tv MSNBC Live MSNBC March 16, 2017 11:00am-12:01pm PDT
reporting. i want to tell viewers for this sunday i'm hosting a special on the supreme can fir mags clash on the hearings to confirm judge gorsuch begin on sunday. we'll have legal scholars and civil rights leaders, this sunday at 5:00 p.m. eastern on msnbc. now i want to turn it over to my colleague ali velshi? >> what's the big news on saturday? >> world sleep day. >> i told him it was friday and he fact-checked me and found out i was wrong #fakenews. the other big piece of information -- you have a great afternoon. press secretary sean spicer is expected to begin his daily briefing at any moment. he's got his work cut out for him today. there are major developments rocking the west wing. this breaking now. the co-chairs of the senate select committee on
intelligence, senator richard bu burr and mark warner issued this statement. i quote, based on the information available to us, we see no implications that trump tower was the subject of surveillance by any element of the united states government either before or after election day 2016. i've tweeted that out. if you want to just move that over a little bit. as we await sean spicer, let's talk about this with our panel of correspondents and analysts. i told you ari wasn't going far. peter alexander at the white house, kelly o'donnell on qulil, joining me in studio chief legal correspondent ari melber, former campaign manager for hillary clinton, robby mook and former rand paul campaign senior advis adviser elise. we're waiting for this press conference to start. everybody said -- people are
saying now, no evidence that obama wiretapped trump. speaker ryan saying again today, the white house is -- is the white house ready to back down now? >> it's a question we'll pose to the president today. he said through his press secretary he wanted senate and house intelligence committees to investigate this claim he made against his successor, president obama. it appears the senate at least has done that and they found no indications of not just any wiretapping but of any surveillance taking place before or after the 2016 election. the question is, does the president accept those findings. will he concede it wasn't true and, in fact, apologize to president obama for it? more broadly, the intention of this briefing today was to focus on this budge the budget that cludesome significant increases in spending on defense, homeland security, immigration enforcement, as well as veterans' care but it does it by offsetting it with
significant impact on foreign aid, environmental protection agency and other departments. we were speaking to some folks from after-school programs in pennsylvania. one organization tells me that 800 kids of this budget would lose their after-school programs. they are kids known as trump country, in rural counties in pennsylvania. one of those states that helped tip the scale in president trump's favor. >> we will get back to you, although we're going to be stuck in that room as soon as that press conference starts. let's go to capitol hill. kelly o'donnell standing by there. it's busy at any time there, but this news must be rocking the place. >> reporter: well, what's so significant about this is that it is bipartisan, rin by richard burr, republican, north carolina, along with democratic partner mark warner. they agree with this, they write it together, stand by it. that's significant because of the timing. we saw new remarks by the
president last night where he said wiretapping had a broader, more generalized meaning than the specific letter of the law, perhaps opening the door to an alternative way of trying to defend his remarks. it also comes before this briefing today where now there's a definitive result on the specific issue of wiretapping at trump tower before or since the election where this committee has the access to interview those in the intelligence community, to talk to anyone who would have had the authority to bring this about, to look at evidence behind the scenes. so much of their work is done in secret, but their reach is considerable. they have a lot of expertise on matters classified. so, they would be able to sift through some of this and see, is there some explanation that might not have been strictly to the words of the tweet but something broader. they're not leaving any room here. the statement is strong. it refutes the president in clear terms. the chairman, a republican who supported donald trump, this is not an easy thing to do
politically but the independence and the sort of bipartisan nature of the intelligence committees in both the senate and house, this is where they shine because they have the oversight capability, they have the reach and expertise. not only the lawmakers that are a part of, this but their professional staffs that work on this kind of thing. this is a very strong statement in many ways it's a verdict on the president's credibility when it comes to that tweet. this is something the white house will have to answer for. >> kelly, i suspect you'll get more reaction over the course of the hour. we'll be coming back to you for that. this reaction to news the senate intelligence committee, the chair and vice chair, republican and democrat, have issued a very clear statement saying nobody wiretapped trump tower before or after the election. elise jordan, what's your take on this now? >> my take is that this was a really destabilizing move when president trump chose to issue these unfounded allegations against the former president.
