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tv   AM Joy  MSNBC  July 22, 2017 7:00am-9:00am PDT

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good morning. welcome could "a.m. joy." of all the familiar cast of characters that you think of when you think of russiagate, attorney general jefferson sessions is probably not at the top of your list. he's kind of more of the deport immigrants and ramp up the war on drugs guy but last night sessions went from bit player to center stage courtesy of a bombshell report in "the
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washington post" that u.s. spy agencies intercepted conversations in which russia's then am bassor to the united states, sergei kislyak allegedly told his superiors in moscow that he "discussed campaign related matters, including policy issues important to moscow, with jeff sessions during the 2016 presidential race." now if accurate that would directly contradict public assertions made by sessions like this one. >> let me be clear. i never had meetings with russian operatives or russian intermediaries about the trump campaign, and the idea that i was part of a "continuing exchange of information" during the campaign between trump surrogates and intermediaries for the russian government is totally false. >> in a statement sessions spokesperson said the attorney general stands by his testimony last month that he never had any conversations with russians
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"concerning any type of interference with any campaign or election." now this latest scoop by "the washington post" has some really interesting timing, breaking just three days after trump said this to the "new york times." >> sessions should have never recused himself, and if he was going to recuse himself, he should have told me before he took the job, and i would have picked somebody else. it's extremely unfair and that's a mild word, to the president. >> if you'll recall sessions recusal came he had two meetings with kislyak in 2016 he failed to disclose during his confirmation hearing in january. the new revelations if true contradict the various explanations sessions offered about the content of those conversations, most of which he has said he can't recall. now make no mistake, this kind of revelation is potentially very damaging to an attorney general especially one who just got a big vote of no confidence from the president. joining me now is ari melber, host of "the beat" premiering
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monday night on msnbc, must see tv, malcolm nance author of "the plot to hack america" sarah kinsey, and msnbc legal analyst paul butler. thank you all for being here. malcolm, you and i had a conversation, we will not disclose our undisclosable conversations that we talk about this russiagate stuff offline but you were make the point of kind of information, these intercepts released this would be a very big deal if it were true. >> this is twice there have been information released in the news media we call crowned jewels, holy grail type intelligence that absolutely positively just should not be in the hands of the media, and if this story is true, and let's give it a grain of salt. it's going to leak out from the russians or from one of the top eight people who have authorization to see raw
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intelligence. "the post" said it came from current and former officials. >> would former even have access to this? >> mike flynn would have had access to information like this, absolutely, he was the national security adviser at the time but current? you're talking one of the gang of eight, the people who are cleared for this level of information, and to be quite honest, i come from the secret intelligence world. i don't like to talk about this. this should not be seeing the light of day for 75 years and if it's true it makes me wonder do we have a valerie plame style leak to put the final nation into jeff session' coffin or do we have a russian game that's being played against us, and trying to confuse and create chaos in the white house. >> the other big question, if this was leaked from one of these sort of aides or nine people who have access to this kind of information the question would be why and the reason i found the timing sort of odd it seems clear that donald trump
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would love for jeff sessions to just walk away and resign. he didn't do it, surprising many people in the white house that after donald trump gave that "new york times" interview and really gave him a vote of no confidence and he didn't quit, if the purpose of a leak like this is to induce him or encourage him to quit it's a lot worse, right? >> it is worse and you're asking the question from the godfather, qui bono, who benefits? as you said in the top of your setup here comes at a time that donald trump is putting pressure on jeff sessions not for immigration or policy issues but how his tenure may be affecting donald trump and so there is that question i think a fair one about whether this current official is trying to help the president or match the president's criticism of jeff sessions. of course, the ultimate irony ther there, would obviously be a white house that says there's nothing wrong with any contacts with russia, now the problem is that jeff sessions had a meeting on russia so obviously there's no internal logic there.
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it also goes to a political point i want to floag. donald trump ran on saying he was really good at firing people, his reality show and his brand promise were supposedly matched. we've seen he struggles to get the ondone. we know he doesn't hold loyalty for everyone but when it came to mike flynn the actual firing was hard for him. when it comes to jeff sessions if he lost confidence the president does have the authority so he could remove him and when it came to the most controversial example jim comey the president didn't stand up and say i know how to do this, you're fired. he pulled the justice department into that odd letter that hasn't stood the test of time, so this seems to be a problem for the president when he doesn't like how someone's doing, he doesn't actually know how to pull the trigger cleanly and appropriately. >> in this case what he would have to do in order to get rid of -- a lot of people presume the ultimate goal here in a sense is to push and i'll go to paul butler on this, is to push out robert mueller, that robert mueller is sort of the ultimate
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target of this, donald trump is pretty much telegraphing he'd like to let him go but legally he cannot fire him according to the statute he could only be mueller the special counsel only fired by the attorney genial and since this attorney general recused, something trump is angry about he'd have to rely on an underling, a rod rosenstein, he could go down the line in the justice department to to it. paul butler, i wonder if the theory this is inducement for sessions to clear the way for a more pliable or attorney general who could fire mueller then why would donald trump tweet this, this morning, since 3:33 in the morning. and he tweeted "a new intelligence leak from the amazon washington post, this time against a.g. jeff sessions. these illegal leaks like comey's, must stop." that's odd he's seeming to tweet in support of him. >> yes, so the president has placed the american people in a position where we have two wretched choices. we can continue with an attorney general who, if "the post" story
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is right has been misleading at minimum about his dealings with russians, and possibly has lied under oath, which is a federal crime, or we can have a new attorney general who the president has made clear would be chosen with a litmus test, what he would do about this russian investigation, whether she, this new attorney general, might stop it, that will be the president's apparent main consideration and who he selects. the problem, joy, is if the president does either use his pardon power to thwart the investigation or select a new attorney general by getting sessions to be fired, the president himself is courting impeachment. that's obstruction of justice. when we look at the last two itch peoplements, obstruction of justice, even if not criminally technically proven can be an element of impeachment and one thing we know from the constitution, the president cannot stop an impeachment.
