tv Deadline White House MSNBC February 23, 2019 3:00pm-4:00pm PST
years you can't even help indirectly undoe it if you're going to stand up for what is right. the moral courage of our cause is what has been our most effective weapon. thank you, that does it for me. i'll see you back here at 5:00 p.m. eastern for a new edition of politics nation. up next, "deadline white house" with my friend nicolle wallace. hi, everyone, it is 4:00 in washington dc where today robert muellers prosecutors are expected to lay out the most detailed kripgs yconspiracy yet paul manafort engaged in. the scope of his crimes, defrauding the government,
tampering with witnesses and misleading federal investigators after agreeing to cooperate. it is a breathtaking between of misconduct. at the core there is questions. why, and what if anything did donald trump know about it? those could comb tonight as it is the deadline for mueller to file. this filing could be one of the final limplss into the case that mueller build. also confirmed today, prosecutors in new york plan to hold charges for paul manafort. the "new york times" says the president has broad hours to
issue pardons for crimes, but the president has spoken repeatedly of his pardon power and defended his campaign chairman on a number of occasions. it marks the latest proof point. that's where we start with some of our favorite reporters and friends. phil rucker, white house bureau chief of "the washington post," former u.s. attorney joyce vance, michael steele, former chairman of the rnc, and former nbc news national reporter carol lee. paul, let me start with you. manafort has often been a trigger for this white house. he's gone on the north lawn and called him brave. described his cases against 10-year-old tax cases. he's really laid it on the line. and the move today like the sentencing move for cohen, for example, have really rocked this white house this they have come
out. >> president trump's inclination is to defend paul manafort, he feels sympathetic for his former campaign chairman, especially since some of the crimes paul manafort has been charged with predate the trump campaign. so trump felt some sort of sympathy for manafort there. i have to tell you at the moment the bigger trigger for the white house and for president trump according to our reporting is the anticipation for the mueller report as well as next week's public testimony by michael cohen. white house officials will say publicly they're not concerned at all about cohen's testimony but that testimony promises to bring a lot of fireworks that could be very complicated for the president. you can rest assured that the president is going to be paying close attention to it from 12 hours away on the time zone out in vietnam, where he's going to be next week for that summit weapon kim jong-un.
>> phil rucker, it's a great reminder, and you've covered these foreign trips, where the president's attention is anywhere but where he is. he's trying to monitor cable news coverage back at home during some of these other flashpoints. but you just painted a pretty stunning constellation of flash points. cohen, his former fixer, will be on capitol hill before three committees, i believe. at least one of those open. we know how the president feels about what he possesses in terms of knowledge about trump's conduct. he calls it an attack on the nation when his offices were raided. what sort of preparations -- there's never much other than sending rudy out to fox news prime time, but what other preparations are under way to deal with next week? >> nicolle, if you just look at the calendar for next week, i'm going to be on that trip, by the way, in vietnam with trump. in vietnam time, he's going to have his first day of meetings scheduled so far with kim jong-un on wednesday. wednesday night in vietnam is going to be the morning here in washington when cohen is testifying.
