Show: 11TH HOUR WITH BRIAN WILLIAMS Date: August 14, 2018 Guest: Donna Edwards, Josh Gerstein, Arianna Berg
BRIAN WILLIAMS, MSNBC HOST: Tonight, the President calls Omarosa a dog, perhaps because she could now be a genuine danger to this presidency. And the White House spokeswoman admitted today she cannot guarantee Americans won`t hear our President using the N-word.
Also today, another stunning allegation from Omarosa that Trump knew about Hillary Clinton`s e-mails before WikiLeaks put them out.
While on the Mueller front, the defense has rested in the Manafort case. When will deliberations begin?
And if it`s Tuesday, it must be primary night again. Indeed it is. Steve Kornacki has the live results at the big board as THE 11TH HOUR gets under way on a Tuesday night.
And good evening once again from our NBC News headquarters here in New York. Day 572, this was, of the Trump administration, which is now facing the very real possibility that the real threat to the President may be one Omarosa Manigault-Newman. The former Trump aide dropping another audio tape this morning and made another round of television appearances related to her new book.
There is no reason to believe she won`t drop a new recording each day for sometime to come. In fact, any Annie Karni of Politico is reporting exactly that fear from the West Wing tonight. "People are terrified one former Trump aide said at the tapes. Absolutely terrified."
Today`s surreptitious recording de jure appears to capture her and two other campaign aides in October 2016 discussing a rumored audio recording of Trump using the N-word on the set of The Apprentice. Those campaign advisers have offered a series of denials and explanations surrounding the circumstance of that conversation.
Omarosa offered her own explanation about why she needed to go public with this latest recording.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OMAROSA MANIGAULT-NEWMAN, FORMER WHITE HOUSE AIDE: I wanted to have this type of documentation so that in the event, I found myself in this position where, as you said, they`re questioning my credibility, saying they never discussed the N-word tape, never heard these accusations, the President had never heard these accusations when in fact this tape proves that they discussed it at high levels of the Trump campaign.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: As you no doubt have already heard and seen the President responded to her latest revelations with this. And we quote, "When you give a crazed crying lowlife a break and give her a job at the White House, I guess it just didn`t work out. Good work by General Kelly for quickly firing that dog."
After the President called a former White House aide a dog, questions about his choice of words and the President`s attitudes about race dominated today`s White House briefing, as you might imagine. Press Secretary Sarah Sanders was forced to try to explain what her boss meant.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I think the President is certainly voicing his frustration with the fact that this person has shown a complete lack of integrity.
This has absolutely nothing to do with race.
KRISTEN WELKER, NBC NEWS WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Can you stand at the podium and guarantee the American people they`ll never hear Donald Trump utter the N-word on a reporting in any context?
SANDERS: I can`t guarantee anything but I can tell you that the President addressed this question directly. I can tell you that I`ve never heard it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: Kristen Welker had a particularly strong day in today`s briefings. There were other Omarosa related bombshells today. This one involves Robert Mueller and the ongoing Russia investigation.
Earlier on this network, Omarosa spoke to Katy Tur about her interactions with Mueller`s team.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KATY TUR, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Let`s talk about something you talked to Chris Matthews about last night, the Mueller investigation. Have you been interviewed by the special counsel?
MANIGAULT-NEWMAN: I have.
TUR: You have. And what sort of questions were they asking you?
MANIGAULT-NEWMAN: That`s the extent I can go in discussing that as well.
TUR: Have you sat for a grand jury?
MANIGAULT-NEWMAN: I`m not going to be able to comment about that.
TUR: You did say to Chris Matthews that you have more tapes that Robert Mueller could be interested in. He might want to call you again. What sort of tapes would he be interested in?
MANIGAULT-NEWMAN: You know, if he calls me, I certainly will participate with anything that he needs. I`ll provide him with what he needs. But that`s the extent that I can talk about.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: There was also this, Omarasoa alleged Donald Trump had advanced knowledge of the hacked e-mails from Hillary Clinton`s campaign.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TUR: You were instructed according to your book to bring up the e-mails at every point you could at the end of the 2016 campaign.
MANIGAULT-NEWMAN: That`s right.
TUR: Hillary Clinton`s e-mail?
MANIGAULT-NEWMAN: Yes, that was our --
TUR: Did Donald Trump know about those e-mails before they came out?
TUR: He knew about them?
TUR: He knew what was coming out before WikiLeaks released them?
TUR: You`re saying Donald Trump had a back channel.
MANIGAULT-NEWMAN: I didn`t say that, you did. But I will say that I am going to --
TUR: How did you know about them then?
