tv Deadline White House MSNBC June 23, 2017 1:00pm-2:01pm PDT
the economy. tomorrow 12:30 p.m. "deadline: white house" with nicolle wallace starts right now. hi, everyone. it's 4:00. today president trump illustrated the danger of doing an interview with the friendly media organization in the midst of a federal investigation into potential obstruction of justice. he all but admitted that he bluffed about having tape recordings of his meetings with james comey with the goal of influencing comey's testimony about their interactions. >> well, i didn't tape him. you never know what's happening when you see that the obama administration and perhaps longer than that was doing all of this unmasking and surveillance and you read all about it and ever been reading about it for the last couple of months about the seriousness and the horrible situation with surveillance all over the place. and you have been hearing the word unmasking, a word you probably never heard before. so you never know what's out there. but i didn't tape and i don't
have any tape and i didn't tape. but when he found out that i -- you know, there may be tapes out there, whether it's governmental tapes or anything else and who knows, i think his story may have changed. i mean, you'll have to take a look at that. because then he has to tell what actually took place at the events. and my story didn't change, my story was always the straight story. my story was always the truth. but you'll have to determine for yourself whether or not his story changed. but i did not tape. >> it was a smart way to make sure he stayed honest in the hearings. >> well, it wasn't -- it wasn't very stupid, i can tell you that. he was -- he did admit that what i said was right. and if you look further back before he heard about that, i think maybe he wasn't admitting that. so you'll have to do a little investigative reporting to determine that but i don't think it will be that hard. >> in the same interview the
president also accused bob mueller's team of having political motives. >> do you think robert mueller should recuse himself? he's good friends with james comey and he hired attorneys who had given money to president obama's and hillary clinton's campaign. >> well, he's good friends with comey which is bother some. but he's also -- we have to see. we have to see in terms -- look, there has been no obstruction. there has been no collusion, there has been leaking by comey. but no collusion or obstruction and virtually everybody agrees to that. so we'll have to see. i can say that the people that have been hired are all hillary clinton supporters, some of them worked for hillary clinton. i mean, the whole thing is ridiculous if you want to know the truth from that standpoint. but robert mueller is an honorable man. hopefully he'll come up with an
honorable solution. >> according to our research president trump has donated ten times more to democrats than what's on record for the known members of bob mueller's team. today, white house press secretary sean spicer in another briefing that the white house refused to make published to television cameras said that trump has no intention of firing bob mueller. >> is he still routing out -- ruling out firing the special counsel? >> nothing has changed on that. in terms of his position on -- >> his position is? >> anyone serves under that authority, we had a healthy exchange, but he has no intention of doing that. >> he seemed to suggest there might be a circumstance under which mueller should take himself out. >> i don't -- yeah. that's one obviously i would refer to marc kasowitz in terms of the president's legal strategy on that. >> let's bring in the reporters covering all of this today. ken dilanian, julie davis, white
house reporter and the vice president for third ways national security program. and a former staffer for the house intel committee. ken, i have to bring you back to the beginning of president trump's interview with "fox & friends" where he talks about heck yeah, i said that. i said that to make sure he stayed honest. but he was lying when he said that. so tell me how this revelation and his own description of what he did which was to lie, right, furthers or playing into the investigation. >> you know, it was hard to make sense of that trumpian word salad because i think his view is i wasn't lying because i might have been talking a about other sub surveillance -- >> can i stop you. is he re-upping this claim that there were -- that he was being wiretapped by the previous administration? did you hear that? i heard echoes. >> he's never backed off the idea.
