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tv   The Rachel Maddow Show  MSNBC  March 11, 2019 6:00pm-7:00pm PDT

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was prince trying to be this badger. was the russian oligarch, was he the putin guy and was prince the trump guy? that's the big question. somebody -- i can't remember which member told the press over the weekend that if he's lied about stuff like the transcript, how could you believe anything he said in the intelligence committee testimony he gave and i've talked to members at the house intelligence committee that says reading the transcript is half of it. his body language and demeanor was defensive and not willing to be honest in their view from his body language. >> thank you so much for joining us. that is "all in" for this evening. t"the rachel maddow show" start now. >> thanks, my friend, much appreciated. thanks to you at home for joining us. happy monday. this is not a rerun but you'll have a little sense of deja vu because the president's campaign chairman is due to be sentenced by a federal judge again this week, and i know that sounds like last week's news but this
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week's sentencing on wednesday will be in addition to the sentencing paul manafort went through with the federal judge in virginia last week. so those headlines from a distance, they will look similar. before we get to the sentencing on wednesday, it all sort of feels similar but this is going to be a pretty different process this week because this judge in d.c. who is going to be considering manafort's fate this week and handing him down his new sentence on wednesday, this is the judge who is going to be considering not the guilty pleas from a jury trial like that virginia judge was considering last week, this judge in d.c. is considering something very different. she's going to be considering the failed plea deal that paul fan fo manafort got hill self-into when he tried and failed to become a cooperating witness to get himself a more lenient sentence. you remember how this went down, right? manafort went on trial in virginia. he was convicted on eight
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felonies, the jury was hung on ten others. manafort had been due for a second federal trial in the neighboring jurisdiction of washington d.c. on the eve of the second federal trial when manafort instead jumped. tried this new course. he abandoned his not guilty plea and said he no longer wanted to go to trial. he started talking to prosecutors. prosecutors agreed to drop all charges against him in d.c. except for two felony conspiracy counts in exchange, they got not only his plead in guilty but got him to admit even to the -- admit that he was guilty even to the ten felony charges on which he had the hung jury in his first federal trial in virginia and most importantly, he pledged to cooperate with prosecutors in the special counsel's office. that was the deal manafort tried to make to save his own skin on the eve of what would have been his second federal trial. and that is what blew up. when prosecutors came back to
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the judge in d.c. to judge amy berman jackson and told her, hey, judge, don't think of this guy as a cooperator. do not give him any credit for accepting responsibility for his crimes, for providing meaningful assistance to prosecutors. he's not doing that. prosecutors came back to the judge after she approved this plea deal and prosecutors told her it's off. manafort has lied to us multiple times on multiple subjects. he can't do that. this week is when we'll see that come due. this federal judge who will sentence manafort on wednesday, she's the judge that took manafo manafort's guilty pleading and signed off on the plea agreement he made with prosecutors. she ruled from the bench he broke the agreement because yes, she ruled in court he did intentionally lie to prosecutors on multiple occasions on material matters. this is the same judge that put
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manafort in jail in the first place. last june. this was the judge that ruled he had violated his bail conditions by tampering with witnesses while he was out on bail awaiting trial. that order from amy berman jackson in d.c. put paul manafort into a federal cell as of last june where he's been ever since. now we know thanks to last week's sentence that he isn't getting out of prison for at least a few more years, but this week we're about to find out just how many years he will have to serve in total depending on what judge jackson gives him on wednesday and now, as we head towards that wednesday ruling, that wednesday sentencing with that judge, a funny thing is now developing here ahead of this sentencing this week. and it is about manafort lying to prosecutors and breaching his plea deal and not cooperating. last year, a reporter at cnbc named christina wilki pulled off
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a neat trick. the news service reported last spring that mueller's office had started looking into the trump organization's previous business dealings and attempted business deals and business trips to the former soviet union. so not just russia, but also places like georgia and kazakhstan dating back into the 90s and maybe beyond. in the wake of that reporting from mcclatchy, cnbc got a tip about somebody that played an important role in trump building efforts. the tip was that in georgia and kazakhstan and russia, the trump organization bay secbasically, pitched big trump branded building projects with what amounted to a three-pronged approach. one of those prongs was trump himself. they would bring trump over there himself to get press attention and do events with celebrities and talk up whatever it was they were doing. they bring the trump star power
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and then bring michael cohen to make connections and also bring an architect who would show off possible designs for these potential trump developments. that was basically their three-pronged approach to making business pitches overseas in the former soviet union. so we know what happened to donald trump. he became president. we know what happened to michael cohen. he's going to prison. what about the other guy? the architect who helped make these pitches for the trump organization he himself has never been accused of wrongdoing that e with know about. nobody has alleged that he has done anything to get himself in trouble with any of this stuff but he was proximate to something that is reportedly of investigation and where the other people involved are very, very much at the center of on going investigations. if the mueller investigation started to investigate this part of trump's business past, what about this other guy?
