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tv   MSNBC Live  MSNBC  July 22, 2017 12:00pm-1:00pm PDT

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ed. plus earn free nights and instant rewards at check-in. yeah. like i said. book now at choicehotels.com good saturday to you, i'm jacob soboroff here in new york. it is 3:00 p.m. on the east coast, noon out west. president trump spent this saturday morning in norfolk, virginia, where he officially commissioned the newest and largest aircraft carrier, the
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"uss gerald ford" but before leaving the president went on a tweet storm, ten tweets within just two hours on all kinds of topics ranging from his power to pardon to leaks against attorney general jeff sessions and friday's staffing shake-up. white house press secretary sean spicer resigned as president trump named long-time wall street fund manager anthony scaramucci as the new communications director. >> the president obviously wanted to add to the team more than anything. i just think it was in the best interest of our communications department, of our press organization, to not have too many cooks in the kitchen. and a very big week ahead as the russia investigation continues to drip, drip, drip. nbc reports that jared kushner, paul manafort, and donald trump jr. will be interviewed by congress next week, all behind closed doors as questions swirl around their roles in the russia investigation. meanwhile, "the washington post" is reporting that u.s. spy agencies intercepted
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conversations of russia's former ambassador to washington, sergey kislyak, in which he told his bosses at the kremlin that he discussed trump campaign matters with then-senator jeff sessions during the 2016 campaign. joining me from the white house is nbc's kelly o'donnell. kelly, i know the president tweeted about this earlier today. how is he and the white house responding to this latest "washington post" report? >> reporter: well, no official response from the white house except for the president's tweet, and you see the president using a strategic turn to always talk about the leaks. this, of course, was the product of an intercept of a phone call, presumably, or communications that the outgoing russian ambassador had back to his bosses in moscow and that's something that u.s. intelligence surveils and based on that, the reporting according to the "washington post" is that in contacts with jeff sessions, there were conversations about the campaign, whereas sessions had told his fellow senators at the time during his confirmation hearing that he had only talked
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about official senate business, even though he was a campaign surrogate, no talk of the campaign. that, of course, was very critical at the time, because the russia investigation was getting going. there were questions about who within the trump orbit might have had any kind of contact so that's why this is so notable. now, of course, it is kislyak reporting back to his bosses in russia. we don't know what truthfulness there is in his comments, if he reported it accurately or if, as jeff sessions says, there was only talk about typical senate business. so, there is a question there. but the white house communications department has not talked about this, just the president, focusing on leaks, saying that needs to stop. >> kelly, i want to ask you about the shake-up that took place in that very room where you're standing right now because of a downpour in washington, d.c. soo soo sean spicer's out, anthony scaramucci is in. i'm looking a note that came through from the white house pool report that says that the
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president had lunch with priebus and steven miller and treasury secretary mnuchin. what do we make of that? >> reporter: coming back from the commissioning of the "uss gerald ford", the president landed in virginia and went right to his golf club there and took along with him reince priebus and the treasury secretary and another top policy and speech-writing adviser, steven miller so it is notable to me that the white house let us know that the president is having lunch with reince priebus because weekend after weekend, we see the president go to his club, we're told that he is having meetings, but they almost never tell us who he's meeting with or what's happening there, whether it's golf or no golf. so this to me strikes me as an attempt by the white house to say that reince priebus is in the mix, meeting with the president, involved. that's what i take away from that note from the white house spokesperson who let us know about this lunch. >> changes perhaps, kelly, already under anthony scaramucci to what we know about and what we don't. kelly o'donnell in the white
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house briefing room. thanks a lot. more now on that "washington post" report. current and former u.s. officials tell "the post" that russia's former ambassador, serg sergey kislyak, told his superiors that he discussed campaign matters with jeff sessions during the 2016 election. jeff sessions has denied ever having such conversations when he was asked about it during his confirmation hearing for attorney general. watch this. >> let me state this clearly, colleagues. i have 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. >> joining me right now from aspen, colorado, is nbc's ken delaney. and ken, are we to believe that kislyak -- what kislyak said, i guess, to the kremlin was actually what was discussed between him and jeff sessions? >> reporter: that's the big question, jacob, and if it's
