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tv   MSNBC Live With Hallie Jackson  MSNBC  March 22, 2017 7:00am-8:01am PDT

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but the art of this deal is more about the math, and it does not add up right now. it's why later on this morning, nbc news has confirmed the president will make his pitch to freedom caucus members. those are the republicans most opposed to this thing. and at this moment, democrats are pouncing with former vice president joe biden on capitol hill right now to rally democrats to resist. you can see it live. we're going to bring more of it to you live when it begins. i'm also talking with congressman eric swalwell who will be at that conference. team trump still not able to shake russia stories. with new developments breaking this morning on the president's former campaign chair paul manafort. the reporter who broke this story is here live. we're also watching what on any other day would be our number one headline. day two of questioning for supreme court pick neil gorsuch. to say it's a busy day would be yet again an understatement. kasie hunt is over at the white house --
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a meeting set to happen later today at the white house. what options does the president have left to bring many of these republicans, many opposed to this bill, on board? >> well, hallie, i think at this point, the demand from leadership here to the president or rather the simple, hey, this is the reality is that he needs to close the deal with these conservatives. i think they feel they've done everything they can from the leadership perspective. the question is whether the president and vice president can figure out how to get where these freedom caucus members want them to be on policy without alienating so many moderate members of the caucus that they can't pass this bill on the floor. that's going to be the delicate balancing act. leaders in congress are counting on the fact that they don't think these conservatives at the end of the day will stand on the house floor and tell trump no. tell the president no. but again, this is not a group of people really the leadership
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have had a lot of success work with. there is a perception among leadership that they want to be able to have a seat at the table. okay. that's what they've gotten. we're down to the wire here. the last day for this vote. they're getting to go to the white house. they have that seat and are being listened to. they've proven their relevance. the question, of course, are they going to change their minds here at the last minute, hallie? >> behind you, democrats, former vice president joe biden and others are out there trying to rally in support of the affordable care act, seven years after its passage. is this them just sort of railing at windmills at this point, making a political point rather than accomplishing something substantive? >> this is where we'll see the former vice president joe biden along with democratic leaders here. there's a little bit of strategy here. one thing that's worked with some house members is this argument that this bill could never pass the senate. don't walk this plank.
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democrats are trying to talk about things that would prevent that. some procedural back and forth saying this is never going to get through. i think at the end of the day, they really don't have much recourse. this is going to be on speaker paul ryan. i will say if you'll enjoy me in a show of bipartisanship. there's a golden retriever puppy named biden here. it belongs to a staffer that's a republican but that's biden. >> thank you very much. i know you'll have a very busy day over on the hill. i want to get to the white house where it was extremely busy. kristen welker is there. we were talking about this meeting the president has with these freedom caucus members. our count, right now, 27 republicans who are leaning no or opposed. 21 is the magic number. so the president has to flip at least six of these lawmakers. how is he fine tuning the hard sell given that he has billed himself as the key closer throughout this whole campaign?
