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tv   MSNBC Live  MSNBC  March 5, 2017 3:00pm-4:01pm PST

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hello. welcome back to "the point," our special coverage for the first 100 days of the trump administration and point now, we know president trump was dead serious about at least one thing when he spoke to congress. >> the time for trivial fights
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is behind us. >> clearly. and nothing trivial about this latest one. trump accusing his predecessor of a watergate-like effort to tap his phones without any proof and the administration now saying they won't even talk about it until congress investigates, something they may have just made up. it is the latest episode that also is providing comedy gold including to our friends at "snl." >> he's like that crazy dude on the subway yelling, they're tapping my phone, schwarzenegger sucks, i can lick my own elbow! donald, just forget about the apprentice. you're the president now. you're the executive producer of the free world. it is a much more important show and your ratings are dead last. >> we do have a special panel to look at the balance of being funny in the middle of a wave of understandable anger and even fear. that's later this hour. we start with a white house legitimately in crisis. the president's attempt to deflect apparently away from the russia investigations, possibly
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backfiring. today, press secretary sean spicer saying that congress should investigate the president's claims. meanwhile, he's not going to talk about them. and breaking news this evening, a senior u.s. official confirming to nbc that fbi director james comey made the unusual request over the weekend that the doj publicly refute the president's accusations of illegal watergate style wiretapping saying they're false and seem to insinuate the fbi broke the law. the new york times breaking that story this evening. another high ranking official, former director of intelligence james clapper telling chuck todd there was no fisa warrant at trump tower. >> for the part of the national security apparatus that i oversaw as dni, there was no such wiretap activity mounted against the president -- the president-elect at the time or as a candidate or against his campaign. >> if the fbi, for instance, had a fisa court order some of sort for a surveillance, would that be information you would know or
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not know? >> yes. >> you would be told this. >> i would know that. >> at this point you can't confirm or deny whether that exists. >> i can deny it. >> there is no fisa court order. >> not to my knowledge. >> of anything at trump tower? >> no. >> now, congress being asked to investigate the president's claims, republicans said there was no evidence today. >> i've never heard that before. and i have no evidence or no one ever presented anything to me. >> i've seen no evidence of the allegations we have seen in the media. >> at this point, i've seen no evidence of what he's alleged. >> but if this is true, senator minority leader chuck schumer emphasized it would be actually potentially worse for the president. >> it is true, it is even worse for the president because that means that a federal judge, independently elected, has found probable cause that the president, or people on his staff, have had probable cause to have broken the law or to
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have interacted with a foreign agent. now, that's serious stuff. >> joining me now, former head of the dnc and governor of vermont, howard dean and michael isikoff, chief investigative reporter for yahoo! news and david corn, nbc analyst, and in studio, garry kasparov, a russian dissident living in exile in the u.s., former world champion chess player and knows a lot about a lot of the angles here. michael, let me start with a yes or no question and then you get a follow-up, don't worry. have you ever heard of an fbi director working over the weekend like this to try to get a public rebuttal of a president's claims like this? >> no. >> so -- >> go ahead. >> no. but it was -- look, it was an extraordinary charge that the president leveled in that twitter storm saturday morning. there does not appear to be any evidence to substantiate it from best we can tell, he appears to
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have been riled up by a breitbart news story based on a mark levine radio rant on thursday, which was filled with speculation and conspiracy theories about what may have gone on here. so, you know, it is not -- it is not surprising that the fbi director who jim comey, who, for all the flack he took during the campaign, does take the fisa process seriously, and does not want the fbi to be further tarred with the idea of doing something politically improper. >> let me jump in, you say fisa process, you're referring to that special foreign court that lawfully oversees these kinds of wiretaps, and then david corn, we have the new york times, also reporting that conspiracy theory or not, white house counsel don mcgann pursuing this, senior white house official said mcgann, the president's counsel, working to secure access to what
