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tv   American Swamp  MSNBC  August 4, 2019 8:00pm-9:00pm PDT

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i think you need to sit down and talk to somebody about that because -- because the more we push these people away, the closer they come to crossing a line. wow, these binoculars make you feel like you're in a club. it's like a $100,000 feeling for free. it looks really quiet, so does that mean nobody's around? >> technically it hasn't started yet number one and number two, the president is not here. he's in washington. >> this is mar-a-lago, the private resort in palm beach. it's one of many properties and companies that are part of the trump organization family
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business, which ultimately will benefit the 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 nearly 500 paying members is a symbol of the potential conflicts of interest that plague the trump presidency. and that is why we are here. this is place where it costs hundreds of thousands of dollars to be a member, and the price went up after he was elected president. >> it's funny to think about this is kind of 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 interests
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partially because they involve members or tenants indirectly paying the president of the united states. are they getting benefits? actual access to not just the president but the presidency? it's a nightmare for anybody who wants to know the truth between whether donald trump is acting for you and me or if he's acting for himself and the trump organization. it is one big giant swamp. ♪ >> just three weeks before the election donald trump started using a line in his speeches 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.
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>> katey and i are teaming up to find out what the swamp really is and whether donald trump is draining it or making it worse. we'll look into this question into florida and beyond but we're starting this journey in new york city, the anchor of donald trump's real estate empire. >> yeah. >> this is your first time on a double-decker? >> an open one in new york, yeah. >> i've actually never been on one either but we figured it was a pretty efficient way to check out donald trump's real estate. 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 for his popular reality show that aired on nbc "the
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apprentice" and as the launchpad for the most improbable campaign to succeed. look at all the different windows. who's paying what money to where inside that building? this is trump international? >> yep. hotel and tower. so there are apartments here, but it is also a hotel. >> i've 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 crown prince mohammed bin salman stayed at the trump international for five days following a white house visit in march 2018. >> there was a letter by the general manager saying the saudis have helped us with our bottom line. 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 because he did a licensing deal.
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>> yeah, he didn't build them. for a while the trump name was a decent part of his business. today not so much. they're taking his name down from these buildings one by one because the people inside the buildsings, the condo boards are petitioning and saying we don't want his name. >> was this a trump building? not anymore? thank god for that. >> there you go. that's what he said. >> donald trump's brand is suffering in liberal manhattan but also beyond. the president's most current financial disclosure statement shows 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
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companies is an entity called the donald j. trump revocable 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 with tim o'brien. in 2005 he wrote a biography saying mr. trump was worth 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've watched it recently. it'll be the first time in a while. >> the press conference addressed several issues. including how he planned to separate the business of trump from the business of being president trump. >> she's going to go these papers are just some of the many
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documents that i've signed turning over complete and total control. >> president-elect trump directed me and my colleagues to design a structure that would 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 show. they've setup 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. were they blank pages? were they take out menus? were they his taxes? but we do know that donald trump saw handing over management to his sons as a voluntary decision. >> 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
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time. >> he's talking about the federal law 18 usc 208 that prohibits government employees from working on anything related to their financial interests. 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 weal wealthier than donald trump released seven years of tax returns and sat seven days on capitol hill all the be gerald ford's vice president. >> we are all concerned but the 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
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foreign deals. he has not divested, and he's disclosed just what the law requires. and 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's loopholes in there for real estate developers like him that helps their wallet? as we try to make sense of all of that, katy and i try to take a closer look at trump tower. even if you try to figure out who lives here, who works here, this is the directory? >> is just six things. >> trump cafe, ground level, but i will say if you're thirsty for a coffee it's easy to figure out where starbucks is. >> starbucks, level 2. >> the trump building includes five floors of retail. and unless you spend a very, very long time in the lobby or wade through a mountb of public
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records it's not easy finding out who takes the elevators to 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's doing business here. >> donald trump's potential conflicts of interest begin with his clients and tenants. dan alexander and the team at forbes have been piecing that information together. >> it's a business with a lot of tentacles and everywhere where you look you find conflicts. >> and how do you do it? at the heart of it, how do you figure out if donald trump has conflicts of interests that are strike at the heart of american democracy? >> donald trump has to list hey, i own the 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's inside the building and let's
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call up all those companies and figure out what they're paying. what their square footage is. so i had to boot over boot measure from one end to the other end. >> did you think you were basically going to be -- >> a vagabond wandering around his property? it's absurd, but this is the way you have to figure out who's paying the president of the united states. >> dan and his colleagues used their findings along with bank records and market rates to reconstruct the rent rolls for donald trump's properties. >> we counted up more than 80 tenants and of those 36 of them have very clear ties with the federal government, whether it was they were contractors or they were under investigation by the federal government. so right there, that's three dozen, okay, and that's just the tenants. >> according to forbes and bloomberg one trump tower tenant in particular, china. that country's industrial and commercial bank, icbc has long
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rented the entire 20th floor and parts of two others. >> the chinese government through a chinese government 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 vast majority of those tenants precede his election, but his organization also owns properties where visit by donald trump himself seem to be the draw. but who exactly is getting access? next stop, palm beach, florida. . they customized my car insurance, so i only pay for what i need. then i won the lottery, got hair plugs, and started working out. and so can you!
