tv MSNBC Live With Hallie Jackson MSNBC April 3, 2017 7:00am-8:01am PDT
hour. march is over. you're stuck with this april fool. you find me anywhere on twitter. right now to d.c. with my colleague hallie jackson. good monday morning. we're just up the road from the white house behind us. the senate judiciary committee is getting ready for their first vote on supreme court nominee neil gorsuch. these senators decide now whether it should go to the full senate. gorsuch is kbexpected to get th okay. what happens next? that's where things get happy and that's because senate look like they're going to stall and this means the republicans could pull the plug on the nuclear option. kristen welker ist the white house. we have our full panel here. let's get into it on many
monday. chris, first to you. what's happening now? are we seeing senators fill in for the committee vote? walk us in to the mood. >> it's at devcon one. this would be blowing ifrg up that we know about the senate to invoke the nuclear option. let me back up a minute as we watch the conversations that are happening inside the hearing room which is expected to get started any minute now. what you have just here in the senate judiciary committee, nine democratic members, seven of them have decided they're going to vote no on neil divorgorsuch. all of them unhappy that merrick garland never got a hearing. he was president obama's nominee for the supreme court. that leaves two. who to watch today, chris coons,
not a fan if you listen to the questioning. but he's very concerned about what it would mean if it goes filibuster and then nuclear. and the ranking member, dianne feinstein who has been tightlipped about this, did some tough questioning for 20 hours. she says she'll reveal today who she is going to vote for. take a look another this full screen. because the magic number for the republicans, they need five democrat to turn. these are the ones that are undecided and it's unlikely, very unlikely at this point people on both sides of the aisle say they that will get the 60 votes that they need. what's at stake here? well, if you're one of the democrats who lives in a ste where donald trump won or won handily, there are people w have said, members of progressive organizations, we are going to primary you if you vote for kneel gorsuch. on the republican side you have one group that spent $10 million
pushing for him. what's at stake here? well, consider the fact of how joining neil gorsuch is, just 49 years old. the oldest member of the supreme court is 83. conservatively estimate that if neil gorsuch is confirmed he will serve on this court for to 20 or 30 years and the democrats don't have any idea of how they'll vote on issues that are critical to them. >> just outside the committee hearing is our colleague casey hunt. i understand you just spoke with senator flaranken on hi was way >> reporter: i would say we tried to talk to senator fra franken. he's not a big hallway talker. as you were talking with chris jansing, i want to highlight one thing as well that is kind of an important part of this whole
conversation. there are a number of democrats who are up specifically in 208 -- 1018. those are the three democrats that we're seeing that right now are saying they're going to support closure for gorsuch. they'll vote to break the filibuster. they will vote to try to move neil gorsuch through the senate without invoking the nuclear option, joe man chun, donnelly of indiana and heidi high camp of north carolina. and they clearly are looking at this with an eye toward their general elections. jon tester in montana, clair miskas kill in missouri has made the opposite calculation. and each one of the senators have strong personal brands in their states. they said we're going to vote no. they could mean they're relying
on their personal brands but they're also in states where primari primaries might be a bigger threat. clair mccaskill has said she's potentially getting a primary. i'm going to walk and see if we can get the senator to chat with us. >> i'm going to let our viewers kno know, we're watching -- let's go back to kris sean see. >> if you can't get the votes, change the nominee, not the rule. that's a slap on judge gorsuch that's unjustified. no one could have chosen better. president trump did a good job of picking neil gorsuch. there's nothing wrong with neil gorsuch. what's wrong is the senate. >> reporter: thihis will lead to changing the filibuster
rules on legislaon after this? >> it won't with my vote but it certainly is the end of bipartisan on judges. we'll have a partisan vote on every judge at the circuit supreme court level. reaching across the aisle will be a thing of the past and it makes every open senate seat a referendum. that's what happens when you do it within one party. >> reporter: mitch mcconnell, the leader is prepared to go nuclear here? >> yeah. they have no other choice. we're not going to have a tradition of the senate where they get their judges and president trump can't get his. >> reporter: when do you see potentially a floor vote? >> at the end of the week. it's sad but it's where we are. i voted for sod mire. i said then i would vote for clinton's nominee if she won. but we've entered a new phase in
the senate. it will be a partisan exercise. no need to reach across the aisle. >> reporter: the real negotiations that are happening -- >> what is there to negotiate? sod do mire and kagan went straight to the floor. both of them got over 60 votes. >> reporter: so there's no goan that's going to fix this? >> best thing to do for gosrsuc is to give him and up and down vote. >> reporter: he said he was told it was the same intelligence that devin nunes. that's a little fishy, indicating that the white house gave the material to nunes in the first place. what do you think happened? >> i think the whole episode is bizarre. he did in fact receive intel from white house staffers and then to brief the president is a brief odd.