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>> well, that is what republicans are hoping for who support this legislation. that he is going to finish and close strong. i am told it is all hands on deck behind the scenes at the white house. the president even working the phones himself. he's going to stop by a panel on health care for women a little bit liter on today. he's also going to meet with his legislative team. his strategy right now is to essentially turn up the heat on republicans. we saw that on dilayll day yesterday. last night when he spokeo republicans at their party dinner. and then earlier in the day when he went to meet with house republicans on the hill. his message to them is that, hey, this is why we got elected. this is what voters expect from us. if we don't repeal and replace obamacare, don't take this chance, we'll pay for it at the polls. he's been calling out individual lawmakers. yesterday during that meeting talking to congressman mark meadows saying you might not get re-elected if you don't back
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this bill. meadows is not afraid of not getting re-elected. there's some last-minute arm twisting here. the question is, will republicans be swayed by that argument? the white house making the calculation that they will be. the other important point of this, though is what happens even if it does pass the house? they don't have enough votes in the senate. one top official telling me their focus is on the house. they'll worry about the senate later. >> if they even get that far. kristen welker, thank you very much. i want to bring in julie hirschfield davis and msnbc political analyst robert costa. you guys heard kristen talk about the ways the president is trying to sell this thing. it's a little bit of arm twist, the intimidation factor, the charm offensive. paul ryan said, hey, he's joking when he says he's going to threaten these lawmakers if they don't go along. what's your read? >> i was at the capitol all day yesterday and this morning and they know that trump is making kind of a veiled threat. they know he wants to conjoel
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them in a pleasant way for now. he doesn't have deep ties to the congressional gop. if this bill goes down, he could turn on them. >> press secretary sean spicer was asked about this over the last 24 hours. is the president really going to like get out and primary lawmakers who don't back this bill? for now we're going to stay looking at the positive side of the coin, julie. do you buy that? >> i buy they want to stay looking at the positive side of the coin but it was no accident that president trump brought this up yesterday and said to meadows, i'm coming for you and said to the rest of the conference -- >> reportedly with a smile on his face. >> with a smile on his face but threatening jokes can be made with a smile on your face and everyone can laugh. my reporting was that everyone took it in sort of a jovial way but the underlying truth is there that they know that he is willing to break with them and if this bill doesn't come out the way he wants it to if they fail to pass it, he could turn on them in a moment. it's a unique dynamic for a president talking to his own
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party about something like this. you look back at how barack obama did this when they were trying to muscle through the original obamacare. it's the right thing to do and your constituents will support you for it. this is the other side of that coin completely. it's really more of a -- you need this maybe more than i do, which is not necessarily true but that's certainly the argument the president is making. >> you are so right. the president is in a tough situation. you look at his career. he's a transactional businessman. the people he's meet with today, the freedom caucus, they're ideologues. they know -- they like president trump. they want to see him have a -- >> mark meadows has made that clear if anyone is going to get it done, he can. >> but trump can't give them what they want. a ideological, deeply conservative health care bill. >> let me play for you something said just this morning, talking about the chances this health
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care bill is going to go through. listen. >> we go into tomorrow's vote with confidence that we're going to keep that promise to the american people. we really do believe that when you lower the cost of health insurance that the congressional budget office has greatly underestimated the number of americans who will use those new tax credits to have health insurance coverage. >> so let me put this back-to-back with our graphic showing the number of republicans who right now in the house say they cannot back this bill or they are leaning against it. there's 27 of them up there. mike pence is confident this is going to get through and you look at that graphic. is there a universe in which he's correct? >> you have brian fitzpatrick from bucks county, pennsylvania. it's a moderate district. then a lot of freedom caucus members. moderates concerned about the changes to the medicaid expansion. conservatives don't see this as a conservative enough bill. i think this is a real challenge for the speaker. the president is relying on speaker ryan to get this through the house. as of last night and this
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morning, there is still, i'm told, 25 to maybe even 30 nos. the strength of those nos is debatable, but that means the bill fails as of now. >> let's talk about the politics of this for these republicans. we know the president is going hard. he's got that meeting he's going to drop in on with his cms administrator. the meet with the freedom caucus members. when you talk about these republicans opposing the bill at the moment, 22 are from states president trump won. they won their seats by an average of 30 points this past election and 14 of them won by 25 or more points. these men and women are comfy where they are sitting at home. >> the white house will say that the argument that the president is making is, look at the percentage by which the president won in your district and understand that having campaigned on repealing and replacing obamacare if you don't do it now, you'll be held to account. you hear members like mark meadows say, i'm worried about
