tv Morning Joe MSNBC July 26, 2017 3:00am-6:00am PDT
be outsourced. i'm yasmin vossoughian alongside louis burgdorf and ayman mohyeldin. "morning joe" is next. >> where the hell did he come from? they're pointing to a protesters. honestly, if you don't point, no one is going to know he's here. he's a young one, going back home to mommy. he's in trouble. he's in trouble. and i'll bet his mommy voted for us, right? sometimes they say he doesn't act presidential. it's so easy to act presidential but that's not going to get it done. in fact, i said it's much easier, by the way, to act presidential than what we're doing here tonight, believe me. with the exception of the late, great abraham lincoln, i can be
more presidential than any president that's ever held this office. that i can tell you. >> the president of the united states continues to hammer his own attorney general after laying off senate republicans long enough for them to narrowly push ahead debating the issue of health care. when it came down to actually voting on a comprehensive plan, joe, packed with new amendments, it was soundly defeated. according to the president, it will all work out over the next week or two. time will tell. good morning, everyone. it's wednesday, july 26th. with us we have "new york times" reporter jeremy peters, former aide to the george w. bush white house and state departments, alize jordan, senior political analyst for nbc news mark
halperin and nbc news correspondent kasie hunt. joe, set the stage. that speech, abraham lincoln style, i guess. >> no. far from abraham lincoln style. i wish it were easy for donald trump to act presidential. we have six months of saying he's a failure of doing. as many people think he should be impeached as not. is approv his approval rating hovering at all time lows for someone at this stage of his presidency, 36, 37%. you have conservatives saying
enough is enough. it is not fake news to say this president should be investigated and that he is treated a member of senate terribly, shamefully. and republicans come together defense of jeff sessions, people like lindsey graham saying enough is enough and saying what every republican senator should say and underline every day, that in america the bedrock belief of our constitution is has always been that no man is above the law. donald trump may not believe that, if you look at the way he's treated james comey and now his attorney general. so that's a big story. obviously the vote yesterday also very significant. john mccain giving a very moving speech. but mika, at the end of the day, no republican member of the senate is going to lose their seat because they voted to move forward and have a debate.
>> right. >> i think you could find a lot of republican members at the senate that would have been in danger of losing if they didn't allow this debate at least to go forward. right now, though, the big question is whether it passes or not and right now most of the people that i talk to say they're a long way from getting the 50 votes they need. >> and what it turns out to be ultimately, too. there's a lot to go through. first let's get to the situation with the attorney general. jeff sessions appears to be staying the course at least for now, despite attack after attack from the outsider president who sessions helped give his first dose of establishment credibility when he was a candidate. there's the whole issue with this president of loyalty. yesterday morning during our show, we saw the president fire off tweet after tweet, taking aim at sessions. and later in an interview with the wall street journal, when asked how long he could continue to criticize sessions without
firing him he said, quote, i'm just looking at it, i'll just see. it a very important thing. and the president downplayed the significance on session's loyalty saying it's not like a great loyal thing about the endorsement. adding "when they say he endorsed me, i went to alabama, i had 40,000 people, he was a senator from alabama, i won the state by a lot, massive numbers, a lot of states i won by massive numbers, but he was a senator. he looks at 40 tuesday peop,000e probably says what do i have to lose? so he endorsed me. so it's not like a great loyal thing about the endorsement but i'm very disappointed by jeff sessions. >> mika, why doesnn't we stop rt there? it's confounding and it shows just how this man knows no
loyalty. donald trump does not respect loyalty, he does not give loyalty. jeff sessions stuck his neck out early on when the republican establishment was all against donald trump and said he didn't have a chance of winning, but this is how he treats people. he throws them under the bus and what he doesn't understand, mark halperin, is in washington, d.c., as i had a former old sage tell me in washington, we're all in a little boat here, joe, and we all row in a little boat and if we're not all rowing in the same direction, things get pretty ugly pretty fast and what goes around comes around. and we're seeing that with sessions. would you talk about the other side of this story, though. there's a reason why breitbart came out yesterday attacking the president and was on the side of jeff sessions. there's a reason why there a lot of republican conservative, quote, nationalists, the sort of
bannon wing of the party started supporting donald trump, felt comfortable with donald trump and a lot of that had to do with jeff sessions. what does donald trump have to lose by throwing jeff sessions overboard and treating him this badly? >> jeff sessions in his career and issues he's fought for been the hero of that movement for two decades. donald trump has been there for about a year. you've seen a lot of conservative media. i think the president right now is acting very reminiscent of bill clinton when he had an independent counsel on his back. it's very easy as the president suggested to say this is all about the presidency and the independent counsel is out of control and he blames jeff sessions for. it's much worse having an independent counsel going after you than the regular justice department for a variety of reasons and even though it goes right to a conflict with his political base is based on the
fact he's looking for a way out. he's frustrated by the specter of the independent counsel. he thinks somehow getting rid of sessions is going to solve his problem. most people around him are telling him it will only make it worse, they'd like him to patch it up. >> he tend to reignite fires around him. i think there is a lesson here about washington, joe. that is whether you're attacking a member of the senate, you're attacking the entire senate. you're attacking all of us, as they will think. throughout the day jeff sessions got support from republican members of congress, in particular his former senate colleagues. >> i worked with jeff sessions for nine and a half years in the senate. he is one of the most honest people you would ever know. he is a man of very high integrity and he is an eagle scout. >> he's a man of courage, he's a man of purpose. >> i find him to be a man of integrity. >> i think that his independence has been proven by his willingness to recuse himself.
>> this could have been handled in a different way. it's not good for the present, not good for the politics in general. >> jeff has been very loyal to the president and i think he deserves loyalty back. >> i would recommend against firing sessions. he was the first senator to support president trump. he stayed with president trump when he was ten points behind. >> i hope the attorney general doesn't resign. i hope he's not fired. if you look at so much of what the president of the united states wants to accomplish on his agenda, sessions is central to that. >> if president trump fires attorney general sessions, do you think this senate will approve whoever he appoints after the fact? >> it raises a question about whether or not anyone will want to do it. >> wow. >> and lindsey graham said in a statement, quote, jeff sessions
is one of the most decent people i've ever met in my political life. he's a rock solid conservative but above all else, he believes in the rule of law. jeff understands that we are a nation of laws, not men. on occasion, i've vigorously disagreed with jeff but i've never once doubted his integrity or sense of fair play. president trump's tweet today suggesting attorney general sessionsare sue prosecution of a former political rival is highly inappropriate. prosecutorial decisions should be based on applying facts to the law without hint of political motivation. to do otherwise is to run away from the long-standing american tradition of specific separatin from politics regardless of party. kasie hunt, you hear these republicans that have stood behind donald trump nonstop and
defended him when they should not have defended him, defended him when she was decembfensdefe. and they're coming ou and -- out and strongly saying back off, mr. and they did the same thing last wo week when he started doing the same thing with robert mueller. tell us how bad things are with donald trump seemingly spinning out of control over this investigation. >> we've talked wrepublicans is opposition of him. sometimes you have been critical for them failing to do it. this is not going to be a case where that happens. i had one aide use the phrase
constitutional crisis to talk about what might happen in the event that the president fire jeff sessions or that jeff sessions resigned. i don't think that there is a way that republicans would move forward with confirming another attorney general based on the private conversations i had yesterday about it. i do not think that this is a thing that could possibly happen. there's been conversation out of the white house about recess appointments. that's something both sides have been blocking and democrats and republicans say that's what would happen here. we could go for quite some time without having one. that would have incredible implications. >> and, jeremy, you look at all of the people that were speaking out yesterday against donald trump's sorry treatment of jeff sessions as we'd say in the south, sorry treatment of jeff sessions and you even had newt gingrich, a guy who donald trump has been a republican since he discovered birtherism in 2011.
he understand the special place that jeff sessions holds in the republican party for a certain wing of the republican party that helped donald trump get elected. the breitbart wing, the steve bannon wing. talk about the impact among the base if he were to fire somebody and if he continues disrespecting somebody that actually has believed the same things his entire life and fought for nthem even when donad trump was giving money to hillary clinton, barack obama, chuck schumer and others. >> you hit the on the key point that jeff sessions provided him with political cover when there were conservative republican voters who looked at donald trump and said i don't know that that guy believes in what i stand for. jeff sessions was the embodiment
of that conservative national strain of politics that ultimately delivered the white house to donald trump. so in distancing himself from sessions, what i will describe as cyber bullbullying, he's cyb bullying him into resignation because he won't say it to his face. he's ultimately conflict averse. you're left with a situation in which the right is starting to break from trump in a pretty significant way. you have rush limbaugh, who is not only a leading indicator, he's kind of a latter indicator, saying he's troubled by this. you have matt drudge, you have breitbart and even talker carlson, these voices on the right that are usually highly deferential to the president are starting to say this is the one friend you had in washington and now you're throwing him under the bus. >> so i have a question, if you
could put your professor hat on, eddie and elielise. it seems that jeff sessions recused himself, which was important to recuse himself from the russian investigation. the president said yesterday with a complete serious face, he want joking, it was he just said it, that he would have not hired jeff sessions if he knew he was going to recuse himself. >> right. >> what's the legal value of recusing yourself? i feel like the very least the president was saying, well, if i had known he was going to do the right thing under the law, i wouldn't have hired him. >> there are a couple of things here. one is that it's clear that there was a conflict of interest with regards to senator sessions and the russia investigation. so it seems to be unanimity
around the fact that he was right in recusing himself. but one of the ways in which he was attacking mueller and the lawyers investigating the russian incident is that they had conflict of interest, that they should recuse themselves because they supported the democratic party. he only appeals to the law when it's in his on interest. that's the first thing. and the second thing is we've always thought about donald trump of come being from the business world, he's a ceo, he can close the deal. where are his management skills? why didn't he ask senator sessions before he hired him what he would do if this arose. and obviously he didn't. so now he just told us he didn't. so now he find himself in this situation. >> there are so many situations like this. >> i think what we've seen with president trump is that in his
legal counsel, he does not want officials that are going to uphold the law of the land. high wants lawyers who want him maneuver of law of the land in himself favor. and so not uphold our rule of law and just throw it out the window and it's one thing when it's norms, which i'm concerned about, i'm concerned about all of the norms surrounding the presidency that this president has just completely destructed and the ethical lapses but now we're talking about the law and think that's when you're really going to see the uprising from republicans if he does take this -- if he takes it too far with jeff sessions. >> and that's joe when he was talking to the reporters yesterday and answered the question, well, i wouldn't have hired him if he told me he was going to recuse himself. couldn't that be translated to i wouldn't have hired him if he told me he was going to uphold the law and do the right thing? >> he said i would not have hired him if i knew he'd put
ethics and the law of the land above donald trump's personal interest. we've had so many examples of this. mark hal pperihalperin, let takr so. we start with james comey, a man he said was a great fbi director when he did things in his favor. and then he fired him. you look at rod rosenstein, who he was calling the smartest guy in washington, d.c. and loved rod rosenstein and expected his entire staff to lie for him and he refused to do it and he hired
robert mueller. now he's doing it with the attorney general. this is a third time where he's loyal to a person so long as a prn is willing to be unethical for him or check their own ethics at the door. you can look at bob mueller, too. i'm sure we could look back and found some good things he could say when he was guiding our country through 9/11. four examples of people who suddenly don't meet donald trump as standard when they don't blindly and on se-- on seek weously support donald trump. >> what we're seeing is that bob mule ser neller is not like any
adversary. he's going to be very difficult to stop in any way. and bob mueller is doing a methodical investigation with a lot of other lawyers. and while they'll try and rough him up, the problem that any president has when cornered by an independent prosecutor, there's no way to get rid of him. he somehow got by getting rid of james comey and he is somehow getting by besmirching jeff sessions. >> and his biggest argument is
he may have made contributions to democrats and the people he hired and you have the president of the united states who have given money to hillary clinton, bill clinton, the dnc, hundreds of thousands of dollars to the dnc between both of them, harry reed, barack obama, rahm emanuel, chuck schumer. if you really want to line up what the president and the white house communications director, their donations to democrats and bob mueller and his team's donations to democrats, i have no doubt whatsoever that the president of the united states and the white house communications director have given more money to democrats through -- and democratic institutions throughout their lives than bob mueller's team has. so that argument just doesn't work. >> joining us now is one of "the wall street journal" reports are who conducted that interview with the president from which we
read, the journal's white house reporter peter nicholas. thank you very much for joining us. other items that you gleaned from the interview, especially from this conversation. what did you hear? >> there was some real news broken, too. the president talked about he's considering gary cohn, his national economic along with janet yellen. at no point did he make clear that he wants sessions to step down. the strategy seems to be to continue ramping up the sessions to embarrass him a bit in questioning whether his endorsement of trump really meant anything. but in the end really not pushing him overboard and insisting that sessions leave. >> mark halperin.
