Donald Trump Team Lying Perplexes As Robert Mueller Adds Another Indictment | Rachel Maddow | MSNBC

thanks to at home for joining us this hour welcome to another totally normal weekday in the Donald J Trump presidency totally normal day right when I went to bed last night I thought the big suspenseful news event of the day the the one event on today’s calendar that had the biggest potential for real drama was going to be the hearing in the criminal case involving President Trump’s campaign chairman Paul Manafort already convicted on multiple felonies already facing a likely prison sentence of seven to ten years the drama underlying today’s hearing from anna fort is that he could be facing an additional decade in prison on top of the seven to ten which really i mean when you start adding it up that could be the whole enchilada if you’re already seventy years old and not in great health he is facing an additional decade in prison potentially on top of his other sentence if the judge in his case concludes that he breached his plea agreement by lying to prosecutors after he had agreed to cooperate with them so men afford himself was in court today we got these great sketches by art laying the great courtroom artist manna fort was allowed as you can see here was allowed to wear a suit this time instead of his jail jumpsuit he is now white-haired as you can see he’s using a cane reporters who were at the hearing today described him as leaning heavily on that cane but with all the prosecutors there and with manna for total defense team there and with manna fort himself in the courtroom everybody there in person today in in federal court in DC today the judge in his case ultimately elected to not today make a decision on the substance of these current allegations against him which again are that he broke his deal by lying repeatedly to prosecutors so manna for was there in court today he then had to go back to jail he will be back in court a week from monday and then that will be the day that this same judge will finally conduct a hearing behind closed doors to determine whether manna fort really is going to be on the hook for all these extra years potentially tacked on to his sentence so that’s going to be a closed door sealed hearing a week from Monday is going to be sealed because of the sensitivity around mana forts testimony thus far and how much of his criminal case still bears upon other still ongoing investigations and other people who have not yet been charged remember Paul Manafort has done at least nine interview sessions with the special counsels office he has testified before the grand jury at least twice we will ultimately get some redacted transcript of that mana fort hearing after they’ve gone through and taken out all the sensitive stuff but they’re holding that next man fort hearing behind closed doors because they’re expecting a lot of it to not yet be suitable for public consumption because of all of the ongoing cases that it relates to and it tells you something about this presidency and this moment in American history that the sitting president’s campaign Chairman turning up in court today with white hair using a cane trying to avoid the extra decade in prison that could determine whether or not he dies behind bars it tells you something about this time period we are living through and this presidency we are living through that that doesn’t make the front page today for this particular present president it doesn’t make probably the first 10 pages of the paper tomorrow morning because on a day like today it just couldn’t compete when the government shutdown crisis finally started to end today with the president appearing in the Rose Garden to announce that the government will reopen under its old funding levels with no change in policy whatsoever with no freakin wall between the United States and Mexico or a down payment on it or a sample portion of it or any other thing related to a wall whatsoever when the president announced today that he will accept the exact same offer he rejected over a month ago that started this whole catastrophe for the government and for hundreds of thousands of people who work for the government and their families when the president today made that announcement that he said he would never ever make which is that the shutdown will end in exchange for him getting absolutely nothing when that dark cave opened up on the White House lawn today and swallowed all light and made it briefly eerily cold and breezy for a moment with what what that moved off the front page of every newspaper in the country enough every moment of TV news in the country was not just what was going on at that moment with his already convicted campaign chairman it also moved this the indictment of the president’s longtime friend and longest-serving political adviser the self promoting Republican Party gadfly Roger stone we will be talking about the end of the shutdown tonight at the moment that the president declared the end of the shutdown today it displaced from the headlines momentarily this indictment Roger stone was actually it turns out indicted yesterday under seal the special counsels office had requested that the federal court in DC keep that indictment secret yesterday keep it under seal until stone could be arrested this morning quote the United States of America by and through Special Counsel Robert S Mulliken respectfully moves this court to seal the accompanying indictment and arrest warrant and to delay entry on the public docket of this motion to seal and all related matters until the defendant named is in custody quote law enforcement believes that publicity resulting from the disclosure of this indictment prior to arrest will increase the risk of the defendant fleeing and destroying or tampering with evidence it is therefore essential that any information concerning the pending indictment in this district be kept sealed prior to the defendants arrest these facts present an extraordinary situation and a compelling governmental interest that justifies not only the sealing of the indictment and all other pleadings warrants records and files in this case but also a short delay in the public docketing of these sealed proceedings and the accompanying order until the defendants arrest so that is that is dated yesterday from the special counsel that’s the special counsel saying to the judge this indictment should be sealed our request to seal the indictment should be sealed this should all be kept off the docket until we’ve got him and the judge apparently agreed