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my political survival if i support a bill that's not conservative enough for my constituents. they want to see a repeal. they don't consider this enough of a repeal. that's a tough place for the white house to be and since they're in this negotiation mode where it's like squeezes different parts of the balloon. if they squeeze the balloon hard enough so that the freedom caucus is happy, you'll lose some of those republicans in districts that hillary clinton won. if you do the opposite, the freedom caucus goes off the cliff. >> julie, bob, we'll talk much more about this in the avalanche of news today. but i want to go now to a live shot from capitol hill. this is, obviously, democratic minority leader nancy pelosi holding this rally right now. she is joined by former vice president joe biden and chuck schumer. all of this is rally resistance among democrats to celebrate the passage of the affordable care act seven years ago this week. it's a tale of two parties. democrats on the one hand celebrating that bill. republicans looking to dismantle
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it tomorrow. also this vote specifically timed to the seven-year anniversearies. a lot happening. we'll wait for the former vice president to speak. in the meantime, i want to bring in congressman derek swalwell, a member of the intelligence and jush committees. thank you for joining us. you're headed over to that news conference. let me talk about a couple of big topics. the democrats are united in opposition to what republicans want to do on health care. a lot acknowledge this is still a law that is flawed. what do democrats do now? how are you going to be working with republicans to fix any of this, or is this just all about resistance and letting republicans own this? >> good morning, hallie. and president trump may be worried about who pays for this at the polls. i'm worried about who pays for this at the doctor's office. and so right now, we're open to anything that can lower the cost, expand the coverage but under their plan, you'll pay more. and if you're not going to lose your coverage, you'll know somebody who is going to lose
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their coverage. if you are an older american from 50 to 64 you'll see your premiums go up under an age tax. if they want to come work with uwe're open to that. but this is something that's being rushed through. no democratic ideas have been accepted. and without knowing what it's going to cost, we'll see it put up for a vote tomorrow. >> you're talking about what older americans are going to feel under this new plan. last-minute modifications to put more money there. it's something the senate would have to do, not the house. is that change not good enough forever you? does that not go far enough? >> under the affordable care act we looked at an individual's income. that's where you received assistance under a premium subsidy. here it's still a tax credit and they're able to charge up to five times more than younger americans for people between 50 and 64. that is just unacceptable and that's going to hurt my parents. that's going to hurt a lot of people who are the same age as my parents and also young americans.
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millennials today are moving from job to job to chase economic opportunity. and insurers can charge a 30% surcharge if your coverage lapses. this is bad for everybody. we hope they come back to us and do everything to improve the affordable care act but this is going down in flames. >> do you think this vote is going to happen tomorrow in the house? >> they are rushing it for a symbolic reason, not because they've been working or collaborating over it. they want to repeal it on the seven-year anniversearies of the affordable care act. i don't think that's wise. we should move baseod what has the votes, not symbolism. >> i'd like you to weigh in on this new story looking at paul manafort, the former campaign chairman for the president's then campaign saying he worked for a russian billionaire a decade ago to try to push the interests of president putin. can you tell me how this would affect your committee's investigation? >> the dots continue to connect around paul manafort and his ties to russia. and we are seeing that it's not
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just the deep personal political financial ties that donald trump and his team has with russia. we want to now know, did these ties extend to helping russia during the interference campaign and are we seeing dramatic changes in foreign policy toward russia because we owe russia something? because they helped these individuals. >> given that, are you going to subpoena paul manafort to appear in front of this committee? >> our investigation will not be complete if he does not testify. he should be subpoenaed. also, i'm calling on the president to suspend any foreign policy related to russia. any changes, i think, need to be put on hold until this investigation is cleared up. >> is that realistic given the threat many of your colleagues talk about coming from moscow? >> i believe we should not embrace moscow anymore. we should not reduce sanctions. we should not do anything to threaten nato's check on moscow. so until the president is cleared under this investigation, until the questions about moscow's influence on the president and his team, i think we should put
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on hold any changes with policy toward russia. >> some of your democratic colleagues, maxine waters in particular, have raised the "i" word. impeachment. is that something that is in your view, a tactic democrats should pursue? >> let me raise a different "i" word, investigation. we're in the first inning of our investigation. there's a lot more evidence to follow. n let's see where that takes us. >> your take on impeachment, though? >> too early. too early. i still think we want to review all of the evidence. i want to see the president's tax returns in our investigation. i think that would be quite illuminating as to what his ties were to russia. but we're not there yet. i think we need to follow all leads and pribring all of these witnesses before our house intelligence committee. >> you did ask director comey about those tax returns on monday. he said they may be helpful in an investigation. do you have an expectation that you'll get the returns and will your committee see them? >> i hope they get the tax returns ghd financial dealings the president had with russia.