so if trump's going to be paying attention to the cohen testimony, he's not going to get much sleep between his first night of meetings with kim jong-un and the second day of meetings with kim jong-un on thursday. it could be quite a split-screen moment for this president with all of the revelations that cohen could potentially be making in his open testimony. >> joyce, what could go wrong? a sleep-deprived president meeting one on one with no note takers with a north korean dictator? i hate to think about it. joyce, take us through this manafort sentencing document. and i reference the cohen sentencing memo because that was a watershed moment in terms of this white house's understanding of the potential legal exposure that the president had in the cases out of the southern district of new york. why are sentencing memos an opportunity to detail and sort of provide us sort of the public with more a narrative -- more of a narrative explanation of the crimes, or in manafort's case the criminal conspiracy manafort is accused of or now have been found guilty of? >> there's a very clear legal framework, the united states
code establishes a set of factors that a judge has to consider at sentencing. if a judge fails to consider all of those factors, the sentence can actually be overturned on appeal. so the government's sentencing advocacy always explains to the judge what available evidence is. that can be the defend's background. that can be the circumstances of the current offense, which is where we've often gotten broad information out of the mueller team. it could even be information regarding crimes the defendant has not been convicted of. so there is a very broad scope to the sort of information the government can bring to play, and for all of the redaction that we've seen in these memos, we've learned a great deal as the manafort pleadings have been filed, for instance, this is how information regarding his late meetings with kilimnik came to
light. much of our understanding of what we would call core conspiracy type allegations. this memo, although it will certainly be heavily redacted yet again may actually give us additional insight, and that certainly will have the white house on edge. >> joyce, i want to ask you about something that andrew mccabe said to me earlier this week. i asked him, i worked on three presidential campaigns and never had any contacts with russians. so there's the weirdness of everyone on the trump campaign talking to russians and russian-aligned actors all the time. but then there's the layer of lying about those contacts. that's what mike flynn did, jeff sessions recused because he lied about contacts with russians. and you go on down the line. one of manafort's crimes was to lie about his contacts and conversations in kilimnik, a putin-aligned operative. are we likely to learn how that
fits in to this broader picture of all of trump's associates lying about all of their contacts with russians? >> as you point out, you only lie about things, criminal defendants tend to lie the most about issues they have no innocent explanation to offer for. we have already heard from andrew weissmann, one of mueller's prosecutors in the courtroom that at least some of these conversations with kilimnik are central to what's being prosecuted. i don't know that we'll learn more in this sentencing memo. we could. the interesting possibility -- and we just don't know if it will come to pass or not -- would be if there is some sort of a conspiracy indictment in the works or if the report that goes up to the hill that goes to the attorney general first, if that's referencing conspiracy, that may be the point at which we learn what these conversations between kilimnik and manafort amounted to. >> carol, i want to ask you about news today that the new
york district attorneys expected to charge manafort seemingly checkmating him. but before on the sentencing memo, you covered and reported extensively on what we learned, these tea leaves we glean about the mueller problem. as joyce referenced, we learned in some of the testimony in the transcript from a closed-door hearing that at least in andrew weissmann's mind, the contacts between manafort and kilimnik are at the center of the mueller probe. what does that sort of predict or foreshadow in terms of what we might see today? >> well, i think we don't exactly know but certainly anything that we would learn around that specific instance is very significant because of the way you just said that weissmann framed all of this. the other thing we learned sometimes through these memos that can be significant and open a new window, a lot of times we will see senior campaign official one named. >> individual one. >> individual one or something
along those lines. and so we could come away with some new avenue or person or somebody that everyone is trying to figure out who it is, some other piece of the web that leads to the trump campaign. so the kilimnik piece of this, though, is significant. the other thing is the poll data, like what happened with that? >> and what was it? we never got a lot of detail. >> right, exactly. that's something also that would be really interesting if we were to learn that. right now we just have no idea when it's going to be available. >> what about the move from the new york state charges? >> it's really a problem for paul manafort. obviously, look, the president hasn't ruled out a pardon but he's also shown that he's willing to use the pardon power in very unconventional ways, which sheriff arpaio, for instance, and others. >> to put on fox news with a fully dyed head of hair. >> yes. but it does, it checkmates them. and new york has this double jeopardy law that's pretty intense and strong.
so what our understanding of things is that they would find ways to get around that specifically by saying he violated state tax laws. that's one way they could get after him. but it's another example of how paul manafort's legal troubles are now in several different spaces. >> kind of similar to donald trump's legal troubles. what are your thoughts on all of this? i want to add this wrinkle that phil rucker put out there, this picture of a looming mueller report, which will be the whole enchilada. cohen back on capitol hill, a known trigger for donald trump. cohen talking about covering up alleged sexual relationships that the president had, and paul manafort, likely to learn more than we know yet in the sentencing memo due today. >> all of that is not good. all of that is problematic for a president who will be on foreign soil. and i think the one thing that a lot of folks inside the white house, particularly those in the state department are sort of guarding against is the president going there, being distracted as phil noted, and basically giving away the store. i just got to say, whatever, you
know, whatever. it's like watching the tv yeah, yeah. that kind of moment that we have to be concerned about. that's one. but two -- >> let's not gloss over that because at the end of the day whether paul manafort goes to jail for 30 years or 13, california won't get blown up. you raise a really serious point. he's going to have an eyeball on the cable coverage of the cohen testimony when nothing short of a american national security is on the line in vietnam. >> and to that point, the other side of that very gnarly coin is the fact the president could then also do a deal, agree to something just with all of the faculties in place knowing that it will be the central talk and communication out of the white house -- >> wag the dog. >> it will be the wag the dog kind of moment out of pyongyang. >> that is the biggest fear. people are afraid he's going to go in to north korea and cut a bad deal and will give away a lot. the chances that happening
skyrocket. they skyrocket if you have the president in a situation where he's meeting with kim jong-un and all of that is happening and he just really wants to change the headlines. so he's willing to agree to something that otherwise would be considered a terrible deal, and just to basically pass the moment is something that we've seen him do before. obviously, this is such a serious issue that it would have dire sort of consequences. and that's what people around him are afraid of. >> and his clap back on that will be you guys will clean it up. we'll get back to washington. if i said something or did something that's not good, clean it up.
