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tv   Andrea Mitchell Reports  MSNBC  July 14, 2017 9:00am-10:00am PDT

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thousand law enforcement agents in at least 30 states to carry it out. >> unbelievable. the number of people who are killed by the opioid epidemic is remarkable. that's an average across america. there are some states that are dealing with this in a very serious matter. >> do people realize the root of the crisis could be in the hands of hospitals, doctors and pharmacists? >> we're out of time, thanks for watching this hour of "msnbc live." >> be sure to join us this saturday 12:30 p.m. eastern time. we're going to turn you over to our friend, andrea mitchell, for andrea mitchell reports. right now on andrea mitchell reports, hidden figures. as the president wraps up his paris tour. nbc news breaks a new development on the russian front. donald trump jr. left out a key fact about the meeting. another russian with past ties to soviet intelligence was also in the room. >> basic rules in washington, it's not the crime, it's the cover up. and secondly, when you make a
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disclosure, make it complete. what we have here is a slow bleed. tipping point? opponents of the republican healthcare bill need to peel off one more republican vote. and the bill goes down. can mitch mcconnell hold his line? >> do you think the new version is better than the old version? >> i think it's worse. >> it does not make sense to do a major rewrite of a vital entitlement program without having any hearings or consideration of the implications. so that's something that is a major reason that i find myself unable to support the bill. and odd couple, two former presidents and their unlikely friendship. >> the best thing can happen to you in politics, is to be consistently underestimated. >> i was pretty good at that.
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and good day, i'm andrea mitchell in washington. we have a lot of breaking news today. what donald trump jr. left out of his account of that controversial june 2016 meeting with a russian lawyer at the height of the campaign. nbc news has learned the lawyer in that meeting was accompanied by a russian born american lobbyists, a former soviet counterintelligence officer suspected by some u.s. officials of having ongoing ties to russian intelligence. the man seen here that same week at a house hearing on russian sanctions, denies any ties to russian spy agencies. president trump now flying back from france as all this is unfolding less than 24 hours after defending his elder son on the world stage at that joint news conference with france's president macron. joining me now hallie jackson in paris. nbc intelligence and national reporter ken delaney. hallie, the president denying
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there was any problem here, saying everyone does it. putting the best possible face on it at the joint news conference. still having this russian controversy, if not scandal overshadowing a big day in paris. >> reporter: and memorable bastille day here in paris as well. the news conference that you reference in which president trump essentially said the meeting was politics as usual, happened 18 hours before this morning's latest development and our exclusive reporting here at nbc news. the president said this is opposition research. what has raised red flags with people on capitol hill is the fact that this meeting with the russian lawyer, and now we have learned that there was another person in that meeting, in addition to that one other person, too. i want to get my thoughts together here. you described this person as a russian born american lobbyists. he actually spoke with the associated press. he confirmed to the ap he was
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involved in this meeting. obviously we wanted to get in touch with donald trump jr.'s lawyer as well to see what he had to say. he says it was not just the russian lawyer, but two additional people who accompanied her to this meeting in june of 2016 to trump tower. somebody he describes as a translator and somebody else that he describes as a friend of aman's. he spoke with the friend, the person he described as a friend who said he was a u.s. citizen, had no ties with the russian government. it's not clear if that person is the same person now that we are talking about, this person that u.s. officials suspect may have current ties to russian intelligence that we are now identifying. listen, this is muddy. this is a little bit of a muddy tale here. but what is clear is that here's what we learned this morning. not only was there one other person, we're now learning there
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were two other people that we had not previously known about. that's the bottom line here. there's questions remaining about why this was not disclosed earlier publicly by, for example, donald trump jr. when he went on television to essentially defend himself for what he says being transparent. pointing to the e-mails he posted online. showing the exchange in how this meeting was arranged. the e-mails coming as "the new york times" was indicating it was going to be breaking the story quoting those notes. >> ken delaney, you broke the story today. tell us about this man, a lobbyist, former counterintelligence official. denying any connections to spy agencies. what do we know about him? we have a picture now. he was at the same hearing the russian lawyer was at on capitol hill. >> he's a classic washington type. he's been described as a gun for hire. he's russian born. he did serve in the soviet military. i wouldn't want to overstate it.
