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tv   MSNBC Live With Craig Melvin  MSNBC  February 25, 2019 8:00am-9:01am PST

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need to make the moral choice between love versus hate. well, president trump was apparently watching. he responded this morning on twitter, calling lee's speech a racist hit. adding he's done more for african-americans than, quote, almost any other president. but the political back and forth cannot overshadow the joy of this picture. the photographer, kevin winter for getty. ton of great moments from last night's oscars. thanks so much for watching this hour of msnbc live. more news right now with my colleague craig melvin in new york. hey there, craig. i'll head back to the white house and ask the president some questions hopefully before he leaves for vietnam. >> i know you will. safe travels, kristin. thank you so much. good mondaymelvin. msnbc headquarters in new york city. new revelations. michael cohen preparing for testimony on capitol hill. the mueller report is expected soon, after the special counsel slammed paul manafort in the 800 page sentencing memo. what it all tells us.
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also, trump's gamble. president trump leaving for his second face-to-face meeting with north korea's kim jong-un just an hour from now. why u.s. intelligence officials are worried. and without her consent. a new report just out details a lawsuit from a former trump campaign staffer against the president and the trump campaign. she says that trump forcibly kissed her in 2016 and experienced pay discrimination, as well. the white house denies that. the reporter who broke that story will join me. before all of that, we start with the president. washington. president trump starting with the washington he leaves behind, departing to vietnam shortly. moments ago, he met with the nation's governors. self-congratulations about his domestic agenda. nothing on the big week ahead for his former fixer michael cohen. the president's former attorney will testify before three, count them, three congressional
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committees this week. two behind closed doors, but one scheduled to be very public, perhaps painfully so for the president. the mueller report also dangling out there like a shoe poised to drop. will we see it? yes, say house democrats, one way or the other. nbc's ken dlilanian starts us of with the cohen preview. start with the strategy. what do we know about it? >> craig, of course, democrats are going to use michael cohen to make the president look as bad as possible. they'll have a lot of material to do it. republicans are going to, of course, try to challenge his credibility and point out that he's an admitted liar. leaving aside the politics, craig, this has the potential to be a riveting hearing because the public has never before seen a trump insider of some ten years, somebody who has been in the room with donald trump, tell intimate and potentially damages stories about how donald trump does his business behind the scenes. i am told that michael cohen has
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been preparing for this hearing for some time. he knows his credibility will be challenged, so he's bringing documents with him. he's going to tell some sordid and potentially, in the words of lanny davis, his spokesperson, chilling stories about how donald trump has behaved. the russia material is off limits at the open hearing, but he can discuss the hush money payments to women, alleged corruption at the trump foundation, the way donald trump has avoided taxes, and otherish shoo you issues with his family business. the michael cohen we reported about last week is he's cooperating with investigators in manhattan. he's giving information about the trump foundation and inaugural committee. he'll have a lot to say. he may not be able to say what he is telling the prosecutors. >> for folks not following this as closely as you have, cohen won't be able to testify about the russia stuff in the public hearing for what reason? >> well, that's a great question
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that i'm not entirely clear about the reason. he'll testify about russia behind closed doors before the house and senate intelligence committees. not sure if it is a robert mueller decision. it is the deal the committees made together, that he won't talk about russia in public. >> okay. ken dilanian starting us off from washington. thank you. >> you bet. msnbc legal analyst, former federal prosecutor. john flannery, former prosecutor with the aformentioned southern district of new york. and aaron blake, reporter for the "washington post." thanks to all of us. let's start with what the "new york times" reported about cohen's work with federal prosecutors in new york. in part, according to the "times," cohen met last month with federal prosecutors in manhattan, offering information about possible irregularities within the president's family business and about a donor to the inaugural committee. could this be the bigger threat
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to the president than robert mueller's investigation? >> absolutely. my old office is -- they call it the sovereign district of new york, outside of the southern district of new york. one of the reasons i was attracted to the office is seymore was the attorney, and he indicted his own boss in the nix nixon investigation. i thought it showed independence as a prosecutor. that office is not circumscribed by the restrictions on the special counsel. in addition, they've already had significant findings up there. i think that what we're looking at now is what else are they going to do? i think that that's something to be concerned about over in the west wing. michael cohen, although you may call him a liar, he is corroborated by various documents, other witnesses, tape recordings that, for some bizarre reason, these guys made them all the time.
