tv MSNBC Live MSNBC July 15, 2017 6:00am-7:00am PDT
good morning. it's day 177 of the trump administration. new revelations on don jr.'s meeting with a russian lawyer. >> let me tell what you i'm sure of. the president was not aware of the meeting, did not know who the participants were, did not attend the meeting. >> a new denial by the trump camp as to how much the president knew of the meeting and when. >> and was the meeting a classic move from the old soviet union? reaction from the white house as well on the story that keeps unfolding slowly. is there a political price to
pay? plus time is running out for the gop health care bill. all it would take is one more gop defection to send it to defeat. what's the latest count? all that here on msnbc live. >> another apparent setback as two major insurers are asking majority leader mcconnell to remove cruz's proposal. despite the hurdle, the trump situation is ramping up to pass the bill. here's president trump in his weekly address this morning. >> i am pleased to report that we are very, very close to ending this health care nightmare. we are so close.
it's a common sense approach that restores the sacred doctor-patient relationship and you're going to finally have great health care at a lower price. >> mike price met with representative sandoval. president trump's personal legal team is pushing back against heightened scrutiny surrounding donald trump jr.'s meeting with a russian lawyer. >> he had not even mentioned this meeting to his father. why would he? nothing transpired at this meeting. this was a set up to do what? to really get in.
>> let's talk about the white house response to these latest allegations. what are they? >> jay sekulow has been the face of the defense of the president and to some extent the president's son. the president will be a spectator at a golf tournament. all the different pieces of the trump pie are trying to deal with these allegations of russian connections that have suddenly gotten very close to the trump family. what began as a discussion about russian adoption according to donald trump jr. evolved into
seeking dirt on hillary clinton. back in new jersey where president trump's bedminister resort is hosting the women's u.s. open golf tournament this weekend. it's a big event for the trump family business while the trump white house is in the cough over the russia investigation. political pressure turned up. >> this has had nor disturbing turn of events. >> it's been one week since the revelation that donald trump jr. met with a russian lawyer during the campaign. he tried to contain it himself. >> this is everything, this is everything. >> reporter: but that wasn't everything. it brought donald trump jr., jared kushner and paul manafort face to face with rina
rinat akhmetshin. he may still have russian intelligence ties. he denies that. also there, attorney natalia veselnitskaya. they're looking for any documentation of who entered that day. >> i had no contact with russians and i never heard of anyone in the trump cam pan talking with russians. >> with growing demands for information, the trump white house is expanding its inner leader team with lawyer ty cobb. of course with so much of this centered around the president's namesake, donald trump jr., he was the person who organized the meeting but democrats have also really focused on the one person who was a part of that 2016
meeting who is serving in government today, and that is the president's son-in-law, who is a senior adviser to the president. he was in the meeting and did not at first disclose that on his security forms for clearance. some are saying even though he's provided updates to that, there are democrats that say he should lose his security clearance because he wasn't forthcoming right from the beginning. there's a lot of lawyers trying to figure out how best to navigate a complicated situation that is politically very treacherous all over it. >> all right -- let's bring in debbie dingell. right out of the gate, we have been special counsel, we have
that under way. why an independent commission? >> an independent commission is going to get to the bottom of this. i think we all have faith and confidence that robert mueller will get the information but i -- i haven't called for impeachment because i do need to know the facts before i do something like that. but nobody should be colluding with another country that wants to do us harm and interfere in our election. so that deeply bothers me and we need to know how did russia try to involve itself in our investigation and our election and what are they continuing to try to do to become part of this democracy. >> i want to get your sense, ma'am, on how do you think the
