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tv   MSNBC Live  MSNBC  July 5, 2017 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT

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findings into the investigation of hillary clinton's use of a personal e-mail system while secretary of state. comey's statement clinton erred in judgment but would not recommend charges. and that, as they say, is history. that's all tonight. we'll be back tomorrow with more "mtp daily." i'm chris jansing with msnbc live and we are following a lot of big news today, starting with president trump arriving in poland ahead of the g20 meeting this week just as that nuclear threat from north korea escalates. the u.s. condemning north korea's first intercontinental ballistic missile test launch tuesday. pentagon officials saying today, it's a weapon the u.s. has never seen pyongyang use before. it is a major escalation of north korea's nuclear weapons program. north korean state media said it traveled 580 miles from the launch site before going into
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the sea of japan. in stark terms, it's a missile u.s. officials believe is capable of reaching alaska. north korea's leader, kim jong-un, calling the test a gift to the trump administration and vowing never to give up the nation's nuclear weapons. responding with a show of force, the u.s. firing warning missiles off south korea's east coast and this afternoon at the united nations, ambassador nikki haley had strong words for north korea, saying the window for any diplomatic solution is closing fast. >> the united states is prepared to use the full range of our capabilities to defend ourselves and our allies. one of our capabilities lies with our considerable military forces. we will use them if we must, but we prefer not to have to go in that direction. >> so the north korea problem reaching new levels just as the president prepares for his meetings with chinese president xi jinping and russian president vladimir putin. trump this morning boarding air force one.
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>> what about north korea? >> we're going to do very well. >> so let's go to nbc's peter alexander who is traveling with the president in warsaw now. so, peter, this is already going to be a complicated g20 if you want to talk about trade, syria, climate change, i could go on, and of course the putin meeting. but now how does north korea escalate the intensity of what's going to happen there? >> reporter: well, you heard the president as he was boarding marine one there in washington saying we're going to do very well. as he landed here, though, obviously the reach of that intercontinental ballistic missile reaching as far as the summit that he'll have coming up just a couple of days from now in hamburg, germany. it will certainly be among the issues that he's likely to talk about. not only meeting with vladimir putin but also meeting with president xi, russia's president who obviously is one of the key allies of north korea here. 90% of north korea's trade is with russia. while this administration has
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tried to implement new sanctions on a chinese bank, you heard from nikki haley saying the u.s. is prepared to use military action is absolutely necessary. nonetheless, the president facing a real challenge as we noted with limited options, whether sanctions is a greater effort going forward, diplomacy appears to be an option that may have a limited window for its pursuit. so for the president this is a grand stage, a unique opportunity not only meeting with vladimir putin but meeting with president xi who met with one another just a couple of days ago. chris, that's striking because you heard from president trump on twitter basically saying our efforts to try to get president xi to help have basically worn off. there you see president xi and vladimir putin teaming up together. >> so is it clear what the white house stand is? because in tweets, president trump has jumped from blaming china for north korea, saying china is the answer, to we may need to deal with the north without china. where do they stand now, or do
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we know? >> reporter: it's a good question. it's a question we hope to pose to president trump tomorrow. he is here in warsaw tomorrow delivering a speech where in fact there will be thousands of people being bussed in by pro-government members of parliament here to hear the president speak. he's going to be delivering remarks at a memorial to the warsaw uprising and also expected, though not guaranteed to be taking questions alongside the polish president as well. chris. >> i want to bring in retired army colonel, colonel jack jacobs. always good to see you. give me your assessment, how grave is this threat? >> i'm usually pretty sanguine about threats because they're frequently hyperbolic but this is very, very serious indeed. the capability of north korea to reach the american mainland, the fact that they are moving very rapidly towards being able to make a delivery vehicle with a nuclear weapon, to be able to
