tv MSNBC Live With Alex Witt MSNBC May 20, 2017 10:00am-11:01am PDT
but they say: if you love something... set it free. see you around, giulia ♪ breaking news at this hour on msnbc live. for the first time on his foreign trip, we're hearing from president trump. it comes a short time after a bilateral meeting with the crown prince of saudi arabia. an earlier elaborate welcoming ceremony. he also talked about an economic and security agreement the two countries signed today. >> that was a tremendous day. i just want to thank everybody. but tremendous investments into the united states and our military community is very happy. we want to thank you and saudi arabia. hundreds of millions of dollars of investments into the united states and jobs, jobs, jobs.
>> good day, i'm sheinelle jones at msnbc world headquarters in new york. it's 1:00 in the east, 10:00 out west and more breaking news at this hour. secretary of state rex tillerson and his counterpart, the foreign minister of saudi arabia, wrapped a news conference a short time ago where they talked about the security agreement and the two countries' shared efforts to fight terror. >> the kingdom of saudi arabia are embarking on a number of new initiatives to counter violent extremist messaging. sends a very strong message to our common enemies. it strengthens the bonds between us and it does chart this new pathway forward and will guide our path forward. >> all of this after a day of elaborate ceremonies and meetings for president trump. after a formal greeting outside the saudi palace, the president received a medal from the royal delegation. the saudis rolling out the red carpet for the president and first lady, who were greeted by the king and other members of the royal family. let's check in with nbc's kelly o'donnell who joins us now from
riyadh. kelly, the administration wants a win for this leg of the trip. are they getting it? >> reporter: well, good to be with you, sheinelle. they are identifying areas where they can claim victory. in part you heard both the secretary of state and the president talk about the economic arrangements, the defense arrangements here and the saudis in particular welcome a trump administration after more difficult ties with the obama administration. so there are things for president trump and his team to say are in fact wins at this early stage. the biggest test comes tomorrow when the president addresses the muslim world and the representatives of close to 50 countries. we expect that that will be a real challenge for the president to undo some of the rhetoric of his campaign self when he talked in harsher tones toward the islamic world and using phrases like radical islamic terrorism. a few of us after we saw secretary tillerson sort of followed him out the door here. we were asking him if the president would use that frayed
again, radical islamic terrorism, he did not respond directly but said he thought the outcome of the speech would be positive. also today we heard from these two leaders, the foreign minister of saudi arabia and the secretary of state tillerson about a new defense partnership, which they say is investing in the defense of saudi arabia costing americans less in terms of what the u.s. would have to bring forward. they're allowing for the sale of arms and other munitions. at the same time an agreement to try to deal with financing of terrorism which has been an issue from saudi sponsors, and also what they call the information space. a partnership to try to work on how to message to those who are trying to recruit lone wolves, as it was described to us, and terrorist extremists, and there will be a headquarters here in riyadh. so that gives you a sense of some of the business of this visit, but also during the briefing with reporters, secretary tillerson was asked if anyone in the white house is aware of the person described as
a person of interest in the wider russia investigation and the secretary said he had no knowledge or information about a person of interest. that is notable on its face, but also because secretary tillerson himself in his former life as the ceo of exxon had lots of contacts with russia, a very close relationship with vladimir putin and others, and he has acknowledged having some contacts in his corporate self before he became secretary of state. so there was a lot of news in this briefing with reporters here in saudi arabia and brief remarks from the president today, but quite extensive remarks from secretary tillerson about the objectives in working with saudi arabia and the foreign minister also saying that he hopes that this meeting over these days will turn from enmity to partnership and i think that signals what the countries here want to hear from president trump when he addresses the muslim world tomorrow in what is really the most high-stakes moment of this phase of the trip.