why can't they show the evidence what they've got. that whole episode was strange. i'm glad that schiff was able to look at the information. i hope every person on the committee can look at it. a couple of things. i want to get to the bottom of who's leaking. the president of the united states should be able to conduct a phone call with the foreign leader without reading about it in the press. leaking classified information doesn't help the cause. if some transition member was surveilled after the election and unfairly unmasked i want to get to the bottom of that. but the big issue is what are we going to do about russia's attempt to interfere in our election. to me john mccain said it was tantamount to an act of war. whether that's accurate or not, it's in the spirit of attacking our country. the russians tried to undermine the 2016 election. the republicans are in charge of the senate and the house and we should act to pun liish them we should bring a bill to the
floor to impose additional sanctions on the putin regime for trying to interfere in our election. they're headed to france and germany next, the russian. >> reporter: is jared kushner the right envoy for iraq? >> i'm glad he's going. the right person to be in iraq is the person the president will listen to. we had it in a gool spot, pulling out of the troops out screwed everything up. the rise of isil came direct fridayly from leaving iraq too soon. but we are where we are. if we don't leave a residual force behind this time this same thing will happen. and we need to put money on the table to help build iraq that was destroyed by isil. if jared kushner can come to that conclusion within an aid package to rebuild iraq that was destroyed by isil. i'm glad he's there.
>> reporter: do you think congress should give immunity to michael flynn? >> i don't know what he has to offer. the whole situation with general flynn is a bit bizarre. he said in the past nobody asked for immunity unless they committed a crime. i'm not sure that's true. as a lawyer i'm sure that's not true. >> reporter: what about the president encouraging immunity? >> if there were any contacts between the trump campaign and the russian television service, i want to find out about it. >> you have been watching senator lindsey graham live. it looks like say casey hunt har running shoes on trying to chase
down some people. >> reporter: i apologize we're running around the place here. >> it' great tv. >> reporter: you heard him talk on a variousty of topics, a little on neil gorsuch and addressing kushner in iraq, an interesting talk. lindsey graham has had some interesting words in the past. but he says look, he's got the president's ear. that will be a great person from that perspective to do it. and we caught up with chris coons. he's one of our critical people to watch in this hearing that we're about to start to show. he is somebody has that not set said he's going to support neil gorsuch or back breaking the filibust filibuster. you may see some of the senators vote to break the filibuster. but then turn around and vote against neil gorsuch.