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miniaturize nuclear weapons, threaten our allies and other folks in the pacific, all this makes it extremely difficult to deal with. you have to remember we got to this position because we and china both ignored the problem, have ignored the problem for five decades, six decades. and the result of this has been a situation which becomes increasingly difficult to deal with. in the past we could have dealt with it in a wide variety of ways but decided instead to kick the can down the road. now we're in a position where we feel that we have to do something even if it's wrong. >> you have nikki haley saying the north's actions are quickly closing off the possibility of any diplomatic solution, but then general mattis has said military action could potentially lead to the worst kind of fighting in most people's life times. is there any realistic military option here? >> well, there are plenty of
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military options, but i think general mattis' point is well taken. we don't have the political will to do the kinds of things that are necessary there and lots of civilians will be killed. all civilian deaths. >> 37,000 u.s. military there? what's the number? >> yeah, a few more, plus support troops. and if we have to fight we'll get even more there. so the military option is probably off the table. the greatest likelihood here is some combination of international solidarity that's going to be generated. it's going to be an amalgum of things put together by secretary tillerson on the one hand, plus more economic sanctions. you know, we haven't run the string on all the economic considerations, all the things that we could do to north korea, we haven't prevented them from getting payments
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internationally. we haven't put the squeeze on other countries who are dealing with north korea. we haven't put the squeeze on china. i think there's going to be some combination of economic and diplomacy and not military action. >> jack, we've only got 30 seconds left. there is no precedent, is there, for destroying anyone's nuclear arsenal. and especially when you're dealing with north korea, you have so much of it that's hidden deep into these caves, in mountains. i mean could we even do it if we wanted to? >> no. i mean we could do it but it would be devastating, as general mattis said. i think we'll sit down actually talking to north korea. they want talks just with us. it's not going to be talks just with us, but there are going to be negotiations behind closed doors. it's the only way that this is
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going to get resolved short of war. >> jack jacobs. colonel, always good to see you, my friend. let me bring in lois frankel, a democrat from florida who traveled to south korea in april as part of a bipartisan congressional delegation. it's good of you to join us. so from your perspective, what does the united states do here? >> first, chris, great to be with you tonight. i agree with your last guest's comments. first of all, a military strike would be catastrophic, not only to the millions of civilians in south korea, potentially in japan, thousands and thousands of americans, our troops that are in south korea, and let's remember that japan and south korea are great economic trading partners with us. and good friends. and we have treaties with them. and so i think a military action is out of the question.
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but let's go back to basics. and we really shouldn't have to go back to basics. with our president, we do. number one, this president needs to put down the cell phone or ipad and stop this tweeting and he's got to focus on these problems. number two, he needs to fully fund this state department. he requested a 30% cut in the state department. we have no ambassador yet to south korea. we do not have an assistant secretary of asian affairs. >> understood, understood, but when you're dealing with the immediacy of what he's going to be facing at the g20, the meetings he's going to have, including the president of south korea, what do you expect and what do you think that needs to get done and realistically can get done when we're in a situation where they now have a missile that could reach alaska and may not be that far away from something that could reach the mainland u.s.? >> well, the third point that i want to make here is this. the president has a great
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opportunity now. he's going to be meeting with many of our allies, and he's got to start playing nice. there's so many complicating factors here. he's got to stop the bullying. listen, diplomacy -- >> are you suggesting he's going in now at some sort of disadvantage with our allies? is that what your point is? >> yes, i think so. well, he's angered our allies with his talk about cutting off trade. he's angered our allies by not saying that we support article five of nato. and listen, this is a time where we need the rest of the world to rally along with us to put economic pressure on -- not only on north korea, but to put some pressure on china because they really do hold the cards. so i agree with your last guest, it is sanctions now, it is diplomacy, and it's working together with our partners in the world. >> so let me ask you very quickly, we mentioned you were recently in south korea which has obviously so much at stake.
