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tv   Deadline White House  MSNBC  July 30, 2018 1:00pm-2:00pm PDT

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lockstep, all major markets are down. but the dow and s&p 500 are down 6/10 of a percent. the nasdaq tech stocks which populate the nasdaq are down a lot more. the nasdaq is down 1.4%. that wraps up this hour for me. i'll see you tomorrow at 11:00 a.m. eastern with stephanie ruhle, then 3:00 p.m. thanks for watching. "deadline white house" with nicolle wallace starts now. >> hi, everyone. it's 4:00 in new york. in a single round of media appearances rudy giuliani today torched two years of donald trump's collusion denials. muddying the waters to a near unrecognizable condition as he spirals deeper into incoherent scenarios about what the president did and didn't know about the trump tower meeting. that meeting is now at the heart of the obstruction of justice investigation and is perhaps also being investigated as part of a conspiracy to coordinate with a known american adversary. here are two of the president's closest allies and advisors debuting the new line on russian
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collusion, not that it didn't happen as donald trump has insisted on a near daily basis, but that if it did, it wouldn't really matter because, well, collusion isn't a crime. >> collusion is not a crime, and so the fact of the matter is that we're a long way away yet from having anything to talk about here. >> i've been sitting here looking at the federal code trie trying to find collusion as a crime. >> it's not. >> collusion is not a crime. >> it's right after conspiracy. rudy giuliani potentially creating more problems for the president by describing what sounds like a detail planning meeting, one that took place two days before that meeting with the russians. >> lanny davis added there was a meeting two days before the meeting took place with donald junior, jared, manafort, gates and -- >> that's a real meeting? >> that's a real meeting on another provable subject in
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which he did not participate. the meeting cohen is talking about took place before the meeting with the russian. the other thing that's contradicted is cohen also now says, because he says too much, that two days before he was just in a meeting with roughly the same group of people but not the president, definitely not the president, in which they were talking about the strategy of the meeting with the russians. >> to be clear that was a clean up of a walk back of a clean up. to update you giuliani tried to walk back said clean up by questions whether such a meeting took place remain. our friend matt miller live tweeting giuliani's blunder saying this. quote, a penny for white house counsel emmet flood's thoughts as he watches rudy incriminate the president on live television. possibly with actual evidence of wrongdoing, possibly with third-hand gossip. here to help us sift through the day's developments favorite reporters and friends white house bureau chief of the washington post phil rucker, former assistant director if he fbi for counter intelligence
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frank figliuzzi in new york. keir simmons and jennifer ruben, opinion writer with the washington post. let me start with you, frank figliuzzi. i understand the talking point is collusion is not a crime. to be clear, robert mueller is not investigating collusion, he's looking for crime. >> he is looking for crime. if you look in the dictionary, which i did, it says illegal cooperation or conspiracy. so really we should stop using the phrase collusion and just say criminal conspiracy. there is a host of criminal charges that could come into play here if it's proven that there was so-called collusion. what are those charges? look, if it's proven that russian money was flowing into the campaign, you've got election and campaign contribution violations. you have violations of the emoluments clause. if they were masking the origin of the russian money, then you could have bank fraud and wire fraud and money laundering and there is conspiracy and there is
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accessory after the fact depending on when 24e knthey knt was happening. here's the key on the hacking. if they can indeed show campaign officials gave a green light or knew or encouraged the hacking into the dnc, then you have the same violations, cyber crime, computer fraud and abuse charges we saw lobbed onto the russian hackers, you see conspiracy charges against the president or his campaign officials. so it is about crime. >> and, phil rucker, there must be at some level some awareness that liability or exposure around one or more of those crimes is at least possible. as an explanation for their evolving defense, we put together how they keep moving the goal post. let's watch and talk about it on the other side. >> are there any ties between mr. trump, you or your campaign and putin and his regime? >> no, there are not. it's absurd. there's no base to it. >> i have nothing to do with
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russia. to the best of my knowledge, no person that i deal with does. >> an acquaintance sent me an e-mail as a courtesy to him i said okay let's meet. >> i didn't know anything about the meeting. must have been an unimportant meeting because i never heard about. >> there's no collusion. >> no collusion. >> there was no collusion at all. >> i don't even know in that's a crime, colluding about russians. >> the excuse and the defense is often, well, he didn't obstruct justice. he did it all on twitter. we now know bob mueller is examining his tweets and his public statements. the other defense for a long time was collusion isn't a crime. we now heard from frank figliuzzi there are obvious and clear crimes under collusion around conspiracy. the white house at some level has either intuited this and shifted their defense or they're simply moving the goal post for their hard core supporters. which do you think it is? >> well, first of all, what rudy giuliani is out there saying is not at all coordinated with the white house. i think the white house would prefer that he keep quiet and be a lawyer who writes memos and
