Trump Organization charged with tax crimes. Trump Organization CFO charged with tax fraud and grand larceny. Trump Organization CFO pleads not guilty to tax charges. Interview with Michael Cohen, former personal attorney to Donald Trump.
JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, everyone. We begin THE REIDOUT tonight with an extraordinary and unprecedented legal development. Israel, South Africa, Italy, South Korea, Egypt, Peru, just a few of the nations where a former head of state was indicted or prosecuted, something pretty unimaginable here in the United States.
Well, the first step towards the possibility of that happened today as the former president`s company, the Trump Organization, and its longtime money man, Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg, were formerly indicted. Weisselberg appeared in court in Lower Manhattan after surrendering to authorities this morning to face charges on tax crimes.
At the arraignment Assistant District Attorney Kerry Dunn described the 15- year tax fraud scheme orchestrated by the most senior executives of the Trump Organization. The indictment unsealed today alleges that dating back to at least 2005, the Trump Organization and Weisselberg engaged in a scheme to defraud federal state and New York City tax authorities with the purpose of compensating Weisselberg and other Trump executives off the books.
According to the indictment, Weisselberg received $1.76 million in indirect compensation, which was neither reported nor taxed. In all, there are 15 felony counts against Weisselberg and the Trump Organization, including second degree larceny, conspiracy, tax fraud and falsifying business records.
Both Weisselberg and the Trump Organization pleaded not guilty to the charges. Weisselberg was released without bail but agreed to surrender his passport. The former president was not charged.
A spokesman for the Trump Organization said, make no mistake, this is not about the law, this is all about politics. This is the first criminal charges to stem from the two year investigation by Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance and New York Attorney General Letitia James, and likely just a first step in the process for prosecutors since it`s likely the end game isn`t Allen Weisselberg, who is just one figure in a company with a prolific history of tax avoidance.
Following today`s proceedings, Attorney General James noted that this investigation will continue and we will follow the facts and the law wherever they may lead. Before the hearing Weisselberg`s attorney said that he would fight the charges. But now that he actually faces criminal charges he could agree to cooperate with prosecutors.
With me now is Tom Winter, NBC News Investigations Correspondent. So, Tom, take us inside this proceeding today for Mr. Weisselberg and the Trump Organization.
TOM WINTER, MSNBC INVESTIGATIONS CORRESPONDENT: You know, in many respects, Joy, this was very similar to a lot of arraignments that probably happened in that building that had nothing to do with the gravity of the president or the former president`s key business and his chief financial officer. It was quick. It was rushed. There was a chatter in the courtroom that is not the type of atmosphere that we typically see in federal courts, very similar to what we typically see day in and day out at state courts.
But the difference is, obviously, we are talking about the president`s company and his chief financial officer, so there was definitely a little bit of a different sense in the air today in anticipation for what we might learn. Because remember, we had no idea on what charges were actually being brought here and how extensive this was leading up to the court appearance, and even during the court proceedings, we didn`t have the full scope of it until we got the court documents later on.
So that was kind of the mood inside the courthouse. I think what a lot of people left the courtroom thinking and perhaps the better phrase is wondering is where does all of this go next? Because on its face, if you had given me this indictment, I would have said, you know what, this kind of feels like a CEO woke up one day and said, why is this guy running two sets of books? And why are we paying for his cars? And what`s going on with this condominium that were -- or the apartment that we`re paying the payments for?
So I think this doesn`t immediately come across. It`s something that matches up with what we`ve heard so much over the past couple of years, which is an investigation looking at bank fraud, insurance fraud and obviously tax fraud, which we did get today. So I think the questions that we`re going to continue to ask is, is this something that is just part of the first inning our the top of the first inning or is this something where they really need Allen Weisselberg to cooperate in order for everything else to fall together or do they just not have it, which is obviously another option.
So I think time will tell. There`s more reporting to do. It sure sounds like there`s a lot more investigating to do for Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance.
REID: Yes. Absolutely, definitely sounds like that. Tom Winter, thank you very much.
WINTER: Thank you.
REID: And with me is Tristan Snell -- cheers -- former New York Assistant Attorney General, Tim O`Brien Senior Columnist at Bloomberg Opinion, and Tara Dowdell, Democratic Strategist, former apprentice contestant and President of the Tara Dowdell Group. Thank you all for being here.
And I do want to start on that. Mr. Snell, let`s talk about that. Because, you know, one would assume that the CFO of a company, who is the longstanding financial sort of guru of that company would know that you can`t take gift like a free house and free car and free stuff without reporting it, right? So if he didn`t, it does, to Tom Winter`s point, beg the question of, if he knowingly still benefited in this way that you would think you`ve had known better, what else were they up to?