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true, it's a big problem for jeff sessions. the problem is, how do you prove or find out whether it's true or not? current and former intelligence officials have told me that it's not unprecedented for the russian ambassador or other ambassadors to report falsely back home either for disinformation reasons or just because he was exaggerating the nature of the meeting. you know, at the same time, this poses a huge challenge to jeff sessions who's adamantly denied that he had these kind of substantive conversations with the russian ambassador. don't forget, he already had though correct his testimony under oath about his contacts with the ambassador. he first said he had no contacts with russians during the campaign, then had to admit that he had at least two and now the question is, what were those conversations. he says they were not substantive. kislyak apparently told his bosses in moscow something different. >> ken, what else -- you're there at the aspen security conference, some of the biggest names in intelligence are there with you, including dni dan coates. what are you hearing from security officials there as more information is uncovered in this
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russia investigation? >> reporter: well, in terms of the russia investigation, they all view this as a very serious matter that is a threat to the trump presidency. the currently serving top officials have all appeared in public at this forum, they've all been asked, do they endorse the intelligence assessment that russia hacked and meddled in the election. they all gave it a full-throated endorsement which is different from what the president has done, trump, he seemed to raise questions about it. privately, current and former officials in the hallways here are deeply concerned about not only the trump administration's relationship with russia but where they are taking u.s. foreign policy, and you see now that the congress, republicans in congress, have come together and agreed on a bill that would sanction russia and tie the hands of the trump administration, something they don't want to do and now trump is faced with questions of whether to veto it or go along with sanctions against russia. >> always appreciate these weekend conversations we have. good see you. i want to bring in our
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panel, chief white house correspondent for the independent journal review and molly hooper, congressional reporter for "the hill." i want to play what jeff sessions said on march 2 to hear more of that just before recusing himself, what he said again on june 13 to the senate intelligence committee. watch this. >> let me be clear. i never had meetings with russian operatives or russian intermediaries about the trump campaign. i have 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. further, i have no knowledge of any such conversations by anyone connected to the trump campaign. >> all right, erin, you first. are the intelligence leaks that we're hearing about from the "washington post" credible enough to cast doubt on what our and what were very, very emphatic statements from jeff sessions?
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>> well, look, they could be and the problem, obviously, for jeff sessions is that he has been changing his story. this is not to defend jeff sessions at all, but i do think we need to step back and think about what a u.s. senator goes through every day. they often walk into meetings not knowing who they're meeting with, you know, five minutes before. and they can be walking around with a scheduler who can give them a little bit of a briefing on who they're about to meet. so it's entirely possible that jeff sessions did not know that he was meeting with kislyak in his capacity as a senator or as an adviser to the trump campaign and then kislyak asked him some questions and he didn't really think much of those questions. senators are -- and lots of different conversations with reporters, with advisers, all the time. as molly well knows. so, i do think that, you know, jeff sessions might have a little bit of leeway there, but the problem is that he's been changing his story. >> yeah, that story continues to change. molly, the president made it clear to the "new york times" earlier this week, he was not so happy with jeff sessions. can president trump fire him, do
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you think, without making it look like there's something to hide. and by the way, does he even care about that perception. >> that's actually a great question, does he care. it seems like donald trump does what donald trump wants to do when he wants to do it and he has his own purpose that a lot of people in d.c. at least up on capitol hill don't really understand until, you know, weeks later, perhaps. but the sessions question is very interesting because here he was earlier this week, basically, you know, excoriating his attorney general and saying, i never would have hired him if i knew he was going to recuse himself, but today, he defended sessions in twitter. and basically, he went after the -- of course, the washing n "washington post," the bezos "washington post" saying that the real issue here is the leaks of this story, and which brings about another interesting point, lots of interestings these days, the house intelligence committee and senate intelligence committees are investigating the russian interference in the election. they're also, at least the house is looking into who was leaking
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this information. you know, that's one of the questions, who unmasked these names. and so, you know, this new report that we say in the "washington post," that question is, who leaked that story to the news. >> yeah, molly, you mentioned the tweet that president trump put out this morning about the so-called amazon "washington post." he said, these illegal leaks like comey's must stop. there it is. can't imagine president trump's going to be doing any amazon shopping any time soon. how frustrated do you think he is that he can't change the emphasis on the russia scandal and what he's doing about it. >> look, that's what what is bogging down this white house is that they can't move on from it and they have a team of researchers, apparently, looking into mueller's investigators for conflicts of interest. i mean, what is this white house actually doing in terms of everyday policies that their supporters even care about because they are so focused on defending the president and trying to beat down some of these negative reports that they don't like. >> well, i mean, it's made in america week, i guess you could say, but i don't know that anybody really knows about that.
