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tv   MSNBC Live With Craig Melvin  MSNBC  March 2, 2017 10:00am-11:01am PST

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that is being you undertaken by only one party party or the other. it's hard to imagine something of greater public interest. more than that, i'll say, and i don't think the chair and i are in agreement on this -- [ audio problems ] quarterly counter-intelligence briefings. >> i think i need to point out -- you just heard adam schiff make it very clear, throwing down the gauntlet saying they are not getting the information, they have only a fraction of the information from the fbi. if they don't get the information they cannot do their job. so the democrats are drawing a line in the sand there. that's all for us. craig melvin, you pick it is up. this is a busy day in washington. >> busy indeed, andrea. thank you so much. craig melvin in new york city at msnbc headquarters. fast moving events on capitol hill as you just saw there, heard from the intel chair, also
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heard from the top democratic member on that committee speaking after the feeting with the fbi director jim comey. the topic the embattled attorney general, jeff sessions. he is accused of at a bare minimum misleading congress during his confirmation hearing in january. the source of the uproar, who contacts that then replican senator from alabama and trump campaign surrogate had with the russian ambassador last year during the campaign. this would be the same ambassador whose calls with exnational security adviser mike flynn ultimately cost flynn his job. republicans, democrats, sessions himself fighting it out all day over whether he should recuse himself or perhaps even resign. >> i have not met with any russians at any time to discuss any political campaign. >> the fact in a the attorney general, the top cop in our country, lied under oath to the
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american people is grounds for him to resign. >> i think part of what is happening -- i think democrats are lighting their hair on fire to get you to cover this story. >> based on what we've read. and the information is not complete. i think the attorney general should further clarify and i do think he is going to need to recuse himself at this point. >> the notion that there was something somehow meet with a senior member and armed services committee meeting with a foreign ambassador, i think that's a nothing burger. >> he has been beyond reproach. attorney general sessions should resign. >> the latest from washington on the late nest the trump/russia saga. pete williams, let me start with you. let's play for everyone the exchange from jeff session's confirmation hearing that created these calls for his ousting. this is between democratic senator al franken and jeff
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sessions. here it is. >> if there is any evidence that anyone affiliated with the trump campaign communicated with the russian doft in the course of this campaign, what will you do? >> senator franken i'm not aware of any of those activities. i have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign. and i didn't -- not have communications with the russians. >> i did not have communications with the russians. pete, some democrats say that sessions perjured him right there. what's the law on that? >> well, perjury is a general matter in the law says it's may going a statement under oath that you belief not to be true. in other words, it's intentionally lying or misleading. now, what senator sessions' people are saying is that he didn't do that. that he was thinking of the question in terms of contact between trump campaign surrogates and russian officials about the campaign. they say that the meeting that he had with the russian ambassador in september didn't
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even come into his mine at that point and that that's his explanation, that he wasn't trying to deny any meeting at all with russians. he was thinking in that context. the words are in black and white it's going to be up to members of the senate to decide what to do about that. he was asked in a written question later by senator patrick leahy of vermont did you yourself have any contact with the russians about the campaign? and sessions said no. so that's -- that's been their position all along that he was thinking about it in terms of about the campaign. and he says he didn't talk to the russian ambassador about the campaign. >> as we are having this conversation again we should note on the left side of your screen there, that is the uss gerald ford. president trump expected to make some remarks there next hour. lots of folks wondering what if anything he might say about all of this, hallee, we heard jeff sessions deny the charge there. what have we heard from the
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white house so far? >> reporter: sean spicer who craig is actually joining president trump on that trip you just referenced to virginia. i want you to hear what spicer had to say earlier today on fox. >> i think senator sessions did his job. he was asked very pointedly whether or not there had been any contact with the trump campaign in the capacity as him being a surrogate. there was not. he was 100% straight with the committee. did he acknowledge that he met in his capacity as a united states' senator on the armed services committee with the ambassador on a couple occasions. one being after he had give a speech and someone approached him. as you have seen senators like ted cruz have come out and said this is a perfectly normal u.s. course of business. i think this is democrats continuing to push a false narrative for political purposes. >> reporter: you hear there, sean spicer painting in as a