and now he's had -- the fact that other elected officials have to come back and essentially rebuke the president, it does not help a white house that is iredibly tenuous with their credibility right now. >> iwas an unforced error. >> absolutely. >> nobody made him do this. >> this is the type of behavior that frustrates trump supporters because a lot of the talking to trump voters during the run-up to the kaem, they might really like what he stands for, but they feel like all of his side show antics distract from his message. this is the kind of message that distracts from trump coming in and implementing real policy. >> robby? >> i agree. i don't think it's a news flash that donald trump said something that wasn't true. >> nor is it a news flash to most people that trump tower wasn't wiretapped. >> and president obama didn't order it. i think what's encouraging, as you reported, you have a bipartisan effort to get the truth out there, democrats and republicans working together. the worst thing we can do on this russia issue is treat it as
partisan. the republicans will get hacked as well. it's just a matter of time. i'm very encouraged -- >> this shows you -- you're saying what this signals is that while we don't think congress can be bipartisan on anything, actually maybe they can be. >> i think it's really encouraging. look, i would like to have an open hearing where everybody can hear the facts but i think with what weave got right now, senator burr and warner are doing the right thing. >> ari, this is important to consider, the reason these aren't open and there are a few people on capitol hill that get briefings at a higher level than most people can. >> yeah, a couple things here. number one, you're referring to the federal law that gompbs intelligence, gang of eight, as emphasized, is a very special thing. that means these individuals actually are authorized to have above average intelligence. when they say in that key opening line, basically available information to us, they're referring to the most top secret information any government officl can get outside of the president and cia.
that's a big deal. to echo robby, it's a larger factual point is what does if do to civil society, our attempts to make decisions in democracy when there are such direct false hoods. i moved to think of 50 cents' famous admonition, i hate a liar more than a thief. a thief is after my salary. a liar is after my reality. this is a debate over reality. what is true. what was wiretapped? what do we as a country want to do with the information we have from the government? it's supremely significant to see this bipartisan, apolitical move from the leaders of the intelligence committee who have the goods, who have the intel, effectively saying, donald trump is after your reality. he's wrong and we have a duty to rebut it. >> kelly o'donnell on capitol hill, we were expecting this open hearing to happen on monday. i assume it's still happening with jim comey of the fbi coming in. yesterday adam schiff and devin
nunes, these counterparts on the congressional side, came together and sort of implied they're working on this in a bipartisan fashion. it was almost a preamble to what we were going to hear today. does this announcement by the senate intelligence committee largely settle this matter, at least on the wiretapping side? are those hearings still likely to take place on monday? will they be about russia and the trump campaign as opposed to wiretapping trump tower now? >> reporter: the russia question is much broader than this. this has been one of the most talked about elements of the controversy because the president made this allegation and we have seen sort of bit by bit lawmake whoave access to that high level of classified information sgnaling th thought the president was in error here and then getting closer and closer as they had additional access to interviews and behind the scenes information. so, we saw the house side leaders saying they saw no evidence. we saw the house speaker saying he thinks the president was wrong on this.
now the punk tuation point coming from the senate intelligence committee. that's a very big deal. the hearing where james comey is expected to testify in public, there are still questions about this. and there are broader issues that have to do with russian interference in the election cycle and there will be questions perhaps from the white house side about issues that might have suggested to the president that this could have happened or was he somehow looking at something else? you know, the president signaled over the next couple of weeks you'll see something else. we have no idea what he means by that and could that be something where in a public hearing some of these questions get to be aired out. the statement put out by the chair and vice chair is leaving no wiggle room, but the need to have it sort of aired out more publicly, i think, is still relevant on capitol hill. and the desire certainly by democrats, but also by republicans to bring this to a conclusion is something that we
think will be important for trying to move on to the next thing. the russian interference in the election, the hacking that robby alluded to and the things we saw play out during the campaign season, still big questions to resolve on that and still ongoing questions about allegations that there are relationships between associates of the president during the campaign period and figures in russia. so, russia has become kind of a one word catch-all for a lot of issues. this may resolve one of the critical ones today that has been so inflammatory because it was an accusation clearly in error leveled at former president obama. and now president trump putting himself in that politically sort of unthinkable position to have accused his predecessor. are there other issues he may want to get at and he'll try to find a way to explain away his tweet? we'll see how that unfolds. but i think there will be great public interest in seeing that hearing go forward. >>e're looking at live
