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tv   MSNBC Live With Stephanie Ruhle  MSNBC  June 7, 2017 6:00am-7:01am PDT

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maybe, you know, what if he 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 stephanie
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ruhle. guess what we've got? breaking news. president trump naming his new fbi director just one day before his old one is set to testify. while there are new revelations that president trump reportedly asked his director of national intelligence to intervene and get james comey to back off the russia probe. what the intelligence head is testifying this morning. and never leave me alone. james comey reportedly telling attorney general jeff sessions, keep me away from trump. plus new details on what james comey plans to say tomorrow and will president trump live tweet the whole thing. >> mr. president, what message do you have to jim comey ahead of his testimony? >> i wish him luck. >> we are just one day away from the big comey hearing. in just an hour, another hearing with four of the top law enforcement and intelligence officials in the country. russia will be a focus there.
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remember, it's infrastructure week, if you forgot. but first, the president trying to change the conversation naming his pick to head the fbi. i have the best team in the business here to break it all down this morning, taking you first to that breaking news. nbc's justice correspondent pete williams with me. christopher wray, the president's nominee to lead the fbi. tell us about him. >> well, the first thing to know is he spells his name with a "w." w-r-a-y. chris wray is i think somebody the justice department and fbi will be relieved about. the people he was looking at were people with very little law enforcement or people from the political realm. chris wray started out in private practice. he wase king & spaulding firm in atlanta. then he joined the u.s. attorney's office there. he came to the justice department in various senior capacities and then from 2003 to 2005 he was in charge of the justice department's criminal division. that's very important, because
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the fbi's work is criminal. so he is certainly somebody who's familiar with the fbi from both the u.s. attorney's office level, where federal prosecutors work closely with their fbi level people to the washington level where they work closely with headquarters. he served in the george w. bush administration at a time when james comey was also a deputy attorney general. and most recently he was in the news because he was one of the people representing governor chris christie during the bridgegate crisis. but he's one of the younger people that the president looked at. he's 50 years old. some of the people that the president was looking at were in their 60s, some of them as you know, joe lieberman, was in their 70s. frank keating also. so i think he'll be greeted supportively by people at justice, career people at justice and at the fbi, stephanie. >> all right. well, i'm glad we got to cover that. president trump, if you're watching, that's clearly in the news. but there's other things we're still going to cover and we're
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going to get to that right now. back to the testimony happening today, nbc's peter alexander is live at the white house. peter, let's talk about today. dan coats and these new reports that president trump approached him about the investigation into mike flynn. what do you have? >> reporter: yeah, so this is supposed to be testimony surrounding the fisa renewal but it's going to be overshadowed by that new reporting coming out of "the washington post." ey reporte on march 22nd the president asked the director of national ielligence to intervene with then fbi director james comey to get the bureau to take the heat off the russia investigation, and specifically off his national security advisor, michael flynn. these meetings notably came less than a week after coats had been confirmed as director of national intelligence and just two days after comey had testified publicly on capitol hill that the fbi was investigating possible collusion between trump campaign aides and russian operatives. coats, as "the post" reports was
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at this briefing with top officials from a number of different agencies when the president asked everyone to leave the room except for director coats and the head of the cia, mike pompeo. they report that the officials that coats discussed this with say the request was made about this effort by the president and that coats ultimately decided that intervening would be inappropriate. dan coats' spokesperson putting out a statement to nbc news that reads in part, it says director coats does not discuss his private conversations with the president. however, he has never felt pressured by the president or anyone else in the administration to influence any intelligence matters or ongoing investigations. stephanie. >> well, james comey did stop the investigation. he got fired. real quick, what are we expecting tomorrow in that testimony? >> reporter: so this is the political super bowl as we wait for the former fbi director, james comey, to testify. we understand from sources close to him that he's likely to detail a pattern of what he
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believes to have been inappropriate conversations with president trump during his term as the head of the fbi, but we are told that he i nsot expected to accuse the president of obstruction of justice. ultimately that decision will be in the hands of others. >> i've got a great panel here this morning. i want to bring them in. three msnbc contributors. two schmidts, two mike also. michael so michael schmidt, steve shut in and michael lupica. is it a coincidence that president trump named his new fbi director today? i don't know about you but it is so hard for me to cover two things at once. >> probably not a coincidence. look, but by all accounts, this is somebody who is exceptionally qualified, somebody who comes out of a legal background, not a political background. he's going to have some very tough confirmation hearings for sure. but of course this is what it appears to be. it's an attempt to distract.