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>> and it is interesting that donald trump one of his many tweets in his tweet storm this morning at 4:45 a.m. was whi whileiwhile all agree the u.s. president has the complete power to pardon, why think of the leaks, fake news." i want to go with everybody and start with sarah, the weird time line and maybe it's weird to me, maybe my brain is weird. "the washington post" story last night said one official said that sessions who testified that he has no recollection of an april encounter with kislyak has provided misleading statements that are contradicted by their evidence, a former official said the intelligence indicates sessions and kislyak had substantive discussions on matters including trump's positions on russia related issues and prospects for u.s./russia relations in a trump administration." so that contradicts sessions saying he didn't talk about policy. here is jeff sessions on june 13th, giving testimony about his russia contacts. take a listen. >> clearly, colleagues, i have
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never met with or had any conversation with any russians or any foreign officials concerning any type of interference with any campaign or election in the united states. >> okay. now one day before that, interestingly enough, this is senator al franken, and al franken sits on the judiciary committee which sessions testified in front of, to get the job, in which al franken said that he misled al franken, when he answered a question as franken said he didn't even ask that franken asked him have you had any contact with russians and sessions volunteered that he never talked to any russians about impacting the election, about interference in the election, but here is senator franken talking about that with our very own chris matthews this is the day before the sessions testimony you just heard. >> they'll be asking the attorney general about some of his testimony during his confirmation hearing i imagine,
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and which he actually answered, he didn't answer a question i asked. he answered a different question that he made up, and that was did you meet with any russians, and he said something that wasn't accurate. they've intercepted some contacts within kislyak and his people. kislyak may have been exaggerating the meeting, you know, because he wanted to look important. >> that sounds, sarah, almost exactly like "the washington post" report including the fact "the washington post" supposedly had this story in june and only came out with it last night. what do you make of that, that franken was saying back in june, they've intercepted some contacts with kislyak, he may have been exaggerating the meeting. >> yes, i certainly think that's possible, and you know, one thing that i'd like to stress here is that none of this information about jeff sessions is new, not the meetings with kislyak, not his work and meetings with russian officials which he did over the entire
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campaign last year when he was first hired in march 2016, despite having no experience in that arena. there's been reason to dismiss jeff sessions for a long time. we know that he lied on his sf-86 security clearance forms. we know that now that he likely committed perjury and we know about this meeting with kislyak, so when trump is possibly trying to set up some sort of pretext, as if he actually cares about the legal process, and views sessions as anything more than his personal attorney, which is basically what sessions has been, sessions was put there not to uphold the u.s. constitution but to uphold donald trump. i find that implausible. the aim might be to get rid of mueller that sessions is an obstacle in this respect but trump's claims that he's upset about sessions' recusal just strikes me as false because session's never acted on that recus recusal. he didn't honor it in practice.
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he fired comey despite the fact that violates the terms that he was given. so all of this is a bit suspect, and i think one of the questions to ask is why is trump bothering? he usually likes to flaunt the law. he usually likes to act as if he's above it and let everybody know that that's the way he feels. so it's interesting that they're creating this kind of elaborate theatrical facade with the media and also blaming the media in the process. >> it is interesting, because if there are reasons to dismiss sessions, okay, but dismissing sessions would open the door to dismissing mueller. it's all very odd and interesting. >> dismissing mueller and also dismissing kushner. another thing to note is that other people in the administration have committed the exact same crimes as jeff sessions, so if he's going to be dismissed for meeting with kislyak, so should kushner and others who committed perjury or lied or had other meetings with russian officials that they shouldn't have had. this opens up the door to a lot of problems for trump. >> a long list of people they could dismiss if that's the reason to do it. malcolm and paul will be back.
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ari's brand new show "the beat with ari melber" premieres monday, 6:00 p.m. on msnbc. watch it while you're eating your dinner and waiting for the rest of the night's incredibly disturbing breaks news. donald trump is commissioning the "uss gerald ford" today. the navy's newest aircraft carrier. if he says anything newsworthy we'll bring that to you right away. up next, trump draws a red line. stay with us. t. but every one of those businesses will need legal help as they age and grow. whether it be with customer contracts, agreements to lease a space or protecting your work. legalzoom's network of attorneys can help you, every step of the way. so you can focus on what you do and we'll handle the legal stuff that comes up along the way. legalzoom. legal help is here.
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i've seen him at madison square garden with a top coat on standing in the key and hitting foul shots and swishing them. he sinks three-foot putts. i love the president and i think a lot of you guys know in the media i've been very, very loyal to him. >> you saw the newest member of trump world incoming white house communications director anthony scaramucci. apparently his nickname is the mucc. but the white house team wasn't the only big reshuffle. the legal team spokesman mark caryo resigned and long-term attorney mark kaswitz reported to take on a lesser role. john dowd veteran d.c. criminal defense lawyer will take the lead amid these shakeups there's one big question in washington, is trump working on another pink slip for special counsel robert mueller after trump said mueller investigating his family finances would be a red line. both the "new york times" and "the washington post" reported that team trump is investigating the investigator, looking for
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dirt that could discredit the extremely well respected mueller, and perhaps open the do are to his firing. the president was especially disturbed when he found out muleler have access to, wait for it, his tax returns. malcolm nance is back, david kay johnson is back, all sorts of things in the prompter "the making of donald trump" is also his book. let's bring everybody back in. malcolm first before we talk about this red line, there was a point you wanted to make in the previous segment about that weird timing of "the washington post" bombshell about sessions. >> this story as it was heard in the washington rumor mill has been out there for a very long time and "the post" had this story. >> we heard al franken mention it. >> right, maybe as far back as march. interesting that's the sort of top secret atomic bomb information you would want three solid sources on who all verify
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it and maybe "the post" didn't have that, maybe it was sitting on it because they couldn't get verified but if you get a call from a current administration official, day after, you know, you put your hit out, the story goes out and now it does the bidding of the white house. this can only benefit the white house. it does not benefit anybody and puts a line towards mueller. >> it puts a line toward mueller and that's i think where we come in, david kay johnson. this was donald trump in the "new york times" interview where he expressed no confidence in sessions, and the other bombshell was this, about robert mueller's investigation. so david, trump says this is
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about russia, as his personal finances are not about russia. is donald trump wrong about that? >> well his finances are about russia. donald has been going to russia and doing business with russians since the 1980s, there are deals that don't appear to make any commercial sense whatsoever involving the russian, there's the ongoing effort by trump to suppress and prevent trial on the allegations involving the trump soho hotel and whether it was a big tax fraud, the money, the profits disappeared into an icelandic bank under the thumb of the oligarchs, and notice that donald trump is always attacking law enforcement, this didn't new. he was attacking anyone in law enforcement who went after him in the '80s and the '90s, mayor ed koch said trump should have served 15 days in jail. 'attach
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he attacks koch. interesting he never attacked vladimir putin. >> he never attacks him but going back to the 1980s has had this sort of drawn to russia, and of course the '80s was when vladimir putin was still a kgb agent, and it's interesting, malcolm, what's being isolated now is we're getting dribs and drabs about what the investigation is about. >> right. >> the fbi apparently had isolated at least three individual sort of pieces of trump world they're looking at, trump's involvement in this soho hotel that david cay johnston just mentioned a failed development in new york he did with russian association, some have russian mobbish ties, the 2015 miss universe pageant held in moscow and trump's sale of a florida mansion he bought and sold for almost $100 million to a russian oligarch in 2008. what would the significance of that, let's pick one of them, the pageant. >> i wrote a whole book on this. >> you did. >> these are really easy things
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for u.s. investigators to fall on, because one step before we go to miss universe, back to the sale of that house in palm beach, where he built it up, essentially does a flip, gets a $50 million commission off of that from an oligarch who levels the place and never sees it. that's a dangle. you are testing that person to determine whether he is good for the money, and now you have a hook in him, and once you have that hook, with the igalarov you can start working and manipulating. as we saw between 2013 and 2015 donald trump's entire foreign policy flipped to moscow's, and no one has ever been able to put their finger exactly on when it actually turned, but they do know when it started, it started with the miss universe pageant where he wined and dined and thought he was making vladimir putin his best friend.
