tv Morning Joe MSNBC February 27, 2019 3:00am-6:00am PST
>> one aspect of the conflict, by the way, that i will never ever countenance is that we drafted the lowest income level of america and the highest income level, found a doctor would say they had a bone spur. that is wrong. that is wrong. >> today, michael cohen will tell lawmakers donald trump offered to help him handle the bad press surrounding his medical deferment from the vietnam draft. he wanted cohen to take care of it. he said, you think i'm stupid? i wasn't going to vietnam. this morning, he is there, as two huge stories come crashing together. in just a few minutes the american president will shake hands with kim jong un, as the former fixer shares secrets on capitol hill. >> and the declaration for a
border wall is in the senate's hands. and new subpoena from the trump administration's policies to rip children from their families at the border. there are new disturbing details there. >> just because a republican gets away with it, doesn't mean a representative can, matt gaetz just learned that. joe's mom is in hospice. he's with his family this morning and hope he will be back tomorrow. along with willie and me we have the author of the book "a world in disarray," richard haass. good morning, as the president is minutes away from his second meeting with kim jong un. johnny deutsche is with us and will set the stage for michael
cohen's testimony today. and new reporting this morning on that very testimony. racist, con man, cheat, these are the words donald trump's former lawyer, michael cohen, will use to describe the president before the house oversight committee this morning. a draft of cohen's opening statement obtained by nbc news, includes allegations the president had advance knowledge about hacked democratic e-mails, that donald trump jr. alerted his father what cohen believes was the 2016 trump tower meeting with russians offering dirt on hillary clinton. cohen also claims trump indirectly encouraged him to lie about seeking a real estate deal in moscow and will provide a check allegedly signed by the president in august of 2017, cohen says was reimbursement for paying off porn star, stormy
daniels, along with trump exhibiting what cohen calls racist attitude, and that the president mistreated his staff members, abused his charitable foundation, and lied to his family, all in pursuit of personal enrichment or pleasure. yesterday, cohen spent about 10 1/2 hours behind closed doors with the senate intelligence committee, and made this brief comment. >> i really appreciate the opportunity that was given to me to clear the record and to tell the truth. i look forward to tomorrow, to be able to, with my voice, tell the american people my story, and i will let the american people decide exactly who is telling the truth. >> so, willie, looks like we will hear a lot. this is a draft. it appears it has a lot of nuggets in terms of what we're going to be hearing about, all these issues we've been talking about that may have happened,
allegedly happened, michael cohen wants to shine light on them and put details around them perhaps he think prove they are true. >> it will be an extraordinary day. i want to start saying we are thinking about joe and his beautiful mom today. that's where our hearts and minds are but we need to talk about this because it's a big news day. you have the documents about the house oversight committee today. it will be interesting because the democrats will be getting at the facts and i suspect many republicans will be seeking to undermine the credibility of michael cohen. he is going to jail for three years, prison for three years in part for lying to congress. he will have with him documentary evidence purportedly, one of the checks the president cut to pay off stormy daniels to silence these women and stories. what else do you expect to see over the course of some 10 hours
today? >> notably, willie, at the beginning of that testimony, michael cohen fully acknowledges he faces credibility issues and why he is bringing that receipt and check and bringing financial statements from deutsche bank. he will have actual proof from some allegations he makes. beyond the opening statement you covered nicely about the knowledge of roger stone's statement about julian assange, and the trump tower talking about it six times. beyond that, democrats want a lot more and they want to delve deep into this issue of money laundering, not just with russia but other potential foreign countries. i'm told for instance, there was a story that maybe didn't get a lot of attention last year in
february, about a trump tower last year in panama, where the south americans were essentially trying to kick out trump business officials. they saw them going into a room with documents, and they heard a shredder going. why is that important? democrats, willie, are going to dig into this whole notion how the trump organization operates with these shell companies which are supposed to be investments, and a lot of these individuals and foreign countries think are going to be investment but actually turn out to be shell companies potentially used for money laundering. it will go deep into russia even though the chairman said that is going to be off-limits. the individual chairmans have their own agendas and it will be up to cohen and his lawyers how far he goes. >> cohen alleges donald trump was quote a presidential candidate who knew roger stone was talking to julian assange about a wikileaks drop about
democratic committee national e-mails. quote, in july of 2016, days before the democratic convention, i was in mr. trump's office when his secretary announced roger stone was on the phone. mr. trump put mr. stone on speakerphone. mr. stone told mr. trump he had just gotten off the phone with julian assange and mr. assange told mr. stone within a couple of days there would be a massive dump of e-mails that would damage hillary clinton's campaign. mr. trump responded by stating to the effect of, wouldn't that be great? both roger stone and president trump have denied having conversations about wikileaks and hacked e-mails. here's mr. trump on day three of the democratic conversation after cohen claims the conversation took place. >> russia, if you're listening, i hope you're able to find the 30,000 e-mails that are missing. >> you said i welcome them to find the 30,000 e-mails --
>> they probably have them, i'd like to have them released. it gives me no pause, if they have them they have them. >> donny deutche, there's going to be a strategy to brand cohen a liar. i guess in some ways he is, he admits to being one, for president trump. what's he trying to do today? >> the whole strategy of michael being a liar and lied to congress and can't be relied for anything. first of all, the premise we can't believe anybody whoever lied is not true. people have not visually seen michael other than the pre-two year ago michael. we haven't seen this. what you're going to see is a very very different man, contrite. it's genuine. the camera does not lie. i spoke to him late last night.
he thought yesterday went very well. could really see the transformation in certain senators, actually one of the senators walked up to him and said, thank you for your honesty and bravery and one of the republican senators said, wow, he is really really credible. there is substance in there, specific things you guys laid out, very correctly across the board and then the other character stuff, the kind of portrait michael will paint. i am quite sure everybody, after watching michael cohen for several hours in terms of the visual aids he presents and documents he's bringing to not believe, because so much syncs up what we're witnessing with donald trump, a man all these things sync up with what we have been seeing. i think there are four damning things in there, julian assange
stuff and the check while in office, to me, is the silver bullet. you will see a very different michael cohen today. if i'm mr. trump in vietnam, i'm shaking in my vietnam booties. >> to donny's point, without talking specifically to what cohen testified yesterday, for two years i said the russian investigation is the most important thing i will do in congress, av today, i still believe that's senator warner talking about cohen's testimony. the draft of cohen's statement today before the oversight committee claims the president had more advance knowledge than he's admitting about russia's involvement in the 2016 campaign. cohen's testimony claims the revelation of the june 2016 meeting between donald trump jr. and russians offering dirt on hillary clinton jogged his memory, quote, something clicked in my mind, i remember being in the room with mr. trump probably
in early june 2016 when something peculiar happened. don jr. came into the room and walked behind his father's desk which is unusual. i remember him leaning over to his father and speaking in a low voice and saying, the meeting is all set and mr. trump saying, okay, good, let me know. cohen goes on, mr. trump frequently told me and others his son, don jr., had the worst judgment of anyone in the world and he would not set up anything of significance alone and certainly without checking with his father. i concluded don jr. was referring to that june 2016 trump tower meeting on dirt on hillary with the russian representative. president trump said it he knew nothing about the meeting until it was reported in the "new york times" until 2017. obviously, this is his interpretation of what he heard
or has anything to prove. that has been a central question at the heart of the mueller investigation and all this talk about connections between the russians and the trump campaign in 2016. this meeting at trump tower. >> yeah. i wonder, richard haass, how close michael cohen can get to showing some sort of proof or cooperation and connection between trump and knowing about those meetings. gosh, when you think about the meeting he is about to have right now, it is amazing the arc -- the journey of.j. trump running for president and now as president meeting with kim jong un in a private one-on-one, let's hope they keep the translators and keep the note takers, giving donald trump's track record we don't know and can't trust. how important do you think what michael cohen has to say about this russian meeting is in terms of the fact it's just his version.
i'm not a lawyer, mika. it seems to me, essentially confirms the narrative that's out there. i don't see any new evidence that would fundamentally change people's conclusion. what you were talking about to me is so interesting about today. the juxtaposition, literally and figuratively the split screen. here, you have a president embattled on a lot of issues coming out, whether russia, julian assange, you name it, negotiating with a forn anniversary, obviously -- foreign adversary, and whether this puts pressure on the president or in any way induces him to overreach, basically hope he can pull something off in hanoi that will obscure the other story. it's not the first time we've seen a president facing domestic crisis. we saw richard nixon during watergate, the october '73 war in the middle east. we saw bill clinton several
times during the lewinsky scandal. how does this president handle this pressure against the backdrop of this negotiation? is he tempted to give too much or claim too much in order to obscure what's going on here in congress? >> i think the actual evidence, checks and things like that are the most important. president trump, who is in vietnam, of course, for this incredible summit, a place that you're looking at right now that he wouldn't go to when it came to fighting for the united states of america. he claimed bone spurs and stayed away. he's there this morning for what many call made for tv moment and nothing more than that. foreign policy experts are actually concerned about events like this and what trump might say or do. trump is tweeting about michael cohen this morning, from hanoi. quote michael cohen was one of many lawyers who represented me, unfortunately. he had other clients also.
he was just disbarred by the state supreme court for lying and fraud. he did bad things related to trump. he's lying in order to reduce his prison time using crooked's lawyer, a reference of course to lanny davis. he can't get les prison time. the president is wrong about that. when he says michael cohen was one of his many lawyers, i will say from the time we knew donald trump, michael cohen was close, us a there in and extremely closely allied with donald trump and was a confidante, a fixer, in the very sense of the word. jon meacham, historical parallels, go. >> what if roy kuhn turned on john mccarthy. not a bad one. what if he in 1953, early '54 said, you know what, i will tell you everything about the way mccarthy operates.