american public. >> i think we're spending way too much time as democrats worrying about russia and we should stay on the policy issues. maybe the russia thing is trying to distract voters so they're not going to be so agitated and pressure the senators trying to make up their behind about this new health care plan. >> do you think the governor has a point? do you think it becomes a tipping point where it becomes a greater concern? >> first of all, i want to be clear that i think national security matters and we must continue this investigation. but i have been one of the vocal people in our caucus that in my home state people are worried about jobs, the economy and health care. we can walk and chew gum at the same time. our national security always has to be something a we are together on. it never should be partisan in
investiga investigate and making sure we're not -- taking health care away. the governor is right. >> i want to play what the president's lawyer said in an interview last night. >> i'll tell what you i'm sure of, the president was not aware of the meeting, did not know who the participants were, did not attend that meeting and just recently became aware of the meeting and his son said that. >> at the end of the day,s in. that's what this is all about. >> you know whatty he hasn't showed one ounce about being concerned about russia trying to be involved in the outcome of our election. he keeps denying it, he doesn't show any concern about this. it would be good if he would
just say we need to find out what the facts are and russia shouldn't be involved in our elections period and we need to make sure we have heard say how much they've spoken out against this. do you suspect more republicans are going to start speaking out more forcefully after the i think this is a very drip, drip, drip, drip. i think you said it's 177 days into this election. >> administration. >> this administration. this election is a year and a half away. we have to see what's going to happen over the summer. i have no gut yet as to what's going to happen next year. so it's way too early to know
what people are going to be doing. >> let's go to the health care fight. why would representatives continue to push for health care measures that are so popular? >>ion. because when i'm here. my own state of michigan, 50% of the children in michigan get their health care threw medicaid. and vice president presence prshs they're abled eed. -- i can't tell you how much
people i know who are working, struggling to find jobs, older people who need long-term care. we as a country we have a responsibility. i believe i have a moral responsibility that every american's got a right to affordable quality health care. and medicaid is the on tool out there to help many people. i can't remember if it was the nevada or utah governor who talked about 200,000 people -- >> that was nevada. >> in my state 700,000 people in michigan now have it that didn't. what's our moral responsibility as americans? >> i'm just looking for maybe a yes or no answer here. should this health care bill pass here? what do you think happens? do you think it passes? >> i don't know.
i've had many republicans speak to me and they're waiting to see what happens. >> the white house under siege amidst of russia probe. >> i want to ask you, the drip, drip be rip -- that's not the media saying that, this is trey gowdy, the republican from south carolina saying this drip, drip, drip is undermining this administration. so what do you say to congressman gowdy? >> i think i just answered that. award winning design. award winning engine. the volvo xc90. the most awarded luxury suv of the century. this july visit your local volvo dealer
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into the united states in the first place. >> that was one. president's personal attorneys in an interview last night on donald trump jr.'s meeting with the russian lawyer. >> ladies, welcome to you both. i'm going to ask you the first question here, jay sekulow is saying the president didn't know about his son's meeting. >> clearly they tried to qualify this as a routine opposition research. the problem is that was not their initial reaction to hearing this meeting coming up. when donald trump jr. first heard the new york city was starting to dig up information about this meeting, he characterized it as this
innocuous discussion of adoption with a lawyer who might have been russian, maybe not. he didn't mention at the time he believed this woman to have connections directly to the kremlin. he never mentioned this meeting was an opportunity to get sensitive information on hillary clinton and that it was represented to him as part of the russian government's ongoing efforts to aid his father and to that he just said "i love it." and the problem is that the white house, donald trump jr. in particular, has not been forthcoming since this started to trickle out. if at the beginning of the situation when it was clear the contents of the meeting were going to be disclosed donald trump jr. and the white house had given the full story, all the meeting participants and stuck consistently with this explanation that this was a political research gathering situation gone awry. but they tried to obscure what