these senators heading into the judiciary committee room as we speak. >> we've been watching senator grassley, senator feinstein up next as the judiciary committee gets set to go. we heard from lindsey gram a couple of things. he referenced this idea if you don't have the votes, you shouldn't change the rules, you should change the nominee. senator graham called that outrageous. talk to me about your reaction, your takeaway from his comments. >> there's two things to watch here. one is the residual anger over what happened with merrick garland and the democrats are more at risk to losing primaries than they are to hold off on something that will inevitably get triggered the next go around. but what senate graham said is exactly correct. if they end up pulling the nuclear option on this, it does seem to wipe out those last
embers of bipartisan that are not there very much to begin with. >> but in the senator more than anywhere else, right? >> and in the senate you've seen bits and pieces of it, like in this sort of pledge on the intel committee to get to the bottom of it or the notion that the senate would be kind of the deciding factor on a real health care bill that could actually pass. but when it comes to nominees, this ship seems to have already sailed. >> i want to get your take on this but first, becau i want to mark explain why this is such a big deal. in the most plain english that you can. this is something that a decade from now people could look back on and say yep, that was the turning point. >> there's nothing in the constitution that mandates a 60 vote or higher threshold but that's been adopted by the senate to foster a collegiality
consens consensus, unlike the house of representatives where you can push anything through with the bare majority of votes. but what this would end up doing, senator lindsey graham mentioned this well in that he would say if this nuclear option ends up going through, and that is changing the rules where you need a simple majority on those things instead of a super majori, 60 votes or higher, then that makes these partisan activi activitie activities. now senate majority leader mitch mcconnell and chuck schumer on "meet the press" on sunday, chuck todd asked them is the legislative filibuster the last thing that needs 60 votes going to be the next thing to go down. both of them said no way. but i think all of the momentum, everything that we've seen, it's a mat are of when, when you end up having a mere majority
instead of the 60-vote flesh hold. >> it's that exact slippery slope argument that we talked about with senator dick durbin. we're going to have that in just a couple of minutes. but i want to head over to kristen welker at the white house. a lot of this resolved around president trump looking for a win at capitol hill. what is the administration telling senators when it comes to going nuclear to get judge gorsuch on the bench. >> reporter: breaking news here at the white house. we just learned that president trump has been briefed on attacks in russia. they're monitoring that situation closely and we'll continue to bring you updates from if house as we get them. they're monitoring that overseas. in terms of watching what's happening on capitol hill closely, you'reabsolutely right. this is a president who needs a win. he's had a couple of rocky weeks because of the russians meddling
into the election. what is the message that they're sending to capitol hill? go nuclear. you heard president trump say that several weeks ago when he was asked if leader mcconnell should in fact invoke the clr option if it ces to that. and he' been very firm that he believes the answer to that question is yes. for all of the reasons that mark was just laying out, it's not the preferred path that this white house or that the senate would like to see. but the bottom line is they want to see neil gorsuch get confirmed by any means that is possible. they're going to turn up the heat, turning up the heat on the democrats as well because of course if they do get to eight democrats then they could avoid the filibuster, block the filibuster and get him past. the white house watching that situation very closely as they try to get a win. and president trump, by the way, meeting here with the egyptian president el-sisi a little later
on today. foreign policy on the floor at the white house. >> and on that foreign policy topic, we heard senator lindsey graham asked about this trip that jared kirchner has taken to iraq. senator graham said if he has the power of the presidency, yes, he is the right person to be in there. in ta talk a little bit about this trip. it was a bit unexpected. >> reporter: we found out overnight and it underscores the fact that he does in fact have the president's ear. what you just heard senator lindsey graham say. this is the president's son-in-law but also one of his top advisers. and for this president, loyalty is key. the fact that he's sending jared kirchn -- before his secretary of state has visited iraq just underscores the fact and underscores the fact that devicing a plan to defeat isis is on the forefront. so jared kirchner will be
thinking about that as he makes the unannounced stop in iraq. we've seen him essentially have his hand in other key foreign policies. in mexico he's helping to lay the ground work for the critical visit that the president is going to have at the end of the week with the president of china, president xi jinping. he also helps the president work on domestic policy, really highlighting the point that this is one of the president's closest advisers and he is of course family. >> christen welker there in the briefing room at the white house. as the president gets ready for a monster week, the president of egypt, jordan, china later in the week. he's also taken to twit tore talk about hillary clinton and questions about sur convenience lens before the election. but again the focus here today has been this senate judiciary committee hearing. the first votes on neil gorsuch.
this is senator grassley giving husba his opening statement, making the case on why neil gorsuch should be confirmed. we'll wait for senator diane di feinstein to give her opening statements. talk about the senator. he's a smart guy. republicans are not going to be in the majority forever. eventually the shoe is going to be on the oth foot. why is neil divorce gorsuch wor changing the rules? >> it was the last year and they felt like holding it off. even nobody excepted at that point that trump would be in the white house. it's funny you bring that up with mitch mcconnell. he was the guy in 2013 who said you're going to be sorry some day to harry reid.
