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tv   The Rachel Maddow Show  MSNBC  March 6, 2019 6:00pm-7:00pm PST

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this is the beginning and we'll see when we can get the secretary back and continue oversight. >> i would like to see the numbers. congresswoman and jacob sober off. and that is all rachel maddow is here. >> john gotti died in prison after serving ten years of a life sentence for his convictions for five different murders. john gotti was the boss of the gambino crime family in the mafia. but before he died, while he was still in federal prison, one of the things that john gotti got tone joy -- got to enjoy in fed prison is that he fairly regular visits from members of his family and because they are conversations were monitored by prison authorities and in his case they were not just audio taped, they were video taped, we can now for the ages see in
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living color -- or at least in blurry washed out used to be color, not just the movie idea or the comic book idea of what gangsters are like, with the gotty prison takes you could see the real deal. and he's exactly as charming as you might check. not just in dealing with hpeers in crime but dealing with immediate family members. this is how he spoke to his 10-year-old grand son who had come to visit him and the grandson told him his career plans were become a professional athlete, this is how his grandfather responded. >> that is a good chance that you might go to school and become a lawyer, john. >> no, daddy, he is going to become a lawyer. >> no, i'm not. >> really? >> no, i'm not. i'm going to be a basketball player. [ inaudible ]. >> you ain't going to be a baseball player or a basketball
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player. >> he's been smart today. >> let me tell you something -- >> you tell me what i want to be and i never said i wanted to be -- >> let me tell you something about basketball and baseball players, to be good basketball player or a baseball player first of all, you have to be a good liar, a good low-life, and an -- >> take a lot of drugs. >> you got to take storiy -- steroids and anybody that does take steroids is a garbage pail. >> fine, then i'm a crook. >> i don't care if you are nothing. you ain't -- you think you're being selfish and spiteful with me. you get an [ bleep ] from me. i ain't the father of your children. >> he's being a smart alec. believe me, he'll get -- [ bleep ]. >> you will never forget me -- the [ bleep ] you'll get from me. do you understand? i got too many friends right now
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and i don't need you for a friend. i got a million friends right now. a million people who come in and see me now they would cry to see me so you antd do -- ain't doing me anything and you save that for your father. if i hear that i'll put my [ bleep ] up your [ bleep ]. i'm serious, boy. the truth of the matter is with you guys, you [ bleep ]. because people [ bleep ] with the answers you gave. you could look at sad as you want to look. now give that phone over and get the hell out of here. >> you better not [ bleep ] with me. that comes from your mother, not from me. >> that was john gotti in prison in 1998, swearing at his
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grandson and sending him away for having temmerity who said he wanted to be a athlete and dressed up to come and see him. and in the same visits which we have tapes and transcripts of, we also know that john gotti shared a vote of confidence in his daughter's husband. his own son-in-law a guy named car mine ag nello who was not able to visit in prison because of his own troubles with the criminal law but that does d -- did not gotti stop from what he thought on her husband and i will spare you the tapes because the bleeping gets exhausting. but on the same tapes gotti told his daughter about her husband, quote, he's going to get indicted any day. this moron. look you want a prediction, by june your husband will get indicted and every two or three cents he got will be all tied
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up. he told her about her husband, he's an imbess ill and led a list of imaginary charges against her husband. you got to see the charges. malicious mopary, possession of brain with intent to use. stolen bumper and hubcap. that was a reference to the fant that his daughter's husband was in the auto salvage and scrap metal business so that is john getty saying i would get in trouble for a stolen bumper or a hub cab. he referenced the fact that his son-in-law was thought to have a mood disorder that resulted in violent rages for which he took medication. and his said to niz daughter in the prison visit about her husband, is he feeling good? is he not feeling good? is his medication increased, decreased or up or down? does he get into the backseat of the car and think somebody is stolen the steering wheel? nice. nice guy. must be nice for the whole family. that is 1998.