this is what he's like when he's having his six bourbon lunch. so forth. i think we've all noted before the last kind of day you want is when you find out that your lawyer and your cfo are talking -- or testifying against you and somebody like bob mueller is coming through every aspect of your life. it's not a recipe for a fun afternoon. the reckoning is a tough word here, but the nature of legal and historical time is different than political time. political time, we all want it all at once, right? the legal process grinds slowly, history grinds slowly. watergate took 24 months, more than that, 26 months. mccarthy rose to power in february of 1950. he wasn't censured until late
1954. i think we're going to have this extraordinary split screen day of significant foreign policy in a nation where we have devoted so much blood and time and treasure in a region really the future of our economic world with the underside, really, of kind of the "new york post" universe of trump tower. >> as john's been talk hearing, we've seen the arrival of a motorcade here at the hotel in hanoi, vietnam. that's the setting for a meeting just a few minutes from now between president trump and dictator kim jong un. they will have a one-on-one conversation after they greet and a social dinner. mike pompeo will be there and chief of staff along with
interpreters. we will see a hand shake in a few minutes. it's worth stepping back as we see what michael cohen is about to do today in the public eye with the world watching about the relationship he had with donald trump and just how close these two really were. >> let's go back to the tweet, two stunning lies. first of all, he cannot reduce his sentence. if anything he hurt himself. telling the truth does not reduce his jail time and if he lies he perjures himself and will get more jail time. the big lie was he was one of the many lawyers. i've known michael for a decade and trump for 20 years. he was his body man, an additional child. the dynamic of the relationship, not what a lawyer does, when the birther movement first came out, i went out, michael cohen, the boss is really hurt. can you get on the phone and make up? he thinks you're his
friend. a very personal everything. that's an out-and-out lie. he was his body man, his personal. >> and he is a man with nothing left to lose. i don't think that's a perspective he wants to be in. we will see what he says on the national air waves for everybody to hear. meanwhile, a republican member of congress is walking back his explicit warning to michael cohen. this is staggering. florida congressman, matt gaetz, is an unswerving defender of president trump. although he's not a member of the house oversight or intelligence committees, gaetz
tweeted do your wife and father-in-law know about your girlfriends? maybe tonight would be a good time for that chat. i wonder if she will remain faithful when you're in prison. she's about to learn a lot. speaking to reporters and on the house floor, gaetz denied he was trying to intimidate testifying before testifying. >> would you explain what you mean in that tweet? >> i think that tweet speaks for itself. >> do you have any insight on the relationship. i think you should tune in tomorrow and find out. this is a witness testifying about witness tampering. >> i guess tomorrow we will find out if there is anyone michael cohen hasn't lied to. to the irs and three banks and going to prison for his lies. i guess it will be relevant to determine does he lie to his own family? i think it is entirely
appropriate for any member of this body to challenge the truthfulness and veracity and character for people who have a history of lying and a future that undoubtably contains nothing but lies. that is the story of michael cohen. we will see it play out tomorrow. i for one can't wait to get to the bottom of things and can't wait to get to the truth. >> it just sounds so much like a threat to me or some sort
of intimidation. gaetz reconsidered his tweets finally in front of the house floor and cameras and twitter only after speaker nancy pelosi posted, i encourage all members to be mindful comments made on social media or in the press can adversely affect the ability of house committees to obtain the truthful and complete information necessary to fulfill their duties? cht i think that means if you intimidate or threaten someone they might be afraid to speak. just before midnight gaetz
deleted the tweet, saying it was not my intention to threaten, which some think i did. i should have chosen better words. >> can i speak in to viewers who know michael is a friend of mine. this is scum and to suggest michael will do that while in jail is despicable. he's a little man and the other republican cohorts need to censure him. this is disgusting all americans should be embarrassed about. >> i wonder how republicans handle this. we're les than a minute way from that made for tv moment, which you will see happen again in front of the flags. just like he did last time, where president trump and kim jong un will meet. some could argue this is one
massive deflection but the split screen will be incredible. on one side of the screen you will see a man with everything to lose and on the other, when michael cohen testifies before congress today, house oversight committee, it will be a man with nothing left to lose, talking about the president of the united states. so, heidi, given matt gaetz massive blunder that could have him censured, i'm wondering what will be the republican strategy? will they want to protect trump in light of what michael cohen is saying or stay away from it? they will be in an uncomfortable position. >> i'm told this will be punctuated with attempt after attempt of procedural motions to try and shut this meeting down. why? because the democrats, like i said previously, will want to go places beyond this testimony. they're going to want to go into
the money laundering. they're going to want to go actually -- >> hold on. heidi. it sounds like you're telling me the republicans will try to stop this to protect the president. they don't want to hear from his lawyer? >> that is 100% expected, mika. i talked to a number of democratic aides yesterday who said you may want to bring a good book because there will be so many attempt, if you look at some of the members on this committee, like jim jordan, who are stalwart protectors of this president, they will attempt whatever it is in their estimation the testimony or questioning is veering from this narrow set of topics the chairman had released, that they will try and shut it down. this could therefore lead to a very long hearing. >> does jim jordan know that this is all going to come out at some point? so if he works to try and deny the public access to this information to michael cohen's
testimony, to his public testimony before a house committee, does jim jordan know at some point it will come out, this information which may be incredibly embarrassing to the president but also could prove crimes he's alleging? does he know it will come out? does he see beyond today? >> surely he knows that, mika. here's the thing important, the other two hearings that have taken place on the hill yesterday with the senate intelligence committee and tomorrow house intelligence committee are closed. both sides know, democrats and republicans, this is the only chance for the american public to hear directly from michael cohen in his own words. the stakes couldn't be higher. there are many members kind of like to the far left and to the far right, if you want to characterize it that way, who
are going to be throwing bombs and it could slow down this hearing. there are going to be members who despite the chairman's promise this isn't going to go into russia, will go there and push michael cohen and force him and his lawyers to make a decision how far they want to go releasing that information even though the chairman cut deals with sdny and the house intelligence chair to not go there. i'm fully expecting this to have a lot of fireworks. >> as we wait for that moment for that meeting between chirp kim and donald trump with the stunning sight of the american flag and north korean flags being given equal standing on that stage. i ask you a practical question, what does it mean to shut down the hearing? what could jim jordan do? what does it mean to shut down the michael cohen hearing? >> filing procedural motions, trying to adjourn after every
new line of questioning is introduced they feel may be out of order and not pertain to the previously agreed set of questions. it's not going to shut it down but could prolong things and could make it a very long hearing. some democrats are characterizing it that way. i would expect it to slow it down and grind along and arguing what's in order and out of order. >> richard, your thoughts looking at this image first. the next image, the president of the united states, once again, as we saw him last year with the north korean dictator, kim jong un and we're told there will be a conversation with the two men and we hope we can listen to that and hear your thoughts. >> it represents the two men essentially equal with the flags and the two of them standing there and to me it represents why north korea won't give up
their nuclear weapons. they wouldn't get anything without it. this is their meal ticket, one of the poorest countries in the world. this is why we have it on television this morning. why i think the talk of denuclearization, it's just talk. little chance they would give up nuclear weapons when they saw what happened to gadhafi and saddam. we'll talk about this rhetorically. you won't get it. like any other negotiation, what are we going to give and what are we going to get. north korea wants tangibles, sanctions relief. the real question is what do we get that's tangible. >> on that point about the symbolism of this moment, i'm looking, september 29th is the day president trump say it, among many other things since then, he and kim are in love. now, he's having this meeting
with this symbolic visual we'll be seeing where the president will shake hands with the man he's in love with. i put that in quotes, in front of the american flag and their flag. he's a dictator. s is the president of the united states, at this point, using this moment for this made for tv symbolic deflection perhaps to what is really going on. we'll be hearing from his personal fixer today before congress. here it is, the president and kim jong un in hanoi, vietnam, their second meeting. let's just listen in. n in [inaudible question].
there, the president meeting with kim jong un in hanoi, vietnam, which is symbolic in many ways given the president's history with vietnam or lack thereof. the president talked very briefly to reporters and mentioned their great relationship. he's talked often about his relationship with the dictator, kim jong un, even at one point, say they are in love. richard haass, the significance of this moment. they will be having a dinner tonight and one-on-one meeting. >> the significance all depends what comes of it. i think there's a pretty good chance north korea will agree to dismantle some facilities and a chance you can have an end to quote war. i don't think you will get accounting what they will have and not get a freeze on any nuclear activity. you are not going to get
intrusive verification so we can have confidence what north korea is up to. you will get sanctions. people like me are a little bit worried about. we want to make sure, our hope the president doesn't put on the table some of the fundamentals of the u.s.-south korea relationship, something that could rattle confidence in seoul and tokyo and around the world. again, it's all a question of the balance between giving up tangibles and getting intangibles, getting symbols. singapore was not reassuring in that regard. the question is whether we have more of the same here. >> i have to ask, given the president's past record with supplements and given the stress he's under with his former fixer testifying before congress. and a draft coming out with what that former fixer is going to say beyond racist behavior, sexist behavior, maybe even
presenting a check that the president signed that will be a reimbursement for payments to a porn star that will add up to campaign finance violation, all of that coming out, perhaps that physical evidence of that check that president trump signed. also, the fact the president is tweeting this morning while in hanoi, vietnam, while conducting that meeting, about his former fixer. here is the one-on-one meeting, see what we can find out and i will have a question on the back end, richard, stand by. d by
. >> 261 days were the day in which a lot of effort was necessary and a lot of patience was needed. s needed >> here we are today [inaudible] -- >> i want to say, it's an honor to be with chairman kim, it's an honor to be together in a country, vietnam, where they rolled out the red carpet and very honored to have us. it's great to be with you. we had a very successful first summit. i felt it was very successful,
and some people would like to see it go a little quicker. i'm satisfied, you're satisfied, we want to be happy with what we're doing. i thought the first summit was a great success and hope this one hopefully will be equally or greater than the first. we made a lot of progress. i think the biggest progress is our relationship is really a good one. s really a good one [speaking non-english].
>> as i said many times, and i say it to the press and i say it to anybody that wants to listen, i think your country has tremendous economic potential, unbelievable, unlimited. thick y i think you will have a tremendous future with your country and great leader and we will watch it happen and help it to happen. [speaking non-english] . >> thank you all very much. we appreciate it. we will go have dinner, and then we have big meetings scheduled
for tomorrow and see you, i guess, at the news conference at some point during the day. thank you very much. e day. thank you very much. >> all right. the president appearing to refuse to take any questions about michael cohen. usually, he likes to dive right into that stuff, staying away from it, just finishing his one-on-one meeting with kim jong un and the big take away, he says their relationship is very good and where the most improvement has been between his relationship and kim jong un. he also said that this country has tremendous economic potential, and he looks forward to helping that happen for them. kelly o'donnell covering this joins us now. what can we expect next?
>> reporter: well, there will be an ongoing one-on-one meeting without the cameras there from the white house pool so the conversation will continue with the interprets in -- interpreters in the room but not the wider delegation. you heard him describe the relationship and social dinner, emphasis on social, seems to be a big part what president trump is focused on here, that his relationship with kim jong un and how he has sort of worked on that and what they've each done is an achievement on its own, not necessarily what the wider world would be looking to give high marks. certainly, relationship is a part of politics and very much a part of diplomacy. will there, an effort to still focus on things like denuclearization. the president was asked by pool reporters if he has backed away by denuclearization as a requirement. he said, no. also did not engage on the issue
whether the korean war, still technically active in a diplomatic sense, did not engage on that. that would be a benefit to north korea because they could get some sanctions relieved from the international community and still considered an active war even though the u.s. is not fighting, it's been generations since the korean war, it does give the united states have an umbrella of security for our friends in south korea and allies in the region. so, a social meeting tonight, dinner, the big discussion tomorrow, you heard the president preview a press conference, where we will get his first snapshot judgment how this all went. mika. >> all right. in hanoi, vietnam, a split screen of the president in vietnam and michael cohen testifying in congress open session will be talking about the trump tower and how the
asked him to lie about it. that he knows trump lied about his wealth a great deal. mr. cohen was given reimbursement for payments to porn star, stormy daniels, to try and quiet her, at the very end of the campaign. michael cohen, in the draft of his opening testimony, is going to apologize to melania for lying to her. he also is going to say that as a candidate, mr. trump wanted michael cohen to write letters to his high school, college and other entities, threatening them not to release his transcripts. this all happening today side by side with this incredible summit once again, the president meeting in vietnam for the second time with kim jong un. willie. >> extraordinary pictures, we're watching them combine. joining us, former undersecretary of state and
policy coordinator for north korea, ambassador sherman. great to have you with us this morning. the president of the united states saying it's an honor to be with chairman kim, calling their first summit last june a great success, there's been a lot of progress and our relationship is a really good one. what's the best case scenario? you know north korea well. you've watched how the country behaves, you know what it's willing to do and not willing to do. richard haass is not alone in saying he finds it impossible north korea would not give up the one thing it has in the world, the nuclear weapons program. what is the point of this exercise? what can president trump extract from north korea here? >> willie, we certainly hope the president succeeds getting north korea to give up its nuclear missiles. on the day michael cohen will call the president a con man,
i'm afraid we will see a bit of a con in north korea today. the president is looking to deflect a photo-op. i do agree i think kim jong un will put something positive on the table. it may be to disable some of his major nuclear facility where much of the missile material is made, if not all of it. i don't think it will be a lot and will be verifiable in the way it needs to be. it appears the united states is ready to give kim jong un quite a bit, liasson offices in our country and us having one there. political declaration that says the korean war is over and lifting waivers for development. the president knows how to build buildings. he wants to create a riviera for kim jong un. i don't think anybody is lining up to visit that particular
resort today. >> richard, we heard a lot of these promises or draft promises from north korea coming out of the singapore summit last june. remember, there was that paper summit saying it intended to denuclearize and intended it to say north korea is no long ear nuclear threat. that is not the case. what can he get? >> he will get some dismantlement. >> will he do it? >> he may do it with some of his old facilities. at the same time, they're doing covert testing even if they don't do overt testing. all presidents think their personal relationships with adversaries, fdr did it with stalin. others are not seduced, they have their own national interests.