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i mean, the architect who was involved in these pitches, is he now part of the investigation, too? so christina reporter at cnbc reached out to that architect. she got a tip he was involved in the projects and the projects are subject of interest to robert mueller and she reaches out and that is when she pull that rabbit out of the hate. this magic trick. she didn't like saw the guy in half but it's the journalist equivalent. the architect did not respond to a call or e-mail but eight hours later, meaning eight hours after we called and he mailed, he announced he was closing after ten years in business. a few days later, he closed down the twitter account he used to announce he was closing down the architecture firm. by the end of the week, the content from his professional website including his entire international architecture portfolio had been removed from
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the web entirely and gone any reference to the two overseas branchs to his architect firm he had opened in georgia and ukraine. wow. one call from a cnbc reporter does that. i mean, i'm used to getting in commented. i have been no commented up the ying yang but this is no comment and also i no longer exist. right? like i live for that. anyway, that really was something. at the time, you might remember us talking about this on the show. at time we had that reporter from cnbc on the show to figure out what happened there and she was rewiltered as we were. joining us is christina who spooked the architect. thank you for being here. >> thanks for having me. >> do you have this effect on people more broadly? >> i do not. people love to call me back. >> that was last year in june. and it's interesting about six
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weeks laterish, the architect in question did resurface but without his firm. he put up a statement on his website announcing quote this most recent transitional phase of my career but insisting i think with annoyance about the press conference, he said he neither vanished nor disappeared. honestly, his firm did disappear. it is did poof. now that same reporter at cnbc does appear to have done it again and this time it concerns one of the things that paul manafort lied to prosecutors about. this judge in d.c. that will sentence manafort rule that he deliberately lied on three different subjects and of them, the one that i at least found hardest to follow because of the redactions seemed to be about something related to a payment
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received in june 2017. this is after trump's been in office for half a year and before manafort gets indicted but at a time it was becoming very clear manafort was clearly the subject of multiple serious criminal investigations. his legal bills were starting to mount and in june 2017 manafort reached out to a protrump super pac. to try to get from them some money to pay his mounting legal bills specifically asked for $125,000. the pac did not send that money but christina appears to have figured out what happens next. as have the special counsel's office who have been pursuing the case against manafort in two federal courtrooms and specifically have litigated this point with the judge about why paul manafort lied about this payment. so the pac that manafort approached to pay the legal bills was the biggest pro trump
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pac. he would finance and wouldn't need to take in donations from anybody. this was the biggest one that took in over $24 million in donations. again, not as part of the campaign but as a pro trump super pac. the biggest one. that was run by a very close associate of paul manafort. he basically set up that pac as soon as he was trump's campaign chair and green lit the creation and installed as the head of it a guy who he had done tons of work with before, a guy who say long-standing work colleague of manafort dating back decades and reportedly god father to one of paul manafort's daughters. what cnbc is reporting is that when manafort in june 2017 asked this protrump super pac this is after the campaign, campaign has been over and manafort goes to this pro trump super pac and
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wants $125,000. we now can tell bay sye sic bas answer was yes but. yes, paul, you can have the money but you're not going to get it from me exactly. instead, you should get it to the other place, the other entity, this generic named fuzzy corporate entity which according to cnbc was secretly owned and controlled by a famous tony and in fact that little corporate fuzzy entity gave manafort the money. now, do you care about paul manafort getting some of his legal fees paid for? do you care? no. not not on strakt none of us care about this but there is three sort of hair raising