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the timing is political because of the events tomorrow. >> that's the good thing about cable news. we've got so much time to cover it all. michael schmidt, i want to ask you first, the article you co-wrote, which speaks directly to the relationship between jim comey and donald trump. jim comey apparently telling jeff sessions, don't leave me alone with the president. tell me about that. >> this came the day after trump and comey met in the oval office, one on one, in which comey says in the memos that he wrote at the time that trump asked him to end the flynn investigation. the following day, comey went to sessions, the attorney general, and said, look, you can't leave me in the room alone with the president. you need to be a buffer, a shield, between the fbi and the political nature of the white house. sessions could not assure comey that he would do that. the interesting thing here is that comey did not tell sessions what trump told him in the oval
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office. >> why? >> comey kept that -- comey kept that to himself. this is a question he's going to have to answer tomorrow, which is if he saw trump do this to him in front of him, why is it that he did not tell anyone at the justice department? if this was so troubling, why did he keep it to himself? >> what do you boys think? >> i think the whole ball game tomorrow is something michael just said. he's going to have to explain that he basically didn't trust his bosses at the justice department, which indicates to me that he thought that this had become far more dysfunctional on the inside than people think that this has become. if he didn't trust those people -- >> meaning he didn't trust jeff sessions with that information? >> if he couldn't push it up the line to his boss, to me that is going to be as damning as anything he's going to say tomorrow. >> look, i think when we consider his testimony tomorrow, there's a lot of legitimate
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criticism of james comey for his decisions, his actions during the course of the campaign, how he handled himself at the news conference when he announced the nonindictment of secretary clinton, his intervention towards the end of the campaign. that being said, this is someone who is known for his moral rectitude. for sure we will hear somebody telling the truth tomorrow, and i think that's no small thing. we have some serial dishonesty out of this administration from the white house podiums, from the north lawn, alternate facts, constant. >> which there's no such thing as an alternate fact, that's called a lie. >> constant, constant nonstop lying by senior administration officials big issues small issues, trivial issues, nonissues. what we'll see tomorrow, though, is something rare in american life. that's not a good thing that it's rare, but we're going to see somebody with a reputation
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for telling the truth, who never in his career public service has gone out there and lied to the american people. >> then how damaging is that, though? if tomorrow he says what the president did was inappropriate but wasn't obstruction of justice almost takes us back to when we first saw james comey take you to the edge with hillary clinton, totally inappropriate but not illegal, which was massively damaging. >> stephanie, i spoke to a career fbi guy last week. and he said, listen, we don't know why he acted the way he did last summer. he actually surprised us. but one thing this man told me was no one has ever questioned his honesty or his honor. and i believe -- the other thing that worries me tomorrow is that we're going to see a lack of guts on the part of republicans who are talking to him. i think it could be a caravan of cowardice tomorrow and it may be as much of a headline as anything else. >> that's exactly what joe scar
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borough said, what is my party going to look like. d micha michael schmidt, there's reporting that dan coats had conversations with president trump that were inappropriate. what is your take there, because we have heard from the white house that's not the case. >> the interesting thing about the account about coats is that it sort of echos the comey story. what comey wrote in his memo is that he was in the oval office with pence, sessions, a bunch of other white house officials. trump kicked everyone out except r comey and tn had the discussion one on one with him about the flynn investigation. in the case of coats, the account out there right now says that trump kicked everyone else out of the room except for pompeo and coats, and it was in that environment that he said to him, hey, can you help comey, push on comey to end the investigation. so if you're looking at a case
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of obstruction, there seems to be a bit of a pattern here. >> steve schmidt, i need you to help me with political history. i want to share a bit of what james clapper said comparing this situation to watergate. take a look. >> i think compare the two, that watergate pales really in my view compared to what we're confronting now. >> okay. if this guy, who would know, is saying this is significantly bigger than watergate, what position does that put the gop in? to michael's point, what kind of questions are they going to ask? if this issue is that big and pervasive, this is a complicated moment for republicans as much as it is president trump. >> the watergate burglary didn't affect the outcome of the election, number one. two, when we consider watergate, we know everything that happened in watergate with the perspective of history. we don't know what happened here