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erin, molly, good to see you both. thanks so much for being here. so what about the health care bill? i mean, it's a great question. president trump calls out senate republicans in another attempt to repeal and replace obamacare. >> by the way, you can also call those senators to make sure you get health care. and also coming up, we're live in alabama for the summer of revival as democrats attempt to turn parts of the deep south blue. their task, their next task, excuse me, winning the seat once held by attorney general jeff sessions. noo introducing the easiest way to get gillette blades text "blades" to gillette on demand text to reorder blades with gillette on demand... ...and get $3 off your first order
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their task, their next task, for years, alabama has been a republican stronghold. the democrats have not been able to penetrate. the last time a democrat won a senate race there was 20 years ago. but with jeff sessions' senate seat vacant and the republican
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party sullied by recent skanlds and resignations, could this be the opening the democrats need to rebuild the state democratic party. msnbc is in alabama for us. you are with one of the candidates for the open senate seat right now. what's going on down there? >> reporter: hey, jacob, things are just getting underway. we're still about an hour or so out, but democrats here in this state are certainly hoping this is the opening they need to take advantage and turn things around in this state. i'm here with doug jones and you're the front runner for the democratic party. but you have not raised as much money as the republicans have. how do you compete? >> well, first of all, we're not competing with the republicans at this point. this campaign is about issues. and it's about kitchen table issues involving health care, the economy, jobs, a living wage. those are the issues that we're establishing right now. we'll let the republicans spend all of their money talking about nothing and that's exactly what you're seeing. no substance, nothing coming from the republican candidates
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right now. >> reporter: here's the question of the hour. how do the democrats win this seat? >> there's a lot of energy out there right now. i mean, across the country, you're seeing that. you're seeing democrats challenging for every vote, and we've got a democratic base in this state that is pretty strong, a lot stronger than people understand, and you've got middle of the roaders. you've got millennials and independents and you've got some pretty moderate republicans here who are concerned. they do not like what's happened in this state. they don't particularly care what's going on in the country and they're looking for a change. >> reporter: a change. it's been 20 years since a democrat has held this senate seat so is this the time. >> this is absolutely the time. the last u.s. senator was my old boss. i worked for senator heflin in the senate. he was a true satesman and we're going to talk to people and have dialogues with people and get them to understand the issues that bring all of alabamaens together, not divide us. >> reporter: thank you very much, doug. they are going to go out and they are going to talk to people and they're going to talk about
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the issues and hopefully spread their word. >> yeah, tammy, just real quick, a question for you. how is this ongoing conversation and inability for congress to repeal and replace obamacare playing into this democratic primary battle there? >> reporter: sorry, jacob, it's a little bit loud behind me. >> no worries. i was curious. i'm just wondering how the obamacare fight is playing into the democratic primary battle there. >> reporter: oh, he's asking how obamacare is factoring into the democratss here on the battleground. >> i think that like the rest of the country, people are now beginning to see that the affordable care act is something more than just simply something president obama did. it's a living, breathing document -- a document that people are get health care, you know, we didn't expand medicaid. we should have. i think there's a lot more support for it now than people give it credit for and they dang sure don't like the senate bill or the house bill that's come out right now. people want to see some tweaks to the affordable care act. >> thank you very much. appreciate it. there you go, jacob.
