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tv   MSNBC Live With Hallie Jackson  MSNBC  March 31, 2017 7:00am-8:01am PDT

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week. what are the white house officials saying? well not much for now. >> i'm not talking to anything. >> i have no idea. >> can you tell us anything, any information about the current investigation going on by chairman nunes? >> nothing to say. >> we got a lot to talk about and an all-star team with all of the developments. another meg a ga panel, kacy hunt on if hill, pete williams and plus two other reporters behind today's bombshell reports here with us, carol lee and on the set, matteo gold and msnbc contributor jeremy peters of the "the new york times." lots to discuss. hans, first to you. start with what the white house and what the president is saying about these overnight developments related to the guy he basically fired six weeks ago, mike flynn. >> reporter: the question is how kindly did he fire him.
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if there's any distance, any dilating between president donald trump and michael flynn, well michael flynn will have a chance to exact some revenge or set the record straight. that's why we see this tweet overnight from president obama clearly telegraphs that we wants to say friendly, friends with michael flynn. here's what he said mike flynn should ask for immunity and this is a witch hunt by media and dems. that seems to me like an attempt by the president to let michael flynn know that they are still friends and that michael flynn should be friendly if he offers any testimony under immunity. >> hans nichols there. it's interesting because the republicans talked a little differently about i nmanntimmun it related to hillary clinton. here's what michael flynn told our chuck todd six months ago. >> five people around her have
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been given immunity to include her former chief of staff. when you've given immunity, that means you've probably committed a crime. >> flynn's eventual boss saying the same tune as a candidate on the campaign trail. >> the reason they get immunity is because they do something wrong. if you're not guilty of a crime, what do you need immunity for. right? have you ever seen anything so corrupt in your life? if they're going to give him immunity, what are you wasting your time for. >> we're going to talk more about this with carol lee from "the wall street journal" in a second. but for now to pete williams. pete, there are questions about what immunity is and what it is not. and walk us through this, right. it's not a blanket agreement where you can't say you can't prosecute me for anything. there's going to be some kboe negotiations. >> but if you get immunity from congress, it makes it difficult for prosecutors to charge you
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with a crime. what you haerds trump talk about is a different kind of immunity. this is congressional immunity. the committee or the full congress votes to give you immunity, they go to a judge and the judge grants it. the attorney general has 20 day to think it over but nay can't stop they can't stop it. when you give somebody immunity, what it means is that whatever they say in their congressional testimony cannot be used against them in prosecuting the crime, it can't be used to generate leads. the problem is that is a purely technical matter. but as a practical matter when you a high profile case like this, national testimony, televised across the country, it's very hard for the prosecutors later to say we managed to disentangle all of this, we learned about all of this separately. as a practical matter it doesn't give you a get out of jail pass forever. it simply says whatever you say in congress cannot be used against you.
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it's rarely granted by congress. i think the last time was 2007 when congress was investigating the firing of attorney generals. but there's a policy issue here. which is more important, uncovering the truth, getting it out in front of the public or making sure you don't do anything that would jeopardize prosecutions. and congress may have a strong argument that it's more important to tell the story than get prosecutions. i would say this is just smart lawyering on flynn's part to raise his hand early on saying hey we're happy to come up there so it doesn't look like they have anything to hide. >> thank you for that perspective. i want to go back to the white house where we've got carol lee from if ""wall street journal."" you broke this story, kind of a bombshell that came out. what do you now about why he and his team ended up making this request? >> reporter: we don't know what the request is, we don't know
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what general flynn is saying he would be willing to talk about in exchange for immunity, the specifics. but as the general flynn's lawyer's statement says, their view, their argument is that this has become a very politicized investigation in that there are a number of things that have been reported that they feel are unfair. so they don't want to put him out there to testify in a way that they feel might expose him. now, separate from that, there are a number of things that are in michael flynn's background that they may be concerned about. you know, he's had connections with the russian government in a sense that, you know, he's been paid tens of thousands of dollars to, you know, whether it's giving speeches or consulting and he's had owe foreign government clients, namely turkey. we know that he was interviewed by the fbi at some point early on in the administration. and so we don't know what was
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said there. and he has obviously the reason why he was -- he resigned from his position in the white house was because he was not being truthful about some of his contacts with the russian ambassador. we don't -- there are several things that we don't know. what we do know is that in recent days they've been having these conversations and so far they have not gotten anywhere. they're still ongoing. >> any time line on that or tbd? >> reporter: it sounds like when you talk to people on the hill that it's going to take some time. it's not clear that they -- you know, if you want immunity, you have to have something to offer and you have to show, you also have to demonstrate that you're going to be truthful in your testimony. and so that is a process that would take a lot of time and it's not clear even now that they would, you know, want to exchange whatever the exchange would be for whatever michael flynn has to say. and obviously his lawyer said he has a very, you know, real story to tell. but you know we don't know
