tv Politics Nation With Al Sharpton MSNBC March 2, 2019 2:00pm-3:00pm PST
be prepared and keep your family safe, visit pge.com/safety. that wraps it up for us this hour here at msnbc. i'm gigi stone woods. thank you so much for watching. i turn it over to reverend al sharpton and "politicsnation." good evening and welcome to "politicsnation." tonight's lede, michael cohen's public contrition is not over yet. and his republican critics aren't even trying. president trump's former personal lawyer returns to capitol hill wednesday for another round of closed senate
system after aired out his boss's dirty laundry this week. president trump speaking for a record two plus hours today at the conservative political action convention, attacked robert mueller, james comey and even hillary clinton. but never once mentioned cohen by name, as house democrats expand their investigation based on his testimony. >> they don't have anything with russia. so now they morph into let's inspect every deal he's ever done. these people are sick. unfortunately, you put the wrong people in a couple of positions and they leave people for a long time that shouldn't be there, and all of a sudden they're trying to take you out with bull [ bleep ]. >> i guess we already knew he had a potty mouth, folks. but it's more telling to me that
after blasting cohen all week, he had nothing to say at one of the largest conservative forums in the nation, because for the last decade, i've crossed paths with donald trump, there was always michael cohen, forever working some angle for his boss. sometimes led to him and me crossing each other's paths, while i condone none of the choices that led him to this point, i was sickened to watch him catch hell from congressional republicans that continue to carry water for this president, attacking cohen's credibility, but, again, never his claims. i'll get into all of that shortly. but beforehand, i want to update you on two cases that we've covered here heavily on "politicsnation."
the justice department has decided not to pursue charges against the tulsa, oklahoma, police officer who shot and killed unarmed motorist terrence crutcher during a traffic stop in 2016. and in california, the sacramento district attorney's office just announced no charges for the two officers who fatally shot stefan clark, also unarmed in april of last year. i spoke at stefan's funeral and i had participated in rallies with the family in tulsa around terrence crutcher. and i'll have plenty more to say about these developments later in the show. but first, back to politics. joining me now, paul butler, former federal prosecutor msnbc legal analyst, adrian msnc contributor joe watkins, former
white house aide under president george h.w. bush. the legal fallout from michael cohen's public testimony, he called a lot of names, he talked in detail about some of what he was in the room for, some of what he was involved in transactions. how do you sum it up, and where do you think are the potential legal next steps for the oversight committee of the house? >> so three important criminal developments in the case, one that $35,000 check. michael cohen knew that he's a damaged witness, so he brought receipts. he brought these two checks, one of which is a $35,000 hush money payment that donald trump signed from the oval office. so michael cohen's part of this
plan led him to be charged with campaign finance violations. he implicated the president in that conspiracy. and then with regard to collusion, michael cohen said that trump knew about stuff that trump has denied knowing. so he said that trump knew about the meeting with the russian lawyer. trump knew about the dump of the hacked e-mails. if trump denied this in the written interrogatories that he submitted to the mueller team, that's a federal crime. >> adrian, the politics of this, the president now has his personal lawyer, his fixer, a guy sometimes referred to as his other son, saying that he knew about what wikileaks were doing, he knew about and reem bursed payments many are arguing to
affect the campaign. do you think this will in any way chip away at his base supporters or at independents that were somewhere in the middle in all of the arguments about mr. trump in these investigations? >> that's always the magic question, right, rev? how is this actually going to impact his space, is this going to in any way, shape, or form impede that 34% to 35% of americans who are solidly in trump's corner? i actually tend to think it will because you are starting to see more and more people lose confidence in this president. they're seeing that he is mired in controversy, not getting the job done for them, they're not seeing their economic lives improving. but at the same time, i think that is why it's important for the mueller investigation to corroborate some of these claims that cohen put forward so there's actually a bit more legitimacy on this. of course, we all know the republicans, mark meadows, jim jordan, leading the charge on
the panel were really trying to undermine cohen's credibility because he's lied to congress in the past. but to the point, he brought receipts and evidence to the table, submitted it to his testimony to prove many of the claims that he was making. so it was quite a day and i think that's why you saw trump so panicked at the cpac conference this afternoon rambling on incoherently >> over two hours, yeah. >> he's panicked because this is his longtime attorney, he knows where the bodies are buried and he just divulged ten hours of testimony in front of congress this week. the guy is very, very panicked. >> joe watkins, as the republican on the panel, why did the republicans in the oversight committee not go after what was being testified to by michael cohen, but rather, tried to go after the credibility of cohen? because i noticed in their