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you heard it from him. people do want to see some tweaks. >> fascinating stuff. nbc's tammy leitner in alabama. more on health care. senate leader mitch mcconnell still does not appear to have the votes this weekend to repeal obamacare, but in what is an extraordinary move, he is expected to force a procedural vote this coming week. meanwhile, away from congress this morning, a peace offering to president trump from one of the most famous names in democratic politics, virginia governor terry mcauliffe tells nbc news that he told the president in virginia today, quote, i want to work with you. we governors want to work with you. mcauliffe says the president's response was, call me up. love to hear you. let's bring in are republican and democratic strategists. noel, you first. can we really see some kind of end run here where the white house and the governors try to hammer out a compromise that congress then works from?
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>> you know what? why not? it wouldn't hurt because if you look at the trickle-down effect, if some of the governors, republicans and democrats alike, work with trump to hammer out something, then those governors in return can talk to their senators and their congressmen about what they need to do. because let's look at this. if we break it down, it's a federal issue but really it's a local and it's a state issue. so, that's been part of the problem all along are the, you know, these senators and these congressmen are having to go back to their home states and they can't sell some of these things. especially because of some of the medicaid issues. >> chris, you got every democratic senator standing firm against this republican bill. we heard in alabama it's part of the democratic primary there in a state where they did not expand medicaid. does terry mcauliffe's gesture weaken democrats on the hill? >> not unless senators start listening to governors and from my experience, that doesn't really happen very often when it comes to federal policy. i mean, the problem, i think, the administration has is really
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simple. you have, on one hand, is political capital, you know, weakened by a ongoing russian investigation and on the other side, you have a failure to engage and understand policy. i mean, if you look at the history of presidents, most presidents are at the most powerful during that first six amongst or a year when they push their big piece of legislation. you have republicans that are holding the president's legislative agenda up. and that normally, i think, speaks not only to the divisions within the republican party but how the republican senate and senators view the president. >> noel, i want to go back to mitch mcconnell. politico is calling this a last-ditch strategy, you know, chris is saying it's the republicans that are holding this up. is this simply about making them own their votes or does he see a real chance of turning things around? >> oh, lord. this has been the biggest three ring circus and it's really sad because as a republican, you know, we've got the house, the senate, the presidency, you would think that we'd get all this ready to go and there's so
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much division. it's obvious. i'm not saying anything that's not new. it's obvious. i feel bad for mcconnell because he's trying to rope in a whole lot of personalities and types of people looking for things to put in the bill. you know, each time, i will say, that this goes back and forth and back and forth, we do get some good out of it. just look at what portman got in ohio. look at the opioid epidemic. and he reached out and he got $45 billion added to the health care bill that's going to help opioid treatment. sorry. so, i mean, there are good things that come back and forth. i think going forward, though, i mean, i really think that it would not be a bad idea to have open bipartisan hearings on this so that anyone that would come forward can actually make, you know, make an addition to the bill and it would be live and open and everybody could see it. maybe we should put it out there. >> on that opioid issue, just
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because i've been doing reporting on it, the $45 billion is a lot of money, but rolling back the medicaid expansion is another matter because the medicaid expansion pays for a loft people getting addiction treatment. chris, democrats in congress plan to roll out this new legislative agenda on monday. democrats are getting hit for a n new slogan. what are you hearing about the details and how democrats are feeling about this. >> listen, i think what's good about it is that you cannot run against the other side and try to win elections simply by saying, vote against trump. you have to be standing up for something so i think what you're hearing from democrats in terms of its vision is, what are they offering? they're offering better ideas, they're going to lead to a better life, a better country. i mean, that is, i would say, something that most people would agree on. i mean, i think obviously, the key thing is not going to be a slogan, it's going to be the obviously the key specifics and the messages that surround that and how disciplined is the democratic party and those candidates to go out there and
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communicate that across the country. right now, there's clearly this environment across the country against the president, against the republican agenda, you've seen that on health care that challenge for democrats is to capitalize it and also to kind of chart a larger path forward. >> noel, chris, good to see you both th both on this saturday. coming up, an update on senator john mccain who revealed this week he has brain cancer. his daughter tweeted out a picture of the two of them sitting on a bench, very emotional time, experience for both of them and very personal. the caption said, amazing hike with dad this morning on thursday, senator mccain of course revealed that he has been diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer. the news comes after he had a blood clot removed from above his left eye one week ago. on a very personal note, i'm sending out thoughts and prayers to the entire mccain family. now to minneapolis, a city on edge, days after an
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australian bride-to-be is shot and killed by police, the police chief resigns. next, who else residents are calling on to step down. ♪ mom. ♪ ♪ where all the walls echo with laughter ♪ ♪ and every room has its own chapter ♪ you've carried on your family's tradition.
