National security analyst: Trump colluding with Russia may not be the worst crime he committed
President Donald Trump's eldest child and namesake son, Donald Trump Jr., senior advisor and son-in-law Jared Kushner, and former Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort. Composite image.

MSNBC anchor Katy Tur examined the implications of Michael Wolff's bombshell new Fire and Fury book on special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation.


Tur was the embedded NBC News reporter with the Donald Trump campaign and featured NBC intelligence and national security reporter Ken Dilanian to explain former Trump campaign manager Steve Bannon's contention that it was "treasonous" for Donald Trump, Jr to set up a June 2016 meeting with a Kremlin-linked attorney.

"Ken, let's start with this Don, Jr meeting, this idea that Bannon says it was treasonous for Don Jr, Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort to have a meeting with a Russian national inside Trump Tower, what is that going to mean for the Russia investigation?" Tur asked.

"I think it could mean quite a bit, Katy," Dilanian replied.

"The fact that it's coming from one of Donald Trump's formerly closest advisers may be relevant to the Mueller investigation if he ever has to convince a jury or the Congress that this was something Donald Trump wanted to cover up," Dilanian explained. "Because remember, there's no allegation that Trump knew about this meeting when it was happening, but there is a question about how he characterized it later. He wrote a statement saying it was all about adoptions, which it plainly was not and we think, we believe, we've reported, that this was part of the obstruction of justice inquiry that Mueller is conducting."

"So the fact that Bannon thought this meeting was treasonous, I think could loom significant as this investigation moves forward," Dilanian noted.

MSNBC's Hallie Jackson also fact-checked Trump's spin that attempted to minimize Bannon's role in the campaign and administration.

"Couple of things to this. Number one, Steve Bannon did have something to do with Donald Trump and his presidency," Jackson reminded about the former campaign manager and White House chief strategist.

"Number two, the person who wrote this statement, and we're working on nailing this down, this sounds straight from the mouth of Donald Trump," Jackson observed.

"I've spoken with a couple of sources in the last 45 minutes or so, Donald Trump is angry, 'livid' is one word that was used to describe him, on the phone today talking about the concerns and sort of the fury about what is happening with this. I think you are seeing unfiltered Donald Trump there," Jackson suggested.

Tur noted that NBC News has obtained the book.

"There's a lot in the book and we have the book, we've been going through it, there's a ton of quotes in there about how the Trump family was feeling on election night, what they were feeling on inauguration day, and what it's like inside the White House," Tur noted. "Not all of this comes from Steve Bannon, Hallie, you're right to reiterate that."

Dilanian, the intelligence and national security advisor, even suggested that colluding with Russia to swing the 2016 presidential election may not be the worst crime committed.

"Wolff also talks about why people in the real estate business don't generally get into politics or get into a position of extreme power like the President of the United States, because real estate often depends on government favor and is a preferred exchange currency for problem cash -- money laundering," Dilanian explained.

"Ken, listen, you look at what Robert Mueller is doing right now and the team he's putting in place to look into the president and potentially look into his finances, whether or not they're getting anything from Deutsch Bank, whether or not they've seen Donald Trump's tax returns, we don't know that," Tur noted.

"It seems like this book is going to be -- could be pretty damning," Tur predicted.

"Yeah, and that was another really explosive quote from Bannon, where he said basically this investigation is all about money laundering and they're going to go through Manafort and Jared Kushner to get to Donald Trump," Dilanian agreed.

"Now, what's interesting about that is that is a common view among legal experts and intelligence officials I talk to all the time about this case, which is that collusion with Russia may not be the most -- the biggest issue here," Dilanian reported.

"Donald Trump may have more jeopardy and Jared Kushner may in terms of their real estate business and the question of whether they did unsavory business with foreigners, with Russians," Dilanian suggested. "I think if you're Robert Mueller and his team you're wanting to talk to Steve Bannon today about why he believes that and what does he know in particular about money laundering."

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