct decision about what mueller would do. in other words, whitaker testifying today that the things that mueller has done while they were overlapping at doj like indict roger stone did not involve whitaker interfering. >> we have followed the special counsel's regulations to a "t." there has been no event, no decision that has required me to
take any action, and i have not interfered in any way with special counsel's investigation. >> getting that under oath also matters. now, we didn't show you in all of these exchanges the amount of work it took some of those members of congress to get whitaker to actually make those statements. there was back and forth, grandstanding and as i call it, petty fogging. so we are left with a question after all of this, given that some of those answers were under oath and sound pretty good. why was it so hard to get whitaker to say anything during his testimony? why did it get him so many times to answer basic questions about mueller and why did he hold back in some other areas? joining me now is matt miller, a former official with the justice department under eric holder, msnbc analyst, lisa graves, former chief counsel for nominations to the democrats on the senate judiciary committee. good evening to both of you. >> good evening. >> good evening. >> i put the question first for you, matt, why was it hard as we showed some of the answers did
come through? >> well, look, i think he was trying to play this game all day long where he was saying very clearly, i'm not going to talk about conversations with the president. but then when it was advantageous to him, the answers were acceptable answers, he would talk about conversations with the president. but what i think he was doing there, you know, you will see this sometimes with witnesses and it's a tell. when you say there is a red line in some areas you won't discuss and you breach the line in some areas and don't in others, it's a clear sign in the other areas there is information you're trying to hide. i take him at his word that he hasn't discussed the mueller investigation with the president because i don't think he would have gone up here looking to lie. he knew that question was coming. when you look at his answer about the southern district of new york probe where it's been reported that the president weighed in with him and asked him why more wasn't being done to control the prosecutors after they named the president individual one in the filings and he refused to say whether he had conversations with the president about that. >> i thought that was a tell. lisa -- >> it's a confirmation,
basically. >> i can't go that far. lisa, what do you think of matt's point there? you basically have two big probes, mueller in d.c. and the feds in new york. all this crazy stuff we're talking about, the "enquirer" and the hush money payments and the immunity deal, that's the feds in new york. a witness say, look, i can't tell you anything, but i will tell you i didn't talk about the president with this. on this, i can't say. do you think that's a tell as well? >> i do think that is a tell. i think whitaker was very evasive in the hearings, clearly trying to run out the clock basically, knowing that the senate is moving to confirm pretty soon barr to be the attorney general. not withstanding the tremendous concerns people have about him. and i think whitaker was, you know, really evasive in other ways. he was evasive about the group that paid him hundreds of thousands of dollars, a dark money group that he was at the helm of to try to attack climate change investigations by state attorneys general. he was not forthcoming about other matters.
and so i think he came into this house in some ways the way he came into the public's life at doj, which is as someone who has proven himself again and again to be unworthy of the position of public trust that trump tried to install him into at the justice department and put him in his position of power that he, you know, doesn't have the -- i think the real wearwithall to hold such an important position in our country. >> lisa, basically he wasn't that good at doing the evading and the ducking. >> that's right. he wasn't very good. he was rude. he was contemptuous. he seemed in some ways to misunderstand the role of the chairman in setting the clock for questions. and so i think he -- he decide not -- >> did he think it was like -- did he think it was like a shot clock where it ends? because the chairman controls the time and i don't -- i worked in the senate, but i feel like if you've watched one of these hearings, you might know that. >> yeah, it was really stunning.
i mean, it was just really an incredible performance. i think this certainly, if nothing else, i think it dooms him from any other position of any kind really for the rest of his career. he shouldn't have had this position, but his performance today, you know, is one that i think is an embarrassment to the united states department of justice where i previously worked. it's embarrassing to the united states to have someone who is so contemptuous, so unfit for that role come and play -- >> yeah. >> play the way he did before our united states house of representatives. >> the flip side to this, matt, i think goes to the way that we see mueller's strategy through what we don't see, by which i mean that other prosecutors have done this job in different ways. he obviously is well-known for not leaking. but more so than that, he makes sure to have his supervisors out front and never him. rod rosenstein announced indictments. matt whitaker gets roughed up here and basically telling a story under oath. mueller's not under oath. he'll have to decide later if he
wants to contradict any of this. it potentially could be relevant to obstruction if anybody was lying. what does that tell us about the way that mueller seems to maneuver through what has been several bosses? >> two things about that. one, mueller has decided very intentionally from the beginning of this investigation that he was going to speak only through court. when he did, what he said was going to be bulletproof. you would see indictment with very, you know, laid out the evidence, you know, very meticulously in a way that was very hard to poke holes in and he wasn't going to engage in political games. the second thing i think it tells you because mueller hasn't allowed himself to become a political football. he gets attacked by the president but not with any real justification. >> he doesn't have a nickname, matt. >> yeah, that's right. it's hard to see someone like matt whitaker being able to roll him bureaucratly. a lot of people were concerned he was there to quash the probe, to steer it, you know, in a -- in an untoward direction.
