tv Deadline White House MSNBC March 13, 2019 1:00pm-2:00pm PDT
winning streak where it's closing 138 points higher. let's look at boeing stock. it's down all week. the crash sunday in ethiopia, the stock lost a lot since then but it's closing half a percent higher today. thanks for watching. "deadline: white house" with nicolle wallace starts now. hi, everyone, it's 4:00 in the new york on a blockbuster day of breaking legal news. donald trump's former campaign chairman paul manafort facing 7 1/2 years in prison. a federal judge in d.c. tacking more than three years on his sentence handed down last week in the eastern district of virginia. that judge, amy berman jackson, delivering her rebuke of manafort and his lawyers in ways of repudiations of his lies, his crimes and his excuses. jackson describing manafort's lack of remorse and his breach of cooperation agreement in stark terms, with a summation
that defines this moment with legal and political history. telling the court, quote, all of this appeared to reflect his ongoing contempt for and the belief that he has the right to manipulate these proceedings and the court order did not apply to him. all of this was a problem for me, because court is one of those places where facts still matter. and prosecutors in manhattan apparently another place where facts and crimes still matter, effectively pardon-proofing manafort's sentence, moments after judge jackson issues a sentence p the manhattan d.a. invited manafort on 16 counts of fraud and conspiracy. if you need a more glaring example how far we are operating from normal, pardon proofing, convicted liar, cheat and perpetrator of fraud from the president of the united states. that's where we start with our favorite reporters and and friends, former assistant for counterintelligence at the fbi,
frank figliuzzi, staff to joe buysen and al gore gore, rob blaine and with us at the table the former prosecutor for the southern district of new york, which not much is happening these days. kidding. and former aide to the george w. bush white house and state department. frank figliuzzi, let me start with you. this was a day, and sadly, they are few and far between, when law and order won out. >> today we saw, the big takeaway for me, nicolle, we saw our justice system working today. warts and all, blemishes and all, we may not be thrilled with outcomes in sentences and may see disparities between sentencing in the eastern district of virginia and district of columbia, but today when you take in totality the sentencing of the federal court today, coupled with the immediate filing of indictments against manafort at the state
level, this is what our system of laws is about and it's really about checks and balances and no one being above the law. it's a good day for justice today. >> ron klain, remarkable though even today with her comments making so clear how far manafort, you know, he was a hardened criminal as the special counsel described him in their sentencing memo. she said he displayed no remorse. she said he was someone who flouted the law even when he was ensnared in it. donald trump singing a very different tune. let's watch donald trump shortly after the sentencing. >> well, i feel very badly for paul manafort. he worked for ronald reagan, very successfully. he worked for john mccain. he worked for bob dole and many others for many years. and i feel badly for him. >> are you going to pardon
manafort? >> i have not given it a thought as of this moment. it's not something that right now is in my mind. file badly for paul manafort. >> we know dangles wepardons we for john dowd a couple before and flynn prior to the indictment of both men and the president still capable of rolling out an action that may imperil him. >> i think you're right in the conviction of law and order and what it says about donald trump. this is the man donald trump put in charge of his campaign. he now becomes the first president ever to have while in office his campaign chairman go to jail. that's a permanent mark and tells us a lot about donald trump. he said, nicolle, he would get the best people. he said he would drain the swamp and instead hired the biggest
alligator to be the campaign chairman and today that alligator got turned into a shoes and belt. it was a long time coming. but what it says about the legal system is important but what it says about president trump and this campaign is awesome. >> we heard donald trump and we heard the judge flatly rejecting this argument he didn't show any remorse. here's paul manafort's lawyer making an eerily similar argument. >> two courts have ruled no evidence of any collusion. >> liar, liar! >> very sad, very sad day for such a callous sentence that is totally unnecessary. >> any idea when the mueller report is coming? >> i have no idea. i have no idea. i can only tell you one thing that was proven today, no collusion.
