going to be russia that brings him down. it's going to be the lack of any upward mobility that his supporters feel. >> jonathan, you have ten seconds to say something nice about me before we leave. >> you know, mike, that tie is fabulous. but if they can't do health care they're not going to do an fy2018 budget and not going to raise the debt ceiling and those are two huge things congress must get done. >> thanks to germ peters and our panel, donny deutsch, bianna golodry golodryga. ntp daily starts now with one of my favorite people, katy tur, in for chuck. katy, how are you doing? >> mike, i'm great. i was going to say you are a wonderful man. that's my compliment to you. at the top of the hour. thank you very much. if it is tuesday, it is clear don jr. was eager to accept russian help to hurt clinton. tonight, the e-mail trail. the president stands by his son's e-mail release but no reply on any other questions on russian connections. >> i would refer you to don
jr.'s counsel and outside counsel. >> plus, deny, recant, repeat. >> we see again a kind of a shifting defense from the trump administration. >> where does this leave the congressional investigations? and the august rush. >> i'm less concerned about the timing and more about getting it right. >> leader mcconnell delays the senate's summer vacation. so will republicans now be able to check off health care or anything else from their agenda this summer? >> listen, i'll compromise with anybody. republican, democrat, independent, libertarian. martian. if we are moving the ball forward. >> this is "ntp daily," and it starts right now. >> good evening. i'm katy tur, in new york, in for chuck todd. welcome to "mtp daily." we now have hard evidence that the trump campaign wanted to coordinate with kremlin-linked
associates who they were told were acting on behalf of a putin-backed effort to support trump's candidacy and "incriminate hillary clinton." there was also discussion about telling mr. trump about it. let that all sink in for a moment. got it? good. donald trump jr. today published a conversation he had over e-mail with his associate rob goldstone. goldstone told him that he'd received some stunning information from an associate in moscow whose father is a russian billionaire, aras agalarov, senile right here. agalarov acted as a liaison between trump and putin when the two tried to meet at the 2013 miss universe pageant in moscow. here's what goldstone told trump jr. about what he had learned. "the crown prosecutor of russia offered to provide the trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate hillary and her dealings with russia and would be very useful to your
father. this is obviously very high-level and sensitive information but is part of russia and its government support for mr. trump." that wasn't all. he went on to say, "i can also send this info to your father via rona graph, trump's secretary, but it is ultra sensitive so wanted to send to you first." trump jr. signals to goldstone to hold off on telling trump until they learn more. trump jr. has just been told that there's a russian government effort to use the campaign as a vehicle to potentially incriminate their political opponent, hillary clinton. his reaction, he loves it. he's seemingly already thinking about when to dump the oppo even. here's part of what he writes back. "if it's what you say, i love it, especially later in the summer." goldstone then tells trump jr. that at his associate's request a russian government attorney wants to meet with him to start a dialogue with the campaign. she's flying over from moscow.
trump jr. then ccs campaign chief paul manafort and trump's son-in-law jared kushner on this entire exchange the day before they all met with her. trump jr. insists that the information she gave them in that meeting was vague and nonsensical. he says there was no further contact or any follow-up of any kind. he's also suggested that the whole thing may have been a ruse so she could push a pet project related to u.s.-russia foreign policy. even if that is accurate and there's ample reason to doubt that it is, this e-mail chain clearly indicates that the trump campaign was willing to coordinate with russia to gain an edge. trump jr. says today that he released these documents in order to be totally transparent. and hours later the president put out a statement through his press office saying, "my son is a high-quality person and i applaud his transparency." there are so many questions that this bombshell raises. first off, what did the campaign do with the knowledge that the russian government might want to
coordinate with them to defeat clinton? we don't know the answer to that but it makes you wonder about a statement like this made by mr. trump the following month. >> russia, if you're listening, i hope you're able to find the 30,000 e-mails that are missing. >> do you call on put tony stay out of this election? >> i'm not going to pell putin what to do. why should i tell putin what to do? they probably have them. i'd like to have them released. >> 'cause that give you pause -- >> no, it gives me pause. be quiet. i know you want to save her. that a person in our government, katy, who wo delete or get rid of 30,000 e-mails. >> also consider the timing of when the trump campaign got tipped off about russia's potential motivations. it happened after russian hackers had penetrated both the dnc can and clinton campaign chief john podesta's e-mail accounts. but before any of that public oppo was publicly released.