pictures inside the white house press room. peter is standing there. everybody is sitting. it's getting close. peter, you may have to cut us off. over the last few weeks, you guys in that room have been pushing sean spicer to say what happens when the evidence comes out one way or the other? what will president trump say or do? what do you want answered today by sean spicer? >> reporter: i think you're exactly right. we've been asking that question for the course of two weeks now since this claim was initially made, as the white house has now sort of ee involved on it. initially after the president made this point, they said they wouldn't have any comment about it going further. they wanted the investigations to complete themselves. but less than 24 hours after that statement, there were white house officials on the sunday shows and even here in the briefing room making comments. over the course of the last couple weeks, the position on wiretapping has sort of changed. sean spicer saying, of course, wiretapping was in quotes. we were talking more broadly about the issue of surveillance. i know the questions we'll try to pin him down on is, does the
president accept those findings? does the president accept those findings? will the president apologize to president obama for the allegations that he made? remember, it was within the last 24 hours when he was speaking to tucker carlson on fox news that he said, there are, quote, interesting items coming to the forefront in the course of the next couple of weeks. so, it's still his belief system, as sean spicer even said to me in a back and forth on this very topic, that this is the case, but it speaks to a broader issue with this white house. one that spicer and i got into it on just a couple of days ago, which is, this idea of what's phoney and what's a fact. we were asking them the complaint they made on this topic was -- was more broadly about some of the other issues related to jobs, right? they said it was addition it was phoney during the time but now they say it's a fact, according to president trump himself. so how can we decide, how can we understand, how can we interpret when the president is joke organize it's fact? >> there are so many topics to
discuss in there. we've got health care, the budget. i wonder whether we'll get past this. we'll watch you very closely. kelly o'donnell, what have you got at the capitol? >> reporter: just grabbed the gop majority leader, asked him about this. he said he's going to look at it and nodded in the affirmation about the significance of this. so this word is spreading on capitol hill. we're in a very busy corridor where members and members of the public are passing through. the timing of things is sort of interesting, ali, because tomorrow angela merkel, the chancellor of germany will be visiting the white house and meeting with president trump. she went through an experience that had to do with foreign surveillance where the u.s. government had listened in on some of her calls. something that when it became public was very uncomfortable then for president obama and the relationship, but it was part of the secrets that big governments do, where they listen in to even friendly nations to try to know
what they're thinking, what they're doing as a part of the regular work of intelligence. so, the timing of her visit tomorrow to the white house is just sort of iranic given the circumstances. but there's so much happening here at the capitol, including the president's big budget proposal that came out today, ali, which is getting a lot of attention. now i suspect this new information relating to wiretapping will probably trample on the budget story a bit, at least in some of the considerations that are happening here. ali? >> yeah, i mean, in any other normal life, we'd be spending a lot of time talking about health care. we'd be spending a lot of time talking about the budget. now this has dropped and it is cleared up a storm that none of us knew we were in in the first place. so, for those of us who we're just joining and aren't following the breaking news, because sometimes that breaking news banner is always on because there really is breaking news all the time, this is breaking news. a joint statemen from senate intel lders, a republican and
decrat,enator richard burr, republican of north carolina, mark warner, democrat of north carolina. based on information available to us, we see no indications that trump tower was the subject of surveillance by any element of the united states government, either before or after election day 2016. this is particularly important because those two men pictured there have the highest of security clearances other than the president and the director of the cia. they have the evidence available to them. so, this is conclusive, would you say, ari melber, this is conclusive that nobody has information that any microwaves, toasters, coffee makers, people or phones or computers in trump tower were being surveilled by the united states government? >> i think it's an unambiguous and declarative statement of the intelligence chairs and, thus, significant. unfortunately given the politics it may take more time for somebody in the same party. >> i hate to use the word
conclusive -- i don't want to lawyer you but until we hear from director comey and the primary sources of this information, what in parlance of intelligence -- >> which we may never get? that may be too high level of clearance? >> i think we'll get something because of the way the president has done this. normally we wouldn't get it and the president who complains about leaks has conducted himself in a manner that is forcing people to publicly discuss or leak more about the very material that he says shouldn't be publicly discussed, paradox or hypocrisy, take your pick of what you want to call . the point i was getting to is r conclusive, final determinat wuld want the originators of this information, not just the secondary sources. the intel committee has the authority here to get all the information, but the originators are the folks who do wiretaps. that's the fbi or in some cases an intelligence operation overseen by federal intelligence surveillance act court that was set up in the '70s do deal with
