tv The Daily Rundown MSNBC May 15, 2013 6:00am-7:01am PDT
including you and alberto gonzales, believe there should be some limits on surveillance organizations. i thought that was very reassuring. >> well, sorry. i think again, i have always been concerned about surveillance on news organizations and this is, it's a false choice that we're being given right now. brian shactman? >> i was going to say alberto gonzales, they almost went there, but didn't. >> there you go. >> yeah, right. >> all right, if it's way too early, what time is it? >> time for "morning joe," but now time for the daily rundown with chuck todd. thanks, everyone. is it a drip, drip, drip? the justice department's secret probe of a press leak is just one controversy facing the attorney general as he gets set to testify on capitol hill today as president obama's team tries to steady the ship, washington wonders. this morning, we'll hear from
congressman levin as well as senator roger wicker on how hot things will get on capitol hill for the obama administration. he's one of those republicans that wants to do the big budget deal. plus, in the wake of more troubling allegations of sexual assault, a major pentagon decision ordering all service members involved in prevention programs to be rescreened and retrained. good morning from a busy washington. it's wednesday, may 15th, 2013. this is daily rundown, i'm chuck todd. send in your good morning videos anytime you want. now to my first read of the morning. as president obama does damage control on a trio of political controversies and parts of the democratic get panicy about what they believe is a too passive white house in response, is this just a bad week for the white house or the beginning of another summer of political discontent that essentially ends
the ledge it lative portion of the term. yesterday, blamed lapses in the irs on the bureaucrats. saying the fact that employees singled out groups was because of bad management, not political motives. the inspector general's report says the quote inappropriate criteria was used for 18 months in targets groups for review. it resulted in unnecessary information requests. the report blames insufficient oversight by irs management, but quotes irs supervisors as saying no one outside the irs asked the conservative groups, get the extra scrutiny. the report also reveals that some applications were delayed and have remained open for years. most were never denied. yesterday at a news conference, attorney general eric holder promise promised an investigation. >> i think as everyone can
agree, if not criminal, they were outrageous and unacceptable, but we are examining facts to see if there were criminal violences. >> and although the report beats the living daylights out of the middle managers, it's unlikely to satisfy the political anger out there. on tuesday, republicans were as energized and focused as they have been for months. senator chuck grassley told reporters that he suspects the irs was being pressured by quote, people high up in the white house or the obama campaign and other republicans argued the report was only the tip of the iceberg. >> what's most disturbing is that the inspector general could not rule out there was a broader problem including perhaps personal audits or other groups being target. >> what we don't know at this point is whether it jumped the fence from the irs to the white house. but we know this. we can't count on the administration to be forthcoming
about the details of this scandal. >> this is unacceptable and it's immoral. it's the kind of behavior we associate not with the greatest democracy in the world, but with corrupt, tin pot dictators. >> at his news conference, holder hardly had time to respond to questions on the irs as he was repeatedly challenged about the justice department's decision to track the phone calls of ap reporters and editors and it's a decision he defended. >> i've been a prosecutor since 1976 and i have to say that this is among if not the most serious, it is within the top two or three most serious leaks that i've ever seen. it put the american people at risk and that is not hyperbole. it put the american people at risk. >> holder said he was not involved to get the decision of the phone logs because he recused himself from the case last year, but he had a hard
time fully explaining why he felt the need to recuse himself. >> i was one of the people that had knowledge of this. i had frequent contact with the media. i had to make sure this investigation was seen as one that was independent to avoid even the possibility of an appearance of the possibility of a conflict. >> white house feels like the justice department and irs feels like those are two agencies they can't micro manage, but this out of our hands argument is one they may only be able to make several times without sustaining longer political damage of this idea and it's a constant criticism of this president, that he's too much of an observer of his p presidency sometimes. isn't hands on enough. the question for the moment for the white house and for much of washington is whether this is a temporary distraction or the beginning of his second term.