but in the moment here's the headline, here's what's driving our coverage throughout the day, this bright, shiny object the president just pulled out of thin air and is now placed in the middle of the conversation. >> i want to ask you about a letter from adam schiff, open letter to republican colleagues. schiff writes, many of you acknowledged your deep misgivings about the president in quiet conversations in the last two years. you bemoaned his lack of decency, integrity, and deplored his fundamental inability to tell the truth but for reasons that are all too easy to comprehend, you choose to keep your misgivings and rising alarm private. this must end. the time for silent disagreement is over. you must speak out. >> how many of us have been in those conversations with folks who lament and bemoan and decry the sheer stuff that comes out of tweets and pronouncements and press conferences. and then when they get in front of a camera, they get in front of reporters and others, they clam up and they say nothing. and it's good to see adam schiff saying look, we're not going to play this game anymore.
your laments are falling on deaf ears from here on out. i don't want to hear it. >> it's a great point, phil rucker, and i know this white house has always acted sanctimonious and tried to get on some sort of high horse when these accounts come out. but there have been a small handful, bob corker came out and talked about this president as not displaying the competence for the office he holds, called the white house adult day care but they are flash points. is there any other sense it will be anything but giant failure and grab over the wall and all of the misgivings within the executive branch of the government about the summit next week and this picture coming into focus that you described at the top of the hour on the rush front, is there any concern that someone just might take adam schiff's advice? >> nicolle, there's sort of a daily concern that could possibly happen but we've seen it over two years now and it
simply hasn't very often. bob corker, his comments, he sort of is a lone wolf there, him and jeff flake, and they're no longer in the senate. the people currently in the senate and in the house on the republican side have simply not shown sort of a willingness to speak their mind about this. and we might see when the mueller report comes out, if it's damaging enough for president trump, that some republican lawmakers could change their calculations and want to become more public with their concerns about the president's fitness for office, but we're not there yet. and the concerns inside the white house are not that mitt romney's going to come to a microphone and speak his heart and talk about trump because he at various points had made those sorts of comments, including in that op-ed a couple months ago, but it's much more about the actual sort of action, what is mueller going to compile? what is mueller going to sorts of comments, including in that op-ed a couple months ago, but it's much more about the actual sort of action, what is mueller going to compile? what is mueller going to release? and what are the details going to show? what is that pattern of behavior? >> you and i were on television together earlier this week and
you made a comment i wanted to ask you about ever since. for the white house, the best-case scenario, is it the mueller report only includes information that's politically damaging? what's on the other end of the spectrum in terms of what's keeping the white house awake at night? >> i should point out, nicolle, the best-case scenario some in the white house are actually entertaining is the mueller report doesn't really say anything. but we know that's not a realistic scenario. the political damage is probable a best-case scenario based on what's real and possible to come out. but the worst-case scenario could be really quite damaging. it could be mueller presenting a whole list of activity, body of evidence showing that the president thought to obstruct justice and not charging him because of the justice department guidelines but providing basic will i a blueprint for the democrats in the house to move on impeachment proceedings. >> an unindicted conspirator i guess on two fronts in new york and the mueller probe, that would be interesting.
after the break, a self-described white nationalist allegedly hatches a plan to murder democrats and journalists, and donald trump, prolific tweeter who never saw a press gaggle that didn't tempt him to chat, says, wait for it, nothing. until just now. and donald trump meeting his face to face dictator writing love letters. more on how next week's summit will turn out. and new questions about the role one of donald trump's cabinet secretaries played in securing a lenient plea deal for a convicted sex offender. all of those stories coming up. . the cab is bigger than the last generation. it's the first truck i've seen make you look small. but that's not all... whoo! oh my... whoa! the silverado has more cargo volume than any competitor. very impressive.