>> so the criminal defense lawyer -- sometimes you have to hit pause and hang on. the criminal defense lawyer representing the dude who is so dirty that no campaign from ronald reagan on touched him, so dirty and i worked on a few, i'm old. no one touched him. trump, like let's shine off this dirty, dirty penny and use him, is saying the same thing as the criminal defense lawyer for that bad, dirty guy. >> and more importantly what the judge said was collusion was a non sequitur. she said we're not talking about collusion because you were not charged with collusion. this has nothing to do with what paul manafort was charged with, facing or what he did. this is noise and the judge nailed that point during the sentencing hearing. >> and i guess still -- maybe i should get over it. it still startles me when a
criminal defense attorney for a guy going to prison for seven years use the same words within 20 minutes of one another. >> as if they had the same message in place. >> as if they had the same brain. >> what shocked me, and i know we shouldn't be shocked, but it's so predictable -- >> everything is shocking. you can be shocked. >> donald trump said exactly what the judge said, this is not true. i am not making a judgment on collusion today. yet that's what he leads with when he stands up to speak, because this has been his m.o., it's his m.o. every single day to lie, lie, lie when the facts don't suit his agenda. >> aaron blake, ron klain most the important point from a political standpoint, this is the first time a sitting chairman, former campaign chairman, has been sent to jail for seven years. this is still an historic,
historic moment in american politics. >> yes, and i was saying that last week when people thought he got off lightly with 4 1/2 years. that 4 1/2 had mu-year sentence twice as long as some of the main figures in the watergate scandal. and this was one guy getting all of this. i think if anything the whole no collusion today really crystallizes something we've seen in both the michael flynn case and also the roger stone case to some degree or another. it was evident that this no collusion effort, the effort to insert this into the sentencing memo, was geared towards the audience of one. the judge called that out today and we saw after the defense team was rebuked for this, they had that very same message the moment they stepped out of the courtroom. whether or not this is explicit or not, all of these people are making it clear that they banking to one extent or another on a pardon from the president.
they are not playing for that message. but at the same time they are putting themselves in peril because of this. paul manafort by virtue of that lighter sentence that he got last week increased the odds that his lies to prosecutors and no collusion message would actually earn himself more jail time in this hearing today. and there are arcments that he actually through some of these maneuvers, through pro-trump talking points and legal antics he's been engaged in, may have landed himself in prison for longer than he otherwise would have. he may be banking on that pardon eventually but if it doesn't come, he has cost himself potentially years or months of his freedom. >> frank figliuzzi, people banking on pardons, i mean, just that phraseology, that true statement of where we are, the convicted felons may in their own mind be banking on pardons, that's the effect. the cause is what i talked about
before, the president's lawyer a couple lawyers ago reportedly dangled pardons before paul manafort, before mike flynn. we know michael cohen and conversations about pardons for the president's former fixer are under investigation by three bodies, the southern district of new york, by the mueller investigation, and now by at least one congressional committee. can you talk about how investigators and prosecutors look at pardons and dangling of pardons? it seems one tactic that make people like yourself and jim comey and andrew mccabe talk about the trump family and trump organization being more akin to a mob family. >> yes, so this is interesting because it squarely is in the realm of obstruction of justice and witness tampering. and the thing about -- the need thing about working corruption is if get a human source or two, you've got your case made. there's been recent reporting in
the media that there are cooperators on the topic of dangling of pardons. i would caution people to not get caught up in this he said/he said about who approached who first. because it almost doesn't matter at the end of the day in terms of initial approach. so if cohen's attorney went first and said hey, what about a pardon? okay, i'm less interested in that initial approach than i am in the response to it and what happened after. and who's a player in recent reporting being placed kind of squarely in the middle of all of this? rudy giuliani. and it's headed towards a situation where i think giuliani will become a fact witness on obstruction and pardons, we're probably going to see a battle about executive privilege, et cetera. but rudy giuliani will get his day sit ago cross fbi and prosecutors. >> talk pardons. >> i think pardons are really difficult for prosecutors to deal with when they're trying to build their case because it throws the incentive structure on its head.
usually when you're dealing with a defendant, you're trying to convince that defendant it's in their best interest to cooperate. you talk about this is the sentence you're facing, this is the likelihood you're going to get convicted, this is why you're going to cooperate and plead guilty. >> like a come to jesus moment. >> exactly. when there's a pardon, that makes that conversation almost impossible. and i think that's why we assume one of the reasons paul manafort's cooperation agreement blew up spectacularly like it did. it didn't have that carrot and stick that others might have had. >> what do you make the new charges today, 16 new charges by the manhattan d.a., pardon-proofing paul manafort. no pardon the president could issue if he were so inclined would spare him from those charges and crimes. >> yeah, not a good day for paul manafort. first getting the sentence sending him to jail for seven years and new charges. it will be interesting to see how the evidence develops but this is something i don't think they just started working on last week.