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consequences of this little revelation. number one, why would paul manafort lie about that over and over and over again to prosecutors when he was legally bound not to lie to them about anything and when the question of the freedom of the rest of his life is potentially on the line if he does lie, i mean, he's doing a plea deal which means he has to cooperate and he can't lie. with the plea deal he can get out of going to prison. with no plea deal, it will be some years at least. prosecutors say that paul manafort not only lied about that $125,000 payment, he told three false stories in three different meetings. put yourself in his shoes for a second he comes up with one false story. maybe you misremembered and the prosecutors come back and ask you about it again. that might be a signal that
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maybe you screwed up the first time and ought to make sure you get it right now since you're legally bound not to lie to them. but then you lie to them again? different lie. you tell them another lie. then think they come back a thi time. are you sure? the third time you try to snow them with another false story about it. three different meetings with the prosecutor specifically on that payment. three different lies. he tells a new lie every time. who cares? it's okay for you to take the money from tony. really, like that wasn't a bad thing. you're going to go to prison for maybe like a decade for lying about that? that's an okay thing for you to have done. what is the problem? is th so that is consequence one. tony sending manafort $125,000 to help with the legal fees is
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not a crime as far as i can tell. why manafort would go to such lengths to lie when that had such dire consequences for him is absolutely inexplicable. that's one. consequence two, despite manafort lying about it over and over again, the prosecutors know the truth from court filings, it appears part of the reason mueller's office knows what really happened here is because they have spoken repeatedly with tony, with the guy that did pay paul manafort this money while paul manafort lied to them about it over and over and over again and in the course of figuring out the truth of that payment, mueller's office also uncovered a little bit of a kickback scheme. not particularly sophisticated system by which these guys were basically skimming off a bunch of money people donated at the super pac and keeping it for
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themselves. they discovered the truth of the payment and discover when getting to the truth of the payment there was a little scheme here, there was a kickback scheme and cash moving necessarily where it shouldn't have gone but hard to tell this stuff directly from court filings in the manafort case because of the redactions and written documents and in the transcripts but through basically doing the mat and ph pairing and reading closely all these documents and reporting it all and calling people and tracking them down, christina appears to have basically figured out a way to get behind those black boxes in the redacted transcripts to actually understand what is going on here. and so it appears what mueller's office has found and demonstrated to the court and cnbc can describe publicly for the first time, it appears that yeah, manafort got this payment from tony, the pollster, it also
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appears that the long-time manafort friend who paul manafort installed as the head of the super pac, that guy and tony, the other long-time paul manafort friend who manafort hired to be the pollster also appears that those two guys set up a scheme where the two of them took a 6% cash cut of every dollar he spent in the 2016 campaign. and again the pollster who appears to be caught up in this stuff, he has reportedly been talking to mueller's investigatiors for a long time. he was seen leaving the special counsel's office and cnn confirmed he had met with mueller's prosecutors. wilki reports fabrizio did at least one more interview so
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whatever was going on with tony fabrizio, that is all known to the special counsel's office. fabrizoi is the subject of a detailed document request from the house judiciary committee which he has to respond to by next week. but there is one more consequence. that wilki, pulled off the magic trick once again. she's done it again this time and in addition to reporting out l role the role of tony fabrizio, this guy who was apparently part of this cash kick back scheme who is apparently part of this whole mysterious $125,000 payment that manafort is going to die on a hill lying about, i mean, the three players in the drama are paul manafort, tony fabrizio and this other guy who manafort put in charge of the pac.