they got rid of the filibuster for other cabinet nominations. which is why we're in the position right now. democrats don't have anybody else they can block. they can block the supreme court nominati nomination. and it's a question for both sides, short term gain versus long term gain. in the short term you can get gorsuch on to the bench, whether it's going to be by the standard procedure or the nuclear option procedure which lowers the threshold of what you need for a majority. and then it's a question of is mr. mcconnell feeling comfortable with that or because so much of the filibuster has already gone, the supreme court nominee that is the last threshold that's okay with it. or is he thinking darn it i was a guy who said this was a bad long term solution before an democrats have the same back and forth thing to deal with. what are they going to gain here and what is the end game. >> criminontrol of the supreme is quite the surprise. >> 30 years potentially. >> it's a boundless numbers of
seats, district level and apa appellate level. the supreme court is a job for life. number one, president trump has been elected to serve a four-year term. and sothere's that. and number two, that mcconnell is betting that he retains control of the senate. and number three, if you look at how many slots he could potentially fill while republicans are in charge of both the white house and both chambers of congress or the senate which is all that matters, he's betting, okay, i'll take my risks on that. >> here's a conversation i want to take after a quick break, what which is what do the americans think about this. as we look at the partisan nature of what's happening on capitol hill, we're going to show you a conversation that i had early with senator dick durbin and we are waiting for senator dianne feinstein as you look live inside the room. she hasn't said publicly what she's going to do.
we're going to dip back in as soon as that happens. but for now, quick break. hang out a couple more minutes. kevin kevin kevin kevin kevin kevin kevin kevin kevin kevin trusted advice for life. kevin, how's your mom? life well planned. see what a raymond james financial advisor can do for you. i'm going to the bank, to discuss a mortgage. ugh, see, you need a loan, you put on a suit, you go crawling to the bank. this is how i dress to get a mortgage. i just go to lendingtree. i calculate how much home i can afford. i get multiple offers to compare side by side. and the best part is... the banks come crawling to me. everything you need to get a better mortgage. clothing optional. lendingtree. when banks compete, you win. okay!
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senator dianne feinstein pe sneaking now. let's listen. >> judge garland's nomination. this too was unprecedented. however with the nomination of judge gorsuch, the spending of dark money has only grown. weeks ago press began reporting that the koch brothers through concerned veterans for americans and other conservative donors through the you dish crisis network planned to spend $10 million on a political campaign to support judge gorsuch's nomination. since then the national rifle association has launched a $1 million ad buy. and just last friday the judicial crisis network
announced another $1 million targeted to specific snaits in missouri, montana, indiana and colorado. so this nomination is not the usual nomination. it comes in a different way and it has proceeded in a way of excessive spending of dark money that in the time i have been on this committee i have never seen before. so this is deeply troubling. and i don't believe it's the way a serious process of evaluating a supreme court nominee should be conducted. i want to be clear, though. although my vote will not be based on these factors, i strongly believe that the expenditure of millions of dollars of unknown dollars should not be permitted in the nomination of a supreme court justice. however, we have had four days of full and fair hearings. and today we begin our markup.