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we need to find the hidden world. woo hoo! we have one shot at this. i thought this was supposed to be a "stealth mission." yep, we forgot to fire proof his butt. [ screaming ] ♪ show them what you've got, bud. [ mumbling ] wow. try to keep up. sorry we're late for the party. [ screaming ] [ bleat ] [ low growl ] it took just nine hours for donald trump to call for retribution after alec baldwin
did a impression he didn't like of him. and the biggest threat against politicians and journalists this country has ever seen and donald trump is just now getting around to responding. if they had not caught christopher hassin in time he might have carried out an unprecedented act of terror, let's see what the president has been tweeting about since the announcement of his arrest. faster internet, jussie smollett, investigations, and nothing about the white nationalist that stockpiled 15 guns, ammo, and steroids, and until this afternoon, crickets from the president. here is what he finally said this afternoon. >> when were you briefed on the coast guard member that was arrested -- >> i'm getting a very final and
complete briefing in about two hours. >> i think it is a very sad thing when a thing like that happens and i expressed that but i'm getting a very complete preefing in two hours. >> joining our conversation in washington, nbc news national political reporter heidi przybyla and "the washington post" columnist eugene robinson. he thinks his language is nice. get those sons of pitches out of here. literally words that came out of the president's mouth before they showed up on the google search of this now arrested suspect. >> yeah, right. well, you know, it's -- sadly, it's not the first time that that at least a would-be domestic terrorist has taken cues from the president's rhetoric. the guy who shot up and killed 11 people in synagogue in pittsburgh was reacting bizarrely to rhetoric about the
southern border, which the connection is difficult to explain, it would take a half hour, but that's the connection he made. i keep wondering what we would have heard from the president from christopher hasson's name was enrique morales or something like that. his thumbs would be sore from the tweeting. we have heard just ten minutes worth of rhetoric at that availability about the terrorist threat from the middle east, the terrorist threat from across the border. >> it's a great point, eugene, because we heard about made-up terrorists who are swarming around the caravan. meanwhile, you couldn't sneak around the caravan with all of
the drone cameras fox news had trained on it if you wanted to. so the idea you were going to sneak a terrorist into that caravan was ludicrous >> and he who not only had a plan but a big arsenal of weapons and doping himself up with human growth hormone. >> i didn't want to sound dumb, but what are the steroids for? >> i have no -- he believes he's taking cues from the norwegian guy anders breivik, remember, who killed 77 people, and apparently he dosed himself in that way with opioids and human growth hormone. somehow i guess that makes you more homicidal. >> this is where even being a critic of donald trump, it doesn't feel good to see him fail these tests. it doesn't feel good to see him fail, to see him tweet about an actor who did something inane but fail to speak out about a domestic terrorist who sought to kill journalists and politicians.