and we're now at the end of matt whitaker's tenure basically and he hasn't been able to do that. what we saw today, this is not the kind of sophisticated legal and political mind that's going to be able to win an internal bureaucratic fight with someone like bob mueller or someone like rod rosenstein. so as worrying as the matt whitaker tenure was and as much of an embarrassment it was for the department and really a stain on this administration that they put someone like him in front of the department of justice, i think what we found is that at the end of that tenure, he's not been able to interfere with this probe in any meaningful way. >> right. you're saying never underestimate the limitations of incompetence. >> yeah, exactly. we've seen that many times in this administration. >> matt miller and lisa graves, thanks to both of you. coming up, something i think you should see. roger stone has been saying the fbi was out of line in the way it arrested him. well, we're going to show you tonight something you may have never seen before, which is footage from roger stone's house of the entire arrest. it's fascinating and it's next. t as someone in witness protection,
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now we turn to something you really rarely see, and we've never seen before in the actual arrest related to the mueller probe. we're about to look at video of the fbi arresting someone indicted by bob mueller. now, this is new video. it's of trump adviser roger stone during his morning raid and arrest and it's very relevant right now because as you may have heard, stone has made big allegations about how mueller's agents acted. >> this was an egregious overreach by mr. mueller. >> these are ga staup owe
tactics. >> to storm my house with greater force than to take down bin laden or el chapo or pablo escobar. to terrify my wife and my dogs is unconscionable. >> the raids on bin laden and escobar ended in both of their deaths. five other people were killed in that bin laden raid. the mexican marines who stormed el chapo took him alive but killed five other people in that fierce gun fight. so when stone says his raid was like those raids, that's not true. but the new video also allows you to decide for yourself if roger stone is accurately describing what happened. here it is. this is video that comes directly from stone's own home surveillance system. the video you're looking at was released to a pro-trump broadcaster. you can see the fbi agents approaching the house. you can see them with their guns drawn. stone opens the door. the lights in front of their weapons. an agent knocks. stone emerging. this part you see, he gives up. his hands are up. he's custody.
that's t cuffed. appeared to cooperate the entire time. the video also shows stone walked out into his front yard by an fbi agent who is there moving him down by the car, checking his pockets. the video shows agents then walking a handcuffed roger stone back into the house. this time you'll see in the left part of your frame, that's a t-shirt that reads "roger stone did nothing wrong," then he's walked by that agent back into his own home. roger stone appeared before the press at a courthouse and gave his infamous richard nixon-style salute, but was this, quote, unquote, gustapo tactics as stone claims, are coyotes and drug traffickers treated better as the current president of the united states claimed? was this based on what the experts say, something more along the lines of a normal arrest of someone charged in a normal process? what i'm going to do is fit in a break. we have to do that around here.
then i'm going to turn to an expert with more than 30 years of experience to help us understand the fact and the fiction. former atf agent jim kavanaugh, my special guest on the roger stone arrest when we come right back. he does it all with dr. scholl's. only dr. scholl's has massaging gel insoles that provide all-day comfort. to keep him feeling more energized. dr. scholl's. born to move. woman: this is your wake-up call. if you have moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis, month after month, the clock is ticking on irreversible joint damage. ongoing pain and stiffness are signs of joint erosion. humira can help stop the clock. prescribed for 15 years, humira targets and blocks a source of inflammation that contributes to joint pain and irreversible damage. vo: humira can lower your ability to fight infections. serious and sometimes fatal infections including tuberculosis, and cancers, including lymphoma, have happened, as have blood, liver, and nervous system problems, serious allergic reactions, and new or worsening heart failure.