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john gotti before he died a few years later in prison. berating his daughter about her then husband, his own son-in-law. but you know, in some ways john gotti was a little bit right, at least on one of the points. because those prison tapes were from 1998. the following year, in 1999, a new business opened up in queens, new york. a new business called stadium scrap. it was called stadium scrap because it was near shea stadium where the mets used to play and they opened doors in 1999. and they started buying up dead cars. and putting them in the crusher. smashing them into hunks of metal and then selling that metal to shredders and scrap dealers. and when stadium scrap opened up in 1999, it seemed like every other business of that kind in that part of queens, new york, but if you looked super closely,
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there was something about that business that was very different compared to other businesses of that type. stadium scrap turned out had cameras everywhere. and microphones. quote, a pen and tilt microwave camera was positioned on a pole 100 yards from the entrance to the business and it viewed the front of the yard and most of the street. additionally a recording device was installed on the yard telephone and a listening device was stalled in the trailer used as an office. they installed two video cameras inside of the trailer and one outside overlooking the salvage yard. and these weren't the kind of cameras for security purposes. they were cameras and microphones that were hidden. and they were monitored for surveillance purposes. because stadium scrap, that business that opened up in queens in 1999, stadium scrap, was fake. it was a big long-running
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undercover law enforcement operation. multiple law enforcement authorities got together and they hatched this plan that they would open up a fake business in queens. a fake scrap metal and auto salvage business in that part of queens. and they would do that basically as a sting operation. because that business sector in that part of new york was generally believed by law enforcement to be all mobbed up and so they thought they could use a fake business of that kind to try to crack open the organized crime infiltration of the businesses. so undercover law enforcement officers learned to -- i mean, i don't know -- drive wreckers and car crushers and forklifts and flatbed trucks and they learned how to do this type of business and they opened up this fake business and in early 1999 and they started doing work. they were buying and selling scrapped autos and scrap metal and doing auto salvage. but bingo, as soon as they
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opened that thing up, instant results. within a month of them opening up, this fake business, stadium scrap, within a month of them opening, in walked, as predicted by john gotti, in walked john gotti's son-in-law. car mine agnelo, the guy who gotti said was destined to be indicted any day now. according to state and federal prosecutors, this is what happened next. this is from the new york daily news coverage at the time. quote, mr. agnelo and joe burger, a 390 pound childhood pound noen as jum be visited stadium scrap and said that ago nello wanted him to bring the me -- the metal to his facility instead. they gave the officers a simple message. sell him the crushed cars at artificially low prices or suffer the consequences. law enforcement officials said
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that when the undercover officers refused, mr. agnelo had associates fire bomb the business stadium scrap and because it was fake, because it was an undercover law enforcement operation set up specifically to catch criminals, there were cameras and microphones everywhere that caught all of that. so they were able to lay it all out in the indictment and in the press release they were very proudly able to soon put out about the indictments that derived from that case. quote, on the night of june 10th at direction of agnelo, the lock was cut. on june 15th he directed the stadium, at the express discretion, stadium scrap gate yard was cut and entered and bottles filled with gasoline were thrown and the gasoline was ignited with road flares.