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part of his job included counterintelligence. and then he moved to the united states, became a u.s. citizen. became a lobbyist. he has represented causes near and dear to the heart of vladmir putin government, including trying to challenge the sanctions and the story behind that. he's also represented folks on the other side of putin. and so his presence at this meeting is not necessarily a scandal. but what's interesting about it is why it wasn't disclosed. as hallie said when donald trump jr. went on television and said he was giving all the information he had about this meeting. then, secondly, hallie said it was muddy. what isn't muddy is the language in those e-mails from rod goldstone where he was representing the family was offering derogatory information about hillary clinton through this lawyer. they tell an entirely different story. they say they didn't transmit derogatory information. that's the big question, that's
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muddy. the e-mails aren't muddy. there's no doubt they're taking a hard look at all the circumstances surrounding the meeting. >> the fact is this lobbyist, who has these other ties was very involved in the russian sanction issues, i mean, no matter what else he's done. this was a very big issue for vladmir putin. and still is, you've got controversy on the hill where the senate, by an overwhelming majority, 97 or 98 to 2 passed new russian sanctions and the white house is pushing back in the house. and that is a current issue right now on capitol hill. so can -- >> it absolutely is -- sorry go ahead. >> go ahead. with the muddy connections here one wonders why if don jr. was going to go on hannity, obviously a friendly forum and claim transparency why he would leave out such important key factors as who else was in the room? >> it's a mystery. giving him the benefit of the
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down, maybe he didn't know who this guy was. you're absolutely right. he's in the middle of a deep controversy in washington. senator grassley has directed accused the russian of failing to report and disclose as a foreign lobbyist. i mentioned i believe he's heatedly denied that. that's an active controversy playing out. there's actually a hearing about it next week. also by private figures to be fair. and who say they have legitimate questions about the story behind the magnitsky sanctions. it's something this lobbyist has been working on in washington. >> great reporting, ken delaney and hallie jackson in paris. chuck todd, of course is nbc news political director. moderator of "meet the press," host of msnbc's mtv daily.
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the plot thickens. it does seem as though first of all the president said he had been told about it, only days ago now we learn that jared kushner, at least according to his own attorneys or colleagues close to him, colleagues of jared's, say the president was briefed back in june when he filed the updated report. we don't know how he briefed the president. not only his boss but also his father-in-law. the white house has people going out on camera and saying this is all democratic disinformation and it was a set up meeting and the democrats were trying to set up people as sophisticated as paul manafort, jared and less sophisticated, perhaps, don jr. >> i think our job is to be clarity. there's a lot of sort of muddiness here. i think there's some who believe part of the best strategy of defense for the white house is
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to muddy things up. you don't necessarily have to fully come clean if you can sort of make it seem as if it's just too complicated to fully follow everybody does it. this is sort of behind the scenes. i think there's some hope in some parts of trump's orbit that the more confusing this all looks and the more that it actually -- all of that sort of becomes in itself its own distraction from this. but let's not take our eye off the basic ball here. this investigation for months, the question has been, was there any collusion, has there ever been any evidence. there was a growing sort of chorus of what i would call trump skeptics on the right who were starting to buy the trump line saying there's no there, there. then we get this set of e-mails. which did two things. it established the idea that they were open to collusion. number two, because they've had
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to change their story three or four times as you just explained, they're also willing to mislead about it. that's all mueller needs. he now -- that's enough to start connecting dots, right? everything else has been a series of events. are they connected? are they not? suddenly if you look at this timeline and it begins with this set of e-mails with donald trump jr. on june 2nd and you follow the timeline from june 2nd to the start of the democratic convention, all of a sudden, everything looks like it fell into place, beginning with june 2nd. again, that's a hypothesis. investigators, you know, they'll put together a timeline and see if there's something here. there's now a potential starting point for mueller. >> when we see that just after the e-mails setting up the meeting only hours later, the president was saying i'm going to have a big speech on monday and i'm going to have new