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for wifi with super powers, get xfinity xfi. and go see, fast & furious presents, hobbs & shaw. now playing. come on, katy. >> the best way to enjoy the florida coast is on the water. but we're not exactly here for a joyride.
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>> we can go fast right here if you guys don't mind. it'll get us there quicker. >> yeah, rev it. >> no, take it away. >> 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. with a black suv on it under that giant american flag. >> the white awning connects the grand ballroom which donald trumpadsed to the 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 year's party, the famous new year's party. >> mar-a-lago was built in the 1920s, the owner of jenful 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
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maintenance costs. donald trump bought the property in 1985 and ten years later turned it into a private club. in the end mar-a-lago has fulfilled post-vision, almost. >> many of the world's great leaders request to come to mar-a-lago and palm beach. they like it, i like it. we're comfortable. now it is indeed the southern white house. >> except for the fact it's now a private for-profit club. since donald trump took office it's become more and more a venue for groups whose views align with the president. it's also become a potential security risk. in march 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
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that donald trump is president of the united states? i want to ask an actual member, 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 building with the club housing some of their seasonal workers in their apartment complexes and part of that covers the annual dues. why do you need to be part of a club like mar-a-lago? >> my wife and i were new back in town here, we wanted to become part of the community. we had some friends who joined the club. >> what is it like to be a member of mar-a-lago? >> as a host he's always been a good host. that's the side of donald trump i knew. >> all i can tell you, we're going to do a good job. >> donald trump's hospitality does not come cheap. after the election mar-a-lago doubled its initiation fee from
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100 to $200,000. so is that what it costs to rub shoulders with the president of the united states? according to fellow billionaire jeff green, we're asking the wrong question. >> what i'm most worried is, you know, 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 that's the difference between political fund raisers for any other politician and the way mar-a-lago is working? >> the idea it's some kind of pay for play thing where you join the club and get to hang out with the president is pretty silly. that's not happening. >> are you sure? that's what people when they look into it, they feel that's what it feels like. >> i live in palm beach. we have a lot of close friends and family. i have no direct access to the president. so i think if somebody was already his friend and they'll
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have access, but they would have already anyway. >> here's the thing, this doesn't quite mesh with what green said in his gubernatorial campaign. in 2018 he touted 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 thought it was a chance to address the president on some of how i felt and i've been able to do it. >> green doesn't see this as a contradiction. as a neighbor and fellow multibillionaire, he considers himself donald trump's peer rather than just a member of his club. local reporter christine stapleton gave me another perspective. she'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
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the members are because of the proximity to power you have if 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've identified four members of mar-a-lago who have been tapped for diplomatic positions. >> hola, amigos, i'm robin bernstein, the new ambassador to the dominican republic. >> bernstein is the founding member of mar-a-lago and also a campaign donor. and also donald trump's long time insurance agent and according to stapleton. >> he asked two other members to be ambassadors and they turned him down for personal or health reasons, and then we have a fourth one. her name is lana markks. she's a cotour handbag designer. >> presidents rewarding their supporters with jobs is nothing new. it goes back as far as the founding fathers.
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but donald trump promised ethics reform then proceeded to nominate campaign donors to ambassadorships. and nominating mar-a-lago members takes it one step further. 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's 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
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first four trips to mar-a-lago as president, americans paid the club and therefore the 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. . ♪ i want it that way... i can't believe it. that karl brought his karaoke machine? ♪ ain't nothing but a heartache... ♪ no, i can't believe how easy it was to save hundreds of dollars on my car insurance with geico. ♪ i never wanna hear you say... ♪ no, kevin... no, kevin!