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enemy number one. >> roger stone fixating on his arrest to criticize the mueller probe. today, as we've been reporting, the new video of that actual arrest has come out and let's people judge for themselves what the raid looked like. i'm now joined by jim cavanaugh, an msnbc law enforcement analyst and a retired atf special agent in charge who has done many of these types of arrest warrants in 36 years of service. thanks for being on the show. >> thanks, ari. thanks for having me. >> i'm not here ask you any politics. a lot of our viewers recognize you through walking us through the often difficult circumstances of police and law enforcement activities. we talk to you sometimes during shooting and manhunts. i'm curious, the reason we booked you was to walk us through hyperbole aside, i'm going to put up on the screen, we're going to play some of this fascinating video. walk us through what you're
seeing and grade it for us. >> well, i give this an a-plus. this is a textbook execution of a federal arrest and search warrant. it is exactly, exactly how we train in the federal service, fbi, atf, dea, to conduct one of these warrants. you arrive at their residence, of course you have your firearms and you have your equipment, you bang on the door and you announce your authority and purpose. that's because that's in the federal rules of criminal procedure, ari. you bang on the door repeatedly. federal agents with a search warrant. you wait. federal agents with a search warrant. you bang again. you hope the occupants will come and answer the door, as mr. stone did. then he sees you're lawmak enforcement. he's not man handled or slapped or abused or thrown down which would be an unjustified use of force. he's nod tasered or gassed or pepper sprayed. >> we're going to keep it playing while you talk because they've done the knock and announce. what about viewers who have less
experience and see these big long guns and think it looks scary. >> well, look, we understand the citizens see law enforcement and their equipment and sometimes it can be scary, but just in the past few weeks law enforcement officers have been killed on search warrants with occupants shooting through the doors. you never know how people are going to react, even white collar criminals can sometimes react. they can be suicidal. they can decide to resist. i mean, stone has been associated with the proud boys, which is the southern poverty law center has called a hate group. they're street brawlers. he has associated like that. he threatened to kill a federal witness. he's not an extremely violent guy and that's why they knocked and announced like a normal search warrant. >> as you credited, i mentioned this in our report, he complied as one is supposed to. so bottom line when he says this is excessive, do you view that as partly true, partly false or totally false? >> no, it's so totally false, i mean, it's a tempest in search
of a tea pot. if i was a special agent in charge of this, i would be extremely proud of them. they did it gently. they did it purposefully. they did it successfully. nobody in mr. stone's house was hurt, no agents were hurt, no neighbors were hurt, it was a perfect textbook arrest. >> very interesting to get your view on this. you've done a lot of these. jim cavanaugh, thank you so much. >> thanks, ari. >> thank you, sir. coming up, the trumps have all said they're not concerned as family members about these probes, but should they be? we'll get into it with an expert next. rt next ♪ you should be mad they gave this guy a promotion. you should be mad at forced camaraderie. and you should be mad at tech that makes things worse.
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we've been having a nice friday night. sometimes we reflect on how busy the news has been this week. you may have missed some pretty important developments in the you might have missed some pretty important developments in the investigation coming out of the southern district of new york. there was the revelation that federal prosecutors subpoenaed a wide range of documents from the money trail. you may recall this inauguration was the most expensive in history. now, it also had fewer a-list celebrity performances and some of the things that are associated with major morniajor repeats. he had four guys that all played the piano at once. the sdny is following the money, and probing whether or not foreigners may have illegally donated to the committee. which could be a way to get favor with the new administration. and as part of our review of what happened this week, the wall street journal revealed the existence of even more tapes in a related investigation in new
york from michael cohen, trump's former fixer. the tapes obtained also by the southern district. now they had their raid of michael cohen's office, and stephanie walcoff. a long-time melania trump confidante. she reportedly says she has all kinds of concerns about how the money was being spent. in e-mails showing some of those same concerns went all the way up to the trump family member including a trump white house adviser named ivanka trump. walcoff raising concerns that the committee may have over paid for event space at guess where, trump's washington hotel. that itself depending on how much they overpaid could be illegal under the tax laws that govern the nonprofit which the inaugural committee was. then this morning ivanka trump weighed in saying, no biggie. she's not worried.