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information damaging information on hillary clinton. that's the timeline that you're talking about. it all seems to fit into a sequence here. that supports a theory and it has to be proved and we have to wait for proof. they're not doing themselves any good. and with the president throwing out i read loretta lynch approved this woman's visa. which is completely false. >> it's irrelevant. >> it's irrelevant. >> to the point, you had a foreign adversary expressly -- you know, supposedly an intermediary expressing interest. again, those -- that's what you do when you need to create a distraction. you know, try to, hey, look over there. you know. look at that aspect of it. look, there is a growing conspiracy theory on the right that somehow this is all an entire -- it was some secret democratic set up of the trump world. look, that's how you keep your base of support holding with
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you. but the fact of the matter is, i think with the people that count in the republican party here in washington, in leadership, this says -- there was a growing number of republicans that were starting to get on the hay. there's no there, there, let's see the investigation through but focus on other issues. the donald trump jr. e-mails reset things with a lot of republicans in this town. and they're back on the skeptic bandwagon again. >> chuck grassley sending out the note to this other russian who was at that meeting, chuck grassley has not been a republican partisan in any of this. what about jared kushner. is he going to have to update his disclosure forms again? if you listen to people who have gone through this process, these are such detailed forms, you have to go over and over again. sign off on every page. you get interviewed by an fbi
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agent doing these vets. you have to go over it page by page. it's hard to say oh, i missed that. >> well, we don't know -- look, here's what we do know. the whole -- the fact the meeting surfaced because of jared kushner's legal team getting him to comb through everything and refile these -- and amend his forms. so he's done that. what we don't know -- we shouldn't assume he didn't have all the names on there. for what it's worth. we don't know that he didn't. we know that donald trump jr. didn't disclose those names. we don't know that kushner didn't file those names correctly. we still don't know the sequence of events of how this ended up in the hands of the "new york times." that's a whole separate issue on that front. remember, ultimately the president of the united states can decide who gets a security clearance. and as messy and as complicated as all this is, this is the
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president's son-in-law and this gets to the bigger picture. a lot of folks warned this white house when you mix family and politics, you're going to put yourself in a situation where you feel pressure do you protect the family, do you protect the presidency, do you protect the administration. we're seeing all of that -- all of the reasons why so many ethics lawyers recommend against bringing family into the west wing. we're seeing with why those recommendations are made and why they should be heeded. now you've got a white house that is a little bit in a circular firing squad. you got a kushner that wants more help from the official white house team. and you've got the white house team saying we're here to protect the office of the presidency and agenda. we don't want to get into that. we weren't there in june. >> chuck, i don't even know where to start with what you're going to do on mtp daily and "meet the press" on sunday. there's this little matter of a healthcare vote. boy the president could use a
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victory right now, couldn't he? >> interesting there. i got john cornen, the man in charge of trying to count those votes in the senate. on "meet the press" on sunday. can they even get the bill on the floor? the real game here is whether they even get to start debating this new bill. it looks like momentum is against that. >> chuck todd, thank you so much. good to see you we'll be watching at 5:00 and again on sunday. coming up, the russia connection, more on that. key figure, an exsoviet counterintelligence officer according to nbc news. we know he attended that key meeting with donald trump jr. during the 2016 campaign. you're watching andrea mitchell reports on msnbc. 6- no, please, please, oh! ♪ (shrieks in terror) (heavy breathing and snorting) no, no.