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yet. but certainly is foreign interference by an adversary of the united states in our election process, and in fact were they able to influence the election, what happened? we just don't know yet. but is russian interference of the election a bigger deal than the bungled burglary and the president lying about it to cover it up? i suspect at it is. we don't know, none of us, the things tha james clapper knows but we're going to find out. >> if you suspect that it is, republicans tomorrow who are asking questions, if they softball it right, left and center, are they not putting their own reputations and the republican party on the line here? >> we're going to find out. and there will be profound political consequences if republicans act as vessels of the trump administration as opposed to members of a co-equal branch of government dedicated
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to doing their duty, fulfilling their oath. an attack on our elections process is an attack on the sovereignty of the united states. if you're a member of congress, you are in the business of defending our institutions, our constitution, and republicans who do not tomorrow try to get to the facts, to the truth, then those people are abdicating their duty and they'll pay a price for it in the midterm elections. >> we're going to leave it there. before we go, yes or no, do you believe that the president knows there are co-equal branches of government? >> no. >> no, no. he doesn't care about separation of powers. he just cares about his powers. >> michael, michael, steve, thank you. michael schmidt, i will see you soon. you two aren't going anywhere. next, a huge headline that broke overnight. jeff sessions reportedly offering to resign as his rift with the president grows. the reporter who broke that story joins us. before we go, president obama was in canada yesterday where he
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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. >> you can't say if he has confidence in his attorney general? >> i had i have not had a discussion with him on the question. if i haven't had a discussion with him about a subject, i tend not to speak about it. >> not quite a ringing endorsement there. that, of course, was white house press secretary sean spicer being asked about president trump's confidence in attorney general jeff sessions. and that comes after reports that jeff sessions offered to resign at one point in recent months after his relationship with the president grew more tense. joining me now, msnbc political analyst and "new york times" chief white house correspondent, peter baker and national political reporter for axios, a man who i think works 24/7, jonathan swan. peter, you co-authored "the new
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york times" report on sessions where he reportedly offered to resign just before the foreign trip. this is amazing to me. what exactly can you tell us? because if it's tied to president trump being unhappy that jeff sessions recused himself, that recusal was not an admission of guilt and it got bipartisan suppt. >> the one person who didn't know about it in advance who was mad about it was donald trump, the president. he was blind-sided when attorney general sessions made this announcement that he was going to recuse himself. the president thought it was unnecessary, he thought it was a sign of weakness and he railed at his own aides about it. this is when he ended up making that tweet about president obama supposedly wiretapping him. so it was all part and parcel of that same period in time when he was upset. this has come up again and again and again in the months since then. it's not ever gone away. from time to time he sort of fumes about it to aides. and i think obviously attorney general sessions has picked up on that. he's been mad himself, by the way, not happy that the president appointed this task force headed by chris christie
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to lead up an opioid -- a fight against opioids without consulting the attorney general first. so it's a real situation of unhappiness right now. >> what's extraordinary is so much of this has to do with business management and coordination, and this is a business-minded president. jonathan, what's the reaction you're hearing from inside the white house to reports around his rift between president trump and jeff sessions? >> well, i think the rift has probably -- as happens with a lot of these stories, it's definitely true, there are tensions between the two of them, but sometimes the narrative outpaces the reality. so, look, we had heard about this around the time of the foreign trip and in candor i couldn't confirm it. it did happen. jeff sessions is very aware of the frustrations that donald trump has had with him, and he basically out of a sense of honor offered his resignation. donald trump said that's not necessary. there are frustrations on both sides. i can tell you that allies of
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jeff sessions were very frustrated and angered yesterday when sean spicer declined to defend him from the podium. that's a very sore point and -- >> but that about point, and i want peter to weigh in on this. at some point do we not have to give sean spicer a break? if he didn't speak to the president, he doesn't actually know how the president feels. given how erratic president trump is and he can say anything at any time, maybe sean did the right thing. thing i'll add to that.s one the point they make isf that question had have been does the president have confidence in reince priebus, the assumption is that sean spicer would have full-throatedly defended reince priebus and that's a constant refrain you hear from folks who are allied with sessions. >> that might be the assumption, but people inside the white house have had to work there the last few months and they know, kellyanne conway standing on the lawn saying 100% behind mike
