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Trump signs bill to end government shutdown. TRANSCRIPT: 1/25/19, The 11th Hour w/ Brian Williams.

Guests: Neal Katyal, Carol Leonnig, Manuel Roig-Franzia, Kelsey Snell

BRIAN WILLIAMS, MSNBC ANCHOR:  The breaking news tonight, a friend of the president`s going back 40 years becomes the target of a pre-dawn raid and is now the latest Mueller indictment.  Roger Stone, the man with the Nixon tattoo, gives the Nixon wave after being charged with seven counts what the President calls a witch-hunt has now resulted in 199 criminal counts, 37 charge, seven guilty pleas, four prison sentences.  Hours later in Washington, President Trump ends the government shutdown.  He gets no wall in return, but now public servants will get paid and his hometown paper, "The Daily News", just couldn`t resist this headline for tomorrow as THE 11TH HOUR gets under way on a consequential Friday night.

And good evening from our NBC News headquarters here in New York day 736 of the Trump administration and after 35 days, the shutdown is over for now.  This afternoon the President announced that the government would reopen, and he signed a bill that does just that about 90 minutes ago.  There is no money for the President`s wall the central and signal promise of his campaign along with Mexican financing for it.  The stark "New York Times" front page headline tells the story tonight.  Trump accepts deal with no wall money.  Writers could not resist calling the President`s wall a cave instead.  Much more on that ahead.

But we begin this evening with the story that unfolded in the dark before the sun came up on this very day, the feds surrounded Roger Stone`s house in Fort Lauderdale with a warrant for his arrest he`s now been indicted on seven counts Roger Stone and Donald Trump go back over four decades.  Special counsel Robert Mueller`s indictment pulls the Russia inquiry one big step closer to the inner circle of the Trump presidential campaign.  Prosecutors describe Stone as a key link between the campaign and WikiLeaks, which released Russian-hacked e-mails at critical times you`ll recall during the 2016 election.

The indictment also focuses on two keystone associates, the author, birther, and conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi, who Stone had contact that about WikiLeaks plans.  And New York radio host and comedian Randy Credico who prosecutors say was an intermediary between Stone and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.  He is also mentioned in this indictment several times, concerning Stone`s efforts to obtain damaging information about Hillary Clinton.

A comparison of key dates in the 2016 campaign we found this truly helps, and Mueller`s latest allegations about Stone helps to fill in some of the blanks about what was happening at the time.  We start with May 2016, the DNC found out it had been hacked then according to today`s indictment in June and July 2016, Roger Stone told, quote, "Senior Trump campaign officials about the stolen e-mails that were in WikiLeaks` possession, e- mails that he described as being potentially damaging to Hillary Clinton."  July 22nd, WikiLeaks releases its first batch of stolen e-mails.

And here`s the key part of this filing at some point after July 22nd, a, quote, "Senior Trump campaign official was directed by someone else to ask Stone what other information WikiLeaks might have."  Five days after those e-mails were released, we heard this out in the open and on live television.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES:  But it would be interesting to see -- I will tell you this Russia, if you`re listening, I hope you`re able to find the 30,000 e-mails that are missing.  I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press let`s see if that happens.  That will be next.


WILLIAMS:  We now know from a previous Mueller indictment that Russian Intelligence Operatives indeed launched a new attack on Hillary Clinton`s e-mails that very day.  Fast forward to October 3rd again from today`s indictment, Stone is tipped off that another stolen e-mail release would happen the next day.  He then e-mailed a contact in the Trump campaign saying, quote, "Spoke to my friend in London last night, the payload is still coming."  Four days later, October 7th, just hours after the release of that shocking "Access Hollywood" tape, WikiLeaks you recall starts releasing the documents stolen from John Podesta.

Today`s indictment says an associate of a high-ranking Trump campaign official who is believed to be Steve Bannon then sent a message to Roger Stone that read, well done.  Mueller has now charged Stone with seven criminal counts, witness tampering, obstruction, five counts of making false statements to Congress in 2017 about efforts to get damaging information on Hillary Clinton Stone spoke to reporters today shortly after his court appearance in Florida.


ROGER STONE, FMR TRUMP CAMPAIGN ADVISER:  After a two-year inquisition, the charges today relate in no way to Russian collusion, WikiLeaks collaboration, or any other illegal act in connection with the 2016 campaign

At the crack of dawn, 29 FBI agents arrived at my home with 17 vehicles with their lights flashing when they could simply have contacted my attorneys and I would have more than willing to surrender voluntarily.

I will plead not guilty to these charges.  I will defeat them in court.  I believe this is a politically motivated investigation.

There is no circumstance whatsoever under which I will bear false witness against the President, nor well I make up lies to ease the pressure by myself.


