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tv   The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell  MSNBC  March 9, 2019 7:00pm-8:00pm PST

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communication that might document donald trump's actions or directions surrounding the merger. they write, quote, even the appearance of white house interference in antitrust law enforcement matters, undermines public trust. the fact that actual interference would constitute a serious abuse of power. democrats are asking for those documents by march 20th, so hold on to your radar tubes, everybody, and watch this space. that does it for us tonight. rachel will be back on monday and i'll see you tomorrow morning on my show "a.m. joy." now it's time for "the last word" with the great ali velshi in for lawrence o'donnell. >> hello, ali. >> hello friend. you know, here's the interesting thing about that story you just told. >> there are really valid reasons for people to not like big media mergers. >> totally. >> the one that donald trump picked is the wrong one. >> yeah. >> not liking how they cover you. right cause, wrong reason, once again. >> yeah, absolutely. can i just say, ali, just to give you a quick compliment. i was watching your show earlier today as i do every day. the two of you had a conversation about the unemployment numbers that was so detailed and broke it down and
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the fact that, you know, why you have that big bulge in unemployment numbers. >> yeah. >> employment numbers in january. it was so smart. >> thank you. >> i literally was writing down the name of that guest. >> diane, i have been talking to her for 15 years. as i told her today, every time i talk to her, i get a little bit smarter. >> i got a little bit smarter, as i always do watching you ali velshi. have a wonderful show tonight. >> thanks, joy. see you in the morning. i'm ali velshi in for lawrence o'donnell. tonight let's begin with a little game. let's imagine the 2020 election is right around the corner. how does trump world spin the last 24 hours into a winning message? you have a resignation, a prison sentence, a weak jobs report. are those things even spinable? that's what the trump 2020 campaign is facing at the moment and no event may be roiling the white house more tonight than the exit of another senior staffer. president trump just lost his fifth communications director in two years. bill shine, the former fox news executive turned senior white
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house official, is resigning after just eight months. believe it or not, eight months is the longest anyone has held that position under this president. the white house says that shine is moving to a role with trump's re-election effort. details on that are sparse. he did say he wants to spend more time with his family, which is always ominous. many saw bill shine's hiring as the foxification of the west wing, including one of our first guests tonight, "vanity fair's" gabe sherman. gabe sherman reports tonight that shine has been on the outs with trump for months. quote, as roger ailes' right hand, he had virtually no direct contact with reporters and no involvement in fox's pr department. that lack of experience was evident last september when shine was caught flatfooted during the rollout of bob woodward's book "fear." trump started complaining to people that there was no advanced prep on woodward's book, a republican close to the white house said.
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trump let shine know he wasn't happy. according to gabe sherman, one theory of bill shine's exit is, quote, that trump pushed shine out now because house democrats are looking to investigate the house's ties to fox. tensions were likely especially high this week after "the new yorker's" jane mayer rocked the white house with her deeply reported piece on the close ties between the fox -- between fox news and the white house. mayer wrote that as a fox news executive, several lawsuits named bill shine as complicit in a workplace culture of cover-ups, payoffs and victim intimidation. and politico is reporting tonight that trump had complained to allies about shine being tangled up in those lawsuits. past trump staffers are also coming back to haunt the president. his former campaign chairman is a convicted felon, and today the president actually says he feels bad for paul manafort. >> i feel very badly for paul manafort.