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on june 29th the state lock was gut and gasoline was thrown on the trailer itself and the gasoline was ignited. on june 30th, agnelo had burger -- so technically he's jumbo burger, he had jumbo, mr. burger, burger, inspect the damage caused by the fire the night before which mr. burger shortly afterward was observed doing. so this bust, this long-time undercover sting operation involving the cops running a fake scrap metal and auto salvage business in queens he, they got a bunch of attention because of this operation, but also because it did not take them long to catch a big fish. they got gotti's son-in-law. who it turns out is not a guy just looked upon with disfavor by his famous father-in-law in prison. according to the daily news, he was viewed as a, quote, real
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life tony soprano. a ruthless 250 pound mopster who controlled highly profitable legitimate businesses. over the years he scuffled with cops writing his traffic tickets and accused of beating an ex employee with a telephone and he threatened to break the fingers of a debt collector and put him in the trunk of a car. the indictment said he threatened to hit a stockbroker with a hammer. but when they snapped the trap shut on this sting operation, this agnello for all of his storms. >> w-- he was not the only one they caught. under the state's organized crime control act -- by the time they wrapped up the operation the following year, it wasn't just him and a handful of guys in his crew, by the time they wrapped this up the following year there were 49 people who got arrested in this sting. so, yeah, this got a bunch of
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press coverage and there were bragging rights involved for the prosecutors when the indictments came down. but looking back on it now, what seems particularly interesting for us now is that it wasn't ome the prosecutors who had bragging rights about that sting. now, as i mentioned, this was a joint law enforcement operation. and it involved a whole bunch of different law enforcement entities including nypd and prosecutors in queens. and it also involved another agency. whose annual report that year contained some of the juiciest details we got about this whole operation. and that entity, which was a key part of this sting operation, was the fraud squad at the new york state insurance department. and the new york state insurance department doesn't have that name any more. that insurance department has now been incorporated into an agency called the new york department of financial services. but it still does the same work and they've still got the same law enforcement
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responsibilities. and i'm sure, because they do criminal insurance enforcement, i'm sure a bunch of thaem is as boring as it sounds but sometimes in the relatively recent history of that agency, it has been the opposite of boring. it is front page news for many days running. it is dudes learning to run auto crushers and opening up fake scrap metal in queens next to shea stadium and getting fire bombed by guys called jumbo who threaten to snap off people's fingers and shove them into trunks. it wrapped up 50 suspected gangsters at a time including proving john gotti right about the propensity of his son-in-law for getting indicted some time soon because of hi violent temper. and that is the same agency, the exact same agency that has now subpoenaed the insurance broker that has done business for years with the president of the united states and his business. that is the agency that has sent that company, what is reported
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to be an expansive nine-page subpoena demanding that that insurance broker hand over more than so years of internal company documents that mention donald trump, or the trump organization, or plus all policies that were issued to the president or to his business, plus any applications or supporting materials that were submitted by the president or his business in order to obtain those insurance policies. and no, that is not opening up a mob honey pot scrap yard up by the met's old stadium. but the ball on this one is now rolling with that same agency. >> to your knowledge did the president provide inflated asset to an insurance company. >> yes. >> can you explain why you had these financial statements and what you used them for? >> when we were dealing later on with insurance companies, we would provide them with these copies so that they would understand that the premium,
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which is based sometimes upon the individual's capabilities to pay would be reduced. >> and all of this was done at the president's direction and with his knowledge? >> yes. >> and did this information provided to us inflate the president's assets? >> i believe these numbers are inflated. >> to your knowledge, did the president ever provide inflated assets to a bank in order to help him obtain a loan? >> the gentleman's time has expired. >> but you may answer that question. >> these documents and others were provided to deutsche bank on one occasion where i was with him and now attempt to -- to attempt to obtain money so that he could put a bid on the buffalo bills. >> thank you for your answers. >> today for the fourth time in nine days, the president's long
