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tv   The 11th Hour With Brian Williams  MSNBC  April 3, 2019 11:00pm-12:00am PDT

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even though there is no law that forces them to do that. on sunday bernie sanders added something about president trump after he said that he -- bernie sanders said he would be releasing his tax returns after dotting the is and crossing the ts. >> by the way, let me challenge . by the way, let me challenge president trump to do the same, crust me, we do not have investments in russia or saudi arabia, or anyplace else, yes, we will be releasing them. >> but no democratic candidate for president can challenge president trump about releasing his tax returns until that candidate has released ten years of his own tax returns, the time fo for excuses for this is over, in fact it was over a long time ago. that's tonight's last word. "the 11th hour" with brian williams starts now. breaking tonight in the "new york times," some on mueller's team see their findings as more
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damaging for trump than barr revealed. one of the reporters on that byline is standing by with details on the times big mueller scoop. >> ever plus, democrats ask the irs for six years of the president's tax returns with a deadline of next wednesday, setting audiota setting up a battle over president trump's details. all of this as the 11th hour gets under way on a busy wednesday night. good evening once again from our nbc news headquarters here in new york. i'm nicolle wallace in for brian williams. day 804 of the trump administration, and there is breaking news tonight from the "new york times." their stunning report, the first window into how some of mueller's investigators feel about attorney general barr's description of their 22-month
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endeavor says some of special counsel robert mueller's investigators are frustrated and claim their results are more damaging to the president than what's been revealed thus far. one of the authors of tonight's times piece, mike schmidt joins us in a moment. he and his colleagues report some of the investigators "have told associates that attorney general william barr failed to adequately portray the findings of their inquiry and that they were more troubling for president trump than mr. barr indicated," that's according to government officials and others familiar with simmering frustrations. they'd already written multiple summaries of the report and some team members believe mr. barr should have included more of their material in the four-page letter he wrote on march 24th. the times continues "the officials and others interviewed declined to flesh out why some of the special counsel's investigators viewed their findings as potentially more damaging for the president than
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mr. barr explained, although the report is believed to examine mr. trump's efforts to thwart the investigation. mr. barr and advisers have expressed their own frustrations. they believe the special counsel's investigators fell short of their task by declining to decide whether mr. trump illegally obstructed the inquiry. hours before this times report the house judiciary committee voted along party lines to authorize a subpoena to obtain the full, unedited mueller report as well as all the understoodlyi underlying documents. attorney general barr says he intends to release a redacted version of the mueller report later this month. let's bring in your leadoff panel. on the phone, "new york times" reporter mike schmidt, plitser prize winning washington correspondent for the "new york times." frank figluizzi, and jeremy
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bash, former chief of staff at the cia and pentagon. mike schmidt, we'll start with you. >> we're reporting is about how there is some dissatisfaction amongst the mueller team about the fact that barr got a chance to really cast the die on how the narrative was going to be formed about their investigation. they felt that when the results were going to be out there when there was going to be a pronouncement from the justice department, like barr did right after they got the report 48 hours, that there would have been some description of what they found. and that by allowing barr -- by barr going first and laying this out, it had sort of cemented the way that the public may look at what they found and that they really want as much of this out there as possible because they think that barr has made it
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appear better than what it really is. remember, when barr comes out and says essentially clears the president of any wrongdoing, there is not a lot of detail in there about what the investigators found. >> mike schmidt, what i want to ask is what was barr thinking? but you guys detail some of what the view is from the attorney general's viewpoint. take us through that. >> well, there's frustration within the justice department with mueller. there's a feeling that mueller was there to do two things, investigate whether crimes happened and provide a confidential report to the attorney general. that's it. that is all that the regulations called for in the minds of the justice department and what the regulations say. but on the question of obstruction, mueller did not do that. he did not come to a determination. and that is really perplexing, obviously to the public that doesn't yet understand why
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mueller didn't get there. but also to barr, which -- because this has left barr out there alone to make the call about whether the president broke the law and he doesn't have the top cover of the investigator, the special counsel who was supposed to be there to follow the facts in a politics free way that person has taken a path on making a decision about whether criminality happened and then it puts in the hands of barr who's a presidential appointee and was put there a few months ago by the president. there's frustration in the sense that maybe the system here did not work as it was supposed to. >> the boom that's been lowered on washington tonight in your report is that mueller's investigators who have been mute for 22 months, there has been little known of how they viewed anything, or either incited or exasperated or something by what they saw. let me show you what the
