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tv   American Swamp  MSNBC  August 4, 2019 6:00pm-7:00pm PDT

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they make you feel like you're in the club. it is like $100,000 feeling for free. it looks really quiet. so does that mean nobody is around? >> i don't think the season technically has started yet, number one. and number two, the president is not clear. he's in washington. this is mar-a-lago, the private resort in palm beach. one of many properties part of the trump family business, which ultimately will benefit the
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president. since his inauguration until july 2019, president trump has spent 99 days here. for many, this 20 acre estate with its lavish decor and 500 paying members is a symbol of the potential conflicts of interest that plague the trump presidency. that is why we are here. >> this is a place where it costs hundreds of thousands of dollars to be a member. the price went up after he was elected president. >> it is funny to think this is donald trump's backyard in florida. >> we want to know if and how donald trump is actually profiting off of being president of the united states. mar-a-lago is just one example. the trump family business has dozens of properties across the u.s. and around the world. office towers, golf courses and hotels. they all pose potentially serious conflicts of interest, partially because they involve members or tenants indirectly
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paying the president of the united states. >> are they getting benefits, actual access to not just the president but the president's seat. it is a nightmare for anybody that wants to know the truth between whether donald trump is acting for you and me or whether he's acting for himself and the trump organization. it is one big, giant swamp. just three weeks before the election, donald trump starting using a ryan in hline in his sp that never failed to rally the crowd. >> we're going to win today, and we're going to washington d.c. to drain the swamp. >> katy and i are teaming up to find out what the swamp really is and whether donald trump is
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draining it or making it worse. we look into this question in florida and beyond. but we're starting our journey in new york city, the anchor of donald trump's real estate empire. >> oh, yeah. >> is this your first time on a double decker? >> an open one in new york, yeah. >> i've never been on one either, but we figured it was an efficient way to check out donald trump's manhattan real estate. >> it is actually pretty nice looking. >> this is the crown jewel of the donald trump empire. >> this is where he made his mark. >> trump tower is the home base for donald trump and his sprawling real estate portfolio. this iconic building has served both as the setting of his popularity setting of his tv show "the apprentice" and as the launch pad for the most improbable presidential campaign to ever succeed. >> i mean, it does make you feel
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something when you drive by. look at all the different windows. who is paying what money to where inside that building? this is trump international. >> hotel and towers, so there are apartments here, but it is also a hotel. >> i have never heard of one person that stayed in that hotel. >> saudis have stayed there. >> and not just any saudis. according to a letter obtained by nbc news, officials traveling with the crown prince stayed at the trump international for five days following a white house visit in march 2018. >> it was a letter by the general manager saying the saudis have helped us with our bottom line. >> and how is that not a conflict? >> but just because you might see the trump name on a building doesn't mean donald trump owns it. >> so every single one of these have the trump name on it -- >> almost every one. not every one. yeah, he didn't build them. >> for a while, the trump name was a decent part of his
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business. today, not so much. >> they're taking his name down from these buildings one by one because the people inside the buildings, the condo boards are petitioning and saying, we don't want his name. >> was this a trump building? >> not anymore. >> not anymore? thank god for that. >> there you go. that's what he said. that's not what you said. >> donald trump's brand is suffering in liberal manhattan but also beyond. the president's most current financial disclosure statement shows that revenues from some of his prized properties took a hit. case in point, a 10% revenue drop at mar-a-lago. >> he might have avoided some of those losses if he had divested. but he went out of his way not to. >> we should note his financial disclosure reports indicate that technically the owner of all his companies is an entity called the donald j. trump revocable
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trust, but his attorneys have acknowledged that, quote, the president is the beneficiary of the trust. >> i'm back at 30 rock to talk about this tim o'brian. in 2005, he wrote a biography saying mr. trump was worse less than a billion dollars. donald trump sued for defamation, but a judge dismissed the case. now tim and i are looking at the moment just before he became president. >> so we have donald trump's press conference from january. >> i have not watched it recently. this is the first time i'm watching it. >> held nine days before donald trump took office, the press conference addressed never issues, including how he planned to separate the business of trump from the business of being president trump. >> i'm going to bring up sherry dillon, and she's going to go these papers are just some of the many documents i've signed
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turning overcome pleat and total control. >> president elect trump directed me and my colleagues to design a structure that will completely isolate him from the management of the company. >> it was simple. donald trump would hand over control of the family business to his two eldest sons. >> this is a carnival trip. they have set up a stage with folders that they're not opening that purport to contain disclosures about all of his assets. >> we have no clue what was in those folders. where they blank pages? take out menus? his taxes? we do know donald trump saw handing over management to his sons as a voluntary decision. >> i have a no conflict of interest provision as president. so i could actually run my business. i could actually run my business and run government at the same time. >> he's talking about the federal law, 18 usc 208 that
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prohibits government employees from working on anything related to their financial interest. that law excludes the president and vice president. so technically donald trump is right. but past presidents have always behaved as if the law did apply to them. precisely to avoid questions about where their interests lie. nelson rockefeller, who was wealthier than donald trump released seven years of tax returns and sat for days of testimony on capitol hill. all to be gerald ford's vice president. >> we are all concerned with a question of whether it is dangerous, too dangerous, to have a person of great personal wealth potentially in the line of succession to the power of the presidency. >> in comparison, president-elect trump merely promised no new foreign deals.