TRISTAN SNELL, FORMER NEW YORK ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL: I think that`s exactly the right question to ask. I think what we saw today is a lot of people have been saying the tip of a much larger iceberg.
I think the thing most interesting to me in that entire indictment was the -- were the allegations that they were actively knowingly falsifying records, both internal records within the Trump Organization as well as then knowingly filing false tax returns.
If they were extending that kind of practice, removing notations, adjusting numbers, if they were doing that with regard to the valuation of their properties with tax authorities and in turn with banks and lenders, that`s the big case that`s coming. So I think this might have been a bit of a teaser trailer, if you will, of coming attractions.
REID: And what does it tell you, Mr. Snell, as a former prosecutor, that the grand jury still has months and months to go all the way until November? Would it be likely that Weisselberg would be the ultimate target and that this would be it or does it -- the length of the grand jury, the fact that it`s still extended, does that tell you something?
SNELL: The fact that they did the special grand jury six months -- and, by the way, it can be extended. It does not have to end in six months. They just have to go to a judge and get it approved for a longer period of time, which I still bet is what they`re going to see. I don`t think they`re going to be done by November, December. I think they`re going to keep the grand jury going into 2022.
But I think you`re seeing here really, again, the beginning of something larger. The -- and, by the way, this doesn`t mean this is last we`re going to see of indictments, charges brought against Allen Weisselberg. There could still be more brought against him, later too.
But this is the beginning of, I think of -- I think that -- look, if you read all of this together and the news reports and reading between the lines and everything, what`s clear is that there have been almost certainly between Weisselberg`s counsel and the D.A.`s office about Weisselberg cutting a deal. They haven`t gotten there. Weisselberg basically called their bluff and this was the response. No, sir, we are not bluffing. Here`s your indictment. Here are your handcuffs. We`ll see you in court. Now, can you reconsider? This is part of a chess match.
REID: Yes. I think that sounds right. And, Tara, I`ve got to go on you on this because you`re a business owner. You`ve dealt with Donald Trump. You know how he operates. Does it seem conceivable to you that Allen Weisselberg could have benefitted and received all of these gifts, his family, his kids received all of this stuff, not accounted for it in the books, not accounted for in the company`s taxes without Donald Trump being aware of that?
TARA DOWDELL, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Absolutely not, because, first of all, we know just from his presidency, let alone all the years in business because this is not his first rodeo in terms of investigations. Trump`s SoHo was investigated, particularly Don Jr. and Ivanka, and they had emails that had them get the rights (ph), but that`s a different issue.
But there is no way that Donald Trump would have had him in that position for that long. We saw from his presidency how easily he disbars people who disobeyed him. There is no reason he would stay in that supreme superior position high up that food chain with direct access to Donald Trump if he weren`t doing his bidding. To me, what this shows is that he was there explicitly to carry out the Donald Trump`s orders and to do what Donald Trump didn`t have to do it.
REID: It`s a good point. And I can recall, Tim O`Brien, back on my A.M. JOY days, you said to me, sitting across the table, that Allen Weisselberg will be the one that prosecutors will focus on because he is the one who keeps the numbers, right? And so just from your point of view having covered Donald Trump so long, I guess I`ll ask you the same question. I mean, this is roughly $900,000 in tax evasion, $556,000 in federal, $106,000, state, it seems like a fairly sort of mundane tax fraud case. But what do you think is the bigger picture here?
TIM O`BRIEN, BLOOMBERG OPINION SENIOR COLUMNIST: Well, clearly, Joy, the bigger picture is whether or not they`re going to catch Donald Trump and other members of the Trump Organization in much more egregious frauds possibly involving bank fraud and tax fraud, possibly money laundering could be in play here.
I think for a sort of meat and potatoes, as this case was, it was far more sweeping than anyone expected. Allen Weisselberg faces a maximum of 15 years in prison if he`s found guilty on these charges. I doubt he`ll get that sentence that big, but he`s a 70 -- not that long, but he`s a 74-year- old man. He`s not going to want a two-year sentence or three-year sentence. This really demonstrates how much leverage the D.A.`s office possibly has over Allen Weisselberg now. And it`s much more muscular than anyone thought about, I think, over the last week when some of the echoes of this were being heard.
I think, secondarily, this issue of Donald Trump as it relates with Allen Weisselberg, there`s two baskets here. Did anything happen at the Trump Organization of financial significance that Donald Trump didn`t know about? Absolutely not. We deposed Donald Trump for two days under oath in 2007 on a range of parallel issues.