these precisely concerns, because it's a powerful way to do information out of the church committee that found malfeasance. there's a long and rich history which is how we know what we know, which is why we know from the beginning that a former president directly oversaw wiretapping of a political opponent. >> so, we're very close to completely shutting the door. this statement, as you said, i agree, breaking news on a bipartisan basis that what president trump has claimed for two weeks has no basis. >> we have legislative issues to deal with on capitol hill. we have a health care bill under attack from pretty much all democrats and some republicans. we have a budget that is not meeting with everyone's approval on the republican side. what is this whole episode do as we prepare to move on, elise? does this help? is it republicans in congress? is it putting this behind them and hoping another one doesn't show up so they can get down to the business of governing for
the people of america or is this a wound? >> i think this is probably what we're going to get used to in the era of trump. he's going to throw out unfounded statements and his supporters are going to back him up or try to step it back. i think we'll see a pattern. but as supporters consistently get burned by this president, by going out on a limb and vouching for him when he doesn't have all of his information there, it does start to erode his power and it really does weaken his position. >> robby, a little close to home, but you see him at these r rallies. didn't seem to be hurting him last night in tennessee. so, where he thinks his base s by the way, he was right and everybody else was wrong, where he thinks his base is, they don't seem to care. >> and i think that's where some of what's going on is very strategic. so, i think two things matter right now. what's in this budget, what's in the health care bill and how that will affect peementz lives, what did the russians do and were any americans involved in
it in any way? guess what, we're not talking about either of those things. we're talking about whether donald trump told the truth or not. i think it's actually very strategic on his part to mix it up, keep us up here talking about anything but what really matters. and i think part of -- part of the reason that's being done is his core promise on this campaign. certainly in the data we saw about why he did so well in these really red areas is because people thought he delivered jobs, he would make life better. i think the secret of his budget and this health care bill is it's not going toake things better. i would actually argue it's going to make things worse. i'm from vermont where heating is a big issue in the winter. he's slashing assistance for people to heat their homes. that's just one example. we're not spending time talking about that. i think that's deliberate. >> let's talk to one of the people who makes these decisions, illinois republican congressman adam is with me now from capitol hill. thanks for joining us. quite an afternoon there. you're on the house foreign affairs committee. i want to get into russia with you as well, but obviously anybody from congress who steps in front of that mike is getting
the first question about the chairs of the senate intel committee, republican and democrat, saying there's no evidence of wiretapping at trump tower. your thoughts? >> yeah, this isn't any surprise to me or really, to be honest, no splice to anybody out here. i think it was a long stretch to say that president obama wiretapped him. and i think the white house really ought to explain this. as you've seen them try to step it back a little bit, inc. the president seemed to have doubled down. that's a concern. so, in seeing this, yeah, looks like there's no evidence of it. that's kind of my impression, too. let's just move on. >> by the way, in moving o i may have to interpret you when sean spicer shows up. let's talk about the thing i was just talking to robby mook about. you have things to do in congress. you have a health care bill and a budget to deal with and you've got russia to deal with. that is a matter for you. by the way, your budget that you guys are being presented with shows a 29% reduction in state department funding. that's got to be of concern to
you. >> yeah i think it's a nonstarter. as a military pilot i can tell you a 2,000-pound guided bomb is expensive. the unsung heroes of foreign policy, it's important to make sure they're well resourced in order for conflict prevention, so i think that will have a hard time getting any traction out here because they've been doing more with less for a long time. we're already under sequester in the first place. >> are you able to get a hearing when you tell people it's not an either/or game, it's not military or diplomacy, it can be both? >> i think so, but have you to be willing to explain it. you go to liberia, which i was in recently, and you see what the u.n. or state department is doing there to stop that from devolving back into a massive civil war, which it's been in the past. so it's those kind of things where you show people examples of the good work that's being done and how that saves us. the next generational war on terror.
making that not to become isis fighters but instead to have opportunity. >> nikki haley said on the "today" show that the president shouldn't be as friendly with russia as is he. she said, quote, we should never trust russia. you got to deal with russia. this is all unfolding. yesterday we found out the yahoo! hack situation could be allegedly tied directly to fsb. donald trump is inconsistent on what he says about russia. what do you think about how we need to approach this very complicated issue? >> i think we have to see them as a strategic competitor. they're intending to rebuild the old soviet empire piece by piece. we need to be aware of that. we need to reassure nato. we need to make their 2% gdp commitments while we make our commitment as well. frankly, vladimir putin will advance until he hits that wall. he hasn't hit that wall yet. to put that wall down, we're not looking for war or conflict, but we have to stand up.