sheinelle. >> another busy day. kelly o'donnell, thank you. let's talk now to steve clemons, msnbc contributor and editor at large of "atlantic" magazine. >> hi, sheinelle. >> we can just say saudi arabia certainly didn't skimp on the pomp and the ceremony today. what message do you think they're trying to send to the world about trump? >> that they are a proud monarchy and still a monarchy and the king knows how to throw a party for another kind of autocratic tilting guy. and i think that they have been in doubt about their relationship about the united states. there was a lot about president obama that totally frustrated the saudis. we haven't discussed it much. folks would talk about his comments about human rights or the iran deal, but i remember talking to saudi ambassador to the united states who is now the foreign minister of the country we have been watching on tv about how frustrated they were about president obama talking
about energy independence and his huge focus on renewable energy. they had a campaign to try to get those words removed from the obama campaign website. so there's a lot that donald trump means to them that they love, and i think that they really want to try, as someone said earlier on your show, want to reset this relationship and put it on a new track. but it's going to be a fossil fuel track, an arms sales track, a lot of the things that the center left in the united states is uncomfortable with. >> steve, it's interesting to note that secretary tillerson said he's met many, many times with the foreign minister. of course he was ceo of exxonmobil. how does that affect the dynamic, though, between these two countries? in your opinion is it for better or worse? >> i just think it's realistic. saudi arabia's a petro state in a complicated neighborhood. it has been unable to stabilize countries like egypt or to deal with the situation in syria, to
provide the kind of resources in places like iraq that would have been stabilized. so while saudi arabia has been a power in the region and of course the king is the custodian of the two holy mosques and play a vital role in the world of islam there, saudi as a statute kwoe power has been a failure and unable to do the kinds of things we hoped it would do. that is part of the reality here and trying to sort of take new stock, become closer to the united states, get that in there. but it draws the united states into some potentially complicated issues, particularly on places like yemen where no matter what we do, i don't think boots will be on the ground, but boy giving the saudis more and more weaponry that honestly they have not deployed well with what they have there, lots of innocent people have been killed inside yemen and it's created both a political and humanitarian disaster inside yemen. we'll be seen as being come
accompli -- complicit in that in the middle east. >> i was sitting here watching this press conference, the saudi foreign minister was highly critical of iran, saying that country has killed saudi people and is a big state sponsor of terrorism. if you looked at the optics of it, secretary tillerson was far milder in his remarks towards iran and i kept looking at his face wondering do you think he was comfortable with his counterpart's statements on all of it? >> jabere is a knowledgeable diplomat. whenever you watch him and listen to him and hear just the high octane nature of his commentary and how much he can fit into something and you hear rex tillerson plodding around in general ways, you see how sophisticated al jabere is. what i was very uncomfortable with there is it looked like rex tillerson was complicit, nodding, yes, we're with you, yes, we're doing this, yes, we have common enemies. the nature in the middle east
right now is that there are a lot of players in this region and it's very, very fragmentinged. what the saudis think they have today, what they have won in their seduction of donald trump and his team, they feel like they have a new solid ally in all of their challenges in the region at the cost of every other party in the region. and i think that is probably a mistake, but i also think it was a mistake of rex tillerson to kind of give that sense of acquiescence to the terms that were set up in that press conference. >> you say that and i was saying that to some of the people here in the studio but at the same time i thought, okay, you see him standing there. what's he supposed to do? interrupt and say, stop, i don't agree with that part. he was in that situation. >> absolutely. honestly rex tillerson needs to stand up and absolutely say we understand where they are. this is how we see it. we understand their concerns about iran and iran's behavior, we share many of those, but we're also hopeful given the election of rouhani today in iran there's steps forward. we know that iran has been messing in yemen, but the saudis
have bombed too much, have hurt too many people and in fact the houthis are a legitimate part of the yemeni political establishment. >> i see what you're saying as opposed to just standing there. >> you don't have to give in. that's right. absolutely. if it had been john kerry, he absolutely would have drawn a line that was different. >> interesting. it's interesting you talked about it because i have to tell you we were certainly looking at that. secretary tillerson puts the total saudi investment in u.s. interests at $350 billion with a number of u.s. companies benefitting, so i guess i have to ask the question, is this really more about business? >> i think it is very much. if there's one thing that donald trump is consistent on, it may be the only thing he's consistent on right now, he has an attitude vis-a-vis the rest of the world. he wants to shake down the rest of the world, have them invest. he is concerned about american jobs. he is doubtful about trade
deals. he's going to countries like japan, like china. big companies that are involved in the davos world economic forum are getting together and saying what can we do to bring investment to the united states. that's all a function of the willpower that donald trump is bringing into this and their desire to kind of make him happy at this moment. now, i've got to tell you the saudis often promise aid to other countries, they promise deals to other countries and, you know, when you get back to sort of see in a year or two whether it comes through, there's oftentimes a very big gap between what is promised and what is delivered. nonetheless, i don't doubt the fact that the saudis want to do a lot more, but almost all of it is going to be in this area of fossil fuels and arms sales. and i would say that's not the future of the world. or even the future of the united states. so it's just something to think about, that these aren't necessarily the highest and most productive tracks for this nation. >> i have to leave it there. steve clemons, good conversation today. i got you riled up a little bit.