here are more questions. was this meeting really the end of this conversation? were there really zero follow-ups with anyone involved? was trump really never told? and what about the contradictions? these e-mails also are inconsistent with a whole host of denials and explanations we've been given by the president, the white house, trump jr., the russian lawyer, and the campaign. but perhaps the biggest question is this. is this hard evidence that the trump campaign broke the law, or is it not? let's bring in a couple of our nbc news reporters. kaci hunt is on capitol hill and hallie jackson is here with me on set. hallie, it is wonderful to see you. >> three dimensions. >> in person. i want to talk about the white house's game plan right now. i was talking to somebody close to the white house a moment ago, and they were trying to say that listen, this is just -- we believe this is democrats pushing this on -- >> of course. >> -- some of the intel committees. is this the way they're going to go about it? >> the accusation that it's just playing politics.
the accusation that nothing really happened. the argument that this is more of the media making a story out of something that's not really a story, as you have already been hearing from sources both publicly and privately. that is going to be the game plan. the other part of the game plan is to kick it to the outside counsel and say we're not going to answer any questions about this, we're going to let don jr.'s lawyer, his new lawyer, handle some of these questions. we're going to let our outside legal team handle some of these questions. they have said that the president was not aware of this meeting, did not attend this meeting. you know that the president was in new york at the time. that is what his lawyers are currently telling us, that the president didn't go. i think you're right that it raises some questions here. and i think you are seeing publicly some of the strategy coming out now. you listen to sarah huckabee sanders and you listen to what she had to say at today's white house press briefing, talking about the frustration of the president. he is frustrated. his team is frustrated. they don't like the fact that there are russia stories coming out constantly almost every day. but the bottom line is this. donald trump jr. accepted a meeting with somebody explicitly named as a russian government lawyer and said yes to that meeting and then got paul
manafort and jared kushner on board. >> they might want to push this off on they think democrats and the intel committees. but a lot of these sources are named as advisers -- >> white house advisers. >> white house officials. who could they be? do they have an agenda to get don jr.? and what would be the problem that people might have with donald trump's son? >> that's a huge question. people inside the white house are also speculating about. my sense that there's a big question about -- who is it at this point? because when you have "the new york times" saying three advisers to the white house -- >> who has access to the e-mails? >> the point about the access disclosure form, who sees that and where does it go? once it leaves the confines of the west wing, there's not a lot but in the relative scheme of things there's more than one person that would have had their hands on that. i do think that you have always seen factions with people close to donald trump. that's how he ran his campaign. it's how he runs his administration. and this is another very vivid example of that.
>> of those competing factions within the white house, the campaign, the transition, all trying to one-up each other and take down the other to gain and curry favor with donald trump. hallie jackson, wonderful to see you in person. kaci hunt, let's talk about the investigations on capitol hill. what is this latest revelation going to do with those? >> well, katy, i think that the central issue for the investigators that has come out of the course of the last 24, 48 hours is the changing story out of the white house. you did a nice job of walking through what that means, but i also want to point you to something that mark warner said earlier today. he told reporters, listen, this excuse of naivete, of rookie attitudes, lying is not a rookie mistake. that's a pretty serious charge to hear from the vice chairman of the senate intelligence committee. the reality is they have been very careful about being bipartisan. members on both sides have been very careful to say look, we trust richard bush, the republican chairman, we trust
mark warner. this i think has been a display of bad faith that has undermined whatever case the white house was going to make to these committe committees. their job is going to be harder. and i think they're entering a new phase of this investigation. they're going to start interviewing people this week. that means they're moving past kind of the evidence-gathering phase and the question writing phase and trying to dig some new information out of these people. and i think, look, antagonizing congress -- and this is i think what this amounts to -- is not usually productive for this white house. and i think in this case there's some real potential teeth that could bite the trump administration. >> and a quick note. senator warner will be on with chuck todd tomorrow on this program. he's back in the seat. kasie hunt, thank you very much. joining me now from capitol hill. and joining me now here on set for a look at this from the legal angle is election law expert nathaniel prosilli. he's a professor at stanford law school. he was the research director for
an election integrity commission under president obama, although he is not a member of either political party. want to make that point pretty clear. nathani nathaniel, thank you so much for joining us. i want to talk about this in terms of a legal matter. are there any legal issues here, and do you see evidence -- hard evidence of collusion from this e-mail change don jr. released earlier today? >> there's no question there were laws that were broken by the russians. the question is whether the trump campaign or any individual within it either solicited or contributed to this breaking of the law or coordinated as you said before, because those are the languages that we see in the law. did they act in concert with the russians in order to break the law? do you see any solicitation here from these e-mails? >> even before these e-mails you could see some actions in which they were encouraging russian involvement in the election. that in and of itself could be breaking of the campaign finance -- >> that july 27th press conference where he said russia if you have hillary clinton's e-mails i want to see them?