i think he's backed off the direct wiretapping. but still raising the specter of a fisa warrant or a surveillance and throwing it out there. i mean, look, legal experts today though are saying that it's possible that these comments could be strewed as an attempt at witness intimidation pursuant to obstruction of justice. in order to prove obstruction of justice you have to show an intent. i guess they have to prove that he knew he was lying about the tapes around he did that to try to -- and he did that to intimidate james comey into changing the story. this couldn't have been a good day for president trump's lawyers. you know, john dodd, his criminal attorney could not have been pleased to hear the freewheeling comments from donald trump talk about his state of mind and trying to affect the testimony of a key witness. >> mika, what did you hear? >> i heard him say that he was trying to get comey to shut up and that combined with some of the other activities, the meanings, the trying to hold his
job hostage it shows a real pattern of trump trying to change the trajectory of this investigation. and that's what mueller is looking at for obstruction of justice. >> now, julie davis, the white house today seemed to go out of they're way to suggest -- their way to suggest that mueller's job was safe. not that it's at their discretion and not that that's consistent with what we're hearing from folks very close to the president. folks like newt gingrich. but i wonder if any of you are convinced when sean spicer assures you that someone's job is safe? >> well, in a word, no. because we have been down this road before with this administration. but i do think it's interesting sort of the distinction you're seeing start to emerge here where on the record at the white house, maybe not on camera, but in audio we hear sean spicer say he has no intention of doing that but the president's tweets as we know, they speak for themselves. the white house tells us that repeatedly. and what he said in this interview actually sort of suggested otherwise. he basically impugned bob
mueller's independence. what said we have to see in terms of whether he's going to be kept on or whether he might have to recuse himself which i don't think he would do of his own accord. but there's a real sort of disconnect between what we're hearing the president say and what the white house is officially saying. we may see that continue. you heard sean spicer when he was pressed said referred everyone to marc kasowitz who of course is trump's personal counsel. so there is a little bit of a daylight emerging here. and the president did sort of resurrect this whole notion of whether the obama administration or someone in the administration was -- is sort of checking up on him. may have been taping, may have been listening. and i think all of that is -- raising a lot of red flags at the -- that the white house is trying not to go near. >> ken dilanian, i want to ask you about him essentially
maligning members of mueller's team for having made political donations to democrats when he himself has made i think close to half a million dollars of political donations to democrats. what do you think he is missing in terms of understanding? first of all, jamie gorelick who represents his daughter and son-in-law is a former official of democratic administrations. highly respected. partner to bob mueller. but what do you think he misunderstands about the professionalism with which career law enforcement folks go about any investigation? >> i think he sees this in very tribal terms. you're either on one team or another team. obviously that's not how washington works necessarily. and that's not how the legal profession works. look, i do think -- i was surprised to see among first four hires of bob mueller announced that three of them had given more than $40,000 to the democratic campaigns. including the obama campaign and the clinton campaign. i think that was a misstep in the order of the hiring but he's hired many lawyers since who
don't have that record and bob mueller is a registered republican, who's worked for republicans. he's got an impeccable reputation for honesty and integrity in this town. if idea that this is not -- the idea that this not on the level because a few attorneys gave money to democrats seems absurd to me. >> let many go back to the obstruction of justice investigation. what's happening inside. i envision this sealed off space where no one can see in but what do you think they do? i don't know that they're "fox & friends" viewers, but the tape has been everywhere. how do they watch something like that? i as an observer, i underline this fragment we have been talking about. i thought he was re-upping this suggestion that he was being surveilled, then i parsed through every word, you hear the word unmasking, you probably haven't heard it before. i'm guessing those who investigate him are hearing it plenty. he said my story didn't change. this is his third version of the story.