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he has not divested and he's disclosed just what the law requires. so the public is left asking questions. >> is donald trump making tax policy because tax policy is good? or is he making tax policy because there is loopholes in there for real estate developers like him that helps their wallet. >> as we try to make sense of all that, katy and i take a closer look at trump tower. >> here is a directory. >> even if we wanted to figure out who lives here, who works here, this is it, this is the directory? >> yeah. this is just six things. >> trump store, ground level. trump cafe, ground level. but i will say, if you're thirsty for a coffee, it's easy to figure out where starbucks is. >> level two. >> the trump building includes five floors of retail. unless you spend a very, very long time in the lobby or wade through a mountain of public records, it is not easy to find out who takes the elevators to
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the office floors and 39 stories of luxury condos above. that's always been the case even before he was president. >> they're not being transparent about who is doing business here. >> donald trump's potential conflict of interests begin with his clients and tenants. dan alexander and his team have been piecing that information together. >> it's a business with a lot of tentacles. and everywhere you look you find conflicts. >> how do you do it? how do you figure out with donald trump has conflicts of interest that strike at the heart of american democracy. >> donald trump has to list, hey, i own this skyscraper. but he doesn't have to say anything about how the actual business works. what we get to do is say, okay, let's go over that skyscraper and let's figure out who is inside the building. let's call up all those companies and figure out how much they're paying. so i had to literally boot over
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boot measure from one end to the other end. >> did you think when you were going to start looking into trump's conflicts that you were basically going to be a -- >> a vag a bond wandering about his property? it is absurd this is how you have to figure out who is paying the president of the united states. >> dan and his colleagues used their findings to reconstruct the rent rules for donald trump's biggest properties. >> we counted up more than 80 tenants, and of those, 36 of them had very clear ties with the federal government, whether it was that they were contra contractors or under investigation by the federal government. so right there that's three dozen, okay? that's just the tenants. >> according to forbes and bloomberg, one in particular, china. their bank has long rented the entire 20th floor and parts of two others. >> the chinese government
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through a chinese government controlled bank is paying the president of the united states about $2 million a year. that's never happened before. >> donald trump has made no effort to disclose his leases with china and other foreign nations, which makes it hard for the public to even evaluate which foreign governments could be attempting to curry favor. the fast have marty precede his election, but they also own properties where donald trump seems to be the draw. but who exactly is getting access? next stop, palm beach, florida. a ♪ limu emu & doug
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come on, katy. >> the best way to enjoy the florida coast is on the water. but we're not exactly here for a joyride. >> we can go fast right here if you guys don't mind. it will get us there quicker.
