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tv   MSNBC Live  MSNBC  July 22, 2017 5:30am-6:00am PDT

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news conference held by the mayor of minneapolis. betsy hodges was talking about the resignation of the police chief when demonstrators started calling for hodges to resign. crews are trying to get a wildfire under control near yosemite national park. destroying more than 100 structures. yosemite doesn't appear at risk from the fire which is moving south, away from the actual park. a massive explosion in eastern china killed two people, injured dozens more. you can see here how that explosion was caught on security footage. the cause under investigation. it is thought to have originated with bottled gas use to fuel cookers in restaurants and homes. to politics now, and new this morning, we're learning fresh details about jared kushner's finances from reports on a revised filing. new documents show mother than 70 assets that his attorney said
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he had inadvertently left off of earlier filings. the new details coming amid fallout over white house press secretary's sean spicer's resignation yesterday morning. here is clip from spicer's interview last night on fox news. >> have you been thinking about this for a while? >> no. >> so it was really sudden. >> i knew what the right thing to do is. i think i have a pretty good compass. i made a zigs it was in the best interest of not just myself, but for the president and this administration, was to step aside and let anthony and sarah lead the team. >> over the hours of this morning, we're going to be watching president trump giving remarks at a commissioning of a naval ship coming up in virginia in norfolk. in the last couple hours the president has gone on a tweet storm about "the washington post" report that the alleged
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conversations jeff sessions had with the russian ambassador. here is one of the tweets. new intelligence leak from the amazon "washington post," this time against a.g. jeff sessions. these illegal leaks like comey's must stop. he also tweeted the failing "new york times" foiled u.s. attempt to kill the single most wanted terrorist, al baghdadi, their sick agenda over national security. that's a couple things we've heard. nbc's ken dilanian joins us from aspen, colorado. the president tweeting leaks must stop. what's the rebear on this new story about "the washington post" and u.s. spy agencies having monitored kislyak, who told moscow he had access to sessions and talked campaign details? >> reporter: thomas, this is a story that's been around for a while. if you recall, nbc news and other organizations reported on
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questions about a meeting sessions may or may not have had at the mayflower hotel with kislyak. "the washington post" is reporting there are intercepts suggesting kislyak reported back to his bosses in moscow that he spoke to sessions at that meeting at the mayflower and at another point during the republican convention, about trump campaign platforms and about the trump relationship with russia. that is contrary to what sessions has said. he adamantly denies that. the issue is this is what kislyak is saying to russia. this is not proof these conversations actually happened and sessions add maptly denies them. this is causing yet more concern about whether members of the trump team are telling the truth about their interactions with russia, thomas. >> ken, isn't that the bigger problem because sessions and a myriad of other trump team members have lost credibility because they've either lied or misled americans about contacts with russians and now we're actually using russia as the potential honest broker in all
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of this which is completely unfounded? >> reporter: it's a huge problem, and there's a lot of angst and disquiet here at this forum which features most leaders, both democrats and republicans, crept and former. last night former cia director and former director of national intelligence clapper blasted the president. clapper said he thought trump might be trying to make russia great again. the good news is all of trump's national security officials have come to the forum and said wholeheartedly they accept the intelligence conclusion that russia meddled in the election. there they seem to disagree with their boss who has not completely accepted it yet. that's the big question. at least the people who work for him including dan coats to our lester hold last night said there's no dissent, russia meddled. we understand it's a big problem. >> now we have the new information about kushner updating his list of foreign
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contacts and financial disclosures. his security clearance remains in place. ken, as we talk about the intelligence community and their concern about trump drawing this red line for mueller investigating into the trump organization and its finances and we get these fresh details about jared kushner's financial entanglements along with ivanka trump, how big of a concern is this that mueller may go, the president is going to try to target mueller and his team to thwart their investigation? >> reporter: there's huge concern here about that very isis. that would be a crisis, for democrats and republicans, if donald trump tried to get rid of mueller. the chairman of the house committee michael mccaul said to our own andrea mitchell there would be a huge republican backlash if trump took that step. adam schiff, the ranking
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democrat on the house intelligence committee said if that happened, what he'd like to see is congress passing a law, re-establishing the independent counsel act and rehiring mueller in a way that he would not be able to be fired by donald trump. >> nbc's ken dilanian joining us from colorado. big kudos for you and your team, the dedicated and thoughtful work you continue to do on this story. it's great work. >> thanks so much. joining me john yar mugt of kentucky, ranking member of kentucky. i want to go back and talk about president trump's leak, the new intelligence leak against a.g. jeff sessions, saying these illegal leaks likes comey's, must stop. from what you know, where do you think this leak originated? >> it sounds to me like it originated from the white house like so many others have. >> why would you say that?