>> so, peter, there are a lot of people present there in the oval office yesterday. it appears that anthony scaramucci are saying let him go. >> i think he needed to stick with his talk point and at one point, anthony scaramucci got up and stood behind him, made a joke about being the white house bouncer, and it was time for us to go. this were eager to make sure the president wasn't veering too far
off script. >> i find the section revealing about the iran nuclear deal. the president said he does not feel iran is in compliance with the nuclear deal and he feels he's being generous maintaining the deal. did he explain why he feels iran hasn't been noncompliant? >> he didn't go into too much detail. he said he feels barack obama botched it. he said he would overturn recommendations of his aides if need be and rule iran not in compliance when this, issue coms up given in september. he's adamant that iran was fortunate to be found compliant earlier this month in his administration but he seems determined not to do it again. >> but he couldn't specify why he felt that they weren't in compliance necessarily? >> no, he didn't detail that. >> all right. "the wall street journal"'s
peter nicholas, thank you very much for being on the show this morning. >> good to be with you. >> still ahead on "morning joe," the senate's second ranking democrat dick durbin is with us, plus maine's independent voice, senator angus king, chris koons and chris murphy join the conversation and republican adam kinsinger and democrat jim himes who questioned jared kushner yesterday. and jim lyons who questioned e the -- tim ryan. it's not a quick fix.
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do. i'd ask whether you think someday i'd be on mt. rushmore. no? here's the problem. if i did it joking, having fun, the fake news media will say he believes he should be on mt. rushmore. so i won't say it, okay? >> already did. now we have pulitzer prize winner historian john meecham. john, what a show last night. it would have been wonderful had it not been the president of the united states speaking. but let's talk about the president of the united states saying he's the most presidential of all presidents other than abraham lincoln and asking you this as a pulitzer prize winning historian, if you just take his 44 predecessor, their behavior and the restraint they showed at types, the
decision-macki decision-making process, their management styles, is it safe to say that in fact donald trump by a comfortable margin is the least presidential of all 45 presidents that have occupied that office? >> i think it's more than safe at this point. and we have the videotape, as they say. and i love that abraham alolinc is identified as the late great abraham alolincoln. and he's now the late gradead. trump standing enough to know that there is a presidential mode, that there is a way of being in this office, a way of projecting both what walter used to call the dignified and the
efficient parts of government. he kind of knows that's supposed to be there but his ultimate i think contempt for any norms that have bound himself predecessors to reality and his unrelenting self-regard just prevented him from in any way occupying the office that anyone will look back on and say, hey, why didn't we ever think of that before? and it could have been different. again, one of the tragedies here is it was probably worth sending an unconventional person into the office, it's just university it was this withione. >> he said he could act
presidential any time he wants and sadly he's proven it's impossible for him to do, even as his poll numbers go down and his diapprovsapprovals go up, id be in his best interest to behave that way. let's turn to somebody who actually did speak that way and who is on a higher plain politically and philosophically, who actually acted statesman like, acted what we like to think of as presidential and that is john mccain, who gave a rema remarkable speech on the senate floor yesterday. put senator mccain's speech in perspective for us. >> i think it's a reminder why we have the senate. it was said if we ever are to survive demagogues and usurpers,
it's on the floor of the senate. he made a big point that he was an imperfect messenger of this. he's always been humble in that way, but he really framed the issue of the age and of the ages really well. he tacked about passion versus reason. and we're at a moment now where in that perennial struggle, passion wins hour to hour and day to day and tweet to tweet in a way that is going to ultimately be core o corrosive republic. and mccain's voice here, 30 years served in the senate, served in the house, a son of admira admirals. he's very clear that he's not a perfect guy and he said that yesterday, but he did talk about the need to try to put the cause ahead of the self and that's something we can't hear enough
because we have a president who does the exact opposite. >> it was a beautiful moment when he came in and a beautiful speech. kasie hunt, let's go to what happened on capitol hill with health care. in a nut shell, what went down? >> well, you saw them take and it was set up as this giant moment, let's not lose sight of the fact that this really was simply to start talking about how to repeal health care on the senate floor. mccain obviously hugely the focus, very emotional just going through with john meacham and he essentially argued, look, we're not doing anything here. and i think he captured very much the feeling among republican that the senate is really stuck. now, what's going to happen next, they are going to start talking about this. overnight there were nine republicans that voted against what's called the bcra. essentially their big deal they've been working on for weeks, it would have taken 60
votes to pass. it didn't. we're expecting today they'll take a vote that will be an amendment, a clean repeal, leaders don't believe they have the votes for that either. they would need 50 votes. there's still this open question about what's going to happen next. it seems they're going to cobble together what they call a skinny repeal. the president just looking for a win. it's not clear how that is going to affect millions of americans. >> that's what john mccain was saying, we have to stop trying to win just for the sake of winning. >> i was really confused by senator mccain's actions yesterday. i thought it was admirable of him to return to the senate. i thought the speech was in fact important, but part of what's the problem today is the kind of way in which we measure our words against our actions. because after he delivered those
words, how did he vote? >> well, it's a debate. >> and didn't he vote for one of the amendments i think he also voted for. so i think part of what we see in this moment in our cry for statesmanship is some consistency, some principles, some commitment, some value animating our actions. the thing i keep asking myself about the republican position on health care, what is the animating value? what are they trying to do? what is the substance of the campaign promise. >> there is not a parallel in our time in which a political party has taken more money from its constituents to enact a promise on than appealing obamacare. they're under tremendous pressure to repeal this. but that's their motivation.
>> no, no, no, hold on. i've got to jump in here. that's not their motivation -- that may be some of their motivations but there are a lot of republicans, i was a former republican, there are a lot of small government conservatives who were offended by the passage of obamacare, who did not believe that the federal government should compel people to buy insurance. should not compel young people to buy health insurance if they do not want to buy health insurance. now, you can find that offensive -- not you, i'm just talking anybody can find that offensive if they want to find that offensive, you can think idealogically that people like us are short sighted to not believe that the state should compel people to buy health insurance if they don't want to buy health insurance. there are millions and millions and millions of americans who believe that. and i just want to take exception with something you
said about john mccain. just because john mccain didn't vote the way you wanted him to vote, just because john mccain doesn't believe what you believe in when it comes to the central state of managing one-sixth of the economy the way that barack obama and big farpharma and alle other big associations wanted to manage it, it just believes john mccain believes differently than you. and it means we should move forward in the debate. would i have voted that way? no. i think we have to be careful, he gave an honorable speech but he didn't vote the way i vote, and i don't know how to take that. i take that as a conservative republican who has been a conservative his entire life, he
came back and condemned partisanship and said let talk and figure out how to work this out. he want to go to regular order. >> all right. all right. eddie. >> he's very critical of the current bill that's before the senate, right? or what constitutes the bill. so part of what i was trying to do and the point was making was that i was confused about what he was supporting once he moved or once he voted for the senate to move to debate. i understand that. i think you're absolutely right that supporting moving to debate isn't a big deal that much, at least to a certain degree but i was confused by the subsequent vote. so, joe, i understand the point. i'm not begrudging someone for holding their positions, i think someone can be held accountable for the positions they held. >> so let me ask you about the positio positions, i understand what
you're saying about sticking to principles and i understand the point of view that many republicans, especially on the far right but many republicans were deeply offended by the concept of obamacare and wanted to repeal it. but isn't that politically past due at this point? i mean, people have it. it doesn't work that great. it need to be fixed, everyone agrees with that. can you ask any democrat does obamacare need to be fixed in some way? of course. but isn't it past due to take away health care whether you were for it or not? >> again, taking away health care is not the way a lot of republicans would frame it. >> okay, that's fine. >> hold on a second. hold on a second. they would say giving people a choice on whether they want to purchase health care or not without being compelled by the centralized state. that is an ideologically
motivating figure -- >> i'm not debating the ideology with you. >> so i personally believe that, look john mccain -- let ta's ta about john mccain. what is john mccain's central argument? what has he been saying all along? he's not been talking about substance as much as he has process. and in this case, john meacham, process matters more than anything. he's been talking about regular order. if you're a conservative like me, there's a reason why the type of health care bill that i've wanted, which is one that completely reforms health care and actually infuses more free enterprise concepts in will never get off the starting blocks because they don't have hearings. they don't have regular order. they don't grapple with it for two years trying to figure out how do we get some of the premarket into health care so
people are responsible for the choices that they make. they can't do that when mitch mcconnell and paul ryan get three or four staff members together and say write our bills in the back room. isn't that what's wrong with washington right now as much as anything, that we're not having republicans and democrats rolling up their sleeves and working for two years, which is what they really need to do to reform health care. >> at the risk of total self-parity, i was thinking about the way the constitution worked, they shut the windows, made it as hot as possible in philadelphia, they knew as they debated if people staked out a position early or in the middle of the process and ended up someplace else, they'd be killed politically, they'd be accused of hypocrisy, of being squishy.