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>> yes. >> their center of business, of government, a lot of the population of the entire country is in and around seoul and we know president trump will be meeting in a pull-aside with south korea's president at the g20. what do you expect from that? what did you hear when you were there? >> well, i was there right when they were about to have their elections. this is what i heard both in south korea and japan. they expect and they want american leadership, and they want and they expect us to live up to our agreements with them. and so i would hope that the president doesn't have side issues, like talking about -- telling south korea we have a bad trade deal with them or telling them they have to pay for the missile defense system. he's got to focus. he's got to assure them that we are on their side, that we're going to work with japan, we're going to work with south korea and the rest of our allies and
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focus and put a halt to this nuclear program. >> congresswoman, it's good of you to come on the program. we thank you so much for your time. >> thank you, chris. and then there's russia's role in all of this. teaming up with china now to propose a plan for easing tensions with north korea ahead of that highly anticipated meeting between president trump and vladimir putin on friday. it will be their first face-to-face meeting and there's a lot expected to come up in addition to north korea. of course syria, russia's election meddling, will they talk about that? the state of relations in fact between russia and the u.s. george will is a pulitzer prize-winni prize-winning columnist and msnbc political analyst. always good to see you. couple of ways to go but let me start with north korea and this immediate threat and what might happen there. is it clear to you right now what the president's position is on how to deal with north korea? >> it's not clear to me and it probably isn't clear to him. i think as the military lays out
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for him probable consequences of military action, whether it's an attempt to preempt by striking the delivery systems and the storage facilities of their nuclear program, after all these are road mobile weapons in a country full of mountains and caves where they can be hidden in hardened ways. when you see how difficult it is, it comes down to the least worst option, which is probably living with this. now, you can live with a nuclear power, even a hostile nuclear power, as we did with the soviet union, if they are deterrable and this is where it becomes very important to find out if the president really means what he has said about the leader of north korea, who he has called a maniac and a mad man. if he's either of those things, then perhaps he's also suicidal and, therefore, can't be capable of the rational calculation that deterrence requires. however, if you really look at
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his behavior, he behaves in a way that is not nice but is reasonable. he seems to have two related objectives. one is the survival of his regime and the other is to maximize the power and the world stage of his nation, which has no economic weight to go behind it. in terms of that, he's done a marvelous job. since there really is no reason to believe that since the survival of the regime is the most important objective, that he's not suicidal, therefore, he probably is deterrable. it's not an obviously good outcome, but it may be the best of which we're capable. >> what do you mean by deterrable. do you believe him when he said, and he just said this once again, i am not giving up our nukes. >> i think they're probably not giving up the nukes. we tried to prevent them from getting nuclear weapons. the problem is nuclear weapons technology is a 70-year-old technology. ballistic missiles are 50 years old, the basic technology. we can try to make it difficult
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for nations to get these under the nuclear proliferation regime, but there are limits. as iran has shown, as pakistan has shown, as north korea has shown, any nation determined, and north korea for these good reasons is determined to have nuclear weapons, are going to get them. therefore, it seems to me we should concentrate on how to deter them, which it is quite capable of doing. we had a much more serious threat from the soviet nuclear arsenal and we deterred them until the soviet regime from internal factors went away. >> so that leads us to the meeting that everybody is waiting for, and there's going to be hyperanalysis of everything from body language to how long they meet and of course i'm talking about president trump and president putin. and the suggestion from the white house has been that there is no specific agenda. he's going to go in there, he's going to feel it out. i don't think anybody who has paid any attention to vladimir putin thinks anything but that he is going into that meeting
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with a very specific plan and a very specific agenda. what are you expecting, george? >> i think you're right. mr. putin is as long headed and implaccable as mr. trump -- north korea is a distraction so you wouldn't expect him to use whatever leverage hes ha, and lord knows if he has any at all, mr. putin, on the north koreans. therefore, what should be the topics of concern for mr. trump beginning with what aour 16 or 7 intelligence agencies say, that, a, there was determined russian interference in the american election and that it was directed by mr. putin. since he'll be in the room with the man, mr. trump might say why did you do it, what did you do,
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why and cut it out. >> do you expect that? >> no, i don't. let me tell you a story. shortly before prime minister abe came -- from japan came to visit mr. trump, i had lunch with two japanese diplomats and they said should mr. abe flatter mr. trump? i burst out laughing saying if he does that, he's won. that's all it takes. mr. trump has said when asked about mr. putin, well, he's said nice things about me. he does seem to be playable. and the former kgb officer will certainly know how to do that. >> it will be fascinating to watch, but the stakes are much higher than we knew that they would be just 24 hours ago. george will, always great to talk to you. thank you. >> thank you. and ahead, what you don't know about how destructive this north korean missile might be and what it would mean if the u.s. did strike north korea. also, hitting home. the health care fight rages from coast to coast as republican lawmakers go missing on july