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witch-hunt, an attempt by democrats to undercut the legitimacy of the trump administration. sean there leaning on for example, defense from senator cruz and others that said obviously as pete and casey hunt and others have discussed there are republicans on capitol hill who do believe sessions should consider recusing himself. >> casey, we heard from sean spicer there saying he did acknowledge that he met in his capacity as a u.s. senator on the armed services committee. wrong, that's actually not what we heard from jeff sessions during that confirmation hearing when he was answering that question from senator franken, correct. >> reporter: hear the. forgive me i'm having tubl hearing you. if i'm not answering your question directly -- what happened in that hearing, he was asked whether or not he had any contacts with russian officials about the campaign. and that's the zis disstanks as pete noted that jeff sessions defenders in the justice department are making here. now what democrats and even some
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republicans are saying is that he mislead congress. >> all right. i think we just -- did we lose casey or do we have her? we've got her. >> reporter: he did still say, hey -- he misled congress it's very clear. and that is the root of the issue for almost everyone that i have talked to here on capitol hill. there are not people arguing hey it's wrong for you as a senator to meet with an birthdays. they are saying it's wrong for you to have het with the russian ambassador and then cold kong in your confirmation hearing that you never talked to russia. >> all right. we are going to try to get that audio issue there fixed with kasie hunt on capitol hill. halle, let me come back to you. there is also some reporting out of the "new york times" this morning that in the waning days of the obama administration they were apparently trying to preserve some intelligence related to this russia story. tell us about that. >> reporter: well the idea -- this is according -- we have got
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to be clear, to the ims. >>. nbc news not independently confirming this reporting, but according to the times there was an effort by the boep administration prior to the new administration taking over to essentially spread around some evidence, some intelligence regarding russian intference from u.s. intelligence analysts into the 2016 election partly out of concern that perhaps that evidence could be destroyed, that evidence could be revealed from its source for example, from the new administration. you know, i think, craig, when you pull back a bit, talking today, and the conversations today, and the stories today, it's about the trump administration potential connections to russia. that is something that has dogged first candidate trump, then president-elect trump, and now president trump for months during his campaign and now for weeks into his presidency. the administration, as you have heard sh has been very forceful. the president has said again and again -- he said it a couple of times, he has no connections with russia. you heard him say this in fact
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earlier this week in response to a question from our colleague kristen welker are he hasn't called russia in tep years. he does have contacts with russia in the miss universe contest, et cetera. there are questions where this goes from here and how attorney general sessions handles this. >> thank you. i want to bring in the dean of the senate. vermont democratic senator patrick leahy. you said this morning in a the attorney general should recuse himself, that a special counsellor should be appointed, if you will, a special prosecutor. our leadership has gone further. this is what minority leader chuck schumer said this morning. >> there cannot be even the s scintilla of doubt about the impartiality and fairness of the attorney general, the top law
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enforcement official of the land. after this, it's clear attorney general sessions does not meet that test. because the department of justice should be above reproach for the good of the country, attorney general sessions should resign. >> nancy pelosi also said that sessions should go. as we've learned more today, senator, any change in your view on what jeff sessions should do? >> i think we should make sure we do things that can be done right now. and should be done. attorney general sessions said, if appropriate, he would recuse himself. well, that's not his decision. the justice department is very, very clear on what must be done. there is no question. it's crystal clear under this circumstance he has to recuse himself. it's ironic that the white house trots out their press secretary
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to defend him. this is not a white house matter. this is the department of justice. their rules are very clear. he has to recuse himself. of course, i'm curious that it appears he did not tell the truth in answer to my question or to senator franken's. but the bigger question is, what is russia doing? i know president trump says he didn't talk to russia for years and, yet he brags about the fact that he had his friends in there listening to him talk to vladimir putin just a few weeks ago. there seems to be a blind eye on russia. but we americans should worry about whether we are republicans or democrats is that russia, a c country that certainly has strong views against us is trying to influence our elections. >> matter in -- >> i don't care which party you belong to. that's the issue.