>> typically nato has been that wall. nato and eastern europe has been that wall. we have sent mixed messages. if you're lindsey graham and john mccain the message is, we're here with you all the way to the end. if you're donald trump, maybe we are, maybe we aren't, who knows. >> it's been a little inconsistent, obviously, from this administration from the words there. but the actions on russia have been pretty solid and pretty good. when we see nikki haley come out and reaffirm nato and things like that and talk about crimea and crimea is not part of russia, it's part of ukraine. those are important messages. i give some of this potentially that donald trump has not been in politics before. he's new to that. he kind of looks at this as i can strike a grand deal. the problem s every administration has tried to strike a grand deal with russia and it's bit them pretty badly. >> let me ask you about health care for a second. i talked to somebody yesterday in your shoes who said the left digs in, they want a compromise, the left digs in, the fiscal conservatives say this is a
nonstarter. there is an answer to health care somewhere if enough people would talk to each other. it all seems to be politics and who's getting the win and who has more support. how do we fix this? >> look, even in my party before this bill was even released, the usual suspects were out bad-mouthing it on television saying its not quefshtive enough or whatever. we need conversations. we have to have the dialogue. i happen to think this is a pretty good bill and it can be improved on, there can be some changes. that's fine. we're willing to discuss it. but i think we need to get back in politics i general to where both sides of the aisle can take a deep breath, recognize we're not going to agree on stuff all of the time, maybe not even most of the time but getting back to having grown-up conversation instead of this left/right food fight. >> thanks, congressman. adam kinzinger, republican of illinois. we're keeping an eye on that white house press briefing room. sean spicer expected to kick
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we're back with breaking news minute now white house press secretary sean spicer will walk out. we'll see if he addresses a joint letter signed by the co-chairs of the senate intelligence committee, two very senior republicans. republican and a democrat. which says, i'm reading here, based on the information available to us, we see no
indications that trump tower was the subject of surveillance by any element of the united states government, either before or after election day 2016. we're waiting for that comment. i want to go to our fantastic panel. we have robby mook, former campaign manager for hillary clinton, elise jordan, msnbc political analyst and former rand paul campaign senior adviser, ari melber is with us, and malcolm nance there. hi, malcolm. let me go to you, elise, real quick. this is -- rand paul has come out. he's one of the senior republicans who have come out and said this health care bill's going nowhere. >> and he's followed by senator tom cotton and senator ted cruz. i think you're seeing formidable opposition against ryancare, essentially, and the messaging out of the white house is not terribly enthusiastic for this bill. you have president trump immediately out of the gates
saying, this is up for negotiation. this is the last thing the speaker wants to hear about a bill that he felt was pretty ready to go. i think this bill is really in trouble. >> that's going to be another line of questioning. malcolm nance, i feel safer with you around. now i feel like i can look at my microwave as it's heating up my porridge and not think it's listening to me. what do you think of the debunking of the allegation that trump tower was wiretapped? >> this is absolutely amazing we have to have the two ranking members of the senate intelligence committee come out and tell us that the president trump of the united states did not tell the truth about a subject. what has to happen now is are we going to be due an apology? not just to president obama, who appears was slandered to a certain extent, but to the nation that president trump may be getting his information from other sources that are unreliable. this is going to be very interesting. >> robby, i remember donald
trump -- when i was at cnn, i interviewed him when he said, any day now my investigators are coming back from hawaii with evidence that barack obama is a kenyan-born muslim. you guys kind of got caught in this. he does this. he didn't apologize last time. he's not going to apologize today. those folks in the white house press room are going to ask for that. >> exactly. again, this is where this is all a distraction. thk whatmp does not want do is get in the middle of the health cardebate. he doesn't want to have to explain his budget in any detail. this is an amazing distraction for him particularly distraction against the facts of russia. step back. we know that trump aides were talking to russian agents. we know that because they were picked up on legitimate wiretaps of russian agents. so, this is a great way to avoid talking about that. and block that. so, that's why i'm hoping addition. >> it's a set amount of time and it will come to an end. >> it's working pretty well right now. i'm very happy that a democrat
and republican jointly said, there's nothing here, so hopefully we can move on and get to the facts of what happened with russia and make sure it never happens again. honestly, i think we need more of this. i think we'll start to see a habit both members of the aisle clear the record and move on. >> we have wiretaps, russia, health care, a budget. that's not all the breaking news we have. federal judges blocked the president's travel ban last night. one in hawaii, one in maryland. somebody might get a chance to ask a question of sean spice other that. what happens next? >> i think your question picks up where robby's question leaves off. i disagree partly with the premise because i think it only speaks to the lens of attention. donald trump obviously a master of attention. and attention is a currency in washington and society. and the economy, if you want to talk about that. it matters and it affects it but is not the only layer. you asked about the travel ban. this so-called distraction strategy, if that's what people believe it is, has not worked on