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i think he's very dangerous, and i thought when they delayed his returning to custody, that it had a lot more to do with what was going on in new york than had to do with appearing before the senate committees. >> ah. glen, don junior, fox news this morning. this is part of what he said about the investigation out of the southern district. here it is. >> they put incredible pressure on regular guys that couldn't afford million dollars in legal fees and got them to slip up and say something incorrectly. there are no ak yat crictual cr. it's what people did in past lives, in 2006, before we even thought we'd ever get into this crazy world. >> almost sounds like something you'd hear from rudy giuliani. the idea there are no actual crimes, that there are only things that people did in their past lives. does that fly at all? >> i don't know what that means. when don junior says that prosecutors put incredible pressure on people to flip. i was a prosecutor for 30 years, i put a lot of pressure on a lot of people to flip.
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what was the goal? the goal was to get truthful, accurate and, yes, incriminating information against other individuals, and not take the cooperator's word for it, but corroborate it six ways to sunday. documentary evidence, text messages, cell phone tower, surveillance videos. the whole job of corroborating what a cooperating witness tells you is what prosecutors are all about. so don junior is full of hot air when he says, yeah, they're trying to get people to flip and lie. no, they're trying to get people to flip and tell the truth and work their way up the chain. >> aaron blake, contrary to manafort's fraud offenses, they happen during the campaign. witness tampering was last year. these aren't long ago events. >> no. they're lies. the lies told have all pertained to things that have been happening the last couple of years. you know, you can argue that
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they haven't found evidence of collusion, at least that we know about publicly. you can argue that the manafort of crimes did deal with things that he did before the campaign. but there are also crimes that are taking place during this actual campaign, since the campaign, when these people have been interviewed by authorities. so, you know, to stretch this argument that there's really nothing behind this, that the mueller investigation has found nothing, that sdny has found nothing, they found campaign finance violations that the president of the united states has been implicated in but not charged with anything. you know, you can keep making that argument, but it only works up to a point. eventually, once you factor in all these other things, it is clear that there are crimes that are taking place since the campaign and during this administration. >> house democrats concerned the justice department is not going to release the full mueller report. this is intelligence community chairman, adam schiff, yesterday. >> we will obviously subpoena the report. we will bring bob mueller in to
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testify before congress. we will take it to court, if necessary. in the end, i think the department understands, they're going to have to make this public. >> what's the attorney general's obligation here, and if they hull bob mueller in to testify, how much more is he really going to be able to say or willing to say in. >> i don't know. i suspect that what's going to happen is we're going to cut it as we usually do in public interests, and somehow, somewhere, sometime, someone is going to leak the report. there are so many people that will know about it. the real problem here, besides the technical constraints normally on justice about an ongoing investigation, or one that has been concluded, is that the person there is trump's tool, if you will, barr. he's the third person, if you will, after matt whitaker, who has been put in position to do what trump wants him to do,
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which is to stomp on this investigation. the real question is if, in his retiring days, as he considered himself during the hearings, he wants to go out with a bang, is he going to do it by selling his soul to the trump administration to conceal the wrongdoing of this administration revealed in a report? that's the question. i think in that context, a subpoena that will end up in the federal district court in d.c. is going to be looked favorably upon disclosure for the reasons that it's being withheld, if it is withheld, as we suspect it will be withheld by barr from the senate and the house and the public. >> schiff also said he's got precedent on his side. doj never indicted hillary clinton, yet managed to release thousands of pages of information. does he have a point there? >> yeah, you know, i am of the opinion, craig, that the report will be released. it almost has to be released. >> full report? >> here's why. well, they'll have to protect
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sources and methods. >> sure. >> they'll have pto deal with grand jury secrecy material. a judge can issue an order, sort of giving the prosecutor, bob mueller in this instance, permission to disclose grand jury secrecy, material, in the public interest. here's the other thing, so let's assume for a moment that in that report, bob mueller has found some evidence of criminal conduct by the president. that cannot be suppressed. i don't want to go too far down this rabbit hole, and i can perhaps be accused of, as a former career prosecutor, looking for crimes around every corner, but if you suppress evidence of criminality, then you're running the risk of being an accessory after the fact to that crime. i'm not accusing -- i think barr is going to do the right thing, for a host of reasons. i don't think -- i think he'd be in legal jeopardy if he suppressed evidence of criminal contact found by bob mueller perpetrated by trump. it is way down in the legal
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weeds, but i think it would create so many more problems than it would remedy if he suppressed, refused to release an incriminating report. >> why are you confident bob mueller is not the president's stooge? >> a number of reasons. bill barr and bob mueller know one another for decades. mueller taught he to be a federal homicide prosecutor, okay? to know mueller is to trust and respect that mueller is a man who is driven by one thing and one thing only, doing the right thing by his country and by the american people. if barr knows mueller, and if they are as close as it's been reported that they are, that does not bode well for trump. i think this may have been trump's worst miscalculation, appointing barr as attorney general. >> leave it there. john, thank you. glen, thank you. nice bow tie game there, by the way. we like bow ties here.