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i'm going to be asking and my colleagues expect that will be a part of our investigation and review of his tax returns. a full review. not just the cover sheet, but a full, in-depth review. >> congressman swalwell, thanks for joining us. much appreciate it. coming up next, we'll be joined live by one of the associated press reporters who broke that store about paul manafort. what he discovered about his ties to a putin ally and russian billionaire. the following ad is being condensed for your viewing convenience. so i just switched to geico. what took you so long? i know, i saved a ton of money on car insurance. that's what i'm talking about! geico also gives you 24/7 access to licensed agents! booooyah. good game, you really crushed it. no son, geico crushed it. ♪ ♪
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are there any ties between mr. trump, you or your campaign and putin and his regime? >> no, there are not. that's absurd. and, you know, there's no basis to it. >> that was former trump campaign chairman paul manafort pretty clear last july in his denial any of ties to the russian government. this morning, have you seen this? the associated press is out with an investigation, new documents showing manafort worked for a russian billionaire. back in 2005. chad day works on the ap's washington investigative team and is here to talk about his new reporting with us. and back with me, robert costa and julie hirschfeld from "the washington post" and "new york times" respectively. chad, let's talk about what you've uncovered in some of these documents you've obtained. if you had to highlight the nuts and the bolts, how do you boil this down. >> according to the documents we've reviewed, paul manafort
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worked for a russian oligarch. this was in 2005 while working in ukraine. but that during that time, he also pitched him on a very broad political influence campaign that he said would be geared towards benefiting the putin government. >> he's a familiar name to those of us following paul manafort and his business dealings overseas. tell us about his ties to vladimir putin. he's an interesting guy this oligarch who made his money, his fortune in the aluminum biz, right? >> he made his fortune in the aluminum biz but is known as a close ally of vladimir putin. actually there's some wikileaks cables from earlier about 2006, 2007 that show him being one of the top two or three oligarchs close to vladimir putin. >> paul manafort is responding to your article. you have it in your piece. the same statement given to us at nbc news from manafort saying i worked with oleg deripaska
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representing him on business and personal matters in countries where he had investments. my work did not involve representing russian political interest. talk about what paul manafort is trying to do here. he's acknowledging he worked for derepaska. there's other documentation showing that he did. at the same time he is saying i wasn't pushing russian interests. tell me if that's believable to you. >> so the documents that we're looking at and the documents we're talking about are paul manafort's own words. so what we also know is that there was a multimillion-dollar contract that he signed with mr. derepaska to do work in eastern europe. there's a lot we still need to find out and a lot of questions we still have. >> a source close to manafort is telling us he believes manafort used flowery language to try to sell derapaska on signing another contract or doing business with him. do you get a sense that's a case we may see manafort make down the road? >> it's possible.
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i will say that, you know, this was a very extensive document. it's multipages and imoutlining a political influence campaign. he put a lot of thought into this. the paragraphs that talk about -- gearing this plan towards benefiting the putin government was very specific. so we'll see, you know, as hopefully there will be more and more that comes out from mr. manafort to answer some questions about this. we reached out to him. he did get the same response that you did but we'd love to hear more. >> you, the house intelligence community and a lot of others. chad day from the ap, thank you for joining us. somebody on capitol hill who is talking about this is senator lindsey graham. just before he headed in to one of the meetings on the hill, speak with one of our producers. i want to play it for you what he had to say. listen. >> that would be very disturbing, if true. if, in fact, he did receive money from a russian billionaire close to putin and the goal was
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to come up with a plan to push back against anti-russian movements and former soviet countries. that would be disturbing because that's basically taking money to stop the spread of democracy. >> julie, do you see this becoming a political flashpoint for republicans on the hill. >> i think it already is and this story makes it more intense. we did hear from the white house yesterday that mr. manafort had earlier this week that he had very limited role in the campaign which seems odd since he really had a substantial role even running the republican national convention over the summer. and seeing this story this morning made me wonder whether the white house actually knew that something more was coming in the way of revelations about paul manafort and trying to get ahead of that. for republicans on the hill who are trying to insulate as much as they can the president from the potential consequences of this investigation, this makes it more difficult. >> the white house, we asked for reaction this morning on this