the travel ban. indeed, i would argue some of the statements made by people who work for donald trump, people who advise donald trump and the president, donald trump himself, have all been cited by multiple judges in blocking the travel ban. if the goal is to make due on promises or govern, which is a fairly straightforward proposition, some of the attention or distraction strategy, the bluster, the language, the sweeping claims, is backfiring in the courts. this was a do-over, a re-up. it's now blocked for a second time. we're going to see how that plays out. to your question on sean spicer we'll expect to see a more fulsome reconciling of what donald trump the candidate said -- excuse me, the president said last night, sounding like a campaign at a campaign rally talking about how this was a watered down ban, how he likes the first one better, which was blocked, that they rewrote for very specific reasons. >> there was an interesting
juxtaposition last night because at that campaign-style rally -- he calls it a campaign rally. he did say this is a watered down version of the first one. i think we should go back to that one. elise, i had a chance to speak to the attorney general from hawaii earlier today. here's what he told me. >> the department of justice representing president trump went to great pains to urge the court to just stick to the supposedly neutral text that's in the four corners of the document. our argument is context matters. that's based on supreme court case law. it's based on establishment clause. they can look to see what are the statements that we made behind the supposed neutral language. >> if you are one that believes maybe our immigration system is lax and we could do with more vetting or investigations or figuring it out, this context is
ruining the argument. the talk of a muslim ban. the tinges of racist is sweeping into the supreme court where the justice department says, don't look at the context. >> we can't unhear what we heard. >> what's incredible about this entire process with this executive order is they really can't get away from the poor staff work on the very first executive order. and their statements have consistently gotten them in so much trouble throughout the aftermath. they put out this order, it was a disaster, incompetent, images of people being held up by government ineptitude. now that they have the do-over in the interim, you have stephen miller saying, newt one will be just the same as the old ones, that the courts are objecting to. >> as has happened, the president making those very same
comments. at some point, robby, does speak to the idea that a campaign needs to end and governing needs to begin and they can't always happen simultaneously. >> that's a good point. i think ari's point was really important, too, but i think this is -- i'm not trying to gratuitously attack trump's chashg teshgs but does he care about results? does he care about outcomes? on some days i think it's just about winning. it's getting out there and winning the day and preserving that coalition he built in the campaign. i think the people feel their lives were hurt or promised a bill of goods, i think you might start to see that crack. that's what i'd be worried about right now if i were steve bannon or anybody else. what does the president eventually have to show? i agree. i don't think he's getting the outcomes he wants. i don't know how much the president personally cares. >> i think that's a really important point, just on the competency and results and what you're going to see. you see how the staffing of the
federal government has literally -- it's stagnant right now. you see these agencies tasked with implementing trump agenda, there aren't people there to carry out his orders. you have a lot of power concentrated in the white house and when they tee up, you get this sloppy executive order that can't go anywhere. >> malcolm, are you still there? i want to bring you in on this. we were talking to kelly o'donnell at the capitol. we're still waiting for that press conference. kel yfs talking about the fact that the hearing next week where james comey is coming to the capitol are meant to continue. now this is going to shift almost entirely to where the conversation was supposed to be in the first place. that is the trump campaign's ties to russia and the trump administration's ties, if any, to russia. is that going to happen? are we finally going to move forward with that conversation? might we get as speedy and swift an outcome as we did to the microwaves in trump tower conversation? >> i don't think you'll get a speedy answer to that.
principally because they may discuss next week about whether american citizens in the trump campaign were swept u through deliberate or incidental colltion. that's a possibility. but the overall big story here is the fact that russian intelligence carried out a major cyber warfare operation against the united states. if you can get that off the table first, which is going to take a lot more than just the senate intelligence committee hearing or house intelligence committee hearing, that's going to take deep analysis, maybe a blue ribbon commission. for the most part, you answer that question and that is naturally going to bring in, well, who benefitted from this and how did they benefit from it and was there any collusion inside of that? i don't think this issue is going away any time soon at all. i think it's only going deeper and deeper down the rabbit hole. >> still waiting for sean spicer. we'll take a break. if he comes back in between, we'll come back. otherwise we'll see you on the other side. fun in art class.