And during the course of that deposition, he made it very clear that any time they presented a financial picture of the Trump Organization to the outside world, including banks and the media, it was in conjunction with Allen Weisselberg and they conferred extensively with one another before they did it.
But the legal issue here is whether or not the D.A.`s office can actually prove that with an evidentiary trail. And that`s a hurdle for them. I don`t think they would have convene a grand jury and going after a former president with criminal charges unless they were very confident they had evidence that approximated that.
So we are very much in the first half of this. There are going to be more acts. And I think Trump and his legal advisers have lots of reasons to worry because the issue here now is the leverage here to make Allen Weisselberg flip. And I would suggest that, yes, it exists and it exists in a very robust way.
REID: And, Tristan, you seem to be agreeing with that. You agree with that as somebody who`s been down this road before with the Trump Organizations and charities.
SNELL: Yes. I mean, the kicker here is you`ve got -- they wouldn`t have elevated this to a criminal probe and done the grand jury. It was the A.G.`s office elevating the criminal probe and joining the D.A.`s office and then together doing the grand jury.
This was a very public step. People still just don`t realize how significant that was in the first place. Both offices were staking the reputations on this, two elected officials, they had both a lot to lose and a lot to gain by doing this. When they did this, it`s because they were confident that they had the goods.
And, remember, at the end of the day here is the star witness really is not Allen Weisselberg, it isn`t anybody else. The star witness is really the documents. That`s a lot less sexy to say that. But the star witness here is the documents.
The documents already got them 80, 90 percent of the way there. You bring in the grand jury to see if you can tighten it up even more. How close can you get to 100 percent that you know this is a slam dunk? You get Allen Weisselberg to flip, you`re in the upper 90s. Like this is really looking very good. That doesn`t mean that they`re like 50 percent if they don`t get him to flip. It means they`re like 93 percent in terms of like how good they feel about.
They never would have brought this unless the documents already tell most of the tale. And otherwise because we have to remember this too, one more thing, the civil investigation that the A.G.`s office still has, that`s in their back pocket. That alone, without having to prove intent, could be enough to cause restitution and penalties in the amounts of hundreds of millions of dollars to the Trump Organization. An economic case that does not require proof of intent, that alone would be huge punishment.
I know people are looking for justice here. They want to see prison sentences in some cases here.
REID: Yes. Oh, for Trump the money is what he cares about most.
SNELL: They didn`t need to go criminal. They went criminal because they have the goods. That`s why they did it.
REID: Yes. Lightning round for Tim and Tara. Tim first. Does Weisselberg flip on Trump or stay loyal?
O`BRIEN: I think Weisselberg flips on Trump. And, remember, there were references in that indictment to other executives or other people at the Trump Organization who are aware of this. And they have participated in the same activities. They are in play as well. Not everything depends on Allen Weisselberg but they get along way if they get him and I think they might.
REID: Yes. Tara, does Weisselberg stay loyal in the mafioso sense, or do you think ultimately he flips.
DOWDELL: I think it depends. I think it depends on how hot the heat is, right? And I know that right now, what we know about Donald Trump, he`s pressuring Weisselberg, not himself directly but through intermediary, include potent language and potent messages, right now, there`s enormous pressure on Weisselberg. And I`m sure he`s offering him something. We know how he operates. The Trump playbook has been the same playbook for decades. So I think all those factors would have play into it.
REID: Well, if he interferes with him, that might be another crime. Tristan Snell, Tim O`Brien, Tara Dowdell, thank you all very much.
And coming up on THE REIDOUT, no one knows better the position that Weisselberg is in right now, and the heat that he`s feeling than Michael Cohen. I have a lot of questions on him on today`s indictments.
Plus, a major part of John Roberts` Supreme Court legacy will be the damage done to voting rights in America. Today, he struck another blow.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): It`s about protecting our country from the negative forces that provoked that attack on the Capitol.
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): She plays politics all the time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Despite Republican efforts to sweep the events of January 6th under the rug, there will be accountability. Today, members of the select committee were chosen. One of them joins me.
And tonight`s absolute worst, selling the troops to the highest bidder.
THE REIDOUT continues after this.
REID: In a 6-3 ruling written by Samuel Alito, the most reliably conservative justice, the Supreme Court dealt another violent blow against democracy by upholding two restrictive Arizona voting laws, forbidding the collection of absentee ballots by anyone other than family or caregivers, and allowing the tossing of ballots inadvertently cast in the wrong precinct.