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>> oh, yeah. >> we're headed to mar-a-lago, sort of. >> it's quiet. it's big. it looks really expensive. and it also looks like i have no chance of getting in there whatsoever. we asked the club for a tour, but we didn't hear back. but you do get pretty close showing up on a boat. >> there is a white awning with a black suv underit. >> it connects the grand ballroom which donald trump had added to this property, covered in marble and gold. that's where he has weddings, where they hold charity events. that's where a lot of the money is made. >> the new years party. >> mar-a-lago was build in the 1920s by the owner of general foods. at one point she had hoped to donate the building to the federal government as a winter white house. but the government balked at the maintenance costs. donald trump bought the property in 1985 and ten years later
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turned it into a private club. in the end, mar-a-lago has fulfilled vision, almost. >> many of the world's great leaders request to come to ma h mar-a-lago in palm beach. they like it. i like it. it is indeed the southern white house. >> except for the fact it is a private, for profit club. since donald trump took office, it is becoming more and more a venue for groups whose views align with the president. it's also become a potential security risk. in march of 2019, a chinese national was charged with trespassing and with lying to federal agents. which raises the question, has there been anyone else who hasn't been caught? members of course pay huge sums to be a part of this exclusive club. but what does that buy them now that donald trump is president of the united states? i want to ask an actual member.
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so i'm starting with jeff green. he's a democrat and billionaire who ran for governor of florida in 2018. he also does some business with the club, housing some of their seasonal workers in one of his apartment complexes and part of that arrangement covers green's annual dues. >> you're right on the beach. this is a spectacular estate. why do you need to be part of a club like mar-a-lago. >> my wife and i were new. we wanted to be part of the community. we joined the club. >> what is it like to be a member of mar-a-lago. >> he's always been a good host. that's the side of donald trump i always knew. >> all i can tell you is we do a good job. donald trump's hospitality does not come cheep. >> make america great again. >> after the election, mar-a-lago doubled its initiation fee from $100 to
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200,0 $200,000. is that what it costs to rub shoulders with the president of the united states? according to jeff green, we are asking the wrong question. >> what i most worried is are his policies going to really damage our country and our world, not whether or not he has an extra few million dollars in revenue from mar-a-lago. >> do you think there is a difference between political fundraisers and the way that mar-a-lago is working? >> the idea that it is a pay for play thing is kind of silly because that's not happening. >> are you sure? when they look into it, they think to themselves, that's what it feels like. >> i live in palm beach. we have a lot of close friends in common. i have no direct access to the president. even before i ran for governor. i think if somebody was already his friend and they're having dinner at mar-a-lago, they would have access, but they would
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anyway. >> this doesn't quite mesh with what green said. in 2018 he tauted his membership at mar-a-lago as a means to confront the president, something he explained during an interview with local newspaper editors. >> we didn't give up our membership because i felt it would be a chance to go out and really address this president on how i felt, and i have been able to do it. >> green doesn't see this as a contradiction. as a neighbor and fellow multimillionaire, he considers himself donald trump's peer, rather than just a member of his club. local reporter christine stapleton gave me another perspective. he's written stories about mar-a-lago for more than 25 years. >> i think it's really important for us to know who is going in and out of mar-a-lago and who the members are because of the proximity to power you have if
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you are a member of mar-a-lago. >> is anyone else getting any political benefit of being a member of mar-a-lago? >> yes. we have identified four members of mar-a-lago who have been tapped for diplomatic positions. >> i'm robin bernstein, the new ambassador to the dominican republic. >> a funding member of mar-a-lago and a campaign donor, also donald trump's long-time insurance agent. according to stapleton -- >> he asked two other members to be ambassador, and they turned him down for personal or health reasons. we have a couture handbag designer. >> president trump nominated marks as ambassador to south africa. this is nothing new. it goes back as far as the founding fathers. but donald trump promised ethics
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reform, then proceeding to nominate campaign donors to ambassad ambassadorships. that isn't just rewarding people who put money into donald trump's campaign. it's actively rewarding people who are putting money into donald trump's pocket. >> i mean, if i ever had the chance to talk to the president of the united states, i certainly would ask him why he has tapped these mar-a-lago members for these types of positions. >> there is one more thing you should know about mar-a-lago and the ways president trump may be profiting off the presidency. when secret service agents and other officials stay at mar-a-lago, the president's company bills the government for their rooms and expenses. in other words, the trump organization bills the american taxpayer. according to the u.s. government accountability office, for his first four trips to mar-a-lago as president, americans paid the club and, therefore, the