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running late today because moments before the press conference was supposed to start, the senate intelligence committee, a chairman, republican, vice chair, democratic, issued a joint statement, based on the information available to us, we see no indication at trump tower was the subject of survllance by any element of the united states government, either befe or after election day 2016. those to men are very high up the food chain when it comes to getting intelligence information. malcolm f you're here, can you explain that to us briefly? these two guys have -- is it as good as it gets with access to intelligence? >> that's correct. the chairman and senior ranking chairman of the intelligence committee have almost the exact same clearances as president of the united states with regard to access for intelligence. as you might not know, most intelligence activities must be approved first before they're carried out by agencies like the
cia and the department of defense has a little looser rules. >> malcolm, i have to ask you to hold for a second. peter alexander is standing up there. let me go to him before this press conference starts. peter, what's going on? it's 45 minutes after when this presser was supposed to start. >> reporter: i can't tell you that. it was supposed to start 45 minutes but 15 minutes before this scheduled news conference that's when it release came out from the senate intelligence committee not only saying there was no indication of any wiretapping but no indications of any surveillance broadly before, during or after the 2016 election. as you can imagine, on a day when the white house was expected to be talking about, defending, reinforcing the budget blueprint, instead they're going to be defending, fending off a lot of questions about the president's claim that president obama wiretapped trump tower during the course of that campaign. among the questions reporters in this room certainly want to ask the president, presidentrump through his press secretary, does he accept the findings of
this? will he apologize to president obama? we're already getting some indication of what we think he'll say. there was a consideration, sean spicer just had, with laura ingraham on the radio where basically he said we think over the course of the next couple weeks we'll get more information about exactly what president trump was referring to. this keeps with the theme we have heard from this white house. first they expanded the meeting of wiretapping to all surveillance. that's been shot down by the senate intelligence committee. base on the comments weave seen from spicer today on the radio, it's not entirely clear they're willing to accept these findings at this point. they may want to stick around and see if there is any evidence, anywhere that may still come out. >> i have your back. we have
a camera perpendicular to you so i can tell you if sean spicer is coming out. you made mention sean spicer was on the radio on conservative radio host laura ingraham's show and he said, quote, the president's been very clear. wiretapped to most americans doesn't mean actually as it did back in the '70s and '80s. when you would unscrew the bottom or top of a rotary phone and insert a device that would
then monitor it. that's the days gone by when technological. that's how it occurred but i think the president was speaking very
broadly. that's why it was in quotes. fyi, i don't know if you were even old enough to know when you could screw the bottom of a phone off. certainly my panel, nobody was born at that time. i think people were clear we weren't taung about actually wiring a phone. >> reporter: you're right. this is a day when the white house has a lot of questions to answer. first of all, on the issue of the travel ban, which alone is a significant news story right now. the second consecutive time, revised travel ban, blocked by a district court in hawaii and a court closer to washington, d.c., the maryland. there's that issue. there's the issue of the wiretapping, the issue of the health care plan where it stands with paul ryan among those acknowledging there have to be significant changes to going forward. so the white house has a lot of explaining to do on a day, not the least is this wiretapping issue which deflects from the
primary focus that was intended to be the focus of this hearing. mick mulvaney was supposed to come out and talk about the president and this america first themed budget. i travel home on air force one sterdafrom tennessee with the president. about five minutes before we landed he came back and visited with reporters and camera persons very briefly. and he was in good spirits, even after -- almost immediately after his travel ban had been knocked down. he was in a good mood. he said, i loved seeing the people. good crowd, good people, good spirit. he looks to hit the road but there was no case he was frustrated by the travel ban. on stage he did show some fire and said he thought basically that this was judicial overreach. >> he said it was a watered down version. it's 2:48. one hour and one minute ago this news came out. my colleague ari melber was anchoring at the time. that would have been about 13 minutes before sean spicer was
scheduled to start this meeting i would imagine the senate intel committee didn't give the white house enough of a heads up to be ready for what was going on. we're probably watching prep time going on right now. >> i think that is a reasonable inference to draw. there is a little late, really late and we have a problem late. >> that's now -- >> an hour after with all these roerlgts sitting in that room, i would add that for folks who have been in that reporting where peter is coming from, there's that room we're looking at. right behind that there's a clutch of desks. very small, tight quarters, a narrow hallway and then the hallway right over there to the oval office. >> if we have that other shot, i don't know if we have it or not, but the room is full of reporters. >> it's packed. for our viewers, they say, what are we waiting for? we're waiting for an extremely delayed press conference on a day that was supposed to be the budget, about president trump's vision but because he couldn't help himself and doubled down last night on fox news about
these unsubstantiated wiretap allegations, then here we are, as you say, by 1: p.m. with a rare bipartisan rebuke of those claims, which is significant. so for students of this young trump presidency, this is another day that was supposed to be about one thing, the budget. supposed to be proactive. based on the conduct and words of president trump, there was rebuttals on different topics that have really overtaken this. my point about the geography is not to give a geography lesson. it's to say, there are a finite people the press secretary could be speaking to right now while everyone waits for him to come out. one could potentially be the president. >> let's go to kelly o'donnell. >> reporter: i wanted to check in because of this long wait, i wondered, could it be possible the current president is speaking to the former president. i reached out to the office of barack obama to see if, in fact, there was a call being placed. no suspense here. his spokesman says there has been no call. we've been keeping tabs on this and we're told that not since
the inauguration have donald trump, the new president, and barack obama, the former president, spoken. in addition to that, with this new development from the senate intelligence committee, which effectively clears barack obama of this allegation made by donald trump, president obama now a private citizen, i'm told to expect no statement from him. his office had commented earlier on. they're going to just let this lie, so to speak and not engage any further. so i just had -- i thought it was worth checking out, could there be a communication. >> that was a good gut instinct. i wouldn't have guessed that one mylf but worth checking to see if such a call took place. pet peter and i were just talk. he made a reference to sean spicer's interview with laura ingraham and he echoed that the president said. i now have the audio of that. i want to play that for you.