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president has said, he's had something to say about the barr report every day starting march 24th. let me play that. >> it was complete exoneration, no collusion, no obstruction. the mueller report was great. it could not have been better. i will say this, our new attorney general bill barr is a great gentleman. beautiful conclusion. i haven't seen the report. beautiful conclusion. after three years of lies and smears and slander, the russia hoax is finally dead. it's totally finished, no collusion, no obstruction. >> i'm guessing that the mueller investigators don't live in caves and they saw some of that. any sense that it was the president's exoneration victory lap that got to them? >> no sense of what actually incited them to do this, besides barr's letter, which they felt
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was too meager and was too much of putting his hand down on what he thought was important, without showing what they did. but you can't not understand where mueller's folks may be coming from if they see the president out there saying things like that, talking about the beautiful mueller report and such, and saying, well, maybe it's not as great as the public is making it out to be. maybe there are things that are problematic that the public should know about and that congress should know about. i'm not saying that there -- you know, the justice department would say that's not really following the regulations here because they're just supposed to look at whether crimes happened and we've determined no crimes happened. at the end of the day i think there's only one real answer which is we need to see the report, we need to see how big the delta is between what barr said publicly, the impression that the public had, and what mueller's findings actually are. >> frank figliuzzi you said in
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the 4:00 today that you were sure that the mueller team, at the end of investigation, because at the end of any investigation like this summaries are created, that something existed that would have allowed attorney general barr to include more than sentence fragments and at this moment as we gather tonight at 11:09 there is still all that we have seen from the mueller report are sentence fragments. i can imagine how those investigators who kept their mouth shut for 22 months while the investigation was ongoing have simmered over the last week or so. >> imagine this very large team from analysts to forensic accountants, cyberspecialists, prosecutors, fbi agents all remaining silent for two years, not so much as a raised eyebrow implying anything one way or the other. >> while trump attacked them. >> while they were being undermined, attacked personally and professionally and now we see for the first time dismay over how this narrative is being allowed to happen and play out. and it clearly conflicts with
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what they know. and so what we're being set up for here is either a very political attorney general decision and/or a fundamental disagreement between the attorney general and mueller on what mueller's mission was. so we're hearing, through this reporting, that the attorney general saying allegedly he's dismayed that mueller didn't make the call, right? but if we're going to find out, perhaps through testimony on the hill, that mueller's intention all along was to let congress make the call then we've had a team playing by the rules, the mueller team and they are law and order rule followers, and assuming the attorney general would play by those same rules and he's got a different set of rules. >> joyce vance, you along with many other veterans of the justice department have cautioned us to give attorney general barr the benefit of the doubt to see what he releases. it would seem that the mueller investigators who express these frustrations in this report at least couldn't do that for any
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longer. what's your sense now on the die being cast, not just on the findings, but on william barr's leadership of the justice department, at this incredibly fraught moment? >> it's a really difficult point. and, you know, nicole, i was maybe the outlier on this because during the confirmation proceedings i actually wrote a piece for slate and made the point that because barr had come in under the cloud of this memo that he wrote where he seemed to prejudge the issue of obstruction, saying a president couldn't commit obstruction, that it would be very difficult for the public to have confidence in decisions that he made down the road. and now we're seeing that problem come home to roost. we don't know if he's making principal decisions here. we don't know if he is, in fact, acting a wing man for the president. but because he seemed to have pre-judged the issues in an effort to get the job in the first place, it will be very difficult for the american people to have any appreciation
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for what's really going on here unless the mueller report is really laid bare and we're given the opportunity to judge it for ourselves. >> jeremy bash take us through, we've been talking around and about the mueller report. what is the obstruction report likely to look like? that is where -- and i suppose on the -- in the russian section as well, what kind of damaging information are we likely to see, even if it came short of, in the conspiracy case, being something you could charge in a criminal way and on the obstruction case being serious enough that they wrote in do not exonerate, what might it look like? >> i think on the conspiracy side, nicole, the predicate is all the activity launched by the russian federation to attack our election. all the effort they made to reach out to the trump campaign and to not offer their assistance and to engage the trump campaign but just to notify the trump campaign that the russian federation was interfering in the election and then to discuss, of course, what they would get in return, what