happened until they had no choice and that's why i think they're in this mess. >> has this caused greater concern for others in the white house and other russia revelations? republicans have been willing to come to bat and repeat that looloo line. you don't see very many republicans stepping up to defend the white house because they could be afraid another shoe could be dropping right around the corner and they can no longer make the argument with any real credibility that there's no evidence of any kind of collusion taking place. >> let's listen to what the president said about this incident. here it is. >> i think from a practical standpoint most people would have taken that meeting. it's called opposition research
or even research into your opponent. i've had many people -- i've only been in politics for two years. i've had many people call up and say we've got informing on this prn -- >> he lacks awareness of bt risk whether they're legal or owe wise. >> you haven't got the sense donald jr. doesn't understand the campaign finance laws. he's surrounded by lawyers, who understands laws, who was at the top of a succeeding presidential campaign. donald trump had just clinched the republican nomination. so they understood very much what they were going into and there's a characterization of people calling him a good boy
when really we're talking about a grown man who is a business leader and understands campaign finance laws. his father says anybody would have taken the meeting. but anyone understands the laws of america understand that a foreign party can't help you and you should call some sort of federal agency to say there's a foreign government now offering me information. it was a. but the back of this is, no, you can't just take it from a foreign government. the other thing i'll say really quickly, the trump administration has really had a pattern where they change what they're saying as more information comes out. up think about the firing of james comey where at first it was the d.o.j. told the president he should fire him and later on it's revealed he wanted
to do it. that's what gets this administration into trouble. people can't trust what they're saying at the beginning. and as it trickles out, they then change their story. >> yeah. in terms. information trickling out, some of your colleagues there at the "times" have written about the lobbyist and former red army sergea sergeant. >> the idea is because the actual contents of this meeting haven't been completely clear, it's still even unclear if there was anything actually delivered and if there's anything actually that they got from this meeting but the idea that there was another person in the room that don't june so he was trying in
way appear to be as transparent as he could be but in reality he was holding back. we have a translator that will probably later be identified by my colleagues. it shows this is a. >> so how likely is it that more information will come out here? >> you know, it's hard to say. you've seen white house officials be less and less willing to talk about internal regulations. a lot of them have already contacted their own personal lawyers to protect themselves as this investigation broad i don't knows. clearly, though, this is not like the other revelations that we've seen. this is someone who is very close to the president, donald trump jr. they can't just distance
themselves from hem very difficult to just discard the way they have with other folks, the way they were able to have a clean break with general mike flynn. that's not going to be the case with two member -- >> thank you so much. we'll see you again. so why would the russians choose donald trump jr.ier for a meeting? going to ask him.
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welcome back, everyone. i'm alex witt here at msnbc headquarters in new york. we're learning more about a meeting between donald trump jr. and a russian lawyer. joining me now, nbc's intelligence and national security reporter. welcome back, ken. it's rinat akhmetshin, what do we know about him? >> he's did a stint where he had an intelligence role and he's developed into a corporate and government lobbyist in washington in the shadows.
he's a charming guy known to many reporters in town but has been accused of some very serious things in court papers, including hacking, though that was never proven. and his appearance at this meeting develops a new layer of intrigue to a meeting that had already been under great scrutiny and the fact that the trump team didn't disclose it and was unearthed by the news media is causing great problems for them. >> in this meeting were any documents exchanged and would that be a problem? >> well, the lawyer veselnitskaya said she brought a two-page paper to the meeting and she didn't make it clear to us whether she left the document with the trump team or whether she just showed it to them but she and the trump team say the trump team wasn't very
