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tv   Morning Joe  MSNBC  June 7, 2017 3:00am-6:01am PDT

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>> meanwhile bob costa reports that donald trump maybe live tweeting the comey hearing. he's either going to be way too busy or live tweeting. >> we have so much to cover today. jeff sessions says he doesn't want to be left alone with donald trump. sessions saying, hey, you don't like what i'm doing, buddy, give me space or i'm going to quit. it's kind of like -- phil griffin called and said i cannot believe the pace of events. i said, i know, we wake up every morning and say it's got to get normal soon. it's kind of like mad men. don draper comes home with lipstick on the collar and betty is mad, that's great but you can't do that every day. you're like, at some point it's got to calm down. then don draper comes in with a little blood on his collar. the story gets crazier.
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then he's bringing home goats. willie, you say it can't top what happened yesterday and every day this reality tv show president tops what happened yesterday. but in a way that is tragic for the country. it's just insane. >> we got three stories right off the top. it would be a huge lead story any day. we'll pick which one to go with. today the senate intel committee, dan coates will be there, rod rosen stein. that's a prelude to what's going to happen tomorrow. mika has the morning off. msnbc contributor mike barnicle, seor political analyst for nbc news and msnbc mark halperin. senior political editor and white house correspondent for the "huffington post," sam stein, chair of the department of african-american studies eddie glaude, junior. nbc news capitol hill news correspondent kasie hunt and "new york times" reporter michael schmidt.
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good morning all. >> willie, they're all here for one reason, mike barnicle, and that reason is the red sox-yankees series matters again. kimbrel matters again. that's what america wants to talk about. >> kimbrel comes out last night and shuts them down. wril lee? >> i saw. >> i'm sort of like comey and jeff sessions with willie. >> don't leave me in a room? >> don't want to be with him. >> we have our reasons. let's dive in. fbi director james comey is set to testify tomorrow, and we're get to new reporting on that in just a moment. first today we'll hear testimony in the senate intel committee from some of the nation's highest law enforcement and intel directors. deputy attorney general rod rosen stein, andrew mccabe, admiral mike rogers and director of national intelligence, dan coats all expected on capitol hill. the hearing is about fiza
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renewal. that will be overshadowed by another report breaking last night. "the washington post" reports on march 22nd, the president asked dan coats to intervene with fbi director james comey to get the bureau to take the heat off national security adviser michael flynn and its russia probe. the meeting reportedly came less than a week after coats had been sworn in and two days after comey testified on capitol hill that the fbi was investigating the trump campaign and possible collusion with russia. coats was at this briefing with a number of other officials across government agencies. according to the paper, as the meeting was concluding, the president asked for everyone to leave the room except for coats and cia director mike pompeo. coats discussed the request with other officials and decided intervening with comey would be inappropriate. since then national security adviser flynn was asked to resign and james comey was fired. director coats' office sent a statement saying, quote, he has never felt pressured by the president or anyone else in the
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administration to inflauns any intelligence matters or on going investigations. the white house meanwhile has referred comment to its outside lawyers, joe. this is now the second report case. first two had donald trump asking james comey to back off michael flynn in that meeting the. and then the director of national intelligence, dan coats, asked to do the same according to "the washington post." >> here is the problem. let's take it to mark halperin. donald trump is learning very slowly and way too late that these men and women who work for him are not his caddies, they are not his valets. they are not going to do exactly what he tells them to do. dan coats, a united states senator, respected ambassador to germany, respected in washington. rod rosenstein, the same thing.
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we heard jeff sessions, hey, if you don't want me to work for you, i won't work for you. on top of that, i can't work for you unless you give me some space. all three of these men have something in common, just like sally yates. they had a life, they had a career, they were respected people before donald trump rolled into town on january 30th, 2017. coats is just the latest example. like comey, to say no, no, we're in the going to interfere with a federal investigation. this is a remarkable charge again, isn't it? >> there are a lot of strands. the most important one is the underlying facts which will be investigated by both capitol hill and the independent counsel. i think the two things before us today are important themes that you and i and everyone gets asked all the time, what's going on in the minds of senior officials in this government. two things implicated here. first of all, you've got more leaks, more descriptions of
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private conversations at the highest level of government involving the president of the united states. in every administration i've ever covered up until now, there haven't been this many total leaks as we've seen in the five months of this administration. the other issue is, you've got a number of officials, now including the attorney general of the united states, all of whom are in a position to, if they quick or threaten to quick, put the president in a lot of political danger. his attorney general, if he quit right now, would cause a huge firestorm. yet here you have someone close to the attorney general, multiple sources saying he did just that, threatened to quit or offered to resign. that puts the president in a very tough position. the president would like to be able to change personnel if it's his desire. in this case he really can't. >> well, he can't, and not only, mike barnie, did threaten to quit, he said give me space, let me do my job or i'll leave.
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you look at all these people that may be threatening to quit, donald trump can't replace them because there's such chaos. anybody coming in replacing jeff sessions or anyone else has to come with a lawyer and at least hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees. >> joe, there's also two other additional elements that i know you've picked up on as well in speaking to people in the administration. one is the increasing fear that a lot of people have. are they damaging their representations, their alignment with what's going on. two, you just alluded to it, are they going to be saddled with increasing legal fees to defend themselves against whatever internally is going on now and will become public eventually? >> willie, one other thing especially about the coats situation but also james comey and other people, dan coats, if
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he is the director of national intelligence and the president of the united states tells him he wants him to interfere in an fbi investigation with possible criminal links between the president's men and russia, and the president of the united states requests that you kill that investigation, you have a duty to let other people know that that is happening. it's the same thing with james comey. what if that request had been made to dan coats and he said nothing? what if james comey had the request given to himeveral times, kill the investigation, and he didn't say anything? trump puts these people in a position where they have to tell others because not to do so would be a dereliction of duty. >> although director coats' office denied there was any pressure as we saw in that statement from the white house, i don't think it's a mistake or coincidence that this story dropped last night, the day
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before he's testifying. he will be asked about it today in that hearing i suspect. let's get to michael schmidt's new reporting. he's with us from "the new york times." it was three weeks ago michael first reported on a james comey memo claiming the president tried to pressure the fbi director to end the flynn investigation. now the times also reports comey told attorney general jeff sessions he did not want to be left alone again with the president. the paper cites current and former law enforcement officials saying comey approached the top attorney in february the day after being pressured by the president. comey believed sessions should protect the fbi from white house influence and the suggestion from the president was inappropriate. comey did not reveal whe was shaken by the meeting. a doj spokesman said it was not appropriate to respond to inquiries that may be related to on going investigations. michael, flesh this out exactly. what do we think the president
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said to james comey that so rattled him that he approached jeff sessions? >> well, what happened there is the big issue on thursday, which is that the president said to comey, can you move past the flynn investigation. the interesting thing about the coats report in "the washington post" today is it echoes what comey described in his memos. in "the washington post" report they say trump kicked people out of the room and spoke directly to coats about it. in our reporting of the memos, trump kicked people out of the room including pence and sessions and spoke directly to comey about it. the question comey will have to answer on thursday is why is it that he kept this to himself? he did not tell anyone at the justice department about what trump had done, and he's going to have to explain that. some democrats say, look, you just witness ted the potential
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crime. w why didn't you do more? why did you sit on it? >> an interesting question. comey's answer is that he felt nervous, he wanted to respect protocol and maybe wanted to work it out privately. what i think gets lost a little bit is this bigger question is why continuously to multiple people trump was running interference on behalf of michael flynn. here we have a person who trump at that point knew misled on his issue of lobbying for turkey, we knew he lied to the vice president about his conversations with russia. yet trump time and again talks to people and says lay off this guy, don't investigate this guy, help me out with this guy. we've debated whether it's shear loyalty for just being there. it seems like there's more nefarious, the sheer extent
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trump would go to bat for flynn is remarkable and it's hamg time and time again. >> he's trying to kill an investigation. the one thing we've learned about donald trump is, he's not loyal to anybody but donald trump. so there is, there has to be more to it than just loyalty because, again, that's an emotion that donald trump or a character trait that donald trump never exhibits for anybody else. he certainly wouldn't for this general. kasie hunt, talk about the republicans on the hill behind you. this has been, again, of all the tumultuous weeks, we thought the week with him shoving aside members of nato was bad and trying to arm wrestle the president of france, we thought that was embarrassing. we're finding out he's, of course, cutting outlines from speeches when he was speaking to
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nato. is there any crack in the resolve of these republicans to be known for the rest of their lives as trump republicans, as trumpists, as enablers of donald trump, as people that are engaging in the coverup of an investigation between potential ties between russia and the president of the united states' administration. any cracks in that wall at all? >> joe, i think that you are going to be able to see on the screen plain as day on thursday part of the answer to that question, if they really are going after james comey on these questions that the president doesn't really want them to be talking about. i think right now there's still this underlying sense of fear. i think all those things you walked through, all those events, qatar this week, when bob corker, cirman of foreign relations was told abouthat by a reporter, he looked extreme
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surprised, almost ran the other way. all these things are contributing to a sense that these republicans don't know what to do, but they're trapped against all of trump's voters. they're still afraid of what the voters might do in 2018 and 2020 to them. >> they're sitting, kasie -- president bannon is at 36%, 37% in the latest callup polls. even real clear politics ave. that bannon and his ob seek yas aide are at 37%. are democrats saying what they were saying when bill clinton was lying over oath. this guy is such a horrible liar, i can't believe i have to go home and defend them. are they at least saying that behind the scenes? >> behind the scenes there's always been incredible
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nervousness about president trump. the question you hit on is exactly the right one. i think what to look for is this potential breaking point. this is a president who is increasingly isolated. all of these stories we're talking about, all these things that have happened indicate a president who is out there alone. you also -- you talk about the tweets that he's been sending out and how his staff are saying, you know, he's doing more and more of this. we can't control it. there's no war room for comey because the president might be live tweeting. there's all these questions. even his comments about jared kushner saying jared kushner is more famous than me. that's a little bit of a dig at a family member. i think all of it is very much a risk for republicans. even the stories yesterday out of the white house meeting where members of the hill leadership came back and said privately, hey, he pitched a wall covered in solar panlsd he said we could talk about it as long as we gave him credit for it. that is something they came back relating with a sense of deep respect, i wouldn't say.