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he believed to be an order issued by that fisa court authorizing some form of surveillance related to mr. trump and his associates. earlier this hour, david, doj official said that sounds appropriate. what do you make of it? >> would be highly inappropriate if a white house counsel is asking questions about an ongoing fbi investigation, one that was either criminal, counterintelligence that might concern somebody in the white house. certainly not offering information. the bottom line here is, it sounds hyperbollic a what point do we start using the word deranged? the president made what is a tremendously, tremendously significant charge about the past president. last night i managed to see sean spicer at an event in washington and i said, don't you guys have to back this up at all? don't you feel any compulsion to do that? are you going to do it tomorrow, monday, tuesday? he just had this very uncomfortable smile on his face, and said, let's just enjoy tonight and walked away. but i really think that, you
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know, even the republicans on the shows today, as trump might say, were saying they never have seen any evidence. he hasn't seen it either. he's making it up, and i think justice department would be in a strong position to say, we don't know what he's talking about. >> governor dean, let me read from the actual doj guidance here. just to give people a sense of the rules on telling the white house about investigations. it says the goj will advise the white house on criminal investigations only when it is important for the performance of the president's duties and appropriate from a law enforcement perspective. so, governor dean, even if you say, well, here is a quote/unquote deranged or inaccurate statement, right, that's in the realm of words. something seems to change if then the people who work for the president, who, again, are not his political employees, we pay their salaries, they take an oath to uphold the constitution, they work for the united states, not just the imaginations of even the most important person of the united states, is there a problem if they are bumping up
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against the rules i just showed, to be clear, that's not a federal law, that's a rule. but trying to pursue the conspiracy all the way to potentially intervening an open investigation? >> here's the problem. i don't think trump had -- ever had any understanding of how the federal government works or the constitution of the united states, which sets up a set of checks and balances. and the checks and balances include not doing what dick nixon did, try to influence the judiciary -- the department of justice to go easy on his co-conspirators. this -- i mean, you know, eventually the public is going to get sick of this. i think they already are. trump can't get out of his own way. he clearly doesn't -- i don't believe he's doing this on purpose, i think he doesn't know what he's doing and he's an emotionally very unstable. and eventually it is going to have a significant effect on the future of this country and i think it actually already is having a significant effect on
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his inability to deliver anything for the people who voted for him. >> to broaden it out, the open question is the links between vladimir putin's russia and trump's associates or trump himself. does anything that transpired over the last week including this weekend give you any view of that? >> it is the psychological lead now. i agree that donald trump doesn't understand how democratic institutions in this country work. but i think instinctively he plays classical tricks from the authoritarian playbook. two rules we know, i grew up in the soviet union. one, you're in trouble, always blame your predecessor. two, even when you have power, always pretend you're a victim. you're fighting against a conspiracy. you're surrounded by enemies. whether trump knows it or not, he just does it instinctively, which proves again, his instinct is authoritarian, and always trying to bend the rules in his favor. and as for connections to russia
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again, we saw more on more lies. maybe some of this connections could conduct were innocuous, but why lie about it and, you know, overall picture when one coincidence, another coincidence, another connection, it creates a picture you're slowly but steadily reaching critical mass. >> go ahead. >> well, i just -- i would just add to that, that there is a lot of circumstantial evidence that is a big problem. his first campaign manager paul manafort took lots of soviet money, russian money, working for a russian puppet in the ukraine. roger stone has been involved in getting some transaction with wikileaks which he let loose on "today" and then tried to delete his tweets, claiming credit for getting wikileaks to put all this stuff out on hillary, which -- and welcomy lee wikil relationship with the russians as well. there is a lot of circumstantial evidence and eventually, where
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there is smoke, there is fire. i'm pretty sure the fire will be found out. our intelligence services are pretty darn good and most of them don't like donald trump very much and they don't trust him and don't respect him. that's a bad combination. >> michael, go ahead, david. >> well, i want to point out, though, look, there is clearly a lot of grounds for suspicion and has been. but it is also worth pointing out that james clapper, while he got big headlines for -- on his "meet the press" appearance this morning for knocking down the idea that there was any kind of targeting of trump tower, also said he had seen no evidence of collusion between the trump campaign and trump operatives and the russians. otherwise it would have been included in that early january report they did. and, you know, that did strike me, because the foundational premise of a lot of what we have been talking about is that there have been intercepted communications that raised concerns that there may have