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i think it's been a very, very tough time for him. >> the president of the united states says he feels bad for a man who was sentenced to nearly four years in prison for tax and bank fraud. undeterred by the facts, the president also grossly distorted the words of the judge who sentenced paul manafort. in an effort to claim vindication on collusion, the president made this demonstrably false statement. >> the judge, i mean, for whatever reason, i was very honored by it, also made the statement that this had nothing to do with collusion with russia. so, you know, keep it going. let's go. keep the hoax going. just a hoax. >> okay. to be entirely clear, that's just not what happened. paul manafort was sentenced for charges unrelated to possible russian collusion. judge t.s. ellis said manafort, quote, is not before the court
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for any allegation that he or anybody at his direction colluded with the russian government, end quote. and more bad news for the president came in the february jobs report tonight. the economy gained just 20,000 jobs in february, falling far short of analysts' expectations. it was the smallest gain in well over a year. expectations were for 180,000 new jobs. and that is what the president has to talk about. as his re-election campaign gets under way. that is what he is selling to the american people today. now, take all of that and contrast it with today's message on the democratic side. as house democrats passed sweeping anti-corruption and voting rights legislation. the vote for hr-1, 234-193 on party lines. makes good on democrats' campaign pledge to clean up washington, a pledge that helped catapult them into the majority. that bill includes a requirement for presidential candidates to release their tax returns, an
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especially sore subject for donald trump as democratic investigative committees are moving to get his personal and business tax returns. now, mitch mcconnell has vowed that he won't even bring hr-1 to the floor of the senate for a vote, but democrats were under no illusions that this bill would get a welcome reception from senate republicans or president trump. they hope, however, that the message they're sending, that money and corruption in politics should be eradicated, will win the day over the kind of message donald trump and his allies are presenting. >> this is a fight we are engaged in. we are not going to end it until we win, and we can save a lot of time by the senate just agreeing to the for the people agenda. >> all right. joining us now, rick wilson, republican strategist and contributor to the daily beast. he's the author of the book "everything trump touches dies." gabe sherman, the aforementioned
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special correspondent for "vanity fair" and an msnbc contributor. he's out with a new piece tonight. "why roger ailes' former right hand is leaving the west wing" and msnbc legal analyst maya wiley. she served as chief legal adviser to new york city mayor bill de blasio. welcome to all of you. thank you for being with us. gabe, you've been particularly busy because you and i talked earlier today. >> yeah. >> when this news first broke. you've done a lot of research since then. >> yeah. >> the question when somebody leaves the white house and joins the campaign is that, is that a good thing, is it a bad thing, is it good for them? what is this about? >> well, clearly this is not a good move for bill shine. you don't leave the communications director job in the white house, the highest profile perch in communications in american politics, to go become a, quote, senior adviser to the trump campaign. this is clearly a soft landing for him. as i reported today in "vanity fair," this was a relationship that had really hit the skids over the last several months. donald trump was not happy with his communications department. he brought in bill shine to plug
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the leaks and improve his message and his image. clearly none of that had happened. now, in shine's defense, you got to look in, you know -- look in the mirror and the proverbial twitter feed, it's trump who is doing a lot of the damage but he blamed shine for those problems. he even would tell privately to friends the nickname he gave him was bill no shine. >> oh, my god. rick -- i love that. rick, jane mayer's piece in "the new yorker" -- >> sure. >> -- about trump's anger with bill shine in which she writes, "a source close to trump says the president has been complaining that shine hasn't been aggressive enough. late last year, trump told the source shine promised me my press coverage would get better but it's gotten worse." the source says trump thought he was getting roger ailes but instead he got roger ailes' gopher. rick, can anybody be the director of communications for donald trump? >> ali, of course not. and gabe, you know, has great
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sourcing on these stories about how the differential between what trump expected and what shine could deliver was vast. you know, look, he didn't need bill shine as an interlock tore between himself and sean hannity. he gets phone calls from sean hannity all the time. trump is his own program director. his own communications director. he comes up with this stuff on the fly. no exquisitely laid out plan will survive contact with donald trump's twitter feed. the entire thing is contingent what trump is going to do at any given moment, what impulses take him. so shine was doomed from the beginning. in the future, all of us would be white house communications director for 15 minutes because this thing is just going to go on and on and on. nobody can survive in this job. it is impossible. it is completely, you know, completely fruitless position to hold. >> it is riding the proverbial bull. maya, let's talk about the pardon.