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>> a wall covered in solar panels. >> going green, joe. going green. >> we had a question whether newt gingrich was involved in this administration or not. obviously -- that is such a newt gingrich idea, a wall covered in solar panels. >> i won't be full news until we have a lunar base from the trump administration. >> it will still be beautiful, joe. >> setting up to be an extraordinary day tomorrow. i guess the question is how far does james comey go? how much is he willing to say publicly in an open hearing? it's hard to imagine a universe where donald trump does not respond to what's happening in realtime or after the fact. what do you think we'll learn by the end of the day tomorrow? will this be a different investigation by the day's end? >> first of all, i think this is high political theater. one of the things that will happen tomorrow is everything will become concrete. it won't be leaks, anonymous
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sources. we'll have an individual making claims, specific claims based on his experience. those claims will involve questions around collusion and questions around russia. so it won't be kind of folks trying to figure out what happened. we will have one of the principal actors in the room. no matter what comey says, the investigations, the questions around trump, the questions around trump and flynn will go to another level. >> what i'm struck by is, you know, we basically know what happened. when trump went on nbc and toelt lester holt he fired comey because of the russia investigation, i feel like i'm taking crazy pills. the president admitted he did that because of russia. when comey tomorrow says i was fired because of my investigation to russia. we know that. he admitted it. all these things that would have derailed anyth political
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figure have happened already, and yet here we are. >> you can't confirm, joe, all the reporting we've seen like, were you pressured explicitly by the president to drop the investigation. >> of course, what dan coats is going to testify to is going to just add even more authority to what comey says. mark halperin, let me ask you the question i asked kasie hunt. do you see any cracks in the wall? >> i think we'll see it tomorrow. if the republicans are there to defend the president and challenge comey or if they're there to try to get the facts. i think the first take on team comey trying to solve this question of why didn't you tell anybody about this until you got fired. the account -- the story is i didn't know who i could trust at the justice department. comey wasn't sure he could trust at the justice department, including the deputy attorney general and the attorney general even though he spoke to them.
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i think the question will be -- again, the canary in the coal mine, where are republicans' heads, are they strategizing about how to undermine comey in questioning, or is there questioning going to be joining with democrats to try to get at the truth? i think that will tell us a lot about where their heads are at right now. >> also, joe, there's a thread in this story, a couple of threads in the story. one of them is the answer to the question that will be asked comey, why didn't you tell anyone, it's part of an investigation, on going investigation. that's probably going to be part of his answer. the underlying theme that is truly interesting and you alluded to it earlier with kasie, where is the courage on the part of republicans in the united states senate? when do they summon enough courage to make a statement to what is going on with our country. >> we'll see it tomorrow. we've seen hearings where republicans have been there to carry water for the white house. tomorrow is the opportunity for
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some members of the committee to try to get to the truth and press comey in a way to bring out the truth, not to undermine him. >> big story. >> if this ends up -- if republicans end up looking like they're reading the talking points from the white house or from now the trumpun rnc, from certain cable news shows on otheretworks and all they're talking about are leaks, they'll pay a heavy, heavy price in 2018 for caring more about protecting a corrupt -- apparently corrupt president and administration than getting to the truth. it is so unnecessary. this republican party has to decide whether it is the party of reagan and lincoln or whether it is the party of donald trump and michael flynn. a lot of that, willie, will be answered tomorrow. a lot of that question will
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begin to be answered tomorrow. if they choose to be the party of donald trump and michael flynn, they will pay a tremendous political price moving forward. >> we'll find out in about 28 hours as our giant countdown clock -- no, we don't have one. >> we need that. by the way, can i ask you quickly. can we look at mark halperin? he's sporting a robert mcnamara crew cut from 1965. i like it. >> i was overdo for a haircut and donated the cut layer to charity, joe. >> you look good. >> looks good. if you like it, i like it. >> i will say, joe, i thought i had seen every episode of "mad men." i don't recall the one where he brought home the goats. >> thank you so much for picking up on that. the point is, if "mad men" had to go every day and you had to keep up the pace with this president, day one would start
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with a lstic in the collar andetty being shopped. he could do that for about a week. >> then the blood. and quickly escalate to goats. >> okay. he's killing people at this point. he's got blood -- what do they do next week? >> escalate to the goats. >> you just are like how do they keep this pace up? how does donald trump keep this chaos up? and yet every day, every day. please, i don't want to be left alone with the president of the united states, says the attorney general. not a headline you read during lincoln's administration. crazy. >> almost the goat. still ahead on "morning joe," we haven't gotten to jeff sessions' offer to resign. that just ahead. they say every joke has a kernel of truth. what something the president said about jared kushner is getting a lot of attention.
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the vice president of the intel committee, senator mark warner joins us live ahead of the big day. he'll be questioning top law enforcement officials including dan coats. senator warner when "morning joe" comes right back. e's nothie important to me than my vacation. so when i need to book a hotel room, i want someone that makes it easy to find what i want. gets it. and with their price match, i know i'm getting the best price every time. now i can start relaxing even before the vacation begins. your vacation is very important. that's why makes finding the right hotel for the right price easy. visit now to find out why we're booking.yeah! realize the smartest investing idea, isn't just what you invest in, but who you invest with. ♪
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jared has actually become much more famous than me. i'm a little bit upset about that. >> that's donald trump yesterday during a meeting with congressional leaders at the white house. remember in january president trump made the same comment about someone else in his administration. >> let's -- here's jim. he's become more famous than me. >> yes, that was president trump with former fbi director james comey on january 22nd. comey was, of course, fired on may 9th, joe.
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>> not a good sign. so what we have going on as far as sessions, what at the end of the day do you think happens with sessions, willie? is it going to be -- because all day yesterday the white house was asked whether there was support, and they never said he was going to -- they would not come out and say the president supported jeff sessions. of course, that's what they did with flynn right before flynn was pushed out. >> michael schmidt, you've been reporting on this. jeff sessions, as we've said many times was one of the first people to jump on the trump train back during the campaign. he's been loyal to the president. the president, as we know, values loyalty. the president is ustrat, as you know from your own reporting, about the recusal from the russia investigation. he doesn't think sessions should have done that and taken his
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hand out of it to help trump along with it. >> he believes the recusal put them on the path to where they are today with this special council. the question is could the president survive firing the attorney general. every turn in this presidency -- in a normal presidency you would say no, especially with such a politically sensitive investigation going on. even though sessions is recused from it, the appearance of it i think would be terrible. as we've seen, the president can survive an enormous amount of things. if he wanted to get rid of sessions, maybe the biggest problem would be just finding someone to take the job. >> mark halperin -- i'm sorry. go ahead. >> sessions arguably is the most competent member of trump's team. he's done very conservative rein the justice department, but sweeping reforms on sentencing, for instance. he seems to have an ethical
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compass. so that trump soured on him is going back to the issue of protecting himself from an investigation. all of this is protecting himself from an investigation. trump has soured on everybody. weave had bannon, kushner, priebus, spicer. maybe this is part of the normal trum routine. sessions has done an effective job. you may not like the job, but it's effective. >> mark halperin, you look, again, at what donald trump expects from people who work for him, and it goes back to what i was saying earlier. he expects these people tbe caddies. jeff sessions really, after he ran into the problems he ran into with his testimony, his meeting with kislyak and other russian leaders, he really had no choice but to recuse himself. there was no wiggle room. rod rosenstein, the goo who had a store read career in washington, d.c., he got thrown overboard, blamed for the firing of comey, when trump already said he was going to fire him
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before. what other choice did he have? the same thing with coats. you have all these people that have representations, and it just shows the complete and total ignorance of donald trump and his understanding of how government works and how checks and balances work. >> well, he comes to it with no background in it. there's no more complex thing a president deals with than his relationships with two people, people in law enforcement and people in intelligence. particularly on the law enforcement side, technically they work for the president, but on some issues they have to be independent. i think what you see here on all this russia stuff, on the stuff related to flynn, on the conduct of the fbi director who, of course, reports to the deputy attorney general and the attorney general, i think you see donald trump struggling to understand, these people work for me, why aren't they pledging their loyalty? why are there recusals that i'm not consulted on? that takes some getting used to if you don't understand the historic reason why you have
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people who work for you but they have some independence. i think you're going to continue to see that theme in the hearings today and tomorrow and the coming weeks. i think that's a source of a lot of attention here, the president's failure to see how those relationships historically work and why they work that way. >> right. willie, this is a guy who again never had a boardf directors to deal with. if he had a board of directors to deal with, he would understand the tensions of having a company that you ran, but people you had to answer to. and he just doesn't understand that. as donny deutsch said yesterday, he basically was running a small family business that dealt in big days. >> i go back to the comment he made a couple months ago where he said i thought the job would be easier than it is. i think he thought he could roll into washington and run the government the way he runs his company, by edict. he's found that's not the way it works. michael schmidt, thank you very much. we'll be reading your front page piece at
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coming up, member of foreign relations committee, senator chris murphy joins us live. we'll talk to him about the latest reporting from "the new york times" and "the washington post" and about whether the trump administration is really going to sell $100 billion in weapons to saudi arabia.
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let's bring in the senator from connecticut, chris murphy on the foreign relations committee. always good to talk to you. we won't ask you any questions about your run for governor because obviously we have a busy agenda. what do you want to hear tomorrow? if you could have one question answered, what would it be? >> given all the reporting about comey's conversations with the president, i think it stands to reason that he would clear up the content of those conversations. it would be important to hear from comey that the president did talk to him about the consequences, the personal consequences of comey continuing the russia investigation. i would like to hear that from comey, but i have low
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exctations. in part because we sat in this private briefing with rod rosenstein, teputy attorney general, in which he would give us nothing about the content of his communications with trump. he wouldn't even tell us in that closed door meeting about who he consulted in writing the memo that recommended comey's firing. the reason for that is he said, listen, this is all subject to a potential criminal obstruction of justice case. knowing comey, knowing how careful he normally is, he'll make a little bit of news tomorrow. i have a feeling he's going to be just as careful as rosenstein was given the potential scope of mueller's investigation. >> let me ask you what dan coats, former ambassador, former senator, now dni dan coats' news that broke last night. how does that impact how you're looking at this entire mess, possible obstruction of justice charge against the president of
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the united states? >> coats is a guy with an ethical center. he's also a really smart and careful politician, having served in the senate for a long time. you should read his statement last night very carefully. he says he never has felt pressured by the president. that doesn't mean that the president didn't ask him to back off -- to push comey to back off the investigation. >> senator, it also doesn't mean that the president wasn't trying to pressure him. somebody could ask me to do something illegal. i wouldn't feel any pressure. i'd smile and tell them to go to hell and walk out of the room. you're exactly right. him saying i didn't feel any pressure has nothing to do th na trump's state of mind or his intent. >> and frankly, i think knowing dan coats, i would read his statement last night to be almost a confirmation of the fact that trump had that
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conversation with him, and his failure to answer the question when it was posed to him last time he appeared before congress seems additional confirmation. every single day, it feels as if the walls are closing in here. there's not a sengal day in which you feel like you got further away from a very damaging truth for the president. our challenge here is to not be so obsessive on this russia case to look track of the fact that there are some really important things happening here in congress in a subterranean way, the health care bill now looks like it may be on the floor of the senate by the end of this month. i want to follow this path wherever it goes, but i don't want it to block out everything else that we're working on here that matters, frankly, more to my constituents than this russia story. >> we'll talk about the weapons sale to saudi arabia as well, sir. i want to ask you, you went to law school, a lawyer. what would constituted to you in this case obstruction of
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justice? we have media reporting that shows james comey was asked by the president of the united states to back off the russia investigation. now this morning "the washington post" says that dan coats was pressured to back off the russia investigation . as you look at this case, what would constitute obstruction of justice? >> all of that feels like obstruction of justice. of course, at this point we have reporting. at some point these principals will have to testifynd give evidence that those conversations happened, but all that feels like obstruction of justice. of course, if you move that into the context of our constitutional responsibility, the question of impeachment, if we ever got there, is a political question, not a legal question. so even if the president of the united states does meet the standard of obstruction of justice, you've got a separate question as to whether that rises to high crimes and misdemeanors. that's a pretty serious conversation, but a different one. we have to admit that.