interested in this material, they didn't think it was very significant. >> joining me right now, a 28 year veteran of the cia's nas clandestine service and was the deputy of the cia program. does this have the ear marks of a russian set up? and plane what that would look like. >> this is very much long the play book but certainly our play book of human intelligence. i understand the incredible reporting that's gone on to talk about this meeting, but in an intelligence operation, this meeting is less important than the lead-up to it. so this e-mail would have been sort of a soft approach. it would have been putting out some bait to see whether the trump campaign would bite. they certainly bought. they made it clear they want to
play ball. but for the russians here, they're playing on hostile territory. all they need to do is send some dups to that meeting to make sure they're not arrested and the fbi doesn't come and that is a signal that the a dupe perhaps it could be certainly that you could extract -- i don't want to use the word blackmail but compromise somebody down the road. this is a testing of the waters. >> you're absolutely right. you're testing to see willingness here, to see whether they're going to set you up. if the russian intelligence made it clear to me they wanted to talk about cooperating and i'd
say absolutely, let's have the meeting. the fact that they sent the dups there to go to meeting, that's enough of a signal that it might be wise releasing these tapes. we have a single data point here. the mueller investigation will have a spider chart, an ancestry chart of connections, calls, television reports, a timeline of who's feet there are a number of people out there that could have continued this operation. >> do you think the russians gained anything from this meeting? >> yes, they gained a message that the trump cam pan at a very high level were willing to play ball and didn't mind contra. >> all right. a former fbi agent wrote the
campaign's willingness to take this meet and what do you think your take is? do you think over all this was interpreted by the russians opening the. >> rolf is a good friend. we've worked on moscow and russia things together. people have used the word dangel. it is a soft approach using what we called but they wouldn't want to do that at this point because they're operating on hostile
territory. >> what are they trying to obtain? >> sflrnl, cyber, trolls, human intelligence. they're going to take advantage of anybody who travels to russia. they're going to try all of these things nobody -- they are trying to sell damage. even in this case, if they don't have success recruiting zprb they can dribble and trabl it out. perhaps that's what we're seeing, this lawyer prak and
this is lance armstrong level of lying going on here. >> do you think that because of this chaos and the constant finger pointing focus on russia them from wanting to do this? >> no. is that at all their philosophy or no? >> no, they love the mess. we're looking with one data point here. if you go back and look at that steel dossier, which some of that may or may not be true, clearly the russians had been looking at the trump people for a long time, years perhaps, and had gathered assessment on what kind of people they were, you know, what kind of ego they had, what kind of disif they can get a source inside to be one but
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the ban. >> well, i'm going to play a clip for you. this is back in 2013 just before the miss universe pageant. let's listen to that together. >> we're having miss universe tomorrow night in moscow. it's a total big deal, sold out. many of my billionaire friends from russia are going to be there. it's right knack smack in the middle of moscow. they have great people, they have great entrepreneurial spirit, the russians. >> do they pick your brain a lot? >> they do. they read my books. >> and not acknowledging the findings of the u.s. intelligence agencies with regard to the recent activity. >> i agree with the agencies and
i hope the president will agree with them. he is an international businessman and obviously he as a view that's world wide in scope but i think the intelligence agencies, alex, are correct. >> i want to remind you on my colleague chris hayes very but what does this say about the president's ability to lead you and your fellow republicans in congress? >> yesterday we passed a very important bill in the house of representatives, the national defense authorization act. i think that we should concentrate on this pb, and this is being discussed at the governor's conference in rhode island as we speak. i think we have an obligation in the congress to make sure we do what is in the information interest regarding our
responsibilities and regarding our oversiept responsibilities, i believe that the committees of congress involved in this should request that donald trump jr. and others, paul manafort, for example, come before the congress. >> what part of all this concerns you most be it on behalf of the president or anyone on his team? >> i think we have to govern and i think it's important to move the nation forward and this obviously is not in that direction because we are discussing this as opposed to. >> i leave that up to experts. i was the first to call for the recusal of the trng. >> i have full confidence in mr. muller. >> the health care bill.