that's what's happened today. there is no debate. there's very little actual thought. the role of reason is not playing the role it should in the arena because the basis of both parties hold people accountable to these purist tests all the way along. and so if you have a hearing and you ask -- god forbid you should ask a question to which you might want to know the answer, then you're sort of seen as wandering off the reservation. i think that's what mccain was talking about. i think he was talking about having a process where -- we can disagree but at least there would be an exchange. >> i think the repeal for repeal sake might not be constructive for republicans who might want to be elected. >> we started the block with a sound bite from youngs totown,
ohio. tim ryan, it's good to have you. i want to dive into the health care debate with you in just a moment. i'm curious about the motto or slogan that the democrats have come up with. what is it again? >> a better deal. >> great, less filling. >> tim, it's not good. >> well, first, i want to thank president lincoln for showing up in my district yesterday. if i knew he was going to be there, i would have went back home to hear the speech. i'm not a real slogan person. i think it's a good first step because it an agreement among democrats that we need to talk about economic issues and i think that's a good sign. we're going to talk about jobs, we're going to talk about the economy, we're going to talk about growth, we're going to talk about opportunity. those are all really good things. i would like to see it be a
little bit more aspirational instead of just transactional in the concept of tax credits and the kind pieces in there. i think we need more of an aspirational message. what does america 2.0 look look and why can the democrats help working class people in places like youngstown experience that american dream in that new economy? >> what can your constituents believe in that believe in? >> i think they want jobs and and the funny this evening ng i what he campaigned on. he talked about a trillion dollar transportation bill,
they're in total agreement on that. the problem is the opioid crisis, he said he wass goi goi try to deal with that issue, but in each instance, he hasn't even put something in front of congress. it not look he said i have a jobs bill in front of congress, we're going to put people back to work, he doesn't even have it here. and then on the health care piece he's going backwards by support it would go bills in the house and senate that are throwing off of health care, making it more expensive and provide less treatment for addictions. >> right now it certainly seems to be confusing toing if out who is leading the democrat being party. what do you see on the horizon for this party and who do you see emerging as potential leaders? >> that's a very polite way of
saying that. i appreciate that. we're clearly in a transition here coming off of president obama. this happens periodically in politics. i don't think it's anything worth pan beiicking over. we have guys like seth moulton and hakeem jefferies and cedric richards and so there are young leaders starting to emerge within our caucus and in our party and overtime they'll be on tv more and people like what they have to say but it is a new johnson racial of leadership. >> in the "new york times" there's an editorial that is really a difference and divide between those invested in our current institutions and those
deeply suspicious of those institutions so folks who are really skeptical about democracy as such. what do you make of that distinction? is that the real civil war in the democratic party in your view? >> well, we have a lot of issues we're discussing. i think that is one of them that, a lot of people, especially i think when you get into the heartland, i think you get into the south, there are suspicions about the institutions and about the party and this is whether i talk about our brand isn't necessarily connecting in those areas. that's what i mean by that. it that our people think that the democrats haven't delivered for them over time. now, the argument i would make is that in many ways we have with health care, with covering 20 million more people with some of the things we did when we were in charge but clearly there's this huge economic gap between the rich and the poor, the lack of jobs, the way
automation is coming and hitting our communities. imagine a billion dollar steel million in 1950 would employ tens of thousands of people. we still got to wrap our arms around our arms around it and that's where democrats have an opportunity. trump is not presenting really any structural changes to the economy on how he's going to help working class people get back to work and also change the trajectory of the economy for the next generation, so the democrats have a very wide opening here. he can throw the red meat at the base and talk about mt. rushmore and lincoln and the rest but in 18 months and three and a half years, people are going to judge him on what has he done and he's not proposing anything that's going to structurally change. we have to step in as democrats and say look we're the party of solutions in the new economy and that can help heal that rift that we have within the party. >> congressman tim ryan, thank you very much for being on the show this morning. >> thanks for having me. >> jon meacham, thank you very
much, just one side note, you are the most presidential of our presidential historians, just fyi. coming up, and you are only one. paul manafort met privately with staff members of the senate intelligence committee reportedly turning over notes he took during that meeting with the russians last year in trump tower. we'll get details on that straight ahead on "morning joe." we, the people, are tired of being surprised with extra monthly fees. we want hd. and every box and dvr. all included.
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still ahead the senate second ranking democrat dick durbin maine's independent senator angus king, senator chris coons and chris murphy, many who questioned jared kushner yesterday and republican congressman adam kinzinger. "morning joe" is coming right back. it's being in motion. in body, in spirit, in the now.
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bp engineered a fleet of 32 brand new ships with advanced technology, so we can make sure oil and gas get where they need to go safely. because safety is never being satisfied. and always working to be better. i am disappointed in the attorney general. he should not have recused himself almost immediately after he took office, and if he was going to recuse himself, he should have told me prior to taking office, and i would have quite simply picked somebody else. so i think that's a bad thing not for the president, but for the presidency. i think it's unfair to the presidency, and that's the way i feel. >> jeff sessions wasn't in the senate during yesterday's health care fight because he resigned his seat to join the trump administration. lot of folks are asking right
now how's that going for him? back on capitol hill republicans love the idea of dismantling obamacare, just none of the plans to actually do it. they voted to proceed on debate, but then crushed their own party's amended plan to repeal and replace. what happened yesterday? welcome back to "morning joe." it's wednesday, july 6. with us "new york times" reporter jeremy peter, alice jordan, contributeor to "time" magazine, ed ye claude jr., senior political analyst for msnbc mark halperin, kasie hunt, and joining the conversation national correspondent for "the washington post," philip bump and former chief of staff at the cia and department of defense now and nbc news national security analyst jeremy bash, and joe, before we launch into news, set the scene for us. i think especially as it pertains for our first story
which is jeff sessions. >> well, first of all, i hope we have 70 minutes for this block because we have 70 peoples and i want everyone to talk. beyond that a couple of thoughts. first of all this is a president, you could be forgiven for saying what the president said about jeff sessions not telling him ahead of time he was going to recuse himself and wonder if this president has memory problems or is just not bound by the truth or bound by the facts, because there's no way jeff sessions could have told him in december what was going to happen in february that would require him to recuse himself. these are the facts. these are the basic facts. you can look at any newspaper across america, conservative, moderate or liberal newspaper, and will you see these as the facts. as ronald reagan said facts are stubborn things and donald trump keeps repeating a fact pattern
that is bizarre and makes absolutely no sense so we have that. so i guess what's new? secondly, on jeff sessions, we talked about it before. here's a guy that stuck his neck out very early for donald trump. donald trump showed no loyalty. that shouldn't surprise anybody. chris christie did the same thing when donald trump was in trouble after i think it was a loss. he came out and endorsed him on a thursday or a friday, and changed the news cycle and which way it was going to his detriment. he's been thrown under the bus several times, and of course you have republicans in the house thrown under the bus for being pushed into passing a very unpopular health care bill and then donald trump calling it mean-spirited. what happens, mika? really quickly, you saw the senators voting, 50 republican senators to let the debate go on. i think you're right, it will be difficult politically to find 50
senators to support a plan the cbo suggests would put 25 million people off the health insurance rolls, even if some choose to do that voluntarily. it's not well thought out bill. there's no cbo score on how much it's going to cost in the long run, and it's not been transparent. they drafted it behind the scenes, behind closed doors, and they've thrown it out there and it's extraordinarily unpopular. i don't know how senators from wisconsin, ohio, pennsylvania and maine support this bill. it doesn't make political sense, and it's just not a good bill. they need to go back to regular order, like john mccain said, and start over. >> yes, and as it pertains to what's happening with the attorney general, you had flynn fired for not telling pence about a russia meeting and for not disclosing. you have the attorney general under fire right now for not saying he would recuse himself from the russia investigation,
among other things and yet you have family members who didn't disclose meeting after meeting but especially a meeting with a russian lawyer that was two, three, four, five, six people by the time all the truth came out, donald trump, jr., jared kushner and the president flatly defends them. it's very strange, very unusual. jeff sessions is showing no signs though of resigning as attorney general, in spite of demoralizing public moments from the president. yesterday morning during our show, we saw the president of the united states fire off tweetweet after tweet taking aim at his attorney general and later in an interview with the "wall street journal" asking how long he could continue to criticize jeff sessions without first him, he said "i'm just looking at it. i'll just see. it's a very important thing." the president downplayed the significance of sessions' loyalty to him over the past year saying "it's not like a great loyal thing about an
endorsement," adds "when they say he endorsed me, i went to alabama, i had 40,000 people. he was a senator from alabama. i won the state by a lot, massive members, a lot of the states i won by massive numbers, but he was a senator. he looks at 40,000 people and probably says what do i have to lose and he endorsed me so it's not like a great loyal thing about the endorsement but i'm very disappointed in jeff sessions." here is part of what he said during his joint news conference with the prime minister of lebanon. >> i want the attorney general to be much tougher on the leaks from intelligence agencies, which are leaking like rarely have they ever leaked before, at a very important level. these are intelligence agencies. we cannot have that happen. you know many of my views in addition to that, but i think that's one of the very important things that they have to get on with. i told you before, i'm very disappointed with the attorney general, but we will see what
happens. time will tell. >> yes, time will tell. we will see what happens. one thing about the attorney general, the attorney general didn't need donald trump and certainly didn't need donald trump to be popular in alabama. he easily wins re-election. he's a beloved figure there. he also is a beloved figure with conservatives in the national media and conservatives across america and that's sort of more nationalistic wing of the conservative movement so that's why mark halperin yesterday he was defiant, reportedly angry behind the scenes. doesn't plan to go anywhere, and probably even said as we say in tuscaloosa, alabama, on a saturday night, roll damned tide. we're just fine, thank you very much, sir. sessions seems to be defiant and not going anywhere. >> he's got personal reasons to stay, ideological reasons to stay and institutional reasons