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flynn, love the guy. two hours later, he's out. maybe sean spicer is kind of learning his lesson. >> well, i think the point there exactly, you don't want to get too far out in front of a president who is mercurial. why didn't he have that discussion with the president? that's the story that had been in the paper that morning, that there was tension between the president and his attorney general. he knew he was going to be asked about it at his briefing. at least he had to know he was going to be asked about it at his briefing. he chose not to have that conversation, or he doesn't have access to the president. it's one or the other. >> i want to share quickly, we've got to talk about this jared kushner comment the president made yesterday. let's share it quick. >> jared has actually become much more famous than me. i'm a little bit upset about that. >> ha, ha, ha. is that the kiss of death, jonathan? we know he said that before james comey got fired. >> no, i don't think it's the kiss of death. i think he was just having some fun. donald trump, his comments even when he's joking are often laced
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with a little bit of acid. so, yes, there is probably some underlying tension or there at least has been, but i don't think you should put the two statements side by side. >> who doesn't love an acid-laced joke now and then? gentlemen, thank you so much. you ys better have your coee and eat your wheaties, you're going to be bus the next couple of days. at the top of the hour, dan coats will appear before the senate intelligence committee. did president trump really ask him to tell james comey to back off? but first, who is the man president trump just announced as his nominee for fbi director? we know chris christie knows him. what exactly is the correct connection to bridgegate. stephen colbert, he had some thoughts on the nsa contractor arrested over the weekend for leaking those classified docs. >> the leaker's name, and this is new, reality winner. so it's official, the trump
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welcome back. it is time now for your morning primer, everything you need to know to start your day. at the top of the hour, director
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of national intelligence, dan coats, will testify before the senate intelligence committee amid new reports president trump asked him to enter convenience with former fbi director james comey's investigation into michael flynn. we'll bring coats' testimony live. and at least 12 people were killed in tehran this morning after suicide bombers and gunmen reportedly stormed parliament as well as the tomb of the founder of iran. isis has claimed responsibility for the attack. new security footage shows the moment a man with a hammer attacked a police officer outside the notre dame cathedral in paris on esday. french authorities have opened a terror investigation as the attacker reportedly yelled "this is for syria." and bill cosby just arrived in court for his third day in that sexual assault trial. the woman cosby is charged with drugging and molesting in 2004 will return to the witness stand. cosby has repeatedly denied all allegations of sexual misconduct. and george and amal clooney
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are first-time parents welcoming twins ella and alexander into the world tuesday morning. they are all healthy, happy and doing fine. please, they're the clooneys. they're doing way better than fine. what a life! now we've got to get back to that breaking news and there's so much of it. there's a toss-up. president trump announced his new fbi pick, chris wray with a "w." this comes 24 hours before former fbi director, james comey, the one president trump fired, is set to testify before the senate intelligence committee. i want to bring in bill gavin, a former assistant director of the new york fbi office and my panel, steve schmidt and mike lupica are in the house. bill, what can you tell us about chris wray? >> well, stephanie, there's not a lot i can tell you. i don't know the man personally. looking at his credentials, within the justice department itself, assistant united states
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attorney in georgia and then deputy or assistant attorney general in the department of justice. it looks like he has touched a lot of bases it looks like to be a very, very bright guy. ceainly you'd like to see somebody com havg been from the fbi, you'd like to see somebody come from the fbi, but i don't think that's any detriment to mr. wray. i think that probably we have to take a good look at what the credentials are, and they look pretty good at this particular point in time. there's only been two directors in the bureau who have ever come from the bureau and louis freeh and clarence kelly. the rest of them have done pretty well so i think we need to give christopher wray a fair shake and take a good look at his credentials and what he's done. >> do you think the rank and file within the fbi would agree he has been in the private sector for the last 12 years. >> i don't think that's a problem, stephanie.