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been such collusion, that's exactly -- >> hold on. i take your point. and, of course, innocent until proven guilty. having said that, there is a process only just starting to play out with the attorney general recusing himself, with potentially more than one investigation, we're not going to get the answers from a partial discussion from certain aides. i want michael and david to respond to the way that jim comey tonight apparently was trying to shoot this down, quote, saying, he wanted the doj to reject trump's assertion that obama ordered the tapping of the phones. not going nearly as far as clapper seemed to and saying there were no taps. michael and david. >> yeah, well, look, yes. and i am not suggesting for a moment that we have all the answers here. there is clearly lots to be learned. but i do think that is worth pointing out that, you know, in some respects, the story is murkier today than it was last week. because if, in fact, there were
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no fisa warrants that intercepted communications among trump operatives, then one does, you know, one does want to know what is the -- what was the basis for these superstitions in the intelligence community and we haven't seen them yet. >> we don't know the answers. >> that's true. also other ways of getting surveillance. the surveillance as has been indicated in some reporting may have been done by allies and other services overseas. and if they pick up conversations between trump associates and russians, they are free to give it to us and we do not need fisa warrants for some of our collection overseas, we don't need fisa warrants either. even involving americans. kind of the rules are kind of, you know, iffy on that sort of stuff and when it comes to the issue of collusion, which was the word used today, you know, depends what -- how direct you're talking. if the trump campaign is sending a signal to moscow, that you'll
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get a better deal with us, while moscow is trying to hack the campaign, the 2016 campaign, that may not be called collusion, but it might be called encouragement of an attack on the american political system. >> gentlemen, gentlemen, back to garry kasparov, i want to get him in, and you only have spoken once, when you look at this and say what about americans who feel exhausted by this, does that fit into the authoritarian playbook as well? >> exactly. you keep repeating the same things, move things around, shuffle and shuffle them and people say it is not the story, let's move on. that's why we hear all the time, from many republicans, from the white house, let's move on. the story is too serious. first of all, i believe you, i don't have any information to prove it, but i believe there was an interference of russian intelligence, and, you know, one of the things that was quite convincing for me, this infamous call or calls from michael flynn to russian ambassador.
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i think it is -- people don't understand the psychology behind it. just imagine, american top official from new administration, calling russian ambassador, and the sitting president announces sanctions and tells him wait, don't do anything, we'll remove the sanctions. it doesn't matter whether trump authorizes call or not. what is most important, putin did believe that michael flynn spoke on behalf of donald trump, which means flynn was already a trustworthy agent. >> and while no one has been charged with any crime in connection with that, the fbi was looking at it. we have to take a pause. michael isikoff, david corn and garry kasparov, thank you for joining us. wish we had more time. we'll get you back. breaking news, fbi director james comey asking doj to reject trump's wiretapping claims, the white house backpedaling on the story. we'll bring back in the political power panel next on all that. are your allergies holding you back or is it your allergy pills?
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donald trump's mantra might be, i'm not a liar, i just tweet a lot. walking back donald trump's wiretap tweets. how much of this stuff does the leader of the free world sincerely believe? did he really only learn about reports of wiretapping this past week when the allegation made its way to breitbart news? why didn't he consult his own fbi director before going public? and fbi director confirming today to nbc he's asking doj to reject the president's unproven claim. and does trump not believe the facts are available or does he not care? let's get right into it with erin gloria ryan, and back with us, former governor howard dean. your take on all of this, and the role of breitbart and these kind of reports?
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>> it is like the blind leading the blind right now. the fact that breitbart has become the president's daily intelligence briefing should terrify just about everybody in this country. but even more so the fact that the president would so openly make such a very specific and detailed allegation against his predecessor is something that really, you know, the press should not let this go. the white house press briefing this week, the first possible opportunity, every reporter there should be asking sean spicer what proof does president trump have that any of these allegations are based in any kind of fact? >> and on breitbart, let me ask you this, you know steve bannon a bit, right? >> yes. >> what do you think he sees in this series of events? is this in steve bannon'sind the success that he speaks directly to the president and also has a website he used to run that can put out the ideas or worries that this is back firing? any sense of that? >> i feel like in steve's mind, breitbart is a propaganda platform controlled by the white house.