>> that would be one example. there are others after that. but the question, again, is whether something of value was given to the trump campaign or they sought something of value that would help them in their election. >> could this information be considered something of value? >> it could. as you know, campaigns do opposition research all the time. certainly if the trump campaign hired russian operatives in order to do opposition research, that would be illegal. that's not what is being alleged here of course. but the question is does it push up to the edge? was there coordination, was there solicitation, was there aiding and abetting in violation of the campaign finance laws? >> what is the difference between coordination and collusion? because we hear those words used interchangeably. >> so collusion is now becoming sort of the generic term you're using to describe this sort of affair. coordination is a term of art in the campaign finance realm. was there sort of an agreement or action between the russians and the trump campaign in order to break the law that bans foreign contributions or expenditures related to a federal election? >> so what you're seeing in these e-mails is the russians
have information on hillary clinton that could be used to help your father. they're on your father's side. don jr. says, "yeah, i'd love to see it, and i think i'm going to use it later this summer if it is what you say it is." what does that amount to? any one of those things coordination, collusion? what was the other -- >> aiding and abetting. >> aiding and abetting. solicitation. >> right. so let me just be clear that we are walking in completely new snow here. this has never happened before. this set of facts is really new for campaign finance experts to wrestle with. there's no set of facts previously that's comparable. nevertheless, if you look -- reason by analogy to other types of situations you've dealt-w yes, if you have a plan in order to jointly try to defeat an opponent, yes, that would be the kind of coordination that would run afoul of the campaign finance laws. if, for example, that you are trying to coordinate the release of e-mails at a particular date, which again is not alleged in this particular exchange, but there is some timing element when they talk about releasing
things later in the summer, that all of those facts are the kinds of things a prosecutor reviews in order to prove coordination. >> on the face of it just have a meeting with somebody who claims to be a russian official, who claims to have information from the kremlin that is damaging to your political opponent, on the face of it that meeting alone isn't necessarily illegal? >> right. if you knew nothing else about what was happening in this context, the -- >> it's untoward. >> well, but we have all the facts leading up to it. so as well as usual saying all the solicitations or -- >> this didn't happen in a vacuum. >> it's all of that together that leads to the circumstantial case of coordination. >> okay. so if you are looking at this case, say, you're robert mueller, what are you looking for next? >> well, i think you want to know whether what happened in that meeting is what they say happened, was it really about adoptions, was it maybe about e-mails, was it about sort of quid pro quos that might go on later in the summer. you also want to know whether the meeting ended there or were there follow-up conversations after the fact. >> they say crown prosecutor.