>> some of the president's former aides have now been charged, the walls are closing in. are you concerned about anyone in your life that you love? >> no. >> being involved? >> i'm not. i'm really not. i have zero concern. >> we have our next guest joining us who has a theory about why there's so many revelations coming to the sdny and what it means for trump's family members next. could switching to geico really save you fifteen percent or more on car insurance? did the little piggy cry wee wee wee all the way home?
when your flight gets in late, it's never too early for coffee. oh no no no. your new boss seems cool, but she might not be sweatpants cool. who is that ready this early? it's only 7 am. somebody help me. close call. not quite ready to face the day? that's why we're here with free hot breakfast and a warm welcome. book at hampton.com for our price match guarantee. hampton by hilton. you won't find relief here. congestion and pressure? book at hampton.com for our price match guarantee. go to the pharmacy counter for powerful claritin-d. while the leading allergy spray only relieves 6 symptoms, claritin-d relieves 8, including sinus congestion and pressure. claritin-d relieves more. many critics say that donald trump seems to act like the head
of a crime family. could he be charged like one, though? is this more than rhetoric? a former federal prosecutor makes this case in a new column writing, recent developments in the new york federal prosecution investigation suggests they could be building the case against the president and his family under the racketeering influence and corruption act. getting tonight's last word is that former u.s. attorney barbara mcquaid, please explain. >> good evening, ari, so yeah, i've been asked before whether rico is a possible criminal charge that robert mueller might be looking at. i thought not, it doesn't really fit election interference. but when you look at what the southern district of new york is looking at who are the experts in rico taking down mob
families, it does make a little bit of sense. rico essentially was a statute passed in 1970 to go after the mob, because mob bosses would insulate themselves by having underlings commit crimes. what rico says is that it's a crime for someone to participate in the affairs of an organization either directly or indirectly through a pattern of racketeering activity. those predicate crimes could be wire fraud, mail fraud, money laundering, some of the very same kind of crimes we're seeing the southern district of new york look at. could they be building a rico case. i think there's a possibility that they are. >> did you ever see "the dark knight rises" the batman movie? >> yes, that's for the legal nerds, that's the breakthrough scene where they say -- harvey says, wait, if they were pooling their money, we can get all of them on rico. to use that dark knight analogy here couldn't the defense of the trump folks, particularly the family members be like yeah,
it's my dad. i'm not in the inaugural committee. i worked at trump org but it's not my money specifically. what is the response to that defense? >> just being part of the association does not mean you're guilty of the crime. there has to be and an agreement that the group will commit crimes even if you individually are not part of those criminal activities. if you agree that part of the group will commit at least two of the predicate crimes that are on the rico list, then that could be sufficient for a risk coconspiracy. you're right, not just mere association but association for the purpose of committing crimes. >> just to understand briefly, your theory would be that the feds might look at this and deal with it potentially even after trump leaves office? >> yeah, for sure. we would be looking at the trump organization as opposed to president trump as the president and so i think so and also that the statute of limitations lasts for five years from the date of the last racketeering act.
so long as there's an act that was committed after january of 2016, it could be charged in january of 2021 when president trump is out of office. >> fascinating. i guess i have to ask you, a lot of people think that the mafia was able to get tipped off about the raid on their bank because of leaks in harvey dent's office. that's how the joker got in there with the marked bills and was able to move their money. do you have a view on that? is this harvey dent's office leaking? >> i don't know. you never know what kind of evidence prosecutors are looking at. it's just a possible theory. >> he's a fictional character, so it's a hard question to answer, but it is late on a friday. >> it is. i'll have to leave that one for you, ari. >> i'll keep working on it. a lot of times these thoughts i have, people say why don't you just keep that in your own mind. barbara mcquade, interesting theory and a great sport.
you get tonight's last word. >> thanks, ari. have a good night. >> don't go anywhere though. this is the end of the "last word." you can find me at 6:00 p.m. at the beat with ari melber on nbc. right now it's "the 11th hour" with brian williams. >> tonight the day long event that turned nasty, down right ugly at times. the acting attorney general for the next few days says he hasn't interfered with and will protect the mueller investigation. the feds look into the friends of the president accuse catched blackma -- accused of blackmail. >> and the worsening crisis in the commonwealth of virginia. the entire state democratic leadership is in trouble. the lieutenant governor now facing grave allegations as "the 11th hour" gets under way on a friday night. good evening once again from ou