kim jong understands that would be the end of his power. he doesn't want tourists there. he wants very selective ways to do this. i want to get back to wendy and the risk of ending the state of war, whether this is dangerous, because this can basically further undermine the pressure to keep sanctions in place. people will say, ah, the war is over and now we can have a normal relationship with the north. how much does that worry you? >> i actually think there are two risks, richard, people will lift sanctions, chinese and russians are already in essence easing up on the sanctions. it also says to the world we are disengaging from asia, that in fact the war is over, we're onto a new time. when you add this sense of disengagement from all the other things the president is doing, pulling out of syria and afghanistan, putting nato in
question, the american people don't want our troops to stay overseas forever. we all agree with that. this constant disengagement from the world only makes china and russia happy guys. >> ambassador wendy sherman, given your experience, i would understand you helped prepare for situations like this, preparing world leaders to be at their best during a summit like this, how concerned would you be if the president of the united states was tweeting about his former fixer's sleazy testimony just an hour before a moment like this? >> indeed. it makes no sense to me at all. one, he is really underscoring the story of michael cohen as opposed to the serious negotiation he's supposed to be undertaking. he is giving fuel and energy
when he should be serious and focused on the very difficult negotiation in front of him. it is quite displaying. >> donny, if you look at the draft of what michael cohen is going to say before he's even asked any questions, this is incredibly revealing information about the president's behavior in the lead-up to the campaign, campaign finance violations, a check that president trump himself signed that might be proving these reimbursements to a porn star, beyond the fact this is so unbecoming to the president of the united states, it also potentially could put the president in very hot water. there is evidence potentially coming to the table today. >> back to creakorea for a seco the president talks about what an honor it is, let's not forget he's sitting next to a despot,
who starves his people and killed his brother and killed journalists. donald trump takes our brand and puts it on equal footing with that brand. >> killed an american college student. >> american college student. >> he is endorsing that brand and that mode of behavior. as richard lays out, this is another donald trump production, like the caravan was, the wall is, his imaginary friends are. there's zero possibility. you don't have to be a diplomat to understand he's not giving up his nukes in any way shape or form. it's despicable we as a country continue to live under a veil for a guy who needs to produce things for his own self-esteem. watch that and think about who he's shaking hands with. >> jon meacham, you look at these photographs and courts of history who presidents have met
with, as pointed out, somebody like stalin. what is kim jong un getting out of this photograph right now, these images, what do they do for him? >> the fact we're looking at them and talking about them. this is a marshall mccluen moment, right. this is the message. he's being elevated and affirmed as a rational actor in the family of nations. i don't think it's much more complicated than that. one of the things that connects these two unfolding stories how trump got to power and how he operates we'll see on capitol hill, is this is the cost of that. it's complicated, and richard and wendy can check me on this, diplomacy is often about talking, more often than not, about talking with people with whom you have virulent and existential disagreements.
because trump personalizes everything, and all presidents, to be sure, are prone to this, as richard pointed out, churchill and roosevelt's staff used to go crazy when roosevelt and churchill would be with stalin because they would get together and think they could solve the world's problems and it would take the staff six months to undo whatever agreement they'd come to over vodka. there is a peril of summitry. it can be wonderful. it can also be quite perilous. what i think we're seeing here is this produced version of the presidency that is about trump's odd, and i will keep saying it's odd, although it may not be odd that much anymore. odd affinity for authoritarian figures. wendy, does that track for you? >> absolutely.
i was sitting here and thinking when madeleine albright and i went to pyongyang, and we're at a banquet and obviously they pass around the real drink of the koreas, she got enormous criticism, just enormous, for being in the same room, going to this enormous stadium event. when she came out, she said, i have no rose colored glasses on, i grew up under communism, i get what this is all about. president obama during the iran negotiation never embraced the supreme leader of iran. as it was he was criticized for allowing a negotiation to go forward. when john kerry talk a walk with zarif in a park for 15 minutes, he and zarif got withering criticism for looking like they were normal people. it says a lot, as donny was saying, the production we have
all come to expect from president trump, that we are all sort of taking this in, that this bromance that he has with kim jong un is literally in front of our eyes, turning into a wedding ceremony, and indeed, that this has to be about more than photo-ops and love letters. it has to be about seriously concerning ourselves with the security of the united states of america. >> there are concerns that the president does not have that on his mind this morning. in about 10 minutes we'll be seeing live pictures of the two leaders having dinner together. the president saying the two leaders are in love and have a special relationship. moments ago, he said the best thing about what is happening in this summit is that their relationship is really really good. secretary mike pompeo will, at the dinner as well as chief of staff, milk mulvaney, and side
by side with that another story breaking today, the president's former function former fixer, who will be testifying before congress, and expected he will call the president a racist, con man and a cheat. and will provide evidence to some of this and will be speaking his mind for the first time with nothing left to lose because michael cohen is going to prison, and nothing he says today will reduce his prison time. he wants to set the record straight. we'll be right back with much more breaking developments. h more breaking developments relief and remission, with dosing every 8 weeks. stelara® may lower your ability to fight infections and may increase your risk of infections and cancer. some serious infections require hospitalization. before treatment, get tested for tb. tell your doctor if you have an infection or flu-like symptoms or sores, have had cancer, or develop new skin growths, or if anyone in your house needs or recently had a vaccine. alert your doctor of new or worsening problems, including headaches, seizures,
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even our pets know to go because it's the easiest way to save 30% on all the medications we carry. so skip the search and go directly to petmeds.com now. i really appreciate the opportunity that was given to me to clear the record and to tell the truth. i look forward to tomorrow to be able to, in my voice, tell the american people my story, and i will let the american people decide exactly who's telling the truth. >> that short appearance by
michael cohen followed over 10 hours of closed door testimony on capitol hill, we will hear a lot more from him when he testifies again today, only this time in public. welcome back to "morning joe." it is wednesday, february 27th. donny deutsch is still with us, along with the president on council of foreign relation, richard haass, historian and author of "the soul of america," jon meacham with us and joining the conversation, associate editor of "washington post" and msnbc political analyst, eugene robinson. joe is off, his mother is in hospice. he had to stay in florida with her. canceling his event tonight to stay with her and his family. we hope to have him back tomorrow. to our top story tomorrow, there
are two. as the president has dinner with a man known as a murderous dictator who starves his people, they're preparing for dinner now, he's being described as a racist, con man and cheat we will hear from his former fixer, michael cohen, and will use those words. a draft of cohen's opening statement obtained by nbc news includes allegations that the president had advanced knowledge about hacked democratic e-mails, that donald trump jr. alerted his father about what cohen believes was the june 2016 trump tower meeting with russians, offering dirt on hillary clinton. cohen also claims trump indirectly encouraged him to lie about seeking a real estate deal in moscow. remember, the president said, i've got nothing with russia.
cohen will provide a charge check allegedly signed by the president in 2016 cohen said was a reimbursement about paying off porn star stormy daniels to make her be quiet about an affair they had and what cohen calls racist attitudes, abused his staff members and abused his charitable foundations and lied to his family all in the pursuit of personal enrichment or pleasure. as we mentioned, michael cohen plans to give house investigators a copy of that check from donald trump's personal bank account, which he says trump personally signed while he was president that's bad. that reimburses cohen for paying off the porn star, that would be campaign violations. he says the check was one of 11 installments he received while
discussing the matter while visiting the oval office in february of 2017. cohen was charged for he alleged scheme which side-stepped federal finance disclosures. prosecutors wrote in cohen's guilty plea he acted in coordination with and at the direction of individual one, a clear reference to the president of the united states, in committing these federal crimes. cohen's alleged conversation and payments came well before president trump denied knowing anything about payments for the alleged affair. >> d affair >> . [inaudible question]. >> you have to ask michael cohen. michael is my attorney and you have to ask michael cohen. >> do you know where he got the money? >> i don't know. >> willie geist, the testimony
today in terms of what we've seen so far in the draft. heidi przbyla's reporting is republicans will do everything they can to keep the hearing from starting, i think would be an incredible decision for republicans, maybe not the best in the long run. >> i think there will be a lot of republicans who will see defending the president their mission in the oversight committee where michael cohen will sit, this is extraordinary, a man viewed as another son to donald trump, who was a part of the family effectively. remember his famous quote to emily jane fox in "vanity fair," where michael cohen said, i'm the guy that would take a bullet to the president. that's how loyal he's been over the years. you look at his prepared statement we have this morning, that starts at 10:00 o'clock
eastern time at the house oversight committee, michael cohen gets that with documentary evidence. the core questions about potential or alleged russian collusion, which are the trump tower meeting, the wikileaks hack of the dnc, and also these signed checks, payoffs to stormy daniels in the day before the 2016 election. >> it's all there. it is going to be must see tv. as i said earlier in the hour, people have not seen michael cohen except the old clips of michael cohen where he was donald trump's con-- and the chs do not lie and will add up to a lifetime of donald trump. this is just the beginning. let us not forget this is several hours today, michael cohen by nature a counterpuncher has not been able to punch back all this time. it will be riveting. i think -- i even heard from him
last night -- a couple senator, not from him, but people with him came up to him and said literally, thank you for your bravery and honesty. a republican senator was overheard saying he really really is credible. i think the american people will see that today. if you are a trump supporter, open your eyes a bit more. even if you're a michael cohen supporter, open your eyes a bit more and you will find out a lot more not about michael cohen, about donald trump. >> michael cohen is going to jail for three years and part of that is he lied to congress and he acknowledges he has a credibility problem when he sits in that chair today and gets to it in paragraph 3 of the opening remarks, i recognize some of you may doubt me. he short circuits that criticism with the documentary evidence he's brought with him. >> he does. number one, he has documentary evidence.
number two, if you think about it, no one would ever be convicted in a criminal court in this country practically unless juries came to believe people in the past had been liars. who knows about crimes committed? it's criminals involved in those crimes, who lied about them and who were found out and who then told the truth. that's kind of how testimony in court, in criminal courts works at least. in this case, it's working in this way. michael cohen was a loyal soldier, donald trump's fixer, a true believer. he is no longer that. he is quite the opposite. his eyes are open. he has years worth of eyewitness observation and listening to donald trump. he will tell us about it. i think it will be compelling.
i'm also fascinated. at some point maybe we will learn what he told the senate committee. afterwards, senator warner issued a statement saying this is the most important thing i will have done in my public life. that caught my ear. i wonder if he went much further there than he will go today. >> it's illuminating there and a thread throughout, i've pushed him all along, michael, do you know what you're doing? how could you work for this guy? what you see as he goes through it, you kind of understand the arc of, yes, here's why i did this and here's why i did this, very caught in the light. he says a lot of positive things about donald trump also because it doesn't make sense if they're not positive things otherwise, why are you following this guy? i think michael cohen is the ultimate symbol of basically somebody who trusted donald trump and is paying the ultimate
price, and a lot of this country is doing that. >> doesn't work out. >> on that credibility question, the statement from nbc news, the last time i came before congress, i came to protect mr. trump. today, i'm here to tell the truth about mr. trump, perhaps explaining the lies he told last time he was there. in addition to the allegations he makes about wikileaks and meeting at trump tower and others, there is personal stuff. the testimony will offer what he says is a private view of president trump's thoughts on race. cohen is expected to say trump quote once asked me if i could name a country run by a black person that won't an s-hole, this was when barack obama was president of the united states. while we were once driving through a struggling neighborhood in chicago he commented only black people could live that way. he told me black people would never vote for him because they were too stupid, and yet i continued to work for him. cohen also reportedly revealed
his efforts to conceal donald trump's education records after the president claimed for years that he graduated first in his class from wharton. cohen plans to say, i'm talking about a man who declares himself brilliant but directed me to threaten his high school, his colleges and the college board to never release his grades or sat scores. i'm giving the committee today copies of a letter i sent, at mr. trump's direction, threatening these schools with civil and criminal action if there trump's grades and s.a.t. scores were ever disclosed without his permission. the irony wasn't lost at the time in 2011, he strongly criticized president obama for not releasing his grades after calling president obama quote a terrible student. now, let's go and you had a chance to look at the statement mr. cohen will deliver to the
house oversight committee. what are your takeaways on that? >> my take away is mosquiichaeln is trying to deconstruct the facade and character of president trump. he said he was a con-artist and trying to get a trump tower in moscow during the presidential campaign and that now infamous meeting between don jr. and trying to get intel on hillary clinton. he understood and knew roger stone was in contact with wikileaks and got a heads-up on when the dnc e-mails were leaked. he's in his own mind trying to atone for what he sees, a decade working for someone in his mind not only a racist but also someone trying to use his political campaign as an
infomercial. the thing that struck me most here thinking about the fact president trump is president, saying this is a great political commercial. everything i'm doing is not about serving the american people not becoming president, all in service to my business and my image. >> we're waiting now to get live pictures from hanoi, vietnam, where the president will be having dinner with kim jong un. secretary pompeo will be there. chief of staff, mick mulvaney as well. it will be playing out right now, the president meeting, having dinner with a man known to be a murderous dictator, who starves his people, applauded the assassination of a family member, kim jong un, the president talking today, before live cameras, right there. saying how good their
relationship is. the president has spoken often how good his relationship is with this man. here now are live pictures coming in from the dinner, where the president is yucking it up with kim jong un. they're laughing about something. let's listen in. . >> everybody having a good time? you are? >> one of the great photographers. f the great photographers. [inaudible]. >> if you could have heard that
dialogue -- we will have a very busy day tomorrow and we will probably have a very quick dinner and a lot of things will be solved, i hope, to lead to really a wonderful situation long term. our relationship is a very special relationship. special relationship [speaking non-english]. >> thank you very much, everybody. thank you. see you tomorrow. thank you.