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4th. and then, of course, beachgate. governor chris christie now facing an ethics violation after this infamous photograph. who filed it? we'll tell you that and take a look at his political future, so stay with us. the pain can really be a distraction. pain is sometimes in my hands,
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and frankly that patience is over. >> so that was president trump just days ago saying the time for patience is indeed over with north korea. so it's his move now. the president landing just a little more than an hour ago in poland, getting ready to meet with world leaders. north korea sure to be a major topic at that g20 summit. yesterday north korea testing an intercontinental ballistic missile with the ability to reach the u.s. you can see on this animation just how far this icbm can go. experts say it can actually hit alaska. so what do we do now? steve clemons is washington editor at large for "the atlantic," gordon chang, author of "nuclear showdown, north korea takes on the world." gordon, is that where we are, at a nuclear show down point? >> i think we could be there in a couple of years. right now there's a lot of things the trump administration can do short of the use of force, short of a showdown, but
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nonetheless we need the political will to do those. we need to ask the chinese how come all of these chinese missiles and equipment are in north korea's arsenal. and we need to hear that answer in public. also the other thing we need to do is start imposing costs on beijing so they will actually do what we think they should. for instance, we just tell the chinese, you do business with the north koreans, you do business with us, but not both at the same time. >> is there the will to do that? >> if there's the will to do that. and so far we have seen over the last three administrations there's been no will to do that so it's really an issue of us, not them. >> steve, we have this point where we just heard the president say the era of strategic patience is over. then you also have the commander of u.s. troops in seoul. this was a pretty stunningly scary statement, i find, that self restraint is all that's keeping the u.s. and south korea from going to war with the north. the question becomes how long can that self-restraint last if the era of strategic patience is
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over? >> what focuses the mind is that virtually every simulation of a hot conflict between our side and north korea, and our side could mean japan and south korea results in about a quarter million deaths at minimum and many, many more at maximum. and so that focuses the mind. this has been a decades-long problem. if it was easy to solve, we would have solved it long ago. what's changed the game is north korea's nuclear and technical capabilities have grown dramatically as gordon said. i'm very respectful of gordon but disagree that there's any punitive measure that moves china to be our agent of interest in this. we do not share the same into of north korea, we are not strategically aligned. while we can come together and support each other, we know china and russia helped us with iran. china and russia could help us with north korea, but it's not going to be a quick and easy thing. donald trump has got to stop being so erratic and intemperate
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in dealing with some of these countries and thinking by just kicking china, it's automatically going to carry our water for us on this. it's just not going to happen. >> it's almost as if kim jong-un seems to be emboldened by this combination of this uncertainty about exactly where trump stands and the advancement of the nuclear program. just by the timing of it, it seems like july 4th is hardly coincidental. >> he's not a cartoon character, but he's a megalo maniacal extortionist. he's making it look as if he stopped all the forces and gravity in the world by stopping what he called today the american bastards is how he referred to us. at the same time, starving his people, maintaining tight control in that country and misbehaving around the world, trying to extort benefits from
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its neighbors. it's cheaper to pay them off than it is to allow the korean peninsula to explode. that's been the formula before and it only worked as long as north korea was never really a full threat to the continental united states. that is changing. >> how close are we to it being a threat? i've heard various reports of 18 months, two years. where are you on that? >> that sounds about right. you know, if you go back just a month ago, people were saying like me three or four years. but they developed the heat shielding. they shot this missile yesterday high into the atmosphere. 1,740 miles. when it came down they were testing the heat shielding. heat shielding is really the last major technical hurdle. >> and how complex is it? >> it is extremely complex, which is the reason the north koreans haven't done it up to now. now they have had two of these high arc tests, one last month and one yesterday. so i think they're probably pretty much on the road to doing that. so this is we're talking maybe
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months, a year if we're lucky. so we don't have very much time to figure this out. >> who most likely, who's going to be at this meeting, steve, the g20 summit, might be able to have, i don't know, influence with trump or be able to get some sort of consensus among the allies. what do you see happening in terms of north korea now dropped in the middle of its plate when it already had all these other things to talk about. >> i hate to say this because i wish it were not the case. i think you're going to hear a lot of noise, a lot of concern, and absolutely no orchestrated efforts or action. i interviewed our former envoy to north korea, wendy sherman, about this recently and she thinks regardless of whether it was the trump administration, obama administration, whatever administration may come next, it's going to take getting to the brink of war to focus the minds of all the key parties in place, and that includes china, it includes russia and japan,