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so if this additional party was there and had a background with russian intelligence, may have had a background in hacking information as alleged in court pleadings, this is yet another disturbing turn of events. more parties, russian parties, not disclosed. not disclosed potentially on security background documents by jared kushner. that's also alleged. but more importantly, this provides yet another conduit back to the kremlin. >> another conduit back to the kremlin, that's the top democrat
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on the house intelligence commute, adam schiff, reacting to the reporting in that another key person attended that meeting with don jr., not just a translator but someone who had past connections to soviet era intelligence. a meeting attended by paul manafort and jared kushner during the campaign. joining me now is rick stangle and msnbc political analyst. lisa samp, who was the director for nato and european strategic affairs, now a senior fellow at the center for strategic and international studies and matt miller, an nbc analyst. what alarm bells go off that we don't know everyone who was at that meeting five days after it first broke? >> it gets curiouser and curiouser as alice in wonderland
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says. it violates the first rule of scandal pr to get it all out immediately. to have it keep trickling is awful. it sends all kinds of alarm bells to have this fellow in there. i would also caution everybody to not label him a counterintelligence espionage agent. if i had a ruble for every russian who lied to me about their background, i'd have a lot of rubles, which wouldn't be a lot of money, of course. i just think we need to be cautious about that. what it does show in his background of promoting putin-esque initiatives, he's doing putin's business. one of the things i've seen references to is that the russian intelligence services often do kind of fishing expedition. they put something out there to see if people will react. they don't necessarily have information, but that e-mail struck me a little bit like a russian intelligence fishing expedition. they caught the fish. >> and, by the way, the other
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piece of this is that nobody is listening to their lawyers. matt miller, as someone who knows how lawyers are advising counsel, we know are being told bloomberg has a report that a very well known washington lawyer ty cobb is going to be representing the president in addition and exert discipline on tweet storms and the like. the other thing is, whether or not don jr. was disclosing everything to his lawyer when he did disclose and posted those -- that e-mail chain, saying he was being completely transparent and clearly was not. >> yeah, i think hiring ty cobb is a good development for the president. he's added a senior white collar criminal attorney with him. i've worked with him before. he's the type of person who has represented people in high profile political cases in washington and will know how to manage this case. will know what kind of advice to give the president. whether he takes it or not is an entirely different question.
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with respect to don jr., bob mueller has someone he can subpoena. before now we knew there were three people in the meeting, all who were members of his family and a russian citizen. we have someone who can offer an independent account and may differ from what the trump family and trump staff might say. >> how do you disaggregate? you were testifying this week to congress, how do you figure out what a former kremlin official or spy agency -- how do you ever leave that circle? >> it's going to be very difficult. i think we have to wait for the special prosecutor's report. there's clearly a lot of information coming out every day. what we do know is that this behavior fits a clear pattern with the trump family and associates of the trump brand. good -- engaging with russian
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officials not disclosing or forgetting to disclose. with each reveal it's starting to get worse and worse for them. we need to wait for the special prosecutor's report to know definitively what is going on. in the meantime, there exists a vacuum of leadership when it comes to our russia policy. you mentioned the russia sanctions act that was recently passed through the senate. it's now over in the house. so far the house is dragging its heels. but i'm hopeful that it can get some momentum and they will do what they need to do to step into the void left by the president and his team on this. >> and, rick, on that russia sanctions bill, it was overwhelmingly passed by the senate. there is a lot of support in republican circles. the house is dragging its feet because of pressure from the white house. is this an executive privilege issue where they want to preserve the president's ability on waivers so they don't wad to
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cede that much power to congress? that's something that's been argued over decades. >> yes, i think that's probably part of it. i do think what we see in the house and the senate is that there's the preponderance of people feel like russia is our adversary. the sanctions, if anything, are too light, not hard enough. and i think that they want to figure out how to preserve them. i mean, the idea that trump wants to be able to have wiggle room on this is fine. but i think that the house and senate have to act. by the way, they're pretty much in consensus on it. >> i wanted to also share, michael carpenter was on the rachel maddow show last night. he is a former pentagon official, his take on the reporting the other day, that there may have been a connection between the data mining operation of the trump campaign and the very specific microtargeting by the russians,