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and attorney general sessions is not -- is not answering that issue. >> senator, to be clear here, are you saying that jeff sessions lied, that he perjured himself during his confirmation hearing? >> i think you read my question that i asked him and his answer -- read the questions that al franken asked him and has answered. i'll let you draw that conclusion. but one conclusion -- and people argue it both ways, obviously. the white house, even though it's extraordinary the white house would be out making a statement on this instead of the department of justice, even though they are out trying to defend him, as mr. spicer does -- one thing everybody has to realize there is no question he has to recuse himself. aside from any other question, aside from resignation, aside from anything else, he has to step away from this issue. >> you onned his nomination.
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you also voted against his nomination to the federal bench back in '86. even if jeff sessions survives this, is there any way in your view that he can still be considered credible as attorney general? >> this certainly is not helping any credibility as attorney general. the attorney general is not counsel for the president no matter what party you are in. it it's supposed to be the attorney general of the united states. he or she is supposed to be there to represent every one of us. certainly that is not the example he is setting. >> in the end, do democrats have enough clout there in congress to force any action against the attorney general? >> i think it should be a question whether democrats have the clout or not. it should be a question what's best for america. the best thing for america is to find out why has russia tried to meddle in our elections? >> are they till meddling in our government? because if they are, that is far
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more serious than how many tanks or airplanes or missiles they have. >> senator pat leahy, senator of vermont, ranking member on judiciary committee. thanks as always, sir. >> thank you. coming up, more react to the jeff sessions allegations from both sides of the aisle in the house. republican congressman mark sanford and democratic congresswoman maxine waters on whether sessions should recuse himself or resign. breaking news out of yemen. air strikes targeting top al qaeda targets. we will have the latest on those attack right after this. economy, with the help of the lowest taxes in decades, a talented workforce, and world-class innovations. like in plattsburgh, where the most advanced transportation is already en route. and in corning, where the future is materializing. let us help grow your company's tomorrow -
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president trump just arrived in virginia to visit the shipyard at newport news. as we have breaking news from the middle east this afternoon. the pentagon confirming new air strikes in yemen. and al qaeda confirming that a top leader was killed in a u.s. drone strike in syria. these developments coming less than two days after the president in that joint address to congress called for a $54 billion increase in defense spending. also in that speech, president trump honoring carryn owens the widow of navy s.e.a.l. william ryan owens. he also praised the raid in which her husband and a number of civilians were killed. it was an emotional night two nights ago.
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hans nichols is in virginia covering president trump's visit. cynthia mcfadden has been reporting on what the raid in yemen actually did achieve. hans, let me start with you. president trump set to speak roughly an hour from now there. we will get the speech in a moment. what do we know about the u.s. air strikes targeting al qaeda positions in yemen. >> reporter: we have two stories as you alluded two. one we have air strikes in yemen. it's loud here, but excuse me, air strikes in yemen that came from both aircraft platforms as well as drones. and then we have this separate issue taking place in syria. it took place a couple of days ago. in syria, al qaeda is confirming that a top official was killed in what looks to be a cia drone attack. he is the number two in al qaeda. it's unclear what he was doing in syria. remember, in syria, you have some tension. you have some conflict between
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isis and al qaeda. those two terrorist organizations are competing for attention. they are competing for control. and what sort of scope they have. so it's interesting that he was hit in syria. that's what we are trying to get a read out here on, what he was doing in syria, and the overall implications. remember, he was egyptian but this does look like a blow to al qaeda. and we are still waiting for confirm frigs from the pentagon. so far we just have al qaeda confirmation. >> hans, stan by. cynthia, let me come to you right now. what have we learned regarding not this most recent attack but the one before. >> let me start with the most recent one because i think i can add a little bit to what hans was saying. there were four targets locations today in yemen. 20 individual strikes, both manned and unmanned. the manned once took off from the u.s. maken, maken island, which was the same ship used in the raid on january 29th. i can tell you that a senior intelligence source is telling us today that what we are seeing
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is a quote gloves off approach to defeating aqap. >> we should note the animation we are showing receipt now is an nbc news animation from the january 29th raid not the recent raid. >> reporter: per segue to saying we are also told by the pentagon saying that any intelligence -- it has been reported that there wasn't valuable intelligence gained from the january 29th raid. they are saying intelligence gaep on the 29th was not part of the raid today. >> in terms of our source saying with regards to us being fairly definitive about that raid not yielding significant intelligence. >> reporter: ten high-ranking government officials all of whom have access to all the information on those -- i shun say all. who have had access to the results of the yemen raid have
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all told us definitively that the intelligence gathered was not valuable or actionable. at least not yet. that nothing has been determined. now we've all heard now about this three-page list. it was really an inventory of things that were collected as part of the raid of but our sources are telling us what was achieved was de minimus. at least so far. they haven't finished the valuation. >> despite the administration's insistence there was actionable and useful intel jep. cynthia mcfadden thanks as always for your hard work. hans, let me come back to you. president trump going to be speaking aboard the uss gerald ford in the next hour. what can we expect from the president. >> reporter: the president just landed on the deck of this aircraft carrier.