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exactly what that story is. is it a story about his contacts with russia? is it a story about what he learned or experience during as an adviser to the trump campaign or the white house or the transition? we don't know and so i think it's going to take a little more time. >> carol lee at the white house. thank you very much. i want to bring in our panel now, casey hunt is up over on the hill for us to jump into the conversation. i want to come to you in a second. to set the table here, this is 71 days wi, guys of this administration. time line is going to take a little longer for this. you've got, as you're dealing with the flynn stuff, you have the whole devin nunes stuff on the hill. all of it connected in a web of discussion and headlines. casey, i want to go to you to talk about the reaction from the hill because there's been reaction from flynn on the flynn story from adam schiff, for example and it ties into a house
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intelligence committee inve investigation into russia. >> reporter: sure. there's been so much confusion i think over the course of the last week as far as what is up and what is down. adam schiff held a press conference yesterday that was hastily called down outthe secure location on the house side of the capitol and hi was asked, are you going to release the names of the people you want to interview. you said earlier today you guys were working on that. and he said well this day kind of got away from me, like all of these days do now. i think even these members of congress are surprised by the head-spinning pace of all aftth. mike flynn has made the request for immunity in his testimony to congress. adam schiff tweeting this morning, the public should learn a lot more about why general flynn wants i moneymmunity when
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yates testify. another kind of clue filled with some innuendos. he does not say why it is that he believes that sally yates might have formation. we do know from that letter that sally yates's attorneys wrote that she was planning to discuss the warnings that she had made about flynn's potential openness to blackmail from the russians. so you could concede that perhaps this is part of it. but again we just don't know about this point. an and on the house intelligence community, they're trying to reschedule the open hearing that was to feature sally yates, clapper and brennan. but at this point there's no indication that will be rescheduled and that house intelligence investigation, they were u trying to get it restarted on friday but it's ground to a halt again. >> so casey hunt on capitol hill. in a second we're going to look at the big picture. if people are not plugged in minute by minute constantly it
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can seem overwhelming and a big mess. matthew. you've got the other bombshell sto story, which is about the -- apparently according to your reporting in the "the new york times" that has come out, two white house staffers apparently involved somehow in playing a role in revelations that devin nunes came out with. >> they're the ones who found the intelligence and gave it to h him. >> although the white house is not saying a peep about that. >> they won't deny it but they're saying why are you worried about the process, it's about the substance. what they apparently found were foreign ambassadors talking to each other, intercepting the communications kind of how they were ingratiating themselves to the trump administration. totally normal. and so this apparently came from these two white house officials, one found it, the other one kind of showed it to nunes and then
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it was shown to nunes. the next day he goes out on capitol hill and has a press conference like he's being given something like a whistle blower and runs back to the white house to brief president trump about information he got from white house officials. >> which sean spicer says doesn't pass the smell test. >> the call is coming from inside the house. >> what are you trying to do here? what is this theater they're putting on to try and portray them as somehow the victims. >> is that what it is? >> it's what it looks like. >> you're talking about a couple of these folks, mike ellis, the washington post, matteo is reporting, they're not saying anything. >> no. >> they're in the garages, walking down the street saying they have nothing to say, nothing to add a. do you think publicly we'll start to hear more or is this going to be put to bed? >> i don't want to make any predictions, b knowing thi administration we'll hear more because everything seems to get more detailed as we go on.
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>> does it seem like devin nunes was played here? >> you know, that's a harder thing to say. was he witting in this or useful to them. i don't know. >> what do you guys think in. >> it certainly wouldn't be unlike this white house to try to play people off one another, would it? i think that the larger problem here is that when you consider these scandals in the context of everything else that is happening, you have a travel ban that is being litigated in the courts for the president which is bad news for him. you have a budget fight that's about to happen on capitol hill. you have a supreme court fight that is about to go down. >> right. >> in a big way. you have tax reform which is going to be messy and you have this ongoing skirmish over health care. all of these things add up to no good news for this administration. >> what is the takeaway if you're tuning in today, if you have been living in a cave for the last 70 days and you've popped up, what is happening?