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and that whatever you see on the pages of breitbart on any given day are really the inner thoughts and agenda for what bannon wants this president's administration to look like. >> governor dean? >> i think that's right. i think we call him president bannon. trump is really disorganized. he's got all kinds of psychological problems, i think. certainly very talented, i think, in reading crowds. but i think bannon is the dominant force in trump's brain. and i think that's a major problem because bannon, i think, lives in an alternative universe. >> right. and that's where you see this overlap on the idea that information, allegation and fact, it is all just grist for the mill. there is a real -- a real lack of interest in what is ultimately provable or true. erin, take a look at the report here in abc with bannon, president donald trump summoned some senior staff to the oval office and went ballistic. senior white house sources told abc news.
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we saw bannon gesticulating rapidly in the pool camera and the feeling was that something isn't working in there. we don't know what the conversation was. >> yeah. i think it is interesting after an election where, like, the first major party female nominee for president was defeated, but it is really right now men are being very emotional in donald trump's white house. but i also think right now the situation we're seeing is, like, a study in you played yourself. either donald trump was getting tapped, and there was probable cause for him to be tapped, or he wasn't getting tapped and he's wildly making these accusations with no basis in fact. and in the meantime, he's wasting everybody's time. >> curt? where does it go from here? and do you think there is ever a moment where, again, according to the reporting, there was some tension, bannon didn't go on the trip, that's a public fact, we know, which suggests maybe trump didn't feel like having him around this weekend, palace intrigue, sure. but do you think there is a time
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where donald trump suddenly feels ill served by this level of misinformation? >> i think you saw how much president trump basks in the positive headlines he received after his speech the other day. and the fact that it was the first time in this administration he's actually had some semblance of positive coverage. now that he's seen what that can look like and what that can feel like for him, anything that detracts from that, i think he'll start looking at through a critical lens. the challenge of now they put the ball in congress' court to investigate the claims, that opens them up to all kinds of different questions, opens up to discovery, subpoenas, being called in for witnesses and hearing statements, this could go very far, very badly, very quickly for them. >> the substance, al franken talking about the now momentous exchange with sessions and may h help lead to the recusal. nothing matters, it is all a mess, then a well framed question and response under oath
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may change the nature of an investigation. listen to frank en and i'll get your response on the flip. >> i called him to recuse himself before this incident. i haven't called for him to resign. but he needs to answer some questions. for example, he said at his press conference that if he had just thought about it for a moment, if he had taken his time, he would have said that he had met twice with the russian ambassador. he had seven weeks to say that. he was testifying under oath to the american people. >> governor dean? >> i think that's right. and he's not the only person who committed perjury during the confirmation hearings. so did the now head of the epa and the secretary of the treasury. so this is a problem. we have not seen this kind of a cabinet put together before. ideologically very hard right in general, but they are also -- they also have a problem not only with the truth, apparently
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this problem that trump has, which is that he thinks he can get away with anything, whether it is true or not, it leads him to get people like him around him. i think this administration is an enormous amount of disarray. i think it is careening down the tracks to nowhere, much faster than i thought it was going to be and it is not going to be some dramatic thing like him being impeached, but the republicans will realize he's a liability for the 2018 elections that they throw him over the side. >> former governor dean, erin gloria ryan from the daily beast, thank you, all. next, a moment to open up the inbox and tackle your questions that you all have sent recently. don't forget to e-mail at ari at and we'll get yours on next week's show. what is your nationality and i would always answer hispanic. so when i got my ancestry dna results it was a shocker. i'm everything. i'm from all nations.