It`s the latest notch in the belt of Chief Justice John Roberts, whose life`s work really since his days as an influential aide in the Reagan Justice Department has been to destroy the landmark 1965 Voting Rights Act.
Today, with help from his conservative allies on the court, in a decision he previewed by assigning the ruling to archconservative Alito in the first place, well, he got closer to that goal.
Justice Elena Kagan, in a fierce dissent, slammed the decision, writing -- quote -- "The majority fears that the statute Congress wrote is too radical. So, the majority writes its own set of rules, limiting Section 2 from multiple directions. What is tragic here is that the court has yet again rewritten in order to weaken a statute that stands as a monument to America`s greatness" -- unquote.
Since Roberts has been on the bench, the court has eviscerated federal preclearance of changes to voting procedures and gutted the intent test, which prohibited states from enacting voting practices with racist intent.
Thanks to Roberts, nearly all of the pillars of the Voting Rights Act, Section 5 and now Section 2, have been defanged, leaving the country closer to our Jim Crow past than to our civil rights era.
According to Vox, the rulings endorse phantom fears about voter fraud, the phenomenon that barely exists, and it permits lawmakers to enact voting restrictions intended to combat the largely imaginary problem.
Sadly, the conservative decision shows -- shows you just how central the big lie has become to Republican orthodoxy. What`s far more troubling is what this decision means for future cases before the courts. According to Alito, states can pretty much do whatever they want to suppress the vote, as long as they don`t make it obvious.
The only remaining question is, what will Congress and, more specifically, what will Democrats do about it?
Joining me now is Elie Mystal, justice correspondent for "The Nation," and Neal Katyal, former acting solicitor general.
Neal, I will start with you.
Did you expect this decision? Because it seems like all of those who are previewing it said that the only question was how the DNC who brought this case originally would lose, not whether they would lose.
NEAL KATYAL, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: Yes, unfortunately, it was an expected decision, although some of the rhetoric and language in the decision goes beyond anything I think I feared.
But I had the privilege of arguing that, say, the constitutionality of the Voting Rights Act in 2010. The chief justice and others gave me a really hard time at the oral argument, but we won that 8-1 back of that time, with Justice Thomas being the only dissent.
But then, four years later, in a case called Shelby County, the Supreme Court struck down that part of Voting Rights Act, Section 5. And the court has been on a real hostility to this act. And I think Justice Kagan really cataloged it in the dissent.
And so, in one sense, it`s expected. In another, to have this decision say or suggest that voter fraud is like some real problem that states have a lot of leeway to solve -- you can read this real ruling a lot of different ways, as a critic, as a citizen.
But I think one way we should read it tonight is as one of those Southern states that is trying to disenfranchise African-American voters. And what this decision did is give rhetoric and a how-to book on how to do it, which is why legislation is so important.
REID: Oh, 100 percent.
And maybe, perhaps coincidentally, election integrity and preventing voter fraud were the reasons for the original Jim Crow laws. They all said, oh, no, we`re just doing this to prevent voter fraud. They did that at the time.
Elie, this is what Justice Alito has now said. He`s written his own law, which is that there are five factors that courts have to consider whether or not a law is discriminatory.
So, when courts are faced with time, place and manner cases under the Voting Rights Act, he writes: "Any circumstance that has a lot of logical bearing on whether voting is equally open and affords equal opportunity may be considered."
Nevertheless, he also provides a nonexhaustive list of here`s his five factors that should be mentioned, the size of the burden imposed by a challenged voting rule, the degree to which a voting rule departs from what was standard practice when the Voting Rights Act was amended in 1982, the size of any disparities in rules` impact on members of different racial or ethnic groups, the opportunities provided by a state`s entire system of voting when assessing the burden imposed by a challenged provision, and the strength of the state interest survived by challenging voting role -- rules.
He decided essentially that states have an interest in preventing so-called voter fraud, and that, as long as it was just an inconvenience, it`s OK to disenfranchise people.
Am I reading that right?
ELIE MYSTAL, "THE NATION": Yes.
To drop out some of the legal jargon here, Alito`s standard is basically, as long as you don`t say the N-word when you are taking away people`s votes, it is fine. That is essential takeaway from his opinion.
These laws in Arizona that he just held up with the help of John Roberts, as you explained his lifetime commitment to destroying this act, these laws were racist by empirical definition. That`s not me having a conjecture. It was empirically shown that these laws had a disparate impact on black and brown and Native voters in Arizona.
The plaintiffs, the state of Arizona, admitted that these laws had a disparate impact and admitted that that`s why they were there. But, like, let`s be clear. The -- Arizona said that the reason why they wanted these laws is to help them win elections by depressing the vote, right?