to stay. the president clearly seems to be trying to force him out without firing him. if the attorney general quit i think it would plunge the white house into crisis because again there would be no attorney general, getting someone nominated and confirmed would be very difficult under thesirk stacks and rod rosenstein would be in charge of the justice department. he is not sessions in any number of ways. so this is a face-off. donald trump creates unprecedented situations. this is a face-off unlike we've ever seen, but all indications are that sessions isn't going to go. the white house, people around the president would like to defuse this situation but we've seen this side of donald trump. he's made a decision that he wants to torture the attorney general and he's going to apparently continue it at least a little while longer but i'll say again no clear outcome because he's in a box. he's cornered by mueller, and everything he's trying to do to get out of that box doesn't have a great chance to succeed in the short term. >>ier me bash, first of all, what questions come to your mind specifically about this targeting of the attorney general by the president, and
also the president's comments yesterday that he would have not hired him if he had just told him he was going to recuse himself from the russia investigation, which by the way russia was a big issue during the campaign, and the beginning of the presidency. the president certainly could have asked him that question but what do you make of the concept that he would have not hired him if he would choose to dot right thing in a situation like russia? >> jeff sessions was going to be a witness. he was going to be a witness in bob mueller's two principal investigations, the russia collusion investigation and ultimately the obstruction of justice investigation. you cannot have a witness overseeing the investigation. so as a matter of legal ethics, mika, it was a manifestly correct decision by sessions. everyone's focusing on the manner in which the president's been online bullying and twitter shaming the attorney general. the basis for the online bullying, there is no basis and i think lawyers, former attorney generals, people of conscience
need to actually defend jeff sessions' recusal division here. >> i get it. >> they seem to be doing that. philip bump, there are a couple of things donald trump doesn't understand and they come together in jeff sessions. the first thing he didn't understand is somebody that has ethics, and independent ethical code that doesn't put donald trump at the center of their universe. the second thing he doesn't understand are people that don't need him for their survival, and we know that. he does not understand that you just don't need him. jeff sessions in 2014 when he ran for reelection not only a beloved national figure but in alabama in 2014 he got 97.25% of the vote. he doesn't need donald trump. the question is, is anybody around the president going to tell him that? that just firing jeff sessions
actually makes things worse for him? >> well, i think it's safe to assume that someone has told him that enough so that he hasn't actually fired sessions yet. there's always this looming question of whether or not anyone can tell donald trump he's going to heed. it seems someone pointed that out to him and he's heeded it. there's one thing that he said yesterday that i want to draw attention to. he said that jeff sessions recusing himself was bad for the. thecy as opposed to he himself which is an interesting turn of phrase because it suggested donald trump is now aware he can't just talk about how it's bad for him. he has to talk about this bigger thing but also very clear that's not true at all. jeff sessions recusing himself was a reinforcement of what the presidency and what the executive branch is supposed to be all about so it's interesting, donald trump learned how to take that language about how a president is supposed to act and use it in his own defense in a way that's not accurate. >> interesting, there's a pattern with president trump to your point, joe, about people who need him, and the president just doesn't understand when
someone doesn't actually need him and might even be better off without him. that's when you see strange, erratic behavior, and there's a pattern there. we could make a list. >> yes. >> let's bring into the conversation member of both the foreign relations and judiciary committee, democratic senator chris coons of delaware. kasie hunt the first question to you. >> reporter: senator, good to see you this morning. the potential ramifications, sounds like the attorney general has no plans to resign. it's unclear if the president will go through with what he's been insinuating. in the event jeff sessions was no longer the attorney general of the united states, what is your view of how both you as a democrat and others in your party but also republicans in the senate based on what you've heard from your colleagues over the last 24 hours, what would the senate do in response to that? >> first i think the senate will take action, kasie, to make sure
the president can't make a recess appointment, that once we leave for our august recess or what's left of it, that the president doesn't have the opportunity to appoint someone as attorney general without the appropriate review and consent by the united states senate. second, i think there's going to be widespread opposition to an abrupt firing of attorney general jeff sessions. attorneys general pledged their loyalty to the united states constitution, not to an individual president, and president trump doesn't seem to understand that. his repeated harassment of jeff sessions based on his recusal suggest he just doesn't understand that. so i think we would see strong and bipartisan resistance to the firing of jeff sessions, and i think the president would have great difficulty getting a successor attorney general confirmed in the senate without confirmation hearings and those confirmation hearings would focus on the importance of the independence of the attorney general which is exactly the topic the president seems to want to avoid. >> jeremy peters?
>> senator, good morning. >> yes, joe? >> go ahead, jeremy. >> good morning, senator, it's jeremy peters. as you say the democrat also try as much as they can to block any confirmation of a new attorney general, should it come to that. however, it's my understanding the parliamentary procedures really limit what you guys can do short of 51 votes. so it's really incumbent on the republicans, isn't it it, to block this ultimately and would you go as far as to say to your republican colleagues, don't confirm anyone else if trump fires sessions? >> no, let me be clear. we'll try to block a recess appointment so the president can appoint someone without a confirmation hearing or a vote by the senate during a full recess. during the obama administration, republicans then in the minority in the senate for afternoon of it refused to recess, so every three days we would have what's called a pro forma session,
that's what i think will block so there is a confirmation hearing at which i would expect republicans and democrats would raise tough questions about this ongoing russia investigation, about whether the next attorney general would agree to fire bob mueller, because i think that's what's really president trump's objective here is to put in place an attorney general who will fire bob mueller. >> you know, mark halperin, let me bring you in to ask the senator a question. before i do, i looked it up to see how jeff sessions did in 2008 because he got 97% of the vote in 2014, did not need donald trump. in 2008 a year barack obama got elected president of the united states, not a good year for republicans, jeff sessions got a higher percentage in the state of alabama in his 2008 election than donald trump got in 2016. this is a man if you look at his last two elections, that is far more popular by a wide margin in the state of alabama than is
donald trump, and again, just doesn't need him. >> look, he's got an alabama constituency to be sure but got a national constituency with breitbart, washington radio and c constituency in the united states senate, a lot of republicans and democrats will side with him. the president also as he did with james comey is turning sessions from an enemy in some corners of the left not quite a hero, someone they are looking to be a martyr. senator i want to ask you about what you think the legalities are. say the president just said i'm firing the independent counsel. i'm going to fire mueller directly. do you think as a matter of law and not a matter of politics but as a matter of law he can do that or does he have to have the deputy attorney general do that? >> america, he cannot fire him
himself. that has to be done through the department of justice since the attorney general recused himself from oversight of the investigation, it would have to be rod rosenen stein the deputy attorney general. if the deputy attorney general refused to do so it would go to his deputy and so forth, just as happened in 1974 when a series of folks resigned. >> senator, if i could ask you, since the statutes and regulations that govern such a council are different than they were in 1974, what are you drawing on to reach that conclusion? >> what am i drawing on to reach the conclusion that the president can't directly fire the special counsel? >> correct, correct. >> well, i haven't reread the statute this morning, but it's my impression that the special counsel serves at the pleasure of the attorney general and that there are certain standards for his removal and that his removal is only at the pleasure of the attorney general. i may be wrong about that. i'm happy to review the statute.
>> the president just tweeted, he says senator lisa murkowski of the great state of alaska really let republicans and our country down yesterday. too bad." could you just give us sort of a lesson in politics. does this work? >> no. one of the things about this moment where the president is harassing attorney general sessions that is relevant here is that loyalty is an important value in politics. senator sessions really stuck his neck out for president trump, really campaigned hard for him, and gave him credibility in the conservative movement in the you state and the idea that the president would personally attack the senator from alaska who is widely respected for her independent streak will frankly only help her i think in her home state of alaska which has a long tradition of charting their own path and not necessarily following any particular president or his leadership.
there were lots of legitimate questions on the floor last night, not least of which what senator mccain said in his speech about where they're going. there were 50 republican senators who voted to get on the bill but the bill that was taken up wasn't passed. nine republican senators voted against it. it's unclear where they're going, and i think senator murkowski's vote against going on the bill was because there's no clear path forward. >> senator chris coons thank you so much. >> thank you. >> alyse, i feel like the president keeps breaking a code in congress that is so obvious. my daughters have the same code. they can yell at each other, but no, mr. president, you may not yell at one of us. there is this sort of, i don't think he gets that when you attack one of his own, and one of their own, that they are going to take issue with that, even if they don't agree with jeff sessions on immigration or lisa murkowski on a policy. they're not going to take kindly
to this. >> president trump has no impulse control and yes he would be more well served to keep problems within the families to keep them behind closed doors. he's not going to be able to change because we've seen consistently he gets into the most trouble web he shoots from the hip. he doesn't think about what he's tweeting and he just does whatever at a given moment he feels like. >> joe? >> philip, people that are suggesting that donald trump has some maniacal game plan just don't understand that every move he has made, every move since the barack obama tweet that he has made has been a move that has hurt him politically, and now is hurting him legally, and attacking jeff sessions i want to follow with what mika said, you know this really well from coming to washington, it's okay for senators to attack senators. they do not want presidents
attacking senators especially in the same party. i've seen that play out before. it never ends well for the president, does it, philip? >> no, it certainly doesn't. donald trump came to washington, he's a ceo, used to running the show and doing what he wants to do. he comes to washington has to deal with 535 people with their own constituencies. he promised i'm the deal maker, i can bring it. i alone can fix it, he said a year ago this week and what we're seeing is he can't do that. he doesn't know how to deal with the house and the result is -- >> kasie hunt on capitol hill, behind the scenes i know there's a lot of democrats who say he's not fit to be president and they have reasons why some that are considered appropriate, some that may not be at this point. are there republicans behind the scenes beginning to feel this way? i believe this is the kind of behavior that will make those members rise. >> look, i think this is the
tenor of the conversation going on for a long time around the president. susan collins was caught on a hot mike with jack reed obviously democrat, she a republican, there were some salacious comments she made about blake fahrenhold that challenged her to a duel. the other piece was back and forth about the budget which they completely dismissed not just the president's approach to politics but his basic knowledge of how things work in washington. i think for the most part there is a significant chunk of republicans who are watching what is happening at the white house with a mixture of horror and fear and they don't necessarily understand how that's going to impact them and that's paralyzing. for the most part republicans in the senate are there oftentimes as we witnessed in that exchange with what democrats are willing to say in public. >> yep. >> senate majority leader mcconnell in the well, lauded trump and his leadership around