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reward they would reap in terms of magnitsky act sanction relief and other things we saw the trump administration reward them with. with regard to obstruction, nicole, it's not only what we've seen in public by the president but potentially other things, remember the white house counsel don mcgahn sat for tens of hours with the special counsel's office detailing what the white house, what the president did to try to undermine the mueller investigation and his team. and so i think we're going to see a heap of evidence that is really damning about the president's conduct, it's going to appear shameful, unpatriotic, potentially unethical, whether it crosses the line of illegal i ity, that will be in the eye of the beholder. bill barr's summary yielded this inevitable result where you'll see a lot of dissent and concern about whether or not he accurately reflected the holdings of the mueller findings. >> mike schmidt, there's reporting in your piece that draws some lines to the comey
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handling of the end of the hillary clinton e-mail investigation, and there was some concern about a repeat of that where a crime wasn't charged but jim comey went out and detailed conduct that was so damaging to hillary clinton's candidacy that a lot of democrats feel that that ultimately contributed to her defeat. do you think that the people around donald trump underestimated the fact that simply not being charged with a crime was worthy of a victory tour and a victory rally and an exoneration celebration? >> no. and every time that i think the president has gone out there the way that he has and said these things about the report and sort of spiked the ball, i can sort of feel his lawyers sort of cringing. because there is more -- there is sort of a shoe to drop here. it may not be that damaging to the president but look mueller spends a lot of time on obstruction, whatever he found was so difficult for him that he couldn't make a decision on it.
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he couldn't come to a determination. so there's got to be something there that could be problematic to the president. tonight we're learning that whatever is in this report is worse for trump than as it's currently been stated. so the president on one hand out there sort of praising mueller and praising his report, may have to be able to quickly pivot politically and go after mueller and say, look, these were the true angry democrats. i said they were all along. look, no one in politics seems to be more able to do that pivot without really caring what he has said before than the president so i'm not sure any of this really boxes him in. but maybe if you're on the fence and you're watching this and you're saying trump embraces at first, if there's a different posture in a few weeks from now after the report then, you know, at the end of the day whatever happens coming out of what mueller found will be based on
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public opinion. the legal process has said what it will. the president has been cleared there which it will all come down to whether the public is really bothered by it, that pushes congress, bottom line, full stop. >> the polls do show, frank, the only people who bought the exoneration story were members of donald trump's base. he was exonerated in their eyes only. everyone else is at least eager to see the results of the report, to see what robert mueller was doing, to see what this obstruction report says the president did. >> well, the american people have spoken, they want to see the report. you know, if the attorney general were a corporate ceo he'd be in full blown crisis mode right now, he'd be calling in the damage control team, the pr team, and i care deeply about the institution of the justice department. and if he wants to salvage that credibility in the american people's eyes he needs to release as much of that report as fast as he can, before the
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american public even further turns on the justice department and this administration. >> joyce, i want to ask if you agree with that assessment. i also want to ask you if you think we'll ever learn what was so grave in the report on obstruction that robert mueller, while he didn't charge the president, insisted that do not exonerate, those words were in there, as i understand it it's called a declination letter. robert mueller didn't go so far as to do that. he stopped before he issued any verdict on donald trump's criminality in the obstruction case. will we ever know, will we ever find out what happened from the time the football was handed incomplete to barr, and barr exonerated him to? >> i suspect that we'll get a window into this at some point and the way you lay it out is just right, as a prosecutor your fundamental job is to make a decision. do i indict this case or decline this case? if you decline a case there are a number of reasons you might
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check. weak or insufficient evidence or no federal offense evident would be some of the major reasons. that's not what mueller did. instead he did what people have characterized as punting. but what i suspect is far closer to a practical recognition of the fact that he did not have the power to indict a president because of existing doj policy. and so he left the decision in this case up to the only body with decision-making power, congress. and that reflects, you know, this important truth that the president seems to ignore which is that he's the only person in the system who is arguably above the reach of average prosecutors. and who's only accountable through congress. that's what makes him different and what makes it very likely we will see all of the assessment on this issue regarding obstruction. mueller lays it out on both sides and says congress, now it's up to you to do your job. congress will have an interest