MANIGAULT-NEWMAN: -- I`m going to expose the corruption that went on the campaign and in the White House. I`m going to continue to blow the whistle on all of that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: Gets your attention. Just a few hours ago, the President`s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, responded to Omarosa`s claim about those Clinton e- mails.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUDY GIULIANI, PRESIDENT TRUMP`S PERSONAL LAWYER: I know she`s lying because I was on the campaign more than she was. I was closer to him than she was. I was from about June to November. I was with him 24 hours a day.
It`s not in the book. I guarantee you, she didn`t tell the special prosecutor that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: On that note, let`s bring in our lead-off panel on a Tuesday night. Former Congresswoman Donna Edwards, a Democrat from the great state of Maryland, Philip Rucker, Pulitzer Prize-winning White House Bureau Chief for "The Washington Post," and Jonathan Lemire, White House Reporter for "The Associated Press."
Phil, I`d like to begin with you. You`ve written and reported that people are rattled inside the West Wing and elsewhere.
Let`s put it this way, every senior and, for that matter, junior White House aide current and former will go to bed tonight not knowing if they will hear their voice on tomorrow`s released surreptitious recording.
PHILIP RUCKER, WHITE HOUSE BUREAU CHIEF, "THE WASHINGTON POST: That`s right, Brian. The only way they would go to bed without that worry is if they know they just never had any conversation with Omarosa. I mean, she`s made clear now that she recorded many of her conversations in the West Wing.
Senior officials in the building do not know what she may or may not have in her recordings or when she plans to put them out. It`s one of the reasons why you`ve seen the President so clearly rattled if you look at his tweets over the last few days. There was an effort, a strategy in the White House to try to basically deprive Omarosa any attention, to keep the President from tweeting, to keep from engaging on this book tour.
They knew the book was coming but they didn`t want to do anything that would breathe life into her allegations or promote the book sales or what have you. But clearly, the President could not restrain himself and he`s been tweeting for several days now and escalating his attacks on her.
WILLIAMS: And, Phil, I want to remind you that, of course, you and Ashley Parker have put out a piece of journalism about this relationship tonight where you say, "Now, like in the film series Jurassic Park where the dinosaurs turn on the scientists who helped create them, Manigault-Newman has unleashed Trump`s own tricks and tactics on him."
Consider what we`ve already been discussing here tonight, the notion of teasing out parts of the story continuing in interviews to say --
WILLIAMS: -- what you have, what`s going to happen and what you`re going to do to this person.
RUCKER: That`s exactly right, these are Trump tactics, and it`s important to point out that she was not only a White House staffer and contestant on "The Apprentice" but she was very much a protege. She`s been sort of trained by Trump for more than a decade in reality television, in creating drama, in building sort of personal narrative and brand and becoming a captivating figure in the popular culture. She`s known by one name Omarosa like Madonna or Prince, and, you know, that to Trump makes her magnetic. But it also -- you know, she knows how to play this game.
She knows how to manipulate the media. She knows how to create suspense around her book and around what tapes are going to come out next. And it`s one of the reasons why the President doesn`t know what`s around the corner.
WILLIAMS: So Congresswoman, a lot of people have come away from her interviews on television for the last two days and hear her point about if I hadn`t recorded all this stuff, I`d be publicly destroyed. And people in this day and age, this Trump era kind of say, "OK, that makes sense." And further there`s a conversation going on about her credibility. But that`s kind of neutered by the fact she has tapes.
DONNA EDWARDS (D), MARYLAND, FORMER U.S. CONGRESSWOMAN: Well, and her credibility is being challenged by people who don`t have any credibility. I mean why are we surprised that she has tapes?
The President has been reported by his own words to record people. His lawyer recorded him. Why is it a surprise that Omarosa in an effort to protect herself wouldn`t record?
And I think that she is right when she says that nobody would believe her at all if she didn`t have these receipts. She promised them and every time she delivers them.
And so, you know, just because somebody lies or exaggerates one time doesn`t mean that occasionally they don`t tell the truth. And we certainly know that with the President. He`s been recorded to have lied in over 7,000 times. But when he said that he fired James Comey because of Russia, we believe him.
So occasionally some of these lies actually -- and liars actually do tell the truth. And I think here with Omarosa, first of all, what the President said about her is just absolutely despicable. And he has this habit of calling women and particularly black women these names that are very disparaging and that are very racist. And I think it`s time that we actually called the President out every single time that he does that.
And the fact that Sarah Huckabee Sanders can stand at the podium and say that she can`t guarantee that he hasn`t used the N-word, well I`m of 94 percent of black women who voted for Hillary Clinton. We know he used the N-word and we don`t actually need a tape to prove that.