that's what we want on a saturday. thank you, steve. >> thank you. also a preview of the president's speech to muslim leaders tomorrow. in fact here's a clip from his weekly address. >> now it appears muslim leaders are ready to take more responsibility and a much bigger role in fighting terrorism in their region. america cannot solve all of the world's problems, but we can and we must help any nation willing to join in the common cause of eradicating terrorism from the face of the earth. also new remarks today from congress weighing in on former fbi director james comey's return to capitol hill to testify before the senate intel committee on russia's interference in the u.s. elections. here's what two lawmakers told thomas roberts a short time ago. >> i think the credibility on the issue probably sits with mr. comey, because the president and his team have had so many different stories that it's kind of hard to believe any of them. >> when the president refers to the russia probe as a witch
hunt, do you agree with that description? is it? >> well, i think there's a lot of people that are trying to take this president down or to take the agenda off track. >> democratic congressman ted lieu of california joins me now. he sits on the house judiciary committee. good afternoon to you. >> good afternoon, sheinelle. >> before i get to a question, let's listen to what house minority leader nancy pelosi said, and then we'll chat. >> there's reason to believe that the president was engaged in some very inappropriate for the moment activity. i understand their enthusiasm, but as leader i think we have to contain some of that in order to get the facts in a way that will be acceptable to the american people. >> what's your reaction to that? you also say the president has undoubtedly obstructed justice. is that probable and how? >> thank you for your question. let me say that as a former
prosecutor, i know it's not often we get such clear evidence of obstruction of justice. what's remarkable is that in the last two weeks, we're watching the president of the united states commit obstruction of justice in realtime. we saw him fire the fbi director last week and yesterday we know that the reason he did that is because he wanted to relieve pressure off of him because of the fbi investigation into russia. that is obstruction of justice. >> you talk about this evidence. should we wait, you know, might impeachment talk be premature? >> i sit on the house judiciary committee. that's where any impeachment proceedings would start if that were to happen. i do think we need to let the various investigations run its course. i am pleased that special counsel mueller has been appointed and we also have congressional investigations ongoing, but what we saw in the last two weeks is obstruction of justice, a federal crime, steeristee staring all of us in the face. >> what would you say to
supporters of the president who say this is just an attempt to take down the president. is it a witch hunti like the president says? >> obstruction of justice is different than the underlying investigation. at this point it doesn't even matter what the russian investigation shows. it's clear that the president committed the federal crime of trying to obstruct or even influence the investigation. i'm not trying to take down the president, i just want the rule of law to be followed. and there's been a shocking disrespect for the rule of law by this white house. >> senator dianne feinstein has said there's no evidence of collusion. you just heard nancy pelosi say slow the impeachment enthusiasm. even adam schiff is calling for calm. take a look at this report by mcclatchy. the headline reads worried about fallout. dems poised to poll test impeachment. are you worried about fallout? >> i am not. americans believe in rule of law, and there are various reasons people voted for donald trump, but no one voted for him to violate federal law or to have the chaos that we see in
the white house right now. and anybody else that did or said the things that donald trump did with respect to obstruction of justice would be facing a criminal indictment and a criminal trial. this is deadly serious. >> if as you say he's actively impeding the investigation, could that turn out to be more serious than the investigation itself, like i think you were alluding to the fact that in other words the cover-up is worse than the crime, if you will? >> the first article of impeachment for president nixon was obstruction of justice. and when you look at the statute, it is very broad. you don't even have to actively impede the investigation. you just have to influence or attempt to influence an investigation. it is clear as day the president of the united states did that in these last two weeks. >> how does -- let me just try and squeeze in one question here. we're talking so much today about this overseas trip. do you think domestic headlines will overshadow what he's talking about overseas?