i have heard three stories about the firings. what do investigators and lawyers hear when a person under scrutiny changes their stories in such a flustered sort of disorienting manner? >> so they're looking at a statement very carefully they're looking at them for the motive underneath that. but beyond that, they're not just looking at trump and his words. they're looking at financial connections. they're looking at and these meetings. they're interviewing other people for their perceptions of these conversations with trump. he is not the only one making a record and they'll use that information to try and fact check what he's saying to figure out what the truth is. >> julie, obviously i meant the comey firing but i want to ask you to weigh in on terms of what you're hearing and where you think this story goes with all the committees sort of coalescing around getting flynn to appear and getting flynn to cooperate a little more. i understand john podesta is
going before the senate intel for a closed door meeting, not testimony. we have more information and it's all against the back drop of the stunning reporting we'll do later in the show about russia. what are you hearing from white house sources about the bigger question into their team and/or satellite associates as trump likes to call them and the broader investigation into russia? >> well, listen, this is an investigation that is a sprawling investigation. and i think we're starting to see and we will see in the next week with the sort of variety of people they're talking to both publicly and privately how deep it goes. the problem for the white house is that they really can't control any of this. and they don't actually have a great channel of communication to figure out where things are going. how to respond, to get in front of any of this. and so what you have instead is the president going out, he had this interview today which i assume was timed so that he could give an explanation for this whole tapes fiasco where he
suggested there were tapes and now he's saying there weren't tapes. they don't have really an ability to plan for what's coming next. given the revelations about the extent of the russian campaign to influence the election, and what we're now learning about what the obama administration knew and i assume what president trump was briefed on in january when he was read into this, they have a lot of tough questions to answer about what their policy is and what their response is going forward. >> all right. you're all staying over. but now i bring in my panel. joining us is the former clinton director and the president of the action network, reverend al sharpton and a former cia operative and former chief policy director for the house republican conference. and a fellow at harvard shoren stein center on the press, politics and public policy. evan, i want to start with you.
oh, robert tray nam is here. good lord, my old friend from the old cheney/bush campaign. you were making faces that channeled my pain during the trump sound. and i follow you on twitter. as part of my post election therapy. i want to know what's most disturbing to you when you see the president of the united states offer what i think is his third version of events about the tapes. there might be tapes, james comey, you better watch out what you tell the press. i'll let you know in 41 days if there were tapes. i'll tell my friends at "fox & friends" maybe nobody else will see it. it was meant to influence the story that comey told. >> that's right. at the most basic level at least president trump was trying to influence a witness, potentially the investigation with this mickey mouse scheme about the tapes. whether he has them or not.
so i suspect that'll feed into the general process, the general evaluation that special counsel mueller is conducting. but the the bigger issue i have with that interview is the attack on the institutions. he is attacking mueller's credibility. he is attacking his integrity and attacking the credibility of the special counsel. he's attacking other institutions in a way to protect himself. now, this is a political strategy too. because what he does is he sends this message out to his supporters, his 35% or so of americans, they dismiss the investigation as illegitimate that helps him protect the support in the house and that may be critical down the road if the investigations reveal compromising information about the president. >> are you disappointed in the house of the representatives for not taking a harder line with him? >> i am. i know that the politics are difficult -- >> why are they difficult?
what you just said is so painfully obvious to anyone with eyeballs and ears. he's decimating all of the norms of american politics. why is it hard for your friends in the house? >> well, it shouldn't be. let me make that clear. that's a why it's disappointing. unfortunately too many of our leaders in this day and age care more about protecting their own seats and in this case in the house and congress than they do standing up for our national security. and that is not uniformly the case. there are some exceptions. >> where? >> in general, well, you know, they're not -- >> name one. >> name one, on the house side, i think adam kinsinger had stepped forward at times. >> there's one. can you name another? >> i'm not here to defend them. >> i just -- i mean -- adam on a piece of paper. you have an hour if you think any more, tell me. we'll send them a thank you note. >> no, i'm disappointed. that caused me to leave and eventually launch a campaign -- an independent campaign to stand up to this. but yes it's highly