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now 24 hours -- not the pardon, i'm sorry. the sentence for paul manafort now 24 hours old. the president was asked about pardoning manafort earlier today. here's what he said. >> i don't even discuss it. the only one discussing it is you. i haven't discussed it. >> the irony, of course, of that, maya, is that the president tweeted this morning that he had discussed a pardon with michael cohen and michael cohen had ask him specifically about this. where do you -- where do you stand on what paul manafort is thinking with respect to a pardon as we head into a week in which he is going to be sentenced again for his crimes that he's being tried for in a d.c. court? >> well, i think two things. one, donald trump has been very explicit about calling manafort a stand-up guy because he didn't, quote, unquote, flip on the president. so, one, the president has made very explicitly clear that he
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will be very supportive, at least in the court of public opinion, with those from his inner circle who get his back, not withstanding what law enforcement wants or needs. secondly, paul manafort, you know, frankly, got off light with this sentence. let's be clear. >> sure. >> but he is facing judge jackson in the district of columbia, so he's got another sentencing round. but remember that even if donald trump were to pardon him, he'd have two issues. the one would be the question of why is the president pardoning him? is the president pardoning him because he is looking for some additional help and support in ongoing investigations? the second question is, why would paul manafort think he's off the hook? because the reality is that given his -- the crimes he's been committed of -- convicted of, there are the potential for
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bank fraud claims, tax evasion claims from state attorneys general, and the president -- >> right. >> -- cannot pardon him from those crimes. >> rick wilson, let's go back to the first question, the idea of how do -- does the president spin this. tom steyer, i'm going to be talking about this later in the hour. tom steyer has released a couple of ads saying when history is written it will judge how, you know, there will be two buckets of politicians, those who decided to do the right thing and those who stuck with donald trump. what has to happen for this not to hurt republicans even more than it already is, given these things swirling around the president? >> sure. ali, i always told republicans, i want you to remember two numbers, 49 and 8. that's 1974 where richard nixon's numbers were in the 50s, right -- >> right. >> right up until they weren't. at the end of 1974, 49 republicans lost their house seats and 8 republicans lost their senate races. so this can recapitulate itself
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very easily and what they will never understand is that the fear of donald trump's mean tweets, the fear of what donald trump's crazed followers will do when he tweets about senator so and so or congressman such and such is vastly outweighed by the fact that when americans realize the depth of the corruption in this man, when they realize the depth of the behavior that he's engaged in across all these different domains, and if it gets to that sort of fight, they will pay a political price. they already paid a price in 2018 for it and 2020 is shaping up to be an equally terrible year for them across the same number of areas where they are associated with a man who is not trusted by americans, who americans believe is a liar, a majority -- plurality, excuse me, of americans believe he is a criminal. this is not a good look on any political party and the people who mindlessly support him are going to be dragged down with him. >> gabe, the great reporting by jane mayer in "the new yorker" compliments some great reporting you've done over the years,
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including a great book about fox and its relationship -- >> yeah. >> the role that it has played. it's not surprising. there is a great depth and great sourcing in the reporting. but the overarching idea that donald trump is tied in with fox news these days, why is that worrying donald trump, that that's getting out there? >> well, this is not clearly just a matter of optics at this point, this is possibly a serious political problem for donald trump because now that the house democrats are emboldened to investigate these relationships and the idea that perhaps, as jane mayer reported, that donald trump ordered the justice department to do a business favor for rupert murdoch by blocking the at&t/time warner merger, a business rival of the murdoch media empire, that is something they will dig into. also, we should point out that there was a southern district investigation of fox news of how roger ailes possibly used company money to cover up the sexual harassment claims after donald trump fired preet
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bharara, the then federal prosecutor, that investigation just slowly went away. house democrats judiciary committee could presumably do an investigation to find out what happened. why did the sdny drop its investigation of fox news? >> it's not that president trump is worried about the perception he's tied in to fox news. it's about the exposure. >> serious corruption issues that they could investigate. of course. >> maya, the democrats passed hr-1 today. it's a very comprehensive bill. it would make a particular day -- the voting day. it would make it a federal holiday so that people could vote. it would deal with registration issues. it would deal with gerrymandering issues. it would deal with tax returns. it was a good symbolic move to pass it in the house. it's not going to get through the senate. is that going to hurt republicans if it doesn't? >> it certainly will in certain parts of the country. i mean, remember that we're talking about the question that is fundamental to our democracy, which is whether our citizens can vote.