what will he face when he gets back to washington, maybe i should put it that way. >> i'm also on the house foreign affairs committee. as an american, i want our president to be strong, don't embarrass us, make us proud on this overseas trip. when he comes back, we can deal with the domestic issues. >> fair enough. congressman ted lieu of california, thank you for your time on this saturday. >> thank you. coming up, i'll speak with one of the most outspoken democrats in the senate, long-time senator dick durbin of illinois will join us at about 1:45 eastern. up next, the impact of two big stories. which one could be potentially more challenging to the trump administration?
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now seema metah, and the senior political reporter for "usa today." heidi, we have president trump, he's wheels up in air force one on his first foreign trip when two big headlines hit. one suggests a senior white house official could be the target of the russia investigation. how does that public information change the tone in washington for when trump returns? >> well, up until now, this is why this is significant, we thought that this investigation may be mostly focused on two former officials, paul manafort and mike flynn. so what we're now learning is that this goes deep into the white house. we don't know who it is, but it is the biggest washington parlor game right now. what we know in terms of what's publicly available is there are three officials who had contact with the russians, have admitted so publicly, tillerson, sessions and jared kushner. well, sheinelle, there's a lot of stories coming out as well about jared kushner specifically. we know tillerson says he has no knowledge of what's going on
with this story. but jared kushner, we're learning more about his role. not only in that he was supportive of firing comey, but that he was one of the officials who wanted to actually lash out after the special counsel was appointed. so i think there's going to be a lot of focus on kushner, but again we don't know exactly who they're talking about, but it explains why this white house is in such a state of tension right now, why so many people are, as they say, lawyering up. and, you know, there's two ways this could go. one is the collusion angle. what we know is that kushner and other officials not only had these contacts, but had these contacts after it was publicly known what the russians had done. he met with kislyak and flynn in trump tower. and then there's the obstruction of justice angle. i just outlined to you there what could be some possible flash points with kushner. >> you just mentioned comey. seema, let me bring you in here. another headline was the result
of a leaked oval office conversation where the president told the russian foreign minister and ambassador that comey is, quote, a nut job. how embarrassing is this and how is the administration going to deal with what appears to be leaks frankly at a very high level? >> right. there are so many things that came out of that meeting. first of all, it appeared from the president's remarks that he really thought once he got rid of comey the pressure would be off, this would be over. as we've seen since then, the pressure is certainly not off. we have a special counsel that's looking into the matter. beyond that, the optics of the meeting, while you're being investigated for your campaign's ties or your former spokes people or former officials' ties with russia, you are hobnobbing with top russian officials. the russian news media was allowed into that meeting, the measu american media was not allowed into that meeting. then the leaks, the president has tried to make a point of stopping leaks and there is no indication that is stopping any time soon. >> heidi, in your opinion, which
of the headlines damages the president most? >> at this point, as you know, these are coming out every 24 hours or less. so in this cycle probably the fact that folks inside the white house, the folks who are closest to the president, is going to be the most potentially damaging. i will say since mueller has taken this over, i'm going to guess we may be getting less leaks than we have, that this pace may slow down a bit. but one thing is for sure, it's going to grind to a halt a lot of whatever this trump administration wanted to get done on capitol hill because now there's so many investigations. some congressional democrats want more, frankly. i met with democrats last week and they said the one thing that's missing in all of this is perhaps the most important to our democracy, which is getting to the bottom of exactly how the russians did this and how they might come back at us in 2020, that these congressional committees don't necessarily have the resources to do that. that that's why we need a 9/11-style commission.
