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tv   The 11th Hour With Brian Williams  MSNBC  March 9, 2019 8:00pm-9:00pm PST

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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
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in new york. we have reached day 778 of the trump administration, and the president, as we saw today, has gone on offense before heading to alabama to tour the tornado damage. trump took swipes at his former lawyer michael cohen while using the paul manafort sentence to discredit the mueller investigation. here is what the president said about cohen this morning before leaving the white house. >> michael cohen lied about the pardon. it's a stone cold lie. and he has lied about a lot of things. when he lied about the pardon, that was really a lie. and he knew all about pardons. his lawyer said that they went to my lawyers and asked for pardons. i could go a step above that, but i won't go to it now. >> of course, he did go a step above that an hour later from the shelter of twitter and his aircraft when he wrote this. bad lawyer and fraudster michael cohen said under sworn testimony that he never asked for a pardon. his lawyers totally contradicted
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him. he lied. additionally, he directly asked me for a pardon. i said no. he lied again. he also badly wanted to work at the white house. he lied. and with that trump essentially admitted he discussed a pardon directly with cohen. trump's attack comes nine days after cohen testified under oath to congress, he accused trump of being a racist and a con man. you may really he added this. >> and i have never decide for nor would i accept a pardon from president trump. >> now, to state the obvious, cohen's credibility has come under fire in the wake of his testimony. reports about these discussions of pardons, did he or did he not? today he responded to trump's allegations writing, quote, just another set of lies by potus. mr. president, let me remind you that today is international women's day. you may want to used to to apologize for your own lies and dirty deeds to women like karen
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mcgoogle and stephanie clifford. that brings us to the president's determination of his ex-campaign chairman's sentencing. paul manafort got four years in prison minus time served. his arraignment in that case took place exactly one year ago today. this was the scene outside of the courthouse that day. >> hey, traitor! here is your flag. russia's flag. traitor instagr traitor! you are selling out america to the russians. >> this morning trump made it clear he saw the sentencing hearing as an exoneration writing, quote, the judge and the lawyer in the paul manafort case stated loudly and for the world to hear there was no collusion with russia, but the witch hunt hoax continues as you know and these statements to house and senate intelligence
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and senator burr so bad for our country. to be clear, judge ellis did not say there was no collusion with russia, but that manafort was not being sentenced for anything having to do with crimes related to collusion. in comments many saw as aimed directly at the president, manafort's lawyer added there was no evidence his client was involved in collusion. trump's comments on manafort didn't end with his early morning twitter posting. here he is a short time later. >> i feel very badly for paul manafort. i think it's been a very, very tough time for him. but if you notice, both his lawyer, a highly respected man, and a very highly respected judge, the judge said there was no collusion with russia. it's a collusion witch hoax. i don't clued with russia. i don't even discuss it. the only one discussing it is
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you. i haven't discussed it. >> on that lets bring in our panel for a friday night. former fbi assistant director for counterintelligence. carol len jeremy bash, former chief of staff at cia and pentagon and former chief counsel to the house judiciary committee. jeremy, i'd like to begin but. how do you read this back and forth between trump and cohen? is it a giant shiny object or is there content of consequence here? rnl the first thing i noticed is his sympathy for paul manafort, i think it makes me smell pardons in the air, brian. and i do think that manafort is angling for a pardon hard. i think the president is signaling that he is inclined to grant one. the tit for tat, the the said he said, there is a way to solve this. if the president instead of --
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wanted a sitdown under oath and give sworn testimony to the special counsel, we could put his sworn testimony up against michael cohen's sworn testimony. of course, president clinton sat for four hours to the special prosecutor back in august 1998. president trump has yet to do so. >> frank, as a veteran investigator, precisely the people carol covers for a living, how does it strike you that you have donald trump seemingly unable to stop talking about manafort and cohen? is there jeopardy that you see there? >> i think it's a strategy fraught with peril. we are probably giving him too much credit when we call it a strategy. rest assured that prosecutors and investigators are recording all of his public statements. the concept of him aligning his fate with manafort's light sentence or slamming cohen for his cooperation with the government is really fraught with peril. there is a concept in the law. here is a little late night
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latin. it translates as let the master answer. that legal concept is embodied in vicarious liability. it's in the civil rico statute. it's the concept of the master being liable for the acts of those under him in his, in many cases, organized crime families. every time he publicly ties himself to a lenient sentence and says, look, see, there. we're good. we got no collusion there. and/or slams cohen or others for cooperating, he is really reinforcing the concept of let the master answer for his under arelings. i tell you, investigators and prosecutors will lose that against him. >> i love whthat. where does mr. cohen stand in terms of being a credible witness? >> i think michael cohen was accidentically when he sat down in the chair last week for the
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house oversight committee and then in closed-door sessions as well and he left a little bit harmed by his own perhaps clumsiness, perhaps lack of care with his wording. i can see where he would have been trying to say i won't ever accept a pardon from him anymore, but the way he said it sure sounded like he never sought one, like he never got interested in one being dangled, and it seems as though it's quite clear now that there was some coded language exchanged between his lawyers and the president's lawyers. and now the president tweeting that he was asked about a pardon and he said no directly, asked by michael, which is shocking. it wasn't so long ago that trump's personal attorneys were insisting they never discussed pardons even with the president and encouraged him not to discuss it with anyone. >> frank, back to you.