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it is an impressive aircraft carrier. it is also very expensive. $13 billion, b, with a b, billion. it came in well past the due date. it will be commissioned, sent to sea later this summer. we are actually here on dry docks. we are inside the hangar bay. trump will be speaking right hoon he moo. behind those doors is another flight elevator, another airplane elevator that can take planes up onto the deck to be launched. we'll be listening to hear him say how he wants to diffy up that $54 billion. we have about 275 ships in the navy. that includes sub marines as well. president trump wants to get to 350. we are surrounded note just by sailors but by some of the men and women that build these ships. there was a loud roar when trump's helicopter set down on the decks of the ford, again a super carrier that's not
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operational. when it will be it will have capabilities that no other aircraft carriers do, including the ability to have launches with only 3,000 sailors on board. the current aircraft carriers are about 5,000. yes it is impressive but it came in overdue and overbudget something builder president donald trump might be familiar th. >> hans nichols there a pentagon koerpent aboard that ship in newport news, and cynthia mcfadden thank to both of you. a big day on capitol hill. ben carson finally confirmed as the director of housing and urban development. nearly a monday after he began his confirmation hearings. also, the horse he rode in on, secretary zinke showing up for his first day of work on horseback. that's tonighto.
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now we have this chief national security official in the white house in the
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administration has had to resign because of contacts with the russians and lying about them and now we have the attorney general who is in the middle of a scandal because of contacts with the russians and not telling the truth about them. so this is a big thing. >> democratic senator tim kaine there talking with my colleague earlier today. his point, part of attorney general jeff sessions' problem is that he is not the first administration official whose comments about talks with the russian ambassador have landed him in hot water. mark sanford is a republican congressman from south carolina. he is also a member of the oversight and government reform committee. congressman, simple question, should sessions recuse himself? should he resign? >> i think no to both points at this point. i think you need to let the process play out. and the process i think begins with the standing committees on both the house and san antonio
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side deciding more of what's out there. i think to your point the problem is not what he said. one of the visits was with a group of 50 different ambassadors i guess at the heritage foundation or something along those lines. the other one was in his role as senate. i think he does need to clarify what he was saying, was it in a campaign sense or in his role as a senator? so i think he does need to clarify. but i think there is an immediate rush to judgment to say because of all the other russian contacts which have been out there, this guy must be lying. and i think that's a jump too far. >> paul man fort, general flynn you are speaking of presumably here. >> correct, correct. >> i want to read something the "washington post" wrote a short time ago about this continuing problem with russia. where there is smoke and smoke and smoke and smoke and smoke, most reasonable people will assume there is fire. are you convinced there is no fire? >> no. that's why i believe -- i think
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it's telling that republicans and democrats today on the house side, you know, signed an agreement in terms of scope and scale, if you will, of the house investigation. same is take place over on the senate side. i think it does need to be investigated. i think it needs to be investigated rigorously. i think it's troubling. the fbi has given initial pushback to some of what the house has asked for on the intelligence side. so i think it thoroughly needs to be investigated. i'm just saying -- and i think that from the trump administration standpoint you better watch out. you may have a noose around your neck as it relates to russian issues given all the smoke that's out there. but i think at the same time we don't want to immediately condemn somebody for what could have an innocent oversight. >> you heard the testimony, though, before that committee. >> i did. >> when asked the question from senator franken. did that sound like an oversight or did it sound like perjury? >> it sounded like a declarative statement. again, what he may have thought
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was the reference point was campaign. obviously his -- as we know right now said smog with regards to campaign. >> let me ask you about the obamacare replacement plan. it hit the streets last week and all of a sudden it went away. what happened to it? >> it's still there. i'm going to put it up on our facebook post this afternoon so you can read it over the weekend. >> your republican colleagues in lower chamber, are they excited about it? >> some are. some aren't. i think there is a contest of ideas. i think this issue is ultimately going to require presidential leadership because if not you have got a lot of cooks in the kitchen in terms of different versions of what what might come next on the affordable care act. >> have you gotten that leadership so far? >> yeah, leadership is certainly pushing a plan. i might disagree with parts of it. >> presidential leadership? >> on the presidential side, no, we haven't. i think it's desperately needed. i think the president needs to be clear and clairetive, are you for refundable tax credits or