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>> well, almost within the space of an hour there were three different breaking news stories. all of them seem to be sourced from the white house. i think there's a serious concern in the white house about the operation there. i think some people, i think it's more than just jealous or people in the infighting, there are people seriously concerned about the security of the country. >> given trump's statement to "the new york times" and others about credibility issues and disappointment in jeff sessions, is this another veiled shot to get sessions to resign, and do you think he would? >> i think the president, if he wants sessions to go, he just ought to ask him to go. i can't imagine that he would restrain himself. the whole question with sessions is fascinating. until evidence surfaced he met
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with sessions, he said i don't remember even meeting with him. if he didn't remember the meeting, how can he remember what he did or didn't say in it? it just didn't make sense. that's why i think there's a ring of truth to this story in "the washington post." it's going to be hard to prove one way or another. >> i want to get your take on another tweet this morning by the president. let's show it so they can see where the president is going with this. while all agree the u.s. president has the complete power to pardon, why think of that when only crime is leaks against us, fake news. also we have these two opposing op eds in "the washington post" on whether the president -- can trump pardon himself? also, yes, trump can legally pardon himself or his family but no, he shouldn't. from what you're hearing on the hill and their interest in learning pardon rules, where do you think this is going? >> i think the balance of opinions, at least expert opinions is he can't pardon
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himself. that doesn't mean he wouldn't try. i think this is where we get into murky waters. if he did pardon himself, what would happen, the investigations wouldn't necessarily stop. the impeachment process certainly could go for ward if congress decided to do that. i'm not exactly sure what the president would accomplish if he pardoned himself, at least this early in the investigation, because the investigation would go forward. and whatever evidence there was against him would surface eventually anyway. >> next week donald trump, junior and paul manafort won't appear, instead the agreement to provide the committee with documents, be interviewed by committee members and staff prior to any future public hearing. why do you think it's legally smart for them to continue to
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drag that out? >> i think it's probably smart from a political perspective to not be appearing public and not have the idea that you're in a defensive posture. i think this is smart from a pr perspective more than a legal one. i don't think it makes any difference legally. >> when we get to how democrats are talking about this, we have an op ed from former obama chief of staff dennis mcdonagh who wrote wrote. this is the headline, obama stood up to russian interference. now trump must do the same. what is the feeling in d.c. about russia, the existing sanctions and how this administration moves forward with any relationship with vladimir putin and russia? >> there's a lot of cynicism about whether he can move forward in a way that emphasizes
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the united states' interest. this is one of the perplexing factors of this whole controversy is one of the few people that president trump has not taken on in any way in his term as president is vladimir putin. with his interest, all of the alleged financial ties, and some that there's actually plenty of evidence for, one has to wonder whether or not he is indebted in some way to the russians. there's a lot of suspicion in congress, in washington and there's a good question about whether the united states interests are being represented well by the white house. this is one reason we're pushing so hard to get this sanctions bill passed by the house. >> but suspicions are not proof. >> absolutely. >> from a basis level of, until there is proof, is it fair to treat this administration as if
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it's guilty? >> well, i think it's fair to treat this administration with great scrutiny. again, i think that's why this sanctions bill is so important. that's why we keep pushing from an independent -- for an independent commission to study tinkering with elections and the russian ties. the congressional -- the political arena is probably not the best forum for doing that, and certainly, the threat of of influence on the mueller investigation is something that's very, very serious. i think we'll persist in that call for an independent commission. >> congressman john yarmuth, great to see you thank you. >> why the shakeup at the white house is happening now. and anthony scaramucci, is he the right choice for the job? next hour i'll speak with republican francis rooney about the report plus whether the repeal and replace mantra for
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>> the president himself is always going to be the president. i think he's got some of the best political instincts in the world and perhaps in history. the president is phenomenal with the press. he's a great communicator. he's an unbelievable politician. the president is a winner. what we're going to do is do a lot of winning. >> here we are. the trump year at six months old. bold statements from new white house communication director anthony scaramucci, yesterday just hours after the news came about sean spicer leaving and that meeting revealed sarah huckabee sanders as the new press secretary. i bring in joe watkins, rick tyler and zerlina maxwell. happy saturday, everybody.