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deals with paper instead of going on television all the time. but what we've seen, what you just played in that clip is that the president's, you know, legal defense all along has really just been a p.r. strategy. it's been all about messaging, undermining mueller, trying to convince his supporters and anyone else who is listening that he has done nothing wrong without really delving into the nuances and the details of what the actual law is, what the actual circumstances that are under review might be and offering this sort of blanket no collusion, no collusion defense that the president's been making all the time, including this weekend on twitter. >> and, keir, you cover the trump tower meeting. you cover the russians who were in that meeting. >> yeah. >> and you interviewed natalia veselnitskaya. it's clear from your reporting and others that they are tied to the russian government, that this was a set-up. and either they were unwitting or witting. and it seems to me that the goal
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posts have shifted as the evidence has become clear, even to the general public. >> the ties to the russian government are in disputable because russian oligarchs, billionaires are like that with the russian government. look -- >> it's not like in america where really rich people have to disclose their donations. there are no lines. >> i've seen them mixing together again and again. the trump of russia, they call him, the guy looking at building a trump tower in moscow, helped organize the miss universe competition, in my instagram feed just in the past few days, take a look at this picture. we found a picture here. that's him standing next to da dmitri peskov. this is not hidden. this is hiding in plain sight. these are all part of the same russian establishments. >> and donald trump's ties to
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these individuals are hiding in plain sight as well. we know his son wrote back in an e-mail, i love it when you offer dirt from this gang on hillary clinton. >> i like to think of it as that these are obscenely rich people talking to other obscenely rich people. that's who the trumps are. that's who they are. frankly that's who the russian leadership are. they have a lot of money even though it's hidden away. they kind of behave the way you would expect obscenely rich people to behave. they want to talk to each other. they don't see any reason to not build communication lines. they have children who they empower, who are often entitled. they treat many, many people like pawns. these are people who are behaving in incredibly human ways -- for the russians, this is about trying to figure out how to make more money. let's get rid of sanctions, why? because we want to make more money. let's get into the u.s. economy because we want to make more money. politics is part of that and of course that is the way the president thinks and many people support him for that reason. >> frank figliuzzi, enter bob
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mueller who has now charged 13 russian officials for meddling in our election. i don't think anyone is putting their money on donald trump to ask vladimir putin to extradite those russian officials. they have a plan to jointly investigate russians and americans in helsinki. does that not exist in the world of trump where russian oligarchs mingle at the highest levels of the russian government? >> you know, it's important here to make a distinction between really rich people in the united states and really rich people in russia. the world that i come from, nicole, it's about the nexus to the intelligence services and the government. you're allowed to become rich in russia. you are inexorably linked to the hierarchy of government. if you look at the people charged in the first russian indictments mueller issued in the social media propaganda initiative, you can see the connections directly to putin
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through the oligarchs and the money being used to stage and set up the operation and deny plausibility to exist to allow putin say those are rich people doing some things. that's not our intelligence service. that's horse ma nur. the linkage is well established between the oligarchs and the government and intelligence services. that is important for us to remember. >> and we came in this way, jennifer, today because there is always a cause and effect. as unhinged and deranged as the twitter feed of the president of the united states now appears, there may be a link between what we've been talking about and the tweets which are the harshest we've seen yet against robert mueller reupped yesterday. the president tweeting robert mueller is conflicted because he was turned down for the job of fbi director for which, here it is, is robert mueller ever going to release his conflicts of interest with respect to president trump, speaking about himself in the third person, raising a different category of questions, including the fact we had a very nasty and contentious business relationship?