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the constitution doesn't specify. we checked with law professor gregory fox, who studies this at wayne state and he said, i would say the most constitutional lawyers think the president can terminate a treaty without congressional input. our next question from ed on twitter who asked, what must be in the revised eo that would increase its chances of being upheld in a circuit court? one issue is the seven countries. if they're in the new eo, president trump and his administration have to show they're a threat for immigrant terrorism. as you may have heard, that memo released last month seems to contradict that making it harder to prove. a lot of other issues, of course, in that trial. our last question, from twitter today, ftd asking, can trump find out if he was actually wiretapped? #the point. a great question. as we have been reporting in the new york times there was the
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idea that the president's lawyer is seeking to confirm whether or not there was a fisa warrant. other officials knocking it down. but this is another one of those questions with no simple answer. if there is a big open investigation, the president might not be appraised of all of the wiretaps as it goes. over the long run, though, if an investigation is closed and there is a national security argument, this is the kind of thing that sooner or later the president might be able to lawfully find out about. all right, that's the mailbag. you can e-mail me at ari or twitter @arimelber. we might get to your question next time. we have that special look at comedy in the age of trump where everybody's a target. >> bottom line, the only people making decisions -- you downed that quick. look at you. thirsty little guy. the only people making decisions regarding the trump organization are eric and myself.
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this meeting never happened. >> i wasn't going to remember it anyway. >> "snl" having laughs over the big russian story. another chapter in a new era of comedy under trump. "snl" has shown comedy can be funny and influential drawing responses from the president and millions of people who have been rushing "snl's" youtube page to watch legendary skits.
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>> president obama said america would accept 1200 refugees. your country's compassion will not be forgotten. >> no, no, no, no refugees. america first, australia sucks, your reef is failing, prepare to go to war. >> what about the introduction here? >> just have to take control of the bridge, our military is on it. >> and then destroy vanity fair, right? they're a terrible publication, really just terrible. >> sure, buddy, sure. >> when trump attacked baldwin's impression, the actor used that attention to push the president on transparency tweeting, if you release your tax returns, i'll stop. trump hasn't taken that deal and baldwin isn't stopping. trump hosted "snl" twice and knows how parodies can shape perceptions like melissa mccarthy's satire of sean
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spicer. >> settle down! settle down! settle down! before we begin, i know that myself and the press have gotten off to a rocky start. all right. all right. all right. all right. all right. in the sense when i say rocky start, i mean it in the sense of rocky the movie because i came out here to punch you. in the face. and also i don't talk so good. >> trump took it seriously, telling aides it made spicer look weak. there is also a trump echo on the light know shows, colbert's focus on politics bringing new buzz, fallon with the trump impression and viewers trying to keep up with what will happen next. other comedians say they're b bummed out. it is hard to be funny, you can talk about what you're frustrated about but life has gotten scary and absurd. it is a whole new ball game. let's get into it with seth
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herzog, the house economic for ja jimmy fallon, and joseph list, star of a comedy central special, and a 2015 finalist on last comic standing. so if you were a finalist, that means you were not the last comic standing. >> i was not the last comic standing. i did my best and sat down before the show was over. >> you were the last comic sitting? >> yes, i was not the first comic seated but one of the comics seated. >> you were scrunching your face when i said you're a trump critic. >> i worked at the daily show not the tonight show. >> a different scrunch. what do you think of the environment here. >> i think it is really scary as judd said and a lot of comedians. i said this before, we write jokes, hard to write jokes about trump because he is a joke. and i see comedians as in this current moment being more like truth tellers. we're not really beholden to
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networks and ratings and stuff. we can say what we're thinking and i think that's what's important about comedy right now. >> seth, i mean, some comics are like journalists in that they want to be in the conversation, but not pick a side. >> some comics, but i feel like -- >> not all comics. >> i don't know any comic that is really trying to play down the middle. every comic has an opinion and point of view, and, like, and once you have an opinion, you're on one side or the other. you're not going to be, like, well, i think this and think that. they're going to make fun of both sides, people with different opinions, of left, of the right. but have an opinion either way. >> hard to play it down the middle. >> i think your boss does a really good job at playing down the middle. it is hard to play it down the middle now when you see what is happening. the president is -- the constitution, has deep ties to russia, he's misogynistic and scary and awful and racist and so it is really hard to sit back and try to make it funny or