disappointing. but you know we have got to have leaders who we can count on to first and foremost put our national security first. this is the russia attack on our democracy is a national security issue and it's not partisan and shouldn't be. >> why do you think it's so partisan? do you think that the democrats -- i'm not blaming the democrats in any way, shape or form, but other than the two intel committees at least on the senate side, that they're working in a bipartisan manner, do you think more could be done on russia? i guess in the foreign relations and the senate, they had a 98-2 vote on the sanctions. but they're the exceptions i guess. >> i don't know what -- i don't know what more the democrats can do. it does seem -- it does seem that this is an intrarepublican party problem. like a lot of problems. republican party is facing. i think health care is -- it's in the same boat. >> we'll get to that. >> but you know trump is trying to -- as evan said he is merely communicating with his supporters. i don't think he can care -- i
don't think he cares about the legal repercussions on that because he banks on the support being strong enough to take action against those trying to impeach him or something else. it's a never ending nightmare whenever the president of the united states lies about a democratic institution, as you said about democratic norms, that happens every day. we can't become inured to that. >> when we come back intelligence so sensitive and so alarming that it was hand delivered to president obama with instructions with eyes only. meaning only seen by the president and a couple of key aides. the political -- the story about the political crime of the century from one of that report's authors. ♪ ♪ ♪
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today "the washington post" is out with a blockbuster report about russian interference dug the 2016 election and the obama administration's response. one that a former administration official involved in the deliberations described this way. quote, it's the hardest thing about my entire time in government to defend. i feel like we sort of choked. joining me now one of the authors of that article, greg miller, national security correspondent at "the washington post." first of all, congratulations on this piece. it's pretty stunning but you pulled me in in the first paragraph when you described how the intel arrived at the white house. early last august an envelope with extraordinary handling instructions arrived at the white house. carried eyes only instructions
that its contents be shown only to four people. president obama and three other aides. talk about what was inside and how that put into motion your spire story. >> so inside that story is a really significant piece of intelligence. a remarkable one really. it is intelligence drawn from cia sourcing, deep inside the russian government that establishes that putin is actually directing the operation, the election interference of last year, in the u.s. presidential race. but it also goes one step farther and that's what's most extraordinary. it also says that putin -- it captures putin's specific directions on the objective of this operation. that it is designed to damage hillary clinton's chances and do as much as possible to try to help elect donald trump. >> so by august, president obama and at least three other aides
knew that vladimir putin wanted to work to defeat hillary clinton? >> yeah. very early -- the very first week of august, the initial days of august. and that's what -- you know, that's the beginning of our time line in this story. that's when you look back at that now it seems astonishing. that they had this piece of intelligence, knew what russia's objectives were at that point but don't say anything about that until the very end of december, long after the election is over. >> i remember watching that. that news conference. but i want to take you back in time because this is the kind of reporting that'll probably win you your pulitzer. you describe when this circle was still very, very small the situation room is a complex of secured spaces in the basement of the west wing. a video feed courses through some of the national security offices, allowing the senior aides to see but not hear when meetings are under way. so they can run in with notes and support the folks in there. as the russia related sessions
in august began, the video feed was shut off. the last time that had happened was in the run-up to the u.s. special operations raid on bin laden's compound in pakistan. talk about how tightly held this this was and contrast that to all of the wildly irresponsible language we hear in this climate about some deep state. this was the deep state on lockdown. >> yeah. it was. i mean, they were taking extraordinary precautions and they established the very tiny compartments to hold this information. it wasn't only at the white house at the cia director john brennan formed a task force. he was pulling experts from other u.s. spy agencies, bringing them into this cell and they had to sign additional nondisclosure forms just so they could participate in this. and have access to other spy agencies' information. there were downsides to all of this compartmentsation though because it left many people in