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i turned him down to head the fbi one day before the appointment of special counsel and comey is his close friend. i understand from sources he and comey are not particularly close friends and he was in there interviewing to be fbi director, but i don't understand it to be donald trump who turned him down. i think the other conflict the president is talking about is some altercation about a golf club. we also know the president wanted to fire mueller and it was don mcgahn the white house counsel who threatened to quit if he did that and na muellthat is looking at the desire to fire him as part of criminal intent. i heard you say on friday these questions go to the heart of had i legitimacy as president. >> that's what he's been afraid of all along, that people would look at the russia connection and conclude, gosh, this guy didn't win on his own. he won because his buddies in moscow hacked the dnc, released them at a very opportune time, maybe did a bunch of social media stuff. he's right, americans don't like their elections being interfered
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with. if there was substantial connection and we're seeing more and more connections, then yes, his greatest fear is going to come true. the other thing that's so remarkable about this is what did we learn? mueller is looking at his tweets. what does he do? he tweets. tweets threats to the special prosecutor. tweets about lying to get rid of the attorney general because he wouldn't do his bidding on recusal. the interaction of the tweets, the actions and the behavior of his surrogates and his allies is something that mueller is putting together in the mother of all time lines. and you're going to see i think at the end of this a compilation of every comment trump was saying publicly, what he was saying privately. the most stunning thing that i found is on the day that donald trump, jr., gets that e-mail, do you want to come and find some dirt on hillary clinton, and he e-mails back, i love it, trump goes out and makes a speech about seven hours later, i am
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going to have a speech on hillary clinton, you're going to get all the dirt. you can see how the network works back and forth and those e-mails and tweets are going to be the corroborating evidence. people say, well, michael cohen could be making things up. he could be lying. you know what? there's going to be a lot of corroboration because of the president's own words, his own tweets, the behavior of all the people around him. and we haven't even gotten to flipping paul manafort yet. >> and, phil rucker, we're talking about the manafort trial starting tomorrow. this is also all in the shadow of cohen and conversations whether michael cohen, the president's fixer and someone deeply involved in all his business dealings. that conversation has brought questions about collusion back into the public space. but this conversation about obstruction that people close to the president think represents the biggest danger to the president and these tweets yesterday about bob mueller do sort of reup what his own white house advisors likely testified to or spoken to in their
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interviews with robert mueller about what the president was doing behind the scenes in terms of wanting to stop this investigation, fire the investigators. is that still an active worry among people like the white house counsel and other close advisors? >> i mean certainly it is an active worry. what the president does on twitter as he did with the mueller tweet yesterday, he vents out loud his sort of innermost private thoughts about this. the argument about conflict of interest with mueller is something that he has said privately again and again over these many months with some of his advisors, with his legal team and others. but to say it out loud gives mueller and his investigators a sort of real-time screen play, if it were, of the president's thinking and thought process at all of these key jong-un tours. and -- junctures. that shouldn't be overlooked. and there is very little those in the white house are able to do to control the president and keep him from saying the sorts of things. he was tweeting all day yesterday, all sorts of stuff, including attacks on the media.
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and that was definitely not part of sort of the pre-agreed upon message of the white house. but there is nothing those aides can do to keep him away from his twitter. >> frank figliuzzi, if you're looking at all that's been uncovered by phil rucker and his colleagues and others, and you're looking at new revelations, what remits the greater threat to the trump presidency? >> i'm keying in on this obstruction angle. if cohen is found to be correct, that trump knew about the russian meeting, then let's look at what happened after that. deny, deny, craft a document that says it was about adoption, that goes to the heart of intent to obstruct. that's a major issue that mueller could zero in on. and it would be hard to counter that if it's proven that trump knew about the real meaning of the russian meeting. >> any talk in moscow about this president having serious legal
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jeopardy or do they think he'll just, like with a russian politician, you know, be able to sort of finagle his way through this? >> i haven't been surprised by how things developed in the past few months because people in the kremlin were telling me many months ago that they believed in the american government the only friend they really have is president trump himself. >> oh, god, you know what? they're probably right. phil rucker thank you so much for starting us off. we're grateful to have you. when we come back the president's former campaign chairman who was among the first trump associates to be charged in the mueller investigation gets ready to stand tryiial. also mueller investigating the tweets for obstruction of justice. the president's lawyers admits he couldn't stop the president from tweeting if he tried. is the president's comments going to make it impossible for the republicans to drive the message they need to drive during the mid terms and does that create an opportunity for democrats?