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all of these things are part of the m.i.c.e. acronym, money, ideology, cooperation or coercion and ego, those are the four factors that you recruit an agent for. he may not even know that he is an asset under your control until you pull that string and then suddenly you need him to do things for you, and they do. >> clapper's version saying people may not know they're down a treasonous path. david ca johnston the professionals call. m.i.c.e. i call it need and greed. you see this pattern not just in donald trump but his entire family business. you have eric trump telling a reporter even though he now denies it that they have access to $100 million in russian money, they don't need american banks. you have donald trump jr. saying a substantial portion of our assets are coming from russia, you have trump selling lots and lots of real estate, condos to russians, over and over again. have you in your reporting all these decades on donald trump seen a pattern of him making,
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doing this much business with anyone else or are russians sort of uniquely positioned to constantly feed him money? >> donald is deeply involved with the russians and to some extent the communist chinese banks that he owns money through, through various business entities, because american banks won't lend money to him. remember, donald said after the fact, i borrowed money knowing i wouldn't have to pay it back. well, try that with your banker and see if you can get a loan. and the russians have exploited this. they clearly think of him as an asset, and if you look at what's just leaked that was in the earlier segments being discussed, how convenient, when you're trying to find a way to get rid of your prosecuteor, in trump's case, robert mueller, that there is this intercept. how sloppy of the russians that they did this in a way that it was intercepted, but how curious this story has been out there for a while, and who benefits from that? well, the russians benefit to
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the extent that they have their friend in the white house helping pursue their agenda, undermine democracy, break up nato, break up the european union, and expand russia's territory to include the russian speaking former parts of the soviet republic. >> yes. it is awfully convenient that this information drops just when donald trump wants to move his attorney general out and sergei kislyak seems to have given him one more hail mary. it is very convenient and interesting. malcolm nance will be back in our next hour. david cay johnston thank you as always. coming up, out goes spicy, in comes the mooch. that's next. whoa!
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...may be able to help. sean spicer, say it isn't so. exactly six months after making his first statement in the white
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house briefing room, a blistering atack on the press based on a trumpian lie about crowd size at the inauguration, spicer is getting off the trump train at unemployedsville. yes it was a ride that was memorable to say the least, full of statements, contradicted by the boss's own tweets. >> by nature not a ban. >> i understand but the president himself called it a ban. is he confused or you confused? >> no, i'm not confused. >> one very incorrect history lesson. >> you had a, you know, someone who as despicable as hitler who didn't even sink to using chemical weapons. he brought them into the, to the holocaust center, i understand that. >> even a few minutes hiding from the press among the bushes. and seemingly ends the intrigue about his hold on the job. at one point he was reduced to
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petty theft he had to take the mini fridge the junior staffers refused to give up. what did spicy get for defending trump with alternative facts and feats of verbal gymnastics a big old snub from his boss left off of the officials selected to meet the pump to meet the pope, something spicer long wanted. at least we the american people got this cultural treasure, melissa mccarthy alsz the embattled and frustrated spokesman nicknamed appropriately just spicy on "saturday night live." >> now i'm going to open it up for questions and i'm going to probably freak if you start asking stupid ones, speaking of freaks and stupid ones, glenn thrush "new york times," stupid hat, go. >> look, i just wanted to know what the president intends to do now that the appeals court denied your request to stop the travel ban. >> you're testing me, big guy.
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>> we'll miss you melissa and spicy, too. more on this and the man fitting spicy's ill fitting shoes in the white house next. ♪ [brother] any last words? [boy] karma, danny... ...karma! [vo] progress is seizing the moment. your summer moment awaits you, now that the summer of audi sales event is here. audi will cover your first month's lease payment on select models during the summer of audi sales event. dad: flash drives? yup. that's dad taking care of business. laptop setup? yup. but who takes care of dad? office depot, office max. this week, all hp ink, buy one get one 30% off. ♪ taking care of business
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811 is available to any business our or homeownerfe. to make sure that you identify where your utilities are if you are gonna do any kind of excavation no matter how small or large before you dig, call 811. keep yourself safe. i've seen this guy throw a dead spiral through a tire. i've seen him at madison square guard within a top coat on, standing in the key and hitting foul shots and swishing them. he sinks three-foot putts. >> that's love. move over sean spicer, trump world has a new star. 53-year-old financier white house communications director anthony scaramucci may not have a lot of political experience but he excels one quality key to success in the white house lavishing excessive effusive praise on his boss. >> i think he's got some of the best political instincts in the world and perhaps in history when you think about it. what i have found when i travel
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around the country people love him. the president has really good karma, okay? >> but scaramucci wasn't always on the trump train. >> you called donald trump a hack? >> he's a hack politician. i'll tell you who he'll be president of, tell donald i said the queens county bullies association. you got to cut it out now and stop this crazy rhetoric spinning everybody's heads around. >> oops. joining me theresa kumar, caidones do dawson, michael steele. i'll start with you and give you the gift of the trump tweet out of his 37 tweets or however many this morning he tweets, anthony scaramucci endorsed jeb bush, he was originally for scott walker who didn't run and he went to jeb bush. he endorsed a lot of other people before donald trump we wasn't for him and trump now tweets in all fairness to anthony scaramucci, he wanted to endorse me first before the republican primaries started but didn't think i was running. it's weird but i guess falling in love with donald trump and
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telling him how much you love him is part of the job. what do you make of his migration from trump critic to this? >> one of the things there was a great piece done by politico basically saying that scaramucci really desperately wanted to have an ambassadorialship. that's what he was really going after so when you look at it in the totally of wanting to go abroad, this is not his first choice. kind of like the president was not his first choice and so i think that there are a lot of interests that might be binding him to the president right now that bloomberg first reported back in january with his relationship with russia. we don't know what that kz loo li looks like but there were special conversations happening in davos while he was there with some of the financiers and that needs to be peeled back and that would all of a sudden make sense of why he has a new love interest. >> right, and there were some questions among some congressmen, michael steele, his company sky bridge capital a global investment firm he's in the process of selling and i think back in february, there were some members of congress
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that wanted to know did that firm have any conversations about doing business in russia, maybe can he relate to trump on that level. it is interesting that you have the trump team, michael steele, looking into discrediting robert mueller, in part based on looking at the team he's putting together campaign donations, and yet they then turn around and hire a guy who is well-known for having wined and dined both democrats and republicans, given money to both parties. he gave $5,600 to barack obama in 2008, $4,600 to clinton in 2007. he said that he voted for barack obama and bill clinton. he said that in 2011, and before the 2016 election scaramucci was saying he hoped bill clinton would be the next president. so if it's disqualifying for mueller's people to have given or in the past had any association with the clintons, does it strike you as odd that trump would hire somebody who is essentially a clinton and obama supporter to be his chief spokesman? >> mueller's people aren't trump's people. it's that simple.