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time attorney michael cohen gave testimony to congress. for the second time today he testifies behind closed door tos the intelligence committee in the house. that committee had only intended to speak with him once thursday of last week but cohen's lawyers say a decision was made to bring him back for a second round of testimony today. only because cohen brought that committee new information last week. committee members decided they wanted to ask him more and they crucially wanted to ask him to provide any supporting documentation to show them to back up these claims. and again we don't know what has happened behind closed doors. but even just the stuff, the physical stuff that cohen provided during his public testimony looks like it may be real trouble. i mean, those financial statements you just heard cohen being questioned about, the financial statements were three years of statements of financial condition that cone said were smitded by the president and his
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business to at least one bank to try to obtain a bank loan and to insurance companies. and what cohen described about the con tents of the financial statements and what they were used for looks like a reasonable substantial investigation into felony bank fraud and insurance fraud. cohen said the statements were inflated. that is not a wild claim. one trump property listed on the statements, property in west chester county was bought by trump for $8 million and it is twice assessed of being worth less than $20 million and forbes yesterday reported that net worth of that property right now is about $24 million. the president himself and his federal ethics declaration last year declared he believed that property to be worth somewhere between $25 million and $50 million and nevertheless, despite the president's own declaration of the worth of that property this past year, on the financial statements he listed the worth as $292 million. and again, he reportedly used
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the statements with banks and insurance companies. and $291 million is not a rounding error for a property like this. in addition to that, "the washington post" further reports that upon reviewing the financial statements, it appears that trump not only inflated the value of some of his assets, he also, quote, exaggerating his wealth by leaving things out in 2011 and 2012 for instance the statements of financial condition omitted his hotel in chicago which at the time was carrying a high debt load. like -- the likely result of trump's over all debt seemed smaller. there isn't a moral story. it says something about your character but that is beside the point. it is one thing to tell somebody you met at a bar that you're worth a lot more than you are. it is like, lying about your height. or lying about being first in your class at wharton or lying
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about how much money you inherited from your dad and whether or not you are self-made or whether or not you won the popular vote or your inaugural crowd or whether you actually built one inch of the wall. lying is lying is lying. it could be a whole way of life it turns out. but it is different when you lie in your written financial statements. that you have submitted to financial institutions and in an effort to get bank loans or defraud insurance companies. when you lie in financial statements, those industries are tightly regulated. at least against that kind of fraud. and when you lie to those kinds of financial institutions, for those kinds of purposes, and there is documentation of it, you're telling the kinds of lie that's get chased down and prosecuted by among others the types of people willing to open up a fake scrap yard in queens and film themselves getting fire bombed multiple times to lock up 50 mobsters. and to the extent that michael cohen's testimony and supporting
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documentation bolsters claims of felony bank fraud, it is important to know that the entity cohen described as the target of that attempted bank fraud, deutsche bank they are cooperating with congressional investigators. when it comes to the insurance side of that alleged fraud by cohen, it is important to note that upon receiving the subpoena from the agency that invented stadium scrap and faced off with jumbo, that large insurance agency is also reportedly fully cooperating with law enforcement and investigating authorities. so those balls are rolling. and speaking of rolling. today michael cohen was back before the intelligence committee again. and this time in what must have been an ominous sign for the white house, michael cohen and his legal team walked into that testimony rolling a bunch of suitcases. one suitcase, two suitcases, three suitcases.
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plus all of the file folders and the briefcases full of documents. among the materials that michael cohen is said to have handed over to the intelligence committee today were additional documents about the preparation of his previous testimony to congress for which he has now pled guilty to lying about certain aspects of the trump organization secret efforts during the campaign to build a big, rich, moscow real estate project with help from the russian government and at least one sanctioned russian bank. think about those lies. why did cohen lie that way to congress, the first time he testified before them. there is no reason those lies about the trump tower moscow project would benefit michael cohen in any way. the lies that he told in that testimony, which again he's pled yilt guilty for, they appear to be designed not to help himself but to offer political cover to president trump. according to reports from emily jane fox at vanity fair and cnn