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paul manafort's trial is starting tomorrow. >> right. and he has no information incriminating of the president. ni know that f i know that for a fact. they can squeeze him. paul manafort doesn't know anything nor could it be possible that he did. he was with him four months. i was there when paul manafort was there. paul manafort was a brilliant gatherer of delegates. >> he was the chairman -- >> he was. but he really wasn't -- >> he was but he wasn't. that's the coffee boy defense. tomorrow marks day one brought
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in the case of special counsel robert mueller to go before a jury. this afternoon team trump is very eager to separate himself from his former campaign chairman insisting paul manafort, well, he wasn't really that important to the 2016 campaign. and that there's no way he could possibly have any incriminating information on the candidate he served for half a year. and while this case does not involve manafort's time with trump, instead focusing on manafort's lobbying work and russian backed work in the ukraine, it could have significant consequence for the president considering what happened during manafort's tenure. the national committee gutted the language in the section about ukraine from its platform and don't forget manafort was part of that infamous july 2016 meeting in trump tower we've been talking about. nbc news's ken dilanian joins us along with eugene robinson, washington post columnist and msnbc analyst. take us through what to expect tomorrow. if there is nothing manafort can say that will be problematic for
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the president, wihy go out and smear paul manafort? >> that's a great question, nicolle. tomorrow is the question of jury selection. it will be standard operating procedure the next couple of days and then the government is going to take us through what they allege is paul manafort's scheme. essentially, they say he was paid some 60 to $75 million for his work for this russian-backed ukrainian oligarch and then he ended up evading taxes allegedly and laundering about 30 million of those dollars, buying real estate in the united states and elsewhere. and by the time he got to the trump campaign -- this is what i find significant and interesting -- he was broke, they say, he was in debt and trying to monetize his real estate and suck loans out of it. they allege he committed bank fraud while doing that. but for the context of this whole russia investigation, the reason that's important is because we know from reporting that he was offering one of these oligarchs private briefings about his work for
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donald trump. and he was allegedly in debt to this man who is on the sanctions list and is close to putin, $10 million. and so he was essentially a ripe target for russian intelligence recruitment. you're not going to hear this at the trial. the trial is not about that. the trial is about his schemes, his lobbying, his alleged bank fraud, alleged tax fraud. for those of us covering the russia investigation, we're going to be watching for things like that. ordinarily this would be hugely important trial. the former chairman of the trump campaign on trial, his former aide testifying against him. it's not going to live up to the spy novel we're looking for, nicolle. >> you can't separate him one from the other. he was paid up to $70 million as ken just said by the russian oligarchs. you have to believe in remarkable coincidence to think the republican platform changed for the first time in history to -- think about it. in 2008 john mccain was the republican nominee. there was no one more hostile to vladimir putin in this country
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in the u.s. government than john mccain. so just coincidentally with paul manafort as their chairman, oops, we just changed the platform in the republican party. there are no coincidences in american politics. >> there are no coincidences and it's back to my kind of underlying message about russia. russia is not that mysterious. there you have another oligarch can an enormous amount of money using that money and going out there and saying, i want to change this, i want to do that, i want to do this in ukraine, i want to do that in the united states. who can i find to do that for me? paul manafort allegedly. >> one of the most interesting facts of this entire episode is paul manafort went to work for donald trump for free. >> nothing's for free. >> nothing's for free in this town, and nothing is for free in american politics. i think the point about monetizing, how can he get out of debt by repaying, maybe not in dollars, but in other things of value, back to his russian oligarch friends? change the platform. oh, maybe get carter page to give a really pro-russian speech