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south korea, the united states, europe, the key players that are basically the global stakeholders of security and stability to really come together and coordinate. but it's going to take that level of brinksmanship to the end before we have that. i'm inclined to think that she's right. so i think even though this is an absolutely compelling global security concern, i think the g20 will be a keystone cops exercise in no one really doing anything with regards to north korea. >> steve, gordon, you both have succeeded in really bringing home the seriousness of the situation that we're facing. i thank you both for being with me this afternoon. coming up, anticipation growing for that president trump face-to-face meeting with vladimir putin. we're learning now that white house insiders are worried about it. they're uncertain. we'll have that report ahead. but first, july 4th fireworks. senator ted cruz feeling the health care heat. what's the future of the republican bill? this is a story about mail and packages.
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senators are not in washington this week, they are home for the july 4th holiday, but few republicans are making public appearances in their home districts. maybe this explains why. this is senator ted cruz before a crowd in texas at a july 4th celebration. >> health care is a human right, health care is a human right. >> well, the senator got an earful from protesters who are angry about the senate republican health care bill. he was one of just four republican senators to show up at july 4th celebrations and all four of them are against the bill. one of them, senator susan collins, telling "the washington post," quote, i heard over and over again encouragement for my stand against the current version of the senate and house health care bills. people were thaning king me, ov and over again. joining me, howard dean, former vermont governor and former chairman of the democratic
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national committee. always good to see you, howard. i've been watching some of these town halls closely. some of them going three, four hours and a lot of angry constituents. i wonder do they accomplish anything? are members of congress influenced by them? >> they sure are. susan collins is obviously one of them. dean heller from nevada who's got a tough race coming up is very much influenced. i actually think if this bill goes down, and i think it will, it's going to be because of the people who went -- the constituents of these senators who let them know what they think about this bill. this bill is the most unpopular bill i've seen in a long time. it's down around 20% approval. >> it's also pretty astonishing how members of congress have ducked these meetings. they often blame the democrats for stacking the deck. they say protesters are being bussed in, they're not my constituents, other things like that. but there is a question, and i've heard this from staffers on the republican side, why face the angry constituents, the optics are bad. i wonder if you think they'll
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pay a price for not showing up? >> i think they'll pay an enormous price. first of all, there has also been a lot of news reports since the town meeting days on other issues about the fact that these -- in fact are these senators' constituents. many of them in arkansas, when tom cotton had a town meeting over the previous recess, they were people who voted for tom cotton and now don't have any intention of doing it ever again if this bill passes. these people are going to lose their health insurance. 23 million of them. and it's pretty understandable that they might go out and have some tough things to say about the people who are going to take it from them. >> i was talking to senator blumenthal this morning, he happened to be in the building because he was on "morning joe" and i asked him what he thought. he said he thinks that this break could make a difference. i know from talking to a lot of the republican staffers when i was on the hill last week, they're getting inundated with phone calls. where do you see the chances
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right now? >> you know, it's impossible to tell. i do think that this bill is going to go down. dean heller is going to lose for sure if he votes for this bill. susan collins is not going to vote for the bill. >> rand paul isn't going to vote for the bill, i don't think. >> yeah, that's it. that's enough. but i think there are others. you know, once the ship is sinking, there are going to be a whole lot of people who are not going to want to be on the sinking ship. so this thing could be as much as ten votes short. i'm not saying that it couldn't pass. you know, this past two years has been the most remarkable in american politics in my lifetime, but i don't see how sensible, thoughtful people will pass a bill that takes away 23 million people's health insurance, especially the constituency of voters for donald trump. >> having said that, most democrats also agree there are things that need to be changed. >> right. >> there are ways to make obamacare better. do we ever get to the point that there is no repeal and replace or repeal and then wait and see
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if they can replace, which is the other option that's out there. let's say all of that fails. mitch mcconnell is not able to work his magic. does something get done to fix what's broken about it? >> probably not because the republicans are taking an ideological position, not a practical position. there are two things that have to be done. one is you've got to get rid of fee for service medicine. and two, you need a public option. i don't say that paubecause i'm liberal or democrat or whatever, you've got to have a choice for people in districts where there's only one or zero insurers left in the market and that choice needs to be medicare. >> are you in vermont right now, governor? there it is -- >> i am. >> your life is not terrible, i have to say that. the great state of vermont -- >> it is not, it is not. >> howard dean, thank you so much. always good to see you, my friend. >> thank you. and still to come, the stage is set. president trump to meet with vladimir putin. here's the question. will trump bring up the election hack? what white house insiders are saying about that.