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and others, today's new documents from cohen about that testimony were intended to bolster the claims from cohen that lawyers acting on behalf of president trump helped concoct his false testimony about trump tower moscow. again false testimony that did not benefit cohen, it specifically benefited president trump and soliciting false testimony before congress is described as obstruction of justice in the articles of impeachment against nixon and clinton. as a matter of criminal law is it is -- is purgy which is felony and that would depend on the facts of the case. but today was the day when michael cohen initially was supposed to be reporting to federal prison. to start serving his federal prison sentence for lying to congress and campaign finance felonies and other crimes. after being given a few weeks extension by the federal judge overseeing his case, it is just remarkable to see him spending his last weeks of liberty
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rolling in suitcases full of documents that may ultimately stand to bury the president. emily jane fox joins us next. stay with us. ent. emily jane fox joins us next stay with us we really pride ourselves on making it easy to get your windshield fixed. >> teacher: let's turn in your science papers. >> tech vo: this teacher always puts her students first. >> student: i did mine on volcanoes. >> teacher: you did?! oh, i can't wait to read it. >> tech vo: so when she had auto glass damage... she chose safelite. with safelite, she could see exactly when we'd be there. >> teacher: you must be pascal. >> tech: yes ma'am. >> tech vo: saving her time... [honk, honk] >> kids: bye! >> tech vo: ...so she can save the science project. >> kids: whoa! >> kids vo: ♪ safelite repair, safelite replace ♪
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mark your calendars, two months from today on may 6th the president's long time personal attorney michael cohen is due to report to federal prison to begin serving a three-year sentence for multiple federal felony charges. last week on this program michael cohen's attorney lanny davis told us that during cohen's closed door testimony before the intelligence committee in the house, cohen, quote, developed new information. that basically necessaitated hi to come back for the committee this week. the new information developed by cohen in that closed-door session was quite explosive. well michael cohen's encore performance before the house intelligence committee was today and this time to everyone's surprised it involved enough checked bags for a family of
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five on an international fliegts to bangkok and we believe all of the luggage into the committee room, we believe in that luggage was documents that cohen had promised to bring with him today to support the allegations that he has made against the president and the president's business. what was in those suitcases? joining us now is the only person i can think to ask who might actually tell me anything about it. emily jane fox, national correspondent at "vanity fair." thank you for being here. do you know what is in the suitcases? >> i don't know. maybe a blankie but a lot of suitcases. but i did recognize something from the footage and i recognize that brown file folder. that was a file folder that came with him -- or very similar to when they came with him last week to washington. the way that michael cohen came into his public hearing last week was he had spent the week before going through the nine
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boxes in his storage unit in the trump building where he lives. >> boxes that had been returned to him -- >> from the southern district of new york. seiz seized from his hotel and office and he did so to congressman that were going to ding his questionable and whether what he was say gs was true and he came with documents and he found a way to jog his memory about the bank checks we know that the president signed and his son signed and hi cfo of the trump organization. that contained a number of personal notes from the president on articles saying, michael c., contact this reporter. threaten to sue him. this is wrong. and other articles that he was not happy with. so it was full of all of these things that he had taken from his storage unit. i know from my reporting that after last thursday's
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closed-door hearing with the house intel committee when he went back today and there were specific things they wanted him to look again to see if he had documentary evidence and he did that over the weekend and i think i would imagine that some of what he found is what he brought in the suitcases. >> and in addition to the things the house intel asked him which we have limited information because it was not public. we did see in public testimony requests for information he would look for. he said he would hand over 100 audio recordings and voice notes, first draft of his congressional testimony which he pled guilty tor being false and red line edits made by the president's attorneys to the remarks, additional bank checks for the reimbursement payments. do you know from your own reporting whether or not any of that stuff he said he would hand over to congress was something that he over-promised and now can't deliver? do we believe he's been able to provide all of this stuff?