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in russia. maybe staff up the campaign with people who are going to be favorable to russia. maybe start conversations about lifting sanctions. all of these behaviors, if you see them through the lens of paul manafort, are pay back to the russians. >> and, eugene, all those things happened. it really requires some extraordinary magical thinking to say like all these things are unrelated. everything jennifer just named happened. we know based on the white house's own read out of the first pull aside by the translator or note taker, donald trump was talking to vladimir putin on the side lines of the first nato summit about russian adoptions, which code as we all know for lifting sanctions. we know that the platform changed. even if this trial isn't as ken said, the fireworks about whether the president colluded or not, there are a lot of things that happen before actual conspiracy to collude that lay the foundation. and these weren't favors done for any other country. it's always about favors done for russia. >> yeah, this seems to be one of
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the least hidden conspiracies ever because it's all been, it's all being conducted in the open. it's really insane, but on a certain level all mueller has to do is turn on the morning shows and write it down as rudy giuliani incriminates his client yet again and keep a time line of what happened in public on television, written down, covered in every major publication. but mueller isn't just doing that. he has shown us with every set of indictments and charges that he is burrowing much deeper and he always knows more than we think he knows. so, i guess from that standpoint, i'm not ready quite yet to say that the manafort trial won't live up to the spy novel billing because mull early's always got stuff that we
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don't know about. >> yeah. and frank, it's not a defense to be a bad spy. if you were a spy you're still in deep do-do. >> huh? >> go ahead, frank. >> we don't give report cards to spies. if you're a spy, you're a spy. and i think ken dilanian has it right. this trial, although it's all about financial crimes, as americans watch it unfold and as revelations come out about all of the crimes, white collar crimes being committed and all the money that manafort's taken, you have to keep asking yourself why did this man become the chairman of trump's campaign, to what degree was he owned and operated and compromised by a foreign government? and then comes the next trial which is about the foreign agents registration act. did we have a foreign agent working as the campaign chairman for the president. >> okay, ken, that's very spy novelish to me. let me tell you some of the arm chair investigative reporting that i engage in, which is nowhere near the arena of the
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work you do. has this theory that if paul manafort was actually a russian agent, then, then lights out on the question of collusion. what sort of, what sort of game is manafort playing that he's the only person i believe, the only trump official to be charged who hasn't taken a deal? what game is he playing? >> i spend many hours pondering that question, nicolle. if you talk to people close to him, they say, look, he believes he's innocent. there is a kind of shakespearean tragedy edge to this whole thing. the justice department took a look at his conduct a few years ago and took a pass. they didn't prosecute him. so the only reason he's wearing a green prison jump suit right now is because he went to work for donald trump. and that's got to really gnaw at him. sometimes it takes awhile as frank well knows for these white collar defendants to come to grips with the massive legal jeopardy that they're facing. he's looking at essentially a life term if he's convicted in both of these cases. not the maximum, the guidelines. even though he's a first
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offender. 8 in this case 15 in the d.c. case. that's one theory. the other theory is he's angling for a pardon. he knows something we don't. now you're getting into spy novel territory. but it's pretty clear to everyone watching who follows this, what robert mueller wants is to convict paul manafort and squeeze him to tell what he knows, if anything, about potential collusion between trump and the russians. >> keir, let me give you the last word. i already confessed to my arm chair investigative journalism. one of my theories is he's more afraid of the oligarchs than bob mueller. >> president trump, i don't think he has to be necessarily -- >> no paul manafort. he's more afraid of what the russian oligarchs he's been on their payroll, on their joel, as jennifer said, he was flat broke. he's more afraid of them than bob mueller. >> he may well be. that wouldn't be surprising. look, the russians are not ashamed of this. this is hiding in plain sight. as far as the russian leadership are concerned, at the point at which president obama is president, and they are facing more sanctions, things could not
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be worse. president putin was absolutely open about that in speeches going back a decade. they have thrown a lot into the room, explosives into the room and they think they are changing things. and anything is better than what they thought they were facing, which is obama as president and possibly a president clinton. >> and it's yielding dividends for them. they have a president who parrots their line than members of his own party. >> the real question is will sanctions be lifted. in the end they want those sanctions lifted. >> what is going on now, a very important aluminum company, that is exactly that. that would be the first real concrete sign that it has literally paid off. >> paid off literally. all right. my thanks to ken dilanian, frank figliuzzi. great to have you. come back. trump's twitter habit, he can't shake t. his um pulse i have summer meandering musings. could he stop if he wanted to in his lawyer doesn't think so. we'll go inside, ooh, ooh, you