remember the warning we issued about second terms. in the best of times, they last about 18 months. this is not the first time the white house has had a rough week. the white house has dealt with criticism, a panicy democratic party once or twice before. the bp spill, debt ceiling debacle of 2011. the white house's stubborn way of handling them, an excuse to pile on and reair old grieve enss like he's terrible at personal outrage or why can't the guy who pledged to turn the page on the '90s and the old politics of washington ever change washington? politico captured it most aggressively in a banner headli headline, d.c. turns on obama writing quote, the white house is instinctive pet -- when he most needs a support system.
of course, that article implies that somehow, washington was ever with him. obama white house would argue that isn't the case. when has establishment washington ever been a fan of how team obama has ever responded to any kris or controversy? is dana milbank calls obama the uninterested president writing quote president passer by needs urgently to become a participant in his presidency. he responded as though he were just some bloke on a bar stool getting his information from the evening news. the president's allies had criticized the slow white house response to this week's controversies. this was robert gibbs. >> the tenor would be different if the president had spoken about this on saturday or sunday and less about losing patience,
which is what i do with my 9-year-old and used far more vivid language. >> well, if the happened, then we'll look at it sounds exceedingly passive to me. >> and yesterday, jay carney seemed unable to answer basic questions as to why the white house didn't know about the controversy sooner. >> we found out this in at least the counsel's office was notified about this potential activity very broadly, just a few week ago. beyond that, we learn about everything we know about this from what we see in your reports. other than press reports, we have no knowledge of any attempt by the justice department to seek phone records of the associated press, but specific cases that's been reported in the press that we learn about from the press appropriately. >> late night's been having a field dwa a white house's go slow this too shall pass approach. >> i first learned about it from the same news reports that i think most people learned about this. i think it was on friday.
>> let's see, that was well. >> he found out about the news reports yesterday on the road. >> and yesterday's news that the department of justice had seized two months of phone records from ap reporters. i wouldn't be surprised if president obama learned osama bin laden had been killed when he saw himself announcing it on television. >> there are beginnings of small attempts if you will at trying to regain control or push back. yesterday, the president releaseded a statement on the irs report. the reports findings are intolerable and inexcusable. federal government must conduct itself in a way that's worthy of the president's trust. the white house was all too gleeful about the release of an e-mail that obama administration officials believe contradicts yesterday's reporting that ben rhodes said that the state
department's concerns needed to be addressed in the drafting of talking points about the september 2012 attack in benghazi, but it's important to note that this e-mail which talks about all sorts of issues regarding the talking points, via government source, is in itself a selective leak just as the earlier portrayal of the e-mail chain was a selective leak. you can't start showing some of them without showing all of them. so, attention white house, release all the e-mails. house republicans are getting their chance to put the president and his cabinet in the hot seat. one-third of all house committees are now focused on investigating the obama administration in some form. first up the attorney general eric holder who testifies on the hill at 1:00 about the ap investigation and irs. michael isakoff joins me now and michael, the part of this is eric holder had a lot to say about the decision and defenned
the decision about how it went about, this leak investigation and at the same time, saying he recused himself, just seemed that's an easy way out of the controversy. >> sure, on the one hand, it allows himself to distance himself from all this, but look, the idea that people in the white house don't know about these leak investigations and are sort of walled off for them is just not consistent with the facts because they're directly involved in the investigations among those we know who had been interviewed by the fbi as part of this leak investigation is lisa monaco, the white house counsel, who was then head of the national security division of the justice department. john brennan, who was then the white house counterterrorism adviser, now cia director, he
testified that he was questioned about this. there's the separate leak investigation that involves a whole range of top white house national security officials. and that involves the stucks net computer virus used to disrupt the iranian nuclear program. that means they are well aware of this investigation. they have to notify people at the white house when they get questioned by the fbi, so everybody at the top levels at the white house had to have known about this investigation. >> well, knowing about the investigation versus knowing about the decision to subpoena ap, that is two different issues at this point and the white house is arguing that they couldn't know about those things. >> and look, the details of what was subpoenaed, what was not, that may well be the case, but there's a broader context here, which is that there has been a
long standing continue vroversy the aggressive approach that the obama holder justice department has taken to leak investigations in which they have gotten reporter's phone records and e-mails and credit card records and bank records before, so all this has come up, people have challenged them about the civil liberties issues. it's hard to imagine they were not aware of the contours of this issue. >> this would not have been an issue if the journalist shield law had been passed in 2009. michael isakoff, thank you, sir. up next, breaking the tax code, we're taking a dive into why some groups do get this non-profit status, then we're going to talk to the top democrat on the powerful house ways and means committee and how how the scandal might go if it goes higher. for the second time in two weeks, a serviceman supposed to protect military women is
accused of sexual assault. first, a look ahead at today's politics planner. everything old is new again in south carolina's district. they will get a new congressman today at 5:15 when mark sanford is is sworn in. i guess that's what we're trying to say with our david bowie song. [ male announcer ] here's a word you should keep in mind. unbiased. some brokerage firms are. but way too many aren't. why? because selling their funds makes them more money. which makes you wonder -- isn't that a conflict? search "proprietary mutual funds." yikes! then go to e-trade. we've got over 8,000 mutual funds, and not one of them has our name on it. we're in the business of finding the right investments for you. e-trade. less for us. more for you. the fund's prospectus contains its investment objectives, risks, charges, expenses, and other important information and should be read and considered carefully before investing. for a current prospectus, visit etrade.com/mutualfunds.