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thank you, mr. blake. always good to have you. trump's gamble. why the bar is even higher this time for the president as he heads to vietnam for a second face-to-face with north korea's leader. also, 2020. bold like trump. the strategy behind democratic presidential hopefuls swinging for the fences, as they look to match up against the president. and trump versus spike lee. even with all that's happening in the world, the president finds time to pick a fight with the legendary director. es in yo. miralax works with the water in your body to unblock your system naturally. and it doesn't cause bloating, cramping, gas, or sudden urgency. miralax. look for the pink cap.
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less than an hour, president trump leaves for hanoi, vietnam, for round two with north korea oohs kkorea's kim jong-un. it's been eight months since the two world leaders first met with the handshake seen around the world. and with a second summit, a little more than a day away, it is worth remembering the president posted this message after that first summit. everybody can now feel much safer. there is no longer a nuclear threat from north korea. just yesterday, the president's secretary of state, mike pompeo, said this. >> do you think north korea remains a nuclear threat? >> yes. the president sa >> the president didn't say that. >> i know. >> he tweeted, there's no longer a threat from north korea. >> what he said was the efforts made in singapore, the commitment that chairman kim made, have substantially taken down the risk to the american people. it's the mission of the secretary of state and president of the united states to keep the american people secure.
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we're aiming to achieve that. >> that's a direct quote. >> nbc chief global correspondent bill neilly ar ll awaiting the president's arrival in hanoi. military reporter courtney is at the pentagon with new reporting on this. bill, on the ground in hanoi, walk us through what the next 48 hours is going to look like. >> reporter: yes, so president trump leaves shortly. kim jong-un, of course, already on his way. president trump coming by plane. kim jong-un traveling by train, two and a half thousand miles, somewhere in china. it'll take two and a half days. no one is quite sure why he took that route, but he will get here first. he is clearly in no rush, and president trump appears to be in no rush either. saying yesterday, i'm not in a rush to strike a deal, i just don't want any testing. as long as there's no testing, i'm happy.
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he also praised kim jong-un, said we have a very, very good relationship. we see eye-to-eye, and we're both hoping for some progress. well, they better get some progress because the bar has been raised. if you remember at the singapore summit, it was really more about symbol than substance. you know, the message was in the meeting, if you like. the handshake was historic. this summit has to be very different. there was a vague promise to work towards denuclearization at the end of that summit. absolutely nothing really has happened since then. in fact, various u.s. intelligence agencies, as courtney i'm sure is about to tell us, estimates that, in fact, north korea has simply increased its stock of nuclear fuel and material and so on. really, although president trump is trying to lower the bar, saying, look, i'm in no hurry, the bar for this summit really has been raised. there have to be concrete
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results, craig. >> courtney, headed into the weekend, this is how president trump described the progress that's been made there since the first summit. >> we now have a situation where the relationships are good, where there's been no nuclear testing, no missiles, no rockets. we got our hostages back. we have many of the remains back and coming back rapidly. the singapore was a tremendous success. only the fake news likes to portray it otherwise. >> courtney, you filed a new piece about some concern among senior u.s. officials about this upcoming summit. what have you learned? >> president trump is correct in there hasn't been any nuclear or missile testing since the singapore summit last summer. that doesn't mean the programs have been halted, not by any stretch of the information. intelligence officials consistently said north korea is continuing to work on the uranium enrichment, the nuclear
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program. it is continuing to work on the missile development program, they just aren't launching them, something we saw that became so frequent in 2017 with the launch of their first icbm and, of course, in september of '17 with that enormous nuclear test they conducted. what carol lee and my colleague and i have been reporting out of this week's summit in hanoi is some concern that this is just going to be another photo op. what bill was referring to there, with the importance of the handshake we saw in singapore. there really needs to be some kind of ground moved there. there needs to be some development. among the things we're hearing that president trump may offer, that they may discuss, one is creating an intersection. this, of course, is the bare bones, diplomatic facility. they might create one or talk about creating one in pyongyang and one in washington, d.c. that would be unprecedented. unprecedented level of diplomatic relations between these two nations. something that here at the pentagon they're watching for is