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president $60,000 for housing the core group of secret service and defense department staff who stay on site. since then, president trump has visited mar-a-lago dozens of times, but the white house and other government agencies have not fully disclosed these costs. >> mar-a-lago is a unique and interesting piece of donald trump's real estate empire. but the property that seems to be brewing the most controversy is one much closer to the white house. we're headed to washington, d.c. if you live with diabetes,
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washington d.c. is the scene of our government and it happens to also be the location of one of donald trump's newest properties just a few blocks from the white house. the trump international hotel opened two weeks before election day in the capital's old post office following a renovation estimated to cost $200 million. the trump organization is now six years into a 60 year lease
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of the building from the federal government. >> with the notable exception of 1600 pennsylvania avenue, this is the most coveted piece of real estate in washington, d.c. >> i have been here multiple times. >> yeah. >> it's almost hard to believe that it isn't illegal for foreign governments or foreign entities to stay here. >> that's the question. >> even us, like the idea that we, as people who cover him, could sit here and pay for coffee or potato chips that ultimately the money goes into his pocket, there are just so many issues. why would you want to put yourself in that position? >> it is unusual to give money to the president of the united states in this way. this is a donation to his
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wallet. >> nbc news analyzed federal election committee data and found that political groups spent more than $1.9 million at the hotel since the start of 2017. and since the first year of the trump presidency, the hotel charged the secret service close to $200,000 in taxpayer money, according to agency expense documents obtained by nbc news under the freedom of information a act. the hotel success could be a legal issue for the president. it all depends on an obscure word found in the first and second articles of the constituti constitution, emolument. the constitution bans the president receiving emolument from foreign or domestic governments. john explains why. >> nice to meet you. >> nice to meet you. welcome. >> we know what a emolument is.
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but there is a discussion about what exactly it is. it is a weird word. >> it is an unusual word. we are talking about whether the presidency can be turned into a cash register for donald trump. that's ultimately what we're talking about. the word emolument appears three times in the constitution. you can see it is very elaborately written. but the word appears four times. >> jacob, how are you? >> this is karl ra seen, the attorney general of washington, d.c., a democrat, who along with the attorney general of maryland, democrat brian roch, filed one of these emolument lawsuits against donald trump. >> there was a nonstop flow, certainly after president trump became elected, of foreign sovereign officials taking up at the trump hotel. >> donald trump and his attorneys say the emolument's clause doesn't apply to his
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hotels. but just in case, they say they're donating all profits from foreign organizations to the fresh eye. totals $343,000. it didn't provide any backup or break down for their annual donations. although, earlier they had submitted a familiar let to congress documenting who would want as a foreign government entity and how they calculate those profits. >> it has to be clear that the president during his presidency is not receiving any monies from those properties that come from either foreign or domestic sources. >> not one dime. >> not one dime. >> in 2018, the u.s. district court in maryland ruled the lawsuit could proceed. but in july 2019, a panel of three judges appointed by republican presidents in the fourth circuit court of appeals ordered that the case be dismissed. they found maryland and d.c.'s ags didn't have standing to
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bring the lawsuit and also found the link between government officials patronage of the hotel and the payments to the president himself was simply to attenuating or weak. the president won this round, but keep in mind there are two other separate emoluments lawsuits from a citizen's action group and one from house democrats. they're also still in the courts. that means the stage is still set to figure out whether donald trump really did violate the oath he took on day one of his presidency. >> serve, protect and defend. >> the constitution of the united states. >> the constitution of the united states. >> so help me god. >> so help me god. >> emoluments might be an old and pretty clunky word, but the founders wanted to make sure the president was acting for the people an not himself. while katy and i are near the white house, marine one happens
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to be taking off with the president onboard. >> what do you think he's thinking about right now? >> i wonder when he takes off, does he take a look at the hotel? >> he's wondering if it looks busy. >> how many people are in there? how much money am i making today? >> hopefully he's focussed on our nation's interest both at home and abroad. but if trs any conflict between his duty and business ties, the stakes could be much higher than just ethics concerns. r than just ethics concerns rack! this is my buick. how are we gonna fit in your mom's buick? easy. i like that new buick. -me too. i was actually talking about that buick. i knew that. -did you? buick's fresh new lineup is full of surprises. current eligible non-gm owners and lessees get 20% below msrp on most 2019 buick encore models.