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the people behind weekikileaks guccifer and the like. this was michael carpenter last night. >> it was probably some degree of tailored messaging, in fact, down to the very precinct level. targeting swing voters in certain midwestern states. in order to do that the russian intelligence services don't possess the internal capacity to be able to do that on their own in a very sophisticated way. but, b, it's their m.o. and i've seen this in a number of other countries to reach out and try to use political operatives in the united states in this case, to help with both the message, both the content, but also where to target it. >> now, he's not specifically saying the trump campaign was alluding to that. he's saying some political operatives, roger stone's name
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has come up because we know he was in touch with julian assange at various points last summer. this is at least a suspicion. a lot of people are pushing back and saying oh, the russians are so sophisticated they would understand how to do this. this is the kind of detailed voter targeting that even sophisticated republican and democratic campaigns have not done until this year >> exactly. this is a well-known part of the russian tool kit that we as the united states government have not done enough to push back against. we have quite a lot of cybertools at our disposal we haven't been leveraging, or not in quantities great enough to give us -- >> are we afraid of retailiation? >> it's something we have to think about but not paralyze us against taking action. right now, russia is respecting power and resolve and we are giving them neither. i would point out that "the new york times" released a piece last night that gave us a little more insight and detail into the
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president's bilat with president putin that aoccurroccurred at t. he told us what we already know, the president did not put the screws to putin. and so we're going to have to do a lot more to stand up in defense of our democracy. >> matt miller, you've referenced the ty cobb report, we're joined now by kristen welker from paris with the confirmation from the white house that ty cobb is joining the trump defense team. what role does your reporting indicate he'll be taking? he's, obviously, a senior member and a senior member with decades of washington experience. >> reporter: that's right. he's a veteran d.c. lawyer, andrea. i am told, according to a senior administration official he will be overseaing the responeing th
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terms of legally and sort of the public relations reaction. if you think back to some of these recent briefings we have had with sarah huckabee sanders, with sean spicer, they have really started to refer all questions related to russia to the president's outside counsel. and i think there is a sense that there needs to be more discipline when it comes to the messaging coming out of the white house, because what you're seeing are a lot of leaks in the wake of sort of the official public line. so they want to try to shut that part of it down. they want there to be a clean narrative coming out of the white house. speaks to the fact that this is a controversy that is deepening for this president. and it also comes in the wake of reporting that we have that points to sources, the president's lawyers, jared kushner's lawyers having discussions around this same exact topic. making sure that there is a fair amount of discipline when it comes to the legal and pr messaging related to this very difficult topic for this administration. >> kristen welker, thanks so
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much for your latest reporting from paris. and the fact is that we did have reporting a couple weeks ago that a lot of d.c. lawyers had been interviewed, had been talked to by the white house and did not want to take this case, this is obviously not an easy client or an easy situation when you've got the family involved. thanks to kristin, to hallie jackson, rick stangle and lisa matt here at the table. coming up next, senate republicans, one vote away from failing to repeal obamacare. the latest on that new senate bill from capitol hill right here. we'll be right back. noo introducing the easiest way to get gillette blades text "blades" to gillette on demand
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as we be been reporting, senate republicans have lost two key republican votes for their revised healthcare bill. rand paul and susan collins, both saying they will not vote for the bill in its current form. at least six other republican senators are still undecided. mitch mcconnell has one more vote to spare to save the bill from going down. he's got to get it on the floor. capitol hill correspondent kasie hunt joins us live. one of the arguments i've been reading about is at least let it get to the floor to get to amendments. what do you see as the vibe up there today? >> reporter: i think you've actually hit right on it. and that is that the rest -- the center is holding for mitch
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mcconnell right now. and that, of course, right now means everything single one of his 50 remaining senators are still at least keeping their powder dry. they have not come out to oppose this bill. you remember the day after this happened last night, dean heller went home to nevada and held a press conference with his governor where he essentially sank the bill's chances from the moderate side after conservatives had come out and said they were going to oppose it in a bloc. everyone so far is saying we're looking at it, thinking about it, mitch mcconnell huddled with moderate senators in his office right before everybody left town yesterday, trying to get them on board. we now know there is a formul e in there that is probably going to benefit alaska. on the flip side, we confirmed the president was on the phone with senators from paris, a reporting suggests it's likely conservative senators he's calling to try to make sure that their support is there.