we're still not there yet, there may be more. >> i want to push a pause button on that, something we haven't talked about yet today. heidi, why is there a massive amount of leaks coming out of d.c. not to say this hasn't happened in past administrations, but why so many leaks at this level? what do you think is going on? >> first of all, it's just the team of rivals construct that this president set up from the beginning. if you look at how he managed his real estate company, if you look at his "apprentice" reputation as well as his campaign, three different campaign managers, there are different spheres of influence and people constantly trying to jockey. but secondly, there is some very serious issues going on here with russia. maybe there are some real patriots inside his inner circle or on the periphery. of course the white house says that they think this is some kind of deep state campaign against them. it is clear that the president has gone after a number of institutions, including our intelligence agencies, and so
maybe there are people within the fbi who think that this is information that needs to get out to the public, whether the white house views it as retribution or not, it's in the public's interests because, guess what, we don't know that mike flynn, who was acting as a foreign agent, would have ever been kicked out of this white house if it hadn't been for the reporting by our news organizations, which was provided presumably by someone within the intelligence community. >> i have time to squeeze in one more here. seema, why are some democrats putting the brakes on impeachment talk? >> actually i'm at the california democratic party convention right now. among the activists, everyone is talking about impeachment. if you talk to the elected officials, consistently they're saying we have a special counsel in place, let's see where this investigation goes. and they really consistently are saying -- are avoiding the "i" word. but i think it's a question that a couple of months from now where we are. on the other side of it, i wonder if this does, now that mueller is in place, whether
this gives republicans a little bit of breathing room to say, okay, we have the special counsel in place, we have the investigation going on, let's actually work on our agenda on capitol hill. >> and get something done, right? seema metah, heidi, good conversation. thank you, guys. still ahead, deal making. will the saudis help the u.s. fight terror around the world? america's beverage companies have come together to bring you more ways to help reduce calories from sugar. with more great tasting beverages with less sugar or no sugar at all, smaller portion sizes, clear calorie labels, and signs reminding everyone to think balance before
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signing ceremony. let's bring in marc ginsberg and former white house middle east policy advisor. good afternoon to you. >> hi, sheinelle. >> considering the history of u.s./saudi relations, what stands out to you the most from today's event so far? >> oh, my gosh, the magic carpet royal welcome that was accorded to president trump compared to what president obama got, which was a back of the hand reception when he came to riyadh during his trip. the fact of the matter is, is that the saudis are treating this like a great tony award-winning broadway revival. this is a reset in relations because they believe they have a president, no matter what his trials and tribulations at home, that can actually accomplish what saudi goal and objectives are in the middle east. >> in a "huffington post" op-ed you said president trump must receive something more in return than this magic carpet welcome to further american security. do you think he will? what do you think the u.s. wants to get out of this visit?