WILLIAMS:  Roger Stone is to be arranged in federal court in Washington.  He does not have a valid passport he says, and for now, there`s the Nixon wave, his travel is restricted to the nation`s capital as well as New York and southern Florida.  Just a few hours ago Stone went on cable TV to once again proclaim his innocence


STONE:  No senior campaign official told me to find out anything about WikiLeaks.  Where`s the Russian collusion, Chris?  Where`s the WikiLeaks collaboration?  Where`s the evidence that I received anything from WikiLeaks or Julian Assange and past it on to Donald Trump with the Trump campaign.


WILLIAMS:  Let`s bring in our lead off panel, shall we for our Friday night.  Former U.S. attorney Joyce Vance, who spend 25 years as a federal prosecutor.  Frank Figliuzzi, former FBI assistant director for counter intelligence who in the past has worked for Robert Mueller.  Jeremy Bash former chief of staff at the CIA and the Pentagon, former counsel to House Intel as well.  And Philip Rucker, Pulitzer Prize winning White House bureau chief for "The Washington Post."

Joyce, with by our reckoning it`s been about 18 hours since the feds showed up with battering ram if needed at Roger Stone`s front door for the folks who have lived a Friday in America, perhaps just getting home from work and getting caught up, what was your takeaway from this today?

JOYCA VANCE, FMR U.S. ATTORNEY:  I think the most important thing that we saw today was the fact pattern that you referenced in your opening comments we learned today that someone directed a senior campaign official to have Roger Stone find out what else WikiLeaks had.  And of course we`re all speculating about whether or not that`s the President, we don`t know for certain.  But someone powerful enough to direct someone high up in the campaign was involved in this system, can go on television and say that there was no collusion, but what really controls how we view this are the facts that are related in this very detailed speaking indictment, which is replete with facts talking about coordination between senior campaign officials and WikiLeaks, which we know and which they knew at the time was Russia.

WILLIAMS:  Frank Figliuzzi, Roger Stone is on cable TV tonight, doing a couple things.  He is raising money for his defense fund, giving out a web address, and he`s saying among other things that it was overkill today.  He says his wife is deaf and was scared and disoriented, he was worried she might get shot because she didn`t know what was going on.  Obviously upsetting for a household, they brought a battering ram.  He said they could have called the house and had the same effect.

First of all, tell us what goes into a calculation like that, and secondly, what`s when a stood out to you?

FRANK FIGLIUZZI, FMR FBI ASSISTANT DIRECTOR:  So with regards to arrest mechanics, it`s all about risk.  And the risk in Roger Stone`s arrest is that you`re dealing with someone who has never cooperated an ounce with the special counsel.  In fact, he`s gone out of his way to obstruct, temper with witnesses, challenge the special counsel and the investigators, and of course as we see in the indictment, just lie right through this entire process.

Secondly, let`s understand something with regard to the numbers involved if he`s even accurate.  And that is that they were simultaneously executing a signed to search warrant signed by a federal judge or magistrate.  If you do that, you bring your evidence response team with you and you get it done quickly and efficiently with a number of evidence response technicians who go through house and exhaustibly search pursuant to the warrant.

So when you -- when it sounds like there`s a lot of people for an arrest, please remember we`re executing -- the FBI is executing two simultaneous searches that we know of, one in New York, one in Florida.  They`re executing an arrest to someone who essentially acts like a thug and that`s when you act like a thug, you get arrested like a thug.  The evidence texts are there.  And it`s the safest way to do it.  We don`t know the unknown factors, whether or not there was knowledge of a gun or other weapons in the house but they did -- typically what an FBI arrest looks like particularly in south Florida where I was the number two official in the FBI`s Miami office, you show up, you overwhelm with force, surprise, you knock on the door at 6:00 a.m.  This is a standard arrest.

And this is what it looks like.

WILLIAMS:  Jeremy Bash, every time the President says "no collusion" you say that`s not the point the word is conspiracy.  Taking your word, "conspiracy", what did we learn today?  What did you learn on the conspiracy front?

JEREMY BASH, FMR CIA CHIEF OF STAFF:  Well, I was struck in the indictment by the fact pattern that showed the extent to which there was communication between Roger Stone and the senior levels of the campaign, and Roger Stone and WikiLeaks.  In effect, Roger Stone was the go between, between the Trump campaign senior official them (ph) and the Kremlin`s foreign intelligence cut out the WikiLeaks organization.

And so, you know, I think again for conspiracy, you have to have an agreement, a meeting of the minds between two conspirators as well as an overreact.  There was at least knowledge, there was at least acquiescence by Trump senior officials whether or not they actively participated in the conspiracy, I think, we don`t know yet for their facts have to be developed.  But this is also looking, Brian, in some ways to me, like bribery in the sense that Donald Trump`s foreign policy, his pro-Putin foreign policy, was corruptly obtained because he saw the benefit that he was receiving through the political support, through WikiLeaks, and the financial support through the Trump Tower Moscow deal.