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mike lee is somebody who is still officially up in the air, even though that amendment that he worked on with ted cruz is included. there is a sense that if they can get it on the floor and wrestle with amendments, and so far there are no roadblocks to starting off the vote. one person could change that. maybe when we see a cbo score that will make a difference. things are holding in place for mitch mcconnell. >> kasie hunt, on the watch. and i'm joined now by former maryland congresswoman, very good to see you. let's talk about what's happened to you since you left congress. >> i was actually diagnosed in june last year. and so i served out the remainder of my term until
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january. i was diagnosed with ms, the systems kind of came on me out of the blue. and it took a while to diagnose the ms. and i've been in treatment since then. and i'm very stable. but it was a shock. i have to tell you dealing with the healthcare system was an eye opener for me. it was a relatively healthy person, very athletic, and, you know, adventurous and dealing with the multiple bills, the mri scans, the prescription drugs. the prescription that i'm taking cost cost $73,000 a year. >> $73,000 a year? >> yes. >> have you been employed since you left congress? >> i'm doing a fellowship with the brennan center, but i'm not employed so i don't have an employer based plan. i have cobra from my service in the house. and i pay that $800 a month for that. and it expires in june 2018.
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and my plan had been to try to transition then to the affordable care act. because they don't discriminate for preexisting conditions. there are no lifetime caps. but with these bills that are under consideration, first the house and now the senate, would be a disaster for me and millions of people across the country who have significant preexisting conditions. >> and ms, there is a lot of experimental work being done. when you talk about $73,000 a year just for this medication, you don't know what comes next and what other medication you're going to need. you don't know what kind of assistance you're going to need down the road. >> i think that's true. the medication i'm taking now works. it's been on the market actually for quite a long time. and the irony is that the same manufacturer and medication actually costs about $7,000 a year in europe. and so i think part of dealing with the affordable care act, if
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republicans really want to fix this thing, then let's deal with the prescription drug problem. let's figure out how it is we can lower the cost of prescription drugs, expand care. get more young people into the system so that those of us who are sick that is spreads the cost around and makes all the system a lot more affordable. >> in fact, that's one of the chr criticisms, that it would lead to a cascading problem of taking healthier young people out of the risk pool and would make it more expensive for everyone. >> well, and up until a year ago, i was one of those healthy people who was in the healthy pool. and now i'm not. so something like this can happen to anyone. when you create a pool that's only sick people, the costs are going to skyrocket. i think it's why i never thought i'd say i agree with him. but the insurance industry agrees, that it will be an unsustainable model that cannot
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survive if all sick people are in one pool, and healthy people are in another. and you have this sort of, you know, segregated system of healthcare in the country. >> and you have a good fortune to be living in baltimore in an urban area near some of the greatest medical facilities in the world in terms of research. but the question is, affordability. have you heard from your former colleagues? i was very struck all of us were struck by -- i know you were struck by this vrevelation because you had not disclosed it. >> i was really trying to deal with it. frankly, i wanted to keep it private. i talked to my close friends and family, a couple of my close friends in the congress. but i looked at the way that this debate was going and i thought it was really imperative for me to try to give a voice to millions of people who are in the same circumstance. maybe it's ms for some people, others it's parkinson's or
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sdie diabetes or kidney disease. i know members of congress, republicans and democrats who know me, they know how outgoing i am and how athletic i am. and they should know that if it can happen to me, at least i want tod wanted to try to humanize it so we can deal with whatever the issues are with obamacare, the affordable care act. i mean, when we passed we knew it wasn't perfect. the question is what are we going to do to help the american people. and i did a road trip across the country in january. 12,000 miles i put on the rv. >> got some of the pictures there. >> and had a great time, but i also talked to a lot of people all across the country who were in small communities and rural areas and places where there are not drugstores or healthcare facilities. and so i feel really fortunate to be here. there are millions of people living all across the country
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who are struggling right now. and this bill that's in front of the united states' senate is going to be a disaster for so many of us. >> donna edwards, it's great to see you. and thank you so much for being so personal and so compelling about what's happened to you and what happens to a lot of young people. ms is a disease that hits young people. thank you, again. >> thank you. >> good luck with all of your treatment. and coming up, on the front lines in the fight against isis, nbc's richard engel is joining me next with an unprecedented look at the battle to free mosul. this is andrea mitchell reports, only on msnbc.