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it might surprise you. and the growing number of states defying president trump's request for voter data. we now have some new information on that tonight. come on dad! higher! higher! parents aren't perfect, but then they make us kraft mac & cheese and everything's good again.
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mueller's probe could draw focus to russian organized crime and "the washington post" is looking at the 15 lawyers on mueller's team. one was a prosecutor on the watergate special prosecution force. others have experience in corruption investigations, national security fraud, yes, organized crime and counterterrorism. i want to bring in paul butler, a former federal prosecutor, now a professor at georgetown law and an msnbc analyst. so much to get to. let's start with the lawyers that mueller has hired because they have got that wide range of experience from organized crime to counterterrorism. what does this say to you about the breadth of this investigation? >> so, chris, i don't feel sorry for any of the subjects of this investigation because they have great lawyers and they have a lot more process than ordinary criminal suspects. at the same time, nobody wants to be in a situation where you have robert mueller, one of the best prosecutors in the country, and 15 ace prosecutors looking at everything you've ever done.
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when we look at this team, he's got people who are experienced in fraud, which should cause alarm for people like jared kushner and paul manafort, who have all these twisty connections with russians and business connections, and mueller is assembling top litigators. he's got a woman from the eastern district of new york who's done 15 terrorism cases. she hasn't lost one. what that means is he's preparing for every contingency, including going to trial, including bringing indictments. >> two separate people who have been involved were involved in the watergate prosecution, told me that famous phrase. they said follow the money, talking about this investigation. and the a.p. notes that mueller is investigating, i'm quoting here, russian efforts to meddle in democratic processes, the type of skullduggery that in the past has relied on hired hackers and outside criminals. as the team looks for any
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financial entanglements of trump associates and relationships with russian officials, its focus could land again on the inter intertwining of russia's criminal operatives and its intelligence services. what do you make of that? >> you know, chris, we used to think of hacking as something some geek was doing in his underwear in a basement. but it's evolved now. it's part of one of the tools in the arsenal of organized crime. and we think about organized crime these days, we have to think of russia. the fbi, the justice department has brought many cases against the russian mob. what's alarming now is these close connections between organized crime in russia and the russian government, especially its intelligence agencies. so now this isn't only a criminal investigation, it also has national security implications. >> you also noted robert mueller has this fantastic reputation, steering clear of politics, following the facts wherever they may take him.
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but at least seven members of his team have donated to democratic political candidates, including five of them donating money to hillary clinton. do you understand some of the questions that are being raised on the other side about objectivity? >> i get it, chris. when i was a public corruption prosecutor with the department of justice, i made a point of not making political campaign contributions just because i thought it wasn't a good look. at the same time, it's not illegal. many of these people who are on this prosecution team were in private practice. they weren't working for the government. even if they were, the hatch act specifically allows government employees to make political contributions. so at the end of the day, they're people, they have opinions. the question is whether they can put their political beliefs aside and just evaluate this case objectively. an i'm sure with this ace team of investigators, they're able to do that. >> paul butler, good to see you this afternoon. thank you so much. >> great to be here. and coming up, more details on that big trump/putin meeting.