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>> which is most americans. people are not following every tick of the story like we are. the rallying cry that trump used on the campaign trail last year was vote for hillary clinton and you're going to put in an amount that will have a cloud of suspiciosu suspicion hanging over it and that's exactly a similar situation that his administration finds itself in today. for americans who are just sort of tuning in and out of this, all they're really getting as a takeaway is controversy and scandal, questions about russia. the administration's proactive messages are not cutting through that. >> speaking of russia, right, because that is the shadow that's loomed over this administration. and this morning the spokesperson basically for vladimir putn vladimir putin was out on if morning shows. there was an interesting exchange about the relationship and how that is unfolding according to the kremlin right now. this is dimitri press peskov.
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>> maybe worse taking into action of the present presidential administration. >> worse than the cold war? >> of course. of course. >> so of course this relationship is destined to be worse than the cold war, he says. do you buy that in. >> i don't think we're quite there yet. i'm going to date myself and say i was a little child at the end of the cold war. my classroom had the nuclear bomb drills poster. i don't see us getting there now. but look, the hostility is real and there was by all accounts a real attempt to try to interfere in the election and that's incredibly sheer yoerious. we're going to talk more about that kb deep diving into what we have learned about russia interfering with the
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election and we're going to talk more about michael flynn, senator blumenthal tweeting there should not be immunity for michael flynn until a special prosecutor is appointed. thank you for joining us here. you two stick around. coming up, we're talking more politics because president trump is fighting a different battle right now. we've got now reaction from how house freedom caucus members are responding. lots to discuss. hang out. over here! over here! no! (dog barking) whoever threw it has to go get it. not me! somebody will get it... ♪ (dog barking) anyone can dream. making it a reality is the hard part. from the b-2 to the upcoming b-21, northrop grumman stealth bombers give america an advantage in a turbulent world.
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so if you thought that fight between president trump and the house freedom caucus would start to be simmering down today, think again. a white house official telling the washington post quote, our view is there's nothing as clarifying as the smell of air force one jet fuel. if he needs to bring in a plane and do a rally, he's going to think about doing that. quote, mr. trump and white house aides are sick and tired of seeing freedom caucus people on television. bad news, here's thomas massey on "morning joe". >> they sent me to d.c. frankly to drain the swamp. and we were excited, you know, conservatives were excited when we heard that donald trump was coming to help us drain the swamp. but now he's taking advice from the swamp creatures.
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he's burning political capital with every tweet with the guys who came to d.c. to drain the swamp. >> here is john wagner back with me, matteo gold from the "the new york times" and germany peters. let's start with you. a white house official tells you this has been brewing for a while. how can it be a surprise to the west wing that not everybody in the gop gets along all of the time? >> well, that's certainly a good question. if they had watched the recent history of the last couple of years, it shouldn't a surprise that the house is somewhat dysfunction nal when it comes to big issues like this. trump discovered it in his own way and it's something he's struggling with now. >> how bad is the struggle? how real is it? >> it's very real if you look at health care. but given their agenda they want to do tax reform which is going to have a lot of the same fissures at play within the republican party. they have to figure out where their sweet spot is to govern
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from if they want to continue to try to pass bills with just republicans or if they're going to reach out to more moderate democrats which raises a whole host of problems. >> the can of worms and the can of worms. on what he calls how the freedom cause kus is undermining the gop. he says, we are the charlie brown party hoping that this time things will be different. but time and again the freedom caucus is lucy, pulling the ball out from under us, letting us fall. it's a cheap tactic, not a way to govern and enough is enough. freedom caucus is not going to sit count say just kidding, we're going away now. how does president trump and paul ryan work with these guys? >> if you look to the prurch's tweets, they accused him of acting like a fifth grader, accused him of becoming part of
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the washington establishment that he ran against. it's a very tough problem. i mean if the white house thought these guys were going to roll over and get in line, that at least hasn't happened immediately. we'll see longer term whether they do some other calculation about what's in their best interest. but the immediate impact can't be what the white house was looking for. >> john, i'm bringing in jeremy here. the president has thrown some shade, this idea that he's going to fire up air force one, head to the districts and maybe the implication is primary against the precome caucus members. how real is the threat, really really. >> trump may be serious about doing so but most of these people won their districts by larger margins that trump won. they came into office as repuicans but actually kind of before trump rining on this brand of anti-establishment sentiment that's really connected them to their