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have you advised the president not to tweet at least not to tweet about his attorney general? >> good luck about tweeting. >> an honest and sincere and funny moment there from rudy giuliani. good luck when it comes to tweeting. it's clearly the president's preferred method of communicating. and we know robert mueller is now looking at them. but twitter is also an outlet for the president, especially lately. our friend phil rucker noticed something as well, tweeting, quote, white house aides say time on the golf course, especially in bedminster with its lush rolling hills, helps trump clear his head after a busy week as president. check his twitter to see what he's thinking right now after two days of r & r. so we did, with a clear head the president only played his greatest hits. attacks on the media tweeting, quote, driven insane by their
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trump derangement syndrome. he turned to the tweets we talked about at the top of the show about robert mueller, the harshest attacks on him, the investigation and legal scam of a witch hunt. joining our table senior advisor with move on.org. and mike due han, republican strategist who severed as political director of the rnc. it is my mission to make them great on one thing. jennifer is still here. rudy, your boss, old friend, is he helping or hurting the president or can he not be helped in terms of the investigation? how is he helping? >> earn b everyboverybody is ta different things right now. >> confusion is the strategy. >> both the political and legal strategy. what you saw sz rudy as his attorney -- >> take me through both. >> early on he moved him off some of the fec issues, complaints about that and clarified those. >> how, you're talking about campaign finance? >> how things were paid for. >> we now have a tape about the president talking about the
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minutiae of hush money payments to former play boy models. >> what rudy was talking about early on was trying to get that out and clarify some of that. >> having that out is helpful? >> getting that out there and having that debate out there -- obviously it's going to come out. >> it's illegal. >> i'm not a lawyer, but at fec you cannot do that in a way it influences the campaign. i'm aware of that. what he did early on is move off of that. there is a p.r. piece of this which is whether you like it or not -- i'm explaining the p.r. part of this -- is to make sure that trump supporters continue to see the flaws in the investigation and whether or not -- >> what are the flaws in the investigation? >> whether or not sessions should have resigned. i'm talking about things that call into question the credibility -- >> what calls into question the investigation? >> the attacks on rosenstein -- >> do you think those are good, they're helping? a i think what they should want in trump world is to have the investigation be done and over with quickly. i think mueller is a credible person obviously. he was a int pod by president george w. bush who he both worked for. i think they should let the investigation go.
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it oven bfuscates it. they haven't had miss steps along the way. they have. you have to look at both sides. even democrats would admit some of those mistakes have been made. >> are you going to admit mistakes have been made in the mueller investigation? >> where we are in the mueller investigation is mueller. it's hard to make a decision on if the investigation is real or not without really knowing what's going on. >> absolutely. >> what we're hearing and the things we talk about, it's only the tip of the iceberg. mueller has the information. so that's where i say to that, look, what donald trump is doing is so typical. it's typical trump. the greatest hits, witch hunt, attacking the media, right, saying, hey, you know, fake news, enemy of the people. he goes after democrats. it's all the same. what's happening is the walls are closing in on him. if you look at where we were a month ago, on july 27, kennedy retired, right? it was this big upswing for republicans. they had their second opportunity to have a --
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>> supreme court, right. >> next thing that happened is michael cohen tapes, michael cohen talking to mueller, helsinki happened which was a disaster. the walls are closing in. on april 9 fbi raided cohen's house and hotel and office. the president flipped out. >> not an attack on the nation. >> exactly. >> let me bring eugene back in. eugene, the publisher of "the new york times" went in and met with the president, talked about -- there is not a lot of debate about this, but talked about the president describing the media as an enemy of the people, puts journalists not in this country in danger, but journalists working outside of our borders in danger. the president then weaponized that meeting, said, had a good and interesting meeting at the white house with a.g. sulzberger, spent time talking about the fake media how it is morphed into the phrase enemy of the people.