i want to thank the chairman for his leadership and the very cooperative manner in which the hearings were conducted. so i want you to know, mr. chairman, you're allowing all member to fully ask questions and have the time they needed to examine judge gorsuch's record and hear from outside witnesses is very much appreciated. so thank you. >> thank you. >> in reviewing the list of judge gorsuch's decisions on the tenth circuit, two stand out as appearing to indicate his view of how a lhould be interpreted and whether precedent should be overtued. and the first which have been talked about before but nonetheless very important is a case called trans am trucking. the driver, madden, was stranded in sub zero temperatures were
several hours with frozen brakes on the trailer and no heat in his cab. it was so cold his torsso was numb and he could not feel his feet. after waiting hours for assistant, mr. madden was instructed to drive the cab and trailer together or not at all. when he could no longer stand the cold, he unhitched the trailer and drove to get help. because of this he was fired. the department of labor found he was illegally fired for refusing to operate the vehicle. in fact the administrative law judge, the administrative review board and the majority of the 10th circuit all agreed that he had been illegally fired for refusing to operate the vehicle as instructed by his employer. judge gorsuch disagreed. in stead he argued in his
dissent that the term operate should be interpreted by the oxford dictionary's finition, that orate would include only operating the cab of the truck. and madden's employer could fire him a impunity. i find this striking. first, judge gorsuch's argument ignores the reality that mr. madden was given an impossible choice, risk your own life or the life of others on the road. secondly, it ignores the fact that judges are not evaluating cases and interpreting law in a vacuum or a law school classroom, but rather cases are about real people and real life. in fact, the majority of his own court, on the 10th, noted that judge gorsuch's narrow
interpretation of the word "operate" was based on one dictionary while they had found a different dictionary definition that supported their reading of the statute. simply put, which dictionary a judge happens to select should not and cannot determine will a just outcome is achieved in a case. the second case that really stood out and the father testified before us was luke p. luke perkins was diagnosed at autism at 22 months. as he got older the amount of structure and educational services he needed increased. in response, luke's parents and grandparents did all they could. they dug deep into their savings. they sought support from the school district as provided for under the individuals with
disability education act known as i.d.e.a. but they were denied. the independent hearing officer, the administrative judge and the united states district court all determined that the school district was wrong to deny funding. but when the case got to the 10th circuit, judge gorsuch inserted the word merely into the standard. now up to this point the 10th circuit had held that the educational benefit had to be quote more than de minimis, end quote. adding the wore mt. med merely interpretation even narrowly. as luke's father testified to us, and i quote, judge gorsuch felt that an education for any son that was one small step above insignificant was acceptable. end quote.
luckily the supreme court unanimously rejected judge gorsuch's interpretation of the law actually during our hearings. in both cases judge gorsuch unnecessarily went out of h way to view what the law should be even when it would have devastating effects on people's lives. because these cases were troubling, i had hoped judge gorsuch would better explain his judicial philosophies and personal views at this hearing. but that did not happen. judge gorsuch's views were difficult to discern because he refused to answer many questions. even basic questions that have been answered by previous nominees. for example, senator blumenthal asked the judge if he agreed with the results of brown v. the
board of education, one of the most important cases in our history. i think everyone would agree. rather than agreeing that schools shouldn't be segregated, judge gorsuch instead said it was quote, the correct application of precedent, end quote. to be clear when he asked if he supported brown, judge gorsuch refused to directly answer. in contrast, when justice kennedy was asked about brown, he replied, and i quote, i think brown v. board of education was right when it was decided and i think it should have been right if it had been decided 80 years before, end quote. in another exchange, senator franken asked about a wave of recent laws to restrict access to voting. these laws were found to target
african-americans with surgical precision. senator franken discussed the effect of these laws but he simply asked if judge gorsuch was disturbed by efforts to disenfranchise african-american voters. the question has but one easy answer and it's yes. yet, instead of agreeing, judge gorsuch ducked the question. he responded, and i quote, if there are allegations of racism in legislation in the voting area, there are a variety of remedies, end quote. even justice alito was more candid. when asked about affirmative action, justice alito replied, i have personal experience about how valuable having people with diverse backgrounds and view points can be. having a diverse student body is a compelling interest.