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>> kasie hunt. >> senator, good morning. i want to ask you as a member of the foreign relations committee about events in the middle east, broadly and specifically, obviously the president tweeting about what's going on in qatar. interested in your take on the impact that has. also, you've been pretty vocal about this deal to sell arms to saudi. senator rand paul, a bit of an unusual alliance. >> i think we'll have a very close vote later this week on this resolution. we're objecting to a very specific solution of the $110 billion arm sales to the saudis. they're being used in the yemen bombing campaign, creating a famine inside yemen. 8 million people don't have food to eat. it's given room for al qaeda to grow. i think we're going to have a
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very close vote in the senate, a bipartisan vote later this week that may result in the senate objecting to that arms sale. the dispute between the gcc and the qataris, i think it's an important one to understand the subtleties here. the u.s. is making a mistake on going all in on the sunni side, the saudi side of this proxy war between iran and saudi arabia. the qataris, they are not perfect actors. they do support some pretty bad people in the region. they also try to be an intermediary between the saudis and the iranians. the united states should be supporting reconciliation between those two sides, not going all in with one side of that regional conflict. i think this is a big mistake for trump and his administration to weigh ver heavily on the saudi side ofs internal conflict. it's interesting, his state department which seems to be going rogue more often than ever before, is hughing a little closer to the qatari side.
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>> senator, this is eddie glaude. can you say more about what's going on with health care and particularly what president trump is doing with regards to what you said, if i'm using your language correctly, sabotaging obamacare. can you say more about that? >> we've seen premium increases, weave seen insurers start to pull out of marketplaces across the country this year. they're pretty clear as to why they're doing that. president trump is actively sabotaging the american health care system in a number of ways. he's told the irs to stop enforcing the individual mandate which is what holds together a lot of these exchanges. he won't pay the insurance companies more than one month at a time. if you're an insurance company, why would you stay in these marketplaces. insurers are pushing up rates and rethinking exchanges because of this sabotage. what trump is trying to do is create a crisis that will force congress to rewrite the entire rules of the game. i don't think he's going to get
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away with it. i think the american people see what's happening. the senate is potentially moving to a vote in a few weeks on a bill that maybe doesn't take coverage away from 23 million people like the house did, but might take coverage away from 15 million. we've got to be sure that our focus and the media's focus is on that as much as it is on this unfolding russia story. >> senator chris murphy from connecticut, always appreciate your time. >> thanks, guys. >> mark halperin, quickly, where is mike pence on all of this? >> it's a great estion. it's his birthdaytoy, happy birthday, mr. vice president. a lot of people on capitol hill are wondering what's going on at the white house. they recognize all this russia stuff and justice department stuff is a big distraction at least. a lot of them are reaching out to mike pence i'm told and asking him for an explanation. he has been relatively low profile here. for a lot of republicans on capitol hill, they're channelling their angst and questions to the office of the
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vice president. his team is involved in the legislative affairs job. so there's a lot of interaction between pence world and the hill. watch how republicans treat him and how he speaks out depending what comey does on thursday. >> kasie hunt, let's talk about the hill. what about the legislative process, what about the legislative calendar? what are you hearing on the hill about republicans there? >> joe, i think there is -- i wouldn't quite say sense of despair setting in, but you have republicans you talk in the holloways, lindsey graham is being vocal. i think that's why you're seeing mitch mcconnell set this sharp deadline, essentially people are saying privately now they want to try to vote on health care by the july 4th recess which is an extremely fast timeline. >> kasie, what's the bill?
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this isn't mitch mcconnell's way. all the senators are saying -- you're hearing republicans saying they can't pass it by the end of the year. suddenly mitch mcconnell comes out of right field sayin we're going to vote on this -- what are they votin on? we have no idea. there's no debate. we don't know the outlines of what they're doing. what are they doing the senate. >> we don't at this point know the contours of it. they're having on going meetings. my sense of it is the majority leader is trying to figure out where all the members of his caucus are and how to get them one-on-one on board. i think this deadline partially let's him shake out the people firmly in the no camp and those who want something out of it. i think the reality here is mitch mcconnell is never going to do something that's going to jeopardize the republican majority in the senate. he's just simply not going to do it. the question is how do they approach this in a way that is the most productive for them?
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i think there's a sense that doing something and having it fail is better than simply doing nothing. if they have a majority, they've been saying for eight years, seven years, they're going to repeal this law and then they do nothing about it. that's potentially more dangerous for that senate majority than taking a vote on thing like this and having it fail. look, i think the overall dynamic here with the president is quickly devolving into a nightmare scenario. i think instead of talking about -- when this came in, they were talking about infrastructure. chuck schumer was saying, look, we're going to work with republicans on this. now you have the mike pence legislative shop saying we're going to try to do that only with republican votes. in congress, republicans are saying no way, u how do we even do this. i think it's in a very precarious position right now, the entire agenda. >> willie, there's excitement in the air, not only on capitol hill but across washington, d.c. just a reminder this is, after all, infrastructure week.
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donald trump proclaimed it infrastructure week. >> things half price in all washington areas, tgi friday's. more that president trump asked the director of national intelligence to intervene in the russia probe. plus new controversy facing the trump organization. new reports the business profited from an annual kids cancer charity event. we'll be back in a moment.
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the fact that our friend and ally has come to question the very worth of its mantel of global leadership puts into sharper focus the need for the rest of us to set our own clear and sovereign course. >> that was canadaed foreign minister, and as mark points out
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"morning joe"lfollowing solares ones from german chancellor angela merkel, take fate spoke our own hands. the days europe can rely on others are over to a certain extent. sam stein, what do you think? >> i mean, america still rocks. >> thank you for that analysis. >> we're letting these countries fly like little doves. they are getting their wings. this is all part of trump's grand plan. i have nothing else to add. >> that's your analysis. joe, what's the significance of canada, canada, our friends to the north and krista freeland saying that publicly. >> i can go deeper if you want. >> i've got to say i think sam's nonanswer or baffling answer is more news worthy. >> no, it's not. >> i don't know exactly -- no,
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listen. the canadians have every right to be upset, australians, french, germans, all of our allies. they need to push back hard. there is a middle ground. we're not all hostage to donald trump. yesterday house passed a resolution condemning turkey for their actions in washington, d.c., the thuggery that was shown on the streets there. they need to do the same thing and say if any nato country -- just a sense of the house, if any nato country is attacked, we would consider that in this house to be an act of war against all members of nato. they need to start doing that. they need to be more assertive. that certainly will send a good message across the globe. far better than sam stein. >> people want more of that kind of deep insight. what's your podcast again?
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>> we're launching season two, candidate confessional coming up in june, great guests. >> i bet that's great. >> on friday's show, by the way, we'll have complete coverage of james comey's testimony, nancy pelosi and members of the senate intel committee, senators joe manchin and susan collins all join us live from capitol hill. that's on friday. coming up this morning we'll go live to the white house for a report from peter alexander about how the president plans to spend thursday. and senator marc warren joins us, vice president of intel committee. today that committee will get the first chance to ask director of national intelligence dan coats did the president pressure you to talk to james comey to end the probe into michael flynn as "the washington post" is reporti reporting. we'll be back in a minute. where's jack? he's on holiday. what do you need? i need the temperature for pipe five. ask the new guy. the new guy? jack trained him.