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>> i don't know if he's provided all of. it i do know from reporting he brought some of it with him today. i particularly know that there was material related to the edits made in his initial congressional testimony brought today. and along with, i believe, drafts that he found, there is also communication with the lawyers involved that he found that he brought to the committee today. i have no idea what kinds of edits were made on those drafts. sometimes you could have a draft that doesn't necessarily have red line edits and just changes where no one explains the changes but here is one draft on one day and then another draft with changes but you don't know what happened in between. but there is communication amongst the lawyers about what was changed and i think that that communication is almost more valuable than a red line edit. because -- >> is there a clear contention from mr. cohen that his testimony was false in part because he was advised how to
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falsely testimony -- how to falsely testify in a way that would benefit the president? is that the nut of the contention about the president's lawyer? >> he said publicly last week, i was advised by the president's attorneys to make certain changes in order to stay on message with the president's message. and he said the president didn't directly tell me to change it. but he had this code and i understood the code. i don't think that lawyers speak in code and certainly lawyers who cohen doesn't know -- a lawyer who cohen doesn't know, he won't know how to speak that code so i imagine it would be more explicit than some sort of trumpian code that cone spent a decade trying to figure out. and did spoke to people in the room today and the feedback from the people in the room today was cohen was able to provide things that were damaged to the trump presidency, matched only by the things that he was able to provide that were damaging on
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the trump organization. that -- was the only information. >> and as far as statements to the trump organization he has today been able to make statements or allegations or provided evidence that is as damaging to the presidency. washington post just came out with a new piece of information with somewhat -- an explosive report about something mr. cohen said today behind closed doors. i would like to ask you about that if you could stay with us. >> sure. >> emily jane fox is our guest. stay with us. stay with us [friend] i've never seen that before. ♪ ♪ i have... ♪
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one day, i found a lump on my right breast. in a small town, we don't have a health center on every corner. it would take three to four weeks to be seen. so i called planned parenthood, and they got me in that day. the trump-pence administration just issued a new policy blocking access to care at planned parenthood which could have a devastating impact on millions of people nationwide. had i have waited a day, i would have had stage iv cancer. planned parenthood saved my life. text titlex to 22422 to learn more. text titlex to 22422 to learn more. dearest britain. we love you. maybe it's your big hearts. your sense of style. welcome to ba100. (ba100, you're clear for take-off). how you follow your own path. you've led revolutions... of all kinds. yet you won't shout about it. it's just not in your nature. instead, you'll quietly make history. cake. beds. poetry. trouble. love! hope! and rather a lot of tea. the best of britain, from the moment you step on board.
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back with us is correspondent from "vanity fair" emily jane fox. there is a piece of reporting that came out with "the washington post" and the headline is michael cohen discussed pardons with a second trump lawyer. he tells congress. so this is about his closed-door testimony before house intel and the lead is michael cohen has claimed to the house intelligence committee he discussed the subject of a pardon with president trump's attorney jay sekulow. under penalty of perjury he alleged that he discussed pardons in we can -- with sekulow and with rudy giuliani and they are citing four people familiar with his testimony. i know you know -- the importance of this, the president can pardon anybody he wants. he can talk to anybody about a pardon. in any context, except in the context of the president's own criminal defense. >> because we know how damaging what cohen was going to tell
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investigators has been to obviously cohen but to the trump presidency, to the trump organization, to his family, and so if there were conversations with multiple lawyers who were representing the president about the possibility of a pardon, a., and b., a pardon used to prevent cohen from cooperating with investigators, that is explosive and it seems like the "post" recording is rock solid. is there is so much pardon news in the last couple of days and it kicked off with a report in the "wall street journal" that said an attorney representing cohen at the time after feds had searched and seized items from his apartment, that the attorney approach approached rudy giuliani and he said would you be interested in talking about a pardon. and when i read that, i didn't doubt the reporting. but i immediately thought back to the summer when rudy giuliani
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had been talking about a story about the recordings that were seized from cohen's apartments and in the story it characterized the recordings as cohen saying you have to pay off a woman alleging an affair in cash, not a check and the president said, no, you have to pay her by check and we heard the recording two days later and it was the opposite, where cohen had suggested the president, you cannot pay her with cash. so when i read that story, i thought is this the president's legal team getting out ahead of what they know could be another incredibly damaging story. and it seems like since that initial report broke, there have been, in fact, incredibly damaging reports related to pardons that paint the situation in a very different light. >> right. and the one thing that can't happen is that the president's defense lawyers, personal defense lawyers, can't be discussing pardons with people who could offer witness testimony against the president.