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condone what he's doing. >> right. you mention misogyny, that has been a big issue. samantha b. another star breaking out in this. let's take a look here. >> going to the women's march was like waking up from a nightmare to find that the monster was real, but all your friends were there with sticks and torches and unflattering hats to beat back the darkness. there were marches in kanab, loop city, which sounds like star trek planets but are real american towns where real american people are getting real woke real fast. >> part of the point that she does so well is you know where she stands, but i don't know, when i watch her, it feels inclusive or open minded. she makes jokes where the premise seems to be let's not be in a bubble, let's respect each other, but let's not be in a bubble. >> yeah. i mean i think it is hard too because you want to talk to
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people on the other side, that's hopefully how we'll be able to get out of this mess, but it is hard to do that. hard to talk to people who are -- seem to have a cult-like mentality towards the person in power right now. >> and the flip side is when you look at colbert, look at john oliver, you know, some of it seems like they're really well done news shows. but the jokes are fewer and fewer between. people are hungry for the facts. take a look at colbert as well as others. >> as one official said, we do not have the personnel, time or resources to go into communities and round up people and do all kinds of mass throwing folks on buses. wow. that's a super specific plan for something you're not going to do. >> trump's reality can change within a single sentence. >> when you hear 4.9 and 5% unemployment, the numbers probably 28, 29, as high as 35. in fact, i even heard recently
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42%. >> which one is it then? because a 4.9% rate might result in a cautiously constricted monetary policy. a 42% rate might result in the purge. >> he's almost cnbc at a certain point. >> yeah. well, my favorite part was watching a guy who looks like me doing way better comedy than i'm doing. no, yeah. it is crazy. donald trump is genuinely funny. it is horrifying, but he's such a funny guy and he's saying such absurd things. >> what makes him funny. i would be at the rallies in new hampshire, unlike any political event for a lot of reasons. one of the reasons is he would get laughs. real laughs, which you don't -- you don't see that from most politicians of either party. >> no, i think he seems very dumb to me, which is funny, a dumb guy is funny, classic thing. dumb accent, no offense to people with the same accent as him. but he's just a cartoony dumb
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guy. might end up in a nuclear holocaust. but -- >> you might be -- you might be the dumb one. >> totally. >> he might be a really smart guy, who is playing a dumb guy. >> i think as joe is saying, there is nothing funnier than an arrogant dumb guy who thinks he's a genius. and that clip we said, think about john oliver, as much as i love the show, it is way more news than comedy, like, a lot of great news and throws in a joke to remind you ts is also a comedy show. >> your boss,immy fallon, he does it with the impression. we don't get a sense of where he stands, i dent thion't think he trying -- let's look at his trump impression. >> so it is time for me to take matters into my own abnormally gigantic hands. the only way to ensure the news you're watching is not fake is if i'm the one delivering it, which is why i'm starting the trump news network. this is tnn.
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>> how do those scenes come together? you work at the tonight show. >> that one particularly i remember was very exciting. it was last minute and there was something just given that last minute press conference, and they were, like, let's come up with something within an hour that goes up -- they finished at 2:00 and we tape at 5:00. all very last minute, but very exciting and fun. also i think the thing we do best is everyone else talks about it and we show it. we do a sketch we can show the absurdity in a different way. >> that's the puff daddy principle. i ain't got to talk it because i live it. what have you learned working the crowds there? >> i warm up the crowd. i do maybe a little bit i'll mention trump here and there, a little joke, and no one seems to be -- >> you have tourists from all over the country. >> all over the world. but the crowds seem to love it.
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>> let me ask you this, unfair question, i don't know if you know the answer, do you think this is a potentially undercounting thing? we -- there was a great report about trump supporters interviews with them and several were saying, they are feeling like it is hard to come out and be publicly for trump, they don't say they are, but they are. >> yeah, i think we're getting a lot of that, people who are in the closet trump supporters and one day they'll come up of the closet, but or they did for a day. but i don't know, i don't think people are laughing because they feel like everyone else is laughing, i feel like they're laughing because -- >> you're a closeted putin supporter, very different. >> i'm in the closet on all issues. i don't want anyone to know what i think other than donald trump is dumb, but that was a joke. >> you will be tweeted at. we try to expandhe conversation here, you will probably be tweeted for that. not every joke is easy to understand on tv. i tell a lot of bad jokes and people don't get them.