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minneapolis's police chief is out and the mayor could be next. protesters are calling for the resignation of mayor betsy hodges. they interrupted her press conference friday as she announced the resignation of the police chief. a city police officer shot and killed an australian woman who had called the police for help. ron mott is in minneapolis with more. ron, what kind of change do the people of minneapolis want to see? >> reporter: well, they there, jacob. the tensions in this city and across the twin cities in certain communities with law enforcement have been pretty high over the past few years and this tragic event, this shooting last sunday, only added to that.
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so last night, several hours after she forced the police chief to resign, the mayor held a news conference to update the city on making changes in the police department beyond just changing the police chief. and so a lot of people who were protesting outside somehow managed to get inside a closed city hall and stormed into this press conference last night. the mayor was about halfway through it when this group came in. here's what one gentleman had to say at her. listen. >> the former chief wasn't doing her job, but we understand it's beyond the chief, that the problem is institutional. if it was not institutional, then those cameras would have been -- those body cameras would have been on the police the other day. >> reporter: okay, now we can report that there were no body cameras activated by the officers in the vehicle nor was the dash cam camera rolling. we don't know a whole lot of information, but apparently this woman, 40 years old from australia, engaged to be married, called the police around 11:30 on sunday night,
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claiming that she was hearing some sounds of a woman in distress, she thought maybe it was a sexual assault. she called back a few minutes later to stay cops still hadn't shown up and she ended up in that alleyway behind her home when she encountered the police officers and the officer who fired the shot from the passenger seat and killed her, they claim that they heard a loud noise. the driver of that police car claimed that they were startled by a loud sound and then suddenly she appeared and then shots were fire and had she was killed. that's basically about at all -- all the information that the public has. that's why they are demanding answers. the family in australia demanding answers as well. the community is very sorrowful but also very frustrated. >> nbc's ron mott with another terrible tragedy from the city of minneapolis. thanks so much, ron. now to some other news. at least a dozen afghan police officers are dead after an errant u.s. air strike. the pentagon's confirmed friday's friendly fire strike on a security force compound.
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it happened here in the helmand province and investigations now underway. in a statement, the u.s. offered its condolences to the families of the security forces who were killed. and initial reports indicate that last month's collision between the uss firtzgerald anda p filipino cargo ship was an accident. they did not take necessary action to avoid a collision. coming up, pardons, power, and politics, just this morning, the president tweets about having the authority to pardon if it came down to it. a closer look at what he can do and what he cannot do when it comes to family members and aides and even himself after this break.
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and what he cannot do when it
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welcome back. i'm jacob soboroff live at msnbc headquarters in new york city. here is what we are watching at this hour.