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the god father of his friend's daughter and worked with manafort back in the '80s and the lobbying firm with roger stone. and in addition to manafort installing him with the super pac kick back and key role in the trump inaugural randomly the guy that got put in charge of ticketing all the trump inaugural events even though he had no experience with that whatsoever. okay. he's of interest. what about him? about his role in this? this guy is a guy named lawrence gay. he appears to be at this point basically the beleaguered spotlight excuse me, spotlight at the center of a five-way intersection of trump related scandals and criminal investigations. how does lawrence gay fit? is he talking to prosecutors? if fabrizio is talking to investigators about this role of the skimming kick back and how
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it connected to getting cash to manafort, okay. we know about manafort's conversation with prosecutors and the problems there. we know this reporting about fabrizo's conversation. has lawrence gay told his side of the story, too? how does he fit into this and the special counsel's investigation and inaugural investigation and queue christina at cnbc and her amazing journalistic powers. cnbc attempted to reach lawrence gay several times but the phone at his connecticut consulting firm has been disconnected. hello? hello? this is not a fly by night guy who nobody heard of before, right? this guy had been in the paul manafort universe for 40 years. one call from cnbc about this
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and poof, he's gone. disconnected? joining us now is christina wilki white house reporter. i know i've been embarrassing you. thank you for being here. >> it's my such a great pleasure, rachel. >> you seem to have this ability to make people disappear, disconnect their phone and shut down their businesses and eliminate themselves from social media when you ask questions. i know there is a lot of different coal phomponents here. that must have been a surprise to get no comment by laurwrence gay but to have hill disappear. >> there is no way to tell when his phone was disconnected but it is in this day in age, it's unusual to get an intense beep, beep, beep of a disconnected phone. this number is no long near service. >> in terms of lawrence gay and the super pac, i can imagine the things you wanted to ask about but it seems like what you're
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describing is not just you figured something out but believe mueller figured out something about the ruling of the payment to paul manafort but what appears to be a kick back in the prosuper pac, right? >> that is what appears to have happened and yeah, we have figured out that lawrence gay, paul manafort kind of installed this guy he trusted and to oversee $24 million that manafort suggested to gay that he hire tony fabrizio ad buying firm and that fabrizio and gay. one man's kick back scheme and they set up a secret commission split and essentially
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overcharged these donors and i heard from lawrence gay's lawyer and he says his client has done nothing wrong. he's a criminal defense attorney and so we will see. gay's voice is very absent from these court documents. you know, whereas they are often obvious references to manafort, interviews and obvious references to tny fabrizio's ro. he's the truth teller in this as manafort tells different stories. fabrizio lays it out but the third man is really absent. it's -- you know, andover usely that -- obviously that's not an accident. >> let me ask you about the dynamic where fabrizio as far as we know has spoken with mueller's office at least a couple times. he's described in court filings i think we can now sort of see it the way we've given you this window. we can see him being described
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as the person that gave prosecutors what they believe to be true and corroborated information about that payment to paul manafort while manafort himself was lying about it over and over again. do you have any sense now about why manafort might have been lying about that over and over again? lawyers really described it as, you know, he got mixed-up. he got confused. he didn't remember the precise nature of it but the prosecutors documented he told three different false stories on three different occasions as they are questioning on it escalated. >> and if he was in fact trying to conceal any legal kick back scheme then it would make sense that's why he told these different stories. first, he said it was debt owed to him by gay and then said it was payment for services rendered for business he sent fabrizio for years and it was a loan and produced an unsigned loan document and each time, prosecutors came back to him and
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said well, this doesn't look lick he paid it and came up with another story. there are questions about the legality of what appears to have happened and manafort may be protecting his friends. >> wow. and it may be at great, great cost. we will find out that in detail on wednesday at his sentencing. white house reporter for, careful with who you call. you have a habit of disappearing people, but we'll follow your reporting wherever it leads. >> thank you, rachel. >> more more ahead tonight. stay with us. rachel. >> more more ahead tonight stay with us other species avoid pain and struggle. we actually... seek it out. other species do difficult things because they have to. we do difficult things. because we like to.