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you know, we're one of the few powers in the world that doesn't have -- that has -- that has a pretty low participation rate in elections and doesn't have a federal holiday for our national elections. you know, the other thing is since 2010 what we've seen is largely on the part of the republican party significant efforts to make it much more difficult for those who are lawfully allowed to vote, to make it much more difficult for them to vote, and that's not good for our democracy, but it's also not good for the republican party, given that a lot of those folks are people of color, are the growing percentage of citizens in this country and are not going to be very happy with a party that has essentially said we'd rather win by preventing you from voting than by getting and winning your vote. >> so, rick, i mean, i've spoken to african-american republicans
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who say this is their -- probably their biggest frustration with the party right now. >> sure. >> that there is just no way to be on the wrong side of efforts that should be made to get more people out to vote, to stop gerrymandering, to make it easier for people to vote. how do republicans get on the right side of this issue? >> well, the answer is, ali, they won't. for the most part, you know, the do-gooder is in parts of this. the national holiday. encourage people to vote. the transparency factor of getting the tax returns, et cetera. i think everyone pretty much agrees with those across the board. the redistricting problem is going to be the biggest nut to crack. the honest answer is there are an awful lot of democrats rely on redistricting practices that would make states like california less democratic than they are right now. i'm not sure you're going to see that actually get through, even with, you know, even democratic guys in the senate are going to look at the redistricting equation and say, nonpartisan redistricting, you know, advantages them in a number of states. that's always a very tricky, you know, and sticky problem for folks.
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you know, if you ended up with pure redistricting that wasn't partisan in any way, you would have fewer african-american members of congress. you would have fewer hard progressives and fewer hard republicans and you would have a much different looking, you know, body there. so right now there's been a lot of political cross pressure on that. so, you know, redistricting is the stickiest part of that. i think the transparency part is all good and meritorious, though. >> gabe, i want to ask you going back to the white house and the director of communications. >> yeah. >> eight months is the longest anybody's been in this job. >> yeah, he didn't pull a mooch. it wasn't just -- >> 11 days or something, right? what's the problem? this can't be the worst job in america. stephanie ruhle always says that it's easier to get somebody to clean the toilets in times square on new year's eve than it is to get somebody to do the communications job in the white house. >> well, i think the reality is as rick was pointing out earlier the best course of action going forward for trump would not be to fill that job.
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there really doesn't need to be that job. someone just to do the nuts and bolts of, you know, planning the press conferences, getting the cameras in the right places, but the idea that you need a senior strategist mapping out communications is just irrelevant when the president himself -- >> he doesn't want to listen to anybody. it's the chief of staff problem. >> yeah, exactly. >> it's the same issue. rick? >> it's all impulsive -- >> well, you can, you know -- >> it's all impulsive. >> right. go ahead, maya. >> well, i would just say, you know, frankly, he needs someone to help stop him from putting himself in legal peril because he can't control his mouth. the other thing i would say is the problem with the job is you can make lemonade out of lemons, but if the lemons are rotten, then it doesn't matter what you do. so the problem for donald trump is, it's all of his positions. because he also wants to be his own chief of staff. >> right. >> right. >> you know, fundamentally he wants to be his own everything. and that's why he's in legal trouble. >> thank you to the three of you for kicking us off on a friday night. maya wiley, gabe sherman and
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rick wilson. coming up, two of the president's most loyal supporters in congress are facing new ads, we were just telling you about that, that are telling voters in their district that they are choosing the president over congressional responsibility. former democratic senator heidi heitkamp is here and more controversy for jared kushner involving another foreign government. reports that jared kushner shut the u.s. state department out of his secretive visit with saudi arabia's crown prince. and in tonight's "last word," what does america's mass incarceration problem have to do with paul manafort's sentence? this is your invitation to be our guest. this is the invitation to lexus sales event. lease the 2019 rx 350 for $399 a month for 36 months. now thru march 31st. experience amazing at your lexus dealer.