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police investigating two mass shooting in less than 24 hours. in el paso, texas a 21-year-old man facing his first court appearance after killing 20 in a walmart. he posted an anti-immigrant message before the shooting. and a shooting in dayton, ohio.
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police killed him. president trump offering condolences and brief remarks. he promised a longer statement 10:00 a.m. eastern on monday. back to "american swamp." surprising as it sounds, whether donald trump is trying to profit from the presidency might not be the most troubling question we have about his possible conflicts of interest. how they could impact our relations around the world, even our national security is a far graver concern. since donald trump's candidacy, there has been questions about whether he has business ties with russia. he maintained throughout the presidential campaign that despite all the speculation, he had no deals there. >> i have no businesses there. i have no loans from russia. >> initially michael cohen backed up that assertion. but he later changed his testimony, swearing under oath
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that he was pursuing a moscow deal on behalf of donald trump during the 2016 campaign. >> mr. trump knew of and directed the trump-moscow negotiations throughout the campaign and lied about it. >> but there is another complex real estate deal involving the trump extended family you might not know about, one that has a brief mention in the mueller report. in 2007, two years before jared and ivanka were married, this building, 666 fifth avenue was bought by jared kushner's family. during the 2016 campaign and after the election when jared became a senior adviser to the president, the kushner company was seeking financing to pay off the $1.2 billion mortgage. >> you have never been up here? >> i have never been up here. it's quite the view. >> we're starting to piece all of this together at the very top of 30 rock with bloomberg report
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er who tracks the real estate empire of donald trump and his family. >> what's the deal with 666 fifth avenue in. >> this was the kushner family's big bet in 2007. they paid a record setting $1.8 billion for this building. >> and in 2008 things fell apart. >> yeah. it basically sparked a decade of rolling problems for the family where they were constantly trying to figure out how to handle this massive debt that they had acquired. charlie kushner, jared's father, had an idea to knock down this building and build another in its place. it was a deal so expensive and such a moon shot that most u.s.-based investors considered it a nonstarter. they had to take that plan to someplace they wouldn't be laughed out of the room. >> i pledge to every citizen of
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our land that i will be president for all americans. >> after the election, jared kushner became a senior adviser to the president. he sold his share of 666 to his family and put part of his financial portfolio in a blind trust run by his mother. in 2018 kushner's attorney told msnbc that his client was no longer part of any decisions about the property. >> before he entered government, the 666 fifth avenue was an asset he completed divested himself in. >> frank is a former assistant director for counter intelligence at the fbi and an nbc news national security contributor. >> what is the difference between having a blind trust or divesting and it going to an outside party versus it going back to your family? >> a true divestiture, a truly blind trust is when decisions are being made without your input. so if you have done this with your mom, it's likely that over
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a holiday dinner, some things are being discussed, some signals are being given. >> as the mortgage deadline loomed, the kushner company continued to pursue financing. it turned to qatar. it's a point of concern because part of jared kushner's duties at the white house include advising the president on middle east foreign policy. >> what's the message that is being sent to these foreign countries to have someone like kushner in the white house and dealing with middle east and dealing with the very sensitive foreign policy arena? >> if this comes down to business interests over national security interests and we can't tell the difference, neither can these other countries. and they will find that window and that gap and they will try to exploit it. >> in april of 2017, the kushner company had talks with the former prime minister of qatar, the richest man in the country.
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but no agreement was reached. in an interview with a new york real estate publication, charlie kushner said the company also met with the qatar investment authority, which invests money for the government of qatar, but no deal was struck there either. >> the whole issue of 666 fifth avenue and seeking foreign assistance and funding for that building and that debt troubles me greatly. >> troubling because while business deals were being negotiated, the delicate work of american dip employee masy in the east was and never is far from a crisis. and just weeks later, a crisis is exactly what erupted. >> we certainly would encourage the parties to sit down together and address these differences. can my side be firm?
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while donald trump's son-in-law jared kushner handled his 2017 white house duties which did include a middle east portfolio, his family was actively seeking refinancing on a more than one billion dollar loan for their manhattan skyscraper 666 fifth avenue from the wealthy gulf state nation of qatar. this deal didn't happen. but then in june of 2017, qatar was suddenly in the news. >> diplomatic crisis erupting in the middle east. accusing that country of supporting terror. >> a regional feud reached a boiling point. qatar's neighbors formed a blockade around the country and were threatening to invade. there was a very real possibility they would invade qa qatar. >> courtney was in the region a few months after the blockade started.