the middle and lower rakes of the white house and other -- ranks of the white house and others in the dark about what was driving all of this. many of those people were the ones who were being asked to generate ideas for what can we do to respond to russia, but they really didn't know to respond for what. >> on the day they finally were able to develop consensus around issuing a statement, i forgot this until i read this piece. and comey who's a constant character in all of this he had his name on it and then he took his name off of it. saying it was too close to the election for the bureau to be involved. seems quaint now. but the statement read the u.s. intelligence community is confident that the russian government from the u.s. political organizations and then talk about that statement went out at 3:30 and remind us what happened at 4:00 that day. >> so they're finally -- they're bringing themselves to issue a statement, to tell the public what they know oar at least part
of -- or at least part of what they know about what's happening in the election, a big step and they're hoping this gets a lot of attention across the country. instead, it gets swallowed up in the avalanche. so they issue this statement at 3:0. half an hour on "the washington post" website, one of my colleagues is breaking the story about donald trump's lewd comments about women on the "access hollywood" tape and that's the dominant story for the next several days or a week and then wikileaks puts out the first big batch of e-mails stolen by russian hackers from john podesta's account. so that day ends up being a torrent of news and this important statement from the obama administration ends up getting lost. >> i know we're running out of time with you, but i want to do ask you to talk about the internal divide that this created among president obama's team. there's some incredible reporting about a rather valiant effort from secretary of state
john kerry who had been reluctant to call out russia. can you talk about that? >> yeah, we were surprised in our reporting on this that at key moments that kerry is more hawkish than others. he's making a last minute case we have to do something. you guys don't want to act before the election fine. let's announce a bunch of punitive measures toward moscow when it's all safe. still he is told no. weeks later he comes back, okay, you don't want to act. how about we set up a 9/11 style commission, it will be bipartisan, we'll get to the bottom of what happened. at least there's a public record and that gets proposed during the actual national security council meeting that obama is chairing but immediately his -- obama's chief of staff startings arguing against it and then obama argued it and then it was never revised. >> real quickly, can you talk about what's happened since this extraordinary tick tock that you
detail in sort of the transfer of power from the obama administration to the trump administration. what happened? >> well, actually i think one of the most interesting details in the story is that there was this secret thing that obama did in addition to the punitive measures that they announced in late december. he secretly signs an order to his u.s. spy agencies to start placing cyber weapons in certain areas of russia's infrastructure or computer systems that the united states could detonate down the road some day if it finds itself in some sort of escalating cyber exchange with moscow. but it's just in the planning stages when obama leaves office. so if those devices are ever going to be triggered it will have to be done by the trump administration which is what -- it's really remarkable given the trump administration's positions toward moscow. >> greg miller, i could talk to you for hours. it's a story worth subscribing to the paper just to read. thank you for spending some time with us. please come back. on the other side of the break,
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russia's influence activities in the run-up to the 2016 election constituted the high water mark since the 19 0s to disrupt and influence or elections. they must be congratulating themselves for having exceeded their wildest expectations. if there has been a clarion call for vigilance and action glisten a threat to the -- against a threat to our very system, this episode is it. >> that was former director of national intelligence clapper testifying about why it was different when it came to the russian meddling. jen palmieri, your thoughts? >> it's difficult to read. that story having -- having come
from the obama white house and lived through the clinton campaign, i lived through that day in october, finally we had a statement that laid this all out very clearly. we were shocked by that statement. no one appropriately at the white house gave us a heads up about it. what a big deal it was for the secretary of homeland security and the director of national intelligence to say with certainty that russia was behind this. and trying to influence the elections. >> you were hacked. i mean, you were -- >> well, john podesta was hacked. >> yeah. >> a lot of mine e-mails were out there, but that was -- you know, on that day. we had been pushing the press since the summer during earlier in the sum -- summer to focus on how russia and how it was clear in not only the hacking but the government had concluded that already. but they were directing the timing of the leaks. and it was very hard to get the press to pay attention.