>> look, i think the jury is still out, sheinelle. i've been monitoring u.s./saudi relationship for decades. the fact of the matter is the united states has too many boots on the ground in syria, in iraq, elsewhere in the middle east, and the saudis and other arab states have not done enough to carry enough of the burden that the president is imposing, for example, on nato allies, to carry the fight against -- to isis and to basically become a real true partner for the united states. the gulf states and the saudis want the united states to be their security blanket. the saudis are involved in a proxy war in yemen. there are proxy wars against iran being waged by the saudis and others and vice versa. look, iran is the number one enemy of the gulf states and saudi arabia. the president is essentially committing the united states to a long-term security agreement to safeguard saudi and gulf
state security for a decade. that's frankly quite significant. >> well, i wanted to ask you how do you see this arms deal with saudi arabia impacting the middle east? >> well, it's ginormous. it's astronomical. i mean the united states committed to israel a long-term arms and security agreement and here we are virtually doing the same, and it's almost to coincide with the time frame for the iran nuclear agreement. everyone during the press conferences that secretary tillerson and the foreign minister and others have held in riyadh say the same thing. the number one enemy for all of us is iran. we have to do everything we can to contain it as well as to defeat isis. the key here is will the arab states do more to help defeat isis and basically eradicate the threat of islamic radicalism. of course saudi arabia has been a propagator of that. >> i want to ask you about remarks from secretary of state rex tillerson moments ago in the briefing with saudi arabia's foreign minister.
take a listen. >> the united states of america, the kingdom of saudi arabia are really dedicating ourselves to a new strategic partnership, new for the 21st century and charting a renewed path toward a peaceful middle east. this growing partnership is really grounded in trust. trust between our two nations that we are pursuing the same objectives. cooperation and a shared interest. >> how significant is this talk about mutual trust, given our recent history with saudi arabia? >> well, i think it's -- listen, the arab world, and particularly in saudi arabia, to have a president who they can trust, rely on and have a team around him that essentially is committed to the u.s./saudi relationship is just music to their ears. the obama administration was pivoting out of the middle east. the president was openly critical of saudi arabia's failure to support american objectives in the middle east. the saudis were furious over the
united states/iran nuclear agreement as well as the administration coddling up, as they perceived it, to iran. so this is a real reset in the relationship. >> what a saturday, huh? marc ginsberg, thank you for your time today. >> sure. good to be with you, sheinelle. >> i should mention in just a few minutes, long-time democratic senator dick durbin on the main headlines of the day. plus are democrats easing up on all of that impeachment talk? imagine if the things you bought every day earned you miles to get to the places you really want to go. with the united mileageplus explorer card, you'll get a free checked bag, 2 united club passes... priority boarding... and 50,000 bonus miles. everything you need for an unforgettable vacation. the united mileageplus explorer card. imagine where it will take you. ♪
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investigation into michael flynn, and also -- >> no. no. next question. >> that was president trump thursday during a joint news conference at the white house, dismissing talk of collusion between his campaign and russia. joining me now, illinois democrat senator dick durbin. good afternoon to you. >> good afternoon. >> you told my colleague, willie geist, last friday that president trump is dangerous because he may be obstructing justice. but senator dianne feinstein has since said there is no evidence of russian collusion with the trump campaign. what's your reaction, and are democrats overplaying their hand, if you will? >> no. i think all of us are heartened by the decision to choose bob mueller as the special counsel, independent investigator and prosecutor of this case. he's a man of real skill. he has real principles and he'll put his country first. he is a republican by party
identification years ago, but it makes no difference from my position. i trust his judgment. >> do you think this is a witch hunt, as the president suggests? >> i'll tell you, i really think it's demeaning and outrageous to suggest a witch hunt with bob mueller involved. this is a man that was a decorated combat veteran of the vietnam war, has been a federal judge. he was not only chosen to head the fbi, but he was given an extension of that term on a bipartisan basis. it is not a witch hunt. it is a professional investigation. if the president has done nothing wrong, he has nothing to fear and nothing to hide. >> i want to get your take now to former fbi director james comey. i know you don't sit on the senate intelligence committee that will question comey in a few weeks. but if you were, what would you ask? >> well, i certainly would like to know the circumstances that led up to his dismissal, particularly those conversations, direct conversations with the president of the united states. he may be limited in what he can