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the media has been smeared and maligned by the president of the united states. >> yeah, for a.g. salisbury who was the relatively new publisher of "the new york times" learned, i think, after that meeting that no good deed goes unpunished. but he went in there to tell the president to cut this out, that this was dangerous. and it is dangerous. he talked about how newspapers are having to have to hire armed guards to stand outside the buildings. and the president's response, apparently, was, well, gee, i'm surprised they don't do that already. it is -- look, donald trump, his twitter thing, he thinks he's a political genius and he thinks his twitter genius got him elected president of the united states and will keep him his support. the thing about political geniuses, of course, is that they have figured out something
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about the moment, but the moment moves on and so it remains to be seen whether his twitter magic continues to work the way he thinks it's working. i would argue that the numbers suggest that it's not working the way he thinks it ought to work. it's working with his most committed base and not with the independents and others who decided to give him a chance and who don't seem to be inclined to give him another chance. >> i agree with you, gene. if donald trump were happy with just twitter followers, he wouldn't take a meeting with the publisher of "the new york times." he craves the people who look at the facts and look at him objectively. >> he always craves the approval of "the new york times." i'm going to take a slightly different tact. i don't think this is a legal strategy at all. donald trump has always thought this was politics. they never thought he was going to get indicted, at least not while in office. this is about an eventual impeachment and keeping that
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demographic, that 30% of the electorate in line. he does that by immigration. he does that by screaming at the press. >> talking about shutting down the government. >> exactly. and screaming at the fbi. and that is his strategy. the legal strategy, if there is one, is completely concealed because rudy isn't doing the legal strategy, he's doing the p.r. strategy. >> and it's not clear there is still time for legal strategy. half the white house advisors have seen his conduct in office already testified. the trump fog machine rolls on, this time threatening to cloud the gop message with talk of a government shutdown. new fears it might obscure the economic future republicans need to push if they want to avoid a big blue wave 99 days from today.
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as if the president's tweets on the witch hunts and no collusion weren't enough for republicans have to muddle through as they look ahead to november, the president is piling on even more. >> as far as the border is
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concerned, and personally, if we don't get border security after many, many years of talk within the united states, i would have no problem doing a shutdown. it's time we had proper border security. we're the laughing stock of the world. we have the worst immigration laws anywhere in the world. >> a shutdown when you control all the levers of power. that's not very strong. trump's threat means a showdown in congress with his own party could occur 37 days before voters go to the polls over an issue that more than half of americans don't agree with the president on. the latest nbc news/"wall street journal" survey shows only 41% approve the president's handling of border security compared to 51% who disapprove. the source tells me that trump has been calling around to his outside advisors asking where he should direct his efforts to secure victory for republicans
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in november. he's been told to focus on senate seats that could be the determining factor in a potential impeachment vote. trump will be holding rallies in florida and pennsylvania this week. two battle ground states. this is axios reports the president may be hurting his party's chances in november. for some vulnerable republicans running in swing districts, not only does the trump bag of tricks not work for them, they believe it hurts them. a top republican operative tells me last month we would have kept the house last 30 days we have been bad. we'll always be a lot of talk about trump, which is okay, but can't be like the last month. the panel is back. is that what you're hearing? you're ea gop operative. have you been hearing it's been bad? >> i'm hearing that from folks that are working on campaigns up and down the coast and around the country that the last 30 days have turned a little bit. but there are as you said 99 days which is an eternity in politics. we talked in the previous segment in terms of the president's ability to really
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get everybody chasing what he tweets. he does have a unique ability to control the message. any president would and he certainly could. the fact we're all over the place is a bad thing and i think running on border security while important to a lot of people i think is a fundamental misreading of why he won. he won because of hillary clinton. he won because people am sick of washington and she embodied status quo and no change. he'll win, republicans will do well, and he will win if people talk about the economy. tax cuts -- >> he went to helsinki and stood next to vladimir putin and threw the american yintelligence community under the bus. that is how he has rebranded the republican party. >> which is problematic. where republicans want to be is tax cuts, the economy is going in the right direction, we're putting judges on the supreme court. democrats in the senate who are in conservative states have to vote on kavanagh, some of which will vote for him,ing that that