WILLIAMS: That was a certain moment in the history of the modern presidency today.
Jonathan Lemire, you write today for The Associated Press about kind of parachutes and parking spaces. Parting payments and positions people can go into after they`ve fallen out of Trump world. Omarosa was destined for one such position.
JONATHAN LEMIRE, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, "THE ASSOCIATED PRESS": Right, it`s certainly not unusually there can be a blurring between an administration and, say, a campaign. What`s striking about the Trump White House is, first of all, how frugally these departures come. They`ve had more staff turn over in the first 18 or so months than any previous administration since records were kept on these things.
Moreover, when they leave, they all seem to land whether the re-election campaign itself or a number of outside affiliated groups either support his agenda, the Vice President`s agenda, there`s an outside group that Steve Bannon runs. That`s where these people end up. And it seems to be for two reasons. On one, you reward a staffer who like many in the Trump White House have had trouble finding that lucrative work that West Wing aides usually find without much trouble after leaving the administration.
And secondly, there`s this idea of, you know, keep your friends close but your enemies closer. And there`s a sense that for a number of these people who live in the White House who the President and those closest to him are nervous about, you bring them on, you pay them exuberantly, and you sort of buy their silence. And that was the idea here with Omarosa if she`s going to get $15,000 a mount to remain quiet.
She obviously decided not to do that. And our reporting backs up everything Phil has said where this has really unnerved a lot of people in the White House. It has struck a nerve with the President who feels like, remember Donald Trump`s the cardinal sin in his world is disloyalty. He feels like he made her, that she`s a star because he put her on his show and she became this sort of, in some ways, a cartoon villain. That cartoon villain has now struck back and the White House is scrambling as to how to respond.
WILLIAMS: Keith Schiller, a former body man, former NYPD cop, a longtime Trump aide, many people regard as the keeper of the secrets turned director of Oval Office operations which was never a thing here to for, he`s down in Florida making that monthly retainer, attached vaguely to the campaigned reelect.
LEMIRE: And he`s making the same $15,000. And part of that job, it`s affiliated with the RNC, is to provide security for the Republican National Convention, which 2020.
LEMIRE: So not a bad gig if you can get it right now.
WILLIAMS: Phil Rucker, the business part of what Omarosa said today, where she`s really now has to put up because it`s an existential threat it would seem to me to the presidency is this notion of advanced knowledge --
WILLIAMS: -- on the part of the President of the e-mails prior to the WikiLeaks release. Talk about the consequences here.
RUCKER: Well, the consequences could potentially be great. I was really pretty flabbergasted when she said that in the interview with Katy Tur this afternoon, and I think Katy was surprised as well.
I mean, we`ve not heard anybody in Trump`s orbit make that charge or make that disclosure that the President knew about these e-mails before they came out from WikiLeaks. If he did know about them, it would indicate some sort of conspiracy and, of course, he`s been denying for months, for more than a year, frankly, that there`s been no collusion, that he had nothing to do with Russia, that he didn`t know about this stuff.
So, you know, I don`t know where Omarosa Manigault-Newman came up with that. I don`t know if she was sort of saying it in the moment in an interview and didn`t fully sort of understand what it was she`s revealing. She did not get into detail in the interview. She also has not subsequently provided any evidence to back up her claim. But if she`s correct, it could be a really big legal problem for the President.
WILLIAMS: Hey, Congresswoman, even though you`re a lawyer yourself, please engaged in a rampant speculation. If she does have the goods and can prove advance knowledge of the e-mails coming out, that would be -- it seems to me at minimum collusion and at most ball game, correct?
EDWARDS: Well, it seems so. I mean, the fact is that she`s already been before the special counsel. It seems likely that she`s going to get called back I would think and provide whatever else she has.
And so I think you`re right. I mean this is one of these notions, when I heard today my mouth just was open because that is the whole ball game right there. And so now she`s in a position where she really does have to put up.
WILLIAMS: Jonathan Lemire, there`s a theory that started floating around yesterday, today. It was the thing to say that maybe Manafort could bring down the house. Maybe it would be Gates or Flynn, maybe it was going to be Michael Cohen of New York. But in the last 24 to 48 hours, I`ve heard serious people say this is the woman who could burn down the house.
LEMIRE: Well, there`s certainly a number of contenders who you just listed. And so at this point, the President remains standing in his house around him. But, yes, there is something perhaps uniquely dangerous to this West Wing that Omarosa could provide. She was there every day.
We do not know how many recordings she has.
WILLIAMS: Apparently had her iPhone with her the whole time.