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it is just the problem of telling a bad joke. >> you do that a lot. what was the point? >> no, that's it. that's it. just a little self-deprecation on our way out the door. thanks. this was interesting. >> so much fun. >> seth, jennifer and joseph. tweet at them, mercilessly. up next, we flip back to the story of the day, two former prosecutors drilling down on the legal ramifications of the wiretapping allegations by president trump, is there a possibility there would be wiretaps? how would that work? what is the fisa court? what does it do? all the answers on the other side of the break. we are a nation divided. that's what they tell us, right? this chasm between us. but what they don't tell you, what doesn't make the news, is this. we carry each other forward. no matter who we are. or what we believe.
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or where we come from. we've had the privilege to carry a century of humanity. lovers. fighters. leaders. but maybe what we carry isn't just people. it's an idea. that while we're not the same, we can be one. and all it takes... is the willingness to dare.
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we have more updates on trump's wiretapping claims, but first an update here, breaking news just into the newsroom. a south korean military official saying north korea fired a
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projectile off its eastern coast. nbc's lucy cavanaugh in london with more. what can you tell us? >> worrying development indeed. not a lot of detail beyond what you mentioned. nbc has been able to confirm from a south korean military official that north korea, pyongyang, has launched an unidentified projectile of some sort off its eastern coast, landing in the water. this took place at 7:36 local time. the projectile, whatever it was, crashed into the sea of japan. it is not immediately clear at this stage what that might have been. but we all know pyongyang has been stepping up its missile tests in recent weeks. in fact, last month, north korea said it had successfully test fired a new kind of ballistic missile in a launch that was supervised by the leader himself, kim jong-un. the nation is band by the united nations from any tests of missile or nuclear technology. south korea's acting president has called for the national
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security council to convene later this morning. no word on the u.s. response. we'll keep you up to date on that. >> all right, brand-new. thank you for that. turning to president trump's accusations that president obama committed a watergate style wiretap of trump tower, which was an accusation made without evidence, the allegation has been knocked down a lot, a new report from the times suggesting fbi director comey is now asking doj to publicly reject the claims the president would not normally be directly involved in legal wiretaps if they did occur. the reports of investigations into trump associates ties to russia as we have reported this hour. so it is certainly possible that there were lawful wiretaps. the u.s. has a secret foreign intelligence court called the fisa court that usually oversees those kind of wiretaps. one man knows a lot about this, he served as a federal judge and attorney general and he said on abc he thinks there may have been surveillance of trump associates through that court. >> i think the president was not correct in saying that president
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obama ordered the -- ordered a tap on a server in trump tower. however, i think he's right in that there was surveillance. and that it was conducted at the behest of the attorney general -- of the justice department through the fisa court. >> so if there was legal surveillance, it would only come through an approval by that foreign surveillance court or perhaps a normal american court. to break down the facts here, after a lot of conjecture, we're lucky to be joined by two former federal officials with a lot of experience, former state department official, david tafiri and michael deade zelden. what is the fisa court in english? >> it is a court set up to issue warrants in order to do wiretapping and other surveillance when there is a threat of a terrorist activity in the u.s. or terrorist activity that threatens u.s. interests or a foreign power threatening u.s. interests.
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now, in order to get that warrant, you have to show probable cause. which is one of the things that is sort of strange about this whole situation. we don't know whether there were fisa warrants issued or not, press reports that suggest there were. you just, you know, played some tape saying it happened, but clapper said earlier today he was the former director of national intelligence he doesn't think there were fisa warrants issued. if there were fisa warrants -- >> pause, pause, pause. let me pause you. for folks to understand, clapper told our own chuck todd there weren't to his knowledge taps on trump tower. and you're describing this process. but the fisa court, potentially, have authorized some wiretaps somewhere for some trump associate regarding russia. is that right? >> yeah, that's right. it is right that we don't know. but clapper was pretty firm about the fact he didn't think
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there had been any fisa warrants issued with respect to investigations of the trump campaign. but there are conflicting press reports. >> right. that's the foreign side. michael, as a federal prosecutor, if there were domestic crimes, that would be the other lawful way to get a warrant, how would that work? >> it works quite similarly under title three, the omnibus crime controla act. apply to the judge, articulate probable cause that an individual committed or is about to commit a crime, and that the mechanism by which you can investigate this is surveillance, electronic surveillance or physical search warrant and that there is no other alternative that is better than this. and that's sort of the process domestic domestically. in the case of the fisa, the way the process would work, what you're looking for in fisa in your application for surveillance warrant is evidence that foreign intelligence
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information, which is defined in the statute, as information which threatens the security of the united states is being transmitted. it has to be generally speaking transmitted by a foreign power or an agent of a foreign power, that could be an individual. julius rosenberg, without commenting on whether he did or didn't do anything, would be the agent of a foreign power and the fisa court could issue a surveillance warrant as to that person. keep it really clear, the point you're making is is if you have that kind of warrant or surveillance, it is looking for some foreign entity, and so now let's go to the politics or the twitter of it all, which is why would the president by any logical standard treat that as some automatically bad thing when to your point, if a judge independently authorized this, that might just be looking at a foreign target, not necessarily something nefarious done by a trump associate. >> that's exactly right.