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will be the cross pressure. things like russia would be bad. >> donald trump never lets republicans talk about the economy because he tweets all day every day about the phony witch hunt run by a republican. >> exactly. and if he does talk about it -- >> me? >> no, you're not mueller. >> point at me. >> he's at war are republicans. >> there is a double short on the tax cut and economy. that is wages for a lot of americans. wages have been flat or actually declining more so under donald trump than they were under barack obama. so it's a mixed bag. but as a result they're not talking about anything. i don't know what they are talking about. we're reporting, others are reporting we're not talking about the economy. what is it they're talking about? what is there to talk about? i get it, hillary clinton was the gift from the political gods, but she's not coming back. and right now they're the party of washington. they're in control. the problem with the shutdown is even if it doesn't happen, you're going to have days of republicans screaming at one
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another, sounding unhinged, not able to reach a consensus. you think voters are going to look at that and say we want a couple more years of that. >> republicans don't want a shutdown. you may. >> the president does. >> it's not surprising the president is talking about a shutdown because, let's not forget the last one. he thought he won that shutdown, right? what did he do? he blamed democrats and he said, hey, i don't want to sign this thing but i'm signing it because of the democrats. he had -- >> who are in control of nothing. ridiculous explanation. >> it is a ridiculous thing. he said a couple weeks ago immigration is the issue that he believed that is going to help republicans in the mid terms. that's what he said. and the thing that is really crazy about it is we still have families separated. so go ahead, talk about immigration. we would love to talk about families being separated. >> you want to campaign over mid terms? bring it because your policy, your attorney general, you, mr. president, put babies in jail. >> exactly. >> do that? >> they should. i know we want to push that
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message out there even more because they are more than, what, 300, 400 kids -- 700 -- 600 kids still separated from their parents. >> 771. >> eugene, last word. >> there are 771 kids who are still separated. >> and you think democrats can organize themselves and call the president's bluff on immigration? >> i hope so. i hope so. i mean, look, the president is going to continue to yell and scream about this issue because he thinks it's a red meat issue for him. and i think democrats need to continue talking about the fact that there's 771 kids who were effectively kidnapped from their parents and whom the government has not been able or has not been willing to give back to their parents. it's just astounding. >> the most unamerican policy of this president so far. all right, is the president about to cozy up to another american adversary? you won't want to miss this. i was just finishing a ride. i felt this awful pain in my chest.
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>> i don't know, but let's make a prediction. the president meets with the iranians, he emerges with a deal because he loves deals. it is materially obviously much worse than the iran deal that he cancelled. and that's going to happen. >> so what is the deal? how do republicans articulate a message from donald trump on foreign policy where we're kinder to american adversaries. with iran, people with blood on their hands, the blood of american soldiers in iraq. what was that statement? >> republicans should distinguish themselves from the president on this. they have to distinguish themselves. iran is the largest state sponsor of terrorism in the world. house republicans, senate republicans should disagree with this. he should not meet with them without any preconditions. >> and he tore up a deal that was actually working. if his track record on north korea or russia is any record, i'm not sure he's going to get a better deal than obama got. >> the israeli prime minister is on a roll. he's gotten everything he wants from the president and he's watching it go up in smoke because the president is going to legitimize the iranian
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regime. >> how does john bolton deal with that? >> and how does john bolton deal with russia? everything john bolton has ridiculed, ha ranged about, he is now doing. so i guess that's a price to power, a price for proximity to power. i'm shocked actually. >> 30 seconds. democrats now can be harder on russia. they can be harder and already are harder on iran. >> it doesn't surprise me that donald trump made that statement. he loves dictators. he wants to have an authoritarian regime. it goes back to the way he attacks journalists, right, which is absolutely dangerous because that message coming from the president of the united states just ripples effect across the globe. if he's saying this about journalists, what does that send to iran and other countries who are adversaries. >> nothing good, which is why the publisher of "the new york times" is pleading at that case to him. fell on deaf ears. we have to sneak in our last break. don't go anywhere, we'll be right back.
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my thanks to karine, jennifer, eugene. that does it, i'm nicolle wallace. katy tur is here for chuck. if it's monday, it's like a ross between a hurricane and a ship that's run aground. good evening, i'm katy tur in new york in for chuck todd. welcome to "mtp daily." are you all ready for this? the president's lawyer himself is denying the president himself hacked into the dnc and the clinton campaign, which is strange because no one has accused the president of hacking into the dnc or the clinton campaign. the president's lawyer is now denying that the president himself me

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