>> to me, that's not even news. we have seen this over and over nicolle going back to really not just charlottesville but back to the campaign when he really had to be nudged to disavow david duke. but the real news the fact how this came out, that it didn't come out by the department of justice, which by all accounts had a successful domestic terrorist investigation that apprehended someone who wanted to kill a lot of people -- it was a very serious investigation, and yet it was buried. they did not want to publicize this. and it coincides with reports that show there's much more publicity when there are reports about muslims, islamic terrorism is much -- apprehensions of islamic terrorism is more promoted in press releases by the department of justice than these incidents of homegrown white nationalist domestic terrorists. >> when the reality ask exactly the opposite. the real threat is from the
homegrown white supremacists, homegrown terrorists. >> how do you get a justice department, which seems to be an all men and women on deck to try to keep the president and his insidious influence out of the justice department going forward, how does the justice department answer for this? >> it's a great question. i don't know. but i felt when you look at what the president said when he finally weighed in, one of the big things that was missing was no thank you to law enforcement. there was no acknowledgment of that, which is such a simple, easy and frankly very basic thing that politicians or leaders usually do in an instance like this. that was also interesting and raises more of the questions you're asking. >> go ahead. >> i was going to say i guess i kind of at this point have reached -- my glass is no longer half full, it's just overflowing with all of the crazy that comes out of trump. on this one, why would we be surprised a self-proclaimed
nationalist would not speak out against a self-proclaimed white nationalist? why are we asking this is a space donald trump is going to go in on behalf of the american ideal? no, he's not. these are his people, all right. and he's not going to thank law enforcement because he's probably not happy about what law enforcement did. >> is that where we are? >> that's where we are. i call the space where we are, we are. i'm not going to try to dress it up and be all pie in the sky and hopeful that oh, the next incident, donald trump will actually get it right, will he have matured in his presidency enough to act like a president. >> that's a brave thing to say. let me just draw you out on that. if he carried out on the attacks, what do you think the president would have done? >> that's the next test in all of this. that's a very good question and absolutely the next test. we can sit here and honestly say we would hope there would be the appropriate level of outrage and pushback and all hands on deck to your point about the justice department and those responding,
but here we sit and we have the little question mark over -- little thought bubble as a question mark, i don't know what he would do. and that's the sad spot about all of this. and you have communities of color, you have communities across this country that are concerned about whether or not this president is interested in protecting their interests. >> i just can't let this go, because you're blowing my mind. you think if dylan roof committed that crime now, is that what you're saying? >> yeah, yeah. no amazing grace? >> prove it to me otherwise. prove it to me otherwise. because i can only go on what you say, what you do and what you don't do, right? >> i will come to you but i want your thoughts on this and let's watch one of the president's allies in i guess we call it legal circles, judge digenova. >> we are in a civil war in this country. there are two standards of justice, one for democrats, one for republicans. the press is all democrat, all
liberal, all progressive, all left. they hate republicans, they hate trump. so the suggestion that there's ever going to be civil discourse in this country for the foreseeable future is over. it's not going to be. it's going to be total war. and i say to my friends, i do two things, i vote and i buy guns. >> hey, joe, you just hate racists. heidi? somewhere this is to michael's point, the climate we are in. we can sit here and debate whether we can draw a direct line to the president's rhetoric and any one particular event but what you can't debate is the climate we're in right now and the fact just this week the president dusted off his enemy of the people rhetoric, which is authoritarian language ripped from the dictator's handbook that we have not seen from any modern american president. you have to point out the context in which these events
are taking place. secondly, i want to go back and take one more stab at michael because i think one of the other things -- >> i need a drink in my cup. >> i got one. >> it's not just trump. like we say, we've seen this over and over again. but are we to a point where no one in your party, and correct me if i'm wrong, but who in the party is speaking up? it's not just the department of justice burying this, but where are the leaders? >> the crickets you get are the sound you get from the people who are not willing to step into the space and push back. it goes back to the first segment with all of the stuff he related to the investigations and behavior the president, the difficult he's placed the presidency itself in, and, of course, the least important of all of this is the political piece, the party. the country first, and then the party. but you would think that, okay,
that in any one of those two spaces you would find the strength to speak out. what party though? >> a personality. >> an extension of the mob family. i don't want to let this go though. i think we talk about the lasting harm, it's giving god know what's to putin in terms of territory and foreign policy giveaways but i think the conversation on race, it's not even a conversation anymore, it's what joe digenova said it was, it's a war. he permitted, he green lit a war in this country around race. if you think about the saying the most dangerous thing he's done, that might be it. >> who was talking about that? who was actually agitating for that to happen? donald trump's new base. why nationalists had been agitating for that space to be exploded onto the national scene.