my guess is they've been building this case over many, many months now. they presumably have a very strong case. i think there will be legal arguments the defense counsel makes about double jeopardy. i don't think those will likely be successful. so i think paul manafort is looking at the likelihood he will be spending serious time in jail now. >> ron klain, the politics of this are pretty clear, donald trump is banking on i guess his base, his 30%, believing it's happen enstan, it's a coincidence, that so many convicted felons just staggered, stumbled on his campaign. i don't know, i wasn't doing anything wrong. but maybe the legal crisis leapfrogs the political crisis for the president as all of these nets tighten around all of these bad guys. >> yeah, i do think so, nicolle. he's definitely counting on the fact his base will stand with him. the witch-hunt, witch-hunt, witch-hunt. but the count of witches who have been convicted is rising every day. at some point in time that
becomes an irrefutable fact. as these people actually go off to jail, people now just watching this casually, it's a bunch of lawyers yelling and screaming and processes and procedures, but we're going to see these people go off to jail. the fact the president surrounded himself with criminals, his national security adviser, campaign chairman, his other top advisers and that i think is going to take a toll on president trump politically. and it raises real jeopardy for the president and people around him legally too. >> and aaron blake, paul manafort before he slips off into his jump suit and out of the headlines, it was this case, this investigation and the lies told by paul manafort about his contacts with konstantin kilimnik that the prosecutors working for robert mueller described being at the heart of the special counsel probe. we still don't have all of the answers. we still don't know why he lied. we still don't know why a lot of
these folks lie. but i imagine we will hear more about this if it wraps up in the next weeks. >> the question has been why mule ir's team hasn't disclosed this kind of thing before. why we only learned about the alleged lies involving konstantin kilimnik after a failed redaction from manafort's legal team. there's a school of thought robert mueller has hidden these details from the public because he doesn't want to tip anybody off about the case as far as collusion. i'm not sure if i find that compelling but certainly the fact mueller's team and andrew weissmann in court a few weeks ago said those matters did go to the heart of special counsel's probe, i think it leads to the conclusion that collusion is not something that is off the table, even if it's not a proven case yet. even if they're not necessarily going to move forward with anything. paul manafort's legal jeopardy is certainly continuing in new
york city. i'm not sure it's even occluding as far as that aspect goes. >> collusion is never a crime, but prosecutors are employed by the dozens because we need you so much. but the lie was told with the cooperation of putin. the lie was told by paul manafort about his campaign chairman, about the contracts and polling data he handed over to putin-aligned russian assets. >> it's a mystery we don't know the answer to, why did paul manafort choose to hand over that confidential campaign data? why did he choose to go to madrid to do it? what was so unseemly about his relationship with konstantin kilimnik? >> why wasn't he busy? he was the campaign chairman. >> he had time and it was important enough to go to madrid in the middle of the campaign. can you imagine being on a campaign and just being like, casual jaunt to europe.
it still baffles me that that is the one thing that he really went out of his way to lie about. and we still don't know the answer. and you can't help but to feel that with someone like konstantin kilimnik, notoriously known as kk, that there is maybe a little bit more there that will be unveiled. >> frank, tie this all together for us. this really, as we've been saying, start my career in politics, an historic day to see a sitting president's former campaign chairman sent to jail for seven years and on the same day to be handed down 16 new indictments and perhaps another trial, the beginning -- the beginning of a new phase of his legal problems. and hear the president sit in the oval office sit in the office and say good guy, salt of the earth. remarkable a, stunning, all of those words we get tired of using here on this show. >> i can't help but think we need a reminder that mueller is still working this from an
organized crime enterprise theory of prosecution. by that i mean, he's working his way up to the big finish, whether you're dealing with a street gang, drug cartel or organized crime family or political corruption enterprise, that's what you do. you work wur yeah up, you flip people. what does that mean for what we saw today and what's next? it means that we're -- we've got a pretty big fish here. manafort is done. and we're looking for what's next and that's what is next on the big theme of the russia criminal conspiracy for the campaign, and i think there is more coming -- for this. and i am in that camp the reason we only found out about the kilimnik lie through an error in filing is because it's the most sensitive, seminole part of mueller's inquiry and he's still working it and there's more to d come on this, probably for roger stone and maybe julian assange.