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remote moisture sensors use a reliable network to tell them when and where to water. so that farmers like ray can compete in big ways. china. oh ... he got there. that's the power of and. i think we do end up having a lot of collateral matters to talk about as a result of the president's desire to tweet. i'm more interested in what he's doing than what he's tweeting. well, i've been pretty candid with him and all of you that i'm not a great fan of daily tweets. i've not been a fan of the extra discussion that he likes to engage in, but we're going to
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soldier on. >> you have said that you wish he would spend less time on twitter and there could be a little less drama coming out of the white house. >> obviously i've said to him i thought we could use a little less drama and you can see how effective i've been. >> so much of the domestic focus today especially is on the president's tweets. >> his what? >> the president's tweets. the continuing tweets by the president. can you discuss this? >> i can only say what i've said before, i'm not a fan of the president's tweets and that still remains my view. >> you know, willie, there was a time that people could roll their eyes if they served in the senate or the house and say i don't want to talk about the president's tweets. the white house even took that opportunity away from them yesterday because yesterday the white house announced that donald trump's tweets were official white house policy. we saw mitch mcconnell two times in february, once in may and
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again yesterday saying the tweets are not helpful to the cause. the wall street yesterday editorializing just how badly served the president was by these continued tweets. george conway coming out say the same thing, saying everybody. and the justice department agreed with him. all of donald trump's own lawyers agreed with him, that his tweets are actually hurting his cause, hurting his presidency, in many cases hurting our valuable alliances. i think more importantly for a very self-involved president may bring him some legal jeopardy down the road. >> you'd think that would be the one argument that would get him to stop tweeting. this is actually hurting you, a tweet he continues. there is a moment -- we see this play out in the halls of congress, sam can tell you this. a reporter approached bob corker and presented one of donald trump's tweets and he stood there in stunned silence five or
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six seconds shaking his head saying i don't know what to say anymore. >> it's kind of funny -- used to be funny these tweets, but there are really damaging outcomes that can happen with this. stuff happening in the middle east with qatar and saudi arabia, the president's words can move markets. they can cause wars. and the more you are unfiltered medium like twitter, i know only 140 characters, but you can do some damage. >> he does not care. >> he doesn't care. >> we'll damage internationally. look what's happened with qatar over the past couple of days. i think a lot of foreign policy issues have a lot of issue, we have one of our most important naval bases there. you've got to tread carefully. again, just this week, willie, he happened to insult the mayor of the most important city by -- in our special relationship by
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twisting the london mayor's words from their proper context and then insulting him. what sane person insults the mayor of your most important ally partner by twisting words from their proper context in the midst of them recovering from a terrorist attack. >> then by the way, joe, when challenged psented with that the president tweeted agn, doubledown, you can't show weakness. we've got mike barnicle, political analyst mark halperin, "washington post" sam stein. nbc news capitol hill correspondent kasie hunt and joining the conversation former campaign strategist and msnbc analyst, our good friend steve schmidt. good morning. >> good to see you. >> where are we. comey testifying tomorrow, coats
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on the hill today. where are we in this russia investigation? >> we're going to get to the bottom of what happened with the employment of the special council robert humueller. i think we're going to have a good idea about what the president said in the room with director comey. i think director comey has deserved criticism for his decision making, his actions. let's be clear, over a long career in public service, this is a man who is known for his moral rectitude relaying his side of a private conversation with someone known for moral turpitude. we're going to get a good sense of what the president was saying behind closed doors tomorrow. i think we're also going to see an essential part of the character of this administration with the smear campaign that's about to be unleashed on james comey. i think it's disgusting. i think a lot of people will be repelled by it. but we're going to move a giant
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step closer to finding out tomorrow what's going on with all this. >> you know, steve, you talk about that we're going to see an awful lot about the character of this white house. we're also going to learn about the character of the republican party that you and i grew up in. is this a party that's going to be driven in mcarthur's words by doing what's best, duty, honor, and country, or are they going to cover donald trump politically, a guy that, again, in a hostile takeover of their party in 2011 when he discovered birtherism. aren't you looking -- i know i am. i'm looking as closely as i've ever looked at my own party tomorrow to see if they are doing to sell their soul to this carnival barker or whether they are going to remain the party of
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lincoln and reagan? >> look, i think we're a longways down the road, joe, that you're worried about. the republicans in congress overwhelmingly have acted like vessels of the trump administration not members of the co-equal branch of government who have sworn an oath to protect and defend the constitution of the united states. this is a very serious issue. we're talking about foreign interference, the u.s. elections process. we're talking about the deliberate attempt by a foreign adversary to undermine. confidence in democracy. some of the core and fundamental institutions and foundations of our country. and so when we look ahead politically, we should understand for republicans out there, republicans watching, the incumbent president's party picked up seats exactly three times in the first term, the first midterm of a new president, three times in the last 118 years. hillary clinton won 23 districts that are held by republican members of congress.
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you look ahead to this georgia six special election where there's a likelihood that the democratic candidate could win this republican suburban district in atlanta. if you're a republican member of congress, and you enjoy being in the majority, you should be worried at this hour with the president's approval numbers mired in the 30s. >> we've got new details this morning on attorney general jeff sessions reportedly falling out of favor with the president. abc news was first to report at one point sessions offered to resign. "new york times" reports the nation's top law enforcement official told the president he needed fre tom to do his job back in the days leading up to the president's foreign trip. the president reportedly declined that offer. but yesterday his press secretary, sean spicer, gave a less than full endorsement of the attorney general. >> how would you describe the president's level of confidence in the attorney general jeff sessions. >> i have not had a discussion with him about that. >> last time you said that there was a development. >> i'm asking -- i'm answering a
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question, which is i have not had that discussion with him. >> whether he has confidence in the attorney general. >> i said i have not had a discussion with him on the question. if i haven't had a discussion with him on a subject, i tend not to speak about it. >> you have said on many occasions from the podium that the president's tweets speak for themselves. yesterday in a series of tweets the president faulted the department of justice for its defense of the president's executive order on immigration. given that he has faulted doj, has he also faulted the person that leads doj, attorney general jeff sessions. >> i think i've answered that question. >> white house official tells nbc news the president was frustrated with sessions decision to recuse himself from the russian probe. he does not think he did anything wrong, a lot flows through the attorney general a source close describes a huge level of frustration that goes
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beyond that recusal. the source describes it as monday morning quarterbacking, displeased with rosen stein. the new travel ban is watered down, the one the president signed, the executive order. >> the one he signed and said he was going to get passed. >> right. >> that the court would aee with. mike barnicle, you look at sean spicer at the podium, he actually did exactly what he should do, which is don't lie, don't make things up that you don't know. if you haven't talked to the president of the united states about it, do that and move on. that said, the fact that we find ourselves in this position, the same position that he was in right before michael flynn was fired suggests there are serious problems. john's report was right and jeff sessions may be on the way out. >> all of this, joe, gets back
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to what we've been talking about earlier today and the day before yesterday and last week, and it's this. the level of exhaustion in this country, and i assume in the congress about all of this, it's day 138 of this presidency, only 138 days, and, again, i harken back -- i would like your view on this, joe, about what happens tomorrow within the republican party when they are going to be tested with three words that begin with c. character, courage, and country instead of party. what's your instinct of what your party does starting tomorrow? tomorrow is opening day for character and courage on the part of a lot of the united states senators. >> you know, it really is. this is what i don't understand, mike. when i opposed newt gingrich, when i didn't agree with what newt gingrich is doing, i went
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out and said, ingenuity beginning rigingrich is wrong, bobbled the ball, i would speak my mind. i came from a very conservative district. i was always rewarded for that. always. we had to cut the rate of growth of medicare in 1995. representatives got slaughtered in 1996. i went around my district and told everybody, every senior, why we had to do that. i was rewarded with that. i need to go to steve schmidt here. the fact so many republicans are running scared and acting like vassells for donald trump. they don't understand it's in their political interest to speak out, be courageous, show
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the courage of their convictions and say, yes, i agree with donald trump on x, y, and z. i'll vote with him on the issues, repeal obamacare, cut taxes, take regulatory burden off small business. and paris, it wasn't that big of a deal. when it comes to duty, honor and country, i will always stand with you. i will always stand with my country first. if you want to know what america first means to me, that's what america first means to me, country over party. if they say that, steve, not one of them will be hurt when they go home for asking tough questions about how trump and russia may have colluded together. >> i think that's exactly right. one of the defining aspects of this era we live in is the collapse of trust in our institutions. certainly collapse of trust in the political leadership of the country. collapse of trust in the
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institutions that have our elected officials. part of the remedy for that is the ability of both parties to step outside this tribalism that has overtaken american politics. the capacity of your tribe looks at the red chair, it could be blue, if it's in your immediate political interest, look at blue chair, when clearly it's not. the ability to look at a crowd size and say that a is bigger than b, when a is clearly smaller than b. all of this together is not lost on the american people. it's just eroded trust. it's eroded the credibility of our elected leaders in washington, d.c. there are some young, rising stars. you have someone like tom cotton, combat veteran, harvard educated lawyer, someone in his early 40s who could have a real national profile. is he going to get to the truth tomorrow or is he going to be a shell for the administration.
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marco rubio, another person with a long career ahead of him. how is he going to handle this? i think we're looking for a generation now of younger republican leaders. are they going to put the country first? are we going to get to the bottom of what happened, or are we going to see nonsense tomorrow. >> right. of course those are the two people you named that actually went to the white house and had dinner last night. >> they did. >> donald trump, again, being a schmuck thinking he can buy people's integrity by inviting them over to the white house and wowing them. i'm sorry, that's how he thinks. i know that firsthand. he thinks if he invites you to the white house and gives you food that you areoing t cut him a break, cut him slack. willie, this tribism the i trib taukts about there's a discussion in conservative circles. there's a good man, good conservative guy that has a radio show and writes a column. i'm not going to even mention his name. he's going around saying that our political opponents are our