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whatever kind of weekender you are, there's a hilton for you. book your weekend break direct at hilton.com and join the weekenders. street fighting, we're on this rooftop here. they say the village may be 50 yards ahead maximum. so they're putting down some suppressive fire so that the ground forces can advance further on them. >> nbc's chief foreign correspondent richard engel on a rooftop in mosul, a preview of what we'll see in his special on assignment tonight. richard joins me now from irbil,
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iraq after getting unprecedented access to the front lines in mosul. tell us about the report tonight and what you experienced as you saw them retake this ancient city, but what is left of the city and the people? >> reporter: so what's interesting i think about this report is that we weren't just on the ground in the old city on the front lines with iraqi troops. we've been putting out some of those reports. you've seen the combat as we've gone through street to street and been following the iraqi soldiers. they've been engaged in really difficult house to house fighting. we also were filming the american advisors. and we were in the american control rooms, we were watching them coordinate and deconflict air strikes. we got this dual perspective. on the ground, advancing with iraqi forces, and then back in the command centers with the americans. and that's the way that this battle is supposed to work. this is the new strategy for iraq. and if you've talked to the americans, you talk to the iraqi
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government they're very happy wi with it. they think it's working. on a certain level it did work because isis was driven out. thank you very much for staying up and joining us. did the strategy work beyond driving out isis from mosul? what's left of iraq? can this country hold together. will there be iraq in the next few months, years to come? so we'll talk about mosul, and we'll talk about what's next for this country. >> yeah, i wanted to ask you about the kurds, they're threatening a referendum the u.s. opposed, which would be breaking up iraq into different ethnic sections. >> reporter: so when you talk to american commanders, they will say that iraq has never been more unified and you talk to the government affected. they say the isis experience was so horrible, that iraqis have no
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choice but to pull together now and make sure what just happened three years of isis' occupation never happens again. but mosul has collapsed three times. the americans have had to come in and help in and help rebuild it three times. so is that going to happen again? and while this is happening, while this pressure has been put on mosul, the kurds, who control the area where i am right now, are taking this opportunity to break away. they're going to be having a referendum in a few months, and we talked to one of the key kurdish officials involved in that referendum. and they plan very much to vote for independence and to leave iraq, which would mean the end of iraq as we know it. >> which is just one of the major problems and one possible scenario. and as richard, you know, i've talked to david petraeus and others involved in the strategy over the years. this is just a bit of that interview, which we'll be playing tonight as part of our contribution.
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>> mosul has been taken. it's on to raqqah. can mosul hold? >> well, this is a great question, because what matters most now is the battle after the battle. and a number of us have been saying this for some time. we really had no doubt, even two years ago in the darkest days when isis was seeming to knock on the doors of baghdad, that with our help, with reconstitution of those forces, with all that was still there in terms of the institutions' headquarters, equipment and so forth, that we could enable them and advise them and help them to rid iraq of the islamic state. at least in terms of the -- what is essentially an army. certainly there will be residual insurgents, guerilla governments. it was politics, political forces. the battle for power and influence in iraq at large and
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for various provinces. >> and richard engel is going to have a whole lot more. 10:00 tonight. don't miss assignment with richard engel tonight here on msnbc at 10:00. thank you very much for joining us today. we'll be right back. so that's the idea. what do you think? hate to play devil's advocate but... i kind of feel like it's a game changer. i wouldn't go that far. are you there? he's probably on mute. yeah... gary won't like it. why? because he's gary. (phone ringing) what? keep going! yeah... (laughs) (voice on phone) it's not millennial enough.