because the first sign that Weill got of what happened today to Roger stone was when this footage was caught on video by AC then producer who had been assigned by the network to essentially stake out Roger stones house in the event that anything like this might happen and you know this in itself is sort of a remarkable milestone in the Moller investigation we’ve seen a lot of people charged in this case and and marched in and out of courthouses we have seen them in SUVs pulling in and out of parking lots outside government buildings their movements have been tracked even around potential testimony before secret grand juries but nobody else got arrested by the FBI in this fashion I mean even when they raided Paul manna forts house in Virginia remember all the drum drama about that when they took away his files and his computers and his iPads and his nice suits and his ostrich jacket and everything at least then they left Paul may afford himself behind this is the first time where we have actually seen them grab the dude from his house and take him into custody now we do not have to speculate as to why the special counsels office and the FBI chose to do it this way the special counsel’s office laid out their reasons and their motion to seal right they said they told that Judge in DC yesterday they believed Roger stone would flee and or destroy or tamper with evidence if he knew that he was being indicted and so surprise they arrested him before dawn today and yes if you are trying to snip every loose thread here yes you’re right because that happened in the pre-dawn hours today hours before the proclaimed end of the government shutdown it is likely that those FBI agents who arrested Roger stone today did so while not being paid but now we have got the unsealed indictment for Roger stone it lays out seven felony charges against him nothing about the indictment suggests that stone has previously had any contact at all with the special counsels office which is interesting doesn’t appear that Muller ever bothered to interview Roger stone before indict him today but stone is charged today with lying to Congress and with attempting to intimidate another witness to either lie to Congress or refuse to testify to Congress all of the charges against stone today and the narrative that that prosecutors layout that supports the indictment it all relates to stones contacts and communications during the presidential campaign related to WikiLeaks WikiLeaks of course distributed the documents that Russian military intelligence stole from the Democratic Party and the Clinton campaign Roger stone is alleged in this indictment to have lied to Congress repeatedly about his own efforts to communicate with WikiLeaks both personally and through intermediaries he’s also alleged to have lied about whether or not his efforts to communicate with WikiLeaks were done on his own say-so on his own initiative or whether the Trump campaign put him up to it so we got some expert helped on this tonight a lot of people who followed the stuff most closely from a legal perspective or suggesting today and tonight that the stone indictment is something that puts the the central question of the Moller investigation closer to President Trump and his campaign than any other indictment we have seen thus far again we will get some expert help on that coming up in just a moment including the significance of the fact that now yet another person close to the president has been charged with a witness tampering in the Moller investigation and that is something where the President himself sort of increasingly looking like he may have some own some legal legal problems of his own again we will we will get to all of that but I’m quite sure you’ve heard a lot about this case already today again that you know the arrests happened before dawn we got the indictment early this morning I’m not going to go through it here line by line I’m not gonna try to connect every dot and flesh out all of the sordid characters in this partly because I can’t stomach it but also because there’s really just two things that I want to focus on and they’re both open questions for me but in terms of where my head is at in terms of figuring out how this fits into the overall scandal and sort of how close we are to the end here and how close we are to getting the biggest and most important questions answered just for us as the American public these are the two things that I am sort of stuck on the first one is a dynamic a pattern that we have seen over and over and over and over again in this scandal when it comes to people surrounding the president and even the President himself this is something we saw from the very beginning from December 2017 when Trump National Security Advisor Mike Flynn turned up in court pleading guilty and agreeing to green to cooperate with prosecutors what Mike Flynn admitted to lying about remember was his contact with the Russian government during the transition his contact with the Russian government about US sanctions on Russia what never made sense about Flynn and him pleading guilty is why he felt the need to lie to the FBI about his contact with the Russian government and him talking to them about sanctions I mean at the time he had that contact with the Russian government he was the incoming national security adviser and yeah you know maybe it was a little weird that before he was technically sworn in he was already having policy discussions with another government but it’s not that weird I mean hacking just publicly asserted yes I talked to the Russian ambassador about sanctions we on the Trump campaign had been clear about the fact that we have a different take on sanctions than the outgoing administration and it was a matter of urgency I mean you know had flynn said something like that that would have occasioned like half a raised eyebrow but instead he lied about it multiple times to the FBI I mean what about those communications with the Russian government were so what I mean intrepid in embarrassing linked to a larger thing you didn’t want to have to explain I mean what about those communications with the Russians were worth lying about there was nothing wrong about them on their face so why lie about it why lie to the FBI about it that became a question that was even harder to answer when we learned that it wasn’t just Mike Flynn who lied about those communications with the Russian government about sanctions The Washington Post reported months later that Flynn’s deputy katie mcfarland had also made false statements to