WILLIAMS:  Hey, Phil, as they say in the movies, I couldn`t help but notice the government shutdown ended a few hours after this arrest coincidence?

PHILIP RUCKER, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  Another story.  You know, it`s a remarkable turn of events for President Trump, a big day in his presidency, I would point out, because we have this Mueller investigation becoming far more serious now ensnaring a longtime friend of the President, he -- Roger Stone is not a peripheral figure.  He has been core to Trump`s political development over decades and was a key figure at the beginning of the campaign and floated throughout the Trump orbit during the campaign, and into the beginnings of the presidency.

And then you have Trump`s capitulation on the shutdown, a complete capitulation.  He is caving to congressional Democrats whether he says so or not.  And he`s facing a backlash on the right.  We saw Ann Coulter, the Conservative Commentator who, just last month, was critical of Trump to the point where Trump decided to enter this government shutdown in order to get his border wall funding.  We saw her criticize Trump`s move today.  We saw Lou Dobbs over on the Fox Business Channel, a show that the President loves watching, might be one of the President`s favorites.  He had critical words to say as well.

And so the President, while he`s dealing with the legal pressures from the Mueller investigation, is also dealing with the really serious political problem at this hour over his decision to reopen the government and give up his leverage in pursuit of that wall funding.

WILLIAMS:  Joyce Vance, it`s really hard to see over the shoulder of a good card player and see as they peek at what they`ve got in their hand.  Mueller makes it harder still.  Do we get a peek at any of his hand today what`s yet to come?

VANCE:  I think we did get a peek, you know, it`s entirely possible that this could be the end.  We don`t really know for certain what he has.  But there are so many hanging pieces that he gives us in this indictment.

Who are the senior campaign officials?  Who else was involved?  What was the interaction like between Stone and WikiLeaks?  Was he asking them to do other sorts of hacking for the campaign?  All these many possibilities, Mueller is not one to pose questions that he doesn`t intend to answer.  We`ve seen him do that over and over.  This indictment feels more like a stopping point on the way to the final conclusion than that conclusion itself.

WILLIAMS:  Just as a human, a citizen, someone we`ve come to know here over the years talking to you on television, can you believe as alleged this much was going on during our campaign for President?

VANCE:  So, you know, it`s stunning and I think the point you`re making is a very good one.  We can talk and prosecutors, of course, like to talk about technical aspects of crime.  What are the elements that we have to prove with admissible evidence beyond a reasonable doubt?  There`s also a political calculus here and for all this they`ve been going on during the campaign and it was going on or Bob Mueller wouldn`t have put it in into an indictment.  That means there should be a form of accountability on Capitol Hill and they should look at these crimes threw their filter as well as through the legal one.

WILLIAMS:  Frank, as a counterintel guy, how do you view WikiLeaks and how would you recommend our viewers view WikiLeaks?

FIGLIUZZI:  Yes.  I`m glad you asked that, Brian.  Let`s understand something.  The U.S. government views WikiLeaks as a non-state foreign adversary.  They are the equivalent of their own foreign intelligence service and they are an enemy of the United States.  They are responsible for the largest leakage of classified information in the history of the United States.  Some of it at a very, very sensitive level that discloses sources and methods because it reveals discussion that was singular in nature in someplace in the world, that can only have been discovered by a wiretap or an intercept or a human source.

And so, we are -- and understand something.  We should view WikiLeaks in that realm, but let`s also understand that after today`s indictment, we should be viewing Roger Stone as a traitor.  Why do I say that?  Because he betrayed our Democratic form of government, how we elect a President, the indictment alleges that he was communicating with WikiLeaks either directly or indirectly.  He was being directed to essentially have them release stolen information, right?  And he`s -- and he didn`t care about the impacted that had on our system of government.

So we have him in concert with the enemy.  Add another enemy to this picture, Russia, which we now know, was responsible for the hack at the DNC.  And we got an individual here, Roger Stone, who essentially should be viewed as a traitor.

WILLIAMS:  Hollywood side bar, fans of Notting Hill may remember the scene where Spike is posing in front of the press core on the front porch.

Back to reality, Jeremy Bash, Roger Stone seemed to enjoy and we have to be careful here part of the media exposure he got today.  You don`t give the Nixon pose unless you have thought about it and really want to.  That`s kind of his thing.  It`s been his trademarked for a while in addition to wearing Nixon`s face, tattooed between his shoulder blades.  He went on cable tonight and gave it both barrels.  What`s the calculation here, because if he gets nicked on a couple of these as a 66 year old man, we always say this, we don`t mean to be maudlin, he could die in federal prison.