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i think we have established while covering him this brief bit judge ellis over in virginia does not suffer from a lack of self-esteem. having established that, what is the peril when the president kind of sums up the comments of a federal judge, in this case wrongly? >> boy, in any other case, brian, against -- any other person than donald trump, we'd already have seen an indictment and likely have already seen a gag order. look at the case of roger stone. and so the president has this bully pulpit for his own defense and his own vindication in his mind. and so we see this go unchecked. and it will remain that way as we head into a campaign stance. we are left to him telling the public how to interpret what a judge said instead of the public actually taking a time to look at transcripts, see what the judge said. they will get a clip on the evening news of the president
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putting it in his hen words and, as usual, it's inaccurate. >> carol, back over to you. i'm curious to know, and this may call for a considered judgment or an educated guess on your part, how did yesterday's sentence affect members of mueller's team, do you think? >> i really want to stay away from speculating about how mueller's team feels. >> oh, come on. >> i would say that they probably were -- it's obvious from their pleadings what they were seeking. they didn't get what they were seeking. and with judge jackson over in the district court in washington, d.c. it may be different. but i would urge people to think -- actually look at a "washington post" story that published today. i urge you to look at that because it says essentially with light cases, very, very similar cases, that manafort actually got hit pretty hard with four years. now, if you look at people who
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were charged and convicted at trial, which did happen for him in one of his cases, he got off pretty easily. if you look at people who extensively cooperate and are charged with the same thing manafort was charged with and found guilty or plead guilty to it, he really did quite well. so it's complicated and nuanced. i am sorry to say that. but remember mueller's team made clear what they wanted and we'll see what they get from judge jackson. >> jeremy, i have to introduce on some evidence on an entirely different topic. an unpleasant one. it's not just because i know you grew up the son of a rabbi that i'm going to ask you to comment on the president's comments today. we will play it here. immediately inflammatory and wrong. >> the democrats have become an
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anti-israel party, anti-jewish party. >> what's the danger of hearing that from the president of the united states? >> first of all, it's wrong. the democratic party i think stands for inclusion. i think the president is trying to inflame the issue. there is an underlying truth that i think is an uncomfortable truth that needs to be addressed which is that congresswoman omar's statements were not about criticizing another country's policy. she wasn't criticizing iz rsrae policies. she said that american jews have a loyalty. it was antisik and it was right for the house of representatives to call her out on it. >> that has been a canard that has been a part of anti-semitism. on a comment like this, as we always say on this broadcast, harkening back to the praise of the protest of the '60s, the whole world is watching. what is an israeli audience supposed to take from a comment
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like that? >> the issue of israel has been inflamed as a partisan issue. since israel's founding in 1968 it's been a bishop issue. we have had democratic respects and republican presidents who understood the strategic relationship between the united states and israel. i think the president would serve our country well and serve our alliance well if he made it a bipartisan issue, not a partisan issue. >> almost a toss-off comment on the president's part except for the fact that he said the same language twice today. our guestst have agreed to stay with us. we will fit in our first break. monday we will begin another consequence kweek week for the r investigation. day by day, what to watch for next. and later, barely past the halfway point in his term, duts has a senior staff job to fill. the same job he has filled six times previously. he is looking for a seventh. we will talk about today's
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we wanted to call next week's calendar to your attention tonight. this is important as it could be a critical few days upcoming for the mueller investigation. on monday, roger stone will have to explain to a federal judge in d.c. what steps he has taken to comply with her gag order. on wednesday, that same judge
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will sentence paul manafort on conspiracy charges in his other case. also on wednesday, michael flynn will tell a virginia federal judge if he is ready to move forward with his sentencing. it was delayed back in december. a new date may be set next week. thursday, roger stone back in court in d.c. the judge in his case could issue a new ruling that would further tighten his gag order. and on friday, a week from tonight, former manafort business partner, trump campaign deputy chairman rick gates may learn when he will be sentenced. he has been cooperating with the feds. he has testified against, among others, one paul manafort. all of this as we are, of course, awaiting mueller's final report in whatever form. frank, carol, jeremy are still with us. carol, to you. any of those events, any of those court dates stand out to
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you as if we had to pick one to drill down on and pay extra attention to? >> i feel like the manafort sentencing is going to be the most interesting and likely the most consequence where thetial. it seems that michael flynn is
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