LEMIRE: We know she had a recording in the situation room. So there`s not like there were things that were off limits to her in her estimation. She was saying she was trying to protect herself, she now, I also think it must be noted. The way she repeatedly used that interview, the idea with Katy, the phrase "whistle-blower" blowing the whistle.
WILLIAMS: Yes, that`s a term of ours.
LEMIRE: That`s right. And perhaps signaling where she wants to go with this down the road. And there are people in there who are worried, very worried about what kind of conversations she has captured on tape.
And you know, we know of at least the one with the President. There could be more. We don`t know what he`s going to say. There`s certainly these explosive allegations that he uses, you know, the N-word and such.
And this is something that they did not have a game plan for. Like Phil said, they originally wanted to ignore it and said the President, who can never resist a slight, has fought back and fought back hard. And this is just snowballing and there`s no sense to when it`s going to stop.
WILLIAMS: We`re going to have to do something a little unusual. All of our guests have agreed to stay with us over the break.
We will take a break and when we come back she says she has already talked with Mueller`s team at least once. Did you note that? What else does Omarosa have that might be of interest to the special counsel?
Later on tonight, the President reached back to an old insult today. We`ll talk about the impact of one his go to put downs.
THE 11TH HOUR just getting started as we look at the West Wing on a Tuesday night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MANIGAULT-NEWMAN: This is a White House where everybody lies. The President lies to the American people. Sarah Huckabee stands in front of the country and lies every single day.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you think the President lies often?
They prepped him to lie everyday.
In Trump world, everyone lie.
They have a problem with the truth.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: Omarosa`s remarks about Trump`s White House and the truth may also come into play with regard to this Russia investigation and specifically obstruction of justice or collusion.
Rudy Giuliani said definitively tonight as we watched, in the case of Trump versus Comey he said-he said, Trump is ready to swear under oath that he never asked Comey to cut Flynn a break of any kind.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GIULIANI: I`m telling you he didn`t say it. Jay and I have said to the President, if you said it, it would be easier on us so that we could defend it. He just said go easy on him. He didn`t say tank the case, get rid of the case. He could order him to do it, could have done a lot of things.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And the President has said to you, "I never said any word to him ever about Flynn ever," in that context?
GIULIANI: He said I never -- yes. Yes, pretty much. Yes. That`s pretty close.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: Pretty much, pretty close. Still with us Donna Edwards, Philip Rucker, Jonathan Lemire. Welcome back, gang.
Mr. Rucker, this issue of the relationship to the truth, of course, goes to the heart of the investigation they are trying to stave off. And I want to run for you a bit more of Omarosa on how worried they are. We`ll talk about it on the other side.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TUR: How worried are folks or the White House staffers about this investigation, the Mueller investigation?
MANIGAULT-NEWMAN: They should be very worried.
TUR: Are they worried?
TUR: What are they worried about?
MANIGAULT-NEWMAN: Because they have been hiding things, hiding things from the American people and being very dishonest.
TUR: The staffers have been hiding things?
TUR: Like what?
MANIGAULT-NEWMAN: I can`t go into it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: Phil Rucker, how worried are they going to be upon hearing her say how worried they are and should be?
RUCKER: Well, first of all, Brian, I wish she went into it a little bit there.
WILLIAMS: Yes, I know. We all do.
RUCKER: Told us some examples. Look, I mean, I think they`re worried potentially about what she could say. But it`s also important to keep in mind she`s been gone from the White House since December of last year.
And she also, you know, while she was on the senior staff and in some of the senior staff meetings and had her own personal relationship with President Trump, she was not in a lot of the sort of the crisis meetings that White House counsel Don McGahn, you know, would have with the Chief of Staff or with Hope Hicks, the Communications Director, or with Sarah Sanders, the Press Secretary. She was doing other work a lot of times so she may not have been privy necessarily to the most sensitive discussions or those that were relating to the management of the Russia investigation and sort of how to spin that.
WILLIAMS: Jonathan Lemire, you were among the journalists and they could fit comfortably inside a 747 who regularly talk to Rudolph Giuliani. And you just watched with us that exchange with Chris Cuomo. Does any of it matter?
The target is moving almost on a daily basis. We had a former federal prosecutor here in your chair last night who said it`s all noise. There`s the Mueller investigation and everything important and there`s whatever they want to say on the other side.
LEMIRE: Right. This is a unique brand of lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, but he`s not really learned. He`s a public relations guy, he`s a spokesman, and he`s trying to shape public opinion and potentially eventually Congress`s opinion of whatever report Mueller is going to come out with. That`s his mission.