BASH:  Two points here, Brian.  One, is I think his game is a pardon.  I think he`s trying to show that the President -- that he`s holding tough.  He`s not going to quote "bear false witness against the President."  Of course, that`s precisely what he did vis-a-vis the other federal investigations.  The second point is that, a lot of the charges in the indictment today went to the fact that Roger Stone misled the House Intelligence Committee.

And so, in some ways, their investigation, their entirety of their Devin Nunes lead investigation is tainted.  Not that we thought it was really on the level before.  But we have further evidence today.  It`ll really need to restart from scratch under Congressman Adam Schiff, the new Chairman.

WILLIAMS:  Phil Rucker, we`ve been saying all week, the President`s time and who can blame him, has been occupied mostly by this ongoing shutdown.  As we said, he lost today, the central promise of his run for office.

In addition to Mexican financing, what now occupies the President`s time starting this weekend, Twitter not included, and going into next week?

RUCKER:  Well, it`s a good question, Brian.  The President had been postponing a number of agenda items and sort of getting this third-year of his President launched to deal with the shutdown.  And to be honest, I think he`s going to be focused over the next three weeks on figuring out a way to secure some sort of funding for the wall and to save face.  There`s a three-week deadline here of February 15th when Congress will have to pass longer term spending bills.  There`s a promise for a conference committee of sorts to sort of hash out some sort of border security proposal.  The President is going to be wanting to get that border wall funding.  Democrats, of course, are going to oppose it.

And meanwhile, the President`s also going to be thinking about whether to declare that national emergency, which would enable him to set in motion a process to build the wall without any congressional oversight.

So, I don`t think he`s going to shift over these next three weeks from his focus on the wall and trying to meet that campaign promise, but there are few other things on the horizon, including a potential summit sometime in February with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un that would be the second summit between Kim and Trump.  It something Trump is very eager to do after he`s been receiving flattering letters from the North Korean authoritarian dictator.  And we`ll see if that comes to shape.

WILLIAMS:  Yes.  There is that coming up after all.  What a magnificent front four to get us started after a consequential Friday night as we said, Joyce Vance, Frank Figliuzzi, Jeremy Bash, Phil Rucker, our thanks to all of you.

And coming up, as we continue, once again, our guest always say "Robert Mueller speaks volumes in an indictment."  So what else did this one have to say today?

And later, with no money for the wall, the President doubles down on his telling of a rather gruesome tale of human trafficking and no one knows where he got this one.  THE 11TH HOUR just getting started on this Friday night.



STONE:  I`m into the fight of my life, but I will not quit.  I will not fold.  I will not bend.  I will not bear false witness against the President.  I intend to fight.


WILLIAMS:  Roger Stone`s arrest draws yet another line between the Trump campaign and the Russians.  He`s facing seven criminal counts.  The journalist and author Paul Brandus reminds us that this so-called witch- hunt as the President called it as recently as today has so far resulted in 199 criminal counts, 37 people and entities have been charged, seven guilty pleas, four prison sentences handed down.

Back with us on our broadcast tonight is Attorney Neal Katyal, former acting solicitor general during the Obama administration.  He`s also a veteran of DOJ where importantly he drafted the special counsel regulations under which Mr. Mueller was appointed.

Councilor, always a pleasure to have you on.  I have to ask you what piece of the puzzle did today supply for you?

NEAL KATYAL, FMR ACTING SOLICITOR GENERAL:  I think two pieces, both what Mueller did and then what Roger Stone did in reaction to what Mueller did.  So Mueller is, you know, anyone who listens to the first few minutes of your program so methodically detailed what Mueller did in terms of laying out this indictment which is devastating to Roger Stone.

But I think the important piece here is who is Roger Stone?  Roger Stone is one of the closest confidants of Donald Trump.  Their relationship goes back 40 years and he works along with Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen, kind of our three stooges, all very close to the President.  Now all of them have been implicated in all sorts of crimes, accused formally and some of them have pled guilty to crimes.

And so, look, these are three people know the President as well as anyone.  They probably know him better than his wife does, which may not be saying that much.  But, you know, I think that demonstrates how close this is to the President.  And here`s what Paul Manafort said about Roger Stone.  He said "Roger`s relationship with Trump has been so interconnected that it`s hard to define what`s Roger and what`s Donald."  And boy, that`s devastating for Trump because it suggests that Trump himself is the object.

And then the second thing is, what was Stone`s reaction?  I mean as a lawyer, I was shocked to see him go out on TV tonight, including a program I was on, and say all kinds of stuff, I mean, normally a client would never do that.  But I think here there`s one reason for it, which is he only has one audience.  It`s not the court, it`s not Mueller, it`s not the public opinion, it`s one person, Donald Trump.  He is seeking a pardon.  That`s what the strategy is all about.  And it must be nice, it must be nice to have Donald Trump on your side and I know you`re giving me a hard time about Hamilton references but you made a Notting Hill reference stuff.  I get that.