we're moving on to the next fish and it's going to be a big one. >> it's going to be a big one, you heard it here first. after the break, protecting the right to know about the special couns county's right to investigate him. and following michael cohen's road map. the new york attorney general has used her subpoena power to follow the money that flowed into and out of donald trump's company. and the u.s. becomes the last nation to ground the kind of plane involved in that tragic and deadly crash in ethiopia. all of those stories coming up. my mom's pain from moderate
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with respect to the mueller probe being made public, there are steps you can take. >> we're certainly considering whatever's necessary to make sure this is not buried, the public gets to see this report and more than that we have access in congress for the underlying evidence. yes, we will subpoena it if necessary. i will certainly recommend we bring bob mueller in to testify, that we take it to court if necessary. >> whatever is necessary. that was adam schiff, chfrp of the chairman of the house intel committee, insistent house democrats will do whatever they can to make robert mueller's signings public, even if that means calling mueller himself to testify in the wake of his final report and the legal battle being teed up by the democrats takes on a new urgency as we see more signs that the end of mueller's investigation could be imminent. mueller's team signaling last night in a court filing in michael flynn's case, the
cooperation with him is complete. the lawyers for flynn stress the one-time trump national security adviser continues to cooperate in other federal cases. everyone's still here because i need them desperately. frank, what do you make? just try to connect these dots for me. mueller's almost done, it's our understanding or ready to do some sort of handoff to maybe the other u.s. attorney's offices, gates hasn't been sentenced. we know gates is described by chris christie as a tour guide to all of the wrongdoing on the campaign and was around and very much in the loop and in the room while trump was president. flynn hasn't yet been sentenced. stone hasn't been tried yet. what is going on? >> so a couple of things, one, we might found any day if gates is ready to be sentenced, his cooperation is done. we already know flynn is ready to be sentenced or in the next 90 days and mueller said his cooperation is otherwise done. so that's all indicating that
they have wrung them dry for every topic that they can. but i'm focused in on the fact that the mueller case is at its heart a counterintelligence case. what does that mean for the report, content and access congress will have to it? it means the house and senate intelligence committee, because at its heart it's a ci case, are going to be able to demand a briefing on the results and significant developments. when i was assistant director for counterintelligence, the rules were very clear, significant espionage and counterintelligence cases and developments in those cases must be briefed in a timely fashion to the house and senate intelligence committees. and it was the bane of our existence. i would have to traipse up there. i would ask my staff, is this a significant development? yes, it is. off we go to the hill to brief. i'm telling you, adam schiff may have more power than anyone else to get the most out of that mueller inquiry and get the most transparency. so i think intriguingly the most
sensitive part of the case may be the way in which congress gets the most insight into it. >> ron klain, i have this hunch that the justice department is acutely aware of what frank just described, and that at some level, in some corner s. maybe it's a skit somewhere, they understand the reality and not just the politics but national security implications. andrew mccabe opened a counterintelligence investigation into the president after the firing of comey. i hate to be at a bar in this conversation but i don't understand why republicans don't want to know how that turned out. i cannot believe that the justice department would shut down the process that adam schiff talked about today on "morning joe." >> look, frank is absolutely right. this is a process that existed in democratic and republican
administrations. it's a law enforcement and counterintelligence process, not a political process and the attorney general and people around him know that very well. mr. barr was the attorney general in a previous administration. he knows the rules of the game. we don't know what kind of pressure donald trump is putting on the justice department or instructions he's given the justice department. i will say this, i think in the end congress will get this information. i think it will be a fight. i think they will have to go to court as congressman schiff said they would do, but this information is vital national security information. one way or another, congress will get it. the accounting will be had. >> aaron blake, just jump in to what that might look like. >> actually, i did some reporting on this a couple of weeks ago when adam schiff first talked about the possibility of subpoenaing robert mueller, congressman jerry nadler and chairman of the house judiciary committee has also brought this