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>> not dangling them -- and a lot of reporting, a lot of vague and unclear and opaque and there are so many things on different sides that are not lining up but cohen has been privately saying that a pardon was dangled to him in some sort of oblique fashion and language was vague and this is something he's been discussing with the southern district of new york. >> if that person he was discussing that was representing the president in a defense capacity, that is lights out. >> that is explosive. >> emily jane fox. thank you. we'll be right back. stay with us. thank you. we'll be right back. stay with us
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remember when we all used to go to the cafeteria and just chow down midday? -you mean, like, lunch? -come on. voted "most likely to help people save $668 when they switch." -at this school? -didn't you get caught in the laminating machine? -ha. [ sighs ] -"box, have a great summer. danielle." ooh. danielle, control yourself. i'd like to slow it down here with a special discount for a special girl. danielle, this one's for you. the fbi headquarters building is a few blocks from the white house on pennsylvania avenue. and it is a mess. for years now they've had nets up on the outside of the building to catch bits of that building as they fall off. when president trump took
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office, the plan for the crumbling fbi building was to do a swap with a private developer. the government general services administration would hire a private developer to build a brand-new campus for the fbi somewhere in the suburbs and then as part of the payment for doing that work, the private developer would get that terrible falling-down fbi building. which the developers would be allowed to tear down and replace with a big new development of his or her choice. right there on prime real estate on pennsylvania avenue just a few blocks from the white house. and everybody involved in that plan knew to expect that the result of it would be that any new high-dollar development at that pennsylvania site would almostin almost inevitably include a new high dollar luxury hotel and the problem is that that site is only a block away from what is already the newest big luxury hotel in that part of the d.c. which is the new trump hotel.
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so that plan would give the president's brand-new hotel in d.c. top tier luxury competition right across the street. huh. so a few months into the trump administration, the administration announced, hey, new plan. an unexpected change in plan. that old plan will be scrapped. now there will not be a new hotel, or a big new development on the site of the fbi building. and in fact, they've decided to change directions 180 degrees and will keep the fbi headquarters where it is and build them a new building on the same site. and the white house said this would save the taxpayers money but it will cost more. and also it will hold fewer agents than the original plan called for. the white house said the president had nothing to do with this dramatic change in plans that would so impact his own personal bottom line. they said it that was -- that it was the fbi call. the part of the administration ore seeing the project and
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called before congress and said this plans is what the fbi wanted. nobody else was involved. but then several democratic lawmakers wrote to the head of the gsa and said, hold on here. first of all, here is a photo of you meeting with the president about this project. this is the gsa director sitting in the middle. the one woman in the photo. and second of all, the democrat democratic -- lawmakers get ahold of the emails recounting what had at that meeting and putting those decisions into action and they include an official from the gsa sending an e-mail a few days after the meeting referring to what potus directed everyone to do, and end quote, potus' orders. another official from the agency writes about delivering, quote, the project the president wants on the timetable he wants it done. what that meeting was about, what those presidential orders were about, what the president
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wanted done was a u-turn on that big multi-billion dollar federal project so the fbi building would not be redeveloped into a new luxury hotel that would compete with his hotel across the street. and he was directly involved in that the decision to make that change. when those democrats released that basically smoking gun evidence of the president's intervention in that project, that he stood to benefit from financially, when they demanded that the gsa hand over all documents showing how and why the original plan got turned upside down, that was not that long ago. october of last year. elijah couple -- elijah cummings was the oversight committee and he said this is open and shut and what will happen here in terms of accountability. this is what he said. >> i don't think much will happen with regard -- if things continue the way they've been with regard to our committee, as you probably know, chairman
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gaudy has refused too issue any subpoenas and basically the republicans have acted more or less as defense counsel for this administration. so it may be, rachel, that before we can truly get into this and hold hearings, it may be when the democrats take over, hopefully in january, that we'll have hearings and then we'll get to the bottom line. >> that was congressman cummings speaking before the midterm elections in october. as you might recall, democrats did quite well in the elections the following month and they diddin zeid take over the house as of january. and now, today, the democrats have started making good on their promise to get to the bottom of what looks like a clear-cut, second grade text bookcase of american government corruption coming directly from the president of the united states. that's next. t tofhe united states that's next. e creatures.