przybyla przybilla przybyla przybilla that was trump being trump. you saw mike pompeo and mick mulvaney and trump having a good time having dinner with a murderous dictator. and a tweet earlier today, this is in his mind, michael cohen was one of many lawyers who represented me unfortunately. he had other clients also. he was just disbarred by the state supreme court for lying and fraud. he did bad things and he is lying in towards reduce his princeton time using crooked's lawyer. michael cohen is going to jail for three years and the only thing he can do is increase his prison time. he is speaking today before open congress. he plans to tell the real story about donald trump, to tell his
real truth because he spent years, he says, lying for president trump, covering up his foibles, covering up his misdeeds and the embarrassing moments in his life. he will be calling president trump a racist, con man and cheat. he will be talking about his payment to stormy daniels, a porn star he allegedly had an affair with and will be presenting the check president trump gave him for those payments. and for michael cohen to call all the schools he went to and threatened them not to talk about his grades. he will be talking about him lying about his wealth and talking about the trump tower project and implicitly asking michael cohen to lie about it. he will say he thinks donald trump was briefed by donald jr. on the trump tower meeting but has no direct evidence of
collusion, and he will repeatedly talk about president trump lying about his wealth. we will see what evidence he brings to the table. michael cohen today is the subject of president trump's tweets as this president meets in vietnam with kim jong un. willie geist, we just walked through this moment in history trying to cover all the facts. >> i'm thinking as i'm reading this opening statement, his quote to george stephanopoulos in december, will not be the villain in this story. he's ready to step out. heidi, you have information on how democrats will try to get more information and more out of the top lines we've seen in this opening statement from cohen. >> that's right, willie. i've been talking to democrats in on the preparations for this hearing. they say, this is their opportunity to talk to someone who intimately understands how the trump organization and trump
foundation operated. specifically, they have great concerns about a history of money laundering. they want to get to michael cohen about the president's use, documented use of financial statements over the years of shell companies in far-flung areas, such as panama, opening up a number of shell companies, for instance in saudi arabia, during the course of the election. secondly, i'm told by a well-placed democrat when it comes to the trump tower in moscow, the president's daughter will be much more implicated in this round. democrats will try to get more information on other characters who may have been involved beyond the names made public over the years, like felix sater, who has ties to the russian mafia and finally, there is a strong belief there may be other women beyond karen macdougall and stormy daniels
who may have been silenced. the question is what more is in david pecker's safe. >> if you're just waking up, we have the draft opening statement michael cohen will provide before the house oversight committee at 10:00 eastern time and he new about the hack by wikileaks and knew about the trump tower meeting the subject of so much speculation in june of 2016. that he in fact has signed checks, cohen has signed checks from president trump, while in the white house, while president of the united states in 2017, to help with payoffs of stormy daniels. one other thing to remember, michael cohen has been with the special counsel for 70 hours providing testimony on everything he knows. richard haass, i want to go back to the other track we are on
here, the summit in hanoi with kim jong un. i think i heard correctly as the president offered those spray remarks around the dinner table, about a special relationship? >> there's nothing wrong with the president meeting with a foreign leader, even a tyrant, with blood on his hands, in the cause of peace. you have to negotiate peace or arms control with your enemies. i get that. it's another thing to speak about this guy, kim jong un in such glowing terms, talk about their personal friendship and so forth. second of all, you picked on exactly what made my head shake. to use the phrase, "special relationship," that's a phrase of more than half a century of history, reserved for tour closest ally, united kingdom, a fellow democracy, a country you fought side by side with, in more wars than i can count, but to use that phrase with kim jong un, that's one i didn't expect.
>> do you think he either doesn't know or the term? >> it's consistent with downgrading of our relationship with europe and consistent with his comfort meeting with authoritarians around the world. in the president does like the word, "special," a lot of things are special. you are right. he could care less about our traditional relationships with nato and britain. that doesn't register with him at all. nothing happened before trump. >> mika. >> you're looking at pictures from moments ago, the president and kim jong un posing a bit for the cameras before their dinner began, the president asking the murderous dictator who starves his people, is everyone having a good time. the president is top of mind, the testimony of his former fixer, one of his closest friends for years, a man who was
by his side, who will open testimony before congress today about the president's misdeeds, possibly while in office. jon meacham, walk us through this moment in history. one of the things that comes to mind, especially if this comes out in opening statements, republicans may try to find a way to stop this testimony or fill time or not allow it, if the president signed a check to reimburse michael cohen for payment to a porn star about their affair, if that check is real and that evidence purports to be true. that appears to be a problem for the president. am i mistaken? >> he doesn't have a distinctive signature so we probably won't be able to figure this out. the age of trump is one of odd sentences, so, here's another
entry. michael cohen may be a representative american in this sense. if this trumpian fever ends at some point, it's going to end because enough of the 35 to 38% of the trump base have a cohen-like moment. if you read the draft of the testimony, if it's delivered more-or-less as it's been reported, it's the story of someone who was charmed, entranced, and became an enabler of this deeply flawed principal character. he then fell out of that spell, fell out of that trans, he realized enabling him was the wrong thing. so, that journey is one that at some point a lot of other
americans are going to have to make if we're going to move beyond this nativist and xenophobic and corrosive moment in the life of the country. i think, to me, that's as important, if not more so than the details of who he paid off. does anyone really doubt -- does anyone on the planet really doubt that trump paid off these people? or that what cohen is saying is not true? maybe they do. i don't see how they could at this point. basically, trump has risen to power by being this way and basically winking at us. >> john -- >> the cohen -- the cohen journey here is, i think, a really really interesting one, because it's got to be repeated if we're going to break out of this. >> john, you nailed it. michael is talking about -- he's
patient zero. he is the first example, really coming forward and saying that, saying, look, i am an example, probably closest to the son of being swayed, being conned. i am paying the ultimate price. most americans won't pay the price michael is, not going to prison. that is pretty much the theme of his opening statement and will come up a lot today. i also want to go back to heidi and let us not forget, this is the beginning of the end for donald trump, talking about inflating his wealth, he would say the value of his building was x for his taxes, a million dollars and in forbes, say it was $100 million. that would allow democrats to get his tax forms, he is a tax cheat. some things michael cohen is going to jail for, a couple hundred thousand of taxes as far as reporting the undervalue of an asset, donald trump did x to
that. and where this ends in the southern district, racketeering corruption organization act, they go after the entire trump organization based on the trump university, based on the foundation, based on money laundering, and they will take it apart. they will take his buildings away. he basically says you are a mafia head sitting on top of a criminal organization, everything is in play. this is the beginning, first page that turns towards that followed by the mueller organization, followed by the ongoing southern district. >> if you look in the draft statement, among the documents revealed is the deutsche bank financial statement. we know, based on my reporting, we know there are several committees trying to probe trump's business history and that crosses the ways and means committee, which is going to be demanding those tax returns and still trying to figure out how to go about that, get them most
quickly without a protracted court battle and how financial services committee, and maxine waters is going to be very aggressive on this and obtain additional documents from deutsche bank where they think there are a lot of buried treasures about the way this president has conducted business over the years. again, i bring you back to that issue of the shell companies. there are stories hiding in plain sight just from last year, for instance, when the president's officials at a trump business in panama, the south americans thought was supposed to be a real real estate investment business, they were essentially evicted and told to beat it. they were heard going into a room with suitcase, using shredding equipment. there are stories like that that will come out potentially in this testimony if not later but goes back to the issue of the trump foundation and the trump
business and how it all operates. >> i'm looking at another top line out of this as well. this has to be proven with documentary evidence and maybe what bob mueller is working on talking for 70 hours with cohen. and the wikileaks leak. and michael stone. and one excerpt, mr. stone, this is what cohen will say, mr. stone told mr. trump he had just gotten off the phone with julian assange and mr. assange told stone in a couple of days there would be a massive dump of e-mails that would damage hillary clinton. mr. trump responded to the effect of, wouldn't that be great. the accusation is not just that roger stone worked with the dnc, mr. stone knew about it ahead of time. >> michael cohen will also say
nothing in the campaign would have happened without president trump and then candidate trump being directly involved. what you have is michael cohen basically saying i will tell you president trump was directly involved with roger stone. it's interesting to think about that michael cohen, someone who said he would take a bullet for the president, is now turning on the president and roger stone in his own legal trouble saying he would stick by the president and starts to differ to make people think whether roger stone is the next person flipping on the president given what he says today. he said before donald jr. went to that infamous meeting at the trump tower he called his father and said, hey, it's all good, i'm going to this. and michael cohen saying he was in the room when don jr. made that comment. democrats i've been talking to and democratic aides will be asking michael cohen straight
up, what is your biggest regret and trying to get him to say, this is why i'm coming forward now. i had somebody close to michael cohen say, and maybe jon meacham, he wants to come clean and put out all the misdeeds president trump put forward and all the misdeeds president trump committed. >> all right. as we get closer to going to break and covering both of these stories as they develop and developing right now, both on the michael cohen front and also in hanoi, vietnam, we're also covering the question whether or not a republican congress was intimidating or threatening a witness, that witness being michael cohen. that story coming up. jon meacham, thanks for being on this morning. i understand you met with someone who just might have 2020 aspirations. tell us about that before you
go. >> i was at the university of delaware yesterday with joe biden, who is at the public policy school, university of delaware, being named after the former vice president. we had a conversation about, you will appreciate this, mika, the soul of america, something you're thinking about most of the day, you can call me later and we will go through it. he quoted plato, saying one of the costs for not participating in politics is that you are governed by your inferiors, being the bob woodward type i am, i said, does that have any personal resonance at this point for you, sir? about an hour we came back and he basically acknowledged the family has signed off on his running for president. i think he has one or two boxes to go. you could tell from the reaction from some of the people close to the vice president, that they had not known he was going to make these remarks.
there had been a big family meeting over the past few days, weekend. the family is on board. that's usual important to the vice president. i think -- i was honestly personally going in, i thought this was maybe not going to happen, felt as though it probably will at this point. the family was a big issue, specifically, especially in this case for joe biden. that's news. thank you. we have much more ahead on testimony by michael cohen before the house oversight committee. we will bring in the chair of that committee, democratic congresswoman, katie hill. plus, the president having a social dinner with kim jong un. we will bring in the top democrat on forn relations, senator bob menendez. and james stavridis is standing by.