going even further, in 1987 senator biden asked justice kennedy not what he thought about affirm dif actitif action generally but whether the affirmative action plans are legally per mper miserable. judge kennedy replied gentlemen. judge gorsuch's answers were so deluded with ambiguity, one could not see where he stood on big and long settled cases. when i asked judge gorsuch about his work at the department of justice involving the bush administration's defense of the use of torture, despite providing relevant documents, judge gorsuch said only, that quote, his memory is what it is and it isn't great on this, end quote. and that the position he took on
torture, quote, was the position that clients were telling him, end quote, to take. not only did he not answer my question, he raised an additional concern. i strongly believe that when you work for the government, either as a lawyer or a policymaker, it's important to commentegalit advice or write. to say i did what they wanted is not enough, particularly if the legality is contradicted by law and treaty. i also believe it's important to remember the context. at this point our country was inlved in detaining people indefinitely without charge or trial. leaving them with no rights want no meaningful opportunity to challenge their confinement. the government has also decided the executive could order the
use of certain enhanced interrogation techniques that included water boarding, stress positions and sleep depravation, as well as a host of other techniques which would and did result in death and serious debilitation of detainees. it was april 2004 when the public first learned about the prisoner abuse chronicled in the photos. then in june of 2004 information was leaked to the media that the department of justice had issued legal opinions that stated enhanced interrogation techniques were within the law unless they inflicted the kind of pain associated with organ failure or death. judge gorsuch reached out to the white house political director in november 2004, approximately six months after these
revelatio revelations, to say how he wanted to help the cause and be a full-time member of the team. then in march 2005, he reached out to the chairman of the republican nationa committee who vouched for gorsuch as a true loyalist and the a good strong conservative. judge gorsuch ultimately joined the bush administration in june of '05. through our examination of his documents we learned that during his tenure at the department of justice he was involved in efforts to strip detainees of their ability to have hebeas cases heard by federal courts, defend and protect the bush administration's position on torture and issue an expansive signing statement on the detainee treatment act. these statements were used to
highlight parts of the law the administration intended not to follow. importantly, we learned that judge gorsuch advocated for the bush administration to issue a broad signing statement. he said it could be used to, and i quote, help inoculate against the potential of having the administration criticized sometime in the future for not making sufficient changes in interrogation policy, in light of the mcclain portion of the amendment. this statement clearly, and in a formal way that would be hard to dispute later, puts down a marker to the effect that the view that mccain is best read as essentially codifying existing interrogation techniques. nothing could be farther from
the truth. judge gorsuch's e-mail shows a knowledge of the bush amendment's position on torture. it also demonstrated he supported efrts toodify existing interrogation policies, such as water boarding and other extreme techniques. in our written questions i asked again about his views on enhanced interrogation techniques. i know something about them. the intelligence committee, while i was chairman, has in classified status over 7,000 pages with 37,000 footnotes that document this. i tried to understand his opinions on right and wrong and whether he was at all disturbed by what our government was doing. unfortunately once again the answers i got were
nonresponsive. for example, i asked judge gorsuch what he meant when he suggested that a signing statement could inoculate the administration if they were later criticized for not making, quote, sufficient changes to the interrogation policy, end quote, based on the mccain amendment. judge gorsuch responded once again that he was, quote, a lawyer advising a client, end quote. and that his client, the government, was arguing that the mccain amendment simply codified existing policies. judge divorce igorsuch's defens he was only doing what he client wanted him to do. many of his colleagues -- excuse me, of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle have praised judge gorsuch's qualifications and there's no question that he's well-educated
and credentialed. but we're not just evaluating a resume. if we were, ever supreme court nominee would pass unanimously, 100-0. all of us evaluate their education swb experience and philosophy, temperament and views on legal issues. we do this because if confirmed a nominee's decision wills affect the lives of all americans for generations. and as i've said, our job is to assess whether the nominee will protect the legal and constitutional rights of all americans. and whether the nominee recognizes the humanity and justice required when evaluating the cases before him. unfortunately, based on judge gorsuch's record at the department of justice, his tenure on the bench, his
appearance before the senate and his written questions for the record, i cannot support this nomination. thank you very much, mr. chairman. >> thank you. senator from utah. >> we, thank you, mr. chairman. if we're making a few comments about the nomination of judge neil gorsuch -- >> senator dianne feinstein wrapping up her final comments. chris, what's your takeaway there? >> that's news because we had not known what senator feinstein was going to do for sure. she's going to vote no. eight of the nine members are going to vote no. chris coons could make it 9 out of 9. all of this sect up what tting expected to be the nuclear option. first the filibuster and then the nuclear option. i cannot stress enough the drama of this or how rare it is. only once in history has a
supreme court nominee been held up by a filibuster. that was back in 1968. an associate justice nominated to be the chief judge to have supreme court. that's the only time it's happened. obviously we're in a harshly divided era. and you heard a lot of commentary both from dianne feinstein and the opposing view from chuck grassley about the dark money that's been spent here, $10 million, $12 million and you heard dianne feinstein going over the states where it has been used against the senators, montana, indiana, colorado and missouri. clair mccaskill has said she's going to vote know even though facing difficult reelection. joe donnelly has become one of three democrats who has decided he's going to vote yes. we're still waiting to hear from
michael bennett, colorado th pressure there is because the nominee is from colorado, very highly recorded there. we're still waiting to see what he will do. but the drama, the moments that we have been waiting for from these two members of this committee to see for sure which way thauey would go, ranking member dianne feinstein going to vote no. you're going to hear from a lot of the democrats the same reasoning, they feel in many critical issues''s gone for the big guy over the little guy and on critical cases he's not given them a clear view of what his position is. >> chris jansing. not particularly sizing that dianne feinstein has come out against judge gorsuch. again, the expectation is coons may do what leadership has done. quick reaction to this now.