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story. sean spicer, the press secretary, telling us it would be inappropriate for the white house to comment on a person not a white house employee. effectively radio silence for the moment coming out from the press branch although we'll see what happens at the briefing. it seems the strategy has been to try to distance themselves, distance president trump from some of these folks who are caught up in this discussion about any russian ties. is that going to be an effective strategy with somebody like paul manna foafort who was the de fa campaign chairman for months in this campaign. >> he was the campaign chairman. that may be the white house's strategy. we all covered the campaign. paul manafort ran the republican national convention. his former campaign partner was a strategist to then candidate trump. and manafort the liaison for trump within the republican party, within official washington. there was no one closer for a good eight to ten-week period in the campaign, post corey
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lewandowski and manafort was the chief confidante of the candidate. to say he had a limited role is not an accurate statement. >> this is something we'll be hearing much more about. you heard congressman swalwell say we have to subpoena paul manafort, we will. >> thank you, guys. hang tight. much more to talk about including overnight north korea launching this test missile again. this one exploeding right after liftoff. what is the message that kim jong-un is trying to send? we're talking about it after the break. will your business be ready when growth presents itself? american express open cards can help you take on a new job, or fill a big order
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we are back with a check of your headlines. a friend of dylann roof has been sentenced to 27 months behind bars for misleading the fbi in interviews right after the shooting. roof shared his plan to kill parishioners with meek right before it happened. he later denied any knowledge of it. let's get a check of your markets. opening a little lower after the dow dropped about 240 points tuesday. really, the most significant decline since the election, the biggest slide of the year, why is it happening? experts say it could be because of perceived delays in president trump's business friendly
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agenda. this morning in brussels, belgians marked one year since the suicide attacks that killed 32 people. they held memorials here at the brussels airport and the subway station. they are still on their second highest terror alert level. we want to take you live to capitol hill where at this moment a senate defense subcommittee is about to hear from defense secretary james mattis and joint chiefs chairman joseph dunford. we're following new action out of north korea. overnight pyongyang launched another test missile. this one exploded within seconds of liftoff. nbc news has learned that north korea looks like it's getting ready to launch another missile in a matter of days. i want to talk about this with hans nichol and bob costa and "the new york times" julie hirschfeld davis. what do we know about this latest missile launch from north korea and what could come next? >> look for responses in terms
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of flyovers. we already saw that with the b-1 flyover as part of the joint annual operations. hallie, what's concerning here at the pentagon about these tests is the consistency of them and the persistence. everyone here at the pentagon is expecting potentially more tests. they see this happen with regularity. there's some big deadlines and big dates coming up. april 15th is when the grandson, the initial founder of north korea has a birthday. what's also concerning here is every time they have a test, even though it failed, and let's be clear, this test failed moments after launch. they destroyed a vehicle next to the viewing stand. every time north korea has a launch, they learn something new. one final thought, they still don't quite know at the pentagon whether it was a scud or musudan. the scud is what we saw a couple of weeks ago. much more elementary rockets.
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musudan has a farther range but the north koreans have been having some difficulty with that one. >> hans, what are we expecting to hear from secretary mattis and the joint chiefs chairman at the hearing on the hill? >> the front -- the top line will be justification for more money, supplemental request. in some ways, the pentagon wants less money than some congressional committees are willing to give them. this is the first time we've heard from secretary mattis as secretary. will he be questioned on the raid in yemen? questioned on more troops for syria? and just what the u.s. response to north korea will end up being. guys? >> hans nichols, thank you so much. i want to bring back in our panel. let's pull up this headline from politico. hill republicans are growing frustrated with mattis. some defense hawks grumbling that secretary mattis hasn't pushed for more defense money. others are disappointed in his staffing decisions. what is going on? >> my sources inside the white house say they are still trying to staff up the pentagon.