questioning they were more after cohen than even trying to raise or even punch holes into what cohen has said that the president participated in >> you're right, reverend sharpton, that's what we were trying to do. they should have spent their time asking questions. michael cohen's testimony was very incredible and he gave them lots of stuff they could have followed up questions on. certainly the democratic members on the committee asked very good questions to get to -- ask him more of what he was testifying about. republicans should have done the same thing, but i think they were intent on trying to protect the president and also protect themselves if they were in districts where the president has a high approval rating. they were looking to protect themselves. but they would have done everybody a much greater service if they had just asked questions of michael cohen and just followed up on what he was sharing with everybody. >> now, paul, you were a prosecutor.
when you heard democrats questioning the president's finances and who signed off on what, who authorized what, could that lead to further ininquiriry into the president's business dealings, possible insurance fraud has been raised, other concerns about his tax returns. were the questions by the democrats creating a kind of path toward those kinds of investigations being intensified? >> they absolutely were. we know that robert mueller is limited, so the only thing he can investigate is the national security issue about whether people on the campaign conspired with the russians to steal is it election and obstruction of justice. the house of representatives has no such limitations so they can go into the president's financial affairs, including
before he assumed office, and they can also continue to investigate collusion and obstruction of justice. and so, yes, a lot of the questions were designed to learn who else was in the room. michael cohen, he's the fixer. he knows what's going on with the president for the last ten years, but because anything he says has to be corroborated, a lot of their questions were about other documents and witnesses who might robert cohen's very incriminating testimony against the president. >> paul, let me go back to you a minute, joe. at one point congressman meadows who ran for congress accusing president obama of not being born in the country, at one point saying the point of the election was to send him back to kenya or wherever. he had a black female hud executive standing there. she couldn't get to the microphone because she was not a member of congress sitting
there, and she couldn't be a witness because there was a witness on the stand. so many, including me, said she was just there as a prop. how do you react to her being there and do you, as a republican, see her as having been used as a prop during this hearing? >> i'm a republican and i'm also an african-american man. i saw her being used as a prop. there's no way that one african-american person stands for the whole race. and to bring her in before the committee and have her stand there to disprove what michael cohen was saying about the president was offensive to many people of color, including me. so i think it was ill-advised, certainly a poor decision to have her stand behind him. he should have allowed his words to stand as they were. >> adrian, we saw in that over
two-hour speech you heard today, president trump went back again to the russians should find the 30,000 e-mails of hillary clinton. i mean, he's still on this hillary clinton and e-mail thing. how do you respond to that? why do you think he keeps bringing this back up? >> i think that when he is speaking in front of a crowd like cpac or some of his rallies across the country, when he is going out there, anytime he brings up hillary clinton's name in the 30,000 e-mails, his base gets super excited and start chanting and that gets the lock her up chants going. it's his go-to, it's his safety net. he is in a panicked mode right now. by the way, this is the sitting president of the united states. this is not a candidate running, this is not the tactics he used during the campaign, he's still using them. it makes him feel that his base is still with him, he's delivering red meat when he
feels less confident in terms of his base. it's pathetic. i don't know how else to describe it. it's such an old tactic that does not yield success. >> paul, let me ask you before i let you go. i announced at the beginning of the program two cases. the crutcher case in tulsa, shot by police, unarmed, and stefan clark in sacramento, california, shot by police in his grandmother's backyard unarmed. the d.a. will not prosecute in sacramento. the department of justice will not move on the case in tulsa, two cases that i was involved in seeking the family getting some fair investigation and justice. you wrote a book on police brutality. how do you respond to these two cases coming back with these
results at the end of the inquiries? >> donald trump says he doesn't want the department of justice involved in local police says. and so we shouldn't expect the department to act like it did under attorney generals lynch and holder and exercise strong oversight over local police departments. in sacramento with mr. clark, two numbers to remember, 20. that's the number of times that mr. clark was shot by these officers. he had a pink and white cell phone. and 34. the corndistrict attorney revie 34 shootings and has not prosecuted them. >> i'll ask skpaiadrian and joe stick around. coming up, first, is the president of the united states a racist? i have the answer next.