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constituents much more than to the national party. that's hard to dislodge. >> and you have everything kind of responding in this social media caldron. and going on cable news and tweeting about it and it's just -- they are so unresponsive to -- >> the social media caldron in which we live. >> they're so less responsive to the conventional governings. sure he can fly air force one into that districts and rally up the crowd but he's threatened to do that before and hasn't really pulled the trigger. >> a white house source said to me that the typical political pressures are not in play. how does this play out. what are we going to be talking about next week when it comes to the freedom caucus members. do you think we're going to see the jim jordans out on the sunday shows taking an aim. or is there a sense that maybe led by mark meadows, who has
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taken this right on the chin, maybe they'll sit back a little bit and let this die down. what do you think? >> we'll have to see. another variable is whether or not president trump is going to actually follow through on the threat in any real way. he's fired off a couple of tweets. >> named names specifically, right. >> and there are plenty of examples since he became president or people called out in tweets whose lives changed in dramatic ways. we'll see if that applies, any of that pressure really pmatter. and he hasn't gone to districts of wavering members yet for whatever reason, perhaps because the time frame was so compressed during the health care debate. he didn't get out there. it will be interesting to see if he holds more of his campaign style rallies in those districts and calls out members by name while he's there. if there's continuous pressure there's a chance that it will have impact.
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>> thank you much. stick around, much more to discuss. as we speak right now, president trump is over in the oval office meeting with condoleezza rice in the west wing. how much is the kremlin going to factor into today's conversation? stay with us.
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we are back now with a look at the morning's headlines. have you heard about the overnight huge fire in atlanta, caused a bridge to collapse in the fire was reported right during rush hour on interstate 85. you know how busy it is. authorities managed to turn back traffic before the bridge collapsed. nobody was hurt. people apparently saw the flames and stopped their cars before that collapse. atlanta's mayor says this is going to create a major long term transportation crisis for the city. no surprise there. just minutes from now, hillary clinton is set to take this stage here in washington at the annu yool awards ceremony. see eel talk about the critical role that women can play in politics. and president trump over the west wing is expected to sign two executive orders today
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focused on one of his key campaign promises, tough talk on trade. the first one calls for a trade abuses and second one tougher enforcement of trade law, hoping to keep foreign manufacturers from cutting prices. right now the president is meeting with a former secretary of state, condoleezza rice. it's happening as the current secretary of state rex tillerson goes face to face with his fellow dip lo mates in brussels saying the u.s. isn't going to touch russia untsirussia. they're redefining what candidate trump said on the campaign trail. very significant. we get the latest from matt bradley in london watching all of this. it sounds like the secretary of state hit these three key points in his talk today. >> it was rex tillerson's debut
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with the north atlantic treaty organization and it was indeed a much anticipated visit. tillerson spent his remarks touching on three main points, the fight against isis and containing russian aggression. these are long standing policy points that have carried over from the previous administration. but as you mentioned, he seems to be moving away from some of the points that donald trump himself had mentioned on the campaign trail. there's been a lot of that around here. but the big issue remains that to country's military financing. and remember, donald trump remarked several times during his campaign that european allies were getting a free ride off of american defense spending. now this isn't a new complaint. barack obama told nato leaders last year they had been complacent about their own defense. but today tillerson told his fellow nato foreign ministers that washington is spending a quote disproportionate share on defense spending and he called on nato leaders to form a plan
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to increase the spending by the time that donald trump meets with the nato leaders on may 25th. that's less than two months away and many european leaders say they have a plan. nato members committed to meet the spending threshold of 2% of gdp of 2024. tillerson's demand that germany demand its defense spending is totally unrealistic. tillerson was working against impressions that the trump administration doesn't care about nato. this foreign minister's meeting had been moved up to avoid a conflict of the visit from president xi jinping from china. >> it's significant that nato rearranged its schedule to accommodate the secretary of state on his first trip over there. let's talk about this. you've got rex tillerson on this
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trip overseas. back here in foggy bottom people seem to be kind of freaking out a little bit about his leadership. what's going on? >> my colleagues had a report today of an incredible sense of anxiety that's permeating the diplomatic core. because i think there's just been such a clamp down in communication and a sense of uncertainty about his philosophical approach to these issues, rumors are really flying wildly. and it's creating just a tremendous sense of unease about what direction the state department is going to go, especially at a time when the president wants to cut it. >> 30% cuts to the state department. concerns from some that rex tillerson isn't doing enough to fight for the agency that he needs. t it speems to an overall paranoia that you're talking about. but i wonder. he's a business guy.