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as long as -- the difficult part for christopher wray is going to be coming in the bureau, adapting to that culture, having the culture adapt to his method of leadership. that's going to be a difficult thing for him. many times i've talked to my colleagues who have been out of the bureau as long as i have and we all agree it would be difficult for us to step back into the bureau because the culture is the same, yet the mechanics of the way the bureau operates is a lot different than it had been when we were there so it's going to be a learning curve for christopher wray but i think he probably brings the credentials and the brain power to make that curve flatten out for him. >> i'm not saying this name comes out of left field, but i spoke to people within the white house this morning who knew nothing about chris wray, who didn't know this was coming. since he had just been the guy that worked with chris christie, i can't imagine he's jared kushner's home boy. >> i would be interested to see what bill has to say about this cause i thk th rank and file are justappy it's not a
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politici. the fbi guys that i spoke to when lieberman's name was in play, and this is nothing against joseph lieberman, their attitude was anybody except a politician. >> i thought it was anybody except rudy giuliani is what they wanted. >> well, there is that too. but i think bill would agree they just didn't want somebody who came out of a world where you're beholden to too many people. >> what do you think? >> look, i think at the end of the day there's one big question he's going to have to answer, does he have the leadership capabilities to lead the fbi, one. and two, does he have the integrity necessary to maintain the bureau's independence. and that's going to be the question that's at the front and center of the hearings. we'll find out a lot more about him in the next couple of days. >> bill, given the leadership or management style that we have already seen from president trump, how difficult do you think it was to find somebody who would take this position, seeing that time and again president trump really seems to want to exert power over
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everybody? >> stephanie, i think it's difficult for anybody to take over this position. quite frankly, anybody who would want to go before a senate committee and be exposed the way they want you to be exposed, ask the questions that they themselves couldn't answer for the most part, i don't know how anybody would want to do that. it's a very difficult task. but you have look at the greater good. if he has the leadership skills and the integrity, as we said, then i would have to give him a fair shake and look at what his credentials are and how he's going to perform. >> without a doubt. we are going to take a break. bill, thank you. you two stay with me. in less than 30 minutes the director of national intelligence, we were just talking about what it's like to sit down in front of a committee, he's going to do it. he's going to appear before the senate intelligence committee. we will bring that to you live. get your coffee, maybe your popcorn, maybe even a cocktail if it gets exciting.
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up next, money, power, politics. my favorite part of the show. a new report, details and questionable dealings by eric trump's charity. a quick check on the markets on this very busy wednesday. boom! the last few days markets have been taking a bit of a turn and here we've returned, up absolutely, more like unchanged. a lot of focus will be paid to the testimony in the next couple of days but the market has started to distance itself from president trump and all that tweeting. it's just too much. or plan for tomorrow? at kpmg, we believe success requires both. with our broad range of services and industry expertise, kpmg can help you anticipate tomorrow and deliver today. kpmg. there's nothing traditional about my small business.
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at this moment you are looking at the senate intel hearing room where moments from now the now director of national intelligence will testify. we're going to bring that to you live when it begins, but now i want to talk money, power, politics. our focus today is on the eric trump foundation. the foundation has raised more than $11 million for st. jude's children's research hospital over ten years, mostly through an annual golf invitational at his father's westchester golf course. for those ten years eric trump has told donors because he gets the golf course free of charge, virtually every dollar goes to children's medical research. the problem, that may not be exactly correct, according to forbes. i want to bring back my panel to unpack all of this. steve schmidt and mike lupica. mike, i want to start with you. you've done these charity tournaments before. eric trump invites people to come, they pay money, they play golf there, and then the money
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goes to st. jude's. normally the charity might have to pay the golf course. my own husband has played in this tournament and was under the impression a lot of people have been, oh, it's donald trump's own golf course. of course he's not going to charge them. but in fact in the beginning they didn't. and then they changed their tune and charged quite a lot of money. what do you make of that? >> yeah, it's interesting that eric trump took this and turned it io an attack on the democrats because he's under attack for this. and listen, i've been involved in a charity golf tournament for years and years and years for special olympics. and for a lot of them, we've had to pay the club. and i probably have played in more tournaments where the club gets paid than doesn't get paid, so that's just part of the cost of doing business. >> normal. >> but if you read his statements in the "forbes" piece, you would infer that all of the money that is raised on this day is going to st. jude's, and now there's a suggestion