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democra democrats at the time were in the minority in the congress. they did send a request for the trump administration for documents and explanations. the administration blew its proverbial nose on that request, but that was last year and now the democrats are in charge, and now as of today it is five democratic-controlled committees who are writing back to the administration telling them that time's up, basically. and this time if there isn't a response, expect subpoenas to follow. joining us now is congresswoman dina titus. she is one of the authors of today's letters. she's chair of a key subcommittee that oversees the general services administration, the part of the trump administration that seems implicated here. congresswoman titus, thank you very much for being here. >> thank you for having me. >> when we first talked about this scandal, i said i would have you back as this progressed, particularly if you were able to take over in an oversight role and really start pushing here. what do you think you're going to be able to get now with control in congress that you weren't able to get in the minority? >> well, they virtually blew us off, as you said, when we asked for the requests last fall, but
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now we've put the letter in again. we have written to the justice department, the fbi and the gsa asking for documentation. we've given them until the end of march. we'll see if they take us more seriously. and if they don't, well, we have other tools we can use to force them to give us that information. >> and by other tools, you presumably mean subpoena power? >> exactly. >> if the president did intervene in this project, obviously that would contradict early denials that he had nothing to do with this project. >> that's right. >> but if the president did make that kind of intervention, is there any way for you and your other committee and subcommittee chairs to pursue the prospect that the president made that intervention specifically to line his own pockets, specifically to benefit himself financially? >> well, we believe so, and we believe it's pretty clear from the evidence that we've seen. you remember al capone, who committed so many spectacular crimes, but what they got him on was income tax evasion. you hear a lot about other
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investigations into collusion or paying off women. we're being very deliberative. we're going after something very specific. getting all the facts. and i believe in the end it will be very clear that he used public money to get private profit. >> if he did use public money to get private profit, if he is using his office to financially benefit himself and his company, is that a -- is that a crime? and if so, who prosecutes it? >> well, we're going to talk to the justice department. that's why we want to be deliberative. that's what we want to have hearings. but you need information in advance of that. also, as you pointed out, they've lied about it. ms. murphy from the gsa said, no, no, there weren't really any meetings. it was the fbi that wanted to do it, but i think the evidence will show that he was very much a part of this, and it will depend on how you want to define corruption. i think the public can look at that and see that's just not the way government's supposed to run. >> congresswoman dina titus,
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chair of the economic development public buildings and emergency management subcommittee, which in this case is a key oversight role because you oversee the gsa. congresswoman, i will say it again like i said it last time, as this progresses, please keep us apprised. i'm super interested in this story and i think you've got the tiger by the tail. >> thank you. we'll stay in touch. >> thanks. thank you for your time tonight. all right. we'll be right back. stay with us. ht back. stay with us >> tech: at safelite autoglass, we really pride ourselves on making it easy to get your windshield fixed. with safelite, you can see exactly when we'll be there. saving you time for what you love most. >> kids: whoa!
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not to mention lonely. lawyers for the president's campaign chair paul manafort has cited his health, his age, his conditions of confinement, his previous status as an alterboy, you anyway it, all as part of their case that mr. manafort should not be given too long a prison sentence for his multiple felony convictions. tomorrow afternoon, 3:30 eastern time we'll find out for his lawyers have persuaded the judge. 3:30 eastern time. that's when manafort is set to be sentenced in federal court in virginia. the sentencing guidelines in his case range from 19 to 24 years. again, that hearing is 3:30 p.m. no cameras in court. so don't expect actual live footage of it. but we hope we will have the transcript of that sentencing hearing for you here tomorrow night. see you then. now it's time for "the last word" with lawrence o'donnell. good evening, lawrence. >> good evening, rachel. you threw me there. i thought i was being introduced when i heard you say he's old -- once you said he's in jail, i went, oh, okay, it's someone

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