today, 501c, it's the irs tax code designation for non-profit groups. resignations, each with its own set of rules. charitable organizations seek a 501c3, but political activity -- then there is the most attractive designation for political groups. not only engaging in political activity, but you don't have to pay taxes and you don't have to reveal the names of donors. there are rules about what you can do and what you can't do. according to the irs, it covers civic leads or organizations not organized for profit, but operated exclusively for the promotion of social welfare, so such groups may quote engage in certain activity so long it is
not its primary activity. the question of where the line is crossed is left up to the irs. in addition, the idea of promoting social welfare allows for groups to discuss political issues. another important gray area. last year, cross roads gps president steven law said its negative adds weren't violating its status because when cross roads gps advertises, it talks about issues and holds all office holders like president obama accountable for how they've been on those issues and while groups can't directly endorse political candidates, they can lobby on larger issues without endangering their status. two examples would be the lobbying arm and -- by the way, it's possible to be part of both camps. the nra also runs several charities, including the organization's civil rights defense fund. treasury secretary says -- but
the report also shows how mixed messages as well as a lack of communication and oversight inside the agency let the problem fester for years. michigan congressman sandra levin is the top democrat on the ways and means committee and they're going to be holding the first hearing friday. good morning. i want to start with the ig's report, are you satisfied with the thoroughness of the investigation by the ig? >> i think they did an effective job. i think they showed total mismanagement. there was use by the irs to exempt organization outfit -- i think there was a failure of oversight within that agency. also, they failed to really tell us in the congress what was going on. surely after they knew it was
going on -- well the acting -- steven miller, asked about the politically active -- that complain they were being harassed. how their applications were handled and he said they grouped those organizations together to ensure consistency to -- the noise we heard has abated. what's concerning congress -- july 2012, it's clear from this ig report there was concern about how this was dealt with before july 2012. what was he doing with that statement, either claiming nothing was wrong or covering up whether there was an investigation looking into what was wrong.
>> i don't think he was forthright and later on, he got more information, he should have come back to congress with our oversight responsibility and told us what was going on. so there was total mismanagement as i said. also, i think there was a failure of oversight by them and there was a failure when they got more information to come and tell us that. that is inexcusable and o outrangeous and i think that's true. >> how do we fix the irs? where does it begin? what's your advice to the president? >> i think he said there has to be total accountability. and there has to be. we're having a hearing on friday. we'll hear further from mr. miller. my own judgment is just based on the report of the inspector general. i think there's reason to believe that mr. miller should be released of his
responsibilities as well as miss lergen. and how would you want to say the president moved forward from here? what kind of person should be running the irs? do you need sort of a special committee of sorts or you bring in sort of a czar to over -- to reshuffle, refix if this is total mismanagement, then there's problems up and down, irs offices all across the country. how do you fix this? >> i think they need to appoint someone who is in command of the issues and who is a real presence. i think your early report shows there's a lot of gray area. some of the groups that are saying they're 501c4s are not perhaps mainly involved in social services. we need someone to take charge of this to make sense of it, to manage it well.