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a lot of these under secretary positions remain to be filled. there is a push inside of the trump administration for this $54 billion increase in defense spending. it's going to cut other parts of the government. it's a hawkish view inside of the administration. mattis is still trying to build his relationship with the president which is so important for cabinet officials, particularly with this administration. >> bob, thank you much. i want to go back to capitol hill because former vice president joe biden has arrived. there he is. let's listen in live as he tries to rally democrats around health care. listen. >> when we did the affordable care act, one of the things i said and the president said and others behind me said, we know just like when social security was passed there would have to be improvements made. we'd watch it and see what happened. and the improvements are all doable. they are all within our wheelhouse. you don't have to take this act which has been incredibly beneficial, not only, by the way, to individuals but total
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health care costs in america. what has happened and you're making the point. every one of the folks behind me has districts in their state or in their district where the opioid epidemic is real. 1.4 million people who are able to, who are addicted to opioids being able to get the mental health care as well as the drug treatment needed to be able to move them into a position where they can regain control of their lives. elimination of this, the costs are enormous. the cost to law enforcement, the cost to the community. there are so many, so many hidden costs that will be resurrected here if this is repealed. but you've been standing here a long time and it's cold. let me cut to the chase. this is -- there's nothing fundamentally changed in the
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republican party in the last 12 to 15 years except they have a president now who is a little more colorful. >> that's a polite word. >> that is a polite word but it's about time we're polite. here's the deal. when you cut to the chase, we're talking about eliminating close to a trillion dollars in benefits that go to people to be able to meet the commitment we made that health care is a right and we're transferring all of that to the wealthy. that's what this is all about. it's about a transfer tax basically. eliminating the affordable care act means eliminating an awful lot of things that people badly need in return for what? so the 0.9% increase in taxes for people making over $250,000 couples can be returned to them.
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so that drug companies and insurance companies and medical device companies can benefit? it's a transfer of about a trillion dollars from those folks out there to everybody in this country. that's what it is. and that's classic republican politics. >> that is former vice president joe biden speaking on the steps of the capitol. some of the crowd shots, people there holding signs as he gets back to the hill to try to rally democrats against the republican plan to repeal and replace obamacare. we're going to stay on capitol hill with a live look at neil gorsuch's confirmation hearing. another huge headline. this is day three for him. we'll take a look at what we can expect later on and a report card on how he's been doing so far when we come back. internet dial up sound hi, i'm the internet. you've got mail! what did you think i'd look like? i'm wire-y. uh, i love stuff. give me more stuff.
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we are dipping in live to capitol hill where the supreme court pick from president trump, neil gorsuch, is on day three of his confirmation hearing. day two of questions from senators on that committee. he's settling back in the room after roughly 11 hours of testimony yesterday. quite the marathon. i want to get to chris jansing joining us from the hill. the president of the constitutional accountability center is also joining the conversation. chris, over to you. we've heard quite a lot from neil gorsuch over these last 24 hours or so. talk to me about the stand out moments and what we've heard so
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far today. >> dianne feinstein went after him on a number of issues that are critical to progressives. abortion, euthanasia at the top of the list. she talked very movingly about how when she was a judge, she had to sentence women to prison for having an abortion, how she lived in a time when college students had to raise money to send someone to mexico or women committed suicide. and she tried to really get a sense from him of where his beliefs were. and a lot of people who have looked at this carefully, because he's never written about this specifically, have looked to his work on euthanasia. he's written a whole book about it. here's part of the exchange. >> a book in my capacity as a commentator, my doctoral dissertation before i became a judge. i'd have to tell you, as a judge, put that aside. and we talked about that.