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that he just has to explain why there's apparently like a million two that is unexplained that they think now went to the trump organization. and if it is, they're allowed to do that, but again, if your husband and everybody else who ponied up big bucks to go and get the cigars and the full treatment thinks that it's all -- but again, steve, one of the unknowable things about all charity events is what percentage of the money raised actually ends up in the hands of the charity. >> and because this had the trump name on it and was played at the trump golf course, many people assumed this is a huge nut we're paying but so much is going st. jude's. in the article they mentioned that $100,000 donation went from the donald trump foundation to the eric trump foundation and that money then went to the trump organization. you know, in the article, they say this maneuver would appear to have more in common with a drug cartel's money laundering
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operation than charity's best practices. best practices among charities gets reviewed all the time. what's your take on this? >> it's shady as hell. >> it's shady as hell according to steve schmidt. >> i think anybody that's going to fall out of theirhair that the trump organization and associated charities don't follow a charitable best practices. i mean come on. there's this grifter culture around the entirety of all that stuff. i will say this, though, about st. jude's. i think it's one of the most exemplary charities in the country. they do extraordinary work with kids with cancer. no kid gets turned away. if eric trump has raised millions of dollars for st. jude's, that's to be commended. >> without a doubt. >> that being said, that being said, if you're going to do this, do it the right way. you know, eric trump is a spectacularly wealthy young man, hasn't worked particularly hard for it, earning it. maybe he ought to write a $1.2
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million check for st. jude's to clear the whole thing up. when you listen to don jr. talk, you listen to eric talk, you think about the white house staffers sitting there who really can't do anything about the president and the tweeting, but maybe we could get don jr. and eric to talk less, which would probably be a good thing if you care about the trump presidency and the overall -- you know, the overall issues with it. every time they open their mouths, they bring discreditation, i think, upon their family. >> well, i do want to share because we did reach out to the spokesperson for eric trump. the spokesperson said the foundation -- this is a really good point -- raised more than $16 million for st. jude's, an extraordinary organization. contrary to recent reports, at no time did the trump organization profit in any way from the foundation or any of its activities. while people can disagree on political issues, to infer malicious intent on a charity
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that has changed so many lives is not only shameful but is truly disgusting. i think it's important to point out, absolutely no one is saying that it is shameful, anything about sant. jude's is shameful. the question is around what are you doing and what are you telling the people donating this kind of money. >> i'm not sure that the reporting on this story falls into the category of malicious intent. you can see that the whole family mantra is no turn goes unstoned. and so that's what's happened here. >> i think the real takeaway, eric trump, it's just about transparency. if you're doing good things or great things, show us. tell us exactly what you're doing because it's great if you're doing great stuff. >> if you paid $1.2 million to the trump organization for the use of the golf course, then in fact the trump organization profited from the charitable tournament. it's just fact. and it's not best practices. but when daddy is president, your charity is going to get
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looked at like this. >> indeed it is. any minute now the director of national intelligence, dan coats, will appear before the senate intelligence committee after reporters said the president, well, he asked him to tell comey to back off. and before we go, michelle obama spoke last night at apple's annual worldwide developers conference. she spoke at length about leadership and the need for a new generation to step up. >> me and barack, we're going to be in it, but it's time for the next generation to step up. part of what the challenge of leadership is is when you can't move out of the way for the next generation. we will not be that.
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learn more at esd.ny.gov you're watching msnbc. i'm stephanie ruhle. in 15 minutes, director of national intelligce, dan coats, will testify before the senate intelligence committee. his testimony comes just hours after a bombshell report in "washington post" outlining how president trump asked coats to intervene to get the fbi to back off its russia probe. nbc's kasie hunt is live on the hill. kasie, what are we expecting? >> well, steph, we are here outside the back door to this senate intelligence hearing and
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we are waiting for senators who are coming in and out here, getting ready to question now it will look like dan coats, the director of national intelligence, over something completely unrelated to the actual topic of today's hearing, which is unrelated to the topic, which is reauthorizing a portion of the law codifying wiretapping. a very important issue. but the focus op the "washington post" report in which dan coats was part of a meeting in which president trump asked him to talk to director comey about that code. he never felt pressured by the president to interfere in an investigation. but that is what you can. the democrats to be focused on. dan coats is well known up here on capitol hill. she was a senator for quite a long time. well-respected. he's going to have a personal rapport with a lot of the senators sitting there today. i think that the expectation from a few aides that i have