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there is a new effort under way to bring accountability to some of donald trump's most fervent supporters in congress. here is the new ad running this week in two key republican districts. >> when the history of the trump presidency is written, members of congress will be sorted into two categories, the ones who let politics scare them out of holding trump accountable and those who had the courage to stand up and defend our democracy. republicans in congress should support impeachment hearings to uncover the truth. but first, they have a choice to make, which side of history do they want to be on? need to impeach is responsible for the content of this advertising. >> all right. billionaire tom steyer is spending $75,000 to run that ad
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in districts represented by ohio republican congressman jim jordan and north carolina republican congressman mark meadows. politico reports that steyer's pack, need to impeach, decided to target jordan and meadows after their comments at the michael cohen hearing. the effort apparently got the attention of the president who tweeted, "weirdo tom steyer doesn't have the guts or money to run for president. he's all talk." tom steyer responded with this tweet. "if you have the guts to meet with mr. mueller, i will stop running tv ads calling for your impeachment. i don't think you have the guts to come out from behind your lawyers." the latest effort raises important questions of how to hold republicans in congress accountable for ignoring the accusations of criminality against the president. while americans demand more investigation. a quinnipiac poll this week showed 58% of voters say congress should do more to investigate michael cohen's claims about president trump's
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behavior, while just 35% say it should not. that 35% roughly correlates to donald trump's base of support. we're joined now by a former democratic senator who represented a state where most voters supported donald trump for president. heidi heitkamp is a former democratic senator from north dakota and is now a fellow at the harvard institute of politics. she was also the first woman elected to the u.s. senate from north dakota. senator, good to see you. thank you for being with us. >> thanks so much for having me on. >> tom steyer's ad is designed, it seems, to target republicans. it holds up john mccain as the example of somebody who stood up for congress and for americans versus those who seem to and certainly at the michael cohen hearing seemed to only be defending the president. you come from a state with a lot of republicans. does that ad -- is that ad going to appeal to people? >> no, in fact, i think the ad will do exactly the opposite. it's being run in a district
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that is heavily supportive of donald trump. and my race, if that's any example, i made the argument that north dakota didn't want somebody who was 100% with the president. they elected somebody who was 100% with the president, and i think that that will further embolden two people in pretty safe congressional districts to continue to support the president. i don't think the audience is the congressional district. i think the audience is television. i think the audience is the president. and certainly at a $75,000 buy, it's not going to change any minds. this is designed to basically have people talk about the complicity that is in the republican party on many, many important issues, not just corruption, but when you talk about trade, when you talk about this horrible tax bill, when you talk about fighting to repeal obamacare in the courts, you know, these are the things that we also need to be talking about that we're not, ali.
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>> so what's the -- do you -- do you agree with the premise then of the ad, that history will judge senators and members of congress as being in buckets that either did what they were supposed to do or sided with the president or is the debate more nuanced than that? >> i think that people are waiting, and until we know what the results are of these investigations, i think it -- to move too fast towards a process that is reserved for the most serious abuses is premature, but that's my opinion. and certainly mr. steyer is entitled to his opinion and he's entitled to spend his money under the first amendment however he wants to spend it, but my concern in all of this is that we're not talking about health care the way we need to talk about health care. we're not talking about trade. you talk a lot about trade because your basis is in economics. >> right. >> you know and i know that this trade war is having a devastating effect -- >> correct. >> -- on workers and on farmers. we're not talking about other
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things that the republicans are complicit on that they should not be and they know better. like 232 tariffs. that's ridiculous. >> right. >> -- to impose them on canada. >> that's a national security issue, imposing tariffs because there is some threat to national security. from north dakota, you know most americans in border states don't think of canada as a national security problem. >> well, i would hope not. they're our greatest and best ally, but yet the congress allows the president to have that power instead of taking it back. they basically have not had any oversight on this horrible tax bill, which has not achieved any result. we saw only 20,000 new jobs created. now that could be an anomaly. i don't know. but certainly if that's a trend, we're headed in the wrong direction economically. we should be talking about those issues because that's where congress and republicans in congress are really failing as well. >> did you see some hope in the
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fact that there is some pushback against the president's emergency declaration amongst republicans in the senate? >> yeah, i think they're terrified of the president -- precedent that it's going to set and they know that for all of the yack-yack that they had during the obama years ago usurping congressional authority, there is no greater step than what's been taken with this emergency declaration. they're hoping the courts bail them out and they're hoping that they won't be held accountable, but i think of all the things that are happening right now, this is the piece that has the worst result in terms of history and history looking back and judging that all-important balance of power. >> senator, i want to just ask you before we say good night. you were in an election that was affected by people's rights to vote. what do you think of the voting provisions in the -- in hr-1, the bill that passed the house that hasn't gotten to the senate? >> i think it's terrific and i think these are exactly the issues we should be talking about.