there were sometimes, 20 months waiting for an answer from the oversight on the group on tax exempt organizations. you need somebody in full command and that has to ripple throughout all sections of the irs. >> sander levin, the ranking democrat on house ways and means. it's tax reform. is it really happening? our dave camp and max baucus and you and orrin hatch, are you guys sitting down and starting to hash this out or not? >> not yet all four of us, there are some beginnings, there's a long way to go. >> all right, thanks very much. >> thank you, nice to be with you. >> now, let's head over to the other side of the capitol and the aisle. the president says he intends -- may be the -- republican senator
from mississippi roger wicker, senator wicker, good morning to you. >> good morning, glad to be with you, chuck. do you believe the various controversies of this week are going to derail this effort that seems to be, seems to have been making progress between the group -- trying to get a big budget deal? >> i'm not part of a grand bargain, you were at one, as a part of any deal that the president would sign, that would involve a tax increase. and i can't imagine that this irs scandal and that the irs was
going to do anything but pour cold water on the president's attempt to raise taxes as part of a grand bargain, so yes, it will hurt the president in that respect. >> do you think irs in many ways could derail any bigger talk of grand bargain and do you think it could derail tax reform? >> i think it very well might. i appreciate what congressman levin and chairman camp are doing on the house side. let me just say this, chuck, and be clear about it. an ig report from within is not going to be sufficient. it's not going to be sufficient for the administration to say there were administrative mistakes made. we need to change that. to me, this is part of a pattern of big government heavy handedness, of big government
overreach an intimidation that not only is within the irs, but also the justice department, health and human services, going in and intimidating insurance companies to kick in a little money for advertising for obama care. intimidating insurance companies not to speak up for their concerns back when the legislation was being considered. i think it's part of a larger pattern, of this administration and i think the president and the people in the white house inner circle have to be responsible for this. >> let me ask you about the benghazi e-mails. when they were, when the white house released these e-mails, not publicly, but for the, for a select group of senators, in particular, senators who wanted to hold up the nomination of john brennan, the e-mails seemed to satisfy enough senate republicans that john brennan got confirmed. what about the e-mails now raises questions in your mind if they didn't raise enough questions to stop john brennan's confirmation? >> i think mr. brennan's
confirmation had to be taken in the context of his overall qualifications and i think on balance, a majority of senators decided that it would be better to confirm him. this is another example of intimidation and overreach, chuck. with the state department telling state department whistleblowers, be careful what you say. don't go forward with all this information. i think it's shocking and an outranou outrage and so as more investigations, as more committees exercise their governing function of conducting oversight to me, it's a scandal that's going to reach its peak. >> i'm curious on the benghazi thing. why hasn't there been more focus on the -- the more we know, cia may have had more oversight over this outpost than any other
agency. should there be more, should the intelligence committee, should there be more of an investigation into the cia's actions before, during and after? >> i think mr. issa's committee is not finished in that regard. i'm not a member of the intelligence committee and frankly, i'm not privy to all the conversations that go on there, but yes, the state department should be the focus of this as well as additional penetrating questions i'm glad on the house side, we have folks willing to ask the tough questions to get the facts out. >> all right, roger wicker, thanks for coming on this morning. >> thank you, sir. >> coming up, lawmakers are
using words like sickening, abhorrent, to describe the latest string of military assault scandals. but first, how many sets of siblings have served sim ul tan yous ly in the senate. we know some of you folks when sander levin's on, you think carl levin. first person to tweet the correct answer gets an on air shout out. udalls are cousins. don't give me that one. this day calls you.