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talked to today since all of this news broke is that dan coats at the end of the day really doesn't want to be at the center of this firestorm. he's a savvy politician. sobody who has worked hard, built a lot of relationships, has a reputation and is not particularly interested in becoming the focus of this inquiry. we'll see how far coats himself is willing to go in answering questions about this but the anticipation is he will not go as far as what we expect from jim comey coming up tomorrow. >> i don't think anybody wants to be in that hot seat. i want to bring in chief correspondent ari mel vor. i want to talk through what obstruction of justice really looks like. if this did happen, president trump is smart enough to not say i want you to end this investigation. but what if he did say listen, before you go, can't we tell james comey lay off of this a
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little bit, we've kbt a lot of work to do. what's the line with obstruction of justice. >> number one, what happened, what was said and number two how close did it go to the line or over. and i expect jim comey is going to answer only question number one, as a private citizen giving his recollection of this conversation or set of conversations, words, deeds, actions, anything he can personally attest to, what it meant to him and what he thought it said. >> but to bring it up at all, if there's an investigation going on, hey can we tell this guy to let up, is that not inappropate? >> it is definitely inapproprie. and i will put it like this. if a regular citizen did it, sit the kind of conduct that could amount to a felony, that could amount to obstruction of justice. in the situation with the president it is complicated. why, he is allowed to talk to his employees of which the fbi director is one about investigations up to a point. and number two twb if you really
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want to go into it, the president is not generally subject to criminal liability the way other citizens are for the things he does in office. >> could the president make the argument that he likes to make a lot, we're not living in a politically correct world anywher anymore. >> the only question is whether it's legally correct. and while we're at it, we read the papers here around the office. >> sometimes. >> in addition to the disclosures you're reference,ing, there's also the front page of the "the new york times" with this story that reportedly director comey told to the attorney general i don't want to be alone with this president because of the nature of what you're asking about, inappropriate conversations. >> i want to share what dan said about dan coats is encounter with the president, quote, director coats does not discuss his private conversations with the president. however he has never felt pressured by the president or anyone else in the administration to influence any intelligence matters or ongoing
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investigations. what is your read into that statement? >> i think that statement is helpful to the white house. it is not a complete and specific denial. it is sort of much more drawing a space around what ty considerrivate conversations. >> but we know tha dan coats doesn't want to be at the center of anything. if you were to work with him, wouldn't he be smart to keep it somewhat vague? he doesn't want to get tied up in wordsmithing here. >> vaguely saying i'm not going to get into it but i'm not incriminating anyone, including my boss, the president is helpful to the white house. number two, this is not the first time that we have seen white houses battle with the intelligence agencies over the outcomes they wanted. in other words there are many things unique to president trump and some may be problematic for president trump. on this particular issue what we're going to learn more about this hotly anticipated hearing, the fact that the white house may have had a view of the world that it was trying to push down on the intel. that is not unusual and in and
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of itself probably not illegal. >> that's an excellent point. thank you both so much. and as you can see, we're getting even closer. less than 10 minutes from now, the senate intelligence committee hearing will begin. we've just been talking about him, the director of national intelligence dan coats will testify. we're going to bring it to you live. there's nothing more 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. booking.com gets it.ey th offer free cancellation if my plans change. visit booking.com.
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all right. one last word. boys, tomorrow, james comey's
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testimony. blockbuster or boring. >> just the republicans, show some guts tomorrow. >> i said one word. >> i know. >> i think it's going to be explosive. >> explosive. there you go. that wraps us up for the hour. i only complained about mike. did you notice that? steve is from new jersey. i have my loyalty. i am stephanie ruhle. i'll see you again at 1 is:00 a.m. with ali velshi. good morning to you. already this morning we're five news cles deep. who are the two head lines. the tart of a block bust 48 hours on hill. we're expected to see four top intel officials showing up to testify. oned has, the director of national intelligence, dan coats, who was asked by the president to get involved in the fbi's russia investigation. and that's headline number two, the new fbi director, president
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trump tweeting about chris ray this morning and chris christie's bridge gate lawyer. all of this by the way only the warmup to tomorrow, what some are calling the most anticipated congressional testimony since watergate. buckle up. i want to get to casey hunt on capitol hill. today's hearing just got a lot more interesting overnight, huh? >> reporter: they did. that's for sure. this is a hearing about the reauthorization of the program that in part codified the warrant list wiretapping. hang on one second. i'm going to talk to a senator about to go into the hearing. what's your response to the reporting of dan coats own what he may have had discussions with the president about comey's involvement in this investigation? >> i think that would be highly inappropriate. he said in front of the senate arms service committee that he didn't want to answer those question but he would for the oversight committee. i hope he answers those questions those. >> reporter: the spokean

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