He`s going to move the goal posts, change objectives, sort of play the cable television networks and sort of influence how people think about Mueller. And we`ve seen at least some slippage in the poll numbers that people who, you know, believe that Mueller is doing a good job and that he is impartial. He is not trying this case in the courtroom. That`s never been his task.
He is someone the President has sent out there to mix it up on television, to get his message out there, and to muddy the waters. And that`s what he`s doing. And the story does as you said, it changes on a daily basis.
This is a new scenario here with Comey and Flynn. It defies the diversions we`ve heard time and time again. But to them, it doesn`t matter. It is just noise and they`re happy to put out the noise.
WILLIAMS: Congresswoman, if you don`t count my failed campaign for student council president, you`re the only one here whose name has been on a ballot with any regularity. And since you come from the world of politics, I want to show you some polling numbers.
These are new from our friends at CNN tonight. This is how is Mueller handling the investigation is the first category. Forty-seven percent, 39% above water approve if you`re rooting for the Mueller team.
Has Donald Trump attempted to interfere with the investigation? By a more robust number, it`s above water, 56%, 38%.
Congressman, what do you make of these polls as whose job used to depend at least a little bit on them?
EDWARDS: Well, I take those numbers any day. And I think that what`s happening here is that we`re all on the outside speculating, you know, looking at some of the documents that we`ve seen and trying to piece it together. Mueller has the whole picture, and we are going to see that. And I think that`s why I`ve been really content even, you know, as somebody who travels in the world of politics of who`s saying you know what, let`s let that investigation play out.
Out in these districts where people are running for office, they don`t have to talk about Bob Mueller all day, every day. He`s going to do his work. And I think that`s why I think from a political standpoint for Democrats, it`s really important, particularly important for them to just focus on their districts and on the work at hand and allow the investigation to proceed. And where somebody like an Omarosa comes in is that she throws a monkey wrench in all of the public discussion about this, but Mueller is holding the cards.
WILLIAMS: Phil, last question, last word to you also calls for rampant speculation which I know you love. Rudy did say on CNN tonight he thinks the reason the Mueller team hasn`t gotten back to the Trump team is they`re waiting to see the verdict in Manafort. Do you believe that?
RUCKER: I don`t know. Potentially. I mean, look, there`s actually a question about whether this negotiation over an interview by the President is going to continue as it had with the sort of letters back and forth or whether there`ll actually be a subpoena, you know, whether Robert Mueller actually goes forward and subpoenas the President to appear before him. And that`s the big question mark at this hour.
Whether that delay is because of the Manafort trial, I have no idea. Clearly, part of the Mueller special counsel team is focused on that trial because they`re prosecuting Manafort. But I think the people focused on that are different than the people who are dealing with the inquiry into the President.
WILLIAMS: Much obliged tonight for an extended and terrific conversation, Philip Rucker, Donna Edwards, and Jonathan Lemire. Thank you all very much.
And coming up about that Manafort trial, lawyers preparing now for closing arguments after the defense calls it quits after calling no witnesses. What we`ll be looking for tomorrow, what happened in that courtroom today when we come back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KEVIN DOWNING, MANAFORT DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Mr. Manafort just rested his case, and he did so because he and his legal team believe that the government has not met its burden of proof. Thanks everyone.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: That was it. Paul Manafort`s lawyer today summing up his team`s decision to rest its case without calling any witnesses, that would include Manafort himself. The president`s former campaign chairman did speak for the first time in court only to affirm to the judge that he did not wish to take the stand.
Manafort as you know has pleaded guilty to 18 counts of tax and bank fraud. While unrelated to Russian election interference Manafort`s prosecution is the first to come from the Mueller`s effort. The day`s proceeding started after yet another hours long delay. We don`t know exactly what the reason was, but we do know that the judge spoke to the jury in private. During the hearing the details of which have been sealed.
With us tonight Josh Gerstein who was inside the courtroom for today`s proceedings. He happens to be senior White House reporter for Politico. And we welcome to the broadcast, Arianna Berg, a former Assistant U.S. Attorney here in the Southern District of New York.
Well, good evening to you both, and Josh, I`d like to begin with you`re our eyes and ears and I know you`re looking forward to the end of this because the days are long. What was it like in there today? What do you believe this matter is that they continue to work on and be preoccupied with? And if I can go three parts, what`s your prediction and looking for tomorrow?
JOSH GERSTEIN, POLITICO SENIOR WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: When you say in there, we weren`t really in there for most of the morning. And this was the third day in a row that there was some significant sealed proceeding in the courtroom handling the Manafort trial, Friday, Monday, and Tuesday.
Some of these proceedings taking place in the judge`s chamber, some of them apparently taking place in the jury room or involving a meeting with the jury. Reporters and others who had come to watch the trial were left in the hallway for about two hours today. Another extended delay in the session beginning.