in russia that's not quite a term of art, right? >> well, it doesn't -- we know it's a russian official. and let me be clear also. whether it was the russian government or a russian national, it is still illegal under the campaign finance laws because they prevent foreign nationals from spending money related to a federal election or contributing anything of value to a campaign. >> does this look fishy to you? >> it's looked fishy for some time. >> thank you very much. nathaniel persily, appreciate your time. and let's turn to evelyn farkas who's an nbc national security analyst and former deputy assistant secretary of defense for russia, ukraine and eurasia. she was the pentagon's top expert on russia. evelyn, i'm curious about how this all went down. is there a scenario where vladimir putin would say hey, we've got to get into the trump campaign, we've got to figure out a way to get -- curry favor with them, why don't we send this promoter who is a representative of a pop star in
russia to try to get a meeting with don jr. >> sure, it's possible. katy, remember, donald trump had a relationship with the pop star and his father going back years, at least to 2013 and the miss usa or miss america, i don't remember which one, pageant -- >> miss universe. >> miss universe. thank you. but the bigger point is i think -- i mean, inside those e-mails was that sentence about this is part of russia's support and the russian government's support to mr. trump. i would like that sentence to be explained. because what does that mean? what support from russia and russia's government? and the russian government. >> getting an e-mail like this and having don jr. say i would love, it maybe we could use it later in the summer, what was your immediate reaction when you read this? >> well, my immediate reaction was that they were going to weaponize it, if it was good they'd weaponize it, they'd use it against hillary clinton. they didn't think twice about whether this was legal or illegal, seemingly.
again, i'm reading just an incomplete e-mail. but i think, katy, this gets to the bigger picture. we're here now talking about e-mails that they said never took place a couple months ago. and a lot of people have been talking about nixon and the drip drip, the drip the deny, the drip the deny. you know, i just was reading a book about chiefs of staffs that came out recently and there's a chapter in there about ronald reagan. and during iran-contra he first -- of course he knew we were selling arms to the iranians in order to get hostages freed but once he found out some extra money was being given to the contras in nicaragua and that was illegal, what ronald reagan did was he went on national television and he explained to the american people and he said we did something that was wrong and please forgive me. and i think it's high time for president trump to come out with the full story because enough with the drip drip and the denial. i mean, clearly they're lying and then they're explaining their lies and we don't trust them with this incomplete story. >> well, what should they have done if they were given a
heads-up that the russians might have information that's damaging to hillary clinton or information that might prove that hillary clinton was somehow working or getting aid from the russian government? >> i think what most people would have done is consult a lawyer. we know this is a foreign government. there probably are laws about this. we're in a presidential campaign, which is a national event. not an international event. so i think that would have been the first step. and a law probably would have said to them don't take the meeting or maybe take the meeting but you know, maybe you need to tell the fbi -- >> what about take the meeting, see what they have, if anything's there, then you can decide whether to go to the fbi if something is there -- >> sure. and they didn't do that either. even if there was nothing, they still could have report td to the fbi. they still could have reported this attempt to bring them in. but again, as your earlier guest said, the lawyer, the professor who was just on, this is happening in a context of multiple meetings by multiple trump people with russians. so clearly there's a really -- cavalier is probably an
oversimplification but there's a cavalier attitude toward dealing with russians. and again i cannot help but emphasize these are not french officials, these are not british officials, these are russians and they have an adversarial relationship with the united states by this point that's very clear and very public. >> it's not just meetings with the russians. there is the changing of the platform at the convention. there's a whole host of things. there hasn't been any coherent answer for that we've gotten from either the campaign, the transition, the white house. no one's been able to clear that up. evelyn farkas, thank you very much. >> thanks, katy. thank you. >> and donald trump jr.'s e-mail release contradicts a whole lot of what we've heard from the white house when it comes to russia so far. that is ahead. (baby crying) ♪ fly ♪ me to the moon
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first of all, here's what the russian lawyer he met with told nbc's keir simmons this morning. >> they had the impression, it appears, that they were going to be told some information that you had about the dnc. how did they get that impression? >> translator: it's quite possible they were looking for such information, they want td so badly. >> have you ever worked for the russian government? do you have connections to the russian government? >> translator: no. >> but as we saw in don jr.'s e-mails, that same lawyer was introduced as a "russian government attorney who would have information as part of russia and its government support for mr. trump." and here's former trump campaign chairman paul man afort, who was in the meeting with the russian lawyer speaking in july 2016. >> 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 basis to it. >> of course it depends how you define ties. but then there's this from don jr. the same day back in july 2016. he was responding to a suggestion from clinton campaign manager robby mook that russia was behind the hacked dnc e-mails and a plot to hurt hillary clinton and help donald trump. >> i mean, they'll say anything to be able to win this. this is time and time again, lie after lie. it's disgusting. it's so phony. i can't think of bigger lies. but that exactly goes to show you what the dnc and the clinton camp will do. they will lie and do anything to win. i don't mind a fair fight but these lies and the perpetuating of that kind of nonsense to try to gain some political capital is just outrageous. and he should be ashamed of himself. >> that right there a month and a half, excuse me, after his meeting with the russian lawyer apparently took place. we're back in 60 seconds.