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a new draft obtained moments ago, michael cohen is giving house investigators other checks to reimburse him for hush money to keep stormy daniels quiet before the election, signed by donald trump jr. and the cfo of the trump organization. it should be noted that the cfo has reportedly received immunity from federal prosecutors. as far as we know, donald trump jr. has not. a couple of questions for you. you mentioned earlier, republicans like jim jordan may make an attempt to try and block michael cohen from actually being able to say anything, to slow it down. can they block his opening
statements? why would they want to slow it down if potentially crimes were committed, wouldn't they want to hear that for the good of the american people? >> they can't stop this, mika. sounds like cohen is coming with actual documentary evidence here. the reason why this second piece of reporting is important is because it shows a pattern. if we're talking about a potential criminal conspiracy here, this is now more than one check that was cut and more than one check that was cut during the time that the president was in office. presumably, when michael cohen says he has evidence of crimes committed while in office, this is exactly what he's referring to and secondly, shows there was more people involved here. this is donald trump jr. also signing and putting his name to this. it will help bolster as well, michael cohen's credibility, when he testified today, mika, that the president was at the
center of directing many of these actions at issue, including the negotiations around the trump tower. he will also testify today that the president basically implied that he should lie about trump tower even though he was asking him about it repeatedly, reportedly more than six times throughout the course of the campaign. >> incredible. heidi, thank you very much. we want to go now to the other big story. we want to bring in former nato allied supreme commander, james stavidris, with nbc news and msnbc. we look what played out over the past hour, we saw the president in hanoi, vietnam, shaking hands in front of the flags of both countries, again, this symbolic visual the president has set up for himself and his staff, where we see these two leaders, the
flags intertwined, coming face-to-face. the president of the united states has said of this dictator, known to be murderous, starves his people and even ordered the assassination of a family member, says they have a special relationship. he said weeks ago that the two were in love and that the good relationship is the best that has come out of this so far. please walk us through what's at stake here and what the president might be giving away with these visual symbols. >> speaking of visual symbols, mika, i have to remember the oscar, which seems like it was about eight months ago, just a couple days ago, where lady gaga and bradley cooper got together and sang this incredibly romantic ballad. i'm hearing echos of that and really hope there is not a piano in the room tonight at the banquet. >> wow. >> seriously, i'm with richard
haass, it's good to have a conversation and develop a relationship. if there is anything about kim jong un, he is especially lethal and dangerous. he so far has outnegotiated the art of the deal, our president. i think that kim will probably get benefits coming out of this summit without really giving us anything. >> i would say we need to up our intelligence game, increase our cyber intrusion into north korean society, work more with the south koreans. we're too focused on the north. we need to work more with the south. we need to get japan into the game. we had plan for peace. i'm all for that. we ought to be prepared, if this thing falls apart, to defend the south korean peninsula. that means no troop withdrawals and standing firm with our allies. the president is on a tricky
course here. i wish him well. i'm concerned about where this one is going. >> the concern, i think i would mirror what you're saying, admiral. richard haass, i will let you take it to the admiral, but saying president trump is meeting with a dictator, who already said they have a special relationship, they're in love. president trump has been known to be easily distracted and often uses events to deflect from things that he doesn't like. we know he tweeted about michael cohen this morning, in the lead-up to this meeting the president was tweeting about his former fixer about to testify about his sleazy relationship with porn stars. that's where the president's mind was. let me take you back to former fed chair, janet yellin, says
this president has no understanding of the economy, none. the fed chair was testifying before congress and would not comment on that, would not refute it. i'm worried at this point, as concerned as the admiral, this president could flub up this meeting, perhaps make promises he can't deliver on or embarrass us more on the world stage. richard, take it to the admiral. >> i don't think the president can be blamed for the fact the testimony is juxtaposed with this meeting. i think congress would have been wise to have postponed the testimony. that said he shouldn't be tweeting about it and he might be tempted to give away too much to deflect. i agree with my good friend, jim, isn't this implicit in this essentially, we have given up the game and de facto accepted no north korea will have nuclear
weapons. we're talking about all these other things. essentially, hasn't north korea become a de facto nuclear weapons state? >> i'm afraid so, richard. i'll take a line out of current culture and say in my view the chances of kim ultimately giving up his nuclear weapons are roughly equivalent of the mexicans paying for the wall, to say in both cases approaches negative infinity. we need to figure out how to manage north korea as a nuclear power. and, yes, i feel the president slipping away from earlier promises he made to us, the international community, south koreans, japanese, he would really defang chairman kim. i don't see that happening. i will make one other military point here. henry kissinger said to me once, every time you solve a problem you're given a key to the door through which the next problem
appears. so even as we try and contain this nuclear program, we have to remember that chairman kim has one of the largest chemical weapons programs in the world, one of the most advanced bio-weapons programs, stockpiles of anthrax, has one of the largest standing armies in the world. he will be very dangerous, even if we manage to contain his nuclear arsenal. he's slippery and lethal. the president will have his hands full in this negotiation. >> let's bring in the vice president for the national security program, mika. you spent a lot of time talking about north korea, but i want to focus on something the president said a short time ago, talking about the potential for north korea. is there a chance to pull north korea out of the stone age
economically and culturally and bring it into the developed world and is that a role the president should be playing here? >> that has always been the choice for north korea, they can have an economy or nuclear weapons or both. the problem is the president of the united states is offering them an economy without forcing them to give up their nuclear weapons program and danger to america, that's the challenge. >> let's raise the question richard haass said at the beginning of the show, why on earth would north korea give up the nuclear weapons program when it's the only leverage they have in the world. >> that's right. they've seen what happened to countries in the world that have given up their nuclear weapons, in libya and iraq and doesn't mean they won't try to keep them and might give up manufacturing and there are things previous presidents has gotten.
this president has given more and gotten les than any of its predecessors. >> mieke, what can be accomplished and how does this make us safer? >> it's important the two leaders continue talking. if they're not talking, they're fighting. and bringing up to the brink of war and creating a sense of crisis. if they're talking, we're not in that place and that's better than having a conflict. >> can i make a point. both mikas, there was an intermediate to basically fight hard and keep sanctions in place until north korea agreed to a full accounting of its systems and agreed to dismantle them and do so in a verifiable way. it's not simply a choice of
growing to war or accepting this new feta complete. it seems to me we have unilaterally given up to bring about sanctions for a serious arms control reduction. >> i think that's the problem and we don't have the ability to negotiate that deal. if you're going to get that deal, it's about the details. what happens to the facility in pyongyang and we heat seen this president engage those details to allow you to say we have taken steps to put controls around the system and at the what's going on here. that's one of his weaknesses when it comes to foreign policy negotiation. >> i would simply add to the other mika's really good comment, we are awash in mikas this morning. i would add as soon as we can
get this negotiation out of this specific personal channel between the two leaders and into a broader technical context, also in my view, get them into four party talks and get china involved here in a positive way. this is actually a problem the u.s. and china could work together to solve. i think that makes some sense to me. in the end, all roads to pyongyang lead through beijing. we are going to have to get the chinese involved in this and at some point the japanese and russians have big equities as well. there's technical work to do here. photo-ops are terrific. i'm glad we're not fighting, but let's get going to lay out a road map to make good progress. >> mieke eoyang, thank you. we're getting reports american reporters were barred from that session, wire service reporters
because of quote sensitivities over shouted questions. when chairman kim and president trump at the earlier event, availability when they shook hands sat in the chairs, there were shouted questions from a couple of american reporters. apparently the white house didn't like that and barred some american wire service reporters scheduled to be in that meeting and ask further questions of the president and the north korean dictator, mika, were not allowed in the room by the white house. >> i'm assuming the questions they didn't like were about michael cohen. >> correct. >> the reporters were only responding to the president's tweet, which happened shortly before this meeting, where the president himself was tweeting about michael cohen and being very disingenuous in his tweets saying he's only testifying to reduce his jail time.
that's not possible. he's not telling the truth. the reporters were spopding to the president's statement that happened -- responding to the president's statement that happened a short time ago about michael cohen. and now kicked out of this dinner. all interesting, an interesting time. >> ironic, when in rome, he's in a country where there is no free press and the president decided at that moment we don't have a free press. >> it's a very challenging time. still ahead, another big story we haven't gotten to yet, the house has blocked president trump's emergency declaration for a border wall. now, it's in the senate's hands as a growing number of republicans voice their opposition. we'll be right back. r opposition we'll be right back.
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as expected, the house voted yesterday to block the white house from diverting federal funds toward the president's border wall. the measure passed the house i have a vote of 245-82 with 13 republicans joining the democrats, well below the two-thirds though needed to overcome theed president's prome to veto.
here isro casey hunt speaking wh the house minority leader. >> do you have any concerns about a democratic president using this power after setting this precedent? >> democratic presidents have used this power because they have the right to use this power. a number ofha republicans and democrats haveer used this for numerous things. >> theme resolution now heads t the senate with a measure could also pass with some republican support. onpu capitol hill yesterday, vi president mike pence tried to convince senate republicans to hold the line. but he faced major resistance according to "politico," the pitch appears to have done little to move wavering gop senators. gene, you know, i feel like -- i'm watching and waiting for a republican to stand up and speak to the american people about the difference between right and wrong. the differencend between a real emergency and a fake emergency. and given everything that is
playing out today from hanoi, vietnam, to the halls of congress t with michael cohen, don't know why they continue to stand by their own political peril. this doesn't p appear that it's going to end well. >> no. this is -- if republicans stand by the president, is this just a shameful, shameful episode for what used to be a great political party. i mean this is a huge deal. article one of the constitution could not be more clear that it is congress that decides how public money is spent. you know, presidential emergency act clearly is not designed to cover a situation with the president goes to congress and says i want this money for this project. congress says no, explicitly says no, you can't have it. this is not important. we're not going to fund it. and then he goes around and calls an emergency. it's just outrageous. it is an insult to the constitution. and it is shameful if
republicans go along with. this i want to bring up one other thing ithough, mika. you know, on a crazy day, there is something really important, i think it'sy important that is going on. i want to ask richard haas about it.bo so india and pakistan are once again at each other's throats, more than that, they're exchanging live fire over cashmere. the pakistani's shot down two indian jets yesterday, captured a pilot. these are two nuclear armed enemies. and a hair trigger, should we not be concerned about this? maybe we should talk about it. >> we should talk about it. pakistan has the world's fastest growing nuclear arsenal and has more terrorists on its soil than any other country. they killed dozens of people in india and now india retaliated
with unclear effect. at thele height of the cold war the u.s. and soviet union had an infinitely developed more relationship than india and pakistan do now. this is a primitive relationship. the answer is yes, we ought to be worried and hope it doesn't begin to escalate. very quickly given the weakness in conventional arms as we're seeing, there is temptation to think about this. >> especially looking at india's population and eventual arms. >> we ought to take this seriously. the thing is we don't have that much of an ability. i've been involved in the noech negotiations in the past. we can say slow down a warec wi leave everybody worse off. but at the end of the day, they got to decideda and pakistan yo have incredibly weak civilian leadership. you know, someone described them not as a country with an army but anh army with a country. the question is whether they will do something about the terrorists and also you have an indianyo leader who has electio in a few weeks. the question is can you manage
this given this situation? not obviously. we're going to come out of this in good shape. that said, i think both sides are looking for a way to keep it under control. >> all right. eugene robinson, thank you so much for being on this incredibly busy morning. still ahead, much more on the two major stories we're following right now. theg kremlin is now talking abt michael cohen's testimony expected later this morning as the president struggles to keep theru focus on his summit with e north korean s dictator althoug he, too, is tweeting about michael cohen. we're back in two minutes. cohen. wee 'rback in two minutes. t newy mutual customizes- uh uh - i deliver the news around here. ♪ sources say liberty mutual customizes your car insurance, so you only pay for what you need. over to you, logo. ♪ liberty. liberty. liberty. liberty. ♪
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after 60 years of failed attempts trying to end the war, trying to end nuclear proliferation, you have finally a president who is willing to do it. finally a guy who is actually got a meeting with the other side. and for the democrats to try to counter program, that kind of progress to try to perhaps somehow distract him with this
nonsense, but, you know, a convicted felon who is lying to the same committees, it just goes to show you how much those democrats really disdain trump but also america. >> wow, that's donald trump jr. on fox news tuesday evening. so here's where we restart this hour. president trump is in a private dinner right now with kim jong-un, a dictator to whom he refers in the most glowing terms. in washington, trump's former lawyer michael cohen will testify in just two hours from now, alleging the president had advance knowledge about hacked democratic e-mails. among the many other bombshells expected to day, he will provide a check allegedly signed by the president in august of 2017. that cohen says was a reimbursement for paying off porn star stormy daniels to be quiet about their affair.