WILLIAMS:  We`re allowed.  Score is tied, one to one.  Well, I have to go there with you and ask you, do you think pardons -- people still regard this as a kind of a fantasy discussion?  Do you think it`s possible or probable from this President some of these names we`ve come to know in this investigation?

KATYAL:  We`re talking about a President who pardoned Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Scooter Libby, and Libby was accused of doing some of the very same kinds of things that Trump`s friends or in inner circle are accused of.  So he`s shown no hesitation in really using and, in my judgment, abusing the pardon power.  And I certainly think it is the only way to explain what Roger Stone did tonight, which is to say on TV over and over again, oh, Trump knew nothing about it, Trump didn`t do anything wrong.  So he is really trying to curry favor.

And by the way, Brian, that`s exactly what the President invited back in December.  He tweeted, oh look at Roger Stone holding firm unlike those rats like Michael Cohen --


KATYAL:  -- and the like.  This is all a signal.

WILLIAMS:  And one more question for us civilians.  What should we make of the fact that he was never brought in before Mueller`s people, just arrested and indicted.  We`ve come to know this pattern of people we see have gone in, been interviewed, and then perhaps either indicted or not.

KATYAL:  Yes.  Sometimes you do one and sometimes you do the other.  Here, Stone really looks like a habitual liar.  I mean if you look at pages 12 and 16 of the indictment in particular, it shows that he lied -- he even lied about saying he didn`t have contacts with people on the very same day that he had 30 different contacts with an individual that he said on that day he had no contacts with.

So, you know, when someone is that incapable of telling the truth, you know, I think it`s a fair judgment by Mueller to say, you know, we could bring him in, it`s not going to help us any.

WILLIAMS:  Oh by that standard, Neal Katyal, may or may not have been a guest on this broadcast tonight.  Councilor, thank you for coming on.  It`s always a pleasure.  We appreciate your time.

And coming up, they`ve been plotting politics for decades.  A closer look at this Trump/Stone alliance, even a little Manafort for good measure when "The 11 Hour" continues.



PAUL MANAFORT, FORMER TRUMP`S CAMPAIGN MANAGER:  Roger`s, you know, relationship with Trump has been so interconnected that it`s hard to define what`s Roger and what`s Donald.  It will clearly be a Trump presidency, I think it`s influenced by Stone philosophy.


WILLIAMS:  Side note, Paul Manafort entered court using a cane to get around today that was from the documentary "Get Me Roger Stone".  Manafort`s characterization of the Trump-Stone relationship which dates back over 40 years, Manafort was close with both men having not only managed Trump`s campaign, but also as a lobbying partner of Roger Stone back in the crazy `80s.  One of their few clients was -- one of their first clients was Donald Trump.

Stone, who is a self-described political dirty trickster, has worked for Bush 41, Ronald Reagan, and as a young man briefly worked for Richard Nixon.  Again, he famously tattooed his hero on his back and who among us can say that.  He posed like his hero today and it was all too much for the Nixon Foundation they put this out today.

This morning widely circulated characterization of Roger Stone as a Nixon campaign aide or adviser is a gross misstatement.  Mr. Stone was 16 years old during the Nixon Presidential Campaign of `68 and 20 years old during the re-election campaign in `72.  Mr. Stone during his time as a student at GW University was a junior scheduler on the Nixon re-election committee.  Mr. Stone was not a campaign aide or adviser.  Nowhere in the presidential daily diaries from `72 to `74 does the name Roger Stone appear.  OK, thank you, Nixon Foundation, message received.

About the current president as Stone tells it, the loyalty is strong, let`s talk about that tonight.  With us, Manuel Roig-Franzia, returning to the broadcast tonight, features reporter for "The Washington Post".  Also returning, Carol Leonnig, Pulitzer Prize winning investigative reporter also with "The Washington Post".

So, Carol, we get it, thank you, Nixon Foundation, for the unambiguous message.  When you look back on this piece in November.  I`m about to quote you to you.  And a lot of people learned what they know about the relationship when you wrote this November of last year, "The calls almost always came deep into the night.  Caller ID labeled them unknown, but Roger Stone said he knew to pick up quickly during those harried months of the 2016 presidential campaign.  There was a good chance that the voice on the other end of the line would belong to his decade`s long friend, the restless, insomniac candidate Donald Trump dialing from a blocked phone number."  Carol, what else should we know about this relationship?

CAROL LEONNIG, POLITICAL INVESTIGATIVE REPOTER, THE WASHINGTON POST:  First of all, I would like to argue and stress that my great colleague Manuel on the other box is really the beautiful writer of that prose but I was a hopeful reporter teamed up with him.  And Brian, I just want to flag and give you credit for that intro about the Nixon Foundation, how weird a world is it where Nixon needs to separate himself from Roger Stone.