And then the Supreme Court -- in Alito`s opinion in the Supreme -- he says that the -- for one of the laws that allowed them to discard ballots cast in the wrong precinct, Alito said that 1 percent of African-Americans and 1 percent of Native Americans and 1 percent of Hispanic Americans cast their ballots in the wrong precinct, while only 0.5 percent of white Americans cast their vote in the wrong precinct, but that racism just wasn`t enough, wasn`t enough racism to trigger the Voting Rights Act.
Must be nice to have a job where you can tell other people how much racism is real. But that`s the decision. That`s the upshot here. As long as you don`t make it completely obvious that you`re doing something with bigotry in your heart, as if that was easy to prove, then Alito is going to let you do it.
REID: I mean, and honestly, before -- in case anyone thinks this is hyperbole, Neal, in theory, according to Alito`s theory, if, in 1982, there were laws in place saying that you had to pass a literacy test and read a complicated passage from Shakespeare in order to vote, he could then argue that, well, that`s not racist, because, if you -- if you -- if a white or a black person or anybody can read this complicated passage from Shakespeare, they can vote.
I mean, it`s the same -- if -- bubbles in a bar of soap. Guess how many bubbles are in this bar of soap. If that had been in place in `82, and you can`t show that it`s a substantial difference to say guess the bubbles in the soap, he could just -- they never -- those laws never said black in them. They never said race in them. They never said any race in them.
They just said, tell us how many bubbles are in this soap. And then they just so happened to only ask the black people to get the bubbles. In this case in Arizona, the fact that you`re voting in the wrong precinct, precincts were being moved, but only the black and brown precincts were being moved.
So, what -- he`s basically saying you can do get the bubbles in a bar of soap, as long as you don`t say black, right?
KATYAL: Exactly, Joy. I love how you fell it up on Elie`s great point.
And there`s two different ways of proving discrimination in the law. One is called disparate treatment. That is, you`re intentionally going after someone because of their race. And the other is a disparate impact, in which you`re looking at statistics and other things.
And, of course, in the modern era, almost everyone, not everyone, but almost everyone avoids the use of terms like what Elie referred to before, and in state legislatures or even the president does. When I was arguing the Muslim ban, his lawyers` defense was, well, it doesn`t say it discriminates against Muslims in the text of the order.
Of course not, because modern discrimination hides itself through patterns and practices and data and things like that. And so the question in this case was whether or not that would be enough.
And Elie and you are absolutely right that the test that`s being proposed now to legitimize Arizona`s laws would legitimize a whole host of other things, which is why I think the conversation has to move nationally to how we get these voting rights acts passed.
Back when I argued that Voting Rights Act case in 2010, it had just been reauthorized in the Congress in the House by 421-3 and in the Senate 98-0. That was -- those votes underscore that this is the most American thing we could imagine, the right to vote. And how could it be deprived? How could the Supreme Court be writing these opinions?
It`s time for Congress to act.
REID: Well, of course, Neal, because racism no longer exists.
According to John Roberts, racism is over because Obama was president. Therefore, one out of 320 million people who is black was elected president. Poof. Racism is gone.
And, by the way, just so you think that we`re just bringing up hyperbole again, Florida actually enacted a poll tax. If you served prison time, to come back, you have to pay a poll tax. And that`s now legal, according to Justice Alito. Perfect. We have gone backwards.
Elie Mystal, Neal Katyal, thank you very much.
Still ahead: Is Kevin going all authoritarian on us? The House minority leader reportedly threatened to retaliate against Republicans if they accepted an appointment to Speaker -- from Speaker Pelosi to serve on the January 6 select committee.
Well, guess what? Liz Cheney did just that, joining seven Democrats announced by Pelosi earlier today.
One of those Democrats will be here next.
REID: Today, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the appointed members of the newly created select committee to investigate the January 6 attack on the Capitol.
One Republican will be among them, Congresswoman Liz Cheney, who was purged from House Republican leadership for daring to oppose Trump`s insurrection.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): Our oath to the Constitution, our duty, our dedication to the rule of law and the peaceful transfer of power has to come above any concern about partisanship or about politics.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: According to three of our sources, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy actually threatened to strip Republican House members of their committee assignments if they accept an appointment from Pelosi to the select committee, to which Congressman Adam Kinzinger, Republican of Illinois, one of the other Republicans to vote for the committee, responded who, "Gives a S-H." You know the rest.