also sprenpresented to house investigators, other checks to reimburse for hush money. some checks signed by donald trump jr. and the cfo of the trump organization. it should be noted that he has reportedly received immunity from federal prosecutors and as far as we know, donald trump jr. has not. they co-signed the check on march 17th of 2017. that apparently is what we're going to see today. as part of michael cohen's open testimony. it is a very busy wednesday morning, february 27th, here on "morning joe." joe is off this morning. his mother is in hospice. still with us this morning, we have branding and marketing expert. richard haas. nbc news national political reporter and white house correspondent for pbs news hour.
so here's where we begin. these are the words that we're going to be hearing today. racist, con man, cheat. donald trump's former lawyer michael cohen will use those words to describe the president before the house oversight committee this morning. a draft of cohen's opening statement obtained by nbc news includes allegation that's the president had had advanced knowledge about hacked democratic e-mails that donald trump jr. alert the his father about what cohen believes was the june 2016 trump tower meeting with russians offering dirt on hillary clinton. willie, this is going to be a stunning day on capitol hill. and, of course, the split screen is president trump and hanoi, vietnam, meeting with a dictator. >> yeah, he's having dinner with kim jong-un as we speak. made earlier comments. see if we can hear from him. tomorrow we'll get a press conference after the meetings as well. the here and now in just two hours, under two hours from right now, michael cohen, long
time loyalist, long time attorney, long time fixer to donald trump will testify before the house oversight committee. yesterday in a closed session before the senate intel committee, he testified for more than ten hours about what he knew and, heidi, let's talk about what we can expect. as mika laid out, we have michael cohen's opening statement. we have allegations he's going to make against donald trump. that get to some of the core questions about the 2016 presidential campaign including that trump tower meeting, including the dnc hack by wikileaks and including payoffs to stormy daniels. >> the key here, willie, seems to be that michael cohen is acknowledging his contrite and acknowledging at the top of his testimony that he knows that he faces his own credibility problems and that's why he's bringing evidence. he's bringing two checks which show the president was involved in a potential criminal conspiracy to cover up these hush payments while he was in
office. and that is the zirvedistinctiot michael cohen made. he's going to expose things the president did as president. also information on the trump tower meeting that the president knew about it. now that is circumstantial information. because he doesn't have actual documentary evidence of that. and the president also directed him to lie about it. the president didn't actually expect to become president. that he was expected to make millions and millions of dollars off of this trump tower moscow project and that he asked michael cohen about it repeatedly throughout the campaign. and then you have kind of the character testimonial that's are going to come out here. the racism, the reporting that he was ordered to essentially bully trump's old schools into not releasing his records. and the third point which we haven't talked about is this
history with contractors, that he was directed to tell small business owners that the president would not pay them and that president took glee in that. so there is several buckets that are going to come out here. en that and that does not even cover the other areas where the democrats want to push even further into the bouwels of the trump organization and how the trump organization operates with the system of shell company. >> so there are questions and we'll hear the questions from republicans in this hearing about the credibility of michael cohen. these we should point out what we've been presenting on the air are allegations and just that made by michael cohen. he is going to bring a couple checks. take the trump tower meeting, for example. he's describing something he says he heard. he doesn't have documentary evidence. a lot of people watching this today will say why would a guy who is going to jail in part for lying to congress previously, why should he be believed? >> a few reasons. number one, today if he tells the truth, he does not lessen
his jail time. if he lies, he increases it. yes, he did lie on behalf of donald trump once. does that mean when they lie once we don't believe him? particularly, he does have evidence. the republicans have to decide there is proof positive in terms of those checks that the sitting president committed a crime. a finance -- a campaign finance crime. and then lied about it. a president, a sitting president committing a criminal act. i want to go back to don trump's beard, the reason this is happening today is because of a diversion because of the korean trip. the trip to north korea. no. actually, it is the senate led committee that subpoenaed michael for yesterday that got this party started. so it was not them, it was the senate that ordered him to come in yesterday and now following up to day with the house oversight committee. there is going to be two tracks today. there is going to be the
character track. you're going to learn about this man. what concerns me is we are a little numb at this point. you're going to hear about a president saying the most vile, disgusting racist things. and it's already baked in. you're going to hear about a president committing all kinds of infidelities, lying, covering up. it's already baked in. what's not baked in is some of the evidence he's going to provide and some of the deeper tales into the trump organization as i said in the earlier hour. this is just the beginning. >> so donnie's point which he knows trump and cohen well. i completely agree from my point of view. i also think this president cares more about what's happening on capitol hill today than where he is right now. he is very concerned about people laughing at him. this is something i know about him personally. and to be mocked about his grades, about his lack of service to the country, getting out of going to vietnam because
of bone spurs and his lack of wealth, his overblown sort of image of himself financially might be debunked publicly on the national airwaves by michael cohen, his former fixer who knows is very close with donald trump, was his lawyer, was his friend. and then was kicked out. he's going to jail. he has nothing to lose. he cannot reduce his jail time. this is a man who is going to unleash anything and everything he can in his final moment of redemption or whatever you want to call it. but it's not that part that could really hurt the president politically or legally. what parts of what we seen so far in terms of the evidence that might come forward could actually hurt the president politically? because there is this thinking that his base as donnie pointed out, it is baked in the cake. dhoenlt ca they don't care. he says what he thinks and they like it. so hearing the stories may not
be that, quite frankly, shocking to the base. what could hurt him politically? what is impeachable? what is legally problematic for the president? what are we seeing here that actually could impact him? >> well, the president is certainly distracted and is absolutely, as you said, focused on washington and what is happening with what is really his personal friend of more than a decade, his personal lawyer coming to congress and airing out all of his business. i think what's going to be politically problematic for this president is going to be the fact that michael cohen is dismantling this image of president trump. so many voters told me in my reporting with republicans have told me they're really taken by this idea that president trump said that he is successful businessman, a person loyal to people around him. he ran for president because he really felt like he wanted the country to go in a better direction. and what michael cohen is going to do is completely dismantle that. he'll say this is someone who is a liar. he's been lying to the american people from the very beginning.
i was struck by the fact that in his testimony michael cohen is going to say president trump continuously said this is going to be a great political commercial. saying i'm running this as a commercial. i just want to make money off the american people. i think if you're a trump supporter and you believe in this idea of him as a deal maker and apprentice character, you're going to look at michael cohen and say this is someone very close to the president who is now telling us he's a complete fraud. i think it is also important to note that democrats in their timing and bringing michael cohen, they're trying to get ahead of this idea that they're trying to really cross program with the president being in vietnam. they're going to be talking about the fact that they think michael cohen is intimidated over and over again by the president and as a result that's why he's now coming at this time. i also got my hand on some questions that democrats want to ask. and they're going to ask michael cohen what is your biggest regret? why should we trust you now? how can you give evidence to lawyers so that they can corroborate what is going on? so what is key here as you said about the legal issues is going to be whether or not the
president was working with wikileaks and roger stone to talk about hacked e-mails in the dnc. roger stone is in a lot of legal trouble and close to the president and said he's not going to turn on the president. but as we see michael cohen says he is working hand in whand donald tru hand with donald trump. they say they see mishgchael co as this generation's john dean. that is the watergate whistle-blower, the former white house counsel under richard nixon. so they're making this connection and saying that michael cohen is going to come with all those goods. >> well, if that's the case and on your point as we get to the other big story of the day, but to the many points, those who know donald trump will realize that trump knows how the media works. he knows the circus is in washington.
and that everybody is -- all eyes of the world are focused on washington, d.c. and michael cohen's testimony. he's flown across the world and he will have this summit that he's -- while he's tweeting about michael cohen. he will stay up all night watching this testimony and watching the analysis and watching himself be mocked and ridiculed. and i would argue that this will impact the president and make him very angry and there is much more to come on what he does next in terms of how he reacts to what is happening right now. you mention michael cohen being intimidated by the president. we also had a republican congressman tweeting and speaking to cameras, faced to the cameras and on the floor of congress, it sounded to me like threats, intimidation, at the very least harassment of michael cohen as he is preparing to
testify which is just incredible. it's unbecoming to a member of congress, obviously. my question is whether or not he gets sencensored for that or mo. we have this happening while the president's summit is happening with kim jong-un. so we're covering two massive moments in history. kelly o'donnell is standing by in hanoi. let's find out what is happening next. kelly? >> well, it is good to be with you, mika. right now we know the president is still in the dinner meeting which is described as a social dinner where he and kim jong-un are sharing a meal and conversation. the president is joined by acting chief of staff nick mulvaney and secretary of state mike pompeo. it is notable that in the spray is what we call that when cameras allowed to come in and capture some of those initial moments and then the cameras leave and the meeting goes on or the meal goes on.
when i came into the conversation with you earlier this morning, it was after that firsthand shake and we heard some of the print reporters whose job it whats to witness that on behalf of all of us covering the white house. they asked a few questions. then in that second event which was the dinner, we're told that the white house barred those same reporters from being a part of again the spray as it's known with the dinner. that is a very troubling development because when you are a pool reporter, you're working on behalf of all journalist ands working on behalf of the american people and asking questions at that hand shake is our job and they did so and the leaders can choose to answer or not answer. so barring some reporters from the second event as it's been described to us by the pool is a very troubling development today. and if the north korean leader is uncomfortable about questions being asked, then it's his choice to meet or not meet with the president of the united states. but american journalists ask our
leaders questions. so that is one development that happened. we're expecting the dinner will, you know, be hay chana chance f personal relationship that president trump emphasizes so heavily to really be at the center. tomorrow are the heavier negotiations. but that's what's transpired in the last hour or so of what is a second summit, a second personal meeting between donald trump and kim jong-un. mika? >> kelly, thank you. one of the reasons one could analyze that the reporters were told to get out of the way is after they shouted questions about michael cohen, the white house staff and the president's closest advisors probably knew that this was incredibly distracting to the president and they didn't want him distracted from such an incredibly important summit at hand and that perhaps he couldn't handle the questions because at this point we're having the press denied access about something
the president was tweeting about two hours ago. >> that's exactly what it was. i recognize the voice of the ap shouting the question about cohen. jonathan was one of the reporters, a wire service reporter that's his reports are disseminate add cross the country and around the world. he was not allowed in the dinner spray. let's talk about the substance of the summit. richard haas, the president believes in the power of personality, believes in the power of personal relationships. he sort of building up kim jong-un in some way saying it was gra was a great honor to be with him. he is lauding him in a way that a dictator doesn't deserve to be lauded. what is he doing here? is there a strategy behind it? what is the best case sen air whe scenario where you can say we walked out of here with x? >> the president puts too much weight in personal relationships and chemistry and what they can deliver. when they met eight or nine
months ago in singapore, it was a try siumph of symbolism over substance. so we have begun with symbolism. you may get more symbolism and the state of war and something like. that the real question is substance. what do we have to give up in the way of relaxing sanctions which is what kim wants in addition to this profile on the world stage this equality. and what do we get in return? do we really get a handle on the north korean nuclear program? that would mean a full accounting. it would mean verification. it would mean a schedule for actual reductions. you know, or do we simply get rhetoric on denuclearization and promise ands promises and promises? that's the way to think about it. what is the balance between symbols and substance? singapore, much more symbol than substance. i'm worried this could be the same thing. what i don't know, i'm not accusing anybody, i simply don't know, what we've been talking about this morning. does the juxtaposition of a
domestic political problem against this, does this increase the president's desire to have a "success"? does this put pressure on him? does he put pressure on himself in order to give away more than he should to claim this was a big diplomatic triumph? >> yeah. incredible. richard haas, thank you. president trump is certainly not a good compartmentalizer like, for example, bill clinton when he had his troubles. you just wonder how that is going to impact his ability to deal with the dictator and the threat of nuclear war in this world. heidi, thank you very much. still ahead on "morning joe," we said brit,it before. thousands of children friripped from their parents at the border. we have new details. plus a house republican tries to parrot the president by talking tough about michael cohen on twitter. now he's apologizing amid the specter of witness intimidation.