WILLIAMS:  Well, from the grave.  Yes.

LEONNIG:  That`s how bad Roger is.  So about the relationship, what I found fascinating about reporting that story with Manuel was the idea that the President and then the candidate was in the middle of the night calling Roger, one of the dirtiest tricksters you can find, a person who habitually lies and spins to work his magic to help his candidates and to truly hurt and maim the opponent.  He is calling him to confer.

And perhaps the most important moment when Donald Trump is talking to Roger Stone is August 3rd.  On August 2nd, a man e-mails Roger and warns him that WikiLeaks is going to be releasing some damaging information about Hillary.  The next day we learned Roger is on the phone with Donald Trump.

Both of them want to deny and have indirectly denied that the subject of WikiLeaks ever came up.  Do we really think that is logical or possible when it was on the tip of Donald Trump`s tongue in late July.  He was asking Russia to find the deleted e-mails.  He was curious about the July 22nd dump.  It`s just -- those late-night calls and that particular one is, to me, really interesting

WILLIAMS:  OK, Carol to your fellow superb writer, Manuel, talk about the Trump-Manafort relationship, Manuel, and Stone`s role in that.

MANUEL ROIG-FRANZIA, FEATURES REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST:  Oh, well, Trump and Manafort get together specifically because of Roger Stone.  Roger Stone knows that as they`re entering in the 2016 campaign, the cycle where they`re moving towards the convention, that there could potentially be a floor fight at the convention, and he tells Donald Trump, Paul Manafort is the man for you.

What I found so interesting about that is that Paul Manafort had been a business partner with Roger Stone back in the `80s.  One of their big clients was Donald Trump but Roger Stone was so tight with Donald Trump in those days and was so involved in that particular part of their business that when he introduced Manafort to Trump during the 2016 campaign, he had to reintroduce Manafort.  They hadn`t been that close back in the `80s, but he connected them in 2016 at that very key moment.

WILLIAMS:  So Manuel, was today all flash and dazzle.  I mean there have been so many chapters to Roger Stone`s life.  When I was in local news here in New York for the CBS station in the `80s, he was our straight-up serious political analyst who got straight-up serious questions on politics.  Today it was a man enjoying the spotlight that indictments on seven counts can bring.

ROIG-FRANZIA:  Well, he wasn`t only your straight-up guy to ask questions about political stuff back in those days.  He was also the straight-up guy for mainstream establishment Republicans.  It`s hard to reconcile that with the character who we now know as Roger Stone, this flamboyant guy who goes on television, who put the "V" for victory sign, mimicking Richard Nixon on the courthouse steps today.

But back then he was somebody who was working with people like Jack Kemp and Arlen Specter really the pillars of the Republican Party.  And so we`ve seen this tremendous evolution in him and it will be interesting to see how this goes forward because he`s somebody who has to knit this old world of the Republican Party that once loved him with this new world of the Republican Party that is the Republican Party of Trump and is very different from the one that he was fostered in and grew up in.

WILLIAMS:  Carol Leonnig, you get the last world please engage in wild and rampant speculation.  What are you looking for next for Mueller?

LEONNIG:  I feel like we`ve been waiting as you know, for a long time and foreshadowing for a long time that Roger Stone was going to be indicted and I feel as though Mueller`s finishing of his Afghan that he`s knitting.  And this was the last little piece of the knitting.  It strikes me as it has everybody all day as not just a small curiosity that Mueller does not identify who directed a senior campaign official to reach out to Roger and make sure that he figured out what WikiLeaks was releasing.

And I would also note that people have forgotten this, but around Thanksgiving, Mueller -- forgive me -- Trump turned in his written answers to Mueller about things in the campaign.  And one of the things he said and he asserted according to our sources is that he never talked about WikiLeaks with Roger.  He didn`t learn anything about WikiLeaks from Roger.  Is there evidence that contradicts that.

WILLIAMS:  This is why we have great professionals come on our show and explain all of these to us and by extension to our audience.  Manuel Roig- Franzia, thank you.  Carol Leonnig, thank you both for returning to the broadcast.

Coming up, within minutes today, the President`s wall was instead branded a cave tonight, the growing pressure from his own conservative base over the deal to reopen this government at long last.



DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  I am very proud to announce today that we have reached a deal to end the shutdown and reopen the federal government.

As everyone knows, I have a very powerful alternative, but I didn`t want to use it at this time.  Hopefully it will be unnecessary.


WILLIAMS:  Tough week to be Donald Trump taking a beating in the polls then came today`s visuals of the air traffic delays in New York more on that later, and the arrest of his friend of 40 years.  Then hours later, the defeat of his signature campaign promise Trump announces by extension an end to the nation`s longest government shutdown.  And just tonight signed the legislation funding the government through February 15 providing no new money for a border wall.  Still going to take days to restore paychecks to close to one million federal employees and contractors, so they will still need our help on a local level.