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in chicago, he commented that only black people could live that way. >> congressional republicans clutched their pearls when this week michael cohen suggested that president trump is racist in their ambitious response, they trodded out a whole black trump appointee as a prop, overlooking the african-american officials employed by this white house turnover last two years during which time its only black senior staff member was ousted. and like michael cohen, publicly den graded her former boss for calling him again like michael cohen, a racist. and she's joining me now, omarosa manigault newman, former director of communications for the white house office of public
liaison, and author of "unhinged." omarosa, you and michael cohen both have called the president a racist. why? >> well, let's just look at his own words and his own actions. we can start with charlottesville. we could then talk about how he treated a widow of one of the fallen soldiers, how he attacked multiple congressional members of color, the way he speaks of countries, calling them s-hole countries. but more importantly, let's look at his track record. if you look at the trump organization as michael cohen alluded during his testimony, there is no diversity in the trump organization. if you currently look at the white house, there are no african-american senior staffers. if you look at schedule c appoi appointees, it's below 1%. if you look at very executive appointments, it's at 0.5%. we can look at his track record
of what he said and what he's done and come to a clear picture of what this president is and what he stands for. michael cohen was correct in his assessment because he had a very intimate relationship with him, as i did. on the receiving end, the most disgusting racial slur when he called me a dog. >> now, you know, as i said in my dealings down through the decades with donald trump, many of which or adversarial, on the last day michael cohen was always present. the thing that amazes me is when len appoint, the young black woman that congressman meadows brought up as a prop to really validate president trump not bag racist, the fact is that in the years i've been out there, i don't remember one white house republican or democrat that didn't have a black in the west
wing in a senior position, none. and in the years i've gone to trouser for battles with donald trump or meetings, i've never seen a black person on the corporate suite floor that had a position in the trump organization in a city that's two-thirds black and brown. that takes effort. >> well, let me tell you what's worse when it comes to lynn appoint. right around the time the president was getting his nomination when he was going to going b.c. the republican nominee, they realized the lack of diversity in a trump organization was going to be a problem. so they promoted lynn from administrative assistant to vice president in title only. they didn't give her an increase in pay or more responsibilities. they just wanted to put the vice president front of her name. they used lynn in the past and the reason she couldn't speak is she signed one of those really draconian ndas.
she can't say anything bad about the organization or donald trump or his family members now or in the future the way that nda is designed. it made me sad because she and cohen were very, very close. >> so she signed an nda, nondisclosure agreement, where she couldn't have spoken and said the president was racist even if she was allowed to speak? >> yep, she signed a couple of ndas. so she can't speak now or in the future the way the nda is drafted. >> she clearly was a prop and she clearly -- michael cohen i understand was the one that helped get her that job. she's there by standing to contradict michael cohen who had a much closer relationship with the president and talked about things that the president talked to him about privately. how could she counter what the president said to his lawyer
when she was brought in as an event planner and then given just a bigger title when they were dealing with the campaign running for office? >> it's also confusing because you know i shared with msnbc a recording, a conversation that i had with katherine pearson and lynn discussing this imminent release of donald trump saying racist things. she knows there were multiple conversations of such and text chains and e-mails about these things. so for her to stand in front of congress and be used to say she had no idea that donald trump had ever in the past or currently said racist things was, i think, probably not the best statement for lynn to make because there's just such a long documented history of her being concerned about his racist statements. >> so there are records that could establish that she was concerned about his racist behavior? >> well, in her own voice.