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another serviceman. jim miklaszewski is joins me now with the latest. this is amazing, the drip, drip on this. this is now another incidence of somebody who was supposed to be charged with stopping this issue. >> and just to be clear, the army has not released the identity of this army sergeant first class because no formal charges have been filed, but sources say the accusations is pretty heinous. this sergeant is accused of sexually assaulting one female soldier, then forcing her into prostitution and then, he's alleged to have sexually assaulted two other women and attempted to force them into prostitution as well. again, no charges have been filed, but the army investigators are moving quickly on this and the timing couldn't be worse, actually. it comes on the heels of the
case last week where an air force lieutenant colonel who's in charge of the entire air force sexual assault program was arrested on charges of sexual battery and when the pentagon released its latest report that shows the reports of sexual assault in the military and nonreports conducted or der devooifed from a survey have skyrocketed in the past year alone. this sounds like these are bad people. this is not what training progr program, these allegations, is there a problem with the screening process, frankly? is this a culture inside the military? this seems to raise a lot more questions than answers. >> walking into the pentagon very early this morning at dawn, actually, one pentagon official said look, ft. hood, where this
latest case is alleged to have occurred, is three times larger than my hometown. you're going to find all sorts of people and crime being committed. i think it's wrong to think about and the idea you're going to change anybody's human behavior simply through training programs is misdirected. many lawmakers on the hill are saying you have to address the specific culture and those parts of the military justice system which leads some of these attackers to believe that they'll be able to get away with it and until that happens, i don't think you're going to see any reduction in the number of sexual assault. change the way they see these cases. >> jim miklaszewski on the beat on this one. coming up, spy games that american diplomat ordered out of
russia after being caught with the tools of the cold war era secret agent, unbelievable. plus, anthony weiner takes another big step toward a run for new york city mayor. the tabloids are excited. you're watching "the daily rundown," only on msnbc. snap e with delicious pringles stix. ♪ ♪ everything pops with pringles stix. [ crunch ]
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foreign minister addressed the issue this morning, both saying they had nothing to add regarding the situation. anthony weiner is one step closer to returning to politics. politico reports that weiner has hired danny kettum to act as campaign manager. he recently ran a congressional campaign in new york and has worked on a number of other congressional and mayoral races. weiner is likely to announce his campaign next week and the editors of the daily news are ecstatic this morning. kermit gosnell, the philadelphia doctor convicted of killing babies, has decided not to appeal his first degree murder conviction, accepting several life sentences without parole and avoiding a potential death sentence. he is being sentenced later this afternoon and with all the focus on scandals, a big story that's not getting a lot of attention, the week long mark up of the immigration bill. we have a break down of the
latest on our website, so check it out. that's washington speak for amendments, which is washington speak for adding or subtracting things from immigration bill. all right. white house woes, our hump day gaggle will be here next, but first, white house soup of the day. tom yum goon. we'll be right back. [ male announcer ] erica had a rough day. there was this and this. she got a parking ticket... ♪ and she forgot to pay her credit card bill on time. good thing she's got the citi simplicity card. it doesn't charge late fees or a penalty rate. ever. as in never ever. now about that parking ticket. [ grunting ] [ male announcer ] the citi simplicity card is the only card that never has late fees, a penalty rate, or an annual fee, ever. go to citi.com/simplicity to apply. i had[ designer ]eeling enough of just covering up or an annual fee, ever. my moderate to severe plaque psoriasis. i decided enough is enough. ♪
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>> why do people come here for? >> that's right. any way, david, i think that today, it seems like a lot of focus on the white house. it always seems a step slow, a step behind. three days late. even after this report, a harshly worded release. >> the other option would have been having the president come out, which he doesn't do and we'll see what their response is today. yesterday and the day before that, they've said we have to see the ig reporter ourselves and others are saying just get out there, it's been reported clearly on what's going on. the irs said they have found themselves doing. why not that might be a better way of the president accepting blame.