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this is a transactional thing with trump, okay? i can look past the fact that you supported clinton because hey, as a private citizen i supported clinton. >> did you. >> which trump did, but in the context of the ongoing investigations, yes, that becomes much more of a political tool or weapon for trump to use. going after mueller's folks and mueller himself is less of anything of real substance, more laying a predicate for any action he wants to take against mueller in the future that will help sell that action to his base. >> you know, and it's interesting, caton, what it seems donald trump wants in his communication team is a certain look, there was a cnn person who said something to the effect of anthony scaramucci is what trump thinks he sees when he looks in the mirror, he's really rich, his suits fit and all that kind of thing but also a certain kind of combatant, this guy is a sean hannity-esque kind of combatant
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who a few years agoer have viewing a pr firm for himself to use he was blunt according to a piece on him about what he was looking for. scaramucci told this person "i need someone who is prepared to go to the mat and lie for me." so caton, what does that tell you about the time of communications shop donald trump wants to see run? >> tony scaramucci has been around a while. he's wicked smart. he went to tufts harvard university law degree. he's taken one of the most important jobs in politics, all of us understand communications is critical, and we're going to find out how quick can he turn gray headed, we're going to find out how tough he is. he's a political chameleon. like donald trump they've given to both parties, something michael steele and i have never done. >> right. >> they've done a lot of things together so we're going to find out how good a choice this is, because right soon we've got the 2018 midterms coming up, and the
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message better be about jobs, about everything that trump run on, because all this other stuff in russia is in the way of any kind of political success right now. that's what concerns us on the groupe ground. >> dana, it's interesting, you can katon say this needs to be about the things donald trump ran on. anthony scar mooch hou scaramuc against on. this tweet is still on his twitter profile. walls don't work, never have, never will. the berlin wall 1961 to 1989, don't fall for it. uhm -- dana? >> well, joy, first, to paraphrase mooch, it is the greatest honor and privilege of my life to be with you this morning because -- you have the greatest instincts in all of broadcasting. >> thank you, yes, more, more. >> i think what you're seeing here in the choice of the mooch is trump's instincts not to
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reach for people who have the best ideas, the most experience, the ability to get things done in government, but those who will flatter him. it's reminiscent of the, that famous cabinet meeting where they took turns dueling to praise him. trump is willing to forgive a lot of things. he's more interested in the thing you've said lately. he's always interested in the last thing that was said to him, and scaramucci has been perhaps his most stalwart defender out there, on fox news, which is of course extremely important to the president. so he is basically reinforcing this echo chamber that he's built in the white house, with buddies of his, with kin of his, and we've seen where it's got him but clearly he's doubling town. it's more of the same. >> he's picking a guy who once said we need to get hillary, i love hillary we need to turn this around. it's one of the reasons he was for her and the wall street guys
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preferred hillary to barack obama for instance is that they felt obama was too tough on wall street. >> exactly. >> this guy is nothing if not a huge fan of wall street, another contradiction with the way -- >> is he wall street. he comes from goldman sachs, but what is interesting is that i think his replacement of sean spicer is sending a signal very closely saying that what the only swamp that trump is actually going to drain are the people who understand politics, who are actually part of the establishment. sean spicer is the first part of the shakeup but please expect more and i think what he's going to start is inoculating himself with more wall street insiders, more business folks and that is going to actually keep him and congress having really difficult time to actually have conversations and put anything forward. >> i want to go around quickly and start with you, michael steele. donald trump does not have a team of professionals much as he did in the campaign. it worked for him in the campaign. can he make it? can he survive without anybody that actually understands politics or the hill? he's just adding people from fox news or people from, sorry not
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fox news, from breitbart, he's got the bloggers in there. he still doesn't have any professionals and just let go one of his rnc guys. >> yes. no, i think he can. largely because even if he brought those individuals in, those professionals in, he would still be the ultimate decider of what those professionals would do and how they would do it, and when they would say it and what they would say, so trump is his own ringmaster here. he doesn't need anyone else managing any other part of this circus. he's got it in his control and he will keep it there, so this is the state of the white house for the rest of the term. >> very quickly, katon, same question to you in a way. he does have this sort of autocratic devotional crew. is that more important to donald trump having people praise him and sort of, you know, whip up his base for him than be professional? >> that's been his history, and's been a micromanager. the thing about the white house if you're coming to drain the swamp you better have some
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professional plumbers and that's what the base wanted. they wanted a big strategic change in washington, and we hadn't seen it yet. >> and dana, i guess at least provide more comedy for you writers in d.c. >> well, that's the most important thing, but i think the pattern you've seen with trump he has a way of destroying the people around him, whether it's spicer or jeff sessions, mike dubkey and eventually scar mooch even and the others, but he walks away relatively unscathed while those around him fail. >> thank you very much. dana will be back in our next hour. coming up in our next hour, jared kushner, r. kelly and o.j. keep it right here.
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if i'm given the honor of leading this agency, i will never allow the fbi's work to be driven by anything other than the facts, the law, and the impartial pursuit of justice. period. full stop. my loyalty is to the constitution and to the rule of law. >> donald trump's nominee for fbi director has his work cut out for him. especially considering what trump told "the new york times" this week. quote, the fbi person really reports directly to the president of the united states. nope. joining me now is former fbi agents clint watts. the fbi director has never reported to the president of the united states. what do you make of it when you heard donald trump say that? >> he's trying to consolidate his power. and it's pretty sad. he seems to think that every
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aspect of governance even out to the legislature at times is under his control. what he doesn't understand, is he fbi director, his job is to keep the citizens of this country safe from both crime and national security threats. and so we have to have an independent fbi director. the tradition is he reports to the attorney general. that's the way it will stay moving forward. >> the position was really created by the u.s. attorney general. j. edgar hoover was the fbi director, he didn't report to the president. we are in a unique situation historically. you've already had donald trump fire an fbi director. how difficult is it going to be for christopher wray to be an independent actor knowing that is the propensity of the president? >> when the biggest qualification for the fbi direct ser when he will resign for a loyalty test, we have entered a new phase of governance. we're looking at his qualifications. but if donald trump does this, will you resign?
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will you leave? will you not follow orders? i think that's what he's walking into. he's walking into the traditional job. he's also walking into a job with a president who's under a serious cloud of doubt, of questions, of this russia investigation. he's got a tall order to fill. and, you know, a lot of mine fields in front of him. >> clint, i wonder, because there's so many potential mine fields here. you have the mueller investigation already taking place. you have some analysts saying if donald trump were to try to pardon his family, it would be proof of guilt of obstruction of justice. there are plenty of people available to investigate when i comes to russian allegations. how difficult will it be for an incoming fbi director to set himself up, learn the system, get to know the staff. this guy has not been an fbi agent, i don't believe, before and also try to keep tabs on an administration that is prone to fire any recalcitrant member of the administration. >> i think there are some pluses and minuses to it.
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you know, on the plus side, wray is coming in and he can really just focus on the fbi. in terms of the russia investigation, most of it is going to fall to the mueller team. so he's got an opportunity to really sort of focus on his troops. really sort of build and restore some confidence in the agency about where the direction is going to be and how it moves forward. on the minus, he's now the third fbi director we are going to be talking about almost simultaneously. you've got mueller. comey is still going to come back into play in this investigation. and now you've got wray. so he's crowded by two other fbi directors that are taking a lot of the limelight. so he's got a lot to contend with. at the same point, he might be able to focus on the fbi team and really give those agents what they need for investigations out in the field. >> at the same time naveed, there's also the counterintelligence side of the fbi. how difficult is their job now when you have a president openly talking about russia. how can he possibly do that job? >> it's a very good point.