a lot of people saw that as witness intimidation and threats. he made them on the house floor as well. "morning joe" is back in a moment. k in a moment o her liver. we needed a second opinion. that's when our journey began with cancer treatment centers of america. one of our questions was, how are we going to address my liver? so my doctor said i think we can do both surgeries together. i loved that. now my health is good. these people are saints. ha, they're saints. cancer treatment centers of america. appointments available now.
another veevent on capitol hill yesterday. they held a hearing with donald trump officials on the family separation policy at the southern border. there was a tense back and forth with the administration's former refugee director scott lloyd about the program's massive failures. >> did you ever consult with any meantal health professionals on how to implement family separation? >> the advice that commander white would have imparted to us would be done in meantal health experts whom we have on staff. i would just add there is nothing surprising about the determination that there could
bement be mental health consequences for any period of time. it is something we took under advisement. >> isn't it true you instructed your staff to prevent minors seek ago borgs from meeting with attorneys, lawyers, to get advice? >> okay. so there is one instance of where we said that there was -- >> so it's a yes. >> in one instance we said for a brief period of time it wouldn't be appropriate to meet with an attorney at that point. >> did you ever say to the administration this is a bad idea? here's what my child welfare experts told us? we need to stop this policy. did you ever once say that to somebody about you? >> the gentle lady's time has expired. >> to answer the question, i did not say those words. >> joining us now, msnbc correspondent jacob silverov. he's been on the story since the beginning. let's talk about the subpoenas for the department of justice, homeland security and health and human services.
what is the oversight committee looking senator. >> remember, this is the first subpoenas issued under the new democratic congress and they were issued by elijah cummings who said he was going to do this. they're limited in scope. they're for the period of zero tolerance. he wants a full accounting of what happened to the kids while they were separated and where this ended up and the system that's were in place and not in place. ultimately when they were supposed to be put back together. what i think is much, much -- this is much more remarkable yesterday, what we heard, they are tl is scott lloyd, somebody we have not heard from yet, the guy who was in charge of the office of refugee resettlement, a former anti-abortion activist put in that job by the trump administration basically say that even though he was warned there would be irrepairable harm done to the children separated by their parents, he never kicked it up the food chain. he never took it to the white house or talked about it with anybody at dhs or doj. he just said, yep, we took it under advisement. i heard it and he never shared it with anybody. >> he never raised any complaints about it. so what's -- who's in the most
peril here? this is a policy that comes down from on high. health and human services, obviously, they're involved in this. we heard scott lloyd there not super impressive defending that policy. and in front of that committee. who is in trouble here? >> well, certainly he is. but the question is how far this d. this go? we haven't heard from some very particular questions about this and we'll hear from her on march 6th when she goes before the judiciary committee. we have to remember, by the way, that as we talk right now, 76 kids that were separated during zero tolerance still remain separated. that doesn't include hundreds of children that texas civil rights project say have been separated subsequently after and the inspector general says thousands might have been separated before zero tolerance went into place. all this is going on. there are still huge questions about where are the kids? would are the kids? and why don't we know about it. >> you led me to my next question. the subpoenas are very targeted. they talk about the zero
tolerance period. there are hundreds more children, 2800 all told in this family separation policy. what's being done about that group of kids? >> that's all we know about, right? the majority of those kids, the trump administration says they've been reunited with parents or other family members. when you talk about maybe the same number or more, if not more, were separated before the policy officially went into place by the trump administration, we have absolutely no idea who the children are. we have absolutely no idea where they are and if they were ever reunited with their parents or another family member. the same goes for the kids separated after. so those are questions, i mean those are supboenas that i'm really interested to see if they ever get issued. those are the kids that we have absolutely no information about. >> okay. i have to ask you about this other report. ted deutsche of florida showing allegations of more than 4,550 complaints of sexual misconduct toward migrant children. we should point out dating back to 2015. >> that's right. >> well before donald trump was in the white house. >> sickening. i think your point is really
well taken which is this is an immigration system that has been very broken long before donald trump ever came in. exacerbated it to a point that we've never seen before. but manufacture the allegations of sexual assault of migrant children in the care of the office of resettlement happened under the obama administration. and they're not new. we heard about them during the separations. we heard about them since the separations. but just the number is mind blowing. thousands of children -- reported sexual assaults in the care of our government when they came here. >> and is there prosecution underway? what is being done about them? >> the cases were referred to the department of justice. they were referred to the department of health and human services and many cases the staff members that were accused have been separated. again, how do we get there in the first place? how do you have children that come to seek asylum and thousands of them are reporting sexual assault while in the care of the u.s. government? >> this is just appalling on so many levels, mika. >> jacob, thank you so much for that. we're going to turn now to the
republican member of congress who is walking back his explicit warning to michael cohen before his testimony. florida congressman matt gates is a staunch defender of president trump and though he is not a member of the house oversight or intelligence committees, he took to twitter yesterday evening. hey michael cohen, do your wife and foinl knather-in-law know a your girlfriend? maybe tonight is a good night for that chat. sbheez she's about to learn a lot. gates denied he was attempting to intimidate cohen before testifying. >> can you explain to us what you meant in that tweet? >> i think my tweet speaks for itself. >> what does that mean? >> you should go read it. >> do you have any insight into michael cohen's relationships? >> well, i think you should tune in tomorrow to find out. this is not witness tampering. it is witness testing. >> i guess tomorrow we'll find out if there is anyone that
michael cohen hasn't lied. to we already know he lied to congress. he lied to law enforcement, lied to the irs, lied to three banks and he's going to prison for his lies. and so i guess it will be relevant for us to determine, like, does he lie to his own family? i think it is entirely appropriate for any member of this bod dwry to challenge the charge for the people that have a history of lying and future that undoubtedly contains nothing but lies. that is the story of michael cohen. we'll see it play out tomorrow. and i for one can't wait to get to the bottom of things and can't wait to get to the truth. >> but gates then reconsidered the tweet and statements. nancy pelosi posted i encourage all members to be mindful that comments made on social media or in the press can adversely affect the ability of house committees to get the complete information necessary to fulfill their duties. just before midnight, he deleted
the tweet and wrote it was not my inen to the threaten as some believe i d i should have chosen words that better shared my intent. i'm sorry. let's bring in msnbc chief legal correspondent and host of "the beat" on msnbc. i have a ton of questions for you. first of all, he tweeted this and all the replies and comments on twitter was like that's witness intimidation. that's witness tampering. you're going to go to jail. like this is against the law. you can't do. this you're a member -- like it was just going wild. i thought my gosh, maybe someone else tweeted it for him. like that's just such a horrible thing to do. and it will go down or something and maybe -- but then he says it, like, to the cameras. and then he says it on the house floor. so i guess my question to you is -- is that witness intimidation? and is there a legal issue here? >> there is a legal issue certainly if any other person was doing what he is doing because it looks like witness tampering because it involves
the very direct attempt to shape or intimidate the witness' testimony before a lawful proceeding. there is a wider basically wider terrain for sitting members of congress under the speech and debate clause. but speaker pelosi effectively shut him down but mentioned in her response, you read it and she went on to also mention that the ethics committee can look into the matters and the speech and debate clause doesn't protect against certain activities that go to undermine the house's work and function itself. and so i imagine what happened here behind the scenes in addition to her public statement was someone helped mr. congressman gates under that he was really putting his own role in the house in jeopardy, at least with regard to ethics if not as you say a broader legal inquiry. >> yeah. it's just mind boggling. it's self destructive. moving on to michael cohen. we've seen a lot of what he's
preparing to say and draft that's have been obtained by nbc news. we're seeing potential that michael cohen will produce a signed check, one by president trump, one by don jr. what will cohen say that will be of interest to bob mueller or the southern district of new york? >> i think you hit it on the head. the opening statement and accompanying documents that his team is making available that nbc obtained show that this will not just be a he said-he said between two character that's both can have some of the credibility impugned. a president who lies more than any in history according to "the washington post". because of the documents he's bringing. as you say, some of the materials go right to the open probe in new york. who else was involved with it and how many people helped mislead the authorities or hide what michael cohen says were
campaign related expenses? so all of that is documented apparently. so that's going to be really fascinating. and he is talking about russia and wikileaks stuff. and that gets into another person that has been indicted but maintains the innocence. why did michael cohen know that roger stone advanced knowledge of wikileaks e-mail dumps and does that show there is even more there? >> so how does this committee, the oversight committee today weigh -- we know about the documentary evidence on the stormy daniels case. that is how he proves the case there. how do they weigh testimony about the trump tower meeting where he is remembering conversations that he said he overheard between don jr. and donald trump in june of 2016 where donald trump signs off on the meeting with the russians to
get dirt on hillary clinton? how should this committee take michael cohen in that case? >> i think it's a great question. i think it's the big question for anybody looking at this fair minded. i think as we were discussing, what does he have to back it up, the documentation? he says the trump organization and trump foundation ran criminal enterprises, that's an opinion. when he starts providing material records, then folks can adjudicate that, can weigh the evidence. number two, while advertise certainly true you pointed out, we point out his history here including lying to congress, that's literally part of why he's going to jail, it is important to keep in mind that all of the incentives now go towards being truthful today which is different. and there is even a federal rule on this rule 35 that says if you provide really truthful helpful testimony you may have your prison sentence reduced if it helps the government.
there is great incentive for him to be truthful today if for no other reason to help himself. >> okay. joining us now is the vice chair of the house oversight committee. he's going have a busy day today. thank you for coming on the show, katie hill. also with us, host of kasie d.c., kasie hunt joins us. katie hill, should matt gates be censored? >> listen, i'm glad he deleted the tweet. but to me it's just so, so blatant and i don't know. maybe at this point i'm glad it's over. the president himself trying to intimidate witnesses, the fact that mr. cohen had to postpone his initial plan hearing, its
ridiculous. >> yeah. a weird place we're in, that's for sure. so let's talk about today. how can your committee and the democrats on your committee be sure that we hear everything, that michael cohen has to say and we see everything that he has to show the committee with word that republicans may try and slow things down and take every step they can to do so? how can we hit everything that needs to be heard from michael cohen? >> our chairman is incredibly strategic. and so we're going to be ready for the republican tactics. each member on the committee has five minutes including the time that mr. cohen has to respond. and so we will be adhering strictly to those five minutes so it's going to go from democrats to republicans back and forth. and so we'll -- on the democratic side, we're going to do as little preaching as possible and give mr. cohen the most time available to really share his side of the story.