say because of the ongoing criminal investigation, but those really get to the heart of the question as to whether any person, including the president, is above the law in the united states. >> i think it's interesting, i talked with congressman ted lieu a little earlier this morning, and he says it's not a matter of collusion anymore, it's obstruction of justice. do you agree with that? >> it could be both. but let's let mr. mueller do his job, let him follow the evidence, let him question the witnesses. that is what a professional investigation, a fair investigation is all about. and the republicans should know that. think about how many different times and different ways that they investigated the obama administration and hillary clinton. i mean there were six and seven different committees hearing investigatory evidence at any given time in some of these cases. so let's let this one professional investigator and prosecutor have his opportunity. >> you also said deputy attorney general rod rosenstein was probably set up by the white house to justify fbi director
james comey's firing. do you still believe that? >> absolutely. that's exactly what he told us yesterday. he was told on may the 9th that comey was going to be dismissed. he was told that by the president. and then on may the 10th he wrote his memo. this was after the decision had been made by the president. the president the following day, the white house said, well, it was the rosenstein memo that was the reason we dismissed him. and then the president spilled the beans to lester holt of nbc and said, no, it was really about the russia thing. so, yes, i think mr. rosenstein was used and that's one of the reasons he decided we needed an independent prosecutor to restore the integrity of the department of justice and the process. >> we're looking at this video of james comey. several names are being floated for the next fbi director, including joe lieberman. what's your take, is he the right choice? and if not, who would you like to see? >> i think lindsey graham was spot-on when he said that the
choice to head up this investigatory agency at this moment in history should not be a politician of either political party. i could not agree with him more. let us get a professional person, one who doesn't drag into the conversation whether they voted republican, whether they voted democrat, where they stand on the issues. let's get someone who's a professional, a law enforcement professional to head this agency. >> i don't know if you've been able to see some of the coverage that's taking place in saudi arabia. it's turning out to be a very busy saturday. what do you say about mr. trump in general not holding any scheduled press conferences during his first trip overseas? >> well, i can understand why he wants to get as far away from these challenges and many of the issues that he's created in washington and to assume his role as the head of foreign policy for the united states. there will be a day of reckoning. he will return and will face questions. but in the meantime the questions seem to keep being churned out by his tweets. i hope that he's retired his
tweet account -- twitter account during his overseas travels. >> what about the report that there's someone in the white house -- you know, all of these headlines coming out that maybe somebody in the white house is under criminal investigation? >> well, that's a rumor, but it certainly goes to the very top of the trump administration. so, again, i think mueller is the right person to pursue those leads. let's find out if there's any substance there. let's not jump to any conclusions. >> i told you i was talking with ted lieu a little earlier and he used the word "chaos." i'm sitting here and looking at you and having a moment. 17 years ago my first job was in springfield, illinois, your stomping grounds there. i remember covering you and you had such a busy agenda. we always talked about what was going on in washington, things were just so busy with the news of the day. and now here we are almost 20 years later and we're talking about, you know, the word "chaos" and what's going on with trump and collusion. i mean can the work of the day still get done, the domestic
agenda, if you will? frankly that's why a lot of people voted for him. can he do that job with all of this talk of collusion and everything else? >> i can just tell you this. when the american people chose a president with no experience in government or the military, they chose someone who really did not understand the process of government and gave him the top job in america, now we know. he is consumed by his own created problems, by his own tweets, and he's not able to push forward the agenda that he had talked about on the campaign trail. i wish we could roll up our sleeves on a bipartisan basis and get down to basis. let's fix the health care system, not repeal the affordable care act. let's find a way to do an infrastructure program that's bipartisan. that should be something democrats and republicans can agree on. there are many things we can move forward on. but the chaos, and i think i'd choose the same word, created by the president and his tweets has really made that difficult. >> where is all of this going?