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in letting the american people find out exactly what that calculus included. >> jeremy, just weigh in on the president's -- as a criminal. he's individual number one in sdny, shielded by justice department policy that you can't indict a sitting president if he is, indeed, found to have committed what he's alleged to have done in the hush money scheme and now in this case, conduct so grave that robert s. mueller, even with the knowledge that he has to live by doj policy that you can't indict a sitting president refuses to come to the conclusion not to. >> i think also in addition to your characterization, the bigger issue is that he's a risk because obviously the russian federation has leverage over him based on the long standing financial ties between the russia federation. political average they have over -- today we're celebrating
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nato. what better example do we need than the counterfactual one we have in the white house of someone doing vladimir putin's bidding. he didn't wake up one morning and decide to be pro-russian. it was after a long series to compromise our american policy. >> our thanks to mike, joyce vance and jeremy bash. coming up, house democrats make it official, they want to look at trump's tax returns from the past several years and they want them next week. later, the feds are investigating whether china is targeting mar-a-lago as the president calls the recent security breach a fluke. "the 11th hour" just getting started on a wednesday night. the latest innovation from xfinity
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house democrats are opening up a new front in their investigations into the president, donald trump's tax returns, a request to the irs today came from democratic congressman richard neil, chairman of the house ways and means committee, he's asking for the president's personal tax returns as well as for some business entities from 2013 to 2018 and he wants it all by april 10th. that's one week from today. he writes "consistent with its authority the committee is considering legislative proposals and conducting oversight related to our federal tax laws, including but not limited to the extent to which the irs audits and enforces the federal tax laws against a president." the president learned of the request earlier this evening. >> is that all? >> that's all. >> okay, usually it's ten. so i guess they're giving up. we're under audit, but despite
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what people said we're working that out as i'm always under audit, it seems. but i've been under audit for many years because the numbers are big and i guess when you have a name you -- you're audited. but until such time as i'm not under audit i would not be inclined to do that, thank you. >> maybe it's because you're shady, during the 2016 campaign candidate trump refused to release his taxes, something other presidential candidates have routinely done. he used that same excuse back then. >> i pay hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes. as soon as my routine audit is finished, i'll release my returns, be very proud to. a routine audit, i think, until such time as it's finished i won't be going and releasing because obviously that wouldn't be a very good thing to do. just under audit. i'll release them when the audit's completed. >> with us tonight, two friends from the "washington post."
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big rucker, white house bureau chief and robert costa, who also moderates washington week on pbs, it's hard to watch those clips now without laughing. during the campaign you thought maybe he will. but clearly he will not and this seems like a new and different move to try to get something that donald trump has described as existing beyond his red line, phil rucker. >> yeah, i think that's right, nicole, it's the never ending audit and it's important to point out, by the way, that the president keeps saying his texas returns are under audit but he's never provided any evidence on any audit. the irs wouldn't comment on individual cases so we're left to guess what might be going on there. but the move today by house democrats is a big deal and it sets up what could potentially be a court fight that could take even years. the expectation among democrats is that the president and his administration will resist this request, will not provide those tax returns and it would then
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compel the democrats to pursue a court challenge, a legal challenge to really try to win this fight and that's why that letter was so carefully worded. >> robert costa, i have so many questions for you but i want to start with some testimony from michael cohen on this very question, why hasn't the president -- why has the president refused to release his tax returns. >> what the the real reason is that the president has refused to release his tax returns. >> statements he's said to me is that what he didn't want was to have an entire group of think tanks that are tax experts run through his tax return and start ripping it to pieces and then he'll end up in an audit and he'll ultimately have tax consequences and penalties and so on. >> robert, i'm not a tax attorney, but you only have something ripped to pieces in an audit with taxable consequences