sudden this past in snoornl. >> i don't know whether the bugs existed in the house, it did for the first version. i don't know whether a nat sfwrrks and i did not vote for the house version and, as you know, republican governors are suggesting this is not the way to proceed. especially states thaeks spanned medicaid, as new jersey did. >> so you think if it reflects that was in the house, you did not support that bill. is it your estimate that you would or would not support this one? >> i would imagine i would not support it. it impresses me to being quite similar to what came out of the house and i did not support at
that. >> do you think it is possible that there will not be changes to what we now have presently on health care, that the republican leadership in both change ber going i do in one third of the counties, there's only within insurer and that's not a good situation. >> new jersey's representative leonard lance -- intentional colluding or unwitting victims of russian interference, what's worse? i have to tell you something. dad,
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you the saw the protests. >> i don't think they want you running. >> we have to keep moving. can you still hear me? >> i can still hear you. you should stay out of the way of that water cannon my friend and try to keep yourself dry. >> reporter: it's a little late. let's get more on the investigation into that meeting between donald trump jr. and a russian lawyer. we bring in nan hayworth, former
republican congresswoman from new york and jonathan altar, column ils at "the daily beast." i will reach out to you first, ma'am. donald trump jr. released emails with the russians so he can get this all out there. since that happened he didn't do that, there's been the drip, drip, drip of information nearly on a daily basis. how much damage do you think he's done to his father handling it this way? >> i don't -- there has been more a fuller explication of the information but nothing contradictory of the time line, tick tock, it's consistent with what he released in emails and said in interviews and what i think he's going to offer to testify about to the senate. >> but not saying everything right up front. you've got strategists -- >> it's fairly --
>> -- saying get it out there. >> a lot of lawyers say what you need to say, things will come out time and awe peer with various entities who i'm sure will want to talk to you about this. so i think there has been disproportionate attention paid to this issue, not that it deserves no attention, but there is a lot more, as congressman lance was referring to, crucial issues that are important to the people who rightly listen to you and care about what's going on that the government actually does have to do. >> there are a lot of big issues out there for sure. jonathan, what do you think is worse here, if trump jr., jared kushner took this meeting because they didn't understand its ramifications or if they took it with the intent of colluding with russia? >> i'm not sure it matter. they're both terrible. with all due republican to the congresswoman whom i respect, nice try, this is not of real
significan significance. there was no genuine transparency here on the part of the trumps. they only released the details, the emails when the "new york times" was within minutes of publishing a story, then when they did and their statement was approved by the president on air force one, it was woefully incomplete. it wasn't even an attempt at genuine transparency, so basically we're in a situation where you can't believe anything that comes out of their mouth on this matter or many other matters as well, and in terms of collusion, this was at a minimum attempted collusion, and just because the collusion was botched doesn't mean that it wasn't significant, because we now have evidence that there was a real attempt to collusion, by the fact that they took this meeting. so alex, this story is going to go on really for the rest of the time that donald trump is in office.
if we think it's drip, drip, drip now, we have many, many more months of this ahead of us. >> his miss hayworth is eager to respond. >> actually if you look at the other side of the presidential election, the ukrainian government was cooperating very actively, the dnc was cooperatively quite actively with the ukrainian government on behalf of the clinton campaign to develop information that in fact did perhaps have some harmful effect on the trump campaign. >> doesn't that come under research if that were -- >> well both sides do opposition research, alex, and if we apply that definition to one and apply it to the other. in terms of having actionable information, actual, if you read the accounts that are coming out every day there's, you know, drip, drip, drip or gush, gush, gush about the dnc and the clinton campaign and the ukrainians. there is definitely cooperation there. >> jonathan go ahead. >> with all due respect, ukraine
is an ally of the united states. russia is an adversary of the united states. the connections between the democratic party and the ukrainians was an effort to learn what information they had on the russians intervening in our election. the ukrainians were not attempting to intervene in our election. >> no, yes, they were. >> they were trying to expose what was going on with russia which has been value dated by all these intelligence agencies, so that is a totally phony kind of equivalence and a really kind of pathetic talking point. >> it's not at all. in fact, pedro portoshenko is a friend of vladimir putin. ukraine is obviously -- >> their puppet government. those were not the folks that were in touch with the democratic party. >> that's a cooperative relationship. let's agree -- >> telling the democrats what was going on with russian interference in our election, that is not the same as interfering in our election, which is what the russians were
doing. there's a totally phony equivalence. it's beneath republicans at this point. you should be more like congressman lance and acknowledge there are serious issues. >> i love leonard lance. i agree with him, i think there are very serious issues we should have covered in the last administration including how we sold 20% of our uranium to the russian under hillary clinton's guidance among other things. >> i'm so out of time. thank you so much, good to see you both. auto i'll alex witt. thanks for watching. next hour on "a.m. joy" phil donahue talks about an interview he did 30 years ago with donald trump. see you at noon here on "msnbc live."
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