October 5, 2017

Joe Scarborough introduced Andrea Bernstein and Jesse Eisinger, whose joint investigation yesterday about Ivanka and Donald Trump Jr. is getting traction.

The article, written together with the New Yorker, "openly questions whether President Trump's two eldest children used political contributions to avoid a criminal indictment," Scarborough said.

He noted that Marc Kasowitz, Trump's personal lawyer, gave a $25,000 donation to Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.

"The case is dropped, and then supposedly, I guess, the money is given back but then a bigger check is written after the case is dropped. Is that right?" he said.

"Yes. That is the fact," Bernstein said.

"I think what's important to understand about this case is that it went on for two years and senior prosecutors felt the e-mail evidence they uncovered, e-mail evidence we weren't able to see but that was described to us in which the Trump children are coordinating the false stories and telling buyers because they're inflating the value of those condos. So these e-mails in which they say that, another one in which they say don't worry, no one will ever find out about this because the only people who know are on the e-mail, are what is keeping the prosecutors in the office to believe there was a case very worth pursuing on the Trumps.

"It went very far until the point at which Marc Kasowitz came in and met with Cy Vance, and the case was dropped. There were problems. There was a complicated case. The victims decided not to cooperate midway. It was a white collar case. It was compelling enough to go on for two years."

Scarborough asked if Vance overruled the prosecutors' recommendations.

"That's one of the most troubling things about this," Eisinger said.

"Not just the line prosecutor -- and line prosecutors fall in love with their cases, but his supervisor, and then his supervisor, and then his supervisor. All the way up the chain, the D.A.'s office, the people are believing in this case. They want to bring this to indictment. They're escalating it, as Andrea just said. They're working to empanel a special grand jury and have witnesses, and then the meeting with Kasowitz happens, and there's a tacit admission the meeting is questionable, because he gives the money back. Then the meeting happens, and the investigation seems to trail off and die at that point, and then three months later, Vance makes the ruling overruling his prosecutors".

Katy Kay discussed the statements from Kasowitz denying that anything like a quid pro quo happened, and from Vance's office, saying why the prosecution was declined.

Bernstein pointed out that the plaintiffs received "almost everything they asked for."

"They got their money from the Trump team. So their lawyer was finished. He made the settlement. That was part of what the Trumps got out of that settlement. Nine months go by before the case is dropped. During that whole time, there was very serious discussion about should they continue. Now, as for the contributions, we don't know what the Trumps knew about Kasowitz's contribution.

"But we know what Donald Trump says about his own contributions which he said in a debate in 2015, which is, 'I give so that when I want something, they will listen to me.' That's a paraphrase, but that is what he said. So that is his philosophy of contributions."

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