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in norfolk, virginia, president trump gave remarks applauding america's military might while commissioning the u.s. navy's newest and larnlest aircraft carrier, the "uss gerald ford." >> american steel and american hands have constructed a 100,000-ton message to the world. america might is second to none. and we're getting bigger and better and stronger every day of my administration. that, i can tell you. also, new developments from the hill. house whip tweeting that a bipartisan agreement has been reached on a sweeping russia sanctions package. the legislation also includes economic sanctions against iran and north korea. and sad news, actor john heard, best known as kevin mcallister's dad in the "home alone" movies had died. his manager tells nbc news the actor was found dead in his palo
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alto, california, hotel room just days after he underwent minor back surgery. he was 72 years old. now to an nbc news exclusive. our keir simmons sat down one-on-one with russian foreign minister sergey lavrov who gave his first u.s. interview since this month's g20 summit in germany. keir simmons has this exclusive report from moscow. keir? >> reporter: good afternoon. beyond the political rhetoric, if you like, that we heard from sergey lavrov in this interview, he also had some really blunt messages for the u.s. on some of the most tense regions of the world. on north korea, he pushed back very strongly on a suggestion by the cia director this week that america might be in favor of regime change in north korea. take a listen to that, jacob. >> we don't believe in regime change anywhere. i hear very enthusiastic voices in the united states, including in some parts of this
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administration, that the patience has been over and they must do something because the threat is growing and growing and intercontinental ballistic missile was launched. but a month ago, i think, a month and a half maybe, secretary mattis answering a question bluntly stated that the use of force against north korean regime would mean a disaster, a humanitarian disaster in the region. >> reporter: and sergey lavrov had a tough message, too, on syria, where the peace deal that was brokered by the u.s., russia, and jordan does appear to be holding, but he appeared to suggest in this interview that while america should be in syria to fight isis, when that battle is over, the u.s. should actually withdraw from syria. take a listen to that. >> after the country has been liberated, presence of the foreign troops or foreign bases on the soil of syria would be
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only legitimate with the consent of the jirns themselves. >> reporter: to be clear, the principle that the only forces that should be allowed to intervene in syria are those that have been sanction bid president assad would suggest that only russia, iran, and perhaps hezbollah should be allowed to intervene in syria. >> well, strictly speaking, yes. >> reporter: that's the situation, america clearly and its allies in the region would never accept. a situation, jacob, where iran and russia kind of was able to freely operate within syria with the agreement of president assad and the u.s. not so. >> there's no doubt about that. nbc's keir simmons in moscow, thank you very much. this week was the first time we heard the word pardon thrown around in some kind of official capacity after "the washington post" said president trump had asked his advisers about pardons. there are differing opinions on
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what the president can or cannot do. joining me now to discuss these issues, joyce vance, a former u.s. attorney in alabama. i'm curious, what is your take on this? can a president pardon himself? i want to read a tweet today where the president asserted his complete power to pardon. he says, while we all agree u.s. president has complete power to pardon, why think of that when only crime so far is leaks against us. fake news, in all caps. >> the president's power to issue pardons comes from the constitution itself, and under the constitution, he can issue a pardon for any crime other than impeachment. that's the first limitation on his power. impeachment. other than that, though, the pardon power is absolute. the president can issue pardons to anyone he chooses to for any federal crimes, importantly not for state crimes. the dispute that's arisen in recent days is over whether the president could pardon himself. >> right. >> and leading experts believe
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that the president would not be able to pardon himself, that there are a number of threads in american constitutional law that prohibit an individual from being their own judge and that that line of legal analysis would keep a president from pardoning himself. but important to note that the president could go ahead and do it. there's nothing that would keep him from doing it and then that pardon would have to be tested in courts of law. >> and we're talking about, ultimately, because this is never really been adjudicated, all the way to the u.s. supreme court, correct? >> i think that's right, and it would be an interesting, drawn-out process. maybe i shouldn't say interesting. only interesting to constitutional lawyers where there could be charges down the road, either through articles of impeachment in the house or if bob mueller were to file charges with a grand jury. we've seen just the this afternoon an old clinton-era legal memo issued by the then-independent counsel saying that he believed that a president could be charged in