as the math starts to come into focus a little bit. >> you can see what the math is on the vote, are you going to support or oppose this nominee. it is the other question, the question of cloet sure. you can vote against judge gorsuch and still get out of the way anallow him to go to a full vote in the senate in not doing that. that's the threshold we're looking for here. in not doing that you set off another chain of events. >> anything that raised your brows about senator feinstein's comments? >> there was nothing positive in that review that gave of him. she pulled out everything that she objected to and made a strong case of why she's not going to support him. usually in the hearings you at least hear you're well-educated, i guess she did say that. but there was no hat tip expect he does have a resume that's rather glowing. >> the traditional view in these
supreme court nom gagss is the president has the right to the nominee of his choice if that person is qualified. the democrats would say that should have been true for merrick garland. neil gorsuch is conservative. president trump got elected and he got elected. >> elections have consequences. >> elections have consequences but in the democrats mind, so do what the republicans did to mere ri merrick garland. >> mitch mcconnell says judge gorsuch is going to be confirmed one way or the other. it's probably going to happen by friday. they have the numbers. so what realistically will democrats have gained if you do end up filibustering the supreme court nominee? >> we've got to make it clear that what has happened to the selection process for federal judges across america needs to come to an end. we have to make a stand. this is not just a one-off decision when it comes to the
supreme court. we've seen now almost for ten years an effort by the republican to dominate the federal judiciary. they used the filibuster in the senate to the point where we couldn't get judges approved. that's why the rules were changed. then when president obama tried toill the supreme court vacancy,ch mcconnell said no, merrick garland will not get a hearing or a vote. i will not meet with him. a departure of 230 years of tradition in the senate. now comes neil gorsuch, carefully chosen and we're making a stand saying this has to come to an end. >> this is about principle, all about taking a stand based on the principles that democrats want to fight for? >> yes it is. it's about principle and the nominee. consider how neil gorsuch got into running. he was on a select list announced by donald trump. who created the list? according to donald trump, it
was the federal society and the heritage organization. this organization and federal society are created by federal interest. they believe having the deciding vote in the pkt means more decisions will come their way from a special interest point of view. that's why we're being inundated now in washington with these television ads that are being run by organizations we've never heard of and will never be able to find out where they came from. >> you talk about the potential for a deciding vote, senator. but there is the argument, as you know, that some have made which is neil gorsuch would place antonin scalia, would likely not tip the balance. why fight now. why not reserve this resistance for the next nominee. >> the same issue will prevail
and that issue is this. should a nominee for a lifetime appointment to the highest court of the land receive 60 votes for approval. we've heard that standard obama, two appointments by president george w. bush. it's a standard we have accepted now in the senate. but when it comes to this one, the senate republicans say let's make an exception and put our nominee, neil gorsuch in, even if he doesn't get 60 votes. >> duke durbin there. i'm joined by the former judiciary clerk, and now an adjunct professor at the antonin scalia university school. josh, i want to start with you and the question i posed to senator durbin there, which is talk about the strategy. democrats, obviously, working to block this pick, but again, it is a pick that would likely not tip the balance when you look at the fact that judge gorsuch
would be replacing antonin scalia. so is this appealing to the ba, more abo politics than the person himself? >> absolutely not. there's a false argument that has been perpetuated by democrats that the next supreme court pick would be easier to block. the next supreme court pick, heaven forbid it's a liberal like ruth bader ginsberg, but the republicans have it wrong. they are more likely to use a nuclear option on the seat flipping from conservative to liberal. there is a huge amount going into this nomination. and the next one to keep your powder dry for is ridiculous. that would be even harder to stop. >> connecticut richard blumenthal was talking about some of his comments. here's what he said this morning on "morning joe." listen and then i will ask your opinion about it. i'm going to similar rise it for
you, summarize it for you, he said the shoe potentially being on the other end some day. could this haunt the republicans? >> it is a challenge. it's haunting the democrats now from using this on the appellate nominees. certainly changing the rules is a challenge, but why force that to happen now? we have never had a rule that you can filibuster a supreme court nominee. it's happened once before for a chief justice, so why now when we have seen two obama nominees, two bush nominees to get through without a filibuster. why do it now with such a highly qualified nominee? >> josh, do you have an answer? >> mitch mcconnell has done a great job of acting like the bowl in the china shop but acting like everything is broken once he got there. it would be a straight line vote with mcconnell leading the way. the notion democrats will force them to do it is ridiculous.