so we finally had the statement, i understood what a big deal it was, to say that with certainty in a statement that the white house would have signed off on. i was on a conference call with my colleagues to say how should we deal with them and then palmieri, there's an "access hollywood" tape you should know about that and that was for my heart to sink. i thought, whatever that is, that people who don't like trump are just going to not like him more. this is what we need people to focus on and that moment was gone. >> bashing hillary clinton has become a cottage industry. >> it is a cottage industry? it's pretty full fledged i think. >> does she have a point when she says that putin helped sway the election in trump's favor? >> yes. i mean, i think that was pretty clear. it's amazing to learn that she was also right as her speculation to -- you know, into the staff at the time that this went back to her criticizing his elections and he held her responsible i think it was in the 2011 parliamentary elections
in russia. said she was responsible for causing unrest in his own election. i noticed recently he did his interview with megyn kelly he noted that -- he noted something about pay back and for every action there's a reaction. that seemed to me to be him going back to that he held hillary responsible for problems he had in his own -- with his own politics. and you know, i know that the obama white house is in a very difficult situation and they made the best decisions they could. we call those 5149 decisions. i'm sure you experienced them -- >> we call them crummy and crumbier. >> 51% one way and 49% the other. i think they did it in the best interest of the country, but i do -- i agree with congressman schiff who was in that story when he says it's concerning that democrats didn't sound an alarm about russia just because it makes it seem as if it's not as damning as it was for them to
do. >> hans nichols, i know you were particularly intrigued by and may be still covering this idea of digital land mines that were laid. is that a military term? is that a cyber war term? talk to me about what that means and what happens now. >> well, it's one and the same. because the cyber command is run out of the national security agency. they're all sharing these big super computers. the important thing to know about cyber when you talk -- in this building about it, you always want to have if you're going to be on the offense, you want to have access to the other side. it's not as though when you decide to launch an offensive that you then try to seek entry into their system. you want to be inside before you lay these digital land mines. now, whether or not this president is going to trigger and trip those digital land mines it doesn't seem like he's inclined to do so. the other big thing to note on cyber, i know we're kind of feeling hawkish right now. it seems that's the general vibe from this panel. but cyber carries consequences
and that's something you hear in this building because there's an ability to retaliate. a lot of the talk about cyber is on the deterrent side. frankly, this sort of shrugging on the shoulders of what do you do if someone attacks back. a lot of the infrastructure, a federal system, it isn't as secure as a lot of folks here would like it to be. >> evan, you were in the cia. what do you do? >> i think it's about mostly sanctions. what hans said about cyber attacks is true. i think we need a robust offensive capability. we do. but our defenses are fairly behind. but i will say that we absolutely must deter foreign actors from attacking our democracy. our ability to choose our own leaders. you can't just defend against it really. that's a long term problem. there's got to be deterrents and
the best way to do that is through strength of sanctions. the problem is that the republicans in the white house are soft on sanctions. >> let me ask you about what do -- not just democrats but i think everyone here sort of shares the alarm about russia. but 40% or 37% of the country to them it's just sort of noise. they're not worried about russia. they're not alarmed or offend by russia. what do you in a country where you have a clear threat from an american adversary and 37% of the people think it's a fake news issue? >> well, people are programmed neuropsychologically people would rather believe fake news that they like than real news that they don't. but we cannot -- >> i changed the scale. i mean, i understand the psychology of it. but how do you fix our politics? >> i'm saying we can't wait for everyone to get on board. this is a situation when we think about the cyber security of the united states you have to understand that we already had a
breach of 18 million personnel records including fingerprints and social security numbers in the opm hack and that led may have led to the assassinations and disappearances of chinese intelligence agents. we are leaky as heck in terms of our federal security and what's going on with putin is just one part of it. and let me frame it in terms of patriotism. the president could say the investigation that's going on with me is part of a bigger picture. as the president of the united states, i want this country to be secure so whatever happens with the investigation i will ensure that our digital borders are strong. where is he thinking about the american people? >> good point. >> he's thinking about himself. >> yeah. well, you know it better than -- >> i think that's the real point. the real point is not that 37% of the country is seeing it as no big deal. the president is not seeing it as a big deal. i think we've got to separate
the legal investigation from the leadership of the president. he's on television this morning not one time did he talk about the idea of our votes, our democracy is potentially undermined. i'm concerned as the president of the united states about that. the fact that an election could be tampered with, where is the leadership? whether he's ever prosecuted or not, he has failed as a leader of this country and reduced us into sitting around like we're watching perry mason on whether they're going to get him or not. when they already gotten to the voting public of this country in a decision they made. contrast, nicolle, how you have president obama, whether we wished he had done more or no, who tells putin to his face you better stop that. and donald trump in the oval office joking around with russian diplomats. >> disparaging his own -- >> disparaging the fbi director,
calling him a nutjob. if you contrast obama in putin's face, you have the photo with him calling the fbi director a nutjob, no wonder why the 37% of the public don't get, because nobody is giving it to them. >> those two men were banished from president obama's oval office. break of dawn calls him to ranting to his staff, inside the struggle to stay calm amid the russian investigation.