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whether they're going to talk about these massive exercised, multi-lateral exercises the u.s. has with south korea. these are annual. they've been something that for years, as i've been covering the military and the pentagon, i hear about the importance of these exercises for interoperability, for readiness of the forces, you know, to always be prepared in case war were to break out with north korea. of course, out of the singapore summit, they postponed those exercises. we didn't see the large ones last summer. the big question is, will we see any kind of an interation of them this spring, as they're scheduled every single year? no one really knows what's going to happen. one thing that's been really unorthodox in these meetings with this second meeting now with kju is that there hasn't been a series, months and weeks of meetings between the north korean side and the u.s. side to develop the talking points and to develop hthe agreement that' going to exist. there's concern among the u.s. officials we spoke with. nobody really knows what could possibly come out of this,
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craig. >> courtney kube, we'll leaviv t there. bill neely, we'll be checking in with you. thank you. a former trump staffer filed a lawsuit against the campaign, saying the president kissed her without her consent, and she was sexually and racially discriminated against. the reporter who broke that story joining me next. joining m. guys do whatever it takes to deal with shave irritation. so, we re-imagined the razor with the new gillette skinguard. it has a unique guard between the blades. that's designed to reduce irritation during the shave. because we believe all men deserve a razor just for them.
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all right. 2020, full swing. we've got quite the panel here to talk about it. "washington post" national political reporter michael is with me. so is former senior adviser of majority leader harry reid. adam also with me. gentlemen, thanks to both of you. michael, i'll start with you. let's start with your reporting out today. headline reads, "go bold like trump." presidential candidates decided. you write about the campaign strategy democratic presidential candidates are employing so far, whether endorsing a work of operations, taxing the operations of rich people, or push to pack the supreme court with liberal judges. what is this calculation behind the boldness of these proposals? >> well, they're all trying to compete right now to be the
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candidate who is the most visionary, the most forward leaning, who is shooting the moon. they talk about going to the moon a lot on the campaign trail right now. the trick is, they try to then follow it by not endorsing the details. you saw elizabeth warren and kamala harris last week talk about reparations for slavery. when it gets to the details, they're not very specific. it is not clear if they're talking about reparations in the way we've historically thought about it. the danger here is as democrats move toward the general election, they're going to be on the record floating a lot of these ideas, seeming to endorse some of these ideas. you know, beto o'rourke is quoted saying he wants to tear down the border wall, then he backtracked off that. that could be a liability going into the general election. >> adam, bold strategy, like reparations or taxing the wealthy, more than we tax the wealthy, backfire in a general election? >> i don't think so. i mean, i think the opposite is likely to be true. i think this is a healthy debate for us to have.
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the ideas are inspirational. i think big ideas bring new people into the primary and into the election process. it increases the chances of picking up new voters who otherwise might not be inspired to come out to the polls for sort of the same old, same old. i also think what you're seeing is a lot of the ideas are proving to be extremely popular. democrats for years have been hesitant to really lean into the idea of taxing the wealthy to pay for things that help working people, but with folks like elizabeth warren leaning into that, people are doing polling and finding out enormous numbers of people support the proposal, even the majority of republicans. >> i want to play something kamala harris said in an interview with our own kasie hunt. here it is. >> how do you win back voters across the midwest who decided they wanted to put donald trump in office? >> listen, when it comes down to it, i'm going to compete for every vote. regardless of who people voted for in the last elections. when people are waking up in the middle of the night with the thought weighing on them, they're not thinking about it through the lens of the party