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>> where are you? >> we're in bahrain right now. we were in qatar for a couple of days. the u.s. has the largest air base in the area, and it's sitting right there in qatar. that would be a huge deal for the united states to have an invasion of qatar when we have a massive military site there. >> it could have very serious implications for the u.s. military and their operations here. >> within hours of crisis, then secretary of state rex tillerson tried to deescalate the standoff between these u.s. allies. >> we certainly would encourage the parties to sit down together and address these differences. >> tillerson's efforts was undercut by president trump who made it clear that he was siding with the saudis over the qatar government. >> the nation of qatar unfortunately has historically been a funder of terrorism. >> qatar denied being a funder of ter rofiroristerrorism.
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it did not go unnoticed that jared kushner had developed a close working relationship with members of the saudi royal family. it was also reported that one of the administration's advocates for president trump's anti-qatar policy was senior adviser jared kushner. while there have been ongoing tensions between the u.s. and qatar over alleged funding of terrorism, the administration's sudden change in strategy led to an uncomfortable question. was it over a legitimate foreign policy position? or did the unsuccessful negotiations for 666 have anything to do with the anti-qatar stance? >> there are questions about 666 fifth avenue and the funding and the blockade and the timing, but that's about it. is it maybe going too far to make that connection, to make that jump? >> it is really important that
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we stick to the facts we know and not to engage in conjecture that actually draws conclusions that we don't have data to support. >> questions surrounding jared kushner's potential conflicts of interest have been an issue since he joined the administration and was denied top secret security clearance. that decision by intelligence officials was eventually overruled by the trump administration. >> part of the reason that it was denied, according to the information that we have so far, is that it was potentially because of his foreign interests and foreign dealings with his real estate business, at least before he came into the white house. do you think 666 fifth avenue could have had something to do with that? >> i don't think there is any question that the foreign business interests and questions around who he is talking to and why he's talking to them have entered into why there was a lack of recommendation for jared to get clearance. and the fact that it was over written, the fact that clear professionals had that decision
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taken from them and were overridden should concern all of us. >> but this isn't donald trump's business. that's the conflict any longer. this is one of his advisers. it's kushner's family business. why is that a problem for the president? >> for me as a counter intelligence professional, it is about access to the president. and it doesn't get much closer than the son-in-law of the president. >> in the weeks and months that followed, relations between the u.s. and qatar began to mend. the two nations signed a memorandum of understanding on fighting terrorism, but the blockade continues to this day. the kushner company did eventually get financing for 666 through brookfield asset management, a canadian investment company. while the qatar investment authority acknowledged it has a small stake in the fund that brookfield invested in the building, its spokesman told nbc news in a statement that it had no direct involvement with the 666 deal and that the fund had
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invested in the building without our knowledge. >> what is the problem with the appearance of a conflict? >> we slid from optics matter. we have to conduct ourselves at the highest level with the most moral and ethical conduct, down to, well, if it's not breaking the law, it's fine. >> so who's doing anything about all this? for the first two years of donald trump's presidency, a republican-led congress offered little oversight. but that is not the case today. >> my job as a member of the congress is to be a check on the executive branch. so you can call it whatever you want. it's me doing my job. this is america. mobile app makes it easy to manage your policy, even way out here. your marshmallow's... get digital id cards, emergency roadside service, even file a... whoa. whoa. whoa. whoa. whoa. whoa!