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a vivid new report in "the washington post" describes a new white house strategy designed to keep the obsession with allegations of trump's ties with russia at bay. the report describes early morning phone calls which are quote part strategy consultation and part presidential venting sessions during which his
lawyers devise their plan for battling his avowed enemies. the special counsel leading the russia investigation, the fake news media kron cling it and in some instances the justice department overseeing the probe. let me bring in robert tray nam and how jarring it is to see the glimpse behind the scenes of a president who on policy matters has no appetite for being aggressive or hawkish toward russia, but where it comes to his personal equities, any legal liabilities for himself, his family or mike flynn he's obsessed. >> yeah. it's pretty sad, nicolle. i know mark carell what, a long time pr operative. i think misery loves company here. i mean, look, i think we're all exasperated here not only as republicans, but americans. you want your president to fight on policy. you want your president to talk about how he is fighting for the
middle class, but yet we hear a different tweet and then the tweet obviously contradicts itself and then you have the press secretary afraid to go on camera. it's a never ending saga here. what's really -- it's really happening and it's frustrating i think as americans but even more frustrating as a republican. what do we stand for and believe in? from the policy standpoint, how can we run in 2018 and say that we have championed xy or z when we have some in the white house who is only championing himself and they're self-inflicted wounds. >> let me ask you about -- you mentioned mark carollo, he's on the record not only insulting this president and the team, but defending the lawyers. do you think they're red lines and do you think part of the reason that sean was sent out there with what amounts to sort of pablum under normal circumstances but for this white
house accounts as affirming the support for bob mueller do you think they're trying to walk the president pack from his political attacks and character assassination against bob mueller? >> oh, absolutely. i know that for a fact. i mean, mark is a good friend of mine. i used to work with on the fred thompson campaign in 2008. he's a common sense guy, been around washington a very long time. he's smart. and i think he's one of those type of people that looks at the history book and says look i want no parts of this. i want to try my best to try to put this train back on the tracks here. but i also had my own reputation. and i also have my country to defend. i'm only going to do this so far. i would not be surprised whatsoever, if in fact there's some turnover in the president's legal counsel within the next three to six months. >> wow. evan, what do you think? do you think it can be done, balancing -- maintaining your personal honor and working for donald trump? >> i think in some positions. >> secretary mattis --
>> yeah. the more junior you get, i think it's possible. but closer you are to him and depending on what you're working on it becomes increasingly difficult. i think general mattis who i think is a very honorable man, i have an immense amount of respect for him, i think he's done a good job. but the number of members of donald trump's cabinet who have not been sucked into defending and sort of misrepresenting things to the american people is increasing -- >> who is that? sorry to make -- >> it's mattis. >> i'm just thinking of the other meeting where they went around, oh, dear leader you're so smart. other than mattis who refused to participate in the parade? >> pompeo, kelly i thought he would be strong, but he's not anymore. >> so we have mattis and pompeo. >> and i think mc -- mcmaster? >> i think that's mostly true but not entirely. i'm concerned. >> okay, j everyone. >> i don't think we can put put
mcmaster on the good guy list anymore because of how he -- of how he handled the russia media. >> do you think it's possible for someone to serve -- >> i think it's hard deal because i -- i get the -- i mean, i think if i'm in your guy's shoes, god forbid it's on our side -- >> who is the donald trump of the democratic party? >> we're not built that way, right? >> there's no donald trump anywhere. this man has never -- you've got to remember, i have known him 35 years. >> yeah. >> he never had a board of directors in his companies. he's never had to work in a cooperative kind of consensus atmosphere. >> right. >> he's running the white house like he ran the trump organization. i'm the boss, you take orders. what is so surprising and i think undermines the interests of the country is that you have people that have stood in their own merits and have gained
stature that would defer to and allow him to do that to them. what happened to their own self-respect and self-regard that they would wait a minute, you maybe a little off. >> the cabinet reading we saw, if i am one of their sons or brothers, i would change my last name. >> we are going to keep this conversation going on the other side of the break. don't go anywhere.