and then it's up to the american people to decide who is telling the truth. and whether to believe him or not. >> and what do you want to hear from him? what do you want to ask him? what documents are you most interested in seeing? >> i'm most interested in seeing the document that's can prove or certainly lead us in the right direction of whether the president committed a crime while he was in office. to me, that is the most disturbing part. that's something we have moral and constitutional obligation to investigate fully and go down whatever path we need to. as a legislative branch, that is our job. so i think we need to go fully in that direction. what we want to hear is everything we can from a context point of view that mr. cohen has to say and hopefully will get more information on other witness that's we should be calling on other sort of direction that's we should go in in terms of the investigation, that we have to do. again, our committee is the only one that is going to be doing
public hearings in this regard. at least at this point. we have -- we're the sort of conduit through which the american people can see what is happening on the investigations into the president of the united states. who may be, you know, a criminal quite frankly. >> and the crimes that you are most concerned about are questioning whether or not they occurred are checks that michael cohen appears to be producing today? signed by donald trump, donald trump jr. and others, could those potentially tleed indicate that a crime was committed while the president was in office? >> he why, they could. and especially if we can find if there's, you know, a kind of unarguable proof that president was paying to cover up something that was a scheme, you know, kind of coordination of committing fraud around, you
know, or a plan to campaign finance crimes before right before on the eve of an election. so all of that is hugely problematic. it means he knew it beforehand and he directed it in that vain and then as the president of the president of the united states covered it up. >> right near the top of michael cohen's prepared opening statement, the one we've been reading from all morning, he acknowledges the fact he lied to congress the last time he was there. he apologizes for that. he explains he did it in defense of donald trump. but today he'll not there be in defense of donald trump. how do you have confidence as you sit and listen to michael cohen based on history of lying to congress that what you're theerg day hearing today in that room is true? >> first is i come from a social services background. i do believe that people can recover. and can rehabilitate. that's one thing. and i think that, you know, at
the same time he is paying his dues. he is going to be going to jail for his lies to congress. and right now he has nothing to lose. he only has to gain by telling the truth. and, you know, i think that, again, we're going to see what he says and it's up to each much us individually on the committee and each person individually who is watching through this process across the united states to decide whether they believe him or not. i think that we can't say without doubt that he's telling the truth. but i think we'll be able to kind of make the determinations on our own. and ultimately with any cooperating witness, with anyone who has a history of lying in any kind of prosecution, you have to take the testimony with grain of salt and look for other proof. this does provide really important context and it kind of gives us clues and additional directions to go in. so this is the first step but certainly not the last. >> as you've been speaking, we were looking at live pictures of
michael cohen. he arrived on capitol hill. his testimony starts at 10:00 eastern time. just under an hour and a half from now. so to take my question to the next step and what i asked ari a minute ago, he claims, michael cohen in this document in the opening statement, that he overheard conversations about the infamous 2016 trump tower meeting where donald trump told donald jr. to go ahead and meet with the russians to get dirt on hillary clinton. descent provide any evidence of that other than saying i overheard that. you know the white house will say that flatly didn't happen. i can anticipate that don jr. probably has already said somewhere that didn't happen. prove it. what do you do in that circumstance? >> i think that is tough. that's why i'm most interested in crimes that were committed that we do have evidence of, that we have concrete evidence much and were committed while he was in office. i think that the more you hear about people who can provide that context, whether it's michael cohen or anyone else that is kind of corroborating
the claims that mr. trump -- that president trump had any involvement in that meeting or another relations with russia. i think our intelligence committee tomorrow is going to get into a lot of that. but so we'll see kind of how that unfolds over the next weeks and months. but i don't think that mr. cohen's testimony alone is going to be enough for us to really prove anything. >> kasie hunt, you're up on capitol hill where michael cohen just arrived. we heard reporting earlier that republicans on the committee including jim jordan will attempt to jam up the hearing, asking for recesses every time michael cohen drift offs a topic is not one that was in the prepared list of topics. what do you you expect to see in that room today? >> i think you'll see a measure of that, willie, likely starting right at the top of the hearing. ien into is certainly something that, you know, both parties have used. we've seen democrats do it very recently here on the hill as
well. there isn't really anything they can do that would really permanently derail this hearing because democrats can sort of simply override them. but they can obviously interrupt the optics for americans watching back at home. i think the more serious mission and you heard jim jordan speak to this as well of republicans is to try and undermine michael cohen's credibility. so i think that's what they're going to use a lot of their time for. did he lie to congress. that does not go over very well up here with anyone of either party. and it's very rare that that's a crime that's actually prosecuted. and i think you've seen a lot of bipartisan anger at michael cohen over how he was dismissive of the process. obviously, his written testimony contains a lot of contrition. i think his attitude toward the members is going to matter even for the democrats who feel as though they're going to get information that's going to help their case against this president. i will say in the big picture
this is one of the days that really feels like we are at a potential pivot point or moment in hist ric of history. we're numb from these "newsday"s and the norm breaking that has become part of this presidency. you know this is one of the moments where people are really going to have a chance to tune in and decide for themselves what they think about this president. in an era when every little drip, drip, drip of development started to feel like this investigation is a frog in boiling water. none of it matters. i think this is really going to be different kind of day to day. it's going to be really important. >> yeah. i think casey makes a great point. we're all watching this today and people who are inclined to donald trump's perspective are watching someone they used to trust, they used to listen to. you have to square that in which goes to what the country is watching. congresswoman, you and your colleagues have set out very clear boundaries of not getting into the russia probe with he
michael cohen. but he made waves already with the prepared statement talking about wikileaks which we were just discussing. what does that mean? does that mean that he's already kind of passed the line that was set or does that mean somehow that roger stone's bragging about wikileaks dregtirectly to candidate trump is no longer central to the russia probe? >> we're meeting with chairman cummings this morning in advance of the hearing starting. we'll discuss. that i think we really want to be careful about this because anything that is currently under investigation by the special counsel we do not want to step on. and we do not want to jeopardize anything that could be prosecuted. we don't want to jeopardize anything that -- >> i get that. that makes sense. what i'm asking is do you think he already stepped on that by writing up in the opening statement that donald trump got on a speaker phone call with him and said roger stone was giving him the goods on wikileaks before the clinton e-mails kanl o came out.
that was a big headline already. >> to me that's different than the involvement with russia. because, you know, it's a couple steps removed. so i think that it might be a little bit of a gray area. i don't think it directly is kind of -- i don't think it is totally out of scope. again, we're going to talk about it with the chairman and we'll see. i don't know that our questions are going to go directly in that regard. but we'll kind of take that as we go. >> yeah. the vice chair of the house oversight committee katie hill, thank you so much for being on this morning. thank you, ari. we'll see you on "the beat." kasie, stay with us. this sis incredible. people in trump world will try and dedunk tbufrpg tdebunk the . using the past lies as evidence they can't be trusted. but the evidence he might bring to the table, these checks
signed by donald trump jr., by donald trump himself in office by others. it is just so incredible this could come down to payments to a porn star. just -- pathetic. still ahead, we're a little more than an hour away from michael cohen's testimony on the hill. we saw his arrival just moments ago. meanwhile, president trump is still attending his social dinner with the dictator of north korea. we'll bring in the ranking member of the senate foreign relations committee, bob menendez. we're back in a moment. we're back in a moment
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check in from afarr stwith remote access,ay ♪ and have professional monitoring backing you up with xfinity home. demo in an xfinity store. call, or go online today. live pictures at 8:51:00 p.m., hanoi, vietnam time. chairman kim jong-un of north korea and his delegation has now left the sofitel hanoi hoe hotel where he had dinner with president trump. they'll resume meetings
tomorrow. joining us now, democratic senator bop menendez of new jersey. and editor-at-large for "time" magazine ian bremer. gentlemen, good morning. i'll start with you, senator. you showed some skepticism about the summit between president trump and kim jong -un hoping there wasn't made for tv moment. what are your best hopes? this summit is happening despite skepticism what the united states might extract from north korea. what's your best hope that the united states gets out of this? >> it's good to see that president trump finally made it to vietnam and my best hope is that in fact, we get a definition of what denuclear i zafths cran peninsula is. for us, that means the verifiable elimination of all of north korea's nuclear weapons
and ballistic missiles and at infrastructure that supports that. a description as to how the pathway forward as to how denuclearization will take place and the verification regime that will follow, and then i'm sure kim jong-un would to understand the benefits he might derive from that. that would give us a blueprint how we're moving forward. at the end of the last summit, we had a lot of pomp and circumstance but no substance. we didn't even have a definition of what denuclearization means. we're not even starting off the same page. >> is there anything in the history of north korea and the history of kim jong-un that tells youny of that will happen including the singapore summit where there were some loose promises made in a document but nothing formal and investigations afterward show that he continued, kim jong-un
did, developing his nuclear program? >> well, charm alone is not going to get him to give up his nuclear weapons. the president needs to understand that. that's one of the concerns i have, what is the preparations that have taken place going into this next summit. the history including what our intelligence agencies assessed most recently, the director of national intelligence is that they will not willingly give up their weapons. so the question is, if you know that going in, what is it that you do to ultimately change the dynamic of kim jong-un's thinking. i'm concerned that the president thinks that the charm and that what he thinks is the art of the deal, the art of diplomacy a lot harder than the art of the deal. >> ian bremer you're the latest contest on the called why on earth would north korea give up its nuclear program. it has no economy, no culture to
export. it's the only thing that makes people listen, it's the only reason trump is there. >> this is actually the second time trump has been to vietnam. he was in danang just a year ago. he won't give up his nukes and obama and bush knew that and trump i think knows that, certainly his advisers do sitting around the table at the dinner right now. india and pakistan have nukes. we got rid of the sanctions. not because they changed behavior. we recognized they were never going to give up their nukes. we need to figure out how to work with countries that know that nukes are leverage. when trump first became president, he said no ability to hit the lower 48. that was for him a red line. they haven't been testing those weapons. if you want to talk about some place where you could get to incremental support and you need chinese to be involved in this,
you could say let's have a program where the north koreans dismantle icbm capabilities and there's inspections. if you do that, the chinese and americans will work with you. that's going to include norm millisation of relations and sanctions, too. do we believe trump wants to cut a deal and run because he doesn't care about our troops or the military exercises? think there is risk that trump is going to say this is the best deal ever. >> remember he tweeted immediately after the last summit no, longer a nuclear threat. kasie hunt, you have a question. >> it's good to see you. there have been reports the president is planning to stay up overnight in vietnam to watch michael cohen's testimony on capitol hill the day he's supposed to go into more high stakes negotiation.
does his obsessive focus on that concern you at all? >> it does in two ways. number one is what's going on here in washington and what mike cohen has to say about the president basically shows the president to have lied to the american people. he lied to them as a candidate, as president, he lied about the trump tower deal in moscow. he lied about the hush payments, in essence, there's a real credibility problem number one. number two, it diminishes us in the world with the president's actions and knowing that the president seems to have a short attention span as it is, to be focused on what michael cohen is saying versus to the elements of how he'll negotiate with kim jong-un, that's really dangerous. >> all right. senator bob menendez thanks so much for your time. ian, there's one theory about the summit that says even if you
don't get them to give up the nuclear program, it's good to begin to pull north korea out of the stone age and engage with the rest of the world at a minimum. do you buy into that? >> i do. richard haass last year said he thought bar with north korea was 50% likely. nobody believes that right now. that's not just because of trump. that's also because the north koreans are engaging with the south koreans, with the chinese, even with the japanese and that's creating more understanding of the inside of north korean regime, more contacts, social contacts, cultural contacts, economic contacts and over time, we're not going to get them to get rid of their nukes but we need to engage with them if we want to try to make them less of a criminal regime. right now they are a criminal regime domestically and internationally. >> we'll know about 24 hours from now what's beginning to
come out of the summit. ian bremer, always good to have you on. mika in. >> well, as we navigate this incredible moment in many history and try and bring it all together, you think today is busy? tomorrow the actual summit takes place in hanoi, vietnam. we'll be hearing about that and the president will do a press conference after that. so we'll have all the news from hanoi tomorrow and also michael cohen's testimony from today. one hour from now, michael cohen will testify before the house oversight committee. the testimony will be open to the public. and to give you a sense where the president's mind-set is in hanoi, he's thinking about this man right here and what he's going to say. he tweeted shortly before his red carpet greeting with kim jong-un, he tweeted that michael cohen is trying to reduce his jail time and he's lying. you can see there in the tweet. that's legally impossible. the president was applying in that tweet. the president will be embarrassed today by a man who turned on him and michael skoen
expected to call trump a racist, a con man, a cheat. he will be producing checks that were signed by the president potentially in office as well as don junior and allen weisselberg. these are reimbursements for payments to a porn star. the big question today was set the scene by the vice chair of the house overite committee katie hill was on moments ago. the big question is, did the president commit crimes and did he commit some of those crimes while in office. that does it for us for now. stephanie rhule picks up the coverage right now. >> hi there, i'm stephanie rhule. thank for joining me on an hick day for this president. the split screen presidency is now in full effect. on the one side, president trump shaking hands this morning with north korean leader kim jong-un to kick off the first day of their second nuclear summit. on the other side, president trump's former lawyer and fixer michael cohen just