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and penalties if you've broken tax laws. no? >> looking back at president trump's campaign to 2015 i remember as a reporter he and mr. cohen provided "the washington post" at the time with a one-page document of financial summary of his assets. and we asked them at the time would they be providing a tax return or anymore information and if you looked at that statement we published it it talks about his worth, his net worth, something very much also zeroing his brand value as well as his properties. a tax return would offer much more detail than that one-page summary he offered to the "washington post" and to other media out lets at the time and that's something mr. cohen and mr. trump at that period did not want to do to share the full extent of that financial empire that he has in real estate, in his different holdings, you do see, though, inside the white house tonight a sense that this is actually a welcome development for them. they would like to run against
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the democrats in the house. as overstepping on issues of personal finance. you could see them rally behind this tax issue in the coming days against chairman neil. from massachusetts. it's different than the other aspects of oversight from house democrats on issues like security clearances, which does alarm many white house officials privately because it raises questions about the president's conduct. >> robert costa, is there any concern, though, that with questions still looming about conflicts of interest, about jared kushner's background check as you just mentioned that knowing where the president's money is coming from and the size of his wealth which is something very near and dear to him, that those questions may be viewed as central to his presidency? >> it's central for our country to learn more how elected leaders have assembled their wealth because it gives context to how people make decisions in public office. if someone takes multiple meetings with a certain ambassador or representatives
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from a company that's a major industry in a certain country we would like to know, as reporters, but i also hear this from voters we talked to on the campaign trail whether it's democrat or republican. what is the financial status of the politician with regard to that country or to that company? it's always better to have more information is, not less and we've been operating in the dark for so long with president trump's finances on many fronts. >> phil rucker you gave the perfect summation of how long the battle will take if the courts get involved. on the political side are they prepared to continue to defend donald trump's refusal to release his taxes. we know from reporting how much deceit has gone into his wealth and his family's wealth. is there any worry about the politics shifting underneath them. >> well, i think bob had an
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important point when he said that they're -- that this could be a welcome fight for the president because he has been looking to try to cast house democrats as overreaching, as digging into things trying to obstruct his agenda and look for scandals. that being said this president's financial architecture is incredibly complex, not like any of his immediate predecessors that we've experienced here in this country and there are a lot of dark holes, a lot of question marks. and this is a subject of intense interest among the public and certainly among the democrats, you know hoping to run against him who would like to make an issue out of this and so i don't think it's going to go boy and it's something the white house is going to have to grapple with. one of the first big decisions is going to come to secretary y mnuchin, how they respond to these requests to keep the president's tax returns in that lox box and how they proceed
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here politically. >> robert costa, i have to ask you about the other big story tonight. you and i have had many conversations day after day about concerns within the president's legal circles about that obstruction report, news tonight and in the "new york times" some of mueller's investigators not happy with how barr has described the final conclusions from robert mueller. >> it's an important story, reflects a lot of different discussions happening behind the scenes, not only within the white house, but within the legal community here in washington that elite legal community, people inside the justice department and close to it wondering about that summary from mr. mueller. what was in there about obstruction that mr. barr chose or chose not to include in his letter to congress? you have the mueller team understanding their role. they're subordinate to the attorney general but we could be hearing more in the coming days, especially as congress continues to press about what did the mueller team feel was in the expressed by the attorney general, while still respecting
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his position and his ability to make decisions on what is ultimately shared? >> phil rucker, does this strengthen the democrats' hand knowing there's discontent and grumbling out of the very quiet, very disciplined investigators? >> there could be more in the days to come. we should keep in mind that in a week or two weeks time we're expected to see the full report in its redacted form. i don't know how many redactions the attorney general will make, but there will be a much clearer picture by then of what exactly mueller found, what he documented, what the legal analysis and sort of investigative steps he took to arrive at his conclusions and there's a tremendous danger here for the president and his allies and his team that they've spiked this football way too early and that this report could be much murkier for him than barr portrayed in that four-page letter. >> phil rucker and robert acosta, multitasking for me, thank you. the president calls a recent
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breach at his florida resort a mere fluke. it takes more than a fluke. 11th hour back after this.