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against them? where do you stand on the those of preexisting conditions? i think there are some hot spots, if you will, as it relates to legislation that i think ultimately will get ironed out either by one heck of a tug-of-war here in the capitol or much more easily by some leadership by the president on some of the contentionish us a. >> big difference between tax credits and deductions by the way. congressman sanford on capitol hill. appreciate your time. house speaker paul ryan earlier today suggested that attorney general sessions would also not need to recuse himself if he were not the target of a probe. >> should he recuse himself? i think he answered that question this morning. which is if he, himself, is the subject of an investigation, of course he would. but if he's not, i don't see any purpose or reason to doing this. let's take a step back for a second here. number one, we know that russia
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tried to meddle in the election. why do we know this? because we in congress and the intelligence community did an investigation after the election which discovered russia was trying to meddle in the election. this is something we all well know. here's another thing. we have seen no evidence from any of these ongoing investigations that anybody in the trump campaign or the trump team was involved in any of this. >> speaker paul ryan there just a few hours ago joined now by congressman woman maxine waters, democrat from california. and congresswoman, again for our viewers and listeners i think we should once again play precisely what jeff sessions said during his confirmation hearings. here it is. >> if there is any evidence that anyone affiliated with the trump campaign communicated with the russian government in the course of this campaign, what will you do? >> senator franken, i'm not aware of any of those
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activities. i have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign, and i didn't have -- not have communications with the russians. and i'm not able to communicate on it. >> we're having technical problems with congresswoman waters in d.c. we will take a quick break. when we come back get to the congresswoman. we will also talk about a big day on wall street. right now the dow is not far off yesterday's record close above 21,000. down just a bit. donald trump boasting about the big market gains on twitter today. is he responsible at all for the wall street boom? are there any signs of a slow down? we'll look at that right after this. get to nissan now. and save on a lineup featuring rogue. with available intelligent safty shield technologies...
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commercial break to fix our technical problems. as as promised joined now by congresswoman maxine waters, democrat from california. we just played that he can change between jeff sessions and al franken before the break. do you think then senator jeff sessions perjured himself do you remember that confirmation hearing? >> i do. i think it's very clear. he did not qualify that meeting in any way. he did not say, yes, i'm a surrogate working in the
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campaign for the president -- for donald trump, and i met with the russian ambassador on a couple of times, but it had nothing to do with sanctions or anything else. he could have said that if he had wanted to. but when you listen to him and his response, it's very clear that he omitted sharing that information that he had met with him, period. >> what's the appropriate response well, you know, he rea should step up to the plate and recuse himself. that may make people think better about him. but i think he should resign. i think he should got out. i think it has already been demonstrated that he is too close to the president. he was one of the early supporters of the president. and i think he supports lifting the sanctions. that's what i believe. and i think that's what this is all about. all of these people in and around this president who are so
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focused on russia. why? why do we have not only members in his cabinet that are connected to oil and gas in russia? why do we have a back door proposal that went into flynn to talk about getting involved in some kind of peace agreement between the ukraine and russia and the bottom line of that proposal being lifting the sanctions? i think this is what it's all about. and i think that jeff sessions cannot be impartial. i think he needs to get out of the way. and i think we even have some republicans that are saying that now, that he cannot be impartial. so i think he should resign. that's what i think. >> short of news conferences and tweets and posts on social media and cable news appearances, you guys are in the minority. so what can democrats really do here to force his hand? >> well, i think we have to step