This latest Republican stonewalling comes as a "New York Times" compilation further and dramatically contradicts the Republican attempt to rewrite the events of that day.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RON JOHNSON (R-WI): On January 6, I never felt threatened, because I didn`t. I knew those were people that love this country, that truly respect law enforcement, would never do anything to break a law.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Then the police lose the line.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We lost the line! We have lost the line! All MPD, pull back!
REP. PAUL GOSAR (R-AZ): Why hasn`t that officer that executed Ashli Babbitt been named, when police officers around the country are routinely identified after a shooting?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They scuffle again with a small group of officers, who give in after barely a minute.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stop following orders! Stop! You know we`re right! You know we`re right!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The mob now has direct access to Capitol entrances.
REP. ANDREW CLYDE (R-GA): There was no insurrection. And to call it an insurrection, in my opinion, is a bold-faced line. If you didn`t know the TV footage was a video from January the 6th, you would actually think it was a normal tourist visit.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Capitol is now surrounded.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: That was some wild tourism.
Joining me now is Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy of Florida, one of the members of the select committee to investigate the attack on the United States Capitol.
And, Congresswoman, thank you so much for being here.
REP. STEPHANIE MURPHY (D-FL): Great to be with you.
REID: Thank you.
Let`s talk about the elephant in the room or the Cheney in the room, actually. You are going to have one Republican colleague.
It strikes me that it was terrible politics for Kevin McCarthy to throw Liz Cheney out of leadership because she was criticizing the fact that our Capitol was attacked and that there was an insurrection. He essentially empowered her and freed her to take this role on the committee with you all.
How do you expect that interaction to play out, given her already very vocal stance, including on Kevin McCarthy`s role?
MURPHY: You know, it`s a real statement about where the Republican Party is today that they actually threw a member of leadership out for daring to speak the truth.
And I`m really proud and looking forward to working with Representative Cheney. She and I worked on the House Armed Services Committee together, and I know her as somebody who is a patriot.
While we may have policy differences, she is dedicated to this country and upholding the Constitution, just as the other members of the select committee are.
REID: Oh, no, Adam Kinzinger and Cheney, I don`t agree with anything that they stand for. They voted with Trump 90 percent of the time. The fact is, they`re putting country first.
Here`s what Kevin McCarthy said about her today:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): I was shocked that she would accept something from Speaker Pelosi.
It would seem to me, since I didn`t hear from her, maybe she`s closer to her than us. I don`t know.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Do you -- is this -- this is not teams. Can you just explain?
Here are the people who are going to be on this committee, along with yourself, along with Representative Cheney, Adam Schiff, who prosecuted one of the cases against Donald Trump, impeachment, Zoe Lofgren, Pete Aguilar, Steph, you, Jamie Raskin, brilliant, who was also involved in the impeachment, and Elaine Luria of Virginia.
Is -- do you see this as teams? Or do you see this as an investigation that`s meant to be sober and serious into what happened?
MURPHY: This is an investigation that is sober and serious and apolitical into what happened.
This is Americans who love this country, who are patriotic, who are dedicated to upholding the Constitution, who want to get the facts about what happened on January 6, the circumstances that led up to that, so that we can provide a comprehensive report, and then recommendations on how we keep our country safe.
And that is the utmost importance. I have an obligation to the staff who come to work here every day, to the press corps who are here, to my fellow members of Congress, as well as to the public that come to this building to witness democracy in action to get the facts on this situation and ensure that this never happens again, that we can secure not only the Capitol, but our democracy.
REID: Let me play very quickly Kevin McCarthy on January 14.
Do we have it? Sorry about that.
It was Kevin McCarthy saying that Trump bears responsibility. We don`t have the audio. But he said Trump bears responsibility for what happened. Do you expect Kevin McCarthy to be called and do you expect Donald Trump to be called and subpoenaed as witnesses?
MURPHY: Well, we are still in the organizing stages. I don`t want to get ahead of the committee as to who we will call.
What we have said today is that we are likely to bring in the law enforcement officers, the capitol police as well as D.C. police who were victims as well on January 6th so share their experiences and that will be one of the first hearings that we hold. We also intend to let staff as well as members share their experiences. At the end of the day, this committee - - this select committee is going to follow the facts wherever and to whomever they go.
REID: And they`re going to be public hearings, right?
MURPHY: There will be a combination of public and private hearings is what I anticipate.
REID: OK. Wonderful.
Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy, thank you so much for being here. Really appreciate it. Thank you.
Still ahead, a Republican governor renting out her state`s National Guards troops to a billionaire donor makes her a top candidate for tonight`s absolute worst.