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we have to get a higher right of participation in our democracy if we're actually going to preserve the democracy. i applaud the house for taking this step. the republicans, bring it to a vote, put it on the floor. if you've got a legitimate argument in the senate against it, mr. mcconnell, then make that argument, let people vote and let the public see that there is actually a meaningful debate on important issues going on in washington, d.c. >> when asked about that by a reporter today, mitch mcconnell -- when asked why it won't go to a vote he said, because i get to decide what we vote on. senator heidi heitkamp, good to see you. thank you. >> thank you so much. all right. coming up, criticism of jared kushner's questionable security clearance is going to get more intense after reports that kushner shut u.s. government officials out of his secretive meeting with saudi arabia's crown prince. you wouldn't accept an incomplete job from any one else. why accept it from your allergy pills? flonase sensimist relieves all your worst symptoms, including nasal congestion,
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it's been one week since we first learned that president trump went against the wishes of his own intelligence community to grant his daughter ivanka and son-in-law jared kushner security clearances. since those reports first surfaced, the house oversight committee chairman elijah cummings has accused the white house of refusing to cooperate with their investigation of the matter, but today axios reported that a source within the white house leaked, quote, documents related to jared kushner and ivanka trump's security clearances that the trump administration refused to provide. in other words, white house staff have actually gone behind the president's back in order to help congress with its investigation. just as that news broke today, we also learned that a group of four democratic senators have
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just sent a letter to the director of national intelligence dan coats, as well as the intelligence community's inspector general requesting that intelligence officials open their own investigation into whether or not the white house is complying with security clearance policies. now, this comes just after the daily beast reported that kushner shut u.s. embassy officials out of his meeting with saudi crown prince mohammed bin salman last week. mohammed bin salman or mbs as he's sometimes referred to is believed by u.s. intelligence to have ordered the killing of "washington post" journalist jamal khashoggi. but mbs enjoys a close relationship with kushner. that relationship, according to the daily beast, has frustrated members of congress from both parties, who are actively trying to learn more about the conversations taking place between the two of them. in a hearing to confirm trump's new ambassador to saudi arabia, republican senator marco rubio
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had this to say about the saudi crown prince. >> he is reckless. he's ruthless. he has a penchant for escalation, for taking high risks, confrontational in his foreign policy approach, and i think increasingly willing to test the limits of what he can get away with with the united states. he's gone full gangster. it's difficult to work with a guy like that, no matter how important the relationship is. >> what does it mean for someone with access to top-level security information to be meeting with a world leader who has gone full gangster? i'll ask msnbc counterterrorism and intelligence analyst malcolm nance that question next. no more excuses with cologuard.
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look at what he's done in the last two years. it seems like something out of a james bond movie. he's kidnapped the prime minister of lebanon. kidnapped the prime minister of lebanon. he kicked out the ambassador of canada. cancelled flights to toronto. cut off investments. recalled all their students in canada over a tweet or a couple of tweets from the canadian foreign minister regarding human rights. all the evidence i believe strongly indicates he ordered or knew of efforts to murder jamal khashoggi and to do so in a third country in a diplomatic facility. >> that was republican senator marco rubio offering a laundry list of malfeasances committed by saudi crown prince mohammed bin salman, but none of that, none of that has done anything to lessen the bond formed between the president's son-in-law and the saudi leader. i'm joined now by msnbc counterterrorism and
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intelligence analyst malcolm nance. malcolm, you spent 30 years in intelligence. it seems that jared kushner is a guy in the property business who is often in financial trouble or needs a bailout, and he is really enjoying hanging around with rich folks in other countries, including mohammed bin salman, who is one of the richest of the folks. >> yes. and this can be problematic when we're talking about your security clearance. you know, i not only spent 30 years in intelligence, i spent about 25 of those years in the middle east. and working in the united arab emirates and saudi arabia and all the rest of those countries. there are two classes of people over there. there is the leadership class who are really billionaires and technically trillionaires and they have unlimited resources all the access of the global rich. this is the class of person that