And across town from the White House, it marked a victory for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who said this afternoon Trump may have underestimated unity among Democrats.  Earlier tonight the President wrote, "I wish people would read or listen to my words on the border wall.  This was in no way a concession."

Well, here to talk about that, Jonathan Allen, NBC News National Political Reporter and Coauthor of the book on the Hillary Clinton campaign and Kelsey Snell back with us, Congressional Reporter for NPR.

Jonathan, the backlash.  I want to deal with two dramatic readings here.  Number one, Ms. Ann Coulter tonight on twitter, "Good news for George Herbert Walker Bush.  As of today, he is no longer the biggest wimp ever to serve as President of the United States."  Man, that just filled the air with ice crystals like that breath mint commercial.

And number two, from POLITICO, "President Nancy Pelosi, who runs the country now," said a second former White House official.  "We went from indefinite shutdown, to down payment, to cave, all within a span of 24 hours."  "That official said that Trump`s core supporters and former aides are furious and melting down."

Jonathan, when that quote comes from somebody on the home team, you got troubles.

JONATHAN ALLEN, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, NBC NEWS:  Absolutely, Brian.  And it`s totally right, this is a complete capitulation.  There should be some sort of visual representation to the walls of Jericho falling down like President Trump`s border wall today.  I mean, this is a cave by the President.  He`s angered his base here and he got nothing for it.

He basically took the ransom, which is $5.7 billion for the wall money.  He took the hostage, which was the government that he runs, that he had been holding asset for so long.  He handed them to the Democrats and he got back in return a conference committee that will not give him a wall.  Basically, that`s just another mechanism for the Democrats to kill the wall.  So, basically, he gets absolutely nothing out of this other than -- about messing with Nancy Pelosi.

WILLIAMS:  And Kelsey, for you, our friend Phil Rucker reporting on Trump`s thinking tonight, "Trump repeatedly predicted to advisers that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi would cave and surmised that she had a problem with the more liberal members of her caucus.  But she held firm and her members stayed united.  Why are they always so loyal?  Trump asked in one staff meeting complaining the Democrats so often stick together while Republicans sometimes break apart according to attendees."

Kelsey, we did see some Republicans walk across the aisle.  We did see how quickly that got the attention of the Majority Leader.

KELSEY SNELL, CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER, NPR:  Yes.  And it`s easy to stick together when the message is as simple at Pelosi made it.  It was open the government first, talk about the details later.  She started to use the term hostage a lot and made it so that people were thinking about the idea that this shutdown was taking federal workers and their paychecks hostage.  That`s something really easy to rally people around and her members largely agreed with her on this.

I do think it will be interesting if Republicans can capture the fact that there are some actual real divisions within Democrats about what, you know, happens next, what does border security mean, how far do you go in terms of negotiating with Republicans?  That is the space that Republicans I`ve talked to say they want to kind of expand on.  But right now Democrats are feeling really emboldened, they feel that they have the nation on their side and it would be hard to break them apart at this point.

WILLIAMS:  And Kelsey, while I have you, let`s talk about Congress.  That sound you hear tonight especially on the east coast is the can being kicked down the road, doing what they do best, but they`re calling on an old- school solution, and that is that old notion of a conference committee.  Remember those where you take members of both parties, both Houses, stick them in a room and say, you solve this three weeks from now, though, you and I both know we`re probably going to be back at this again, aren`t me?

SNELL:  Well, yes, because Democrats really don`t have any incentive now to start giving into the President.  They learned -- the lesson they learned from this whole thing is they won.  And so conference committees usually are successful based on the idea that people are going to negotiate and give a little here and give a little there.  It`s not clear to me that Democrats really want to go giving anything at all, let alone a little.

WILLIAMS:  And Jon, when Nancy Pelosi says the wall is immoral, what is the other position, how do you see this ending?

ALLEN:  Well, President Trump says that the wall is not immoral.  The problem is that he doesn`t have any votes on that conference committee that we were just talking about.  And she gets to appoint the majority of conferees from the House side in order to get any product from there, a majority of the conferees from each of the two chambers, that`s sign off on it.

So, he gets no wall money unless Nancy Pelosi signs off on it as you pointed out.  She said it`s immoral.  It seems like that`s a pretty intractable position.  I don`t think she`s moving off on this.  A very bad day for a president who positions himself as a dealmaker, as a consummate strategist and a total fighter.  And on all of those fronts for his supporters, for his base, they saw him fail.

WILLIAMS:  Kelsey, a very unfair question, when will you know it when the GOP start to pivot, either away from this President per se, or out of fear of what`s coming from the Special Counsel.