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enemies. it's that tribalism. no, our enemies are isis. our enemies are terrorists across the globe. our enemies, dare i say it, are elements in russia that want to do us harm. those are our enemies. not democrats, not independents, not republicans. this tribalism is stifling and it is up to the republican party to get past it tomorrow. >> there is an entire strain of support for donald trump you see implicitly but explicitly to say it's enough for them to offend the other side and that's why they stand with donald trump on a lot of this stuff. let's figure out how exactly the white house is going to be watching and handling testimony from james comey on thursday when we go to the white house. nbc news national correspondent peter alexander. peter, good morning, what's the plan out of the white house. war room, no war room, is he tweeting, not live tweeting? what are we going to see on thursday. >> i think at this point only
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the president knows for sure. the white house already taking actions to try to undermine james comey's credibility around washington, some describing as a super bowl of sorts. they have stocked his schedule full tomorrow. counter-programming, if you will. he has a speech scheduled before the faith and freedom group. he has an infrastructure summit as well, but none of that guarantees he's going to be able to stay off twitter tomorrow. this is a president who has been furious, frustrated that his agenda is stalled by the congress and also right now in the courts. "the washington post" is reporting that the president has been glued even more than usual to the cable news shows that blair from the televisions in his private quarters or 60 inch flat screen in his cramped study in the oval office. even lawyers, trump is keen to be participant rather than just a viewer. that's from two senior white house officials, including
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taking to twitter to offer acerbic commentary during the hearing. we're seeing aides win white house getting on board. a pro nonprofit is running an ad digitally right now. it will go on some cable news channels tomorrow targeting the former fbi director, effectively going after him for being consumed by election meddling as opposed to battling terrorism. it's called show boat. here is a can clip. >> as head of the fbi james comey put politics over protecting america. after the fbi banned terms like radical islam for political correctness, comey allowed the dangerous practice to continue. when terror attacks were on the rise last year, comey was consumed with election meddling. and after he testified before the u.s. senate, comey's own staff admitted some of his answers were flat out wrong. james comey, just another d.c. insider only in it for himself. >> reporter: on top of that to
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punctuate the president's frustration, fury, we heard from his son eric who said he has never seen hatred from his father's opponents, to him they are not even people. in his words, it's so, so sad. back to you, willie. >> peter alexander, thanks so much. joe, as peter rolled the ad from third party group that supports donald trump, effectively an attack ad on james comey there was a lot of shaking of heads from experienced political analysts at the table. >> it is unspeakable that you are attacking an fbi director in that way. if republicans want to do that, if conservative groups want to do that, if they want that to be their legacy, that's fine. they can talk to speaker nancy pelosi about it january 4th, 2019. because if they go that route, nancy pelosi will be the next speaker of the house. you can press the red button and record that on your betamax
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because that will be the case. mark halperin, new abc "washington post" poll just came out that we've been passing back and forth. remarkable numbers and the coincidence with the number 56. if i'm not mistaken, 56% of americans believe that donald trump is interfering with the russian investigation. i think that's about the same number of americans who believed that james comey made a mistake in not indicting hillary clinton. i think it was 55, 56% in an abc news "washington post" poll back in july of 2016. but now it's donald trump. 56% say that he was interfering with the russian investigation and a whopping 61% believe he fired comey because it was best for him, not because it was best for america. >> in 50/50 polarized america, whenever you see poll numbers
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above 50, above 60, you've got to pay attention to them. i think this poll will get a lot of attention in the run up to the hearing tomorrow. bad numbers for the president. not great numbers for comey here. a lot of americans not trusting him very much as well. i'm wondering what democrats are thinking, how they are going to approach comey on the hill. because not that long ago comey was public enemy number one for the democratic party because of the role he played in helping hillary clinton lose the election. are democratic members of the senate going to build comey up as a hero or are they still skeptical as a lot of american people seem to be of this poll. >> i think comey has taken a step back towards the hero column for democrats. i think there were stories around the time firing. chuck schumer takes the call from the president saying, okay, comey is going to get fired, expecting minority leader to be very excited about that considering what happened with hillary clinton. the opposite was the case. i think there is across the
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board deep scepticism for political reasons on both sides, both republicans and democrats. you know, i think this is a point where they have kind of -- the narrative has been reversed and democrats are going to be happy to take this opportunity. i think they risk overplaying their hands if they try to get details on actually the investigation itself wrrks that stands. that's something comey's people behind the scenes have been clear he doesn't want to talk about, isn't going to talk about. you could see democratic members of the committee try to bring that up. i don't think it will go far if they do. >> kasie hunt. thanks so much. still ahead on "morning joe" will president trump tweet during thursday's testimony. if he were to do so wouldn't be the first time. when and before house intel matt in march the official potus account, quote, nsa and fbi tell congress russia did not influence electoral process. democratic congressman jim himes quickly asked comey about it in the hearing. >> thanks the modern technology
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that's in front of me right here, i've got a tweet between the president an hour ago, is the tweet, as i rea it to you, nsa andbi tell congress russia did not influence the electoral process. is that accurate? >> well, it's hard to me react to that. let me tell you we understand the state of what we've said is. we offered no opinion, have no view, information on potential impact because it's never something we looked at. >> and congressman himes joins us next on "morning joe." we'll be right back. (microphone feedback) listen up, heart disease. you too, unnecessary er visits. and hey, unmanaged depression, don't get too comfortable. we're talking to you, cost inefficiencies and data without insights. and fragmented care- stop getting in the way of patient recovery and pay attention. every single one of you is on our list. for those who won't rest
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the subsequent action sharing intelligence with russians and compromising its source reflect either ignorance or disrespect and either is problematic. similarly the whole episode with the firing of jim comey, a
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distinguished public servant, apart from the egregious inexcusable manner in which it was conducted reflect complete disregard for the independence and autonomy of the federal bureau of investigation, our premier law enforcement organization. i have to say, though, that i think to compare the two, that watergate pales, in my view, compared to what we're confronting now. >> that was former director of national intelligence james clapper this morning speaking in australia comparing the russia investigation to watergate and saying, again, it pales in comparison to watergate. his successor dan coats is set to testify this morning on capitol hill. "the washington post" reports march 22nd, the president asked coats to intervene with fbi director james comey to get the bureau to ta the heat off national security adviser
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michael flynn in the russia probe. the meeting came a week after coats sworn in and two days after comey testified on capitol hill that the fbi was investigating the trump campaign and possible collusion with russia. joining us from capitol hill, a member of the select committee on intelligence democratic congressman jim himes of connecticut. congressman, always good to talk to you. you've had jim comey as we showed from the clip sitting in a room. if you were in that hearing tomorrow, what would be the first question you'd want to know from jim comey. >> really the core of the testimony has to be what were the circumstances leading up to your being fired? there have been allegations the president in several private conversations has asked jim comey to first of all pledge loyalty. you heard the clapper quote, beyond imaginable, loyalty, second, put pressure on to stop or slow the investigation. of course there are allegations
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that jim comey kept contemporaneous memos. we're going to need to see those memos and get those questions answered so we know whether the president put undue pressure on the fbi director prior to firing him associated with trying to stymie an investigation. >> congressman, as you just pointed out, we just heard a clip from jim clapper. fifty year in the intelligence business speaking in australia saying quote, unquote, watergate pales in comparison to what's going on here. that is a stunning, stunning quote, at least to me. i'm wondering your take on this. >> i would use the exact same word. i've sat acro from jim clapper any number of times in hearings. i'll tell you, he is a meticulously, careful, completely unpolitical guy. when you question jim clapper, you never got anything in any
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way that would help your party or help you, whatever, the fray of the day was. jim clapper was just unshakeable, impartial guy. to hear him go where he went in australia, i think your word was right, absolutely stunning. i've never seen anything like it before from jim clapper. >> steve. >> congressman, good morning. i'm curious, when the tv cameras are off and the reporters aren't around, and you're talking to your republican colleagues about this, what do they say? are they concerned at all about the possible interference in our election process by the russians? do they think something untoward happened? what is their private comportment about this issue? they take it seriously, a need to get to the bottom of it. is it different off camera than it is on camera? can you take us behind the scenes a little bit on that? >> yeah. it won't surprise you too know it is a little different off camera. there's absolutely and i'm
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usually hesitant to characterize my friends in the republican conference, there's a crew of republicans true believers who will stand by this president no matter what he says, what he does, what he tweets. i would tell you that's a minority. most of my republican colleagues, certainly those that come from districts that are tough right now, purple districts, they are in a little bit of a box. on the one hand, of course, a lot of them are deeply patriotic people and are as concerned as anybody else about the possibility of russian meddling and interested in knowing whether the president's people had anything to do with that. look, the box exists because most of my republican colleagues are in a position where if they sort of, you know, go against the president, number one, their constituents -- they will hear from their constituents. number two, even more frighteningly, this president may light them up on twitter. it's happened multiple occasions where the president has gone after a member of congress. i've got to tell you, politically that is a fraught thing. >> representative, there's a
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deep, deep scepticism about the state of our democracy right now out there in america. is there any way this process, this hearing tomorrow, can it begin the process in some ways renewing the faith of every day ordinary people in democracy in this country? >> you know, i hope so, but i'm not sure that it will. i regret to say i feel like we're in a moment where no matter what the president did or does, on the committee that's investigating, so i'm very careful not to speculate about what the outcome may be. no matter what the facts are, there is this machine that will immediately go to trying to undermine those facts. you talked about it in your sho earlier. there's a campaign to discredit jim comey, say this is not an honest guy, speaks out of both sides of his mouth. that is unprecedented. sadly in a world where facts don't matter, behavior cannot be called to account, because everything becomes subjective. what the president tweeted didn't mean this. you shouldn't listen to his
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tweets, you should look at his policy. it's very much in the interest of people around the president to create a world where facts don't matter, facts are open to question, where everything is debatable, behavior can be interpreted by one network in one way and another in a completely different thing. that is a profoundly damaging thing to citizenry. >> samstein, first of all, worried about being lit up on twitter. it's not that bad. you should get used to it. secondly, we were talking about -- we talked a fair amount about exhaustion that trump is bringing to the political process. i don't think it's something we should understate. every day there's a new scandal it seems. a story that would bring down any other administration. i'm wondering, how does it affect people on the hill? does it make it harder -- obviously makes it harder to do legislation but does it make it harder to do oversight, keep track of things. do you get complacent?