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are you concerned that the chinese may be trying to conduct espionage against the united states by spying on you at mar-a-lago? >> well, i saw the story, haven't spoken to anybody about it other than i had a brief
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meeting, gave me a little bit of information, no, i'm not concerned at all. i have -- we have very good control. we have extremely good -- and it's getting better and cyber, frankly what we're doing with cyber is a story in itself. no, i think that was just a fluke situation. >> a fluke, president trump today seemed to dismiss concerns that a woman was able to illegally enter his mar-a-lago estate while he was out golfing last weekend. according to court documents the woman identified herself with two chinese passports and said she was there to use the pool and attend an event, neither story held up. she was arrested carrying four cell phones, a laptop, an external hard drive and a thumb drive loaded with malware, notable she wasn't carrying a bathing suit for that trip to the pool. news prompted democrats to demand a security review. "the washington post" reports they want the fbi to determine whether the facilities and equipment president trump uses to access classified information are vulnerable to foreign exploitation and the white house
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announced just tonight that trump will meet with the chinese vice premier of tomorrow. jeremy, this seems like the kind of story that everyone can understand. i think a lot of people, we throw around the word skiff, the kind of secure rooms where you review classified information but everyone remembers or can be reminded of an image of donald trump sits at mar-a-lago of his club's dining room eating cake while the country was ordering air strikes against syria and an attempt it would seem for the chinese to infiltrate mar-a-lago. >> the president is hosting a meeting tomorrow with a senior chinese official in a run-up to intensive period of trade talks with the chinese and also talk the president would host xi jinping down there. it looks like an effort of chinese intelligence services to run a technical operation, human enabled operation where they
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send in an agent to possibly implant malicious code in the communications network, doesn't have to be in the classified system, it could also be on the cell phones or other unclassified systems to do what, so that the chinese can actually gain an upper hand by learning what the american side is engaging in during the negotiations, this is very troubling. and i think it's all part of the fact that the president basically, is auctions off access to his residence, which is very dangerous for national security. >> and frank we learned about this first in the "new york times" and then some reporting that broke during the 4:00 p.m. hour when you were on set with us that there is actually a federal investigation into what jeremy is talking about, the chinese effort. talk about that. >> not surprising. we have a president who's declared a national emergency and wants to build a wall to keep people out but at his own weekend residence he insists on an environment where people can come and go freely because it's a private, for profit club and members and guests need to be
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there. it must drive the security apparatus around him crazy and the notion that foreign adversaries of all stripes must be trying to penetrate and see whether they can get offshore on water, whether they can get guests inside, get invitations to events, and now this extremely odd incident. you know, what i know about chinese intelligence is that they typically are very persistent. they also will try, as jeremy said, right before a particular targeted event, to get in there and penetrate. but i will also say they can be very subtle so this is extremely brazen. if, indeed, this was part of a larger operation, they've treated this woman as an expendable. she's caught. and she may not fully understand what she was being tasked to do. but all of that equipment, the malware that was found, we need to know a whole lot more about that and it's not just china that will be targeting mar-a-lago. we have a president that
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continues to use his personal cell phone to conduct government business. he ignores security clearance recommendations for his senior staff. the security around him is very, very vulnerable. >> vulnerable because of practices and behavior, and gaps that i assume the president doesn't let his security professionals close for him but jeremy bash also perhaps vulnerable by design. we see the president kicking american officials out of one on one meetings with the dictator of north korea, all five meetings with vladimir putin. we see -- we just see breach after breach. we see the president overruling a cia flag on his son-in-law jared kushner. is it more than just incompetent practices? is it more than just a failure to understand how sacred and precious our national security secrets are in your view? >> well, he thinks that all of these security procedures are just bothersome and they're kind