We do know at least today they were discussing a defense motion of some sort that is under seal. Many of us suspected it has something to do with the jury and maybe the defense trying to preserve some objection to the way the judge has handled the matter related to the jury. That`s the best we can figure out on that account.
In terms of what may be coming up, I mean we`re looking at closing arguments 9:30 tomorrow morning on nearly two hours on each side. It`s interesting the defense`s decision not to put on any evidence or any witnesses. What that may be about their closing statement. It could mean they`re looking more at sort of a 30,000 foot argument trying to pin the blame for all this alleged wrongdoing on Rick Gates.
It seems if they really wanted to get down in the weeds on all these counts they would want to put forward some expert or some witness who could argue say for example on the tax charges. I think there are some technical arguments. I don`t believe they`re going to make those now without any evidence on the other side of the table.
WILLIAMS: Counselor, let`s go out to you in Los Angeles. I get the idea of not putting Manafort on in his own defense because then of course the prosecution gets to come at him, and he`s got all kinds of vulnerable exposures that could erase the work they did during the trial. But let me ask you this. What is the defense strategy likely to be during closing statements tomorrow, and do you make it all about the star witnessed who flipped, Mr. Gates?
ARIANNA BERG, FMR. ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEY, SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK: Well, they certainly opened on that. They said that during opening that Rick Gates, the cooperating witness and the long time associate of Paul Manafort, that he was a liar and was in fact the primary architect of the fraud schemes.
That is what they opened on. That is certainly what they tried to establish during cross-examination of Rick Gates. I think as what Kevin Downing said outside the courthouse today really what they`re planning to do during closing arguments is really try to pick apart the government`s case. Systematically going through each and every one of the counts and showing that the government has failed to sustain their burden of proof.
WILLIAMS: And Josh, where do we leave the relationship between this judge, this very unique judge appointed by President Ronald Reagan, and the prosecutors?
GERSTEIN: Strained is how we leave it. And it seems both sides were allowing their emotions to be seen more publicly today or at least their feelings of each other as the trial came to a close. A lot of the proceedings today almost all outside the presence of the jury except for a brief moment really where Manafort`s lawyer confirmed that they would not on any evidence and did that in front of the jury.
Even today the lead prosecutor on this case Greg Andres and the judge went back and forth once again about comments the prosecution thinks the judge made that they believe may have undercut their case. And the judge actually sort of mocked the prosecution saying, oh, that really hurt the government in a sarcastic tone about one of the statements he made which seemed to go directly to the heart of Rick Gates` credibility.
And so, the two sides here, the prosecution and the judge, not the prosecution and the defense seeing eye to eye on those questions even at this late stage.
WILLIAMS: And Arianna, let`s close with me bringing you into the line of work you know best, and that is the prosecution. What`s your kind of 30 to 45-second version of how they can close the strongest tomorrow?
BERG: This is really the prosecution`s chance to bring to life all of the documents that they brought into evidence. At its heart this is document intensive case. It involved tax filings. It involved bank loan applications, and so this is the chance -- it`s been somewhat dry, I would say with all of these documents submitted into evidence and expert witnesses.
And so this is the chance for the prosecution to bring to life all of these documents and show that Paul Manafort was an essential part of all of these schemes. He knew what he was doing and fully intended to defraud these institutions.
WILLIAMS: Our repeated thanks to Josh Gerstein, after long days for joining us. I know you need to get back into the courtroom scant hours from now.
GERSTEIN: Thanks Brian.
WILLIAMS: So thank you. And another welcome to the broadcast from Arianna Berg out in our Los Angeles studio. Really appreciate it both of you.
Coming up voters and four more states went to the polls today. Steve Kornacki back at the big board, this being Tuesday night, with a primary round up when we continue.
WILLIAMS: One week after a primary night cliff-hanger we have an answer. Jeff Colyer the incumbent Republican governor of Kansas has now conceded the GOP primary to the Kansas Secretary of State and Trump ally Kris Kobach. Colyer announced his decision after a review of provisional ballots left him unable to overcome a 110 vote deficit. Kobach will now face the Democrat Laura Kelly in the midterm election 84 days from now.
Meanwhile we`re watching the latest results come in on this primary night and selected states across the country. Voters in Vermont, Connecticut, Minnesota, Wisconsin all headed to the polls today. Here to break it down our man Steve Kornacki, national political correspondent at the big board. Steve, take us from a tour from Prairie Home to New England.
STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: It`s interesting we got a lot of -- he stage setting from November, a lot of that tonight. But also a surprise tonight at least one big one in the results and let me start with that. It`s in the state of Minnesota. It`s a name we all remember, Tim Pawlenty, he was the two-term governor of Minnesota. He ran for president on the Republican side in 2012. That didn`t work out. He decided to make a comeback attempt in Minnesota in the Republican primary for governor tonight but he is going down to defeat.
This is the big surprise of the night. Jeff Johnson he tried to get sort of Pawlenty right in this primary. Johnson had been the Republican candidate for governor of Minnesota four years ago. In 2014 he lost by six points. He ran again. Looks like he`s going to knock off Tim Pawlenty.
An interesting dynamic in this race I think it says a lot about the state of the Republican Party in the Trump era. Back in 2016 when Donald Trump came on the scene neither of these men seemed to be much of a fun of him. Tim Pawlenty called him unhinge and unqualified. Jeff Johnson have said Trump something I don`t think I can repeat her. They had a debated. The subject came up in 2018. They both debated over who meant that less. So they certainly changed their tune on that.
It looks like Johnson will be the Republican nominee. Who will he face-off against in Minnesota? This is an interesting development as well. Tim Walz, Democratic congressman from the southern part of the state, looks like he`s going to get through this primary. Walz the thought had been maybe a little too conservative on some issues, especially guns. He represents a district with a lot of rural areas there in the southern part of the state.
Also something we`ve seeing in Democratic primaries around the country this year, female candidates have been doing really well in Democratic primaries. You add up the for vote for the two leading female candidates, you`re over 50%. But maybe was a little split up here, did that help Tim Walz as well. But it looks like it`ll be Tim Walz and Jeff Johnson in the gubernatorial race not Tim Pawlenty as people were expecting.
The other headline race for Minnesota was the race for Attorney General Keith Ellison, congressman leader with the Democratic National Committee. He got hit with those last minute accusations of domestic violence.
Now, he`s going to win this primary. He`s going to win it comfortably. There was also a lot of early voting. He probably benefited from that. But this is a very comfortable margin, but this is situation with that domestic violence accusation, this is big what-if hanging over this in the fall. What if we find out more? What if there is more to the story.
The DNC said late this afternoon that they are looking into the allegations against him. So maybe to be continued on that front. But Keith Ellison right now will go into the general election as the nominee in Minnesota for the Democratic Party.
Quickly in Wisconsin, a Senate race here. Tammy Baldwin one of those Democrats trying to defend a seat in the state that Donald Trump won. Who will she face? She will face Leah Vukmir who won a sort of a surprisingly comfortable margin over Kevin Nicholson, former chairman of the College Democrats about 15 or 20 years ago, trying to run and win this primary here tonight.
The polling though has Baldwin ahead in this race by double digits against one. And finally w will finish up with this in the first district. This is Paul Ryan`s district, Paul Ryan now not running for re-election. Randy Bryce, he raised the future last year with the viral video going after Paul Ryan. He had some last minute revelations in this race about a previous arrest for DUI, a couple of other offenses. But Bryce will survive this primary. He`s shown he can raise money in this district there, the first district of Wisconsin, not out of reach for a Democratic especially if the climate is with Democrats or hoping ends up being with this fall, Brian.
WILLIAMS: And shocker Bernie Sanders won his primary in Vermont.
KORNACKI: He won it and he he`ll now renounce the Democratic nomination and run as an independent.
WILLIAMS: Wow. Always interesting. Steve Kornacki, fascinating stuff tonight. Thank you so much as always.
KORNACKI: Thank you.
WILLIAMS: Coming up an old classic from the president`s vocabulary came roaring back today. We`ll be joined by a journalist who says no one should be surprised not for a minute. More on that when we come back.
WILLIAMS: The president has made something of an industry out of his use of nicknames. There are a lot of things that are biting, personal, most of them juvenile, many of them stick. Think of the public officials who have put in decades of public service only to wear a nickname like little or low energy or crooked for the rest of their lives. And there`s something else at work here as Phil Rucker of "The Washington Post" points out tonight, the president`s decision to call Omarosa a dog is not new or very surprising. His article is entitled in part", Trump has a long history of using canine insults to dehumanize enemies, which led us to this brief reminder.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have a dirty dog like that who`s no good, who`s a failure. They were fired like dogs. You got Rubio doing poorly and he sweats like a dog.
I`m watching Marco sweating alike a dog. Romney choked, OK? He choked like a dog.
He was choking like a dogging.
Mitt Romney couldn`t run for dog catcher. Hillary Clinton couldn`t be elected dog catcher.