you can listen to the recording where she's saying she had a conversation on trump force one asking the president if he ever said the n-word and he says, you go fix it i believe is the response. she talks inut this conversation she had. and she thought, in fact, that he said that. so to have her stand there in congress and to be used in that way, it's really disappointing. >> in her own voice you have heard her say that the president would not answer forthrightly whether he ever used the n-word, yet she stood there as a prop in the hearing? >> yes. >> chairman cummings may be watching the show. she may get a call. i forgot, she has an nda. >> she'll plead the fifth. >> it's interesting that you bring some facts to death table. thank you for being with us, omarosa manigault newman. >> thanks for having me, rev.
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>> you can add vermont senator bernie sanders to the ever-expanding list of democratic 2020 presidential candidates. in just the last 24 hours, another player has come on the field, washington state governor jayensly. and on the bench rumored as waiting for the right moment to announce, former vice president joe biden, former texas senate candidate beto o'rourke, and massachusetts congressman seth moulton. back with me, two political strategists, democrat adrienne elrod on the left, republican jo watkins on the right. adrienne, bernie sanders is in. the list is getting longer and longer. many polls say that democrats are concerned about having who
can defeat president trump if he is the candidate for the republicans in 2020 more than any particular issue. of the type of candidates that are running now, do you feel that out of this field we can get someone that is progressive enough to win primaries, but that is centrist enough to win a general election against donald trump? >> well, rev, you know just as well as anybody, that's always the ultimate challenge. you see that in the republican primary, everyone's competing for the far right of the base so that they can then win the primary and then go on to the general and same thing on the democratic party when it comes to the left of the base. look, we have a really strong set of candidates right now who are already in the race. if more people jump in, great, but i think we've got a strong field already. and the ultimate question is who can take on donald trump. a lot of them can and effectively run against him, but
you are seeing in polls there are a lot of voters out there who are saying in the democratic primary i want someone new. i feel like it's my job as a democrat to help usher in this new generation of candidates, except i really like joe biden because i actually think joe biden is the person right now who could effectively take on donald trump in a general election and defeat him. so i was joe biden, i'd be looking at these polls and saying i'm leading right now in iowa, new hampshire, it's between him and bernie depending on which poll you look at for new hampshire, but he's doing well in these early states. i'd think of getting in. >> let's look at the latest polling, joe watkins. still very early, but the main theme here, the man leading the pack is one who hasn't even announced, former vice president joe biden, followed by senator sanders and then kamala harris and the rest of the pack, beto o'rourke down under liz warren. who do you think your party is
most fearful of and why? >> i would think that joe biden, he's somebody that has a very, very strong record. he certainly was a strong vice president to president obama. he's well liked by democrats and by many republicans. he's thought of as somebody who is fair and common sensed. i think if he gets into the race, obviously, he's somebody, if he raises the money and the democratic party is too divisive, he would be somebody that would certainly be a strong opponent against president trump. >> if these investigations bear fruit of any kind, will the republicans have a republican challenge in mr. trump? >> there's a possibility that a couple republicans may try to challenge the president. certainly several, bill weld, former governor of massachusetts
has already entered into the race as a republican. he was on the vice presidential ticket with the green party. governors kasich of ohio and very possibly governor hogan of maryland are considering getting into the race as well. governor hogan was able to win re-election as a republican in a very solid blue state, yes. so he's somebody that sermon would have legs if he was able to emerge as a national candidate. >> adrienne, this is the year of the woman. we started yesterday the women's history month. many are saying that if a man wins the democratic nominee, they need to put a woman or person of color on the ticket. do you agree with that? >> oh, absolutely. without a question. look, there are so many extraordinary candidates right now who are already running in the democratic primary. we know more are going to jump