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if the court is convinced that communications are coming that are foreign intelligence information detrimental to the interest of the united states, such that a warrant is required, the trump administration or any administration should be happy that the court is looking into that. i think the president's wires get crossed a little bit when he thinks about this as a targeted broad nonspecific to an individual type of surveillance of the trump tower. that i don't think is feasible under the way the fisa or the title three warrant process works. >> david, final word. >> well, i think we have to try and figure out why did trump tweet at 6:00 a.m. yesterday about this and accuse obama of wiretapping him. either he saw the breitbart article and it is so enraged by it he couldn't help himself or he has information there is an investigation going forward. he's worried about that
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investigation and he's trying to divert attention by accusing obama. and we're not sure yet which of those it is. >> right. we're not sure by any means, we know about ongoing investigations including the fbi, looking at things in the transition period after a week of recusal by the attorney general. a lot to chew on. david, michael, appreciate your expertise. >> thank you very much. >> thank you, gentlemen. this
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and new or worsening heart failure. before treatment, get tested for tb. tell your doctor if you've been to areas where certain fungal infections are common, and if you've had tb, hepatitis b, are prone to infections, or have flu-like symptoms or sores. don't start humira if you have an infection. want more proof? ask your rheumatologist about humira. what's your body of proof? everyone talks about what happens when you turn sixty-five. but, really, it's what you do before that counts. see, medicare doesn't cover everything. only about eighty percent of part b medical costs. the rest is on you. consider an aarp medicare supplement insurance plan insured by unitedhealthcare insurance company. like all standardized medicare supplement insurance plans, it could really save you in out-of-pocket medical costs. so, call now and request this free decision guide. discover how an aarp medicare supplement plan could go long™ for you. do you want to choose your doctors? avoid networks? what about referrals? all plans like these let you visit any doctor or hospital that accepts medicare patients,
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with no networks and virtually no referrals needed. so, call now, request your free guide, and explore the range of aarp medicare supplement plans. sixty-five may get all the attention, but now is a good time to start thinking about how you want things to be. go long™. update on breaking news, south korean military officials confirming to nbc that north korea has fired a projectile off its eastern coast, not clear yet the nature of the projectile, and whether it was a missile or how far it traveled. but obviously an important potential development. meanwhile, president trump just arriving back at the white house this evening, no word yet on whether he's been briefed on that news. this could be the second time north korea has fired a type of projectile since president trump took office. we'll have updates on the breaking story as warranted throughout the evening. i want to thank you for watching
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"the point." that does it for our two hour show at msnbc. i'm ari melber. find me on social media. right there. #thepoint to share any questions or ideas. keep it locked. "meet the press" with chuck todd is next. this sunday, connecting the dots between the trump campaign and russia. after telling the senate this -- >> i did not have communications with the russians. >> attorney general jeff sessions concedes he did meet with the russian ambassador. >> i have recused myself in the matters that deal with the trump campaign. >> the growing evidence of the trump-russia connection threatens to consume the opening months of donald trump's presidency. i'll talk to republican senator marco rubio, a member of the senate intelligence committee. >> plus what happens next? many democrats are calling for sessions to resign. >> the attorney general, top cop in our country lied under oath. >> attorney general sessions should resign. >> this morning my interview


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