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up to the plate and we have to help explain to people what we think these connections are all about. that's why i've been so focused on saying we have got to have credible investigations and we have got to drill down. we've got to connect the dots. and we've got to follow the money. remember, i've been saying this for a long time and even though some people didn't like it, i said that i believe that if we do the work, it will lead to impeachment of the president. and i still mean that. >> should that be the goal, congresswoman? should the goal be impoachment? or should the goal be finding out precisely what has happened? >> well, you can't separate the two. the goal is to drill down, as i have said repeatedly. get the facts. connect the dots. find out why all of this interest is in russia, all of these people in this administration that are connected. why is it his lawyer, mr. coyne, and mr. saider, this friend, who is a criminal, by the way, are all so interested in russia and lifting the sanctions? when you do that, i think it
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leads to impeachment. >> congresswoman maxine waters, democrat from california. congresswoman, thank you for your time. we apologize for the tech knick and problems. >> that's okay. this is important to talk about. meanwhile, on wall street today the markets pulling back just a bit after hitting those historic highs for the officers time wednesday. this morning, president trump tweeting, there it is, since november 8th, the stock market has posted gains and consumer confidence is at a 15-year high. jobs. nbc at the new york stock exchange for us. before we get to the big i.p.o. today how much of this bump -- how much of it can be attributed to trump? >> well, there was a lot of excitement that led to those string of records over the past couple of weeks here at the new york stock exchange where right now we see the dow is down 55 points, what you see is optimism
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pulling back. there is an expectation in this market that interest rates will continue to go up relatively soon based on news out of the federal resever. you see caution here. it's tell perred not as exuberant as it was yesterday. >> what do we know about the correlation between the incoming administration and this boone? >> reporter: there is a lot of excitement that goes into this. there is policies, deregulation, tax reform that a lot of traders and investors of course are banking on. that's why of seen this relative climb up past 21,000 yesterday. there is a lot of optimism and a lot of specifics and traders here on the new york stock he can change are telling me they have optimism yet at the same time they are waiting to hear about more specifics from the white house as to what those policies will be. how much economic growth will there be beyond this month or the next two months. they are looking more now at the medium term. >> let's talk snap chat before i let you go. the popular millennial app making its debut today.
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valuations soaring. at about $33 billion. is that an overvaluation? >> reporter: well, there was certainly a lot of hype that went into the i.p.o. snap chat up about 15%. up about $8 right now. this is the biggest tech i.p.o. we've seen in a while, basically since facebook went public. the market for companies going public, especially tech companies, has been kelltively cool. this is a benchmark. this is a bell weather, perhaps, of what the market can handled right now. looking at snap chat,s that continue that continues to make a loss. it does not make a profit. at the same time you have millions, hundreds of millions on it every single day spending about half an hour on it. the question now is will the company be able to take the money it raised today and build out the company, become the next facebook or will it continue to have a profitable sh you a like we see with twitter. those shares haven't fared so well. >> how would you describe snap
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chat to your grandmother? >> well, it is a messaging app. you can send photos, you can send videos. kind of like text messaging, except that it all disappears within 24 hours and as short of a time of 5 or 10 sec. the teens, the kids, i like it mostly because you can share stuff and it doesn't live photographer, you won't get it dug up in a couple of years down the road. >> begs the question, what are all these people scared of having resurface that ild they would want to snap chat it away. i digress. thanks for explaining snap chat and all the hype behind it, thank you. race against time. new revelations about the final days of the boep administration. and why staffers scrambled to spread evidence of russia's interference in the election. but first let's take a look at what you are saying about the pulse question. should oprah run for president? 74% of you -- 74% of you say
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it's time for o. there is still time to way in. to cast your vote. before fibromyalgia, i was a doer. i was active. then the chronic, widespread pain drained my energy. my doctor said moving more helps ease fibromyalgia pain. she also prescribed lyrica. fibromyalgia is thought to be the result of overactive nerves. lyrica is believed to calm these nerves. for some, lyrica can significantly relieve fibromyalgia pain and improve function,
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house minority leader nancy pelosi kacalling on jeff sessio to step aside. calling on ashley parker and politico senior writer jake sherman. let's start with the news of the day and talk jeff sessions here. is this something, jake, that's survivable? is jeff sessions going to be able to continue to serve as attorney general? >> yeah, probably. he needs to do something, though, and it's staying quiet is probably not going to cut it. the way it looks and the way my sources are talking now is he's probably going to have to recuse himself and stay away from this stuff. what he did was, obviously, not smart. he was under oath and he said he didn't meet with the ambassador, but he -- but there's nothing inherently wrong with a member of congress meeting with a foreign ambassador. there's something wrong with not being forthright about it, but democrats are really digging