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civilian courts. so, in either of those scenarios, the president would then have to assert his own pardon as a barrier to being tried and it would be a messy, lengthy process. >> what about pardoning his family members or members of the administration? in effect, if he goes ahead and pardons those people, is that not the president saying, at least, implicitly, they did something illegal? >> so, jacob, you're exactly right. whether it's technically an admission of guilt in the eyes of the american people, if he begins pardoning people in his inner circle, it will be an admission of guilt in the eyes of the public. and that, of course, is the risk of doing that. he'll have to make a political calculation of whether those pardons, which would be absolute, and could not be revisited down the road, of whether there's a political cost that might, in fact, lead to his own impeachment. >> yeah. political costs are not something that this president necessarily seems to be all that concerned about, i guess. i want to ask you about next week because it's going to be a very big one in the russia
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probe. we know jared kushner's going to be interviewed by congressional committees. these are, i got to be really clear, interviews, not testimony, and he will not actually be taking an oath. donald trump jr., paul manafort have also agreed to be interviewed by senate judiciary committee staff. we do not have a date yet on that. how tricky will these interviews be, given all the changing stories swirling about regarding that meeting with the russian lawyer. >> the context for these two sets of interviews is different. kushner is going in voluntary, being interviewed. obviously his lawyers will be present, even though he won't technically be under oath, there is likely an understanding that any false statements would be prosecutable under the federal statute that prohibits making false statements to the government in the course of an investigation. but i think what's notable here is that despite the president's much-vaunted compliments to his son about transparency, we're
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not, in fact, seeing transparency and people who are innocent when you're approached by investigators typically want to make a clean breast. they want to come forward, give investigators all of the information that they have, let those investigators conclude that they're not guilty. when you see people setting conditions on when they will appear and what they will discuss, that's when investigators will begin to draw conclusions from that type of behavior, which is a far cry from transparency. >> yeah, including doing these interviews behind closed coodoo and not in open session. joyce vance, thanks so much. seizing your cash and property, even if you are not charged or convicted of a crime, it was stoched by the obama administration but now it is back on. next, the resistance the justice department is getting from both parties and in our next hour, my colleague, richard lui will be here with more on the white house shake-up and the tough questions ahead for donald trump's inner circle about their meeting with a russian lawyer last summer.
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the justice department's coming under fire for reinstating the use of what's called civil asset forfeiture. the practice was embraced during the early years of the war on drugs but curtailed under the obama administration. here's the deal. it allows local law enforcement to seize cash and personal property like homes and cars from people suspected but not necessarily charged with or convicted of crime. critics, including several conservative lawmakers and civil libertarians have blasted the move, saying it undermines property rights and violates the constitutional principle of due process. but attorney general jeff sessions calls it a key tool in the fight against organized crime. >> it weakens the criminal organizations when you take their money. and it strengthens our law enforcement when we can share it together and use it to further our effort against crime. >> interestingly, sessions
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acknowledged criticism of the policy, vowing to implement the order with, quote, care and professionalism. i want to bring in robert johnson, an attorney at the institute for justice. it's good to see you. thank you so much for joining me. let's talk about what the a.g. said. he said the forfeiture policy hits criminals where it hurts, until the wallet. your group, critics say that this practice is inherently abusive. how come? >> well, i think the key point to understand here is that these aren't criminals. in this country, nobody is a criminal until they are convicted of a crime. and we're talking about people who haven't been convicted of anything. they haven't even been charged and actually what the doj's own inspector general found in a recent report is that in most of these cases, they are taking cash and it's not even connected to a criminal investigation. so, in effect, what they're doing is they are taking money from people, taking property from people on the suspicion that they might be involved in a crime. but then they're not even
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actually investigating, and they're simply letting the purported criminals go. >> yeah, so, the attorney general says the new policy is going to include safeguards to ensure that evidence of criminal activity, though is well documented. you know what he and the administration is going to say to you all. why not give it a try. you say to them what? >> well, those safeguards really amount to safe policing. it's a promise to be more careful. but these are the same law enforcement agencies that have engaged in abusive forfeitures in the past. they've been well documented cases where property has been taken from innocent people, people who did nothing wrong, and these are also the same law enforcement agencies that stand to profit when law enforcement takes property, using civil forfeiture, they actually get to keep it and use it to fund their own budget and it's self-policing by financially interested agencies just isn't an answer. >> i want to ask you, because the new policy, it seems to be picking up a lot of bipartisan opposition in congress.