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with which they're registered to vote. they're thinking about those issues like their personal health, the health of their family. they're thinking about, can they get a job, keep a job. for students, can they pay the student loans? those are the issues that are prevalent issues that are the issues that keep people awake in america today. >> michael, is that the message that wins back voters that used to be considered reliably democrat? >> that's the message she'd bring to the general election. the problem is her republican opponent, presumably president trump, would try to scare americans into what she's actually offering. you know, it is true, taxing the wealthy polls very well right now. reparations for slavery doesn't poll well, especially among the midwestern white swing vote. you know, other issues like medicare for all is a phrase. it polls decently, but once you talk about eliminates private insurance, which is something that kamala harris got a little tripped up about right out of the gate, it works better in a
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democratic primary than the midwestern states she's talking about. she has a unifying message. you'll see it from the democratic candidates. we're all americans. we're in this together. we have the same hopes, dreams, and fears. the problem is, the details of some of these policies, if republicans can stick democrats with them, and we don't know if that's going to be the case, could hurt them in the general election. >> gentlemen, stand by if you can. michael and adam, stick around. i want to talk to you about this on the other side, as well. for the first time since he took office, president trump facing a new public accusation that he kissed a woman without her consent. in documents from a federal lawsuit filed against the president and his campaign, obtained by nbc news, johnson, a staffer on the 2016 trump campaign, alleges president trump leaned in to kiss her outside a rally in tampa, florida, three months before his election. she was behind the scenes at the event. her publicist confirming to nbc
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news that is johnson you see -- that you just saw in the white hat there. you see her in the white hat there. she told the "washington post," quote, i immediately felt, because i wasn't expecting it or wanting it, i can see his lips coming straight for my face. white house press secretary sarah sanders telling nbc news, quote, this accusation is absurd on its face. this never happened and is directly contradicted by multiple highly credible eyewitness accounts. beth rhinehart, "washington post" investigative reporter who broke this story. this revelation new to the public, but this is a story that, as i understand it, the "post" has been working on for quite a while. when did johnson first reach out to you? >> i first contacted ms. johnson about a year ago when doing some reporting on these types of allegations by donald trump. she declined comment at that
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time. more recent days, i heard from her folks around her and reviewed a copy of the complaint that she filed today -- or draft of it. was able to interview her multiple times, and some of the people she told about the incident and people that she says witnessed the incident. >> johnson also alleging paid discrimination, as well. what's the backstory here? >> well, she's an african-american woman, and she's alleging that she was paid less than her white male counterparts on the campaign. >> the two women, you mentioned johnson said there were folks who witnessed this alleged encounter. these women deny seeing anything inappropriate. pam, karen, supporters of the president's campaign. what more do we know about that? were those the only two who can corroborate the story? >> she says there were other
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folks in this recreational vehicle where people were gathered before the rally. mr. trump was in there greeting volunteers, taking pictures, signing autographs. then she says people started leaving because the rally was getting started. mr. trump started leaving. she describes this incident with him grabbing her hand and leaning in to kiss her. she says she thought he was coming for her lips, so she t h turned her head so he hit the side of her mouth. she says then that pam and karen, the two people you just mentioned, pam bondy, the attorney general of florida, she recalls them witnesses the event because they reacted in a way that pam bondy smiled at her, and karen tugged her elbow. both of them strongly denied witnessing this incident or reacting in that way.
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>> in this federal lawsuit, what is she seeking? >> she's seeking punitive and compensatory damages. she talks about, you know, the emotional distress that she's experienced as a result of this alleged incident. >> what do we make of the timing of the filing? why now? >> well, she would say that, you know, she had thought about suing back in october 2016 when the "access hollywood" video tape emerged of trump bragging about kissing and groping women without their consent. she consulted a lawyer at that time in florida who provided texts to us, showing that he showed her -- he viewed her account as credible but decided in the to take her case for business reasons. after that though, trump obviously became president.