up. i think there is a real question about what he could say, especially in an open setting. robert mueller, of course, is a very by the book public servant, and he's very much known for that. if william barr as the attorney general decides there are only certain things he can disclose from the mueller report when he sends it over to congress, and what he reveals to the public, i kind of doubt that robert mueller would step outside of that. if it's his testimony, he would maybe have to get barr's permission to do that. so i think there's a desire for this to be some kind of silver bullet that robert mueller going to the hill finally under questioning from lawmakers lead to all of these revelations but i think maybe we should temper our expectations with that, just like we should temper our expectations as far as the mueller report goes. >> aaron makes a good point and good reminder, for those of us who are not lawyers, lawyers don't write their legal findings in any way that mirrors a john
grisham novel. but we have as a country, and people that cover this white house, we've had to become ade adepartmendepth at gleaning from legal documents what is going on behind the perimeters. what is known if you look at obstruction of justice around the pardons we were talking about, looking at just the sure volume of people that went in, all of the president's former chiefs of staff at this point, and there have been several, president's former white house lawyer. mueller is in possession of so much information, how might that be presented to congress? >> one thing we have to keep in mind, it could be presented in a similar way to what his report can be. the special counsel regulations are clear this is not going to be, like you said, john grisham novel. this will not be a tell-all of where he puts every fact he knows. this is will be a summary of why
he made allegations he did. i think people need to keep this in check to what kind of testimony this will be. there are certain huge categories of information robert mueller cannot talk about in an open forum. anything classified but anything they got as far as grand jury material. there's specific rules that forbid prosecutors to disclose material by grand jury subpoena or witnesses testifying . >> could that be why the president never went to the grand jury, so they could share more of that if it intended to be part of a political process? >> possibly or they didn't think they would ultimately be able to serve him with a subpoena. >> alease, i see you shaking your head. i want to remind everybody listening to aaron and listening to everybody and having their expectations appropriately tempered, it's the single most devastating day in the entire process is the day the michael cohen sentencing memo came out and donald j. trump, the sitting american president, was essentially indicted as a unindicted co-conspirator a hush
money scheme and also known as individual one. a legal document that details wrongdoing can do a world of damage to a president. >> these indictments had been literally action-packed. we have been able to stitch together the narrative of what exactly went down with the internet research agency, for examp example. with michael cohen we were able to get a window into how the trump organization operated and unseemly behavior that came straight from individual one. so i think everyone should have tempered expectations when it comes to robert mueller. i have been a little bit anti-pro linization of robert mueller, the idea he's going to be the one, the single person who can save american democracy. he's one of many individuals what are part of this broader story, and who are trying to protect institutions and doing their jobs. so i think any democrats who expect a partisan outcome necessarily, it could be
disappointing. >> ron klain, i saw you checking your head. i will give you the last word. >> i want to separate from berit and aaron said from what sprank said. i agree with their skepticism that the mueller report itself will be discursive, labor kind of a legal blockbuster. to go back to frank's point, the underlying information in it, the factual background for this investigation, will be conveyed, i believe, confidentially, in a way to congress and adam schiff will get his hands on the facts. and at the end of the day, that matters a lot more than whatever top line document robert mueller produces. >> it's a good reminder, we've gotten lost in the process. let me remind everybody the question robert mueller was trying to answer, does donald trump work for russia? on that note, frank figliuzzi, aaron blake, berit, thank you for joining us and spending time with us and making us smarter. when we come back, following the money trail all the way to
the trump administration. the ripple effects being felt at the new york attorney general's office today. that story next. that story next. the nerves in your colon. miralax works with the water in your body to unblock your system naturally. and it doesn't cause bloating, cramping, gas, or sudden urgency. miralax. look for the pink cap.
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election for new york attorney general in november, she sent a powerful warning to donald trump saying, quote, he should know that we here in new york, and i in particular, we're not scared of you, and as the next attorney general of his home state, i will be shining a bright light into every dark corner of his real estate dealings and every dealing, demanding truthfulness at every turn. it's a promise james has kept so far as reports of more subpoenas into trump's business came this week. the new york attorney general subpoenaed records from deutsche bank related to three large loans the bank extended to president trump's company in recent years. and a fourth loan that trump sought to buy the nfl's buffalo bills. that's according to two people familiar with the subpoenas.