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president trump's potential conflicts went virtually
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unchecked for his first two years in office, while republicans controlled both chambers of congress. that changed in january 2019. >> nancy pelosi, i extend to you this gavel. >> with the house back in democratic control, katy and i went to see representative elijah cummings. just recently he was the target of one of the president's twitter tirades. but when we met, he was about to take over as chairman of the powerful house oversight committee. >> let's talk to you about oversight. how high on the list is emoluments and the d.c. hotel? >> very high. we're going to looking at emoluments, we're going to look at the d.c. hotel. >> the votes from the midterms were still being counted when president trump began to push back against investigation. >> are you offering a my way or
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highway to the democrats? >> not at all. >> you say if they start investigati investigating you, you can start investigating them -- >> better than that. all it is is a war-like posture. >> the president is trying to fight back against you, he's calling it presidential harassment. >> i don't try to stop the president from doing his job. my job as a member of the congress is to be a check on the executive branch. so you can call it whatever you want, it's me doing my job. this is america. >> how do you convince people the job you're doing, subpoenaing various members of the administration, potentially of donald trump's organization and his orbit, that by doing that you are helping the american public? >> at some point we have to make the moral argument. and we have to make that argument for what makes -- help people understand that they have a vested interest in making sure that we have a president and a
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legislature that is accountable. you know, somebody asked me the other day, they said, are you happy to have this position? are you happy to be the chairman? and i said, absolutely not. i said, i'm not, because -- because it is a phenomenal -- i feel the burden. but it's a burden i'm willing to bear. >> but as the democrats pursued lawsuits, investigations, and hearings into the president's potential business conflicts, what did gop lawmakers think? we asked new york's peter king. >> when is it proept to investigate a president? >> when there's any significant ground grounds against his oath of office. >> what about conflicts of interest? >> it has to really be a conflict of interest. >> can i give you an example? the president went to normandy to celebrate the anniversary of d-day, went from there to his private property golf course in ireland, for what interest?
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>> that's no conflict of interest. he enjoys playing golf, met the prime minister of ireland -- >> not enough to investigate? >> no. >> what about emoluments clause? >> you guy are pushing this as far as you can. absolutely not. he owns property all over the world -- >> who's you guys? >> the media. >> really? >> congressman jim jordan, a vocal trump defender, wanted to discuss a number of things, but not president trump's business dealings. >> are you concern with the president profiting from money from foreign governments, going into the president's pockets in his locations and other locations the president owns? >> i'm concerned about this unprecedented attack from the five key chairman in the house on an individual, not oversight of federal agencies but this unprecedented attack on the president -- >> you're very good at spinning and it going in another direction -- >> i'm talking about proper oversight. >> when he goes to his properties and brings the press along with him -- >> putting the embassy jerusalem, he's done it, 3.2 economic growth rate -- >> it's hard to understand why
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if the president is profiting off the presidency, you don't want to look nor pitt i've got to go. >> ethics questions have continued to pile up for the trump administration. >> in february the house intelligence committee launched its own probe of whether foreign governments have leverage over donald trump, his family, and associates. >> in march, the house judiciary committee launched a sweeping investigation into donald trump's possible obstruction of justice, corruption, and abuse of power. there are many document requests including correspondence relating to russia, the united arab emirates, saudi arabia, and qatar. the house ways and means committee sued the treasury department and the irs in june 2019, demanding the president's tax returns. since then he's been issued dozens of searches for information relate together trump organization's corporate tax returns to information about the president's financial trusts and their wrangling over the emoluments question goes on.
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>> in the course of our investigation, we reached out to both the trump organization and the kushner companies. they never responded to our requests. and the white house declined to speak to us on the record. is donald trump fleecing the country? congress and the courts will come up with some answers, but ultimately it is americans who will decide if it is acceptable to profit from the presidency. >> regardless of what you think of donald trump's policies, it's his motivations we're questioning. and the only reason we have to in the first place is because they're as murky as the swamp he's claiming to drain. next time on "american swamp" -- >> i never thought an elementary school, growing up learning about elections in america that one day i'd be talking about the world's greatest democracy, vietnam. >> low voter turnout, voter suppression tactics, and accusations of election fraud.
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>> did you know about the illegal ballot harvesting? >> if you're confident that you won, don't you want to call for another election? >> is america's election system rigged? this is an msnbc special series. >> white lives matter! white lives matter! >> 30 years ago i embraced hate and perpetrated violence. but when i finally wanted to leave america's white power movement, there was no nobody willing to help a confused nazi skinhead like me. >> another 15 seconds. >> today i'm the guy i needed back then. i help people break their hate, atone for their wrongs, and start over again with a clean slate. >> you're tough enough to put it on, you've got to be tough enough to get it taken off. >> i'm what's called a

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