health care yesterday. still ahead, senators angus king, dick durbin and chris murphy. could the president use the august recess to stop the investigation into russia? we'll ask the senators about that possibility. you're watching "morning joe." we'll be right back. and packages. and it's also a story about people. people who rely on us every day to deliver their dreams they're handing us more than mail they're handing us their business and while we make more e-commerce deliveries to homes than anyone else in the country, we never forget... that your business is our business the united states postal service. priority: you ♪
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it's 26 past the hour. joining us member of the senate intelligence committee independent senator angus king from maine. jeremy bash take the first question for the senator. >> did jared kushner provide documents to the committee before you interviewed him documents from the white house and the trump administration and second is he did claim he did not know that the russian government was trying to interfere in the 2016 election or did he say i just had no idea about that? >> there's a premise in your question that i'm afraid i have
to correct. he was interviewed by the staff of the committee on monday, not by the committee itself, and i haven't, between being on the floor with health care for the last two days, i haven't really had a chance to sit down and look at the transcript so i'm afraid i can't illuminate any of that. this is, was a preliminary interview by the staff and that's the way we're conducting this. the staff is talking to witnesses i think we're up to 25 or 30 witnesses at this point and we'll go back, review the tran crypts and take it from there. it's a more efficient process and will enable us to get their questions in the end. i really can't answer your question. >> did he produce documents? >> i honestly don't know because i haven't sat down. we had a meeting yesterday but it was on the intelligence budget so i haven't sat down and looked at what he brought. i don't think he did, but we'll find out in the next couple of days. >> jeremy petepeters? >> senator, listening to some of your democratic colleagues
describe their utter disbelief the way donald trump treated jeff sessions lately you would think jeff sessions was considered by them to be some kind of lion of the senate when we know nothing could be further from the truth given how rough his confirmation process is going here but i'd like to hear you talk generally about the law here, and what role the attorney general is supposed to play vis-a-vis the justice department and the president of the united states and what donald trump doesn't quite understand about that. >> i think the first thing to understand when you take the oath in this country your oath is to the constitution. you don't say i promise to be loyal and support the president of the united states. it's to the constitution of the united states. that's number one and number two, the justice department regulations which pre-date jeff sessions or donald trump, section two subsection c talks specifically about the zwags that jeff sessions found himself in. it says a justice department
employee not only attorney general but all the way down to anybody in the department cannot participate in an investigation of a campaign in which they were active, and certainly everybody knows jeff sessions was active in the trump campaign. we no choice but to recuse himself and i don't really understand why the president keeps going after him on this. rudolph giuliani two days ago said jeff sessions made the right decision. he had to make that decision to recuse himself. it was the right thing to do under the law and the regulations as they exist. the problem is, what we're seeing and sort of feeling is that getting rid of jeff sessions is a step toward getting rid of bob mueller. i think that seems to be the ultimate goal here and that would be damaging to the country, to the interests of the country getting to the bottom of this and to the president particularly if he doesn't have anything to hide which he keeps saying. >> it makes sense. >> senator, philip bump from "the washington post." so you raise a good point about
mueller and i think it's important to remember we've seen in recent weeks a breakdown of norms not only in the presidency but the senate itself. i have to ask, if the president does something as extreme as fire bob mueller, how confident are you the senate or house can get to the bottom of the russia election meddleninging and how are you going to hold the president into account? >> that's a very good good and i believe and hope springs eternal but i believe if he did fire bob mueller you would see a special prosecutor statute go through both houses by veto proof majorities and we'd end up with bob mueller in charge of a new investigation with new authorities. i would hope that would happen because this would be, to fire mueller in the middle of this would be just a breach of the work of the congress, of the people, of the laws, and of the constitution. it just, no man is above the law. no person is above the law, including the president of the
united states, and so that would be one solution. the other is for to us redouble our efforts in the intelligence committees to try to get through this, but we have a different role. our role is fact-finding, what happened in 2016, how do we prevent it from happening in the future. mueller's role, the fbi role is were there laws broken and those are not entirely the same, so we need that fbi investigation. >> joe? >> senator king, joe scarborough here. what are your thoughts yesterday seeing john mccain go back onto the house floor, deliver the type of speech that he delivered, which i'm sure is probably extraordinarily popular, senseiments in your home state of maine and also his call and his repeated call for the united states senate to return to regular order, and take up a health care bill that's going to impact all americans and one-sixth of our economy by starting in the
committee and doing it the way the constitution intended. >> what a radical idea with hearings and witnesses and information and contrary views and amendments. i mean, it was a startling concept. no, of course he was absolutely right, and joe, you know how this place works. one of the special things about that moment yesterday was all the senators were in their seats and heard john mccain's speech. normally what passes for debate around here is going down and making a brilliant five-minute speech and there's nobody there to hear it. there's nobody on the floor. yesterday everybody heard it, and it was exactly the right message, and he knows of which he speaks because two weeks ago in the armed services committee we had a markup, we had 270-something amendments, we compromised some, we took some by unanimous concert but we had roll call votes and i was taking notes at the time, there wasn't
a single party line vote in the armed services committee on an amendment, and then we passed the bill out nunanimously. that's the way the process can work and mccain knows it can work that way. >> senator angus king thank you for being on the show, jeremy bash thank you as well. coming up, senator chris murphy called last night's vote to start the debate a obamacare repeal a "gut punch" and prepared to punch back with 100 amendments. senator murphy joins us next. >> the most revered members of this institution accepted the necessity of compromise in order to make incremental progress on solving america's problems and defender from here adversaries. that principle mind-set and the service of our predecessors who possessed it come to mind when i hear the senate referred to as the world's greatest delibera
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democratic senator chris murphy from connecticut. senator, you were vowing to try to punch back with this health care bill offering up to 100 amendments. is it a delay tactic, maybe devil's advocate question, wouldn't you want to try to make it better as opposed to muck up the process more. >> i hope they pass and make the bill better. democrats have been shut out of this process. this happened behind closed doors. there is no committee process and no hearings so the only opportunity that democrats have to try to make this bill better is with amendments on the floor. back in 2009-2010 republicans offered hundreds of amendments in the committee process. we have no idea what we're voting on. we may be shown the bill with only a few minutes before the final vote, so i don't apologize for the fact we may have to offer a handful of amendments
once the final bill is shown so we can give time for members of the senate to understand what we're voting on and give time for our on constituents to stop this thing. this is unprecedented. i think it's okay to use some unprecedented tactics to figure out what we're voting on. >> kasie hunt? >> senator, i take your point that there were some differences in the process when the aca was passed as to what is going on right now but at the same time, this was pushed through with exclusively democratic support in the end. didn't you bring this on yourself to a certain extent and set up what are now these entrenched politics around health care? >> that's certainly what mitch mcconnell would like folks to believe, but there aren't some small differences between the process in 2009 and the process this year. there was a full committee process in which every republican in 2009, 2010 in the house and the senate got to see the bill ahead of time, got to offer amendments. the cbo score came out a month ahead of time. there was 30 days of debate in
the united states senate. this is total mythology, the idea of the aca was rammed through, 30 days of consecutive debate in the united states senate where the bill was out there for everybody to see. this is not a small difference. this say decision that's been made by mitch mcconnell to ram this through the middle of the night and let's remind ourselves as we sit here today talking we have no idea what we'll be voting on. they'll unveil a bill in the middle of tonight, tomorrow night and ask senators to vote on a brand new bill that looks nothing like the bills we've been seeing before with a couple hours notice. that bears no resemblance to the process in 2009-2010. i wish we had republican votes but at least we went through an exhaustive process to try to get them. they haven't been an iota of work to try to make this bipartisan. >> joe? >> senator, what happens next? do you think the republicans find 50 votes to pass a bill that's extraordinarily unpopular with most americans? >> what's going to happen is that they are going to throw a
different bill up against the wall every probably six to eight hours for the next few days and hope that one of them sticks. they tried the senate bill last night, the one they crafted in behind closed door working groups. failed miserably. we hear they'll try later to pass a repeal bill rand pause wants, that will likely want. my worry they bully these guys into delivering 50 votes. that will be terrible for the country, because it will unininsure 15 to 25 million people and terrible for them, too. >> what does it look like, senator in doesn't seem like they're getting close to 50 on these votes for the actual bills. what does that bill look like that gets 50 votes? >> so the scuttlebutt is that they are going to eventually offer a dramatically winnowed down version of the original bill, maybe two or three provisions in the entire bill
and just punt. listen, guys, we have to get a bill to conference with the house of representatives. let's scribble down a few words and try to pass it off as a procedural vote and we'll have the big negotiations in the conference with the house. that would be a total surrender, an abd indication to the house bill, and the result would be in conference the house bill with maybe a couple minor amendments would survive, and that bill of course is terrible for people with preexisting conditions, so that seems to be their only path now because they can't find 50 votes for any comprehensive replacement of the affordable care act. >> senator murphy this is eddie blunt. what do you take the animating commitment behind the republican bill? i've been asking this question over and over. second, what would it take for to you work in a bipartisan way with republicans to fix the aca, if we come to that? >> listen, at this point i think it's clear that the commitment
is a hatred of barack obama. policy has been pushed to the wayside here. they don't seem tremendously interested in crafting something that ensures more people or reduces rates. they just want to fulfill this commitment that they made to repeal obamacare and they don't seem to really care what's on the other side of that. i've been clear about my desire to work with them and compromise. they want as far as i can tell flexibility of benefit design, they want something with cheaper premiums and less regulations in these exchanges. i'm willing to give them flexibility of benefit design if they're willing to give us some security on these exchanges that donald trump won't unwind them. there is a legitimate compromise to be had here and i think democrats are willing to bend but they have to throw out this process, and come and work with us in regular order like john mccain told them to yesterday. >> senator police murphy, thank you very much. appreciate your being on. philip bump, what are the chances that will happen?