the FBI about the same thing denying the truth about those contacts with the russian government during the transition when they talked to them about sanctions she lied about it to reporters at the time we later learned she also lied about it to the FBI and again there was nothing weird about talking to the Russian government about sanctions so why create a big cover story about it why create a cover story that you stuck to to the point where you open yourself up to potential criminal charges for lying about it and it wasn’t just the two of them the New York Times later reported that within the transition there were a whole bunch of Trump officials who were all read in on the truth which was that Flynn was talking to the Russian government about sanctions during the transition they were all read in on it among the Trump officials who were read in on that and sent emails documenting in detail what Flynn was doing with the Russians among the people written and that was Sean Spicer who soon became the White House spokesman Sean Spicer – knowing the real story nevertheless gave the public a false story he publicly spread this lie about Flynn’s contact with the Russian government when we know that he was actually read in on what really happened why did they all tell lies about that telling the truth about that would not have been a scandal but yet there was this elaborate cover-up over a period of months involving multiple officials multiples false statements both in public and to reporters and even to federal law enforcement agents and we have seen that dynamic over and over again in this scandal with characters large and small speaking of small remember old George papadopolis who’s already served his prison sentence in this scandal he’s admittedly a very minor figure in this scandal right well what happened in his case is that we learned that he had lied to federal investigators about the content and timing of his communications was somebody who claimed to be connected to the Russian government and whatever you think about George papadopolis he was attached to the Trump campaign he was working as a declared foreign policy advisor for the campaign him having conversations with somebody who purported to be linked to the Russian government would not be crazy it would not be illegal I mean that’s the sort of thing he could have admitted to without much need to explain further but yet he lied about it to federal investigators that’s why he went to prison he’s sort of the small end of the food chain right like he’s the grub that great white shark in this food chain is of course the candidate at the top of that campaign we saw this same dynamic at work with Trump himself now we know that through the presidential campaign Trump and his business were pursuing a very large real estate deal in Russia a trumpet our Moscow deal that would have required the involvement of and the permission of the the Russian government now we know that he and his business were pursuing that during the presidential campaign and the president now says it’s perfectly fine that he was doing that after all he’s a real estate guy he pursues real estate projects all over the world that’s what he does and as he says everybody thought he would lose the presidential election so why should he forego business opportunities that might otherwise elude him if he put his business career fully on hold while he was running for president there was nothing wrong with him pursuing that deal that’s what he says now whatever you think about that explanation from President Trump that explanation would have held exactly the same amount of water during the campaign instead for months he explicitly lied and said he wasn’t pursuing any deals in Russia it wasn’t illegal for him to pursue a real estate deal in Russia he has proved himself capable of spinning a story about that that makes it sound okay or at least tries to make it sound okay but for months he lied about it overtly he tried to keep it secret Michael Cohen went to Congress and answered questions about the Trump Tower Moscow project knowing the exact truth of that project since he was somebody who was directly involved in it is one of the principal people trying to put it together he nevertheless under oath told Congress lies about the Trump Tower Moscow project and how long it went on again that project wasn’t illegal if there was something wrong with that there was nothing more wrong with it in June than there was in January why did they have to invent a fake cover story for it that included committing felonies and lying under oath in order to keep it secret what was it about that that you had to tell a fake story but you know and it’s all of them I mean when Jared Kushner filled out his security clearance application after the inauguration why did he leave off that application that he had met with the Kremlin appointed head of a Russian bank that he had hadn’t met multiple times of the Russian ambassador that he’d taken that Trump Tower meeting during the campaign with all those Russians I mean all of those individual meetings and communications are things that mr. Kushner has an explanation for he and his well-paid spokes people have since given all those explanations you know they all came up in the normal course of his work on the campaign and in the transition there was nothing untoward about any of them okay then why did he keep them all secret in Watergate they said the cover-up was worse than the crime in this scandal the cover-up is the big red neon flashing arrow that points at where the crime might be because because time and time and time again we have seen the same dynamic all of them up and down have all been caught telling lies even to the point of facing prison time for telling lies about things that on the surface are not worth lying about things that aren’t illegal things that could have a totally normal explanation and that is a neon sign shaped like an arrow pointing out what must be beneath the surface of those things that they went to such lengths and took such risks to cover up and so today we see that again with Roger stone and you know there’s a lot of color in the stone indictment with him like you know threatening that guy’s dog when he was gonna try to stop that guy from testifying to Congress there’s that kind of stuff there’s him quoting The Godfather right there’s the the the big headline grabber from the indictment today which is the allegation from the special counsel that stone did not make his overtures to WikiLeaks on his own initiative according