this is up to the republicans. if they don't like, if they didn't get 60 votes on gorsuch, change the nominee, don't change the rules. >> what do you make of that argument, a slaimilar one chuck schumer made over the weekend? >> it won't be a straight party vote because we know several of them will move with republicans to move the ball forward. so the notion it is a partly line vote, it's a real problem. we shouldn't be going down this road and should be taking a highly qualified nominee and giving an up or down vote. >> grab bag here, should they face repercussions from the other democrats, do you think? or are that in a political fight? >> i think they have made the calculation their issue the general election much more than the primary. and this is part of their brand and personality. their decision is completely in line with who they are. >> it is interesting to look at
who is not making the decision. there are democrats in line who voted for trump. it is clearly a personal choice for a lot of these people. >> we have been talking about the politics a lot, but there's substantive reasons why donald trump's supreme court nominee needs bipartisan buy-in. and that you need a consensus nominee. his campaign was under fbi investigation. he's day after day declared policy that is unconstitutional like the muslim ban. and he suggested to change liable laws, which could be an unconstitutional amendment of the first amendment. this is the time when we need the strong judiciary with a consensus pick. >> last word to you. >> that's exactly what neil gorsuch is, a strong cone census pick. he's proven in case after case that he presents a fair hand of the law. and you want a fair nominee? that's neil gorsuch.
>> gentleman nejamele, thank yo. josh, thank you to you. margaret, karen, thank you. we'll have much more later on in this day. a quick programming note before break, do not miss "nbc nightly news" tonight as lester holt is anchoring live from seoul, south carolina. tensions are building with north korea. he's on the border tonight. it's time for the "your business" entrepreneur of the week. danielle rominetti will never sell online. the owner of the fibre space virginia doesn't want to process web orders. she wants to connect with customers at her store. using social media, she entices people to come in and buy. for more, watch "your business" at 7:30 on sundays on msnbc. >> visit openforum.com for ideas to help grow your business.
. we have breaking news regarding the explosion that happened in st. petersburg. the anti-terrorist group confirms there was another explosive device at a metro station that did not actually detonate. obviously, you're looking at images of what has been happening in russia this morning. we continue to monitor that. we know the white house and president trump has been briefed about what happened. we may hear more from the administration throughout the day. that does it for us on this busy start to the week. i'm going to turn you over to my colleague, ali velshi. >> the president meeting with the president of egypt later on. and the pro and anti-administrations are going on. it's a busy day, have a great afternoon. right now on msnbc, the
senate judiciary committee voting now to vote on neil gorsuch. will republicans go nuclear when it gets to the full senate? and unannounced visitor, president trump's son-in-law jared kushner makes a surprise visit to iraq. this as new questions surface over the family's potential conflicts of interest. we'll have details of financial disclosures released this weekend. and breaking news out of russia, authorities say ten people have been killed in an explosion on a subway in st. petersburg. we'll have a live report on that momentarily. good morning, everyone. i'm ali velshi in washington where the drama is already unfolding during a critical week for the white house. president trump looking for a win with the nomination of knne gorsuch to the supreme court. he's a live look at the senate yjudiciary committee that will vote in a couple of hours on