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this is a big week for donald trump's campaign chair and for his deputy campaign chair and for his national security advisor and for his long-time political advisor. they have a big week in court so get your calendars out or ready to write on your hand with a sharpie, however you do it. here is what is coming up. you'll recall last week you'll see paul manafort sentenced in
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the eastern district of virginia 47 months for bank fraud and tax fraud and this week wednesday, he is set to be sentence in d.c. for two felonies, conspiracy counts and the r.eason he's facing charges in d.c. is because he plead guilty in december in whiexchange of havi others dropped but they were part of a cooperation agreement with prosecutors which manafort broke when he lied to them. on wednesday the d.c. judge in the case amy berman jackson will sentence and give a maximum of ten years in prison and have the choice whether manafort will serve the sentence he gets and after his 47 months are up or could possibly the two sentences run concurrently depending on how amy berman jackson gives the
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consecutive versus time served and so that is going to happen on wednesday. that same day, mike flynn will have that status and in the flynn case, this might be a big deal. you'll remember mike flynn was supposed to be sentenced back in december but his sentencing hearing went totally off the rails. the sentencing hears was basically aborted half way through when the judge started the sentencing process and then basically signalled that it was going to go so, so badly for mike flynn that the judge would allow him to try to improve his circumstances by cooperating even more with the special counsel. and in court that day, mike flynn initially seemed to not understand that. the judge kept offering that over and over again. you sure you want me to sentence you today, snir? you sure you don't want a little more time? finally after the judge basically described his disgust
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and destain for flynn's offense after the judge said in open court that flynn undermined and sold out his country, finally, flynn and his lawyers appeared to cotton on to what the judge was suggesting so mike flynn took the judge up on his offer not to be sentenced that day and to go spend a little more time with prosecutors and see if you can help them more. after that bizarre day in court in december, flynn went back to cooperating some more, which means wednesday is going to be the first time he's back in court since the disaster of a sentencing hearing in december. flynn is hoping to end this and get to sentencing again right away. but we'll see what prosecutors have to say and what the judge has to say, you know, since this judge literally raised the prospect of flynn being prosecuted for traeason in december. most of the attention is going to be on manafort and the expectations for the second sentencing but the flynn news could be really big, as well.
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then the next day, long-time trump political advisor roger stone will be back in court likely to be there in person and could be a dramatic day in part because of the legal wrangling betwe between the two over roger stone has again violated the gag order that that judge has put on him in this case. roger stone's status report outlining his compliance with the gag order was due today. we actually got the filing from his lawyers moments ago. filing exhibit a composite exhibit b, yeah, it goes more. we just got this stuff in basically the upshot is that stone's lawyers are claiming he didn't mean to violate the gag order again when he forgot to tell the court about a new introduction to one of his recent books that's coming out, an introduction in which he talks a lot about the mueller case depending how the judge
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feels about the submissions from both sides, she could choose to revoke his bail and choose to send him to jail to await trail the way she did to paul manafort last year and likely on thursday to pick roger stone's trial date so thursday roger stone is going to know a lot more about his fate and the next day on friday, we're going to get the answer to one of the biggest mysteries of all these cooperating witnesses. rick gates, rick gates was one of the first people charged by the special counsel back in 2017. he was charged alongside paul manafort in the very first mueller indictment. gates, though, fairly quickly peeled off and pled guilty and started cooperating. unlike paul manafort, gates' cooperation seems to have gone well. it did not break down and go badly for mr. games the way it did for paul manafort. for gates, it was a somewhat productive process at least to the extent the special counsel felt comfortable calling him as a witness to use against paul manafort in the big federal trial in virginia.
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i mean, beyond that turn on the witness stand, we had very little insight into what rick gates might have been helping with but remember, he wasn't just manafort's deputy. rick gates was also the number two guy in charge of the trump inaugural. since gates started cooperating among the developments we've been a little surprised by is the sweeping subpoena issued to the trump inaugural l cocommitt from the southern district of new york. who knows, that may have been what seems to have extended this cooperation period for gates. again, we don't know what he's been cooperating about but his cooperation has been extended and extended and extended on. on friday in the status hearing we may have got our first insight how helpful he's actually been as a cooperating witness and may see after more than a year of being a cooperating witness what he's actually been doing and how much he's actually been helping the prosecution. that's all happening this week.
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mimini was born extraordinary, with more power for more fun. mini was born to do the only thing we ever wanted to do. drive. to hit start and just go. fast and far. around town and around hairpins. to leave everyone in the dust, and leave rubber on the road. because mini was born to drive. drive for yourself at the mini born to drive sales event. special offers at your local mini dealer. 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.