>> i think more evidence and information will be presented to show exactly what he meant but one of the things that we want to be clear is the house and the senate intelligence committees have an obligation and have talked about their desire to get to the bottom of this. they're beginning that process. >> peter, that was -- that was today, 24 hours ago. not even 24 hours ago on fox news. president trump said to tucker carlson, more evidence will be forthcoming. those are my words. but they were holding onto this thing not even three hours ago. >> reporter: you're exactly right. the good news for this white house, this would indicate there was no fisa warrant, no court order. the bad news is it would also indicate president trump made up information based on what is no information about any surveillance or wiretapping taking place. you have to sort of map out what you think is happening behind those doors right now. sean spicer surely speaking to other advisers, perhaps even the president right now, trying come up with what their best plan of
action is going forward before they come out and speak to the american people. one conceivable solution would be, he was wrong, he spoke to soon. that's not something we've heard from this president or this white house. it seems unlikely based on what we heard spicer say within the last couple of minutes or matter of hours on that talk radio show. separately you happy they double, triple or even quadruple down on this issue and say, we're still not satisfied. we still believe there was surveillance based on all the information or reports the president has seen. i wouldn't be surprised if he turns it back on the media today. sean spicer has said a lot of this information came from what he read from variety of individuals and articles what he likes to describe as fake news. >> what's your best bet. >> reporter: i would love to see an afro but that's doubtful. i think it's likely he comes out and sticks to the script. >> hang out there, peter, as long as you can.
another piece of silence for us. we're 53 minutes -- 54 minutes into silence from the white house after a press conference was supposed to begin. vice president pence was just at the senate to swear in dan coates as director of national intelligence, former senator dan coates. a reporter tried to ask him about this breaking news. here's what he said. >> vice president pence, the senate intelligence committee says there's no indication that the trump tower was wiretapped. do you gree with the assessment? >> if you weren't able to make out what vice president just said in response to the question, nothing. he had no response to it. this can't continue for too long. i want to ask you about this. this is up. they can't -- mean, we're watching silence in action right now. what's "the washington post's" new slogan, democracy dies in darkness? i don't know what happens in silence. they have to come out at some point. >> this reminds me of the day the "access hollywood" tape
leaked. not as dramatic but another time we were waiting, waiting, waiting on a response from the trump campaign. apparently from accounts of that meeting, they were in debate prep at trump tower. suddenly senior staff started peeling off to formulate a response. all of a sudden president trump is left like, something really is going on here. i wonder behind the scenes they're clearly putting together a response. i wouldn't be surprised one bit if the president was in the middle of formulating that response. >> let's take a quick break while we wait for sean spicer. stay with us. ved upstate because i was interested in building a career. i came to ibm to manage global clients and big data. but i found so much more. ( ♪ ) it's really a melting pot of activities and people. (applause, cheering) new york state is filled with bright minds like victoria's. to find the companies and talent of tomorrow, search for our page, jobsinnewyorkstate on linkedin.
breaking news. just over one hour ago the senate intelligence keshgs the chair, the republican chair, richard burr, and democratic vice chair, mark warner, issued a joint statement. i'll read it to you. based on the information available to us, we see no indications that trump tower was the subject of surveillance by any element of the united states government, either before or after election day 2016. now, this happened just over an hour ago, 13 minutes before the white house press conference, which you're looking at on the left of your screen, was supposed to begin. that has not begun. there has been no word from the white house. they're waiting for sean spicer to ask what happens next because this is the -- two senators with the highest intelligence clearances saying that there was no surveillance. not wiretapping. we're not mincing words. there was no surveillance of trump tower. we're going to stay on this story, as you can see, we're waiting for that press conference to begin. my colleague, kate snow, takes over for me right now.
>> we didn't expect this either. we thought we'd already be deep into sean spicer's press briefing. i want to check in with peter alexander, who i think is still with us at the white house, or do we go to chris jansing? we've got peter. sorry, peter. a little confusion on my part. so, we're waiting for the briefing to start. obviously a big news day. you just heard ali read that statement. know we can't presume what's holding things up here, but we would imagine they'll have to have a response to that. >> reporter: i think we can safely presumehey are formulating what their answer will be to questions abo this wiretapping claim. now the senate intelligence committee's findings there are no indications of not just any wiretapping but of any surveillance more broadly having taken place at trump tower before, during or after the 2016 election. this, in effect, has been an issue that has been dogging this white house for now much