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president trump arriving in warsaw, poland, about two hours ago ahead of the g20 meeting this week in germany. and the anticipation is building for trump's first face-to-face meeting with russian president vladimir putin. "the new york times" reporting that even the president's top aides do not know precisely what president trump will decide to say or do when he meets with putin. will he bring up the fact that putin himself was part of the election hacking, or will president trump praise putin yet again? >> do you want to be complimented by that former kgb officer? >> well, i think when he calls me brilliant, i'll take the compliment, okay. if he says great things about me, i'll say great things about him. then putin said donald trump is a genius, he's going to be the next great leader of the united states. no, no, think of it. so they wanted me to disavow what he said. how dare you call me a genius. how dare you call me a genius,
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vladimir. >> with me ashley parker, white house reporter for "the washington post" and erin mcpike, white house correspondent for independent journal review. good to see both of you. i want to quote former united states ambassador to russia, michael mcfaul who writes, quote, president trump's goal of the meeting should be to demonstrate to putin that he is a tough negotiator committed to pursuing american interests and one that is not willing to offer concessions simply to win putin's praise. so, ashley, what do you expect president trump to do in this meeting with vladimir putin? >> well, it's a very interesting question because trump's america first policies often seem for whatever reason to stop with russia or when it comes to president putin. and so i do think he has been briefed and there is an expectation that a lot of people and watchers would like to see the president be tough. everything from the body language is going to be
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incredibly closely watched to whatever readout comes out of the meeting to whatever they discuss. but the issue for president trump is multi fold. and one is that he responds to strength. that's something he appreciates in other leaders, which can sometimes make him a little more sympathetic to someone like president putin. another issue is that he often in these one-on-one situations, he's trying to win over the person in the room and so that can lead to him being sort of chummy and friendly and charming, and that's not necessarily the images they want to project with russia. >> and the optics of this are going to be highly scrutinized. but, erin, you also have a question here about what he -- how he is going to approach this and how he's going to act and what we're hearing. there was some question about would this just be a pull-aside, will it be a formal meeting. it looks like it's a formal meeting, he'll have aides in that room. i'm wondering what you're hearing from white house officials about how they're
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feeling about having somebody else in the room because i know that they're nervous about him going in there without a game plan. >> i think that's right and i think a formal meeting will help that so they do have those aides in the room. one of the things we don't know is what the agenda is actually going to be and what president trump's goals are going to be for that meeting, if he can extract anything from vladimir putin. whereas obviously vladimir putin has had plenty of experience with these kinds of meetings and so much more so than president trump. it's hard to tell. what we do know is that often, at least in the last few months, the russians have been far quicker to put out readouts of their meetings and get the narrative that they want out of each of these meetings with any american officials, and the white house has been a lot slower to do that sort of thing. so right now i think, you know, by everything we've seen so far, it would seem to me that the russians will get out more from this meeting than president trump will. >> could you see a scenario, ashley, where the russians put
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out immediately that was never even discussed about russian interference and they see that as a tacit support for what they have said that they had nothing to do with it? what do you expect us to actually learn about what happens inside that room? and from whom to aaron's point? >> i could absolutely see that scenario. that's in part because the president has shown himself on that issue you just raised. incredibly reluctant to bring it up even publicly, and even to admit what we know his own intelligence agencies have briefed him on. yes. one of the reasons he's so hesitant, he doesn't understand it's russia even though he said how do we know it is not another bad actor. how do we know it is not another 400-pound man in the basement. to him it undercuts the legitimacy. that he wasn't fairly elected or he didn't deserve to be elected. that's such an affront to him.