the probe appeared to hit a nerve with the president, who tweeted this -- new york state and its governor, andrew cuomo, are now proud members of the group of -- this is real, folks, if you're in your car -- presidential harassers. no wonder people are fleeing the state in record numbers. the witch-hunt continues. joining our discussion, alisa mendez from amanpour and company and the editor for "the root." we're await -- oh, there you are, dave, who has a massive byline on this story. let me start with you. this reporting, it seems like we talk about new fronts, we talk about more fronts. you're dogged of your coverage of emoluments and a couple of whole issues that run parallel to the mueller probe and sdny investigation. talk about the new york attorney general being a real thorn in
what donald trump once described as issues of cases in problems on the other side of his red line, his businesses. >> certainly that's right. one thing we've seen from new york state authorities, both the insurance regulators last week and new york ag now is they're going after third parties that did business with trump, have a lot of operation about how he operated but are not in his inner circle, will less likely go to the matt to protect him. last week it was ai insurance broker, this week it's deutsche bank. those folks will know a lot about whether, as michael cohen alleged, trump used basically, inflated, exaggerated documents to con them out of a better deal, to get loans out of them or reduce insurance premiums. if that's there, these folks may not feel they have to protect donald trump to satisfy new york state. >> i know less about banking, i can barely balance my own checks. who are deutsche bank? are mike the michael cohen of bankers, fast and loose?
are they a fancy financial institution? are they likely to do what you just said, protect donald trump or cooperate with law enforcement officials at the state and federal level? >> it's a huge bank based in germany as the name implies. but they're very -- they are in a lot of trouble on a lot of different fronts. they got in money in europe because of allegations with russian money laundering and have been in the trouble in the u.s. there's a large bank but not fiscal putting or not a bank in well with regulators in the u.s., uk or eu. so they don't have a lot of credibility and there's not a lot of slack in this system where they could defend donald trump and still be okay themselves. they may be especially willing to throw donald trump overboard. the part of the bank that was giving donald trump loans wasn't their main commercial lending part where they spent a lot of time scrutinizing is this a good or bad loan, it was this weird office that just serves very wealthy individuals with much
less security. >> let me ask you about michael cohen's testimony. it appeals that the new york ag was able to follow that roadmap as described by elijah cummings and you have been on that roadmap for years. it seems like if we're to follow the money, which is what every corruption investigator and every investigative body says, if it goes through deutchia bank, it may very well land right at donald trump and the trump's organizations feet. this seems like a flashing red light for the president. >> yes, cohen's testimony changed the game in one very important way, there was this group of loans from deutsche bank to trump that seemed weird. they came from a weird part of deutsche bank. they were very large for trump's very checkered credit history. but you can't write a subpoena for weirdness. what michael cohen did was said look, there's a particular document with numbers written down on it what were wrong, they
were exaggerated, deceptive. that gives people a specific thing, an entree to the case. let's go find this document and how was it used? how did it influence the decision making? that was the way in, it appears, for new york regulators. but they didn't have the form. cohen's given it to them. >> it's so amazing. i'm really not a lawyer or financial person, but even i can follow that when you make enemies out of the person who's job it was not to bury the bodies but do some of the killing, your legal problems have just commenced. >> what cohen did is left a trail of skittles for anybody with political ambition, any interest and getting in on the trump beatdown party we have been seeing from every lawyer up and down the state. the other critical thing is this, what they're supposing -- and i think this is important for anybody else who engages this in kind of baver -- are standard for this pasrt of new york. these are the kinds of things bernie sanders ran on and
elizabeth warren complains about all the time. if donald trump as president can be held accountable or investigated at a local level, it might put a chilling effect on a lot of low-level people who engage in this behavior. >> there's one thing we all agree donald trump cares about, it's something believe the motivation and reason to run for president, and that is his brand. a brand which in 2013 he himself valued at $4 billion. the biggest part of his brand is this assumption, appearance of wealth. so all of a sudden if it comes to bear he's not as wealthy has he has said he is, if he had inflated his own assets, it devalues the piece of his empire he seems to care the most about. in addition to his cornucopia of legal issues, he now has an oishl wi issue with his personal hand. >> we know other than his big hands, the thing he cares about most is his big brand. hitting him where it really, really bothers him. >> i just spent about two weeks in mississippi and talking to trump supporters.