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of harassing him as part of a deep state effort maybe to conduct espionage on him which is, of course, ridiculous. what he doesn't realize is that those officers who are part of our security professional cadre, they are duty bound and sworn to protect our nation and to protect our nation's secrets and they're doing it for the benefit of all of us. when the president engages in trade talks with his chinese counterpart in mar-a-lago he's going it on behalf of the american people, not just him or his financial cronies. it's very important, in those talks and any other diplomatic engagement that the chinese not have an upper hand. yet it appears that because of lack of security procedures they might. >> we learned not so long ago a counterintelligence investigation was opened into the president around the russia question. we learned today of another investigation, not into the president, but into this chinese effort. how many counterintelligence investigations would you assume are open right now? >> well, if you're talking about
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revolving around those in the circle of the president, which has got to be precedent setting numbers of cases, in numerous field offices, look at what we know publicly about manafort and flynn and cohen and jared and all of the approaches and entanglements with foreign entities, imagine what we're not seeing, what the intel is on the classified side, what's being picked up from human sources, from intercepts abroad, all looking at finding vulnerabilities to penetrate the circle around the president. i'm going to go out on a limb and say there's a record setting number of ci cases opened around this president. >> jeremy, really quick, we're out of time, do you agree with that? >> i do. i think this is a threat in the making down at mar-a-lago, it's going to require a lot more congressional and public skrooutny. >> thank you so much for staying up with us. the hits keep oncoming, house
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investigators turn their attention to the trump inauguration and possible foreign influence there too. "the 11th hour" back after this. verizon got us vip tickets three feet away from justin timberlake. and to say vip is an understatement, because i sawww justin timberlake. so he literally looked into the phone and started dancing-- well, he was already dancing-- locked eyes and continued dancing. i still have to like pinch myself and make sure i'm not dreaming. every now and then, i'm like, "wait, did that happen?" (gasps) i've got photos of it, it must have. (vo) get more music on us with vip tickets to the best shows, like shawn mendes and camila cabello. plus, save big when you switch. only on verizon. investigators turn their investigators turn their
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new reporting reveals the house intelligence committee is seeking documents and an interview with the top organizer on president trump's inaugural committee, stephanie winston wolkoff, a former adviser to melania trump and as the wall street journal reports the house intelligence committee sought from her an array of materials, matters related to contacts in the inaugural fund. specifically russia, saudi arabia and the uae. reporting from vanity fair points out the document request represents one portion of a broader democratic effort to build on the work begun by robert mueller. prosecutors in the southern
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district of new york have also been investigating trump's inaugural committee. walkoff has been cooperating in that investigation and was ordereds not to disclose a subpoena issued in the case. maggie haberman points out it's unusual for such a gag order to be put in place. sdny is not known to have done so in any cohen-related cases other than with winston wolkoff. frank figliuzzi told me there could be multiple reasons. >> a prophylactic gag order, looks to make sure she's not giving up what's going on. this is not someone who's been outspoken about her cooperation but rather someone they need to keep secret. >> is that to protect her? is that in the witness tampering protection category? >> i think it's twofold, one to protect her and secondly to ensure she's not tipping off certain people, she can't talk
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to individuals who are potential subjects of the case and let them know what's going on. it's a significant finding. >> here tonight, two of the reporters working on this story today, emily jane fox, national correspondent for vanity fair who's chronicled the plight of michael cohen, the author of born trump inside america's first family and rebecca davis o'brien, reporter for the wall street journal. i learned everything from both of you, take us through what you've reported. >> this emerged -- thank you for having me on. this emerged in a letter that ms. wolkoff's lawyer sent to the inaugural committee this week and he laid out for the committee that she had -- or explained for the first time publicly that his client not only had received a letter from the intelligence committee, but also had been subpoenaed last october, six months ago now, by the southern district of new york and that there was a letter accompanying that subpoena that prohibited her from speaking about the subpoena. >> so we're about that because that's expired?