>> well, i mean it certainly depends on what happens in the senate. one of the looming questions whether or not they need 50 votes or 60 votes. the parliamentarian has been looking at the bills but that's a real question that exists as well. if the senate can't pass anything if mitch mcconnell can't get anything through i don't know. is he going to reach across the aisle? that hasn't been the pattern he's shown. up next, it's not just one or two white house staffers who could lose their jobs it's all of them. anthony scare moochie is willing to "fire everybody" to stop leaks to the press. that's next on "morning joe." if you have moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis like me,
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will stop." it follows sean spicer's resignation last week and yesterday's resignation of michael short, an assistant press secretary. short, who was seen as an ally to chief of staff reince priebus stepped down hours after scaramucci was quoted as saying he would be fired. later in the day scaramucci suggested he didn't plan on firing any more people until he does a review of the communications shop. i thought he meant fire everybody if the leaking didn't stop. does he just mean the communications shop, joe in because i don't think that's where the leaking's coming from, do you? >> well, uhm, the leaking is everybody on set can tell you comes from a lot of different places inside the white house, and mark halperin -- >> we should probably check the oval office, too, i'm just thinking, behind the couch. >> i think let's just say from experience from everybody on this set, knows this, mark
halperin he should check the entire west wing, because -- >> that's a good one. >> -- the leak something extraordinary. i know it because the autocratic feel of this white house and thf this president and lack of respect for democratic norms by this president probably had a lot of people back on their heels when anthony scaramucci said this yesterday, but i see nothing -- if you have a white house that leaks as much as this white house has, i have no problem with anthony scaramucci or somebody else saying if the leaking doesn't stop, i'm going to fire everybody. whatever it takes to stop the leaking. isn't that what a chief of staff would normally do? >> there's four things. if the president walked at his regular clip in three minutes he
should pass the desk of plenty and plenty of leakers. two is, anthony scaramucci is trying to restore some sense of normalcy to the white house, which includes ironically thinking to give the president more of a megaphone, to let him be his own best advocate, which is normal in trump-world. the last two points, he is acting like a chief of staff in some ways, clearly trying to play down the tensions with ryan priebus, he's talking about changes that encroach on the area of the chief of staff and reports directly to the president, which is unusual. if you're a trump supporter and looking for a silver lining in what's going on, there is a recognition among some of the president's family members, some of hess staff and anthony scaramucci. they need a new narrative, they need a page turn. they're not going in a great direction, and they're trying to put things in structurally that will make him perform better. they have to convince him that
they're trying to stop the leaks, because the leaks drive him crazy, and they're more than any of us have ever seen. >> that's the interesting thing. the president of the united states is always attacking the unnamed sources. the overwhelming majority of them come from the white house every single day, and you have anthony scaramucci doing what every success offul chief of staff has had the ability to do, and that's to hire and fire who you think you need to hire and fire to make a white house better. yes, he is impeding on reince priebus's territory, but that's probably by design by the president and scaramucci, isn't it? >> well, you know, it took anthony scaramucci a while to get to his position of west wing power, but it does seem that he is going in there and, you know, trying to position himself as a defactor chief of staff, which at this stage of the game what
is reince priebus really doing? that's the question i have. there is no control coming from the top of the hierarchy, and reince is not able to manage the staff and execute policy and to be the final word. so president trump either has to accept that having a chief of staff is a valuable role that can help him govern in a more stable productive manner, or he just needs to, you know, accept that whoever occupies the chief of staff's slot just has to accept they'll have the trap position of the power, but no real authority. >> isn't it possible, philip, that anthony scaramucci is trying to do everything except actually fix the problems. leaks are often driven by paranoia, what driving the paranoia is the president's words, statements and tweets. wouldn't you want to stop the
tweets, as opposed to stopping the leaks? perhaps then -- it's like you're trying to put out a fire, but there's a guy pouring gasoline and lighting a match. you're doing everything around that except for the person causing the fire. >> who might be a pyromaniac and he can't stop. >> but he's also the guy who hired you. >> are you going to be a chief of staff who speaks truth to power? or another dupe? dope? >> i think everyone hopes scaramucci would do that, but -- president trump demands loyalty to him, expect no leaking of information, and he returns no loyalty. this jeff sessions is a perfect example. if you don't feel the president has your back and scaramucci feels that for now, but we'll see in the long run, you're more likely to talk out of turn, and
if you can't tamp down trump's tweets, but if you can't get him to be loyal to folks, there's no reason they would return that loyalty to him. >> joe? >> mika, the problem has you've had dysfunction on two levels, from the president himself directly and all the statements that have been devastating for his approval rating and for his policy agenda. on the other side, a very dysfunctional white house, a very dysfunctional west wing. that's driven by interparty fighting like no one has ever seen before. all these different gangs wandering around and fighting each other. the importance of having somebody coming in saying, listen i'm in charge. if you have to fire everybody, i'm going to fire everybody. that takes amp a lot of uncertainty. people look to that person and you have a management structure that works better if you're asking, wait, is steve bannon in charge? or is reince priebus in charge?
or the president's son-in-law? who is running this place? scaramucci is stepping up. if he gets even more power from the president, will actually most likely make the west win run smoother. >> i think that's only half the equation. he has to be able to speak to the president. >> mika, that's what i just said. i said that's half the equation. you have the president, which takes up one half. nobody is going to control that, but if you have that as well as a dysfunctional managing white house? then you have absolute complete chaos. it's easier to focus on managing the president problem if you don't have everybody on the other side fighting each other 24 hours aday irges philip, thank you very much. still ahead, jeff sessions is staying put at least for now. "the daily beast" says the attorney general is defiant and plans to stay the course and plans to call the president's bluff. one ally said it's beyond
insane, it's cruel, insane and it's stupid. another said he's not going anywhere. what he is accomplishing is way too important to the country. we're going to dig more into that. plus the number two democrat in the senate, dick durbin and adam kindsinger and jim hims, a member of the commit yes who po questioned jared kushner yesterday. a trip back to the dthe doctor's office, mean just for a shot. but why go back there, when you can stay home...
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sometimes they say he doesn't act presidential. it's so easy to act presidential, but that's not going to get it done. in fact, i said it's much easier, by the way, to act presidential than what we are doing here tonight, believe me. with the exception of the late great abraham lincoln, i can be more presidential than any president that's ever held this office. that i can tell you. president of the united states continues to hammer his own attorney general after laying off senate republicans long enough for them to narrowly push ahead debating the issue of health care. when it came done to voting on a comprehensive plan, joe, with new amendments, it was soundly defeated. according to the president, it
will all work out over the next week or two. time will tell. good morning, everyone. it's wednesday, july 26th. we have jeremy peters, former aid to the george w. bush white house, and elice jordan, eddie glau jr., and mark halperin, and capitol hill correspondent casey hunt. before we dive into the news, set the scene for us. a lot happened yesterday, and of course that speech abraham lincoln style, i guess. >> no, far from abraham lincoln style. i wish it were easy for donald trump to act presidential. we have six months of evidence that it is the one thing he is completely incapable of doing. he's a colossal failure at acting presidential. you can see it in the numbers.
the "usa today" poll as many people think he should be impeached as not. it's like 42-42 percent. his approval ratings hovering at all-time lows, 36%, 37%, in the latest gallup poll, you have conservative columnists and conservative thought leaders saying enough is enough, starting to grow concern over the past week, that it's not fake news to say that this president needs to be investigated, that there's a problem in russia, and that he is treating one of the most conservative former members of the senate terribly, shamefully, and then of course you have an awful lot of people yesterday, republicans in the senate coming to the defense of jeff sessions, people like lindsey graham saying enough is enough, saying what every republican senator should say and underline every day, that in america the bedrock belief of our constitution has always been that no man is above
of law. donald trump may not believe that, if you look at the way he's treated james comey and now his attorney general. so that's a big story. obviously the vote yesterday also very significant, john mccain giving a very moving speech, but at the end of the day no republican member of the senate is going to lose their seat, because they voted to move forward and have a debate. >> right. >> i think you could find a lot of republican members of the senate that would have been in danger of losing if they didn't allow this debate at least to go forward. right now, though, the big question is whether it passes or not. right now most of the people i talked to say that they are a long way from getting the 50 votes they need. >> and what it turns out to be ultimately, too. there's a lot to go through. but first to the situation with the attorney general that you mentioned, joe.
jeff sessions appears to be staying the course, at least for now, this despite attack after attack, for sessions who helped give his first dose of establishment credibility as a candidate. yesterday morning during you're show, we saw the president fire off tweet after tweet, taking aim at sessions. and later, in an interview with "wall street journal," when asked how long he could continue to criticize sessions without firing him, he said, quote, i'm just looking at it. i'll just see. it's a very important thing. and the president downplayed the significance on sessions' loyalty. it's not like a great loyal thing about the endorsement, adding, quote, when they say he endorsed me, i went to alabama. i had 40,000 people. he was a senator from alabama. i won the state by a lot, massive numbers. a lot of states i won by massive
numbers. but he was a senator. he looks at 40,000 people and probably says, what do i have to lose? and he endorsed me. so it's not like a great loyal thing about the endorsement. but i'm very disappointed in jeff sessions. those answers drew deeper questions later in the day. >> mika, mika, why don't we stop right there. >> yeah. >> it's confounding, and it shows just how this man knows no loyalty. >> no. >> donald trump does not respect loyalty, he does not give loyalty. jeff sessions stuck his neck out early on with the republican establishment was all against donald trump, and said he didn't have a chance of winning. but this is how he treats people. he throws them under the bus. but he doesn't under, mark halperin, as i had a former old sage tell me in washington, we're all in a little boat here
and we all row in a bout, and if we don't row in the right direction, things get ugly fast. and what goes around, comes around. could you talk about the other side of this story? there's a reason breitbart came out attacking the president and on the side of jeff sessions. there's a reason why a lot of republican conservative, quotes, nationalists, the sort of bannon wing of the party started supporting trump, and a lot of that had to do with jeff sessions. right now what does he have to lose by throwing yes sessions overboard and treating him this badly. >> jeff says was on the issues he's fought for, been the hero of that movement for two decades. donald trump has been there for about a year and a half, two years. so the loyalty to sessions runs deep. you saw it on breitbart yesterday, you see it in a lot
of conservative media. the president is talking very rim aniant of bill clinton. it's easy to say this is all about the presidency and the independent council is under control, and at the blames jeff sessions for that. it's much worse to have the council going after you that is the department of justice. even though it goes to a conflict with his political base, is based on the fact he's looking for a way out. he's so frustrated by the specter of the independent council, and thinking that mu getting rid of says will solve his problem. most people are telling him it will only make it worse. >> he tends to reignite fires around him. i think there is a lesson here about washington, joe. that is when you're attacking a member of the senate, you're attacking the entire senate, you're attacking all of us is what they will think.
throughout the day jeff sessions got support from republican members of congress in particular his former senate colleagues. >> i worked with jeff sessions for 9 1/2 years in the senate, one of the most honest people you know, a man of high integrity, and he is an eagle scout. >> he's a man of courage and purpose. >> i find him to be a man of integrity. >> i think that his independence has been proven about his willingness to recuse himself. >> this could have been handled in a different way. we don't need this. it's not good for the president. it's not good for politics in general. >> jeff has been very loyalty to the president, and i think he deserves loyalty back. >> i would personally strongly recommend against firing sessions. the fact is jeff sessions was the first senator to support president trump. he stayed with president trump when he was ten points behind and all the way through the various sports talk tapes and everything else. >> i hope the attorney general
doesn't resign. i hope he's not fired. if you look at so much of what the president of the united states wants to accomplish on his aend sessions is central to that. >> if president trump trice attorney general sessions, do you think this senate will approve whoever he appoints after the fact? >> it raises a question about whether or not anybody would want to do it. >> wow. >> lindsey graham said in a statement, quote -- jeff sessions is one of the most decent people i've ever met in my political life. he's a rock-solid conservative, but above else he believes in the rule of law. jeff understands that we are a nay of laws, not men. on occasion i've vision are you his disgreat with jeff, but i've never once doubted his integrity or sense of fair play. president trump's tweet today suggesting attorney general sessions pursue president pros
cougs of a former political rival is highly inappropriate. to do otherwise is to run away from the long-standing american tradition of separating the law from politics regardless of party. and kasie hunt, you hear these republicans that have stood behind donald trump nonstop and defended him when they should not have defended him. defended him when he was defenseless. they are -- we've seen it now for two weeks. this week it's jeff sessions. they're coming out and strongly saying back off, mr. president, and we saw some last week do the same thing when he started attacking robert mueller i can only imagine what it sounds like behind the scenes yes, what it sounded like yesterday. tell us how concerned republicans are with donald trump seemingly spinning out of control over this investigation. >> i mean incredibly so, joe.