and then when you've got credible individuals supposedly inside the party and joe, i have known him a long time, he's a credible guy, when he gets out and says we're in a state of war, who declared this war and when do we start fighting it? do we come to your house first? i want to know where we start this. because if this is the declaration that this president is allowing to be made, then we all need to do a checkdown on this, on guys like joe and others, so we can't sit back silently and accept it. the president had all day yesterday to speak on this issue about this terrorist that was 17 miles from the white house in maryland, right? he had all day yesterday. his response today, 24 hours later is, i have another two hours -- >> it's a shame. somewhere it's a shame. i have a briefing to do. >> real quick, last word. >> what was so remarkable by that sound bite he played, he talks about the civil war, says all of these ridiculous things
about what the media is and punctuates it with guns. you can't read that any other way than outlining us versus them and then violence at the end. >> yes, it's amazing. and there was this atmosphere, as if the atmosphere was sort of charged with gasoline right before. a lot of things going on, economics, race, you know. trump is an arsonist. he lights matches. >> phil rucker, i want to give you the last word and ask if you can add anything to the time line. donald trump said he hasn't been fully briefed. that doesn't sound right. i worked in a white house. presidents are debriefed on all terror plots unless he's dispatched all of whiz white house advisers which, i didn't read in your paper. and he said it would be two hours from now. can you fill anything in on that for us? >> he said two hours would be the final briefing. i can't imagine a world that he didn't know this happened until he was just asked.
and two points to button this up, one, joe digenova, just on that clip talking about war, was actually somebody trump nearly hired as his personal attorney in the mueller investigation, so keep that in mind. number two, if it weren't who hallie jackson asking those questions, we still wouldn't have heard anything from president trump. he did not voluntarily make this comment or condemn that action. he only said so in response to her question. so good on hallie for that. >> always good on hallie but especially good today. thank you for making those points, phil rucker, and thank you for spending so much of the hour with us.
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first he called him little rocketman. them after an unsupervised face-to-face summit, they started writing each other love letters. now they're set to meet again. and with trump gunning for a peace prize, there's reason for the alarm being reported among donald trump's advisers. trump and north korean dictator kim jong-un will meet next week
in hanoi and according to white house officials, quote, the push for a second summit came almost entirely from the president himself. how is that for leverage? the fact there's trepidation surrounding the summit comes as no surprise. politico report says, quote, secretary of state mike pompeo, the man charged with leading the negotiations, has expressed frustration to allies about the lack of diplomatic progress and voiced concern his boss will get outmaneuvered, that's according to a source with direct knowledge of the conversation. everyone is still here. i don't even know what to say. this is sort of like the keystone cops like take on a murderous dictator with nukes and wonder what could go wrong. are you kidding? maybe you should have sat in the room last time. >> and also i think people around the president have really lowered expectations this time. they did a briefing, a conference call briefing yesterday for reporters, and it was almost as if they were outlining what they hoped for the first summit because the
expectations were so low. and the big concern is that the president is going to go into the meeting and do a couple of things, he'll agree to like an end-of-war declaration, which the north koreans really want, maybe an intersection that gives the u.s. a presence in north korea and de facto recognize north korea as a nuclear state. and on the flip side try to put forward some things the north koreans are doing that are really old things they've already done or -- >> my brain is going -- here's what my brain is doing. can you see trump like, you know what, i've got a great building on 57th and i will give you a penthouse. >> that will also be the pitch. here, we saw the video the first time. we will see other things where he said look what you can have. look what all of this can be if you bring in investment, and it's just very -- the people around the president and any expert on this issue is very concerned that this is not serious and when you're dealing with a very serious issue, obviously. >> i don't understand, they don't let him do very much. the whole secret about executive time is because it's where he
can do the least amount of harm, on twitter watching tv. why do they let him go knee meetings alone with american adversaries like vladimir putin and kim jong-un? >> i don't think they have a choice. that's what he wants to do. even when they were playing his first meeting with president xi of china, they didn't want that. he just made it happen. and spent all of this alone time with him. it's what he likes to do. >> alone time like children. >> i think you have to take the widest possible angle on this. i agree with the intelligence community that north korea has no intention of giving up its nuclear weapons because why would they, right? so we don't want to recognize them as a nuclear power. they are, in fact, a nuclear power right now. and if the president can keep from formally giving that recognition, not give up too