in. but given that it's the year of the woman, our party, the democratic party, is one that is very diverse, very supportive of women. and i think you got to have a woman on the ticket in some way, shape, or form. >> how important will the involvement of former president obama or former secretary of state hillary clinton weigh in this process, or will they stay out of it and wait for the nominee? >> you know, i think president obama has signaled that he may not get involved in the primary. those are marquee endorsements. i would advise any former heavyweight big surrogate like barack obama, michelle obama, bill and hillary clinton to step back and let the process play out. we've got a lot of debates coming up, 12 debates in the democratic primary. let's let the candidates shine on their own and show what they
bring to the table without being endorsements early on. it makes sense once the primary process starts, but it's 2019, we couldn't a lot of ground to cover turnover next 12 months and i think these candidates deserve the chance to go out on an equal playing field, especially in the debates and make their case. >> joe watkins, i'm out of time, but i don't think you suspect former president bush will be endorsing, if there's a primary, with mr. trump, at least not endorsing mr. trump? >> i don't expect that at all. i would say this on the democratic side, one of the people to watch is kamala harris. she's shown tremendous strength early on. look at her poll numbers. she's got real traction in some of these early primaries. so she's somebody to watch on the democratic side, i think. >> thank you, adrienne and joe. my next guest thinks it may be time to impeach the president. be right back.
your daily dashboard from fidelity. a visual snapshot of your investments. key portfolio events. all in one place. because when it's decision time... you need decision tech. only from fidelity. in your ten years of working for donald trump, did he control everything that went on in the trump organization? and did you have to get his
permission in advance and report back after every meeting of any importance? >> yes. there was -- there was nothing that happened at the trump organization that did not go through mr. trump with his approval and signoff, as in the case of the payments. >> you heard it right. there was nothing that happened at the trump organization that did not go through mr. trump with his approval and signoff. and that is enough for one member of congress to think that it may be time to impeach the president. joining me, the one who posed that question, new york democratic congresswoman, caroline maloney. why are you wearing that firefighters jacket? >> i'm trying to gather attention and support for a bill
i introduced that would give only health care to the first responders, but compensation for loss of job, losses limbs, in many cases, death. we lost 3,000 people on 9/11. many thousands more are sick and dying. they were there for us. we need to be there for them and pass this bill. i'm wearing this hero's shirt until we finally get the bill passed. >> impeachment. you were part of the oversight committee interrogated michael cohen. you said that begins the steps toward his time for impeachment. explain. >> i got to tell you, the whole thing was alarming. this is the first public hearing. there have been many investigations. in fact, he testified that he was cooperating with several
federal prosecutions and investigations in addition to congress and in addition to mueller. but mflgany of that was private. and the answer that he gave really implicated him in many serious ways because he always says i didn't know about wikileaks, i didn't know about -- >> you're talking about the president? >> yeah. he says i didn't know about this, i didn't know about the meetings at trump tower, about the russians, he claims he didn't know any of this. but mr. cohen said they had to brief him before every important meeting and after every important meeting. and he gave us a list of other names that he said may have information on other criminal activity. but in this hearing alone, the information pointed to campaign finance violations, ethics
violations, possible tax fraud, insurance fraud, and other criminal activity not only knew about wikileaks producing stolen e-mails by the russians from the democrats that would hurt our candidate for president, but he approved of it. so the information that came out of it in my opinion was alarming and really pointed to many other areas. there are going to be more hearings with him on the hill. i personally think that they should be open to the public to hear what's going on also. and i was really also stunned that the republicans didn't seem to care anything about the substance. they just wanted to attack mr. cohen. >> now, mueller's report, how important is that, and will that in any way take away from the congressional investigations? >> no, they're two separate