There is no one better to provide what`s going through Allen Weisselberg`s and Donald Trump`s noggins today than Trump`s former personal attorney Michael Cohen, and he joins us next.
REID: More now on today`s top story, the indictments of Donald Trump`s top company and one of its senior executives. Because if anyone who understands what Trump CFO Allen Weisselberg is going through right now, it is Michael Cohen, who was also indicted for charges related to Trump though he pled guilty, unlike Weisselberg who at least for now says he will fight the charges.
I`m joined now by Michael Cohen, personal attorney to Donald Trump and author of "Disloyal" and the host of "The Mea Culpa" podcast.
And, Michael, let`s start there. Give us a sense of what it`s like to be Allen Weisselberg today.
MICHAEL COHEN, FORMER PERSONAL ATTORNEY TO DONALD TRUMP: Yeah, it`s probably not a good feeling. First of all, the handcuffs don`t really feel great on your wrists. Second of all, it`s very surreal when you are being perp walked to the judge`s chambers in order to hear charges that are going to be brought against you.
I`ve often said that, you know, there`s a big difference between when you`re under investigation and then you`re formally indicted as what I went through and what Allen Weisselberg is going through because the stakes are now real.
Before, they`re not real. You sit there, you walk around, you go out with your family and you wonder what they`re going to come up with. Well, now, you know what they`re coming up with and you know that this is just the tip of the iceberg.
COHEN: -- nobody should realistically believe for a second that the indictment that came down today is the end-all, be-all. It is not. The district attorney, Cyrus Vance, along with Mark Pomerantz, have substantially more documents and more indictments will be coming as a result.
REID: I want to get into that more in a second. I wanted to get your reaction to this "Politico" reporting that Donald Trump is thrilled that the indictment was not against him. That it`s against Weisselberg and his company. What do you make of that?
COHEN: Of course, he is, right? Because Donald Trump doesn`t care -- Donald Trump doesn`t care about anyone or anything other than himself what`s going to happen. All of a sudden, you`re going to have Donald Trump standing up saying, what -- it`s like the Shaggy song, it wasn`t me.
Next thing you know, he`s going to turn around and he`s going to be pointing, Allen, you should have known. You`re my CFO. Understand Allen Weisselberg is not a CPA, he`s a bookkeeper.
And then what they`re going to do knowing frick and frack, as I described them in my book disloyal, they`re going to turn around and they`re going to point to Mazars, to the accountant at Mazars and say, oh, you knew this and you should have been warning us because that`s all that they`re good at is deflecting their illegalities on to somebody else. It wasn`t me, it`s just him. If it`s not him, look at him.
But Donald doesn`t care if it`s going to be Allen or it`s going to be the accountants at Mazars or somebody else. It doesn`t matter, as long as it`s not him.
It`s an amazing -- it`s just an amazing, you know, way about him, you know, where --
COHEN: Again, he`d rather be his children than be himself.
REID: Yeah. There`s -- we had a former prosecutor on earlier who said that, you know -- I think you made this point before, that there are these millions of documents, a ton of documentation that is the real star of this case, not necessarily Weisselberg.
What did he mean by that? What documents are out there and how damaging could they be?
COHEN: Well, I know the documents because I spent more than ten occasions with district attorney. So I`m very familiar.
And one of the things that we know that they got as a direct result of my House oversight hearing and my participation when I was still at Otisville with district attorney is his tax returns. There`s a million pages there. We know there were documents that were taken by Rudy -- were taken from Rudy`s electronic devices that, of course, also deal with Donald Trump.
And if it deals with Donald Trump and there`s any money involved, Allen Weisselberg is attached to it. It`s just that simple.
But here`s the interesting thing, I`ve said this on other shows now. Allen is not the target. He`s going to be collateral damage, but he`s not the target.
And he`s also not the end-all be-all to this investigation. There are others who can testify to the information that the district attorney is going to need, myself included. There`s that information that we can testify to that would show the illegality and the culpability by the various different individuals from Allen to Don Jr. to Eric to Ivanka to Donald himself.
So, you know, there`s also other individuals, other executives at the Trump Organization that receive the same type of benefits, these -- these -- you know, apartment, these car benefits at the Trump Organization. Matt Calamari as an example.
So he`s not the only one that`s getting it. This indictment is going to be much larger. It`s going to be obviously much broader in its scope. And despite the fact Donald wants to sit there and say, ah, if this is it, then they`ve got nothing, they have nothing, that`s just typical Donald Trump talk.