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welcome back. let's bring in our panel. susan page, "usa today" washington bureau chief. "new york times" national political reporter and msnbc contributor yamisc alcindor. and politico's chief national affairs columnist susan glasser. welcome, guys. we've got to susans today. i'm going to try to be specific. susan page, i'm going to start with you. we've got a lot of questions about whether or not this was illegal. there's debate if this was treason, coordination, solicitation. politically what does this mean? >> politically this is a very serious development that we've seen today with these e-mails because the e-mails are so blunt about what is being offered and donald trump jr.'s response to it. i don't know. i'm not a lawyer. i don't know if this will violate the law. what the criminal penalties might be. but i think it does cross a political line that says that donald trump jr. despite his protestations for months afterwards, for a year afterwards, did indeed have a meeting that was presented to
him as one at the behest of the russian government offering hi dirt on hillary clinton and his response was i'd love that. susan glasser, if it crosses political lines, what does that mean for republicans? >> as you saw earlier today with senator cruz, they're trying every which way to avoid talking about this understandably. and for democrats there's peril in talk too much about russia and not about their agenda as well. but the bottom line is there's an investigation that's going on with former fbi director bob mueller and that's going to dictate the political outcome ultimately which is to say are there ever going to be charges that are brought as a result of this? what is the context? and additional information we don't yet have to help us understand these extraordinary e-mails that donald trump jr. has released today. and i think it is important to underscore this is extraordinary by any measure. it's hard. we're desensitized to disclosures but i'm blown away by the brazenness of putting something like that in writing which goes hand in hand frankly
with the fairly brazen effort by the russian government to interfere in the election hacking. if you talk to experts, they will tell you that the russians didn't work very hard to hide the fact that it was them who was responsible for the hacking. and i think that e-mail goes hand in hand that kind of behavior. >> you know what's interesting about the e-mail to me? donald trump said over and over again on the trail about how he never uses e-mail, he never wants to put things in writing because putting things in writing is what gets you in trouble, and lo and behold his son, his namesake puts something in writing. yammish, what do you think would be the best case scenario for this administration right now? what is the most generous explanation for this don jr. meeting? >> the most generation explanation is that don jr. did not understand that this was part of a violation of some sort of international and of course domestic laws, that he didn't really understand that colluding with a foreign government, that the russian government offering you information about a political opponent is somehow a
violation of law. because that's the only reason you would think you would even put this in writing. this is something that is so blunt and so obvious that you -- reading that e-mail chain, i was blown away, as i'm sure most of washington was, that they would actually write this is going to be for your political opponent, this is a government official, this is a prosecutor tied to russia. that's the only thing they can say, don jr. can say hey, i didn't realize that i was doing this, i didn't realize that there was a problem in meeting with someone who had opposition information about hillary clinton. >> there's one constant here, that they have been consistently inconsistent about revealing information and what exactly happened when it comes to russia. take a listen to all the denials from trump's team about whether or not anybody met with russia during the transition or the campaign. >> i have nothing to do with russia. to the best of my knowledge, no person that i deal with does. >> was there any contact in any
way between trump or his associates and the kremlin or cutouts they had? >> of course not. why would there be any contacts between the campaign? >> can you say with 100% confidence that mr. trump or anybody in his campaign had no conversations with anybody in russia during the campaign? >> no. i mean, i'm just telling you, it's all phony baloney garbage. >> did anyone involved in the trump campaign have any contact with russians trying to meddle with the election? >> absolutely not. and i discussed that with the president-elect just last night. those conversations never happened. >> susan page, we have republicans who have stood by donald trump. and part of the reason people explain that away is that he has this rock hard base of support, that republicans don't necessarily want to antagonize. what will it take for that base of support to start to diminish? i mean, do these inconsistencies fall on deaf ears with them? are they opening t