we talked all the timtsds about times when the president seemed to cross line and whether republicans would step out in opposition. sometime you have been critical of them for failing to do it. this is not going to be an area where that happens. for as strong as all those statements were that we just watched, it is stronger behind the scenes. i had one aide use the phrase constitutional crisis to talk about what might happen in the event that the president fired jeff sessions or that jeff sessions resigned. i don't think there's a way that republicans would move forward with confirming another attorney general, based on the private conversations at this time yet about it. i do not think it could possibly happen. there's been conversations about recess appointments. that's something that both sides have been blocking recently, and democrats and republicans say that's what would happen here. if there's no attorney general we could go for quite some time
without having one. that would have incredible implications. congressman jim himes joins us fresh off questioning jared kushner, and adam kinzinger on members of his own party speaking out about the president's treatment of his own attorney general. but first senator dick durbin is standing by and get his take on the debate raging on the floor of the senate. he's next on "morning joe." chances are, the last time you got a home loan, you got robbed. i know-- i got a loan 20 years ago, and i got robbed. that's why i started lendingtree-- the only place you can compare up to 5 real offers side by side, for free. it's like shopping for hotels online,
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hey you've gotta see this. cno.n. alright, see you down there. mmm, fine. okay, what do we got? okay, watch this. do the thing we talked about. what do we say? it's going to be great. watch. remember what we were just saying? go irish! see that? yes! i'm gonna just go back to doing what i was doing. find your awesome with the xfinity x1 voice remote. a. the president just tweeted, and i wanted you to help me out here. he says senator lisa murkowski of the great state of alaska really let republicans and our country down yesterday. too bad. could you just give us a lesson in politics? does this work? >> no.
>> to me that's a classic new yorker. what i don't like about washington is people do not let you know how they feel. they're very nice to your face, and then they take a shiv, and i'm a wall street guy more of a front-stabbing person and would tell them directly. >> have you heard directly from her. >> the senator knows how the president feels about her, and why don't you fix it? >> that was senator chris koontz reacting to the tweet followed by white house communications director anthony scaramucci's take. joining us from capitol hill, a member of the senate judiciary committee, democratic whip dick durbin. very good to have you on the show this morning. we'll get to health care in a moment, but i'm curious about any attempt to block the president to replace his
attorney general, maybe with a recess appointment. is there a concern about that? is there a plan? >> let me say at the outset, look at what he's doing to jeff sessions. jeff sessions stuck his neck out for this president, the only, the first senator to endorse him, and now look what the president is doing to him, chopping his head off. you don't inspire loyalty. when you get a call from the white house will you be on my side for the next battle? we know the true motive. he's trying to put an end to the russian investigation, his dismissal of comey and attack on the attorney general, he's trying to set the stage to clear the decks so that the investigation about russian meddling and any involvement with the trump campaign or beyond comes to an end. i don't believe there's an appetite for that to capitol hill. i don't believe we're going to be cooperative in that effort. we're going to do our very best to main shower we maintain the integrity of this independence counsel, bob mueller.
>> senator, what are you hearing from your republican colleagues? certainly many were outpentagon yesterday. some have spoken to me on background about their deep concerns about donald trump even talking about bob mueller orever sessions. what are your republican colleagues telling you? >> the most conservative republican senators i have spoken to in private are disgusted by this. they cannot believe that a man who gave up his senate career to be a top official innocent administration is being treated in such a shabby way. it really comes down, joe, to the basics loyalty is the coin of the realm. if you don't stick with your friends through thick and thin, your word is no good. here we have the president attacking the man who stuck his neck out for that president and his political campaign. >> mark halperin. >> on the offchance the attorney
general resigns or is fired, can you think of one or two names who would be acceptable replacements and could win -- >> who would take that job? honest to goodness, after what he's done to sessions. i don't know. i can name some people, but they would be my choices. >> go ahead. >> at this point i would say john cornyn's names. it's hard to believe he would give up the number two slot on the republican side of the senate, but he certainly has a strong resume. that's one name i have heard. beyond that, i don't know of anybody -- >> would you vote to confirm john cornyn? >> i can tell you i won't rule it out. i know any choice, if it ever reaches that point, will you controversial because of the often question. are you being appointed to this position to eliminate the investigation of the trump campaign and the trump staff? if that question is not answered properly, i think that person is going to have a tough time even with some republican senators. >> senator, a lot of confusion
about what's going to happen with health care after the votes yesterday. what's your best get about how things will play out the rest of the week? >> here's what we know. mitch mcconnell put together the 50 votes he needed. i salute the two, it took a lot of courage to do what they did. pence breaks the tie. then we have a test. we take mitch mcconnell's best work product, his replacement vehicle, we put it on the floor last night. let's see what happens now. nine republicans walk away and say it's unacceptable. at this point mitch mcconnell does not have a replacement alternative. he's operating on a wing and a prayer that perhaps he can come up with something. the next vote is supposed to be one rand paul promised to him, so he would switch his vote and affirm this going forward on the bill. it's not going to become the law. this is not anything but answering his question. the republicans in the house and
the senate still do not have an acceptable replacement for the affordable care act. >> so, senator, let's say at the end of the day the republicans can't pass anything out of the senate. they have to do what mitch mcconnell told his kentucky voters in a town hall meeting a few weeks back, and that's sit down with democrats, you go through regular order and figure out how to work together for a health care reform bill that helps all americans. what does that bill look like? and what do you suspect democrats will bring to the table and republicans will bring to the table? where do you gaze start? >> i think the starting point is you don't put the first chapter of a massive tax cut for people in high inkhem caught gyres for insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies. one of you take $700 billion out, and take it out of medic d
medicaid, the whole thing falls apart. so the premise is not strong. if the premise is we want to make the affordable care act, let's find a way to make sure the folks are covered. 6% of our population has coverage. let's do something about the cost of pharmaceuticals. that's the number one issue across the united states. they say what are you going to do about the cost of drugs? that has to be addressed. it's a tough one for both parties. >> senator, let's paint this out a bit. the party released its better deal to offer a vision of their policy initiatives over the next few years. there's clamoring among the base for single payer, how in the course of this debate will you respond to those of us on the left who think that single payer might be the answer to the health care issue. >> this is a last gasp. what we're going through is the last gasp for private health insurance in america as far as i'm concerned. if we can't make this work with
the private health insurance industry, we start moving closer to a medicare model. from my point of view medicare has a lot of positive things to offer the american people. how many folks say darn it, now i qualify for medicare. most of them say hooray, i don't have to worry about preexisting conditions, i can get the best hospitals and doctors and i have peace of mind. that's what people earp looking for. if the private health insurance industry can't make the current approach work, we're moving closer and closer to a single-payer option. >> senator, thank you so much. >> good to be with you -- by that he means stop publicly shaming your attorney general. the republican congressman joins us next. she's nationally recognized
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top law enforcement officer. >> congressman trey gowdy speaking out in defense the attorney general jeff sessions last night. adam kinzinger, and msnbc contributor charlie sikes. congressman, i'll start with you. what do you make of this public back-and-forth? >> i don't like it for a number of reasons. that's a pretty soft way to put it. first off, this is the equivalent of me basically not getting along with my chief of staff appeared putting out on twitter that my chief of staff is a terrible person and not doing a great job as chief. it's childish, number one. the other thing i worry about -- i'm a republican, so i'm excited about a lot of the policy agenda, but some of this tone issue, what concerns me the most
is this is going to begin to set precedence for what president have to do in the future. that's way below the office of president. as i put out yet, i think it's below even the office of city councilman. >> joe? >> let me bring in charlie sikes. you and i have been concerned over the past six months especially that republicans have not spoken out forcefully enough, have you heartened over the past week or two to see more and more republicans like trey gowdy, lindsey graham, and many others speak out aggressively and adam kinzinger speaking out aggressive, against a president who does not seem to respect norms or constitutions? >> yeah, a bit, but this is really banana republic stuff. we're not talking about a staffer, but the attorney general. the president has made it
absolutely clear his beef with jeff sessions is he would not protect him by obstructing the investigation into russia. this does cross all sorts of lines here. but i do think that republicans need to be very, very clear that if he goes ahead and fires robert mueller, that that is really a red line. they can stop this, but they have to stop this by being absolutely clear. subtlety does not work with this president. >> mark? >> let's say the president didn't fire him, if the president said simply said i fire robert mueller, what would happen next? >> you know, i don't know what the rules are. i know there would be, i think really some huge questions here. i would probably go very loud on that and say, you know, we need -- i've always said we need to find out what happened with this russian investigation, so let's have our investigation in the house, and the senate and
let the independent counsel do its job. if you fire the independent counsel, that would look very bad. as was suggested by charlie, i think there would be a lot of people speaking up. >> is it potentially impeachable offense? >> i don't ever go to that level. that's a very high bar with huge implications to skate that. i think a lot of people have been saying it cavalierly right now. >> charlie, let me ask you about the speak of the house, a guy you know very well. we adopt -- as i do a three-hour show every day, i don't know if you know that or not, and sometimes you say things that aren't precise, things that you don't mean exactly. i don't president to hold paul ryan to this. in a press conference yesterday he seemed to muddle jeff sessions and bob mueller, but it sounded as if he said in that
press conference that rob mueller and jeff sessions worked for donald trump, and he can hire and fire whomever he wants. that's not the case, is it? especially with robert mueller? >> no, it's not the case, and that was unfortunate. paul ryan is walking a tightrope. you can see how quickly his spokesman tried to clarify that. here's the problem with president trump. he does not understand the fact that the fbi director, the special prosecutor, the attorney general do not work for him personally. they swear an oath to the constitution. they work for the american public. he seems to think that somehow it's like his business back in new york. so paul ryan, look, he can stop this. mitch mcconnell can stop this. they need to draw a stronger line. maybe they're doing this in
private saying don't go here, because everything changes. at this point you have to ask yourself what must donald trump be hiding, how big must it be, for him to risk blowing up his administration in this way? >> that is the question a lot of people are asking. jeremy, is anybody from your reporting telling the president that firing sessions would be a bad idea? >> absolutely. the inner circle in the west wing is acutely aware of sessions' popularity with the base. they know if trump were to continue to abuse him and humiliate him in public and ultimately fire him, that could cause a rep further with the base. >> that doesn't appear to be working. he was doing it all day yesterday. >> that's the thing. they can say this to president trump all they want, but ultimately the ponce is i'm president and you're not. that's what they know. >> elise. >> congressman, elise jordan here. you're on the foreign affairs committee and the house just passed a bill overwhelmingly, to
limit the power of the executive to roll backs sanctions, and the white house has been lukewarm on this. they haven't said if president trump is going to sign this. what is your message to the white house about this bill? >> well, a couple points. the bill wasn't to limit the president's authority to roll back sanctions. the bill was new sanctions that had limits on the president's ability to roll back those sanctions. we did the same thing with iran sanctions, whether it was president obama or prior presidents, so it's not targeted at president trump. this is a strong message from the senate and the house that we believed russia attempted to influence election, they're doing it with you're uppian allies, and we're going to stand firmly against it. i think the white house will sign this bill. if they don't, i will raise holy hell and frankly we'll overaye that veto, but indications are that they're on board with this. >> congressman adam kinzinger thank you very much.