>> you can make the specific case, micro managed the justice department, all these things would be problematic, but at some point as your colleague wrote, he looks like a guy watching. >> there's a time to intervene forcefully and i think the minute the irs story came out on friday afternoon, if i were the president, i would have been there. i think when robert gibbs says, the president has been too lax in speaking out forcefully on something, there is probably too much passivity there. i also think that on some of these issues, the white house does have a point. if it, if the justice department hadn't launched an aggressive investigation, republicans would have been saying they were light on national security. if the white house had gotten involved in the scope of that leak investigation, it risked being accused of intervening to politically protect itself, so
sometimes, you need to jump in and sometimes, you need to stand back. >> what do you make of it? is when you're watching this and whether is it all in response? >> i see the politics of it. now, look at how hillary clinton handle ed benghazi, which up unl recently, she did a great job of preserving herself, not putting her hands in it and getting involved in the public eye. >> she's still sort of distant from it. up until recently, she managed to really stay clear of it. the president in my view does this a lot with big scandals. he likes to get in front of the camera and jump in and claim victory when things are happening. >> every president likes to do. >> but i think president obama has done it i think a real masterful job. even beyond his predecessors, now, we have these triple scandals hitting the white house. the further he keeps himself away from it and talks about it
like a problem below his pay grade, i think it serves him better politically. if he's claiming it as his problem, i think that makes him look like he's to blame and here, he kind of keeps himself -- >> he is the head of government and not only that, listen to what roger wicker said. i said what about a big budget deal and he's been at these dinners. he's part of that group of southern conservatives, they're not, you're going to ask me to raise taxes, my constituents already hate the irs. >> you talk about the role out of health care, you've got immigration -- >> the irs is involved in some of that. >> these are things that the government wants to do more. they're going to allow these republicans to work with him. that just seems so passive, why not get involved, talk to your
deputies and whether you get accused of being too political, i think you need to know what's going on. >> i think this white house doesn't understand how white house could erode that. >> i think they understand and are gaining an understanding, they've been so nervous about the roll out of health care because they understand the ignorance of the american people and nervousness and they need to have some degree of credibility on this and i think they know that this is eroding and corroding that credibility. >> on capitol hill, the republicans are telling me yesterday all that going on, this doesn't help. >> i'm sure. stick around. wabt to talk about us, meaning media's rights and stuff like that. that will be after the break. trivia time, we asked how many sets of siblings have served sim ul tan yously in the senate. just two. ted and bobby and theodore and dwight foster of rhode island and massachusetts respectively
served together back in the beginning of the 19th century. never ran for that senate seat, although i believe he's the older brother of senator carl levin. any way, congratulations to today's winner. crowd hall. that's the name you claim on twitter. you've got a political trivia question, e-mail us, we'll be right back.
bring back our gaggle. look, of these three scandals, benghazi feels like it's so polarized nothing's going to change minds. irs, the one everybody can relate to. the media one, nobody cares about our problems, but ruth marcus, this shield law, the irony is that candidate obama was for, if he had supported and
gotten through this stuff back in '09 and the white house now says, well, our reforms ended up tieing in the senate. if we had had it, there would have been a judicial review process for this issue they're investigating with the associated press. >> and the administration would be better off for it because there are times when i don't want to get in trouble with my colleagues here, but there are legitimate investigations. there are legitimate ways to conduct them. there may be times when going after phone records is the wrong way, but it should be done surgically. republicans called for this and now, they're criticizing. but this issue, what the judicial justice department did was scare whistleblowers. >> yes and it renews a call for a federal shield law for reporters. no question. any reason not for it?
>> no, but no one cares except when we're writing the government might be trying to block this. we keep on this story because it's personal for us, but also part of the bigger narrative. >> the administration you know, preventing trans paparency. shameless plugs. >> ruth marcus, happy birthday, but my colleague, dan balls, has a new book coming out. the next election. >> excellent. >> i will plug the national law enforcement memorial today in the capitol is honoring thousands of offers that have been killed in the line of duty. everyone tune in to cspan. >> hopefully all of us will be showing a little bit. >> and i'm going to plug a day late angelina jolie for really adding to both awareness and willingness for women at risk to take the steps they need to take to preserve their health. >> let me add happy birthday. tomorrow on the show, a deep dive into the benefits of burdens of running for office
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wireless is limitless. good morning. the trifecta of trouble infecting the white house is building steam. benghazi, the ap and arguably, none more potentially problematic for president obama than the irs. while tea party groups requesting tax exempt status got added scrutiny, "usa today" reports this morning the irs gave liberal groups a pass. calling the irs actions intolerable and inexcusable, president obama has ordered treasury secretary jack lui to hold those responsible accountable. republicans and democrats are demanding answers. >> we can't count on the administration to be forthcoming about the details of this scandal because so far, they've been anything but.