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she said she thought she needed to move on with her life. as the months passed, she felt compelled to take this step and come forward. >> after this alleged incident, did she continue to work for the campaign? >> she did. this alaeleged incident happene august 24th, right before a rally in tampa. she continued to work for the campaign for several weeks. then the "access hollywood" tape broke october 7th. she says after that, she stopped going into the campaign office and, you know, quit the campaign in mid-october. about three weeks before the election. >> beth, "washington post" investigative writer. tha thank you for your time. i want to bring back michael and adam. president trump, then candidate trump, faced and denied similar accusations during the campaign. they didn't seem to make much of a difference with the electorate. any chance this is going to be
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different, i mean, at all this time around? >> the first thing i want to say is how much courage it takes for a woman to come forward with this kind of accusation against the president of the united states. i think that's an enormous act of courage. i have a tremendous amount of respect for that. i also want to say, i think it is a mistake to think it didn't have an effect. trump's numbers tanked after the "access hollywood" tapes. he still remains an incredibly historically unpopular president. his numbers are terrible with women and, i think, with a lot of men, in part for this reason. i think the assumption this doesn't hurt him is incorrect. his numbers are extremely low, and i think it's probably safe to assume that the serial accounts of sexual assault are one of the reasons. >> adam, we'll leave it there. michael, thank you, as well. singer r. kelly back in court. just pled not guilty to the sex abuse charges against him. what we're now learning about a possible second tape implicating
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the r&b legend. also, president trump firing back at spike lee. why trump is accusing lee of a racist hit. 25% of your mouth. listerine® cleans virtually 100%. helping to prevent gum disease and bad breath. never settle for 25%. always go for 100. bring out the bold™
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prosecutors say three of those victims were underage at the time of the alleged attacks. his lawyer says that his client apparently has money problems, couldn't easily cobble together the $100,000 in bond money to get out of jail. ron mott is inside that courthouse in chicago. what happened there in court, ron, and where's r. kelly's money? >> reporter: well, that's a question a lot of people are asking, craig. this was a mega superstar in the r&b world. his attorney said his money has gone the way of hanger on and mismanagement for years. he's been struggling to try to put this $100,000 together to get out of jail. we also know that he has got an order for more than $150,000 more back child support. his attorney has told our affiliate wmaq here in chicago he doesn't have to worry about that money in order to get out of jail. the lawyer says he expects him to make that bail either today or tomorrow, and maybe perhaps on wednesday. we're waiting to see if steve
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comes around the corner from behind me after meeting with his client. yesterday, we were asking him about the first video tape that lawyer michael avenatti says he turned over to prosecutors here in cook county that allegedly shows r. kelly sexually abusing a minor, a 14-year-old. this morning, i asked his attorney about a second tape michael avenatti said he was going to turn over today to cook county authorities. the lawyer for r. kelly says he won't respond to michael avenatti. he only responds to law enforcement and government officials. he says he does not respond to blow hards. this is what he said yesterday about r. kelly's long-standing denials of accusations that dogged him for 20 years. >> he kept records, made people show him ids, made people sign statements. he didn't ever knowingly, certainly, have sex with someone who was underage. now, if they showed him a fake id, if they filled out a form and lied on it, that certainly
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isn't his fault. >> reporter: obviously, we'll have to ask him again if he comes down here and addresses the media before the cameras. he basically said michael avenatti, if he's turned over another tape that involves a minor in some sort of sexual encounter with r. kelly, that it is illegal for anyone to view that if they're not in law enforcement. the question i'd have for r. kelly's lawyer, if you are acknowledging there is a minor on the tape, and your client is also on that tape, you're essentially playing sp ining in hands of prosecutors and admitting your client is in an illegal situation with a minor child. there is michael avenatti behind me, craig. i don't know if you want to stay with this shot or not. if he's going to make his way to the cameras. we can stick with it here, or i can throw it back to you. you tell us what you want. >> i'll take it back, ron. do ask those questions if you can. i think a lot of folks watching are listening on sirius satellite radio find it
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extraordinarily odd that r. kelly would ask for ids and keep recor records. is he holding a news conference? we lost ron. okay. we'll check back in with chicago a little later. robert kraft also in trouble. kraft facing prostitution charges in hollywood. he was out and about in this weekend. this is from tmz sports. it shows the new england owner leaving a pre-oscar party in beverly hills, one of many he atte attended. this is his first public appearance since charged with soliciting prosecution. the charges are part of a six-month investigation across florida into an alleged human trafficking ring involving massage parlors. kraft expected to be served with an arrest warrant later today. the president of the united states weighing in this morning on apparently something he saw or heard on the oscars, when director spike lee accepted his
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first competitive oscar for "blackkklansman" last night. he closed out his speech with this. >> the 2020 presidential election is around the corner. let's all mobilize. let's all be on the right side of history. make the moral choice between love versus hate. let's do the right thing. >> president trump tweeting this morning, be nice if spike lee could read his notes, or better yet not have to use notes at all, when doing his racist hit on your president, who has done more for african-americans, criminal justice reform, lowest unemployment numbers in history, tax cuts, et cetera, than almost any other prez. new report in "atlantic" says americans are abandoning religion in favor of work to find purpose in their life. it is a fascinating article. the author of that report, derek thompson, is going to join me on the other side of this break.