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maybe he's running the state department like he ran a business, top down. >> and i don't think you can run the state department like you would run a business. you generally cannot run governmenty entities like they are businesses. and you see this time and time again with coes who come into politics and they're used to be autocrats. when you're a ceo, you can fire anyone, you can direct your employees and you have more latitude. as a head of a massive bureaucracy, that's a lot more difficult. you can't snap your fingers and things change overnight. >> when we come back we'll talk about the focus on russia, the house intelligence committee, its investigation into last year's election and the senate intel conducting its inquiry. the first public hearing of that investigation, stunning revelations with new fallout today. we're going to deep dive into this after the break. kevin kevin kevin
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not me! somebody will get it... ♪ (dog barking) anyone can dream. making it a reality is the hard part. from the b-2 to the upcoming b-21, northrop grumman stealth bombers give america an advantage in a turbulent world. and we're looking for a few dreamers to join us. . >> just look at that twitter feed that has real donald trump on it. if you look at the accounts, the outlets that are pushing conspiracies correctly at the president ybou're going to see where the influence comes from. they know that they can get into hi decision cycle with any son spearcy he'll bite on. >> talking about his testimony in front of the senate intelligence committee which as you know, as we know, looking
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into russian interference into our election. you've got those headlines. the headlines about mike flynn andmmunitimmunity. what do they tell us? let's bring in senior policy adviser and spokesperson for the counter extremism project. back with me, jeremy peeshts and matteo gold. in the last 24 hours after you heard clint watts over an capitol hill, this morning, a lot of open jaws. people's jaws dropping. he talked about the spread of disinformation, the spread of fake news, the sophisticated effort by russia. what does that operation really mean? how real is that and how much of an impact do you think it played? >> it's very real. you see russia taking the lead on this sorts of cyber propaganda claims. more information came out this was still going on, they cited
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against marco rubio, this was happening throughout the campaign. and one of the problems, which is washington post indicated this morning, you have campaign surrogates picking up some of the russian propaganda and recirculating the rumors only giving them for traction. in addition to that you have the behind the scenes hacking going on which is more troublesome. and then a third area is if they're able to hack into election infrastructure, election related tallying or numbers and we didn't see that in this election but that's a concern going on. but it is very congress. goes to the fundamental heart of our democracy in terms of information and in terms of our election system itself. >> so what can we do? the senate is looking into this but they're revealing the information. are they putting procedures in place? can they? >> you need to have resources in
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place, strong cybersecurity protocol, people checking to make sure there are not intrusions on these systemselec. on the information side, it's difficult to stop this part of thing. on the hacking side it's cybersecurity and also deterring the russians from doing this. taking actions in response to this. we haven't had strong deterrence on cyber hacking or cyber str t cybersecuri cybersecurity. >> you talk about deterrence. russia is denying any involved whatsoever. you heard from vladimir putin saying watch my lips, no. here's what deme tri-peskov has to say this morning. >> we insist that any blamings that russia could have been interfering in domestic affairs of the united states is lander. a no evidence at all.