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following up with the jeff sessions stories and even to the president's point as much as i hate to say this, the leaks are causing a major problem in terms of just the simple function of the fbi, the intelligence community. i think that there's -- you know, it's an uphill battle. not to mention to your point, joy, wray is coming in with a 12-year break. it was 2005 the last time he was in government. a lot has changed. technology curve was pretty great. he was very upfront of admitting there's a lot of things to get up to speed with. he's also coming into as clint has mentioned, an interesting time where two other fbi directors are in the limelight as well. i think it's going to be a real challenge. >> clint, among your former colleagues in the fbi, how's mora morale? >> i haven't talked to many of them recently. i'm sure they're busy with their investigations. i think for them they want to pursue their job without interference and do what's right for the american people. i'm hopie ining under wray's
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leadership that could come back again. >> thank you, guys, for your time. really appreciate it. and up next, the latest in the russia investigations. don't blink. it's going to be a big week. "mo more "a.m. joy" after the break. you're not taking those. whoa, whoa! you're not taking that. come with me. you're not taking that. you're not taking that. you're not taking that. mom, i'm taking the subaru. don't be late. even when we're not there to keep them safe, our subaru outback will be. (vo) love. it's what makes a subaru, a subaru. only tylenol® rapid release gels have laser drilled holes. they release medicine fast, for fast pain relief. tylenol®
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investigation would include the finances. but mueller has a broad move to investigate. and he's working to follow the money wherever it leads. trump's red line comment has led to speculation that he may be gearing up to fire mueller. but even with mueller gone, that wouldn't be the end of the investigations into whether trump colluded with russia. there's still multiple investigations and plenty of money and debt for there to follow. like the debt manafort reportedly owed before joining the trump campaign last march. or the debt jared kushner and his family took on to buy the building at 666 5th avenue in 2007. next week kushner, manafort, and donald trump jr. might have to explain all of that and more to the senate. but not to the public. kushner is scheduled to be interviewed in a closed door session on monday. then he'll go back to capitol hill on tuesday to speak with the house intelligence committee also in private.
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meanwhile, the senate judiciary committee has worked out a deal with trump jr. and manafort to hold a session also close to the public next week. the committee also asks them to turn over all documents related to what -- to that eight-person that we know of june 2016 meeting that included russian nationals with connections to the kremlin and the former kgb. now known as the fsb. all this comes as another member of trump's inner circle is under fire. last night "the washington post" broke the news that u.s. spy agencies intercepted alleged conversations that sergey kislyak says he had with officials in moscow. had with officials in moscow about two separate interactions between him and jeff sessions in 2016. kislyak said trump spoke with him about campaign and policy matters. drip, drip, drip. joining me now is author of "the plot to hack america," paul butl
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butler, jennifer ruben, mckay koppens. thank you all for being here. jennifer, i'm starting with you on this first. the white house has been told to preserve all documents about the trump junior meeting. that takes care of him. you had jared kushner come out with yet another financial disclosure in which he remembered another 77 meetings and this financial filing about all the money they've made. he and ivanka. this is now inevitably circling in on the trump family and inner circle. so what do you make of donald trump's threat to mueller not to go near his finances in light of all that? >> i think it's a trial to see if the republicans balk. if he can get away with firing mueller. whatever trump is afraid of must be really, really bad. because he is now talking about not only firing mueller but of course pardoning himself which many of us think is not permissible. i think he fears that the finances are going to lead some
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place that is going to be either embarrassing or lead to crimes. and so he's desperate. and frankly, the republicans haven't been all that strong. if they know what's best for them, i would suggest that mr. mcconnell and mr. ryan come out and flatly say if he fires mueller, they'll begin impeachment hearings. if he pardons himself, they'll begin impeachment hearings. that's the only thing to der ter him from moving ahead. if not he'll try to fire mueller and pardon himself. >> it doesn't bode well that republicans would send that kind of a warning to donald trump. this was on cnn. chris collins was on cnn on friday and he was saying that mueller actually shot stay away from trump. let's take a listen. >> i hope mueller wouldn't cross the line into tax returns and he should let go of the business things. the president is not subject to
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the normal ethics issues when it comes to business. >> that is the line. you've been doing reporting on the hill about republicans wanting to stay away. is there any chance that the jennifer ruben suggestion they say to trump don't do it or else would ever happen? >> well, i think the place to look is not at the chris coll s collins. you want to look at the republicans who have spoken out a little bit, maybe tepidly but a little bit about russian interference of the election. maybe criticize trump's handling of the comey situation. people who are kind of on the fence. and those that kind of -- that's where the movement is going to occur. what i will say is that my conversations with republicans on the hill over the past couple of weeks have not suggested there are any grand plans for serious movement against trump. the one possibility, you know, if you're looking for movement is if mueller is fired or if it
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looks really likely that mueller is fired, you might see congressional republicans just acting out of self-interest. and, you know, urging him not to do it simply because they don't want the political pressure to shift back onto congress to be investigating this. for the most part they've been kind of deflecting by saying, well, we're going to find out where the mueller investigation leads. if that ends, then they have a world of hurt coming to them. i think a lot of congressional republicans are going to need to speak up now. >> are you sure that that is where they stand? because the question i have is, "a," would they have that same reaction if sessions were to be fired? if donald trump were to force sessions out. and "b," don't their interests align with the white house? if the russian investigation went away, that would also help congressional republicans who would like to clear this off the books so they can bring tax cuts and gut medicaid.
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>> there's no question republicans would love for this to go away. for the most part what they're most concerned about is getting some bills passed and winning re-election. right? that said, i think that it's an open question whether this would actually go away. i think if trump fired mueller or the deputy a.g. and then mueller however that would work out, it would cause a massive political fire storm. i'm not convinced that the washington press, the national media, democrats would let them off the hook that easy. and i think there's a concern among congressional republicans i talked to that this would end up just consuming months and months of kind of. still making it possible for them to advance their agenda. >> you would be among those that are covering it. you do have trump, his aides looking for leverage against mueller. you have this vote of no confidence from donald trump to jeff sessions. if he were to start i said gate
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these firings, put a lackey in his place, somebody willing to fire mueller. again, if they could put in an a.g. who suddenly declared we've investigated, we found no wrong doing, case closed, how would the washington meeting disentangle themselves from an attorney general saying there's nothing there. >> listen. we had an e-mail that came out two weeks ago of that june 26th meeting with jared kushner, paul manafort, most senior and intimate advisers. they colluded with the representative, the general of russia who is a putin crony to get dirt on hillary clinton. they claim nothing came of the meeting with but that wasn't because they didn't try. and how many republicans have reacted to that? this was outright evidence of collusion with a foreign power. some people consider an
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adversary. and i don't consider what they bat an eye over this. that tells you all you need to know. they tied themselves to the ss trump. they will stay until the water is over their mote. i don't see them coming out even then with these trial balloons that trump is sending out about his ability to fire mueller or pardon himself and his family. so they are just running, they're ducking, covering. that's because not only do they fear him, they fear the fact that 80%, 90% of republican voters despite republicans are still with trump. that's what their fear too. i don't see any, you know, any cavalry coming to the rescue in terms of good governance and drm principals from leaders. they will determine whether they
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are in proceedings or anything else. >> i have to agree. i don't see it either. but i wonder now if you switch to the intelligence community side. you have seen leaking which is the permanent government fight t back his own community akin to nazis. if you think trump would bioengineer an end to the proper that there would continue to be information coming to the press from the permanent government. >> i don't know. let's go to the richard nixon memorial library and see how that worked out. i mean, this is not going to work. it's not permanent government. all right? it's the machinery that makes the united states government work. that facile sates everything on down to your treats. a part of that is the fact that they have documents. and this investigation is not you know, i say this once again.