>> ultimately it's going in the right direction now with this independent prosecutor. it will be investigated as it should be. a conclusion will be reached as to whether any crimes have been committed, and that will play out at that level. whether there are any intelligence conclusions from the senate and house intelligence committees, we'll find out later on. but let's acknowledge the obvious. we've got to stand on the constitution and the rule of law and we have to anticipate that if we don't put up our defenses an use them effectively, the russians are going to be around for the next election and the one to follow trying even harder to influence the outcome. >> i have time to squeeze in one more question here. i've been here many a saturday afternoon. first it was the first 100 days. then we talked to supporters of trump who said, you know what, these are just growing pains. things will settle and the work of the country will get done. are you confident that eventually things will, quote unquote, settle and we can move forward with what this country has to accomplish? >> i have a lot of confidence in
america and the constitution. and in the end, we're going to prevail with the values that have put us together and kept us together for over 200 years, but we're going through a very rocky period. let us not lose sight of the fact that we are all committed to the rule let's not lose sight of the fact that we're committed to the law and no one is above the law. >> senator dick durbin, thank you for your time on this saturday afternoon. in just a moment, can the president improve his trip abroad? a message from nbc's joy reid. >> this sunday, join us from 2:2 noon until 2:00 p.m. eastern time. make sure you join in and don't forget to join the conversation automobile at #amjoy. i'm in. 7,000 players. our plays are a little unorthodox. but to beat the big boys, you need smarter ways to save people money.
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about to attend an official dinner in their honor. we will continue to watch live pictures there. in the meantime, joining me now is elizabeth holzman, a lawyer. good afternoon to you. >> thank you. >> are these comparisons fair? we saw president nixon on foreign trips that helped him during his troubles. we were just talking about this. is that a fair comparison, these two men? >> unfortunately, it's a very fair comparison. it's kind of scary because i was there during watergate on the house judiciary committee. we lived through the obstruction of justice and also lived through bringing the president to accountability and imposing justice on the system. so had how did watergate work? the coverup, the obstruction of justice, was to order the cia to stop an fbi investigation.
what triggered impeachment was his firing of the special prosecutor. so these things kind of ring in your head. you don't want to see them again. i don't want to see impeachment to begin with. president nixon was my president. i didn't want to see a president behave the way he had and i certainly don't want to see it now. but we have to deal with the facts as we have them. >> "the washington post" had its own scope yesterday. the russian investigation is focused on a person of interest who still works in the white house. what does that mean? should everyone essentially lawyer up over there? >> well, if i were they, for sure, because i think there are really two things at stake here. one is, was there collusion between the russians and the trump campaign? that's very serious. and if that's the case, how high up does it go and is the president involved? because we can't have a president involved in dealing with conspire sacy with the
russians. the second thing is, what are they doing about covering up the firings and also the transactions? because one thing that happens when you're the subject of an fbi investigation, they can start looking at anything. maybe there was no crime here but maybe there's a crime there. >> i was going to ask you about this, do you think it's going to end with the collusion of this whole thing or the coverup? >> well, it could be both. who knows. i think the important thing and the important thing for the american people is to assure that the process of investigation is fair, thorough and professional. and that's the critical thing and president trump was trying to deal with that by firing comey and then, kind of amazing, confiding in the russians that now that he fired comey, he doesn't feel any pressure anymore. what's that about? he has no ability to determine
the investigations against him. we're still a rule of law. >> elizabeth, thank you. your voice held up. now you can drink some tea. my colleague, stephanie gosk, takes over from here. she'll bautalk about what the conservatives think about all of this. have a good day. do you play? ♪ ♪ use the chase mobile app to send money in just a tap, to friends at more banks then ever before. you got next? chase. helping you master what's now and what's next. p3 planters nuts, jerky and whaseeds.at? i like a variety in my protein. totally, that's why i have this uh trail mix. wow minty. p3 snacks. the more interesting way to get your protein.
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i'm really sorry. i wrecked the subaru. i wrecked it. you're ok. that's all that matters. (vo) a lifetime commitment to getting them home safely. love. it's what makes a subaru, a subaru. hello, everyone. i'm stephanie gosk. it's 2:00 p.m. here on the east coast and just after 10:00 injuin riyadh, saudi arabia. he's receiving a warm welcome in saudi arabia. a far cry from what is going on at home. today in houston, democratic congressman, al green, who too