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that's no surprise if you've been following opposition to the war on drugs. i don't know where chris christie stands on this but he was outspoken against the war on drugs and was one of the big supporters of donald trump during his presidential campaign. is this something that republicans and presidential campaign. is this something that republicans and democrats will unite to block? >> it's an issue where everybody understands nobody should be deprived of their property, their cash, their car, even their home, without being convicted of a crime. under civil forfeiture, people have to actually prove their own innocence in order to it their property back. it's wrong. it's not american. >> robert johnson, attorney for the institute for justice, thanks so much for joining me. i appreciate it. >> my pleasure. this week's theme at the white house, you might have missed it, was aimed at promoting products made in america. president trump wants you to know that includes his campaign swag, his make america great again hat. we'll take you inside the factory in california where those hats are made. mom,
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when you switch to progressive. winds stirring. too treacherous for a selfie. [ camera shutter clicks ] sure, i've taken discounts to new heights with safe driver and paperless billing. but the prize at the top is worth every last breath. here we go. [ grunts ] got 'em. ahh. wait a minute. whole wheat waffles? [ crying ] why!
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in case you didn't know, it's a made in america week, a promotion by the trump administration to highlight products produced in each of the 50 states. this week the administration repeated its commitment to american-made merchandise, saying it's proudly made all of its merchandise in america from day one. during that presidential campaign i took a trip to the factory which makes the campaign's hats and spoke to the workers who had some surprising things to say. here is my inside report. >> you've got a guy, trump, controversial in the latino community. how did you approach that with your workers? >> i basically told them up front we're going to be doing this order, we're going to be working a lot of overtime, and we know that it is controversial, but it's an
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order. and we would take any basic order to keep the work flow going. >> your family lineage, history? >> mexican. >> how about you? >> hispanics. we were all born in the united states. >> when you heard you were going to make the hats for trump, what was the first thing that went through your mind? >> more work for us. >> some of the stuff he's said is not particularly nice to the latino community. what do you think? >> i just try to ignore it and just work. >> trump says "hispanics love me." is that true? >> no comment. >> no comment. how about you? >> no comment on that also. >> no comment on that one? you got any comments? >> no. >> would you say you're living the american dream? >> yes. why not? >> yes and no? >> yes, yes and no. >> good old throwback. that's all for me, i'll be back tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. eastern. i'm jacob soboroff.
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my colleague richard lui is next. ♪
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hello, everyone, a very good saturday to you. i'm richard lui in new york city. in this hour, shake-up at the white house. white house press secretary sean spicer abruptly resigning after president trump put anthony scaramucci in charge of his communications team. >> the president obviously wanted to add to the team more than anything. i just think it was in the best interests of our communications department, of our press organization, to not have too many cooks in the kitchen. >> the president addressing spicer's resignation on twitter called his former press secretary, quote, a wonderful person with a bright future, while also taking another shot at the media. the president was in norfolk, virginia today to attend the commissioner ceremony of the "uss gerald r. ford." attorney general jeff sessions finds himself at the center of trump's latest tweet
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storm, this time criticizing him for not going after hillary clinton. we begin at the white house, waking up with a lot of new faces in new places, shall we say. the president speaking at the commissioning of the "uss gerald ford" in virginia, knowing that the white house is in a major transition. one new face, communications director anthony scaramucciscar. what has hobbled the administration for six months now. the president openly talked about his pardoning powers in the russian investigation into himself and his family. he accused former fbi director james cokie and hillary clinton of committing crimes, then went after attorney general jeff sessions, asking why he is not investigating clinton. one familiar face no longer at the white house, white house press secretary sean spicer, former. he reformed over scaramucci's hire. on fox news, spicer downplayed that change. >> he wanted to bring some n

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