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>> alexandslander and no eviden >> there's evidence worthy of 16 or 17 separate intelligence agencies all concluding in a bipartisan fashion that this was in fact the russians. we've seen this historically with the russians in other countries and up doubtly in this case there was russian hacking. whether it came out from the government or directed by the russians, the intelligence shows that behind the scenes. i think it's clear that the russians were behind the hack in the recent election. >> tara, one more question for you. put it into perspective. how does the testimony from clint watts play into what we're seeing with michael flynn and devin nunes. >> i think the real story people are looking at is whether or not there was any potential collusion, any coverup for corp mizing conversation, whether there was potential blackmail or any other criminal activity. so there's a wide spectrum of things that could be going on here. there's a lot of coincidences in terms of timing in russia
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meetings. there's a lot of misinformation coming out of the administration. i don't think we know what the actual story is but i think we'll hear more once people like flynn start to testify. >> that's a key point. we don't know the actual story. there's still a ton of question marks. we want to say sally yates and michael flynn, some of the other folks come out and say what they know. we're talking about it every day. how damages or maybe not damaging is that in. >> one of the most dramatic things that it thought was raised in the committee hearing was the idea that trump himself might have been an unwitting cog in this campaign by tweeting information and retweeting information coming from the russians. and it speak to a much broader national security issue. put aside this investigation. i think one of the things that really serious foreign policy experts were focused on yesterday, is that the russians do not have partisan alignment. they're in for their own interests. marco rubio had been targeted as recently as wednesday.
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and this is something that i think everyone is really taking a step back, what is going to be next, who is going to be next. >> when you mention the political implications of all of this, it's helpful to step back and remember. you had various investigation and scandals bubbling up for hillary clinton that in isolation people could very easily dismiss. the benghazi stuff, the private server. but eventually this all added up to -- the totali >> the totality of it. >> it takes it toll and that's risk for donald trump at this point. >> you mentioned, i think a cup l of them but there was one when clint watts talked about russian es and some nefarious doing. >> the other part that we should be looking at is follow the trail of dead russians. there's been for dead russians in the past three months that are tied to this investigation with assets in banks all over
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the world. they are dropping dead even in western countries. these are all huge opening to understand how they are funded by the russian government. i don't have the capability to do that from where i sit but i think that's a huge angle. >> conspiracy theory or la dwle? >> it's woork looking into. you've seen several that are dropped dead in the past five, six months. it's worth investigation. it's worth investigation when you see government officials lying about the meetings, the time of the meetings or whether or not they happened. it could be that there is actually more to the story, some fire where we see a lot of smoke. >> always great to have yush perspectiper speck -- our perspective. up next, a lot of folks are watching what may be a shift on syria when it comes to u.s. policy. less about this man, president bashar al assad. more about defeating isis.
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it's league night!? 'saved money on motorcycle insurance with geico! goin' up the country. bowl without me. frank.' i'm going to get nachos. snack bar's closed. gah! ah, ah ah. ♪ ♪ i'm goin' up the country, baby don't you wanna go? ♪ ♪ i'm goin' up the country, baby don't you wanna go? ♪ geico motorcycle, great rates for great rides. today we are looking at new criticism from some members of congress as the u.s. seems to shift its policy toward sere yawn president bashar al assad.
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secretary tillerson suggesting that removing him isn't really the priority anymore. >> i think the status and the longer term status of president assad will be decided by the syrian people. >> we also heard that sentiment from u.n. ambassador nikki haley, telling a small group of reporters, quote, you pick and choose your battles. when looking at this, it is about changing up priorities and our priority is no longer to focus on getting assad out. what does this mean? why does it matter? because it does. your assessment first of the policy shift and what it does as far as our relationships overseas? >> one way to look at it is nikki haley and rex tellerson are stating overtly what has quietly been the policy, even under the obama administration. the obama administration kept saying, assad has to go. he has to go. but they never did anything to make it happen. >> but john kerry was never this explicit. >> never this explicit. now, basically, haley is saying,
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we have other things to focus on. we want to make fighting isis the priority. the obama administration also considered isis the priority. >> what does this do, especially in the context of a lot of focus on the relationship with russia, as far as the optics of looking as though the united states may be shifting more toward where putin would like us to be? >> looks like the trump administration is once again accommodating russia to a degree. russia is basically going to have its way. it's been backing us militarily and has a lot of influence. iran is also a backer of assad. if we're going to say, removing assad is not a priority for us anymore, does that mean we're also giving iran an entree to stay in syria for a long time? >> there is criticism of this coming from capitol hill. members of congress. looking at john mccain, lindsey graham. mccain saying, ultimaly, the administration's statements could lead the true allies and partners of the united states in the fight against isis to fear