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they do not understand this is a giant wood chipper bearing down on them and there is no way out if this investigation goes. it's going deeply into finances. 13 of the top financial fraud investigators in the justice department are already at work and they already know it. not to mention the spy hunters. put all of this together, there's just no way out of this freight train. that being said, you can fire them all tomorrow morning and all of that documentation is going to exist. it's going to fall off in front of "the new york times" on a palette. and the next thing you know, the investigation will shift to a senate select intelligence committee with subpoena power. to six months or faster. >> and not to mention jennifer ruben that governments always change. they always change hands. and eventually democrats may get back in hour in the house and the whole thing changes. you also have, jennifer -- if
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you put up -- this is the people who were connected just that we know of to sergey kislyak. this is a "washington post" thing. i don't know if you see all the gray dots that may we may find out. you've got kushner, carter page, donald trump with all these ties. now you have these new information that michael flynn is in need of money. michael flynn has started yet another consulting firm. he doesn't have the money to pay for his legal defense. there are all these places where trump would have to count on all these people going to jail for him. >> yes. it's sort of amazing. remember, none of these people ever remember meeting with russian ambassador. it was a memorable figure. a very large man, very loud, distinctive. so the level of duplicity here of lying about these contacts is one thing. and i think you've hit the nail on the head.
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first of all, in all the people that donald trump has thrown overboard and ridiculed and disdained and dispensed with, why is he so defensive of michael flynn? he's not a family member. he wasn't there at the very, very, very beginning. so what is it about michael flynn that has donald trump so concerned about his fate? so concerned about the reputation? i think that is one big link, one big weak link in the defense around the presidency. and you're right. i don't even think trump's relatives are going to go to jail for him. is jared kushner really going to go to jail for his father-in-law? i don't think so. >> we'll see. >> we'll see, yes. >> we have a prosecutor here. let me ask him that. paul butler, you tell me because you're the prosecutor, is that the risk that you have people with a lot to lose that may not have the money that donald trump has and he doesn't seem to be offering legal defense funds for
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everyone who then went up cooperating out of their own need. is that what they're looking for right now? >> yes. so michael flynn will be one star witness. paul month fort has got all these shady real estate actions with trump. you can be sure that mueller has all of the bank records from trump, manafort, everyone else who's involved. seen he probably is looking to flip manafort. plan fort was at this weird meeting with the russian operative with donald junior. he knows what happened there. he doesn't have the same kind of loyalty that trump junior might have. so it's going to be really interesting to see what happens at this meeting on wednesday. don junior testifies for the first time under oath. he's got to tell the truth. going to be able to ask specific questions about russia. it seems really difficult for folks involved in the trump administration to tell the truth, the whole truth about russia.
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so really interesting hearing on wednesday. >> could they be prosecuted if they were found to have lied in those hearings? >> absolutely. false statements, perjury. it's not enough to say oh i forgot. they have some of the world's leading investigators and best prosecutors who are going to be on their case parsing every word they say. that's why if it were a regular situation, no way would they go in there. enter interesting. that may be why they aren't going into public. thank you very much, everyone. coming up, mitch mcconnell's quest to kill health care. that's next. ♪
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the revised version of the health care bill will still leave 22 million uninsured. do you still think the senate should move forward at least with repealing? >> i do. i think that's a bogus number. what they're basically saying is people choose not to buy something that they don't want to buy if they don't have to buy it. the government's forcing people to buy something they don't want. and so if we stop forcing people to do something they don't want to do, they won't do it. >> no. no, that's still not true, speaker paul ryan. the cbo has found that under the senate gop plan, millions of people would lose health insurance. not just because of the lack of individual mandate. but because of drastic cuts to medicaid and to premium subsidies that would make health care too expensive to buy. despite daily reports of the
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demise, the republican effort keeps coming back. because the health care fight has become the world's scariest real life zombie movie. joining me now, tara, dana milbank, and mckay coppins. do you think this will eventually pass? >> i think there's a strong chance it may eventually pass. mitch mcconnell is one of the most craven politicians out there. he's also a teactician. people make fun of him say he looks like a turtle, all those things. they all belie his political skills. that's why he's continued to win election even when being deemed part of the establish pment. he should never be underestimated. what he thrives on and benefits on is trump's controversies which allow him to operate in the cover of darkness while people are so focused on what
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donald trump's latest scandal is. and also what he benefits from is that he doesn't care. he has made the calculation that he can win re-election and that they can hold a lot of those seats if they still repeal it and that repealing it is better than not repealing it. >> mckay, you talked to republicans on the hill a lot. you have a texas senator saying knowing the health plan ahead of time is a luxury we don't have. and many said don't people want to know about it beforehand? if republicans are willing to vote on something they don't know they're voting on, doesn't it seem inevitable they're going to vote for whatever mitch mcconnell puts on their plate? >> it's possible. although so far that hasn't proven out. i agree with tara. mitch mcconnell always has a plan and he wins more often than not. even last week when it looked like it was imploding, i was cautioning people who were against his health care plan not to be too optimistic. as one senior republican aide
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told me, obamacare died a hundred deaths before it passed. i think a lot of the republicans in the senate are looking at this the same way. that said, if you look at the state of play of this legislative situation, it's kind of unclear what republicans are even going to be voting for next week. it's possible they'll be voting for again for a replacement bill that a lot of them don't like. it's possible they'll just be voting for a straight up repeal of obamacare. and it might be even something else. we don't know right now. so it's hard to make a strong prediction about what's going to happen. but i do think you can't count mcconnell out at this point. >> he hasn't proved to be that deft at getting his caucus together so far. but part of the reason for that is they've been very vague about what it is they're doing. they just say vaguely obamacare is terrible, it's imploding. they're not specific about the fact they're talking about the problems in the individual market. 7% to 10% of the market. you've got a quarter of the market is medicaid.