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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. admit it, sometimes you think about what the jeb bush presidency would be like. when i think about it, all i can
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think of were the google sounds he made. we got a new one. you don't hear news like this all that often. you hardly ever hear about it on this scale but a supper pact that supported jeb bush has been hit with a huge fine for accepting donations from foreigners. if you go to that super pac website right now, it still has the jeb bush right to rise logo at the top of it but look, that website is clearly defunct how to install gutter guards or lights for your jeep but back in 2015 this right to rise super pac was a real thing and run by jeb bush's brother, the other one, neal bush. again, supporting jeb's run for the presidency and as part of his turn at the helm of that super pac, brother neal accepted solicited and accepted a
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seven-figure donation from a company he had worked with owned by chinese nationals. a switch-figure donation with a couple that did business with jeep's broth jeb's brother neal. a wash dog group called the campaign legal center challenge that donation and, you know, campaign finance stuff is basically unregulated and unpoliced at this point but today, mother jones was first to report that that watchdog group actually won. the fec says it did not know that the violations were knowing and willful but now these super pac and company between them agreed to pay $940,000 in fines. that the one of the biggest fines we've seen. campaign legal center says it's the third largest fine in the history of the fec. of course, it comes at a time when foreign interference in the election is still right in the dog gone center of the news and we've got more on that. the new
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naval station may port is a base in jacksonville, florida and covers more than 3,000 acres, the third largest naval facility in the entire continental united states and on a sunny november day in 2015 it was really something different to see at naval station. around 8:00 a.m., three chinese naval ships pulled up and members of the chinese navy stood on the deck of their warships and waved and welcomed. they visited the big three was part of a chinese goodwill tour around the world and a big deal. i mean, the united states has the biggest navy in the world but china has the biggest and
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trying to prove to the united states and the rest of the world they see themselves as the supreme naval power on earth. their navy isn't to be messed with and is the future and second best to no one. they have china in this military environment bring their worships to u.s. base in florida. it was a friendly gesture but a big deal and everybody involved knew it and brought the chinese ambassador to the united states down to florida and on to one of the ships to oversee the festivities personally. also, the chinese counsel general, china extended invitations to what they called overseas chinese leaders. chinese immigrants living in the united states. among the leaders, they were invited specifically to come see these chinese warships in florida was a woman named lee yang, she goes by cindy yang. she was extensively invited for her work on something called the women's charity foundation. women's charity foundation.
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that must be something to get you this kind of invitation? think about the women's charity foundation is that it doesn't show up as currently registered when you look for it in florida records. we can't really tell much about it at all. it doesn't appear to have done anything that pops in public records in any way. so why did the founder of this then brand-new and even then super low profile and now apparently nonexistent none specific charity get invited to a high level military event for the chinese government? according to the chinese press, only ten people got the invitations. why was she one of them? according to mother jones magazine around the time she was starting this charity that got her this invitation to go see the chinese warships, she was also given leadership roles at two organizations in florida with ties to the chinese government. and around the time all this plum attention from the chinese government was being bestowed
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upon cindy yang, it also seemed like there was a real turning point going on in her life because up until that point, the biggest thing cindy yang had ever done in this country was found a florida-based chain of day spas and massage parlors that had kind of a reputation for offering a very special kind of massage, if you know what i mean. one where you turn over. for the record, cindy yang told "the "miami herald"" she has never broken the law but a massage parlor where robert kraft was just arrested. cindy yang sold that spot a couple years ago before it got busted for human trafficking and prostitution. the herard points not not much has changed. they have the same couch, wall hanging and potted plant.
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since selling that spa cindy yang does seem to have gone through some kind of transformation. she was really doing something else. in 2015 after not voting in this docountry for ten years, she became extremely activepolitics. she and her family started donating in jeb bush campaigns and since donated close to $60,000 to donald trump's campaign and to one of his super pacs. she's turned into a regular at the president's golf club in florida and also at fancy republican dinners and galas and fundraisers, she has taken pictures with everybody from members of the cabinet to top advisors and members of the president's family and multiple selfies with the president of the united states himself and now it's being reported cindy yang started a company which was advertising to potential clients in china that for a price, she
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could sell you meetings with and pictures with the president and his family. you pay her, she'll get you introduced to donald trump. she'll get you pictures with trump and his family. i mean, this is from her website spelling out the different family. spelling out the different services you can buy from her. she's literally offering the opportunity to buy dinner at the white house. you pay her, she'll get you into a dinner at the white house, and that sounds crazy. except for the fact here's a picture of cindy yang at the white house posing at an event celebrating the lunar new year. since the miami herald and mother jones started poking yarnd and asking questions about cindy yang and her ties to the trump administration she quickly shutdown both her facebook page and her company website. but given that transformation she went through, given all she's been accomplished and access it's no wonder the chinese government appears to have taken a real shine to this
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florida massage parlor owner and her work. whatever that work might be. joining us now is nicholas naomas, an investigative reco reporter from the miami herald. first let me ask you have i been saying your name right i've been practicing all day. what strikes me about your reporting and some of the reporting that since happened at mother jones is it does seem like there was this interesting political transformation in miss yang's life to go from massage parlor entrepreneur where her business had a reputation and unlicensed sex work to get from there invitations to the chinese government and high level access to u.s. public officials including the president.