much, you know, i would rather have them having a stupid summit than snarling at each other and threatening potential armageddon. >> but mutually exclusive, eugene's colleagues reported this week in a great piece of reporting that dan coats may be be on his way out. i honestly don't know how he endured as much as he did. but you believe the intelligence community. i believe the intelligence community. i'm guessing you all do too. their number one client doesn't. >> well, there's that, yeah. >> so do you think dan coats is doing his job a week from today? >> we always play this parlor game. i think he's probably like every other official in this administration which is short term on call. at some point, yes, he will be leaving. i don't know what the exact time frame will be. but in this case with the north korea meeting, the bizarre thing is usually -- because i have covered some of these before,
these summits, and this is the reason why no other president has had a meeting, everything is agreed to beforehand so we know what we're getting into. there's like a general framework and agreement, handshake deal before you get into the room and then when the leaders actually get into the room, they're just christening it. in this case, we really don't know what he's getting into. >> trump's foreign policy generally. which is why vladimir putin's running our foreign policy. but let me just ask you, they have access to american television there. he's extra prolific consumer of american entertainment. he has seen what a colossal failure donald trump was on his key political negotiation, which was for the wall. i mean, if you're north korea, you've already planned the parade with all of your nukes going down. hasn't north korea already won? >> i would think that as kim jong-un is standing there waiting for donald trump to walk in and as he does, he gets closer and closer to what he sees across his forehead as
sucker and he's happy, he's okay with that. when donald trump says clear the room and they're going to do mano a mano, he's like yeah, baby, let's do this. because to your point, they've done their home work on the north korean side. they've already mapped out what it is they want to get out of this. so donald trump typically walks into these things thinking he's the great negotiator when he was out-negotiated before he walked through the door, number one. and number two, i kind of look at this whole thing, you set it up correctly in that donald trump asked for this summit, just as donald trump asked the prime minister of japan to nominate him for a nobel prize. >> that's too good. let me read that. on the note, for anyone who doesn't know, donald trump really does think he's a candidate for the nobel peace prize. what do i know, maybe he is. from "the new york times," as mr. trump meets with mr. kim, his role as peacemaker is clearly weighing heavily on his mind. the president has made no secret he believes he deserves the nobel peace prize for his diplomatic outreach to mr. kim.
he said it had halted the north's nuclear missile test for more than a year, easing a deadly threat to neighboring japan. abe nominated him for the prize, trump said, and he added, i'll probably never get it. he wants a peace prize for something that his intelligence community said isn't happening. >> that's true. and so for him, again, this is sort of the comparative to barack obama -- >> exactly. >> -- which he went after obama, so his getting a princess prize is way more legitimate than obama getting a peace prize. that's how this all plays out in his mind. again, i go back to my point, when he walks in the room, he's already been out-negotiated because, to your point, doesn't do his homework, he's not prepared, he refuses the briefing from the people who actually know what's going on, on the ground and he refuses to accept the reality, to your point, gene, you're already dealing with a state that is in the throes of being a nuclear power. >> and he wins the minute trump walks in the room. >> he already won the first summit. he's no longer a pariah. putin wants to meet with him now. he's won.
>> playing a game his father and grandfather played except this time he's winning masterfully because his opponent is trump. >> aye-yi-yi. coming up -- a convicted sex offender from a republican to the department of justice. that is next. so the white house said today that it's looking into labor secretary alex acosta's role in securing a lenient sentence for convicted sex offender jeffrey epstein but the (vo) only verizon was ranked number one by rootmetrics, number one in three opensignal mobile experience awards, number one in video streaming according to nielsen, and number one in network quality according to j.d. power. we're proud to be the only network to win in all four major awards-- not because of what it says about us,
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so the white house said today that it's looking into labor secretary alex acosta's role in securing a lenient sentence for convicted sex offender jeffrey epstein but the white house only said it would look into it after they defended acosta. sarah sanders saying she believed prosecutors, quote, made the best possible decision and deal they could have gotten at the time. funny thing to know before you looked into something. that best possible way was described by nbc news, quote -- he steep, 66, reached a negotiation involving dozens of teenage girls in return for him pleading guilty to state charges involving him and a single victim, paying financial settlements to other victims and
registering as a sex offender. just yesterday a federal judge ruled acosta and the other federal prosecutors on the case broke the law by not telling victims about that plea deal. broke the law by not telling victims about that plea deal. adding to the administration's troubles, nebraska senator ben staff wants answers. he's requested for information about the deal from the justice department. and that adds to a growing list of conflicts into the executive branch from congress. joyce, this is a sickening crime, a sickening list of other alleged crimes that i guess is part of a plea deal he wasn't prosecuted for. what seems like an inexplicable and inexcusable and a judge said illegal violation of victims' rights by not telling the victims about this plea deal.