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that is the big thing. and in a lot of these states it is up to more. and yet you have a big state with a lot of population needs where they didn't expand medicaid but needed to because there are so many uninsured. this is one of the florida senators. marco rubio openly saying that it's time to gut medicaid. take a listen. >> the fundamental difference within the republican conference if you want to narrow it down is between senators who argue why are we doing so much on medicaid? let's only deal with the parts of medicaid that obamacare chan changed. and those like me who say this is an opportunity to reform an important safety net program and put it on a sustainable path for the long-term. >> that is republican-ese for let's gut medicaid. it is extraordinary to me that you now have some republicans ready to go out on the rail and say we need to gut medicaid when so many of their own republican
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constituents in red states want and need it. >> right. well, at least he's being honest saying that's what he wants and what he's up to. look, the problem the republicans are having is they've spent seven years saying we don't like obamacare but they haven't spent time saying what they do want. now they're on a position of what do we vote on and everybody's got a different idea of that and there's no consensus there. but i do think it's premature to say they're not going to get away with it. they're probably not going to resolve much this coming week, but they're going to be at this over and over again. you look at the republican budget in the house. they're going to take a whack at medicaid there. likely at medicare. and you're going to see, you know, a thousand different things coming at obamacare to try to undermine it. and dismantle it. they've been very successful at sabotaging the insurance markets already. >> it's interesting because you have trump vote who are are telling "the new york times" they don't even remember why
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they didn't like obamacare. you have conservative red state voters saying i really need my medicaid. and you have republicans and, you know, to dana's point, rubio was honest saying this is an ideological choice. they've dreamed since they were in college of undoing and unwinding assistance programs for people in need. i wonder if donald trump has any thoughts on this? he doesn't seem to understand what any of these bills are. do republicans really think that he is just the whisperer to red state voters to the point even if they took their health care away, he would convince that them that's good for them? >> i remember why people didn't like obamacare. because it was obamacare. when they didn't know affordable care act was the same as obamacare, the polling changed around the bill even back then when it was less popular. and that speaks to the larger issue here. right? so because it is trump, trump has cultivated this cult-like following on twitter.
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we see the #cult45. but there is real legitimacy to the hash tag. he's cultivated a following where what he's done is make people feel if you attack trump, you're attacking them. that's why you see them upset about him getting rid of the affordable care act and medicaid, wanting to do that and at the same time still supporting him. and the overwhelming majority said even if this goes away, i am still going to vote for him. because the environment we're in right now is that there is no way that the majority of republicans are ever going to vote for a democrat. that's the point we've gotten to. and that's what the republican party has created in this country. and they know that. and they also are aware of the infighting with democrats. that's why i say they are never to be underestimated. the only thing that's standing in the way right now is the fact that democrats have done something they haven't done in recent memory. and that's actually fight a sustained fight. >> yeah. >> and that's what needs to
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continue. >> and what do elected republicans in washington fear more? the pain inflicted on their own citizens, their own constituents, or the donors coming at them for not repealing obamacare? >> well, that's actually the -- i think the way to frame it in as much as they're caught between supporting and voting for the most unpopular piece of legislation in 30 years. or facing the wrath of the republican donor class who are desperate to get this repealed. what doesn't factor into this is donald trump's threats, i think. because we saw some court reporting this past week he is making barely vailed threats at people like nevada senator heller who is, you know, in a tough spot here for re-election. the reality is donald trump is extremely unpopular. he's popular with republicans. but for senators who are not in gerrymander districts it doesn't
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matter as much. getting re-elected, looking out for their own political self-interest. when they're staring down the barrage of negative ads from conservative groups, that does factor into their decisions. >> we are out of time, unfortunately. i would have loved to have gone on longer. thank you, guys, very much. up next, the injustice league. stay with us. noo
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donald trump persistently claims if it were not for voter fraud, he would have won the popular vote. but can that be true if you have an approval rating of 37%? just a thought. more "a.m. joy" up next. led, what is your nationality and i would always answer hispanic. so when i got my ancestry dna results it was a shocker. i'm everything. i'm from all nations. i would look at forms now and wonder what do i mark?
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if you wanted to assemble a justice league of voter suppression, you couldn't did better than donald trump's integrity commission which met
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for the first time on wednesday. kris kobach, christian, and hance vonn spakovsky. and now together trump's superteam of vote suppressers are working to nationalize their attacks on voting rights all to substantiate his invented ideas of voter fraud and a rigged election. first he'll have to get after a wall of opposition in the form of seven separate lawsuits. the most recent one coming from the naacp legal defense fund which claims in its lawsuit, quote, the work of the commission as described by its cochairs are grounded on the false premise that black and latino voters are more likely to perpetuate voter fraud. joining me now is president and ceo of the naacp legal defense
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fund. no two better people to talk to on this issue. i want to put this back of of the so-called injustice league. all of whom have a history on this matter. and play you one of them. kris kobach saying something pretty extraordinary to our own katy tur. >> you think that maybe hillary clinton did not win the popular vote. >> we may not know the answer to the question. >> really? you really believe that? >> let's suppose the commission determined that there were a certain number of votes cast by ineligible voters. you still won't know whether those people who are ineligible voted for trump or clinton or somebody else. >> the votes for donald trump, that led him to win the bex as well? >> absolutely. >> sharon, this is a legal case. so presumably there has to be data floated in this. is there any evidence whatsoever we cannot know who won the 2016
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election? >> no, there isn't. but that is consistent with what has been this drum beat and claim that widespread in-person voter fraud happens in this country. and it's a claim that's been perpetuated by the vice chair of the commission who you just played but also other members here. these are all people who have perpetuated the myth of voter fraud without any evidence of in-person widespread voter fraud. each of them in turn premised that on the idea that non-citizens are voting. that is code for latinos who are not citizens are voting. during the campaign, then-candidate trump and even later after the election trump and his spokespersons continued to talk about non-citizens voting, illegals they called them. and attributed some of hillary clinton's vote to illegals. but you also heard candidate trump talking about urban areas.
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said watch chicago. watch st. louis. he actually instructed his supporters to go watch them, go stand behind them. call law enforcement if necessary. we know what happens in those cities. this was all coded language to indicate that african-americans and latinos would be engaged in voter fraud. for the purpose of wild allegations that the president made were, in fact, true. whatever the commission's work is and now they've announce what had they are going to do, we believe in our complaint we strongly lay out the case that much like the muslim ban, this was created for the purpose of engaging in voter suppression. >> there's two ways to look at this commission. this wild claim by donald trump and his own ego he won the popular vote. he can't stan stand the fact he didn't. the other way to look at it, this is the culmination to purge the voter rolls of people of
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color. it comes after a rather chilling request to all of the secretaries of state to turn over their voting roles and personal information. here's the talk about about the state's resistance, more than 40 of them saying no to that. >> if any state does not want to share this information, one has to wonder what they're worried about. and i asked the vice president, i asked the commission, what are they worried about? there's something. there always is. >> setting aside this is a president who won't turn over his tax return so his transparency is in doubt. just the desire to not turn over personal information about their voters is evidence of guilt in those states? >> you know, president trump even before the election was tweeting out this possibility that there are 3 million to 5 million people illegally voting. he is creating that narrative.