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do you feel exhaustion? can you talk a little about that. >> i would agree with that. number one, exhaustion is one word, normalization is another. i can't help but reflect on some of the criticism president obama took eight years ago. he was not a legitimate president because he signed a lot of executive orders, because he had a pen and he was going to use it. today we have all of these unbelievable issues that have sort of -- they are sort of morning news for us. but more importantly, i would say, look at this week. this week was infrastructure week. i will tell you, joe will agree with me, almost nothing is more important to southwest connecticut than infrastructure. what is infrastructure comprised of. the president deems it infrastructure week, does an opening ceremony in white house and immediately runs all over that story with unbelievable tweets against the mayor of london. the reason i say all that, not to criticize the president. look, i'll work with the president. i've been pretty critical of the guy but it's so important to my district. this week if we were talking
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about infrastructure i would be there, working side by side with my republican colleagues to hammer out an infrastructure plan. but we'll be talking about tweets, this, that and everything important to american people. >> will tell you, infrastructure is important unless you like driving in your car for two hours to take your kid to a birthday party 15 minutes away. i wanted to ask you really quickly, you have steve schmidt talking about tribalism, what do they say behind the scenes. i saw yesterday the chairman, ranking member came out at a joint press conference. have things leveled off a bit since nunes recused himself and stepped down? are you all working together in a constructive way? >> we are. it's a bumpy road. you know, there's always questions about who is signing subpoenas and that sort of thing. i keep telling people, no, we're
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making progress. not everything is smooth. mike conawa is doing areat job, adam schiff continues to work very well with mike. yeah, look, there's friction here and there. but no, our investigation like the senate investigation is moving forward i think in a really constructive way. >> all right. governor pence, thank you so much for being with us. >> groundhog day. >> all right. it is groundhog day. >> thanks so much. willie. >> still ahead this morning the vice chairman of senate intel committee senator mark warner joins us live at the top of our 8:00 east coast hour. we're back with morganza in just a moment. got it. rumor confirmed. they're playing. -what? -we gotta go. -where? -san francisco. -when? -friday. we gotta go. [ tires screech ] any airline. any hotel. any time. go where you want, when you want with no blackout dates. [ muffled music coming from club. "blue monday" by new order. cheers. ]
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he's become more famous than me. jared has become much more famous than me. i'm a little bit upset about that. >> all right. so steve schmidt, there we go. the president of the united states again who can't let the smallest slight do by. he actually considers it a
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slight when members of his administration are on the cover of "time" magazine or other publications. i don't know exactly what it is. but whatever it is is getting worse by the day. >> it sure is. if you look at the totality of everything that happened over the last few weeks, nato ceremony, dedicating a piece of the world trade center talking about germany saying the germans are bad, very bad, the attacks on the mayor of london. you look at the canadian foreign ministers comments yesterday, all of it taking place in the early part of june with so many historical moments in the history of the country. talk about this tribalism,
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conservative talk show host that talks about half the country being his enemy. as we move forward in politic, it's very difficult to make a case you love your country if you don't love your countrymen, people who disagree with you politically. they are your fellow americans, political opponents, but not enemies. this toxicity that bounds around our politics is obstructive, pers pernicious and profound political leadership to get us out of it. >> the fact of the matter is, there are people who make money by playing to a small, angry crowd, by saying us against the wor world. listen to my radio show, it's us against the world. watch my prime time radio show, this week only in russian. there are plogers, us against the world. they get more traffic by being
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angrier and saying look at the people over there. they are not wrong. they are evil. this is all driven by a sort of narrow casting that gets people rich just like gerrymandering allows congressmen and congresswoman to engage in narrow casting, microtargeting that makes everything much more toxic in congress but they just play to the lowest common denominator and they get re-elected. >> yeah. we've seen it on both sides of the debate. right now feels like it's on the conservative side. but we see it on the progressive side as well. what you hope wouldn't happen is it reaches congress and reaches the white house. unfortunately that's where we are right now where we're treating ooh points like enemies. i think that was really said by schmidt. i hope a lot of people in washington were listening this morning. steve, thanks so much. up next president trump chooses side in the conflict with qatar. one problem, qatar is an american ally. plus isis claims a new wave of deadly attacks. this time in iran's parliament
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welcome back to "morning joe." we've got breaking news coming across. donald trump has just tweeted he will nominate ristopher a. wray as his fbi director, impeccable credentials, details to follow. he was former assistant attorney general under george w. bush. he's a partner at the law firm of king and spaulding, well-known firm. deputy ag, long resume, served mostly under george w. bush. that's chris wray, breaking news donald trump announcing one day ahead of former fbi director james comey now that now has a new nominee to be director at the fbi and his name is chris wray. >> we don't know an awful lot about him. obviously we'll be hearing much more about him over the next
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couple of hours. mike barnicle -- is barnicle not with us? >> mike stepped off. sam stein says he's willing to play that role. >> stepped out. >> i am a little shaken. i kind of want barnacle. >> do you know anything about christopher wray. >> the interesting thing that a lot of people will be talking about is trump did go with an experienced lawyer, who actually worked with james comey. trump could have done something completely different, he could have gone with a politician, joe liebermann's name was taken off of the running. in the end t , he goes with some who got a private investigation background and safer pick, and
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less controversial pick, and i think people end up breathing a sigh of relief that he went down this route. >> we'll keep an eye on this, we'll get more details on the background of chris wray, of president trump nominating him to be the fbi director 24 hours ahead of the testimony of james comey. >> i got a text in from a law enforcement figure that i know very well, i won't reveal the name but say he's a great guy and that he may actually be this sort of person that the fbi needs to help them move forward in a non political way. let us help. >> we'll do more reporting on mr. wray in a moment. former national security adviser steven hadley and our amin is
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joining the table. good morning to all. >> good morning. >> lets start with you of what happens to our allies. i was talking about the speech, ronald reagan, 1984, i was watching again yesterday on the anniversary working, that speech was all about the affirmation and support and recommitment of that partnership of our western allies. >> absolutely, the commitment to our nato allies is a bipartisan. this week is a time that we sh be celebrating it and not under minding it. it is home to the countries that are most naturally allied with us. we are not reaffirming the
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article 5 commitment while i think nato will get over it and nato will get through it. the trump administration are walking back the president's speech a little bit. it is unfortunate. >> joe. >> yeah, it really is. >> graham, let me ask you about some breaking news over night and that's the terror attack in iran. isis' claiming responsibility for that came a week after donald trump went to saudi arabia, basically declared iran the enemy and they talked about isolating. what can you tell us about how unusual it is for isis to be going into iran. >> it is a big deal. isis have not attacked in the border of iran in a big way before. if you go to ask zunis, they may
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say, iran is like a shea version of isis. when isis tries to hit iran and does so quite successfully, they're essentially saying look we are going to be a zuni champion and even though if you don't like us, you are happy that we are hitting back of a shea version of us. zunis who are not on their side but sympathetic to anti-shea's view and sympathy to isis. >> what's the significant of the qatar story? and donald trump is stepping into it on twitter? how do these pieces fit together in. >> if you look at including iran of the implications of it that this is the saudi really trying
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to consolidate policy towards iran, they have the backing of american administration of t the -- they view iran is a threat. qatar was not on board with that, they try to maintain diplomatic relations. in the gcc again, you have the new leadership of the nunited emirates, by freezing qatar out of the equation and making sure that the young ruler out of that country, they're trying to make that statement with them. more importantly for the united states is that the united states is a key security player in all of these countries whether it is the air neifield in qatar or in saudi arabia. the united states is being
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dragged in the internal conflict of this region and they have to come down. yesterday's donald trump's comment were surprising to many officials, this caught them by surprise and now the uted states is dragged in interna affairs where they had good relations with four or five countries and the fifth lead behind. >> you just got back to qatar and this is all complicated for the united states of a giant air base there. >> it has for a long time. air operation were run out of qatar. even during the time i was there a short period when this was going down, there is a lot of confusion where qatar were going to stand and what it meant for qatar to be an ally for the united states and now being declared in a tweet essential lyan ly an enemy. >> this morning of the attack of
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iran, we have evidence of months, under the premise that they'll take the fight to isis and they need to be recognized. with isis now, i am curious of how the trump administration coming down. they have to condemn this, but you know i am not sure if they will. >> they have to condemn this because all of us in the middle west and east are fighting against extreme u.s. ideology that's murders. the first of its kind in iran, i think it is going to change the game a little bit. i worry that this is not a time to have a big lift between zuni menarches when the whole middle east should pull together and not to bring i iran. >> amin, good to see you,
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everyone. senator mark warner will be our guest and dan coats will testify today. the washington post bob costa joins us with his reporting inside the white house about the president how he plans to watch james comey's testimony tomorrow. trump has announced his nomination for the next fbi director. we'll be back on "morning joe" in just a moment. across the state. new roads and bridges. new mass transit. new business friendly environment. new lower taxes. and new university partnerships to grow the businesses of tomorrow today. learn more at i wiwhat are you doingake care oftomorrow - 10am?ut... staff meeting. 3:45? tai chi. 6:30? sam's baseball practice.
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of the firing james comey, a distinguished public servant and of the manner that it was ducted reflect the discard of the autonomy and the organization. i have to say that i thk, comparing the two that watergate pales to what we are confronting now >> welcome back to "morning joe." we have so many to cover. he's saying what the fbi investigating now is remarkable and that watergate pales in his opinion. and new selection of the fbi
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director coming out of the white house this morning. the attorney general came out and threatening to quit. the former fbi director telling the attorney general, i am not comfortable being alone with the united states with the same room, make sure this will never happen again. the director national intelligence's saying the president of the united states asked him to do what he could to pressure the fbi in their investigation. it goes on and on. we are going to get on all of that in a second. i want to bring in quickly from the washington post, bob costa, as we set this up and we talk about tomorrow, a day that somebody is calling it like super bowl thursday in washington, d.c. where bars are announcing they're opening up earlier so people can drink while watching james comey's testimony tomorrow. i want to ask you of the state
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of the white house right now. a lot of reports of the president is increasingly isolated and he's agitated. he's increasingly combative. any suggestions that his staff members are giving him? >> what can you tell us of the state of the white house right now in the west wing? >> well, joe, it is funny you mention the bars opening early in washington tomorrow. i was joking -- some of my sources were a bit dark yesterday as they were calling around they would not mind stopping by for a beer. it is a tough time right now in the white house. you have white house lawyers telling all the staffs to make sure they don't destroy e-mails or phone records and lawyers and other advisers asking the president to cool it. they adopt want direct
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confrontation on his use of twitter. he refused to do so. they're leaving open of the possibility of many background confirmations that the president may not live tweet comey on thursday. but, it is an unusual environment inside the white house right now. >> are the aids increasingly frustrated. of course, everybody knew that donald trump was his own person and he was erratic. are they increasingly frustrated that he seems to be increasingly erratic? >> the people who have been around president trump for a long time have not surprised and i would not use the phrase "increasingly frustrated." they accept him for who he is, they know he likes to watch on
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television. some of the new people around president trump, they're starting to learn his relent less style inside the white house. >> we have our contributor onset with us, mike barnicle and sam stein and eddie jr. and elise jordan. welcome back, good to see you. it is an intense of news, the president tweeting he nominated christopher wray to be the new fbi director. he served george w. bush. >> in a couple of hours, dan coats is set to testify this
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morning. the meeting came less than a week after coats have been sworn in and two days after james comey testified at capitol hill that the fbi is investigating of the trump campaign and possible collusion of russia. >> he sent a statement, "he has never felt pressured by the president or anyone else in the administration to influence any intelligence matters or ongoing investigations. >> comey told jeff sessions that he do not want to be left alone with president trump. >> comey approached sessions back in february, the day after being pressured by the president, comey reported t the -- the suggestion from the president was inappropriate.
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new details this morning on torney general jeffessions falling out ofavor with the president. abc news was first t report, at one point, sessions offered to resign. the new york times report, he told the president that he ne needed freedom to do his job back in the days leading up to the president's foreign trip. his secretary gave a full endorsement of the attorney general. >> how would you describe the president's confidence of the attorney general? >> i have not had a discussion. i am answering a question. i have not had that discussion with him. if i have not had a discussion about a subject, i tend not to speak about it. >> you have said that the president's tweets speak for
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itself, yesterday, the series of tweets that the president faulted the department of justice or giving defense on the executive order of immigration. given that he faulted the doj, does he fault the person who deeds the doj, jeff sessions. >> i think i answered that question. >> we'll come back to this. we got on the phone keith williams, our justice correspondence here talking more of the president's nominee announced on twitter by the president himself, his name is christopher wray, what can you tell about him? >> he was the younger people. he's 50-year-old and he has prosecute tutorial experience during the georg w. bushdministratio from 2003 to 2005. he was in charge of the criminal division and that's of course, basically what the fbi does.