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but i'll talk to you about what i wrote in the book because i think that's fair. what i wrote in the book is i agree with the supreme court in the cruz ann decision that refusing treatment, your father, we've all been through it with family. my heart goes out to you. it does. and i have been there with my dad, okay. and others. and at some point you want to be left alone. enough with the poking and the prodding. i want to go home and die in my own bed in the arms of my family. and the supreme court recognized that's a right in common law to be free from assault and battery effectively. >> there was a very respectful exchange there but dianne feinstein was very clear also that she wasn't convinced saying you have been able to avoid specificity unlike anyone i have ever seen before. and if i can just really quickly, i will refer to the part of the book that concerns a
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lot of people who believe in a woman's right to choose. human life is fundamentally and inherently valuable and the taking of life by private persons is always wrong. and so this is going to continue. you have a long day to go. 20 minutes each for every member, which would bring us to about six or seven hours. a lot less than the almost 12 hours of yesterday. but we expect more of those difficult exchanges, hallie. >> chris jansing there, perched right above that confirmation hearing. thank you very much. i want to bring in the president of the constitutional accountability center. elizabeth, you just wrote a piece for the huffington post reacting so far. gorsuch an originalist? senators should make him prove it. explain your argument. >> this is an important job. y he had a long hearing yesterday. a lot of questions asked to him. but that's appropriate. this is the supreme court of the united states. so he claims to be an originalist, someone who is faithful to the text and history of the constitution but hasn't
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really explained that when it comes to a lot of issues that are important to a lot of people. whether it's the right to choose an abortion, voting rights, free speech rights to donate as much cash as you want in the democratic process. so what i wrote and what i think we should expect from him today, what we should expect if he wants to be confirm tot the supreme court is to explain more not about how he'd rule in future cases. he's right. that's off limits. but how he feels about the constitution and how it relates to cases that have been decided. he did that with respect to the fourth amendment which protects against unreasonable searches and seizures. it was a nice moment. he explained the original moment and how it related to a 2012 case the supreme court decided about putting gps trackers on cars. why can't we see that with the 14th amendment guarantees of protection for all persons n marriage equality or abortion. >> how would you rate his performance so far. his hearing so far. if you were to give him a report card, what would it be?
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>> it depends on whether you came in wanting to support him or were skeptical. his supporters think he's coming across at the genial fisherman that a lot of the republican senators asked him about. i think a lot of the democratic senators and some progressives are a little concerned thinking he's been evasive on questions. he was asked if he thought brown versus board was correctly decided. he kind of walked around for a long time before he gave the answer that, yes, i think it was. so a lot of people are frustrafted with his inability or unwillingness to answer questions. >> senator feinstein even in the last 45 minutes talked about how she believes he's been able to avoid answering questions. his supporters do see him as frankly unflappable here. he hasn't been thrown by some of these questions. robert and julie, one of the things we heard in the line of questioning was about whether he could set himself apart from president trump. does the white house care he's trying to distance himself, or
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is that the expectation? >> i don't think they care at all. maybe president trump personally cares when he said, yes, i could rule against the president if that were the right thing according to the law. but this process, the way the white house has run this has been about as smooth a thing as has happened since president trump was inaugurated. that's just how they want it. they understand these hearings are about him not getting himself into trouble, portraying himself as a person who would be independent, who would be beholden to no one, follow the law and the constitution which is what everyone says they want and particularly conservatives who voted for president trump. if you look at some of the polling and even his closing argument in the campaign, this was their top priority, to have a conservative justice on the supreme court. so i think they're just fine with him putting as much distance as he wants between himself and the white house. >> julie, bob, stick around. elizabeth wydra, thank you for being with us. we're heading over to rex tillerson talking just minutes ago at a meeting of the coalition to defeat the islamic
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state. representatives from all 68 countries in that coalition of there. we'll have more on its significance. and a report the state department is trying to reschedule a nato meeting. why we care, on the other side of that break, next. ♪ can i get some help. watch his head. ♪ i'm so happy. ♪ whatever they went through, they went through together. welcome guys. life well planned. see what a raymond james financial advisor can do for you. cohigher!ad! higher! parents aren't perfect, but then they make us kraft mac & cheese and everything's good again.