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paul manafort met privately with members, providing notes he had taken during the trump tower meeting with russians. that meeting led judiciary chairman chuck grassley to make good on his threat of issuing a subpoena of manafort, claiming he was no longer negotiating with his committee in good faith. hours later the committee dropped the subpoena as manafort produced documents and committed to an interview, though not at today ace hearing. jared kushner answered more questions, this time before the
house intel committee, a high-level source tells nbc news that kushner addressed questions about collusion within the campaign's digital operations, which kushner ran. both republicans and democrats on the committee praised his performance. >> i found him to be straightforward, forthcoming, wanted to ants every question we had, and was willing to follow up on any questions we didn't get asked thorge. >> he expressed reseptember activity for coming back, but it was a productive session. we had an opportunity to ask about a range of issues that the committee has been concerned about. >> i think the committee appreciated that he came in voluntarily, he stayed for an extra hour to speak with the committee, and so he didn't answer or couldn't answer every question we asked him, but he certainly had a demeanor that was forthcoming. >> joining us now one of the members who questioned kushner,
senator jim himes. very good to have you on board, congressman. >> good morning. >> on the point we last heard, the questions he didn't answer, were they of great value or concern to those concerned about russia corruption and collusion? >> yeah, in my opinion, i would great with what you just heard from mike conway and adam schiff. mr. kushner was very forthcoming. he said i'm going to stay here as long as i need to stay here, and by and large he spoke in very clear and categorical statements saying, hey, i was not involved in any form of collusion. he did describe briefly that meeting which rose to fame a couple weeks ago with the president's son don junior. he doesn't have a lot to say about it, because apparently he wasn't there very long. it was a very refreshing change of tone certainly from the tone we're getting out of the oval office where, of course, the president is calling this whole
thickets a hoax. kushner took it very, very seriously and i think he had the appreciation of the committee when he walked out of there. >> congressman jared kushner said from the beginning there was no collusion, certainly none he knew of, and has been emphatic about that. i'm wondering whether yesterday's question and answer session and your examining of mr. kushner has made you reach the same conclusion, as it pertains to jared kushner? not manafort, not the rest of them, but at least as it periods to jared kushner? >> yeah. of course, the statement that matters, joe, is the second one you made, not that there was no collusion, something that no individual could possibly know if they weren't involved. he said categorically and without condition, that he was aware of none that he knew of or that he participated in. the conclusion will be formed at the end of this thing when we've had a chance to do our very
unsexy work of going through boxes of documents. i can't take one witness and say he was clearly telling the truth. i have no rho ento doubt mr. kushner, and i give him points for being forthcoming, in contrast to some of the witnesses we have seen here, but conclusions will have to wait until we've done a lot more spadework of the committee. >> i certainly understand that, but i'm wondering, are you less concerned about jared kushner's role in, say, that meeting and the meeting with other russians that he did not disclose on his initial forms. are you less concerned today than you were yesterday because of what you learned from him? >> again, joe, it's not so much a matter of concern. if jared kushner had come before the meeting and eye qualify indicated and used a lot of "to the best of my memory" and "i
don't remember" i would be more concerned. he spoke to congress with great clarity yesterday. whether he told the truth can only be verified through more work. i'm optimistic of humans, so i'm not going to weigh in on whether everything he said was absolutely accurate, but i will say the way in which he does it was a refreshing change from the way some white house officials, including the guy at the top, have treated this investigation. >> jeremy. >> congressman, good morning. one of the explanations of this meeting that started to circulate in recent daze, it is russians, while maybe not involved in setting it up directly themselves, were aware of it and monitored it, trying to see what was coming out of it, and maybe they saw that nothing came out of it and it was all ridiculous and a waste of time as the trump people have said. does that strike you as a plausible explanation of what could have happened here?
>> it's plausible. again, what's at the center of this investigation now -- and of course there's a bunch of things being looked at. the behavior of michael flynn, the statements of roger stone, the behavior of paul manafort. most importantly, with respect to whether there were any links, now what we know to be true is that don junior, the president's son was excited. i think he used the phrase "i love it" at the prospect of getting compromising information from the russians. so the key question now is for the committee and every other investigation is was there follow-up? was there information exchanged? was think any sort of quid pro quo? every american needs to be interested in that. it may turn out it was a stupid meeting and there was no follow-up. that may be the case, but we need to know the answer to the questions, because the issues here are too serious. >> congressman jim himes, thank you very much. >> thank you. also in the news this morning, a u.s. navy ship fired
warning shots at an iranian vessel yesterday. it occurred during routine exercises involving the "uss thunderbo thunderbolt" and three other ships. the iranian vessel did not respond, prompting warning shots from a 50-caliber machine gun. the iranian ship came as close as 150 yards from the americans before halting its approach, and officials add it did uncovered the on-board weapons, but did not man them. from iran to north korea, u.s. military officials are warned to be prepared for another icbm test this week. according to multiple reports, u.s. intelligence has detected activity consistent with prep pays for another launch, possibly the same missile tested on july he.
officials add it could come at early as tomorrow to coincide with a north korean national holiday, which kim jong-un is known for. all of this as a new assessment from the defense agency says that pyongyang will be able to launch a reliability nuclear-capable icbm as early as next year, cutting two years off the previous estimate. elise, where are the officials, where are rex tillerson? where are our foreign policy team in light of these major stories percolating. >> i do feel with north korea and with china that general matt is -- secretary mattic and h.r. mcmaster, and officials working on the southeast asia policy do have a strong handle and are managing this crisis as well as
possible under the conditions that they are allowed to work. i think one of the best points has been that president trump hasn't been tweeting about north korea. you know, every he does, you know, he has an erratic north korea tweet, it just sets off more alarms and only furthers the instability and makes all of our regional partners fear even more about what the potential response from the united states could be if we are provoked. >> joe, you know, instead of shining such a spotlight on disappointment in the attorney general, it just seems like it would make more sense to look at the strength of the foreign policy team, for the president to present them to the country as real leaders and hear what they have to say on these issues. >> well, they are real leaders. they have done, if you look at secretary -- if you look at the secretary of defense, jim
mattis, if you look at national security advisor, general mcmaster, you have professionals that are trying to offer this president good advice. and this is really something that america should be focused on, the president should be focused on, the world should be focused on. elise jordan, we now have north korea able to launch an icbm nuclear weapon. estimates now in two years. the pace is quickening. we'd heard that they would be able to possibly reach seattle with a nuclear weapon four years from now. at this pace it may be even before that. the question is what does the united states do about it? >> well, the relationship with china is obviously more important than ever, but how is the administration going to be able to manage that? president trump was really hoping for some quick deliverables and quick cooperation and he's seen that it's definitely going to be harder to get china -- you know, what's the chinese interest in
necessarily pressuring north korea? you know, i'm just hoping that this does not escalate into, you know, an erratic strike and an all-out war that would just be absolutely terrible and unlike nothing we have seen in the last decades of war. >> yeah. >> just would be truly horrific. >> eddie, you'd think these two stories would be our lead today. >> you would, but we have the smoke bombs. trump's tweets and all of the kind of theater, tragic theater of the beltway. >> i don't think it's just theater. >> i use theater not in a negative sense here, but i think what is needed here is a clear articulation of what the policies are. what is the southeast asia policy? what is the policy vis-a-vis china? what is the policy vis-a-vis russia? i don't know. does trump know is the question. >> the administration was asked just this morning about jeff sessions' future at the justice department. we're going to show you anthony
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they're all coming back. they're all coming back. coming back. >> earlier this morning, white house communications director anthony scaramucci was asked once again if president trump does in fact want to replace attorney general jeff sessions. here is his answer. >> we don't want to just fight like an italian family for no reason. we want to fight for the right reaches, right? >> welcome to the nfl. i get it, welcome to the nfl. >> so if the president is upset -- >> is he undermining his own attorney general? that's the question you're not answering. >> well, you can view it that way. i actually don't view it that way. i think what the president is trying to do, he's trying to signal to people that i need your loyalty, i need your advocacy. if you're doing things that i don't like, i'm going to express that. he's not a washingtonian. we're both new yorkers. >> does he want a new attorney general, anthony? >> i don't know the answer to that. >> joe, as we round out the show
this morning, if he is telegraphing to the attorney general that he wants his loyalty, it appears he also wants him to reconsider his recusing himself from the russia investigation, which has just -- seems kind of crazy at this point. >> well, and he can't do that. >> no. >> anthony scaramucci has now we've heard twice this morning talk about the president's not a washingtonian, he's a new yorker. he punches, he hits back hard. i think that's the best that he can do in the position that he's in because he never knows which direction the president is going to dart. he doesn't know how the president is going to tweet. and he's trying to make the best out of a very bad situation. right now, mika, i think if you listen to what jeremy peters has been saying, what other republicans are saying on the hill, right now donald trump, i think, has gotten the sufficient pushback from a lot of people saying firing jeff sessions
would be a bad political move for you. and i think that's why we're seeing the president back off a little bit. >> all right. well -- >> so we'll see how this goes. i would say, though, right now jeff sessions is in a much stronger position today than he was yesterday. >> and as we talked about during the show, it's just unusual for the president, eddie, to have someone in his orbit who doesn't need him and perhaps would do a lot better without him and the response we saw on capitol hill is that he would have the support of his fellow senators. >> joe tweeted something yesterday. he said stupidity is a more dangerous enemy of the good than malice. we are awash in stupidity. >> oh, my gosh. okay. jeremy peters? >> the president doesn't seem to understand the role of the attorney general here. he is not a buffer between the fbi and the president, right? he's the only republican also who seems to fail to understand that because every other
republican, including rudy giuliani said sessions did the right thing recougs himself. >> elise. >> i just wonder how this is going to evolve since president trump loves testing boundaries and doing exactly what everyone is telling him not to do. >> it's loyalty to country, by the way, for the record. that does it for us this morning. stephanie ruhle picks up the coverage right now. good morning, i'm stephanie ruhle with much to cover today starting with a health care cliff hanger. a major republican bill goes down last night, but they're back at it this hour. could a slimmed down repeal actually go through? >> at the end of the day, we are going to see a repeal of the disaster that is obamacare. hung out to dry. the president ramps up his attacks, his criticism of his own attorney general, but not quite firing him. well, not yet. >> we will see what happens. time will tell. time will tell. plus, back on the rally trail. the president