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and joining me now for our friday inside scoop, "washington post" white house reporter, ash -- and contributor, ashley parker. and "new york times" political
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reporter and msnbc contributor as well, jeremy peters. ashley parker, you wrote earlier this week about the hurricane hitting the white house. and now there is more of a hurricane. they're ramping up the legal team with the admission of ty cob as another expert, experienced washington lawyer. how do you deal with the fact that don junior didn't tell anybody there was this russian operative, former -- former counter intelligence official, also at that meeting? >> well, i think that's incredibly problematic. and that's one thing the white house has been grappling with, is that they don't seem to have the full scope of information, and they're sort of handling it in this drip, drip, drip. oftentimes, as it's presented to them by the news media, which is how you don't want to handle sort of crisis communications. and another problem is that this white house already had a lot of factions even in terms of just pr people. there's the press shop and people who sort of handle pr for the president and jared kushner
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and ivanka. and with don junior, he's now another person who has hired his own lawyer, which has his own competing interests of representing don junior as his client, and he's talking about hiring an outside pr team. a lot of people at times working crossways against each other. >> not only family relationships. it would be complicated in any white house, jeremy, and then mark cassowits in an e-mail two nights ago. >> with every disclosure, it looks more amateurish than it did 15 minutes ago. this is the problem with allowing this meeting to take place in the first place. is no competent professional campaign would have allowed a foreign national to come into their office to disclose this type of information. i think that the larger problem, though, beyond competence is credibility, andrea. when the white house touts its
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transparency in this matter, it's beyond disingenuous. the only reason we know about this meeting is because my colleagues at the "new york times" disclosed it. the only reason we have the e-mails is because the "new york times" was about ready to disclose them before donald junior tweeted them. >> and the only reason we know about this counter intelligence official was because of ken delaney of nbc. just for something refreshing, a palate cleanser, take a look at some former presidents. this is w. and bill clinton on the presidency in dallas yesterday. >> i think it's really important to know what you don't know and listen to people who do know what you don't know. >> if you want to be president, realize, it's about the people, not about you. and when it's over, and that's what a lot of these people who are really arrogant in office, they forget. time passes. and it passes more quickly than you know. >> and if we want to talk about
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former presidents, there is no one -- no one to match, 92-year-old jimmy carter now thankfully out of the hospital in winnipeg. he's seen today at a habitat for humanity event. you can see he looks great. he had dehydration yesterday, hospitalized overnight. and this was in -- very hot weather. he was out there in his hard hat yesterday building homes. and ended up in the hospital. i mean, ashley, i think you're too young to have covered jimmy carter, but for those of us who have and continue to talk to him, he's really an exemplar of a former president. ashley? >> yeah. i don't know if you want to comment. >> one thing i would say is, that advice from the first two presidents you mentioned, this is not a white house that takes a ton of advice. but in listening to what they were saying, i think it might behoove the president to listen
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to this rare class of former presidents. >> and that does it for us today. for this week. please join richard engel tonight for on assignment. i have a bit role. great to be part of that. craig melvin is up next right here on msnbc. >> andrea mitchell never has a bit role in anything. >> oh, yes, i do. >> good to see you, my friend. have a good weekend. good friday afternoon to you. craig melvin at msnbc headquarters in new york. something to hide? just days after donald trump jr. said he revealed everything about that meeting with the kremlin, nbc news has learned exclusively two more people were there. why was a russian-born american lobbyist and reported former soviet counter intelligence officer also in the room? and why did trump junior leave that detail out of his account of the meeting? also this afternoon, bill in jeopardy again. just one day after being introduced, things are not looking good for the gop's latest proposal to replace obamacare. what's it going to take to

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