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as if we didn't have enough news today, we've got some action at the state department. earlier this hour, within the last 45 minutes, secretary of state rex tillerson gave opening remarks at the trump administration's first meeting of the global coalition to defeat the islamic state. representatives from all 68 countries in that coalition are get together today as the state department tries to manage relations with another international coalition, nato. joining the kfrgss is felicia schwartz, state department reporter f reporter. i want to talk about the significance of this meeting today and this new strategy to fight isis. is it a new strategy or an old strategy they're now going harder at? >> i would say it's more of an old strategy they're now going harder at. they might add some things, take some -- move some responsibilities to the
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battlefields, but in his remarks today, tillerson emphasized fighting isis online, increasing intelligence sharing. these are things the obama administration also emphasized. >> felicia, you have a piece out in "the wall street journal" talking about how the state department is trying to reschedule this april nato meeting. the president will go to the nato gathering set for late may. are u.s. allies concerned about this administration's commitment to nato? >> it's very unusual for a secretary of state to miss one of these summits, especially when it's the meeting that comes right before this may gathering of all the heads of states. and then when -- and on top of that, that secretary tillerson is likely to participate in a meet with x gi jinping and trav plans to russia. nato doesn't seem to have top billing but the state department
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is trying to work with them. >> the secretary of state is skipping the nato meeting to be as the summit with the chinese leader back here in the u.s. valid reason? >> the state department won't go on the record and confirm that, but they just say his schedule isn't working. but it seems like he will be in that meeting. there are some -- we talk to some former officials, current officials who say china and russia, these are tough issues that the secretary should really dig into but a lot of current and former officials have suggested he could probably find a way to do both, that both are important. >> felicia schwartz at the state department. >> as we talk about our relationship with international allies abroad, i want to play what former dhs secretary jeh johnson said about the security challenges facing this administration. let's listen. >> i actually believe donald trump has the potential to be a great president in sort of the nixon goes to china way or reagan goes to the soviet union
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way. i'm very concerned about the tweets, obviously. and very concerned about the direction we're taking in a lot of national security areas. and it comes to homeland security, we're going to be fighting the last war. we may be responding to the terrorist attack of ten years ago versus the next one. >> so that's jeh johnson. talk about how you see rex tillerson fitting into this picture. is he leading the foreign policy charge here? is somebody else? who is calling the shots? >> formally, he's leading the charge in the sense that he's secretary of state. as we've seen in administrations past, secretary of state does not necessarily mean you're the key person on foreign policy. my reporting tells me that jared kushner, the son-in-law and senior adviser works closely with tillerson. >> what's the relationship? >> they talk near daily. they confirm about tillerson's upcoming remarks. and kushner made sure tillerson
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gets on the phone with the president. when we come back, much more to come. stay with us. it's time for the "your business" entrepreneur of the week. naila ellis brown inherited a secret family recipe for hibiscus tea. she's trying to build it into a national brand. but she says she needs help. we answered her call and now she's getting a "your business" makeover. "your business" sunday mornings at 7:30 on msnbc. let's party! [kids cheering] [kids screaming] call the clown! parents aren't perfect but then they make us kraft mac & cheese
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marie callender's. it's time to savor. there'try phillips' fiberway to ggood gummies.. they're delicious... and a good source of fiber to help support regularity. mmm. these are good. we are back with breaking news coming out of london. i want to get to kelly cobiella overseas to tell us about this attack near parliament? what do we know? what do we not know? >> we don't know a whole lot just yet but we'll get you the facts as we see them at this point. we understand, according to a tweet from the metropolitan police here in london that there was some sort of firearms incident at or near the parliament building in central london. the parliament building, obviously, the head of government here in london. it was a very active day. would have been full of mps and lawmakers today. we aren't yet clear on exactly what happened, whether shots
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were fired, how many people were injured. we have several different reports from witnesses, including from the reuters news agency. a reuters photographer saying that six people were injured on westminster bridge. that's the bridge that you often see in that beautiful shot of parliament over the thames. we also understand that there were reports of two large bangs outside of parliament just within the past hour or so. parliament is now in lockdown. one witness said that they saw medical staff helping two injured people inside the gates of parliament. what's unclear right now is whether there is someone potentially on the loose, whether someone has been stopped by police and how many are injured. as far as we know right now, met police calling this, quote, a firearms incident. we'll keep an eye on it and
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bring you better facts as soon as we get them. >> kelly, i know it's all still developing and sister earit's s early. do we have any estimate of how many people are inside? have they begun evacuations? any sense of how that's developing? >> we don't have any information about evacuations. what we've been told is that it is on lockdown. this is a very busy day at parliament. it's wednesday. that's when they hold these prime minister's questions where the prime minister comes in, addresses parliament. you've probably seen this on tv. it gets very heated and there's a back and forth between lawmakers on policy. so this would have been a very, very busy day on parliament. it would have been -- there would have been lots of mps and potentially the prime minister, although we don't have any information on whether the prime minister was in the building at the time. >> kelly cobiella in london, i'm sure we'll be hearing from you in just a few

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