the one thing that would really chip away the most, i completely agree, is that the perception of wealth isn't what people were sold. voters were sold that he was so successful at business, he was so wealthy, and that he was going to apply that acumen to the country. if that narrative is chipped into, i do not see donald trump recovering from that. i think he could totally recover from being a russian asset, of course, but not the money. >> ron klain, aaron sorkin, of course, is in my brain on days like this. and there's a great theme where michael j. fox talks about how starving people are for leadership they will crawl in the sand towards the mirage and when they realize it's a mirage, they'll eat the sand. i think what everyone is getting at, when it comes to being a big, powerful businessman the whole thing was a memory aj, it was a fraud. his base is eating the sand. does this as elise said chip away at his political power even more than perhaps the mueller
probe? >> absolutely. i definitely want one of those president harasser t-shirts. but i think elise is really on to something here. we saw this, i worked for secretary clinton in 2016, we saw again what swing voters were taking away is trump was a super successful man. he would bring his suck secess the oval office and cut deals. and part of which chipped away at that is the failure of his presidency, trade wars, inability to get deals and all of the things he hasn't delivered on. if you could go at the core of that, fundamental facts about what his business records were really like, i that would open a second front. the combination on his inability to be a successful art of the deal president and the fact he lied about what he had done all along, i think would be a powerful pincer against trump as we head towards 2020. >> david, your reporting, these are the stories that are a little more difficult to
understand but at their core a lot of them have this question of corruption. whether it's the foundation you covered, whether it's the emoluments case at the hotel. they're difficult in the moment and your reporting is painstakingly detailed but the theme is the same, isn't it? >> in all of these things you see trump recognizing, looking for weakness. looking for people who can be fooled or are willing to go along with somebody they believe, they know in their heart of hearts is not true. that's what is interesting about these statements of financial conditions, him asuming corruption or corruptibility on the part of getting these statements. they're so ridiculous that if you knew anything about finance or knew anything about business, you wouldn't be taken in by them. but is there someone out there willing to accept this as a fig leaf and give trump who he wants, maybe for a sort of side benefit? trump sees the corruptibility of the world around him and this is a way for him to exploit that, a way to exploit that before he
got into office. it's a piece of how he worked, which is sometimes the sham is enough and illusion is enough to get you by. >> it's so interesting. david, we're so happy when you spend time with us. thank you. when we come back, breaking news from the chairman of the house judiciary committee. i don't keep track of regrets. i never count the wrinkles. and i don't add up the years. but what i do count on, is staying happy and healthy. so, i add protein, vitamins and minerals to my diet with boost®. boost® high protein nutritional drink
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or a family history of colon cancer. maybe i'll be at your door soon! ask your doctor if cologuard is right for you. covered by medicare and most major insurers. we have big, breaking news from the chairman of the house judicialary committee, jerry najher, telling reporters a few minutes ago that former attorney general matthew whitaker in a meeting today did not deny having conversations with the president that could become critical in an obstruction of justice investigation out of the mueller probe and southern district of new york. >> the three main takeaways, that we take away from today, one, unlike in the hearing room, mr. whitaker did not deny that the president called him to discuss michael cohen, the michael cohen case, and
personnel decisions in the southern district. two, while he was acting attorney general, mr. whitaker was directly involved in conversations about whether to fire one or more u.s. one or mo attorneys. three, while he was acting attorney general, mr. whittaker was involved in discussions about the scope of the southern district attorney and his recusal, and whether or not the southern district went too far in pursuing the campaign finance investigation in which the president was listed as number one. those were the three take aways from today. >> what is the recourse for his committee. >> the president is not denying the president's involvement -- >> just what i said, he did not deny it unlike in the hearing room. >> that means he had conversations with the president -- >> he would not say no.