What he`s thinking is that he`s going to say it, he`s going to get his lawyers who got up and they said the exact same thing. They were appealing to a party of one and he thinks that the more that people say it, the more it will become a reality.
But here`s the truth, and we know this, Joy, it`s not true. The district attorney is not interested or impressed with Donald`s choices of counsel and it`s not going to end well.
You know, I`ve made a lot of predictions, many on this show, many on others. I`ve been right pretty much most of the time. It`s not going to end well for any of them.
REID: You know, Allen Weisselberg reportedly has had conversations with Donald Trump, been in touch with him. When you were facing this same situation, did Donald Trump try to induce you to stay loyal and do you think that that`s a possibility here with Allen Weisselberg? Do you think Weisselberg will stay loyal to him and go to jail for him?
COHEN: Yeah. So let me start with the last part. No. Nobody wants to go to jail. It`s an ugly place even if you`re at Otisville satellite camp, it`s an ugly place. Being away from your wife, being away from your children, being away from the rest of your family and your friends, it`s really -- it`s soul wrenching.
And Allen is 74 years old. He has no interest in spending his golden years in any institution. Remember, it`s not federal, it`s state. So, it`s not as allegedly luxurious as a federal camp.
COHEN: Then on top of that, will he turn? He`ll have no choice because they`re also going to bring in his children because Barry worked for the company and Jack was involved in lending through Ladder Capital to the company.
So, the answer is no. He doesn`t want to go? And will he end up flipping?
Unless he`s stupid, he`ll flip. Who in their right mind -- understand, Donald will not go to prison if he can blame somebody else, and that`s including Allen.
COHEN: So Allen has to understand, he`s by himself. That`s what happened to me. This answers the first part of your question. I -- the last time I spoke to Trump was the day of the raid. That`s it. It was the --
COHEN: Then after that, I started listening to various different people telling me that this is --
COHEN: -- exactly what`s going to happen. And it did.
COHEN: He ran away from me and, you know, allowed me to --
REID: To pay the price for his crimes.
Well, Michael Cohen, always appreciate you being on the show. Thank you very much. Really appreciate your insights.
Up next, billionaires spending big bucks to shape American policies is nothing new. But it usually doesn`t involve the U.S. military. Tonight`s "Absolute Worst" is next.
REID: The roaming gnome is back at it again. Governor Kristi Noem that is. It would appear that her inaugural absolute worst is jealous of all of the attention our two record holders, Republican governors Greg Abbott of Texas and Florida`s Ron DeSantis are getting, so she`s sending South Dakota`s National Guard troops roaming, deploying them to the southern border of Texas, joining fellow MAGA sycophant DeSantis and the governors of Iowa and Nebraska in sending help to the border.
Fifty National Guard troops are being deployed in response to Greg Abbott`s plea for more border security for a nonexistent crisis. Noem said they`ll be there for two to three months in a word salad statement of GOP talking points, border, blah, blah, adding, my message to Texas is, help is on the way.
Actually, Christy, your message is I`m running for president in 2024. This is how I pander to the MAGA crowd and check the box on immigration fearmongering to compete with Greg Abbott and Ron DeSantis. Yay.
For his part, Abbott was palling around with orange Julius Caesar for some photo op nonsense at the border yesterday. It`s also worth noting that those other governors are sending state law enforcement officers not National Guard. But anywhomst, the story is far stranger and far more dangerous than just the ordinary political pandering and fearmongering around the issue of the border.
The absolute worst is something that she slipped in at the end of her announcement, that the deployment would be paid for by a private donation, specifically money from a billionaire GOP mega donor. Tennessee junk auto parts magnate and orange man super fan, Willis Johnson, who fronted the undisclosed sum.
He told "The Daily Beast" that he reached out to Noem because he saw what DeSantis is doing and thought South Dakota had fewer resources. A spokesman for Noem acknowledged the donation came from Johnson`s foundation and said it was to alleviate the cost to South Dakota taxpayers.
So there you have it. This is where we`ve come to, America. A super wealthy political donor is paying for American soldiers to deploy on a military mission with political undertones.
According to "The Washington Post", military policy experts blasted the move, quote, privately funding a military mission is an affront to civilian oversight of the armed forces and likely unprecedented and unethical which sounds about right since no one`s really sure if it`s legal. But it`s certainly not in the best interests of South Dakotans. It`s totally political theater.
So, Kristi Noem, for offering up South Dakota`s National Guard as mercenaries for a wealthy donor to stoke nativist fears and curry favor for your own political aspirations, you, my dear, are tonight`s "Absolute Worst".
And that`s tonight`s REIDOUT.
"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts now.