I`m watching television and I see her barking like a dog. Right? No, she`s barking like a dog. What was that? Is that a dog?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: Phil Rucker has nicely agreed to stick around this late to talk to us about this topic. Phil, we just hope no one in the dog community is watching. Does this president really physically not like dogs?
PHIL RUCKER, THE WASHINTON POST WHITE HOUSE BUREAU CHIEF: That`s right, Brian. He`s actually the first president in more than 100 years who has not had a dog as a pet in the White House. He has lived with a dog before when he first got married to his first wife Ivana. She brought with her a poodle. He resisted the dog. He didn`t want have anything to do with the poodle but she said the poodle is coming along, Chappie is coming along. Turns out Chappie didn`t like Trump very much because whenever Trump would come near Ivana`s closet, Chappie would bark at him territorially. Ivana writes about this in her memoir that came out a few months ago.
WILLIAMS: We launch add extensive web search that took us at least a few minutes and we could only find one photo extent in all the land of Donald Trump with a dog. Check out the expression on the Scottie`s face here. But there is -- this was the best in show at the Westminster Show a couple years back and Trump`s now famous office in Trump Tower.
Let`s call that a mutual admiration society. Phil, the fact is, he`s been a germaphobe a lot of his life. There was a period of time people here in New York, remember when he did not bring himself to shake hands when he met people. So maybe this is all of a piece. I don`t know.
RUCKER: Well, clearly he`s not comfortable living with animals in the house. He doesn`t have any pets. And he uses dog as if it`s a sort of like negative thing. In American culture, you know, a lot of Americans love dogs. They`re loyal. They will love you back. A lot of people have dogs as pets in other cultures in the Middle East, for example, dogs are seen as dirty. It`s a more effective attack line. But Trump clearly doesn`t seem to care much for dogs as animals in the house.
WILLIAMS: full disclosure, dogs are easily 80% of our family text thread. I have to read you a quote. There is a great book about the pets of presidents called "First Dogs," co-authored by Brook Janus and the great Roy Rowan. And Brooke Janis says this, this is a president who needs a friend. Having a dog offers unconditional love and that is something that this president desires so deeply and can`t seem to find.
Our friend Phil Rucker had the good sense of quoting the co-author in his piece tonight. But I guess he will continue to use it as kind of the ultimate putdown. It was bracing for Americans to read that word in relation to this woman we`ve come to know on television and who was until recently a White House aide.
RUCKER: Yes, I that`s right Brian and we`ve been making a light a little bit of the president not wanting to have a dog in the house. But it`s deadly serious what he does with that word. Using it as an attack. He`s dehumanizing his enemies. That`s the goal there. And there`s a long history actually of authoritarian leaders who have used animalistic slurs as insults to dehumanize individuals or groups of people.
We remember in -- during the holocaust could, the Nazis would call Jews rats. I interviewed a philosophy professor who explained the history and how it`s become -- it`s a very useful image for leaders to use to try to stir up resentments between us and them in a society. So there`s a pattern here through history I think Donald Trump is smart enough and strategic enough to know what he`s doing by repeatedly using the dog, the imagery of a dog as a slur to attack his perceived political enemies.
WILLIAMS: Lots of word, a lot of people woke up to this morning as used by the president. Phil Rucker, we cover a lot off stories in the course of a week, you and I.
RUCKER: We sure do.
WILLIAMS: This is probably a first for both of us. Thanks for sticking around --
RUCKER: Thank you.
WILLIAMS: -- to talk about it with us though tonight. Coming up, two important numbers in the news just today. They both refer to instances where the government failed the people. We`ll have that story when we come right back.
WILLIAMS: Last thing before we go here tonight, a couple of numbers in the news tonight that come from two different ongoing stories. Neither of which will be judged by history as our proudest moment as a country. First number is 328. That`s the number of days some people in Puerto Rico went without power since Hurricane Maria. 328 days until today when the last customer was put back online.
We`ve said this before. While Puerto Ricans are American citizens it`s difficult to imagine storm victims in Miami or Virginia Beach or Nantucket living in the dark without power to their home for 328 days.
Our second number is 559. That`s the number of children who remain separated from their families as a result of the administration`s so-called zero tolerance policy. There`s a smaller number, five, and that be represents the number of children the government has been unable to connect at all to any known parents. Five children in this country tonight unattached to their past, their prior home, or the people who might have brought them here.
We should emphasize a federal judge has been driving the process to try to fix this. A good many people are work so hard to that end including top flight lawyer who`s donated their time and efforts to attend court proceedings and represent all those children and parents who need their help.
On that note, that is our broadcast on a Tuesday night. We thank you as always so very much for being here with us. Good night from NBC News headquarters here in New York.
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