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the trump year is just a little over six months old. rick, we've got scaramucci. good choice or is a lifeguard on an impossible mission for a white house with a problem? >> i'm sure trump will be happy with him. i don't think he's going to be able to play this game the way sean spicer couldn't. sean spicer just couldn't fit in with the trump way of doing things. that was evident from his opening press conference when we were arguing about how many people saw the president's inauguration and he took no questions and that began sort of with the long unraveling of sean spicer. we'll see if this new communications director, he's a major donor to the republican party. >> also was a major donor to the democrats, rick. he sprinkled around just like trump. >> that is true. he has no experience in this arena, no experience in politi s
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politics. i think he deserves a chance, but skeptical if he can get anything done. >> a man after my own heart when he talks about hair and makeup before appearing before the cameras. zerlina, as rick points out, the shakeup, we've seen other administrations do this. because of the news, is this purity a panic move? >> i think so. i think the president clearly feels all the walls closing in on him in terms of the russia investigation. that's why yu see leaks about jeff sessions. he's trying to lay the groundwork to fire robert mueller. i think the appointment of anthony scaramucci to communications director is clearly not putting him in that role in the traditional sense. he's definitely going to be a front-facing person. that's definitely not what the communications director does which is why sean spicer quit, he was basically being laird and doing all the work that the communications director would be responsible for without having the front-facing role as a part
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of that and the title of communications director. i understand it. but i think it's interesting that sean spicer, this was the bridge he was not willing -- this is the hill he was willing to die on when president trump lax experience. he said anthony scaramucci didn't have experience for this job. i'd argue president trump didn't have the requisite experience to be president, and he worked for him so who knows? >> the idea is, really sean spicer left because of scaramucci or did scaramucci come in and say sean's got to go. the big test of a sean spicer loyalty contest comes now when he's waking up with a big smile on his face singing zippidy do da. >> i think he lost faith with the president and had become too much of a lightning rod himself.
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"saturday night live" made him famous. that's not what you want to be when you're press secretary to the president of the united states. with regard to scaramucci, the challenge becomes how well he can get along with the president and how closely the president will listen to him. great well he can get along with the president. great press secretaries usually aren't big personalities. they're usually behind the scenes working behind the president. we'll see how well scare muchy do -- scaramucci does. >> then we've got the idea of potentially this bomb shell headline with the "new york times" reporting that trump could try to undermine mueller and his team with the independent investigation and republicans certainly aren't
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sure that's a good idea. here's homeland security chair michael mccall. >> it sort of looks paranoid to me. the fact is i've known bob mueller for a long time. i worked in the justice department, he is a man of integrity. very highly respected in washington. when he was picked, very bipartisan support for this man. we need to let him do his job, wherever that may lead. >> if he fired bob mueller, i think you'd see a tremendous backlash response from both democrats but also republicans. >> we all know paranoia can destroy you. do you think the president is going to try to fire bob mueller or is it a test fire? >> i think it's -- we couldn't keep up with the headlines yesterday. we have another headline that
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jeff sessions -- that u.s. intelligence had recorded his conversations with -- or a conversation with kislyak saying that he talked to jeff sessions. we don't know if that's true yet. that's what the intelligence was telling us. but if this is to lay the groundwork for getting rid of bob mueller, i think this would be a huge mistake. i think in many ways bob mueller is inoculated from this because he has a stellar reputation with both democrats and republicans up on the hill. if he tries to undermine an investigation -- and the on reason he would, because he has nothing to hide, but if he's got something to hide, maybe this is his only course of action. >> if the president does try to remove mueller, what would democrats do? >> i think we're going to be hearing the word impeachment much more often. this would be a clear abuse of power. you could argue the firing of the fbi director, an
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unprecedented move in american history was an abuse of presidential power, even though it's within the president's authority. but in the context of when the person is investigating you, you're asking about self-pardoning, thinking about firing the chief chinvestigator it looks like the president is guilty. he's behaving as if he does have something to hide. that's why the rest of us are looking at him like what are you doing? let bob mueller do his job, don't tack about firing him. i think republicans and democrats both would call for the impeachment of the president if he fires bob mueller. >> what do you think about the president looking into pardon powers for family members? could he get away with it, even for himself? >> well, i hope that the rule of law tells us what is right. i hope he follows the rule of
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law. i agree it would be a bad idea to get rid of bob mueller. bob mueller is so well regarded. to even talk about pardon at this early stage, at least the president has tweeted it's too early. let the investigation play out and let's find out what happens and let's move on from there. >> we need to get to the facts before conclusions. so the big deal is to follow the money. we have some hint about the net worth of jared kushner and ivanka trump. and we'll go to the naval base in virginia for the honoring ceremony of gerald r. ford. back in a moment. ne who makes it easy to find what i want. gets it.
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