>> what do you plan to do to follow up on these revelations? >> were you troubled by them? >> we're going to analyze the revelations and see where they lead. i can't answer that yet. >> do you have a reaction to the indictment passed down today. paul administrate and what imply cases may be for mr. manafort? >> i have not seen that news report. it is the district attorney not the attorney general. >> let me underscore some of the headlines here. matt whittaker was the acting attorney general. he was described as a man installed to "land the mueller probe." he was a known trump ally. he replaced jeff sessions, sired
by donald trump on election day. what congressman nadler said just there is that in a meeting today between former acting attorney criminal matt whittaker and adler and his staff, he says he did not stick with his testimony. there was questions about the truth isfulness in congress, and today the questions were realized. unlike in the public hearing, whittaker did not deny that the president called him to discussion the case. he was directly involved in conversations about whether or not to fire one or more u.s. attorneys. whittaker also saying in that meeting that he was involved in conversations about the scope of the southern district of new york's u.s. attorney's recusal.
that is the president's appointee, jeff berman, and whether or not the southern district of new york went too far in pursuing the campaign finance case in which the president who we talked about earlier this hour was labelled at individual one. we first reported about this in the nrkt, this was reported, federal prosecutors in manhattan gathered evidence. hush money payments after the 2016 campaign, mr. trump called matthew whittaker his question, he asked if the tour district of new york, a trump ally, could be put in charge of the widening investigation. this all but guaranteeing that matt whittaker is not a witness. and perhaps he already was, in
the obstruction of justice investigation into donald trump out of the main doj, the mueller office, and perhaps one also at sdny. >> we should expect that plenty of trump officials are lying to us, but it is jaw dropping that the acting attorney general blatantly lied to congress and he was concerned enough about going to prison that he came back a week later to do clean up. >> yeah, but that is what he is here for, he wants them to be a personal lawyer at the taxpayer expense. he saysly not be your michael cohen, and he was not that guy. not only will he be in trouble, i hope he loses his law license,
e i hope that everyone else who covers for this guy faces serious consequences. >> i worked in the white house, i turned over my e-mails, they will have tof go home and look at their partners and decide night after night if donald trump is worth going to jail for. >> that is why i think when you come to elise's point, what was his thinking going into that original testimony. what transpired between that testimony and today that he decided he needed to reverse course. that all now becomes part and parcel of this conversation. >> i need to spend time with you, my friend. it is not news there was someone corruptible deep inside trump's inner circle.
that said it is alarming they ended up the acting attorney general of the united states of america. >> yeah, he did through a process that they thought was completely unlawful. i served as chief of staff for the attorney general. though one thought you could stick me in as acting attorney general. crazy appointment. i also think it was important to step back, but what is being lied about there has been a policy in the white house, democrats and republicans, the white house they served in, that you served in, that forbade the kinds of decisions that donald trump and matthew whittaker allegedly engaged in here. the idea that the president of the united states would direct the acting attorney general to redirect and shift a prosecut n prosecution. that is what we have not seen
since watergate. it has been forbidden sense then. >> when something this shocking happens and you see it happening, you ask if chuck rosenberg might be available. we have known that bob mueller has been been an obstruction of justice. they are taking hold, and it read like a pattern, february 19th in the "new york times," that the president called matthew whittaker, his new acting attorney general and made the same request about the southern district of new york. will his appointee be able to take the reigns. your thoughts of the revelation today that according to jerry
nadler admitted that he did, that the president did call into discuss the cohen case. he was directly involved in conversations, and while he was there he was involved in conversations about the scope of the southern district of new york, and whether or not the sdny went too far in pursuing those cases. >> i think this is fascinating on both ends, it is astonishing and surprising that the president would think this is a good idea or that matt whittaker would have attempted to af affectuate the president's plans. it is essentially to say nothing. career prosecutors will not end to the will of a corrupt attorney general or the will of a corrupt president, and so there is more to this story to
be told, no doubt, but what you see going on in the southern district of new york, i believe that is what you would see going on in u.s. attorney's offices around the country, business as usual. career men and women that will bring the cases when the facts and the law dictate and even matt whittaker, in some ways, i loathe what he did, and in some ways i pity him, you can't change the course of that rhythm. >> what do you make of the expectation for someone to rescues what does that say about the class. >> first the term unrecuse is not something that i have understood before. i realize what happens when you put the prefix in front of a word, okay, but you don't become
unrecused. it tells me it is a corrupt intent to influence the outcome of law enforcement's work, but just a fundamental lack of understanding about what it is that prosecutors need to do and why they do it. it would suit the boss. it is so hard to even discussion or describe it. >> all right, chuck rosenberg, there when we need you. that does for us, "mtp daily" starts right now. >> how are you doing nicolle? too much news today. >> we had firehoses, avalanches, whatever metaphor