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he's been sent to private practice in atlanta. he joins the u.s. attorney office there at one point in his career and then came to washington to the justice department and a number of senior capacities. now, he's back at the law firm of king & aspalding. 2015, he was among the former justice department official who comey signed a letter in support of the nomination of salley yates. that was during the obama administration. he's somebody that'll come to the job with experience at the washington level in the justice department and down at the street level as a u.s. attorney in atlanta. >> keith, what's the reaction of justice circle to this choice, do you think it is a good one? >> it is a little early to gauge
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of the action. having talked to people at justice and the fbi before the president made his choice. no, they were looking for somebody who had experience and knew twhat the fbi does. they wanted somebody having that experience and somebody knew how washington works while they have a great deal of resct f some of the president's possible nominees,ncluding joe liebermann, they hope that would not be the case simply because liebermann never had any criminal justice experience at all. he was the attorney general connecticut. that position is strictly civil. they wanted somebody who knew what they were about. >> two questions, how relieved are they that politicians a are -- john cornyn and two from
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your reporting, how difficult was this position to fill, james comey was fired by the president, we have seen reporting that he's having trouble filling out key posts and fbi director was one of those that he had trouble filling out. >> he's not the first one that had trouble filling out the fbi position. james comey had to be persuaded repeatedly to take the job. when bob mueller's ten years first ran out, that's when they approached james comey to take any decline. after the extended bob mueller's term that comey finally said yes. it is a ten year hit. it is one thing to serve four years in the administration, it is anomaly, it is supposed to be a ten year commitment. that's one thing that i think it is hard for some people. the second thing is they're not thinking of the best of all
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possibilities. and there were a number of people who we talk to and took themselves out of the race or out of theotential consideration. so it was not the easiest thing to do. it is a serious thing to do this. >> all right. nbc news, pete williams was on the phone with us on the breaking news that president trump will nominate christopher wray as a new director of the fbi. thanks so much. >> elise, i think you mentioned chris christie, ray representwrd chris christie and he said this is an excellent choice. >> that's what i am hearing. chris christie was influential in this pick and did recommend christopher wray. it is reassuring to republicans and democrats who want there to be a bipartisan investigation
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that is free of any political influence of someone of this kind of background going in. >> we'll experience on the eve of that program. >> exactly. >> this is just the first one. >> bob costa, you have been doing some reporting. what more can you tell us of christopher wray. >> pay attention to governor christie, this is someone who remains an ally of president trump and calls the white house in the private residence regularly. he recommended wray and he was deeply involved with the opioid project. he's been a critic of comey. christie is someone of the rare republican remaining personally close to president trump and is considered a possible hire at some point for a cabinet post or a white house's job should there be a shake up. he's someone on the sideline now
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that this wray decision shows you his lingering influence in the trump's orbit. >> robert, given the relationship with the president and governor's christie's nature and temperament and rumors around him being pushed out, could chris christie have the chop to be chief of staff who could keep people out of the oval office and reduce the chaos and most porptlimportantly, wou be the kuind of person that trup may listen to. >> right new jared kushner and the senior advisory is making calls o f addition to the white house staff. jeff moral and laurel ingram and
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other names have been floated. i reached out to scott reid, and people inside the white house tells me often that christie is seen and not necessarily to replace priebus. if there is a shake up in the cabinet or different part of the staff, christie could come in because he has that trust with the president. >> joining us now vice chairman, democratic senator, mark warner, thank yofor being with us this morning. i wanto talk about tomorrow's hearing, of course, first, i want to get your reaction of the nomination that donald trump just announced will be christopher wray, what do you know about him and what do you think of the pick? >> in terms of christopher wray. i don't know that much about
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him, i hear he had a good reputation. i think it is more than curious that appears. the president is trying to change the topic because we have got two days of hearing here and it could be explosive, obviously, a lot of focus on james comey's testimony tomorrow. but, what i am focused on today is we got the heads of all the intelligence agencies appearing before us this morning. and, what i am going to be pressing particularly directly coats and nsa had admiral rogers that there is been -- the president intervenes with both of individuals urging them to back off or down play the russian investigation. if there is one thing about our intelligence professional that maintains the public's trust, these are folks who are not supposed to be political. i am going to ask him if it is
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any way appropriate for a president to intervene on an ongoing fbi investigation particularly one that involved close associates of the president. and, i am not sure what kind of answer whether they're trying to use executive privilege. i am going to press them pretty hard because we saw reports of director coats and he was a federal colleague of mine and i got great respect for dan that'll appear in the washington post. we have evidence that clearly the call to rogers took place and that there maybe other evidence about that call. there is going to be some potential fire works this morning as well because what could end up happening is the president intervening with dan coats and admiral rogers and the lay over the top intervention that led to the firing of james comey, you are going to see a pattern of behavior here that
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even the greatest skeptics. >> when you put those three pieces of reporting, when you put those together if they were confirmed in some way for you today and tomorrow with james comey, would that constitute obstruction of justice for you? >> i went to law school but i never practiced a day in law. >> does it sound it to you? >> it sounds to me of unprecedented -- they are supposed to speak truth to power and tell it like it is no matter who they work for, democrats or republicans. it is remarkable to me of this point of investigation, we are focused on the series of contact that took place of trump's associates and the russians during the campaign. we'll get to that. there is a lot more to look into
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in that area. what we really have been focused on a lot recently based on press report as well. here we have a president that says there is no ties with russians at all. that's not true. general flynn had to resign because he did not disclose contacts with russians and sessions had to recuse himself and mr. kushner had to acknowledge that he had a series of contacts with russians. why so many contacts with an adveary intervening in our election and the next t days, we'll prove that this was enough concern with the president with not just one senior intelligence official but at least three and who knows how many more and asking them to back off, boy, oh boy, we are in the land that we
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never visited before even beyond back in the '70s. >> you are familiar with jim clapper, 50 years in the intelligence business in austria said the following compared events of 1973 and 1974 to events that you are investigating now. >> to compare the two watergate pales in my view to what we are con fronti confronting right now. what's your reaction on that? >> the watergate was a bundled burglary in one final cabinet at the dnc. here we have the case of an adversary, russia with massive amounts of interventions have been proven breaking into both parties to help mr. trump to hurt clinton. we have use of new technology in
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terms of internet, paid internet trolls and fake news, and as more and more reports coming out, what seems to be sophisticated and comprehensive efforts by the russians to at least try to penetrate a number of our number state voting files. everyone in the country, everybody in the intelligence community and almost all elected officials, the only two people are question what russia did is president trump and vladimir putin. now, the possibility that the president did not just fire james comey because he was concerned of the fbi investigation. but, potentially intervening with the director of national intelligence and admiral rogers of the nsa, we are talking about a pattern of behavior that quite honestly shocks me to say the least.
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>> senator mark warner, i know you have a busy day today and tomorrow. we'll be watching. thanks for your time. >> stay tuned. >> new polling of how the people see the president handling of the russia's investigation and the reasons behind firing james comey. breaking news that the president has nominated the next director of the fbi. some interesting reporting op hon how trump notifies his aids of the decision. you are watching "morning joe," we'll be right back. yet some cards limit where you earn bonus cash back to a few places. and then, change those places every few months. enough with that! with quicksilver from capital one you've always earned unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, everywhere. welcome to unlimited what's in your wallet? ♪ ♪
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welcome bk to "morning joe." >> a new poll shows that most americans are concerned of trump's handling of james comey.
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while 34% believes that he's cooperating. only 21% say they had a great deal or a good amount of trust of what the president says about russia and 72% saying they have some trust or none at all. >> you know it is a repealing poll. it shows the comey's moment is one moment of many as they move forward and as he answers these questions of possible collusion of trump campaign and figures and the russian government. they have to face accusations from democrats and other critics that the president in some way was trying to perhaps obstruct justice. these things will not go away after thursday. there is no war room right now within the white house. there is a president who's really acting of his own defender and messenger, that
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promised in the eyes of his age because it is him and himself and a lot of his responses are not vetted. >> i know this is tough to get to. you talk with perhaps, in a daily basis of the white house staf staffs. is there any level of apprehensions of their own future and association of what's happening in this administration?unease. i think it is fair tosay. the loyalists, of course, i am saying there is not much wrong at all and they feel fine. people who are part o f the republican, the mainstream win of the gop, they're talking privately about whether they need lawyers or know the white house counsel office is advising people should not destroy materials in case it should be subpoenaed at one point. >> i want to be precise of that
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number. only 36% say they trust what james comey say about russia. bob costa, thanks so much. still ahead on "morning joe." there is reports that krchris christie helped the president choosing his new fbi director. we'll get a report on that, next. break through your allergies.
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joining us now from the white house with extraordinary reporting, our peter alexander " what do we got? >> they could not say exactly when they made aware of that information. what is notable is that we have yet to receive any formal fact sheet or data sheet of christopher wray that would take place of a formalized rule out which raise the question of whether this tweet wallas a notification. i asked if there will be a public announcement with
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christopher wray alongside as the president has done with james comey in 2013, one of the white house's communication aid just said to me, the president did announce it, referring to his tweet. i will nominate christopher wray, a man of impeccable credentials. this man is at the private practice of king & spalding. heading up the criminal division several years back and he was as personal lawyer to chris countrity in tcountr christie. what strikes us that it is coming 24 hours before james comey is set to testify. we heard from senator warner, he's the ranking democrat on that committee, his point today that this is being done as an effort to distract from the testimony scheduled today of dan
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coats testifying among others and tomorrow's james comey's testimony. >> peter alexander at the white house. thank you very much. lets bring in our former chief of staff and our analyst, germa jeremjeremy bash, it is good to see you this morning. >> hey. he's getting praises this morning working alongside and he represented chris counthristie the bridge gate. what do you think of this man? >> he's got the experience. he's a mainstream republican with the law enforcement and of
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his background. it is going to question the circle around of independence. >> james clapper of the russian investigation testimony today from dan coats and others thing tomorr testify tomorrow. what do you make of that assessment? >> i know general clapper. he's a military officer, he led multiple intelligence agencies and capping off his story career of the director of national intelligence, for him to make an assessment that this is a national security level is on a higher order of magnitude and making the watergate pales s comparison, that's a big
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concern. >> it is an educated assessment. th i na guy who's running the national intelligence service >> yeah, it is a heavy declaration. i wonder how anything is really going to breakthrough over these next couple of days of the combination of the comey's system and then what president trump may do and that's what jeremy, i want to ask you if you for saw -- can you foresee any wild cards that could possibly come up over the next 24 hours. this nomination of christopher wray, a smart republican operative told me it is almost as if president trump is becoming predictable. he's just distracting everyone with a pick that people don't know much about on a huge news day that otherwise, would be sucked up by talk of this upcoming testimony.