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what is particularly pernicious right now is this is not just the culmination of folks like kris kobach and others, there's an appeals process in "the new york times" i wrote about where the justice department on the very same day issued a letter and the justice department can force states to turn over the data about how states are purging voter lists and maintaining voter rolls. pursuant to the national voter law. that law was passed in 1993 with the goal of tries to increase opportunities. to prevent it from accessing the polls. the legislate from doj asks not a single word about how states are actually complying to ensure access to registration. it's focused on what states are doing to maintain voter rolls. right now you have processes through the commission and through the justice department that is seeking as it's a
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prelude to voter purging. that's who they represent on the commission. i think right now when you look at the news this week and what's happening and what the agenda is on voting rights, you see the threats repeatedly and ongoing persistence of attacks on the media. all three of these things are core ingredients to the health of american democracy. all three are quite blatantly under attack right now. >> talk about a dream team of ken blackwell, you got kris kobach who's had an obsession about non-white immigration. this is what john lewis civil rights hero said about hans vonn
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spakovsky. he's been hell bent to make it more difficult tr people to vote. it's like he goes to bed dreaming about this and gets up saying what can i do today to make it more difficult for people to vote. it almost seems like the makeup of the commission is the best evidence for your lawsuit. >> i think you're absolutely right. i think there are three main pieces of evidence. one are the statements made by the president, his spokesperson, and spokespersons and surrogates about what he believes is voter fraud and why he wanted to create this commission which came right out of his statements about widespread voter fraud. which has been stacked with what was called a rogue's gallery of voter suppression. all of the individuals you mentioned. third are the actual plans of the commission. talked about the request from the 50 states. a spokesperson for vice president pence indicated they intend to compare the data they receive against federal data
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bases from homeland security and other places. that's kind of like the cross check program that secretary of state -- kansas secretary of state has been running which has been proven to have a bis proportionate influence. but never threat disproportionately. because of the kinds of names that are likely to show up in the database. so everything about this commission from the president's statements about it, the formation of it, the membership, the plans for the commission, all of it leads to one conclusion that this is created to do the work that the piecemeal cases that we have been winning in federal court by the way on voter suppression and voter i.d., it's designed to take all of that piecemeal work and to combine it and put it together into one national platform that voter suppressers can draw on to continue their efforts through voter purges and other means. >> this is a reconfiguration of what happened during the bush
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administration when many were fired for not pursuing the cases. if you want to know why republicans aren't afraid to take your health care away, maybe it's because they're confident not everyone will be a toibl vote them out. our dream team here of talking about voting rights thank you very much. we appreciate it. >> thank you. coming up, fallen stars. two infamous names from the past. o.j. simpson and r. kelly. back in the headlines again. more "a.m. joy" after the break. noo
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everything old was new again this week as two of the most infamous names from the past -- from past legal scandals reappeared in the news. many of us were riveted thursday as networks went wall-to-wall with coverage of o.j. simpson's parole hearing. and we were horrified at a buzzfeed report detailing allegations that r. kelly self-described pied piper of r & b was holding women against their will in what parents of one woman described as a cult. a representative for kelly has denied the allegations and one of the women has said she's not being held against her will. back in 2008 kelly was acquitted on all charges when he went on trial for child pornography, but this week's news has resurrected news of those old allegations. and this eye-popping thing from kelly. >> do you like teenage girls? >> when you say teenage, how old
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are we talking? >> girls who are teenagers. >> joining me now is the afro-free msnbc contributor, toure. didn't he look different in that picture? and jackie reid, my play cousin and host of nbc "new york live" as well as my co-host on my pod cost. >> i want to get video of you from ten years ago. >> his face in that interview. >> when we showed the picture of his face in that interview, it was priceless. during that time, this is something that happened in 2008. and you walked away from that thinking r. kelly is a pedophile, what? >> i mean the answer he gave, when he struggled to say -- do you like teen age girls and he couldn't easily say, no, what are you talking about, that was a softball. do you like teen age girls. you just got off of a child
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pornography trial. just say, no, what are you talking about? but he couldn't say that. there was something in the face and the look that made it seem like, wow, we're talking about teenage girls, where are they? the drool is there. and so, yes, from that moment i and many others felt like he was tacitly saying yes, even though his front brain knows i should say no but he can't say yes because the compulsion seems so great. >> and he was married to aaliyah who was a teenager. >> she was 17. >> the aunties are still listening to r. kelly at the party. it's very infectious, great music, but have we failed black girls, knowing since 2008 since toure sat down with him and he couldn't say he wasn't into teenage girls and he's still allowed to perform. his new tour is actually selling
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better. >> one of the girls that's allegedly caught up in this cult, i believe the one whose mother had a news conference, she admitted when her daughter first met r. kelly, she, the mother, was a huge r. kelly fan and took her to the concert and introduced her to r. kelly. and then when he asked for the parents' blessing to take this girl under his wing and on tour or wherever he took her, they said okay because they really didn't believe the charges that were brought up against him since he was acquitted of them. >> you know, from james brown to chris brown, we make these sort of divisions, from the music versus the person. i mean roxanne gay talks about this in some of her writing, when the rhythm is that good, you can't divorce it from what your brain is thinking about. the person is evil or vile. you just get stuck. and dancing to music that you know is not aaffirming to you and your life. >> race is also a factor. for so many african-americans
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because of the history of how they have been treated in the criminal justice system, they look at r. kelly like him being abused or mistreated by the system. but that's without them doing their homework and digging deeper. this buzzfeed piece isn't just gossip on the internet. this is a nine-month journalist investigative journalism piece. >> and i have to read this one piece from karen atia in "the washington post." the excerpt is for decades now the listening public has given that manpower, fame and money, the same tools that you yoosds to prey on girls. he wields his talents to entertain us and allegedly uses them to destroy the lives of black girls. this is the devastating part and america doesn't give a damn. i want to move on to o.j. simpson. your thoughts now on o.j. simpson being freed. remember, he wasn't in jail for the murder charges. >> oh, no, he was jailed because of the murder charges, right? >> and sentenced to 33 years
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because of murder charges. >> you don't do nine years on this time of a charge, a first-time offender, an older person, unless you have this other thing. i thought they're never going to let him out and the political pressure on the board would be too great. i'm glad to see that he got out because we should not have a government -- the government cannot convict you so they'll get you for something else. we don't want that sort of government. even if you don't like o.j., you don't want that sort of a government. >> it will be interesting to see if he continues to take these kind of moments and opportunities for granted, you know what i mean? what will he do? because his time in prison, and prison even in a medium security prison, it's not an easy thing. he had favor from guards, other prisoners, he had a flat screen, you know what i mean. it wasn't a tough life for him to come out remorseful. >> and he did watch his friend, donald trump. he attended donald trump's wedding to marla maples and so
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apparently he was in the know. we've got to show this picture of toure. can we show who he really looks like? no, no, no? there we go. programming note, tune into a special o.j. simpson chasing freedom tonight at 10:00 p.m. eastern. watch us tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. eastern. you get used to food odors in your car. you think it...
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...smells fine, but your passengers smell this bell dinging new febreze car with odorclear technology cleans away odors... ...for up to 30 days smells nice... breathe happy, with new febreze. good day, everyone. i'm alex witt here at msnbc world headquarters in new york where it is high noon in the east, it's 9:00 a.m. out west and president trump is in norfolk, virginia, where he has just wrapped up remarks at a commissioning ceremony of the uss gerald r. ford navy ship. here's what he told those gathered for today's ceremony. >> wherever this vessel cuts through the horizon, our allies will rest easy and our enemies will shake with fear because everyone will know that america is coming and

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