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the worst. a faustian bargain with assad and putin. lindsey graham saying, it is a great reward for russia and iran. >> you hear this talk from john mccain and lindsey graham. they're a little more bellicose in the way they'd choose to deal with assad. well, both of them ran for president. they're not president. donald trump is. >> sure. >> fact check, correct. >> they may disagree but they're not setting the policy here. you also have to look at this in the context of what is happening militarily with the change in the rules of engagement. and the loosening of restrictions on the military in terms of which targets it can go after and how allowable civilian casualties are. that's going to create another diplomatic problem for the united states. >> i want to -- do you agree? is that diplomatic problem going to be something we'll be in two weeks talking about? >> i think it is remarkable, if it weren't for the other news we've been talking about this morning, this would be the headline story. this is a huge -- even if it is
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a very subtle shift in policy, in diplomacy, every word is par -- has impact. the articulation, going after assad is no longer a top priority, is going to have reverberations. i think it underscores how distanced this administration is from a republican approach to foreign policy. it used to be that mccain and graham were the mainstream of what republicans were thinking when they were looking out at the world and the united states role in it. this administration is in a different way. >> politically, given what donald trump said on the campaign trail, the fight against isis being the top priority, do you see that, from the filter he'll be talking through, do you see this playing into it? i always wanted fighting isis to be the priority. that's what i'm doing. >> the challenge will be, people will say, if you leave assad in power, that's simply going to lead to more recruits heading to isis. a lot of people believe that assad's rule and the civil war
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in syria are one reason isis is thriving. so at the end of the day, if you want to truly eliminate isis, you're going to have to wind down the civil war in syria. >> we know that secretary tillerson is obviously very close to the administration. i wonder how secretary mattis is taking all this. >> my understanding is he is not as far out there as nikki haley and tillerson have been on this issue. one thing that is interesting is nikki haley has been making these comments. she's been more out front on this than the secretary of state. >> what does that say to you? >> well, it speaks to tillerson's real silence on a lot of issues of policy that everyone is really waiting to see. is he going to be the administration's leading voice on foreign policy, as has been traditional, or is he going to play a different role as secretary of state? >> will more come, for example, from the west wing, people taking over the foreign policy roles? >> exactly. there are not a whole lot of bright minds delineating responsibility in this administration. there's a lot of head butting
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and cross pollination. this is how trump always thrived. maybe thrive isn't the right word. he runs his white house like he ran his business. it is ripe with conflict. personality clashes and chaos. >> before i let you go, what do you expect to see? what do you think we'll see from russia, from iran, from allies internationally as part of the fallout from this? >> i think we're see some of the gulf arab allies be disturbed by this. they'll see anything that leaves assad in power as something that strengthens iran. they view iran as their biggest threat in the middle east. that's something to watch out for. >> thank you very much for coming on and for this perspective on what is a major story amid tens of thousands, it feels like, of other major stories. thank you guys very much for being here. we're taking a live look quickly at, i believe, georgetown university, where hillary clinton is speaking. she -- this is part of one of her awards that she gives out as part of a group that she's involved in.
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taking on donald trump, pay lir -- apparently. we'll talk more about it after the break. time for the your business entrepreneur of the week. this woman inherited a secret family recipe for tea. she bottles the drink and is trying to build it into a national brand. 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 msnb which. >> brought to you by american express open. visit open forum.com for ideas to help you grow your business. whoever threw it has to go get it. not me! somebody will get it... ♪ (dog barking) anyone can dream. making it a reality is the hard part. from the b-2 to the upcoming b-21, northrop grumman stealth bombers give america an advantage in a turbulent world.
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thank you much for watching this hour of msnbc live. that doesn't do it for me. you can find me on social media, facebook, twitter, insta, and on snap chat, a q&a later today. now, more news with chris jenning. >> thank you so much. the bomb shell that's rattling washington. ousted national security adviser
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michael flynn offering to take the oath and testify before congress about team trump's alleged ties to russia. flynn's lawyer says there is a story to tell. a top democrat says no immunity until there is a special prosecutor. also this morning, an nbc news exclusive. our cameras catching up with two of three white house staffers who tipped off nunes to the classified information. i'll talk to the "washington post" reporter who broke the story on the purported third source. >> i'm not talking about anything. nothing to say. >> nunes duked by the white house? a bold claim by nancy pelosi. >> was he used by the white house? >> he was duped. some can say, this is not fair to the american people. any moment, the president set to speak in the roosevelt room as he sits down with the national association o

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