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it just seems like a very quick transformation. >> yes, it really is a remarkable turn of events for a person who as far as we can tell from voter files had not voted in ten years. now, we did not to a source close to miss yang recently who said that she was very taken with then candidate trump and liked the idea of his candidacy and all the attention he was getting and wanted to pea part of it herself. and so that's the explanation coming from people close to her. but it still leaves a lot of questions unanswered about, really, how do you pull off this quick, quick transformation from owning nail spas and nail salons to massage parlors to as you said taking selfies with the president of the united states. >> and what about these allegations and what appears to be the evidence of this business that she was running in which she was offering people who
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would presumably pay her for the privilege, that she could get you introduced to the president. she could get you pick with the president, member of the president's family, dinner at the white house? first of all, do we have any reason to believe that she could pull those things off, and second of all is that legal? >> well, she certainly had evidence that she had such access as you'll see from the pictures of her with president trump, governor desantis, senator rick scott. and she also posted pictures of people that she suggests on her now defunct website where her clients are ming these people. and she told a person at a republican fund-raiser that she had arranged for a long group of mainland chinese businessmen to attend this fund-raiser which
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was hosted by the rnc for president trump. so she's making a lot of claims and she does have some reason to back it up. as for the questions of legality, it is only legal for citizens and permanent residents to donate to a campaign. it is illegal for foreign nationals to do so. but foreigners can attend fund raisers and political events as long as they're not paying their own way. it would be illegal now for someone to ereimburse someone for paying their way into a fund-raiser. >> investigative reporter for the miami marlherald, i appreci your time tonight. thanks for going the extra mile for us. >> glad to do it. miami you never know what to expect. >> much appreciated. be right back. expect >> much appreciated. be right back. nct conversation] ♪ [friend] i've never seen that before. ♪
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prevent problems, and to help provide the most reliable service possible. my name is tanya, i work at the network operations center for comcast. we're working to make things simple, easy and awesome. thank you for the chance to sit down and see that if you are the real deal. are you the real deal? >> i feel some pressure now when you put it that way. >> ordinarily after that kind of love fest with oprah you can kind of hang it up, right, die happy? but today former texas congressman beto o'rourke topped that. >> beto o'rourke's image drafters say he's barack obama but white. >> that is the new political attack ad against beto o'rourke from the conservative group the club for growth.
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if you're going to have a political attack ad made in your honor this is definitely the way to go. this is like vip. this anti-beto o'rourke, he's just like obamma ad is super long. it's two minutes long, and they're running it on tv, which it's both expensive and if you're beto o'rourke it's kind of high praise, right? it's one thing to get your own super sized right wing attack ads a year before you're in the race. but a year before the primaries, a year before you've announced you're running, just before we got on the air he announced he's making his first iowa trip this weekend to support a democratic who's running for state senate. before beto o'rourke himself gets to iowa this super long two minute long attack ad beats him to it. the club for growth calls this their first installment in a quote, yearlong effort to undermine beto o'rourke with democratic primary voters. which means somebody's either very worried about beto o'rourke
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as a potential democratic nominee or alternatively, maybe they're really hoping for beto o'rourke to do well in iowa because they want him as the democratic nominee for some reason. so they're doing all they can to boost his name recognition and make iowa think of him as white obama in two minute campaign ads he doesn't have to pay for. choose your poison. one more thing to keep an eye on, stacey abrams. the first black woman to be a majors party nominee for governor, to deliver a state of the union response today delivered a holy cow hint in which she said she might run, too, quote 2020 is definitely on the table, dot, dot, dot. how long stacey abrams gets her own super sized attack ads from right wing groups in iowa? now it's time for the "last word" with lawrence o'donnell. >> good evening, rachel, from washington tonight.


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