your analysis? >> it is a horrible thought that a sitting u.s. attorney directed his office to give someone accused of this crime a pass. i just don't know what to say beyond that, nicole. it's outrageous. although we're years fast forward, there needs to be accountability. this civil lawsuit is one mechanism for that. it's also not too late to conduct an investigation. although acosta is no longer a doj employee and couldn't be disciplined by doj, they could turn their findings over to florida's disciplinary committee and they could action against acosta, including stripping him of his license to practice law. that doesn't sound like a very serious penalty for what he's done or what he's alleged to have done in this opinion. but it would be i think a very good starting place. the white house needs to consider whether he belongs at the department of labor. a cabinet-level agency, which,
by the way, conducts a lot of anti-human trafficking operations, the irony that this man in charge that work is overwhelming. >> that was the point i was going to make. i think joyce makes a really important point about sort of the limits of what can be done. from the "miami herald" reporting, acosta was a miami based u.s. attorney, a fact that came to light during his confirmation hearing but it was ignored by republicans. his nomination for massive agency with oversight over child labor laws and human trafficking makes it more egregious that he was approved. >> the whole thing is outrageous. they made this decision that it was illegal, apparently the record shows that a great effort was made to keep the victims from learning about this deal. it's not that they just didn't tell them, it's that they hid it
from them. i have a question for joyce, which is is there any way this plea deal, this nonprosecution deal made with epstein on federal charges could be voided at this point? >> you know, that's a tough question, but if there's clear evidence that there was fraud involved in obtaining the plea agreement, an effort can be made to break the deal. hard to predict this far out whether there would be procedural criminal law issues that would keep that from coming to pass. >> it's hard to understate how gross all these sort of creatures are in this cabinet. you couldn't have assembled people with more sort of heinous skeletons in their closet. if you just look at the -- >> that's true. >> i'm sorry, did we just say that out loud? i'm sorry. sorry to do that >> i didn't know where you were
going with heinous. >> the guy with the pants, this guy with the shady plea arrangement. sarah sanders seems to know more than she said she knew. she said this is the best deal he could get. but you have to wonder, when trump goes back to his base, i was going to get the best people. was this the best person? and the guy that was going to drain the swamp, is this either of those things? >> that's sort of one of the million dollars questions is whether anything like this. we see time and time again the president says one thing and then his supporters still stick by him, even though the facts basically are lining up against everything that he said. you know, he has had a tremendous amount of troubles with his cabinet, more than we have seen, really, in any recent president. and part of that is that there were very few people or
significantly less people that normally would want to work for a president that wanted to work for this president and they just didn't do any vetting. there was just no -- everything was rushed. there was not a real process. they didn't really look at the candidates who they were picking and choosing, and the president was picking a lot of them based on how they looked or if he had chemistry with them or these other arbitrary reasons. so he wound up with a cabinet that a lot of it is acting, frankly. >> the fact that republicans fast-tracked this nomination speaks volumes. because of that, i appreciate ben sass saying what he's saying and pushing the way he's pushing because this rests ultimately with those who advised and consented. and i think that this speaks, again, to earlier conversation
about how this party and how the players in it really just outperform themselves when it comes to just going -- a race to the bottom. it's amazing to me. >> sounds like short term he'll survive. there's no statute of limitations for trafficking. >> lots of big names. joyce advanced, thank you for spending time with us. we'll be right back. k you for spending time with us. we'll be right back. woman 1: proof of less joint pain... woman 2: ...and clearer skin. woman 3: this is my body of proof. man 2: proof that i can fight psoriatic arthritis... woman 4: ...with humira. woman 5: humira targets and blocks a specific source of inflammation that contributes to both joint and skin symptoms. it's proven to help relieve pain,
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i'll see you monday for deadline white house at 4:00 p.m. manafort, let's play hardball. ♪ >> good evening. i'm steve kornacki in for krs matthews. at any moment now robert mueller's prosecutors will file a key memo in the sentencing of the former campaign chairman, paul manafort and that could answer questions at the heart of the russia probe, including whether the special counsel considers manafort crucial to showing possible coordination between the trump campaign and russia. a judge last week ruled that he lied about contacts with kilminik. a business associate with ties to russian intelligence. in her ruling, the judge questioned manafort's loyalty to the united states saying, quote, this is a problematic attempt to shield hisusan