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jared kushner wants to be associated with, that mesmerized donald trump when he went on his first diplomatic trip to saudi arabia. it is almost an unlimited pot of money. the relationships that one would have with people who have this level of money and influence can be problematic when you're talking about the secrets of the united states. ivanka trump on the other hand has licenses in china -- >> right. >> -- and just recently in japan. so all of these relationships make the people who are doing investigations wonder why do they really need these security clearances? is it to do their job or will they sell their influence? >> is it to do business? on february 18th, "the washington post" published a story in which it says officials in at least four countries have privately discussed ways in which they can manipulate jared kushner by taking advantage of his complex business arrangements, financial difficulties and lack of foreign
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policy experience, according to current and former u.s. officials familiar with intelligence reports on the matter. you know, on a constitutional side from the president's side, this is his son-in-law, there are emoluments prohibitions because we're not supposed to be getting money from foreign companies, but this is almost a separate issue. jared kushner has his own separate financial issues from the president of the united states, and it does seem that he is out there possibly, here's the danger, he's possibly promising american support or american willingness to look the other way to what the saudis do for something else. >> you know, i think it was joe scarborough who said that the trump foreign policy is not the foreign policy of the united states, as it has been run since the founding of the nation. all you have to do is follow the financial relationships between his organization and jared kushner to see how u.s. foreign policy is executed. and i think that's right. jared kushner had almost $1
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billion of debt on the 666 fifth avenue project. >> right. >> and just within the last year, the parent company that owns westinghouse, the nuclear reactor supplier that was supposed to be selling 50 nuclear reactors or so to the middle east, bought that debt and immediately eliminated that. another thing is, jared kushner had access to the very intelligence that would have warned him that he had four nations looking out to influence him. access to that information gives him a supreme advantage. it also helps him hide any of those relationships. we've seen that the use of classified information is generally kept within the realm of the benefits of the united states, but what i'm afraid of is that this family in particular are trading on the secrets of the united states to enrich themselves. the emoluments clause really means you cannot enrich yourself at the benefit of the united states.
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and they seem to have a tenuous relationship with that. >> malcolm, i always love hearing from you, and i know that our viewers do. so i just want to remind everybody that you and i will be together on sunday night at 9:00 p.m. to talk about the trump/putin relationship. thank you, my friend. >> my pleasure. coming up, america's sentencing guidelines are broken, according to a former federal judge, but that doesn't excuse paul manafort's sentence. that is tonight's "last word." -ah, the old crew! 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.
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as special counsel robert mueller reportedly nears the end of his investigation into russian interference in the 2016 election, msnbc explores how we got here and what we know about the relationship between president trump and russian president vladimir putin. in a new documentary airing this sunday night. take a look. >> all we hear about is this phony russia witch hunt. >> the mueller russia report isn't ready yet. >> washington is now in eager anticipation mode. >> but our report is. >> this is really important. >> the unprecedented moments. >> those were lies, and i'm so sorry that the american people were told them. >> mr. trump knew of and directed the trump moscow negotiations throughout the campaign and lied about it. >> the infamous meeting. >> when you tell someone "we have dirt," once you get a "yes," you have hooked your fish. >> because they lied, it makes
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it look more significant than it is. >> and the aggressive defense. >> fake news and the russian witch hunt. >> donald trump has done a great job of creating an atmosphere c not going to believe anything that robert mueller says. >> how did we get here? >> i'm very concerned that donald trump is behaving like someone may have been compromised or black mailed by russia. >> and what's next? >> the hughouse judiciary commie sent out letters to 81 individuals looking at donald trump's business dealings. >> it's hard not to imagine the worst thing that happened to donald trump was being elected president of the united states. >> russia, if you're listening, i hope you are able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. >> you can watch russia if you're listening, trump and patten hosted by me right here on msnbc. coming up in tonight's last word, the ballots between
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america's incarceration epidemic and leniency for people like paul manafort. n epidemic and leniency for people like paul manafort. since i'm a truck driver, sometimes i'm gone for, like, three weeks at a time. even if i'm 3,000 miles away, i'm connected with my boys. just pull on over, see my son's game, and i'm having a ball. (vo) there when it matters. buy the new galaxy s10 and get a galaxy s10e on us. that there's a lobster i in our hot tub?t. lobster: oh, you guys. there's a jet! oh...i needed this. no, i can't believe how easy it was to save hundreds of dollars on our car insurance with geico. we could have been doing this a long time ago. so, you guys staying at the hotel? yeah, we just got married. oh ho-ho! congratulations! thank you. yeah, i'm afraid of commitment... and being boiled alive. oh, shoot. believe it. geico could save you 15% or more on car insurance. that guy's the worst.