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their teeth in. i was talking about it with a source this morning. a couple years ago democrats would have waited a couple days to see how this kind of transpired but in the era of donald trump and this crazy media, crazy political environment, they're wasting absolutely no time and going just straight to the ropes to try to land a knockout bunpunch. i don't think it's going to happen. >> if you listen to the cadence with which al franken asked that request and how he waited for the response and moves on, it's almost as if they knew then during the confirmation hearings that they had something on jeff sessions. it's almost as if they were trying to trap him. no? >> well, don't know what they knew then. you have to imagine if they had something sort of hard confirmed, they would have used it then. but what was interesting, not just in the questioning but also in jeff selgsz' answer was the question was pretty broad. it was about members of the trump campaign and generally
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having any contacts with the russians. what was interesting is sessions sort of brought it back to him personally, which is obviously now what's gotten him in hot water. he says, i can tell you i'm a campaign surrogates and i certainly haven't had any contacts. we know that's not true. >> we do know, jake, this is a president who does not like to have the attention shifted away from him, especially when it's positive. he was enjoyinguite the victory lap, if you will, after that speech to joint session of congress two nights ago that was widely regarded as his best so far as president. does the equation get changed if it's revealed that the white house had no idea about any of this and that they were learning for the first time that he did, in fact, have these communications with russians if they, once again, had to learn through us, through the immediate, yeah through newspapers? >> well, two different questions in there.
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this is a bad political situation for the president. he had a couple awesome days. he was looking to carry out those awesome days by pushing off an executive order, pushing off some controversial stuff. he's in norfolk today on a ship trying to highlight his promise to rebuild the military. he has a good story to tell this week. this interrupted it. now, it's not completely reasonable to -- for a sitting senator, again, to meet with an ambassador and for the white house not to know about it. i have to imagine, though, and i was just talking to somebody about this a few minutes ago, that jeff sessions' staff, when they heard that in that hearing, they had to have known it was not true because he has a staff. he has people around him. he had a senate staff. they could have cleaned this up and they didn't, which is kind of befudling to me, and kind of follows a narrative of a government that is not fully professional, a white house that is not fully professional.
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>> jake, we know, it's never the crime, it's always the cover-up. it's always the cover-up. ashley, this is one of those things we'll talk on cable news for a day and a half or so, but john cusack sitting in what wash -- in ohio, wherever they is. does this man, if you love or hate donald trump, is this something that gets your blood boiling at all? >> that's a very good question. just this week i was sort of reaching out to some trump voters who i met during the campaign, trump supporters to see what they thought of his first 40 days in office. what was striking to me is they deeply support him. they deeply support even some of the things that here in washington have been portrayed as more controversial, like, for instance, the immigration ban, the travel ban. one thing that someone said to me that was so striking is a woman said to me, the only complaint with donald trump she had was that he had not stuck by
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general mike flynn on another issue of russia. as of now, this is not a comprehensive survey of all voters but it seems they don't necessarily occasion even on russia, which is a little odd. have you to imagine if president obama had sort of had these maybe untoward contacts with one of the nation's largest geopolitical foes, can you imagine the outcry in america. >> perhaps a smidge. always great to have both of you. thanks so much. it is a packed house in newport news, virginia. live look. that's where president donald trump is expected to speak in the next hour. when it happens aboard the "uss gerald ford," we will bring it to you live. american express open cards can help you take on a new job, or fill a big order or expand your office
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that wraps up this hour of "msnbc live." i'm craig melvin. for now my colleague katy tur picks things up. >> thank you so much. for you at home this hour, we'll hear from president trump. dominating the day, not what he's going to say to sailors in virginia. new questions about whether trump's attorney general and first senate supporter lied under oath about meetings with russia's ambassador during the campaign. right now the president is aboard the "uss gerald ford" in newport news. will he answer a series of questions about ag


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