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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 just two weeks before election day in the capitol's old post office. following a renovation estimated to cost $200 million. the trump organization is now
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six years into a 60-year lease 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've been there multiple times. >> it's almost hard to believe that it isn't explicitly illegal for foreign government or foreign entities to stay here. >> i think that's the question. >> even us, like the idea as 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? >> to give money to the president of the united states in this way, this is donation to
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his wallet. >> nbc news analyzed federal elections commissions 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 tax documents obtained by nbc news under the freedom of information act. it all depends on an obscure word found in the first i second articles of the constitution. emolument. constitutional law scholar john
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mcholeeil explains why. >> it's a very unusual world. we're talking about whether the presidency can be turned into a cash register for donald trump. the word emolument appears three times in the constitution. this is the foreign emoluments clause and you can see it's very elaborately written but the word any is written four times indicating the founders wanted to be sweeping and all encompassing. >> jacob, how are you? >> this is carl, the attorney general of washington, d.c., a democrat who along with the attorney general of maryland, democrat brian frosch three amolument lawsuits against donald trump. >> there was a nonstop flow certainly after donald trump became elected of foreign sovereign officials taking up at the trump hotel.
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>> donald trump and his attorneys say the emoluments clause doesn't apply to his hotels but just in case they say they're donating all profits from foreign governments to the treasury. for the last two years the trump organization announced two donations totaling $343,000. they didn't provide any backup or break down for their annual donations, although earlier they had submitted a pamphlet to congress documenting how they'd calculate those profits. >> it has to be clear 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 republic republican presidents in the fourth circuit court of appeals
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ordered that the case be dismissed. they found marylands and d.c.'s ag's didn't have standing to bring the lawsuit and also found that the link between government officials patronage of the hoit eland the hotel it was payments of the president himself was simply too attenuted or weak. the president won this round but keep in mind there are two other separate emoluments lawsuits. from a citizens 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 oe oath he took on day one of his presidency. >> preserve, 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 claungy word, bonky
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founders wanted to make sure the president wasn't working for himself. what do you think right now as donald trump is taking off over the white house? >> i wonder when he takes off does he take a look at the hotel? does he wonder what the occupancy is, how many people are there, how much money they're working today? >> hopefully he's instead focused on our nations interest both at home and abroad. but if there is any conflict between his duty and his business ties, the stakes could be much higher than just ethics concerns. h higher than just eth concerns
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i'm marlie hall with the hours top stories. 20 people killed after a gunman allegedly opened fired in an el paso, texas, wal-mart after making an anti-immigrant post online. he's now in custody facing his first court hearing. then in dayton, ohio, a gunman opened fire in a popular downtown area killing at least 9
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people. the suspect was shot and killed by police. authorities haven't revealed a motive. now 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 have hacked our relations around the world even our national security is a far graver concern. since donald trump's candidacy there have 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, i have no loans from russia. >> initially michael cohen the president's former fixer and lawyer backed up that assertion, but he later changed his
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testimony swearing under oath he was pursuing a moxcow deal on behalf of donald trump during the 2016 campaign. >> mr. trump knew of and directed the trump moskow negotiations throughout the campaign and lied about it. >> but there's 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 advisor to the president, the kushner company was seeking financing to pay off the $1.2 billion mortgage. you've never been up here? >> i've never been up here. it's quite the view. >> we're starting to peace all of this together at the very top of 30 rock with bloomberg
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reporter cay law malbi who tracks the real estate empire of donald trump and his entire family. >> that's the kushner family building right down there, shorter than some of the others. >> what's the deal with 666 fifth avenue? >> 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. sharly 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 just considered it a nonstarter. they had to take that plan to someplace where they wouldn't be locked out of the room. >> i pledge to every citizen of our land that i will be
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president for all americans. >> after the election, jared kushner became a senior advisor 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 abbey lowell told msnbc his client was no longer part of any decision about the property. >> before he entered government 666 fifth avenue was an est he completely divested himself. >> what is the difference between having a blind trust or divesting and going to an outside party versus it going back to your family? >> a true blind trust is when decisions are being made without your input. so if you've done this with your mom it's likely that over a
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holiday dinner some things are being discussed, some signals are being given. >> as the mortgage deadline for 666 loomed the kushner company continued to pursue financing. it turned to qatar, a small wealthy oil nation in the persian gulf. 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 ent to these foreign countries to have someone like kushner in the white house and dealing with the middle east and dealing with a very sensitive foreign policy arena? >> if this comes down to business doctors 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'll try to exploit it. >> in april 2017 the kushner company had talks with the former prime minister of qatar, the richest man in the country. but no agreement was reached.
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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 diplomacy in the middle east was and still is never 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. e and you should be mad at simple things that are unnecessarily complicated.