SNELL:  I think you started to see a little bit of that happening just yesterday when you had a number of Republicans line up on the floor after that failed vote, after six of them voted against the President`s own proposal to re-open the government and fund the wall, standing there offering things that the President himself had not endorsed and wasn`t even talking about, these three-week spending bill that we`re looking at right now.  I think that`s the beginning of some cracks.

I`m also really watching retiring senators like say Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, who is a former governor, a guy who really likes to get things done and who is really fed up with the way Washington has been working.  If the old guard like that, those guys who really want Washington to work properly start to abandon the President on major policy areas, I think that`s when we see Republicans maybe choosing a different path.  Well I will say it`s really hard to do that politically on a large scale.  It may only be one or two here or there.

WILLIAMS:  And I have to say what we`ve noticed is the courage delivery system Lamar Alexander not running for re-election.  So, always watch those members of the House and Senate.

A pleasure to have you guys on especially, I`m sorry it`s late on a Friday night after an especially long week.  Jonathan Allen, Kelsey Snell, we greatly appreciate it.

And coming up, we`ll play for you the story from the border the President keeps repeating seems to be getting more brutal, a little bit more bizarre with each retelling.  And no one knows where it came from.  We`ll have that in a moment.



TRUMP:  Women are tied up, they`re bound, duct tape put around their faces, around their mouths, in many cases they can`t even breathe, they`re put in the backs of cars or vans or trucks.  If they come through the port, people will see four women sitting in a van with tape around their face and around their mouth.


WILLIAMS:  During what was supposed to be a speech focus on re-opening our government, Donald Trump today took a vivid turn off script, about 10 minutes into his remarks.  The teleprompter simply directed him to, "Talk about human trafficking."  Well, at that point, Trump once again ad-libbed a story about women being violently trafficked across our southern border as an argument for his wall.  The problem is no one else seems to know this story or where he got it.

In real-time journalists fact checked, the President`s account, found no evidence to back it up.  This isn`t the first time in the last three weeks he has repeated versions of this story at least 10 times.


TRUMP:  You`ll have traffickers having three and four women with tape on their mouths and tied up sitting in the back of a van or a car.

Thrown into a van with no windows, with no -- any form of air.  Tape put across their mouths.  And they put duct tape on their mouths.

They have tape over their mouths, electrical tape.  Usually blue tape as they call it.

And they`re loaded up with drugs or they have women in the back seat of the cars with duct tape all over the place.

Wrapping tape around their mouths so they can`t shout or scream.

They tape their face, their hair, their hands behind their back, their legs, they put them in the back seat of cars and vans and they go -- they don`t come in through your port of entry because you`d see them you couldn`t do that.  They come in through our border where we don`t have any barriers or walls.


WILLIAMS:  Someone told him that story to be clear, human trafficking experts are completely confused by those claims.  According to "The Washington Post," "They are perplexed by this increasingly repeated story in Trump`s repertoire, and are at a loss for where he got his information.  It`s not from them, they say in fact, they have no idea what he is talking about."

Well, last thing before we go tonight, we would like to introduce you to Leonard Bitterman of Wellington, Florida.  He found himself caught up in an air traffic delay today because air traffic controllers have been working at capacity for 35 days with no salary.  And today when interviewed by our NBC station here in New York, Leonard Bitterman had had enough.


LEONARD BITTERMAN, AIRLINE PASSENGER:  Why in the world are we keeping hostage 800,000 federal workers who have to now worry about where their next meal is going to come from so that we have a mythical wall that`s going to accomplish absolutely nothing.  It`s an absurdity.


WILLIAMS:  Once again, if you`re in the air traffic control business, this is your workplace, every day, every night.  This is a live picture at any given time, 5,000 aircraft in the skies over our country.  Many of them with hundreds of souls on board.

Today after dire warnings and working days on end, it started to unravel in the airspace here over New York.  No errors, mind you.  Everybody got home safely.  But these pictures of chaos on a Friday at New York`s LaGuardia, which on its best day is a monument to neglect and a teaming laboratory of just how much humans can stand.  Today`s 87 cancellations, 1,100 delays in the New York area might have been a game changer.

For the hard-hearted perhaps who had trouble generating sympathy for all the people going without paychecks for over a month, today may have put them over the edge.  And to end this week, let`s hear from another federal employee, a public servant living through this rough time.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  How are you taking this news right now that it seems like the shutdown might be coming to an end finally?

CAESARI VALLENTE, FAA EMPLOYEE:  I`ll believe it when there`s money in my checking account.  It`s a sign of hope, but when February 15th comes around, back at square one.  We just want to work.  We`re dedicated employees.  This is a critical safety position.  We don`t want people to die.  So we want to work.


WILLIAMS:  And that is our broadcast for this Friday and for this long week.  Thank you so much for being here with us.  Have a good weekend.  And good night from our NBC News headquarters here in New York. 

  THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.                                                                                                     END