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it's me and it's you. don't stop now, it's easy to add to the routine. join energy upgrade california and do your thing. we are back with julie davis in this conversation of this russia obsession because it is fair to say that about me and all my questions for you, ken, i wonder what you make of someone covering the investigative side of this. the washington post of the president's obsession and his league team. >> we know what dan coats said behind closed door that he saw trump is being obsessed with the russia story. if donald trump is innocent of collusion which many experts believe it is probably the case.
the smart thing for him to do is sit back and let the investigation play out. he's taken a number of action that made it worse whether it is the wiretapping tweet and is effort of protecting flynn and firing comey. his obsession with this could be of his own doing and bringing him of no end of further media scrutiny and fuelling the story. it is in in explicable that he decided to go at this route. >> julie, can the president acknowled acknowledge some of this is self conflicted. >> well, thoroughabsolutely, i is difficult to respond to something where you never know where the president is going to go next to it. it stems from his sense of his legitimacy as president is being
questioned here and it is impossible for him to separate the idea of russia's interference and the election and the notion that somehow he did not win fair and square, we heard kellyanne conway going on tv again today and saying no votes were affected and we won fair and square of the victory. that does not mean russia did not do anything. his in ability to divide those two things have led to missteps here and i never heard evidence that he's acknowledging that. maybe he's doing that privately but it is difficult for the white house to do that and it is difficult for them to stay on message on this because the president's obsession makes it, really muddles the line here. it really something where they can never be sure what he's going to say next because he's emotionally involved and angry about this.
>> on the press side of this, micah, i wonder on the media side of this, i wonder how personal lawyers are picking up after it is made of such a mess up by the client himself. >> you saw a lot of the real qualified lawyers who defended many other republicans take a pass on this case. you have a client who's got a bad pattern already and does not listen to his lawyers and goes out there and said all kind of contradictory things and it is hard to build a case against this guy and he's digging a hole deeper. >> of the unintended victims, one of them is the free press, what do you think of all of this sort of fallout around the edges of this scandal. >> i think there is a very pu n
putinness of what trump is doing but the idea of constantly changing his story is a disinformation technique that was used by the soviet union and subsequently in the post soviet era to throw out all of these different conflicting tales and making people throw up their hands and say i don't know what to believe, there is no such things as true. it is disputurbing to me that t president of the united states is lending himself to an atmosphere of under minding truth himself. >> let me ask you, is donald trump crazy or is he crazy like a fox? >> i am going to say it is a little bit of both. i think he's a new animal in the sense that he does not care about our democratic institutions norms or ideals one
bit. we are not used to that. we are use to expectations of how our elected officials behave. he cares none of this. and he's crazy like a fox and i tend to believe he's not mentally well. >> why? >> just because he seems so easily provoked by minor things to do thing that is are not in his best interests mainly. >> jane, you guys talked about him as a man can be triggered go to a tweet. >> evidently true. he plays it out everyday. the idea that his staff goes to the lengths that they do to not get on the phone with him at 6:30 in the morning but to tell us all about it is revealing. they're over taking their own reputation. they are saying i did what i could and i said it and call in the morning with the guys.
>> we are out of time. i am going to have you all back, please, please take our call, we'll call you as soon as this ends and book you all back. >> thank you to panel and everyone and evan mcmullen for arriving today and robert from massachusetts, that does it for this hour. i am nicole wallace. "mtv daily" starts now. well, if it is friday, 38 is the number today. >> tonight, he's all about that bass. president trump's support in a merely 40%. could that be enough of what he wants. senat and another stunning new report