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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 port folio his family was actively seeking refinancing on a more than $1 million loan for their manhattan skyscraper 666 fifth avenue from the wealthy gulf state nation of qatar. that deal didn't happen, but then in june of 2017 qatar was suddenly in the news. >> five nations cutting ties with qatar accusing that country of supporting terror. >> a regional feud between qatar and his gulf state neighbors reached a boiling point. qatar's neighbors had formed a blockade around the country and were threatening to invade. there was a very real possibility the saudis and
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emirates were going to invade qatar. courtney was in the region a few months after the blockade started. >> 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 the crisis then secretary of state rex tillerson tried to de-escalate the standoff between these u.s. allies. >> we certainly would encourage the parties to sit down together and address these differences. >> tillerson's effort was undercut by president trump who made it clear that he was siding with the saudis over the qatari government. >> the nation of qatar,
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unfortunately, has historically been a funder of terrorism. >> qatar denied being a supporter of terrorism while the kushner company qatari connection wasn't public yet. according to a house oversight committee report 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 advisor jared kushner. and while there had been ongoing tensions between the u.s. and qatar over the alleged funding of terrorism the administration's sudden change in strategy led to an uncomfortable question. was it over a legit foreign policy position, or did the unsuccessful negotiations for 666 have anything to do with the anti-qatar stance? there are questions about 666ing
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fifth avenue and the funding and the blockade and timing, but that's about it. is it maybe going too far to make that connection and make that jump? >> it's really important 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 interests 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's any question that the foreign business interests and questions around who he's talking to and why he's talking to them have entered into why there was a
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lack of recommendation for jared to get a clearance. and the fact that it was overwritten, the fact that career professionals had that decision taken from them and were overwritten should concern all of us. >> but this is in donald trump's business, this is one of his advisers. it's kushner's family business. why is that a problem for the president in. >> for me as a counter intelligence professional it's about access to the president. and it doesn't get much closer an the son-in-law of the president. >> in the weeks and months of the president siding against qatar 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
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brookfield invested in the building, its spokeman told nbc news in a statement that it had no direct involvement with the 666 deal and that had fund had invested in the building without what is the problem with the appearance of a conflict? >> you go from appearances and optics, and they matter. and we have to conduct ourself at the highest ev esest conduct if it's not breaking the law, it's fine. >> so who's doing anything about all these potential conflicts? for the first two years of president 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. it's me doing my job. this is america. it's me doing my job this is america. any physical changes to this man's appearance are purely coincidental.
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president trump's potential conflicts went virtually 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 democrat understand control, katie 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 wanted to look at eemolument, we're going to look at the d.c. hotel. >> president bush began to push
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back against potential investigations. >> are you offering a my way or the highway scenario to the democrats? >> not at all. >> you're saying if they start investigating you, that you can play that game and investigate them. >> if they do that, then it's -- all it is is a war-like posture. >> the president has tried 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 call it whatever you want. it's me doing my job. this is america. >> how do you convince people that the job you're doing, subpoenaing various members of the administration, potential of donald trump's administration, 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
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understand that they have an invested interest in making sure that we have a president and a legislature that is accountable. you know, somebody asked me the other day, 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 sit 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 appropriate to investigate a president? >> when there's significant grounds and the evidence that he violated his oath of office. >> what about conflicts of office? >> can i give you an example? >> sure. >> the president went to norm
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normandy, and then went from there to his private property golf course in ireland for what reason? >> that's not a conflict of interest. he met the prime minister of ireland. >> it's not advertisement for his property? >> not enough to investigate. >> what about violations of his emoluments clause. >> you're pushing this as far as you can. the people knew two he was when he was elected. >> who's "you guys? " >> the media. >> congressman jim jordan wanted to discuss a number of things. but not president trump's business dealings. >> are you concerned with the president profiting from foreign governments, money from foreign entities? >> i'm concerned about this unprecedented attack from the five key chairman in the house on an individual, not oversight of federal agencies, but -- >> congressman, you're very good at going in another direction. >> what about proper oversight? >> when he goes to his
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properties and brings the press along -- [ overlapping speakers ] >> if the president is profiting -- >> i have 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 president trump, his family, and associates. >> in march, house judiciary committee launched a sweeping investigation into president trump's possible obstruction of justice, corruption, and abuse of power. there are many document requests, including correspondents relating to russia, the united arab emirates, saudi arabia and qatar. the house ways and means committee sued the treasury department, demanding the president's tax returns. house committees then issued dozens of subpoenas for information ranging from the
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trump administration's corporate tax returns to information about the president's financial trust. and their wrangling over the emoluments question goes on. >> in the the course of our investigation, we reached out to 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 president 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 president 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," -- >> he never thought in elementary school growing up that one day i would be talking about the world's greatest
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democracy, vietnam. >> low voter turnout, voter suppression tactics and accusations of election fraud. >> if you're confident you won, don't you want to call for another election? >> is america's election system rigged? this was an insane world i was living in. i did what i had to do. >> what if you were ripped away from your family? >> you live in fear. it changes you. >> kidnapped by a killer. >> i came out of that just really messed up. >> held for years as a prisoner. and what if prosecutors never believed you? >> bobbi parker was not the woman

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