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>> yes, i guess it's expired now. and because there are additional requests for documentation and what i think is significant here is the fact that we also, as we also reported, she's been cooperating with the prosecutors there. so this long silence, which now we realize is the result of a gag order, she's been providing investigators in manhattan with that information, or a lot of information all along. >> so before your reporting today you wrote a big profile about her and i asked you at the time, is she another michael cohen? and i guess i asked you based on tonight's reporting and this intersection, explain this intersection to me of the intel committee being interested in her as well as the criminal investigators, criminal prosecutors at sdny. >> the reason we're hearing about this today is because the intel wants to interview her and has asked for a ton of documents related to actually in part her
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relationship in communications with michael cohen as well as everything she saw in the inauguration and transition as well. there are a lot of connections between her and cohen and a lot of similarities, i've spent a lot of time covering both of them. first of all, they live on the same block in manhattan, stranger than fiction. they are two people who had such close relationships with the president and the first lady. both of them had close relationships with each of them and both of them feel like they've been thrown under the bus. what i think is interesting and what i think is going to be a factor going forward is both of them feel jilted. both of them feel like they had been thrown under the bus and both of them saved everything. and i can't emphasize this enough. they are two people, i've never seen anything like it in my life, who must have known in their heart of hearts that something like this could have happened because they saved everything and they have been willing to share everything with investigators. >> your paper, the times, vanity fair, "the washington post" have
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all reported on suspicious numbers of ukrainians and others around the inaugural. how big is this of a focus, both now in the committee, and in sdny? >> certainly the intel committee is looking in part at foreign donations, efforts to conceal the identity of donors abroad, that's one piece of it, certainly, the number of people who showed up, they want guest lists, they want details about who gave, who showed up, what were they promised, did they get anything in return, did they have any special business dealings, one thing about the intelligence committee's letter they're seeking information about gifts or favors with donald trump and his family members' businesses and affiliated entities, so that could be potentially very interesting. of course miss wolkoff was a vendor, one focus we can expect to see, which comes out in the letter and we can assume also a focus of prosecutors in new york
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given what they've subpoenaed from the committee, the inaugural committee, is the vendor side of things, not just what money came in but how the money was spent. >> it's a classic follow the money. i want to ask you about the other big story tonight. it's my understanding "the washington post" has matched "the new york times" scoop about the limited information barr shared about the russia investigation frustrating some on mueller's team. you cover the trump family, you cover michael cohen, you were there for his testimony. this investigation has touched every single person in trump world, really like nothing else. and let me read you some excerpts from the story and get your thoughts. the report was prepared, this is the barr summary, or the mueller report was prepared so that the front matter from each section could have been released immediately, or very quickly, the official said, it was done in a way that minimum redactions, if any, would have been necessary and the work would have spoken for itself. mueller's team assumed the information was going to be made available to the public, the
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official said and so they prepared their summaries to be shared in their own words and not in the attorney general's summary of their work as turned out to be the case. this seems like a classic trumpian story of the president getting way out ahead of the facts. >> it's not just the president. we saw -- i think i told you last week on your show i have reporting that jared kushner was taking a victory lap like no one had seen before and he went on fox this week displaying the victory lap, no collusion, total vindication. we all kind of knew that wasn't the case and now we have some great reporting to show that wasn't the case. so yes, this is certainly the trumps getting ahead of their skis. but there are a lot of people, people like cohen, who participated in this investigation and he's still going to prison in a month and regardless of what comes out in the mueller report, and hopefully it will all come out that is not going to change for him. so having transparency and letting people know what he
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shared with investigators is certainly a good thing and i think something that would make him feel happy but doesn't change the fact that he is on his way to prison and no one with the last name of trump has yet to serve any consequences. >> emily jane fox and rebecca davis, thank you both for being with us. coming up, a quick break in the 11th hour back after this. if your moderate to severe ulcerative colitis or crohn's symptoms are holding you back, and your current treatment hasn't worked well enough it may be time for a change.
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that's all the time we have for this busy wednesday. i'll be back here tomorrow at 4:00 p.m. eastern right here on msnbc. that is our broadcast for
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tonight. thank you so much for being with us and good night from nbc news headquarters here in new york. ♪ good evening from new york. we have big breaking news tonight. what appeared to be the first ever leak from the mueller team sending a shot to the attorney general. reporting moments ago that some of robert mueller's investigators told associates their findings were more damaging for the president than william barr revealed in his synopsis. to interpret this breaking story, he was fired from that job by the president. his book is called doing justice. this is a big deal. >> yeah. it is. >> they haven't talked for two years. no one on the record. >> sometimes when the band


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