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time fortunate's last word on the big news of the week. the shocking sentence for paul manafort. the headline today in "the new york times" was literally manafort's 47 months. a sentence that drew gasps from around the country. manafort's 47-month sentence is drawing comparisons for crimes not as bad as his decade long multi-million dollar fraud scheme, including this from a brooklyn public defender who said for context on manafort's 47 months in prison, my client yesterday was offered 36 to 72 months in prison for stealing $100 worth of quarters from a residential laundry room.
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47 months in prison is only one of two criminal sentences coming to manafort. he will be sentenced in a federal court in d.c. on wednesday. joining us now on what paul manafort could face next week and now understand the 47-month sentence is former u.s. district judge nancy gaertner. she served 17 years on the federal bench and is a senior lecturer at harvard law school. judge ellis said, quote, the court must take into account the history and characteristics of a defendant. a court must consider the entire individual, not just the individual and his crime committing activities. here is how judge ellis expounded on paul manafort's otherwise blameless life. his words. this is what he said. the defendant has no criminal history. he is a graduate of a university and law school. he has earned the admiration of a number of people, all of whom have written the court about
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him. he has engaged in lots of good things. he has been a good father and husband and a good friend to othersnd a generous person. of course, that can't erase his criminal activity, but it is, they are factors that count, the court must take into account. judge gaertner, what judge ellis did was illustrate the life of privilege of a man who has committed a decades worth of serious crimes. >> right. the comment he lived an otherwise blameless life is something that could apply to literally every single white collar defendant that i have ever sentenced or i would dare say across the country. in fact, one of the reasons why white collar crime was dealt with more severely in the sentencing guidelines since 1985 was precisely because someone could do very pbad things aftera very good life. the best example is ken ley,
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when famously of enron fraud, who had buildings throughout houston named after him. so a blameless life, while part of what a judge should consider, is really not des positive and doesn't distinguish him from every other white collar offender. it also sets up discrimination with poor people. if you don't have the money to be generous, then you come into court kidisadvantaged. >> or the money to have gone, as the judge said, to a good school and then to a law school. it does seem the end result looks the same. poor people sentenced for other things get longer sentences than rich people who do things that involve moving money around. >> that's right. this was a huge financial fraud. a fraud on the banks. it took more time. fraud on banks. fraud on the government. taking money out of the coffers of the government. what the judge did is to say, in
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effect through his sentence, this was no big deal. somehow it would be a bigger deal if manafort had distributed crack in quantities, which of course makes no sense whatsoever. >> who fixes that? >> well, so some degree it has to be the sentencing commission has to fix it. congress has to fix it. i think that the guidelines, the sentencing guidelines, even though they are advisory, are completely broken. witness this case where essentially no one paid attention to the range. sentencing guidelines were 19 to 20 years. even the special council thouset that was ridiculous. >> judge ellis said the government didn't argue for a guideline sentence. then i would have concluded that it was vin particular digtive. the history of sentences in this area show -- his argument is he has sentenced similar people with similar crimes the same way. >> right, that's what he said. that's what he said in the
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transcript. it's hard to know one way or the other. i doubt very much if there is a similar crime here to setting up offshore accounts over a period of time and then when you ran out of money to begin to defraud banks over a period of time and then to fail to cooperate with the special prosecutor. he said not only that you didn't cooperate, but that you lied. there is a whole con dulduct wh is unmentioned in this sentencing proceeding. he winds up with a sentence that is essentially the same sentence that anyone cooperating, like michael cohen cooperating, would have gotten. i'm reluctant in general to criticize any judge for sentencing because it's really, really hard. and i'm also reluctant to criticize a judge for being more lenient than they usually are. but the comparison with cohen is very, very troubling. that was the sentence that
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someone who the government was valuing in some way should have gotten. >> thank you for joining us with your insights into this former judge. nancy gaertner gets tonight's last word. "the 11th hour" starts now. tonight president trump says he feels very badly for his campaign chairman, convicted felon paul manafort. then trump falsely claims the federal judge in the case somehow absolved him of russian collusion. meanwhile, today's giant distraction was the fight over pardons between trump and his former lawyer michael cohen nearly overshadowing the fact that the president called democrats anti-jewish and anti-israel. and expecting updates on roger stone, michael flynn, rick gates while paul manafort learns his second prison sentence. all of it as "the 11th hour" gets underway on this friday night. good evening once again from our nbc news headquarters here in new

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