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can you see any potential wild cards over the next 24 hours? >> no, i cannot. tomorrow is going to play out as followed. it is a one question hearing. what did the president say to you? every other president is a branch of sequel of that. did he ask for a loyalty pledge, what else did you hear of your performance. he's going to stick to the fact. he's not going to make a legal assessment of obstruction of justice. he ev-- he need to invite other to figure out the president's mode of firing comey. here is the issue, executive privilege, not tomorrow but noun t down the road when they are asked for documents the testify.
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>> well, to that point, are you surprised that comey went through with this? bob mueller has his investigation going and if there is a potential or exist, there is potential that he could compromise the investigation. are you surprise that he went through this? >> not really, the president have called him a nut job and a show boat and have said that he lied under oath. for james comey, it is professional for him to protect himself. where is this all going? >> bob mueller cannot indict a president, he has to report to congress for potential -- >> how long do you think the mueller investigation conceivably take? >> 18 months to two years. >> jeremy bash. thank you, good talking to you. still ahead of the arms deal of
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saudi arabia that president trump announced on his foreign trip, it may not be as the administration advertised. you are watching "morning joe," welcome back. we'll be right back. this is a story about mail and packages.
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welcome back to "morning joe." >> according to brookings institutions, the deal is just a bunch of letters. the saudis will interested some day. many of the posts have been on the table since the administration. >> it is unclear in saudi arabia can -- in addition to payments, for the $112 billion in arms. the $250 billion of commercial investments announced that the
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times are also non binding. the white house referred questions to the pentagon on all this. lets bring in right now our cnbc, brian sullivan. walk us through this. >> you got to be careful. i am not going to comment on the brookings, i thought it was an interesting piece and everybody is jumping on this. anything to do with defense is an acronym. you got to be careful. it is not just you buy -- you they got this huge process, you got a letter of request, if that's accepted, ul hayou will a letter of acceptance. i understand why people say well, is that deal fake news? there is always going to be letters of intent. they don't sign contracts like
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we think of them if we go to buy a house or car. >> right. >> new york times on may 20th, did say a lot of it was done of the obama administration. >> so there is a deal in place that's not enacted onll of this. >> you have to ask lo lockett martin. >> mike, this looks like more hype for donald trump and more hype for donald trump's administration. the facts don't bear it out. >> clearly part of it was to enhance the results of his trips. the numbers are staggering. what's more staggering that the numbers that are announced are big numbers that the saudis still owe us for equipment. they are behind in payments like me. >> joe, what upsets me about this, i am happy if we are not
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selling the saudis more -- aside from that, is the continuation of this foreign policy status quo of saudi arabia. i do not understand why we are kissing up to the kingdom and donald trump is falling at the same trap of any administration's driving. i am apart of the young generation where i spent time in iraq and afghanistan. i talked to a lot of my peers. there is a lot of anger among us that foreign policymakers refused to accept this root cause of terror. >> you were so spot on that one of the key numbers of president trump have forgotten is 15. 15 out of the 19 hijackers were from saudi arabia. >> 15 out of the 19. never to forget that. >> go ahead joe. >> i am just saying a president
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who's obsessed of terrorism who's talking about passing the executive order witht going to the state department'sawyers and go through the proper channels. he's obsessed about everything else but at least he does not bring that up. i will tell you regardless of obviously, we need to have ties from saudi arabia. we need to have -- we have great opportunities with the world. elise jordan, i am part of the young generation myself, if you know. wily and i who are angry of the united states picking sides that put us in the middle of middle east fashion. right now, if you look at what's happening over the past 24 or 36 hours, donald trump has thrown us in the middle east. this whole trip is so ill conceived to start out by kissing the ring of the saudis. you know it sets such a terrible
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precedent of how this administration policy was going to proceed with the administration that looks like they could be bought and sold on ghic given day. >> lets step aside from the politics for a second and think of the economics of this. whatever the number comes out to be, the defense contracts can be changed or cancelled, it is all in the letter, etcetera, if you sell this amount of stuff in the saudis, guess who's going to buy more stuff? isra. the other nations in the region have to bulk up economically. it is a sort of catch me if you can race in terms of defense k mechanism. >> yes, it certainly is. looking at the image coming out to saudi arabia and comparing that to what an absolutely frosty reception he gave our democratic, the elected allies
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that have been with us since june 6th, 1944 and the germans who were with us every step of the way from the berlin blockade and 49, all the way through 1989. just the images. a picture paints a thousand words. and compare how he treats the saudis with how he treats german leaders. and of course there we are, they're doing filming for the next avengers movie. but it is really -- it's jarring. >> it is. we talked about it in realtime. that speech he made in saudi arabia where he said i am not here to lecture you. he explicit low saly said that. then his speech at nato with all of his western allies standing there looking at him at his side, he said you all better pay up, lecturing our allies. >> it's also oilnomics. we're selling technology to the saudis in oil. that's a big deal. the president's pick announced on twitter just this morning for the next fbi director. we'll bring in clint watts with his take on the choice.
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plus this morning some of the top law enforcement and intel officials of the country take to capitol hill. director of national intelligence dan coats will get some pointed questions over whether the president muscled him to get james comey to back off his michael flynn investigation. keep it on "morning joe." what's the story behind green mountain coffee and fair trade? let's take a flight to colombia. this is boris calvo. boris grows mind-blowing coffee. and because we pay him a fair price, he improves his farm and invest in his community to make even better coffee. all for a smoother tasting cup.
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bp uses flir cameras - a new thermal agining technology - to inspect difficult-to-reach pipelines, so we can detect leaks before humans can see them. because safety is never being satisfied. and always working to be better. he came to the world justin the usual way ♪ ♪ but there were planes to catch and bills to pay ♪ ♪ so i moved my meeting saw him walk that day ♪ ♪ he was talking 'fore i knew it, and as he grew ♪ ♪ he'd say i'm gonna be like you, dad ♪ ♪ you know i'm gonna be like you ♪ ♪ and the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon ♪ ♪ little boy blue and the man in the moon... ♪ joining us now, former fbi special agent clint watts. clint, good morning.
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let's talk about donald trump just about an hour or so ago tweeting out his nominee for the next director of the fbi and that is christopher wray, doj, criminal division under george w. bush. worked on the enron prosecution, represented chris christie in the bridgegate scandal. what do you make of the pick? >> i think it's an interesting one for a couple of reasons. he's part of the inner circle. it's a very small circle of people that know each other at doj. he is a criminal guy. he's been focused on criminal division, white collar. that might signal a shift in terms of how trump or the administration views the fbi, which is predominantly been focused on national security over the last decade plus. the other thing that's interesting about wray, not necessily a criticism, he's been a defender more than a prosecutor. usually the fbi is head of the offense, not part of the defense. so can he make that transition. his big challenge will bow how does he took el the fbi culture, can he lead.
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there's lots of great attorneys out there. can he step into what is maybe the most challenging situation for the fbi and really lead that organization moving forward. >> you know what's so interesting also about him, clint, is that if you look at the chris christie investigation, how many months was it before anybody even knew, anybody even published that he was chris christie's lawyer? he is from people that know him, they say he keeps his head down. he is the opposite of a, quote, showboat. i'm not saying that comey is a showboat. but he has certainly never been at least in the past a guy that has sought out headlines. >> yeah, and we should have expected this probably as a pick. we couldn't have a celebrity really that's going to make it through, even though trump tends to prefer celebrities. the best fbi director choices are usually people not well known to the public. it's sort of interesting that he's been subsurface, and that's
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probably the best choice they could make right now. my question is, is this sessions' influence wanting to focus on crime? is this rosenstein picking somebody that he used to work with that he feels he can build a relationship with, or is this more about the senate, the gop saying this is somebody we can get through the approval process and we'll see him nonpartisan or has a great reputation. >> two quick hot takes, guys. number one, there's probably going to be more attention on this law firm of king and spaulding where christopher wray works because trump's outsides ethics counsel, and now chris wray, so that's one thing. so to your point about working together, clint. i found this press release from 2002. this is july 8th, 2002. deputy attorney general james comey, assistant attorney at law christopher wray and fbi director robert mueller and another guy announce an indictment of the enron chairman and ceo. so those two guys in the
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headlines together again 15 years later. pretty incredible, considering there's 320 million people in the world and three guys seem to get all the headlines once again today. in america, i should say. >> joe, another point. this would be the opposite of draining the swamp, by the way. you're going to end up with a trump team and administration that's based on two teams. you're going to have a set of people that work together at doj, 2000 to 2005. and on the national security side you've got mattis, kelly, mcmaster, they all fought together in iraq and afghanistan, all the battlefields. really our country is going to be in these two groups of folks that between 2000 and 2006 led on the battlefields and the courtrooms of america. so it's going to be an interesting dynamic. >> as we close here, let's look ahead to tomorrow. a bit of a viewer's guide for james comey's testimony. what should we be watching for? >> i think he's going to confirm what we already know and what our suspicions are. the big tell will be does he
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refute trump's allegations that you told me three times i wasn't under investigation. i think that's a big one. more importantly is the connection between today and tomorrow. we've got coats, we've got mccabe, rogers all coming up. theyouldlso corroborate what comey was feeling. we keep seeing these news reports coming out about trump pressuring them. i think we'll talk about fisa. when they set this date today, i think we'll end up talking about what are we talking about in terms of obstruction and that's really going to be fascinating. >> any quick thoughts on these two days ahead? >> 1971, walt whitman. there's a hollowness at the heart of the president and genuine belief seems to be in the past. >> i knew you'd get your whitman quote in before the show was over. well done, professor. elise, what are you looking for today and tomorrow? >> i think just what can donald trump do to ultimately hijack the narrative. and that could be anything from the live tweets to his speech tomorrow going off script to maybe, you know, what if he
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takes questions from the press. >> joe? >> you know, i don't think we're going to learn a lot about the investigation. comey is a very careful guy. obviously there is an ongoing investigation. we will learn even more about donald trump trying to pressure him to kill an investigation. and we'll learn, i think, most importantly for people like elise and myself and earlier steve schmidt, republicans that have been republicans most of our lives, we'll learn the character of our party in 2017. if they try to distract, if they try to attack comey, if they talk about leaks instead of russian influence predominantly, then we will know that they're no longer the party of ronald reagan and dwight eisenhower and abraham lincoln. they're the party of donald trump. and they'll have to live with those consequences. >> a lot to watch here on msnbc over the next two days. that does it for us. let's turn it over to stephanie ruhle. steph? >> thanks so much, willie. good morning, i'm


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