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and a key insecurity of his. if he does bring it up, it is expected to be very, very cursory. and he is not going to press russia on it the way a lot of people would like him to do. this meeting not getting the lion's share of the attention but i wonder what else you'll be watching for. i want to see what the interactions are with angela merkel. something a lot of people have been looking to for a leadership role in a way they used to look at with the president of the united states. >> what i would say, i was out of the country with a number of foreign reporters and everyone is focused on what angela merkel is going to be doing at this meeting. she's obviously spoken very tough about president trump in the last couple weeks. what she does, how she goes about this meeting and who she is meeting with and what her readout of the meeting is. that will be the most important thing. this is the angela merkel show for sure. >> right now we have some news
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in that battle raging over the controversial push for voter data. in two weeks, president trump's commission on election integrity will meet in washington. but there has been growing pushback on the panel asking states for voter information. things like your date of birth yurks political party, the last four digits of your social. 44 states and the district of columbia are either refusing the request outright or only providing limited data to the panel. often stuff already available in the public sphere. president trump asking the states on twitter, what are you trying to hide? we're going to follow this story. when we come back, governor christie, beach day. now an ethics complaint has been filed. does he have a political future? stay with us. award winning interface. award winning design. award winning engine.
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explain against governor christie saying he used his position unethically going to a state shutdown. by now you've seen the photo. it has become a punch line. here's the governor shopped in from here to eternity. and the cameo with the cast of mtv's the jersey shore. and then there's this one in the oval office, lounging on that chair. of course, his approval rating is at 15%. that was before this incident. it is the lowest of any governor in the nation but boy, he is not apologizing. >> i don't count going out on the beach after i've been working all morning to sit and talk with my wife and our guests for 40 minutes before i had to leave to come back to work as getting sun. that wasn't what i was out there to get. the way i took question was, were you out laying out, getting
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a tan today? that wasn't what i was doing and that's not what those pictures show. sitting there with a baseball hat, shorts and a t-shirt talking on my wife and our guests. i don't apologize for it. i don't back away from it. and i think my poll numbers show that i don't care about political optics. what i care about is doing what's right. what was right for our family was to be together and for me to be with them and to do what we were doing. >> clearly he does not care about political optics. amid all this, another official making a move that has drawn a lot of criticism. the u.n. ambassador nikki haley tweeted, spending my fourth in meetings all day. hash thanks north korea. tell me if i'm wrong here. i'll start with you, erin. the citizens of new jersey pay chris christie to deal with a government shutdown. not to be on the beach.
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nikki haley is paid presumably at least in part to deal with the potential of a nuclear disaster. what do you make of this? >> chris, i would not put nikki haley and chris christie in the same position at all. it was uncharacteristic of how she has conducted herself since she was put in this position. >> do you think it was a joke? >> i don't even want to assess what she was trying to do. i think she probably misstepped frankly. with chris christie, he did what he did deliberately. this is classic chris christie. i think a lot of the coverage of this has been overblown. he did this, he's done a lot of things like this throughout his tenure as new jersey governor. he is coming up on the end of his term. this is his last hoorah. he will probably still be a public figure and i'm sure donald trump will appreciate
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what he's done here. >> ashley parker, what do you make of this? particularly in the place we are now. it seems like everything we thought we know about how politics can and should be conducted has gone out the window. >> i think erin is right. in governor christie has done a lot of this stuff before and early on in different moments and when his approval ratings were higher. people loved in him what they see in president trump. that authentic hard fighting, tough talking, i don't care what anyone thinks atmosphere. i think where he misjudged, the voters and the people like it when he is taking it to the democrats or the swamp of washington or the establishment. not when he's taking it to new jersey residents. and i think that was a big part of the problem. >> and i will agree with erin that this was uncharacteristic for nikki haley. she has earned some praise for
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the way she's conducted herself. not so much for chris christie. thank you both for being with us. thank you all for watching. the "hardball" starts right now. >> high noon in happenburg. let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm chris matthews in washington. donald trump is facing some of the biggest tests of his presidency this week north korea tests firing a missile that could reach alaska. and a meeting with vladimir putin set for friday. this afternoon, air force one touched down in warsaw. on friday, the president heads to the will g-20 summit in happenburg, germany, and it is there that he will face the the most important meeting so far, face to face with putin. originally it was only going to be a brief


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