to the special counsel a senior campaign official was directed to contact Roger stone to get him to find out what WikiLeaks had on Clinton everybody’s now scratching their heads wondering who on a campaign would have the authority to direct a senior campaign official to make that kind of request everybody’s wondering if the only kind of person with that authority in a campaign would be the candidate himself maybe I don’t know we don’t know special counsel doesn’t say but if you set all that aside for just a second consider the overall dynamic that we’ve seen with all of these other figures in the in this scandal thus far lying about stuff that on the surface it doesn’t seem like they need to lie about just look for a second in the stone indictment at the specific allegations that are spelled out about what stone lied about with all of the other people in the scandal we have seen them again and again and again in their security clearance applications with federal investigators in FBI interviews before Congress under oath risking prison time to tell lies about things that do not seem to be crimes things that on the surface do not seem to be illegal things that don’t seem like they need to be lied about well in this case in this new indictment today what Roger stone is alleged to have lied about under oath what he is alleged to have aggressively threatened this other witness that he needed a lie about it to or not testify if he couldn’t commit to not lying about what he’s accused of the big lie at the heart of the stone indictment is something really really really small and specific what is spelled out in the indictment today is that Roger stone appears to have concocted a cover story which said that the way he tried to get information from WikiLeaks was through this guy a guy who Roger stone knew a guy who had a radio show on which he had interviewed Julian Assange from WikiLeaks and so therefore the cover story was that Roger stone thought this guy could be a good contact to Julian Assange from WikiLeaks right if the guy could interview him presumably he could also reach him to get information about what WikiLeaks had on the Clinton campaign according to prosecutors today that was the cover story that Roger stone concocted and that he tried to sell to the House Intelligence Committee under oath according to prosecutors today that story is false and the real story is that stone actually dispatched this guy different guy to contact Julian Assange in order to figure out what WikiLeaks out on Clinton now put this can we put those two guys up side-by-side yeah okay right again this bear with me here I mean this is the big lie that spelled out in the indictment Roger stone says the guy on the right is how he tried to contact WikiLeaks actually it was the guy on the left okay who cares why does that matter why would the difference between those two paths to WikiLeaks be worth not only lying about it to Congress but doing backflips and making all these florid baroque threats against another witness to prevent that cover story from unraveling I mean page 18 of the indictment today Rogers goes nuts over the prospect that the cover story will be exposed as false and the real story will come out quote stone wallet plead the fifth anything to save the plan he tells this witness is going to give up the cover story and explain that it wasn’t really true he tells him to refuse to appear to take the fifth to do a Frank Pentangeli which is the guy in the got in Godfather two who turns up to testify before Congress and then surprise refuses to testify about what he really knows and he makes up a whole fake story to protect everybody else do a Frank potentially I mean okay what the heck was so important about the difference between those two stories honestly I used radio show host Randy credit code to get to WikiLeaks versus I used Jerome Corsi weird conspiracy theorist to get to WikiLeaks who cares who cares but that distinction between those two stories was apparently enough to risk seven felony charges and getting arrested on CNN before dawn and so now we have a new neon sign in the shape of an arrow blinking pointing out what otherwise not seem to be illegal or even particularly scandalous behavior what is it about this what is it about this story that you have to go to these lengths to protect this story which doesn’t seem to be anything scandalous has nevertheless caused grown adults to risk years if not decades in prison to try to keep it under wraps in this case I mean what the red neon arrow is pointing at is whatever this line of communication is that goes from the Trump campaign to Roger stone to jerome corsi to wikileaks to russian military intelligence right Ricky leach was distributing the anti Clinton stuff that had been stolen by Russian intelligence I have never cared about that before but boy do I know boy do I know now that I know the lengths to which these characters were willing to go to make sure that stayed secret and briefly there was just one last point to know about this Roger stone indictment which I think points us to what we may be able to expect next or at least where we should look to figure that out there was a way to know this indictment was coming in mid-december Carol Lenin was a lead reporter on this story in The Washington Post which reported that Robert Muller had requested an official transcript of Stone’s testimony to the House Intelligence Committee now we reported that on this show the night of December 19th because it was the Washington Post suggesting pretty overtly in that story but that request from Muller to get the official transcript that might be a sign that Muller was about to indict Roger stone for lying in that testimony that would explain why Muller needed an official transcript of what stone had said that prediction from Carol Enoch and her co-authors in the Washington Post in mid-december proved to be exactly right he did get indicted for false testimony in that testimony that Muller got the official transcript of in mid-december because of that we spent today trying to figure out who helped who else has had their transcript peeked at by Special Counsel Robert Muller what we found is not necessarily what you would expect but I do think it tells us where we should look to see what’s about to happen next and we’ve got that little bit of news coming out to stay with us hey there are chris hayes from MSNBC thanks for watching MSNBC on youtube if you want to keep up to date with the videos we’re 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