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president trump has a new plan on climate change. it's to create his own group of experts to fight the government's finding that burning fossil fuels is harming the planet. according to "the washington post" the national security council committee will be made up of scientists who question the severity of climate impacts and how much humans contribute to the problem. the group also would not be required to publicly dispose as much information as a formal advisory committee. >> right now democrats running or considering to run for president are out in full force trying to fine-tune their message as we get closer to the 2020 primary and central to many of their campaigns is a fight to protect workers and the right. elizabeth warren has a bill that would give companies and employees more power. brown launching a dignity at work tour, bernie sanders pitching plans encouraging employee ownership, as well. many of these ideas stem from a
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central question. how does work culture affect employees in this country? there is a piece in "the atlantic" this morning. workism is making americans miserable and it's written by a smart guy who is here with me. derek thompson, fascinating piece. anyone who hasn't read it yet i want to encourage them to read it. it caught my attention this weekend. there is a new term you have coined it's called workism. what is it? >> work used to be an office and now it's a church. everything that we have historically expected from religion, community and meaning and self-actualization i think we increasingly look for those very things now in our jobs, and so i call this movement workism. i think it comes from this idea that as we are looking for new places of meeting in a period of declining religiosity, right?
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traditional religions are losing their con grgregants still has sit at the top of the altar. if it's not god, what else can we worship? forra a variety of reasons we have come to worship e elite, college-educated people have come to worship group itself. >> not a generation or two, correct? >> rich white guys are working more than anyone else? >> that's right. there are two mysteries at the heart of this. in 1930 the economist john maynard baines predicted that by today we'd be working 15-hour weeks and five-day weekends because the economy would be so productive. obviously, this hasn't happened and mission number one. mission number two is physically, as countries get richer they work less. this is true of america overall and it's true of every country in europe and far less than it did in the 1950s, but for some reason rich elite men are working much more than they did 30 years ago. i think that they are
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essentially choosing to spend more time at work for the exact same reason why catholics prefer to spend time at church on sundays. it's where they feel most themselves, and we have convinced ourselves as a country that work is a worthwhile place to worship our identities. i think that's wrong. i think our desks were never meant to be our altars. i think that all of the expectations that we have for jobs are really unrealistic because jobs weren't created necessarily to give all of us, 300 million americans meaning. >> yeah. >> they've designed to feed a c capitalist economy. we have a depth of expectations of what we have and the reality of work as it exists today. >> you write about how this work culture is actually codified in law. to quote your piece here most advanced countries give new parents paid leave while the united states guarantees no such thing. many advanced countries ease the burden of parenthood with u.s.
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policies, but u.s. public spending on child care and early education is near the bottom of the rankings. in most advanced countries citizens are guaranteed health care by their government, but the majority of insured americans get health care through where else? their workplace. >> it's a great question. on the one hand we all do have to worship something. i would prefer that something that that something isn't work. i would prefer it is their families and communities because it would give them more meaning because what you just describe side that this idea that we should all worship work which is held by the elite of society is trickling down, such that every welfare policy, every pomoral question we have as a community the answer is always let's put that policy in the workship. let's make people get healthcare from work and the most important parts of welfare policy, let's
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attach it with work and jobs. i think what you're seeing on the left is very interesting. you are seeing universalist policies that say we can get people healthcare and welfare and all of this sort of happiness in a way that is universal. it's not tied to the labor force. >> it's a fascinating piece. thank you for coming by to talk a little bit more about it, derek thompson. always enjoy it. thank you. president trump set to leave the white house in just a few minutes from now heading to vietnam for the second summit with north korean leader kim jong-un. the ball... pass the r. ...we're open just pass the ball! no, i can't believe how easy it was to save hundreds of dollars on my car insurance with geico. yea. [quartet singing] shoot the j! shoot, shoot, shoot the jaaaaaay... believe it! geico could save you fifteen percent or more on car insurance.
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that's going to wrap up this hour of msnbc live. i'll see you tomorrow on "today." andrea mitchell reports. looking forward to jon stewart. >> me, too. right now on andrea mitchell reports. donald trump leaving this hour for vietnam and his second summit for kim jong-un. is the president too eager to claim success? his own intelligence officials worry he might give away the store. >> i think we'll have a very tremendous summit. we want peace, nuclearization, and i think we'll have a country that will set a lot of records for speed in terms of an economy. >> the point card, robert mueller will not release his report while the president is at that summit in vietnam, but democrats are already getting ready, planning their strategy if the attorney general tries to keep the mueller report secret. >> we will obviously subpoena the report. we will bring bob mueller in

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