things. his investigation is limited in scope. congress is not limited in any way, shape or form. we can do anything. we're having numerous investigations in many areas. the testimony that he gave really implicated him in felonies, several felonies. >> when you say him, you're talking about the president. >> the president of the united states. i mean it was astonishing to have mr. cohen not only to say it but to produce proof that while he was president, he was signing checks to cohen to reimburse him for hush money to stormy daniels, that he did not reveal on his financial disclosure form, that he basically gave misleading information, and this happened right before the election. he had -- he had documentation behind some of the statements that he was making, and i found
very alarming and really the exact opposite of what president trump has been saying. >> now, the fact that michael cohen also named other people in the room, do you feel your committee is going to be calling some of those people forward who were named by michael cohen? >> absolutely. and i think the prosecutors and investigations that are going forward have a responsibility to look into this information too. i know that weisselberg, his name kept coming up. it came up several times during the hearing. i know that he's been called to the intelligence committee hearings next week and many others. >> weisselberg is the cfo of the trump organization. >> right. and i wouldn't -- this is not the end, this is the beginning of the investigations that are going to take place. impeachment is a very serious -- very serious undertaking because it basically points to overturning an election, which
is a cornerstone of our democracy, so it has to be very seriously undertaken. it quite frankly should be bipartisan. you should be working together to create a certain set of facts that we all agree are accurate. otherwise, what we had this week, it was very partisan. it was the republicans questioning everything he said, not looking at the substance of what he was saying or agreeing that certain violations were felonies or that the violations even existed. it would be more productive in my opinion if we agreed that these facts have been established and that we are building information jointly. after 9/11 we formed a 9/11 caucus that worked for these very deep and meaningful reforms. we completely reorganized our government in a very short period of time. i would like to see that same type of cooperation in these very serious allegations that
came forward in this hearing. >> all right. i'll have to leave it there. thank you for being here, congresswoman carolyn maloney. >> i just want to mention john lewis is taking us to selma, alabama. >> he'll be on the show tomorrow. >> that's great. when we come back we'll put intro up with on the floor, which is voting rights reform, all kinds of voting reforms and other reforms in government. >> all right. on tomorrow's "politics nation" watch my interview with congressman john lewis in harp of the 54th anniversary of the march on selma. up next, my final thoughts. stay with us. ghts stay with us minimums and fees.
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in the last 24 hours, the department of justice announced it will not pursue federal charges in the case of terence crutcher who was killed by a policewoman in tulsa, oklahoma. and then today the d.a. in sacramento announced there will be no charges in the shooting death by police of stefan clark. both these men were unarmed. both were in situations that clearly did not warrant police using fatality as the way to handle whatever they suspected was going on.
it was for that reason that many of us, including me, joined in calling for this to be brought to a day in court so that people can determine whether or not there was an injustice in these matters. that is not being anti-police. in fact it is being pro police, because good policemen cannot operate as long as the communities they serve feel that they get away with any behavior at all and go unquestioned. these two deaths were met with peaceful protests, with families calling for justice, saying that we want the system to work for us. we're not calling for the system to be brought down, we're asking for the system to stand up. if a man getting out of the car
can be shot and killed and not be looked into, if a young man can be shot, some of the shots in his back, 300 feet from his grandmother's bed in her backyard and the excuse is you thought his cell phone was a gun, then it is those things that bring the system down. we must stand for what is right and stand for what is transparent, not hide them in prosecutors' offices. that does it for me. thanks for watching. i'll see you back here tomorrow at 5:00 p.m. eastern for a new live edition of "politics nation." up next, "deadline white house" with my friend, nicolle wallace. hi, everyone, it's 4:00 in new york on the fourth day of what's already been nominated r