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tv   The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell  MSNBC  July 31, 2017 7:00pm-8:00pm PDT

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we'll see you again tomorrow. for now, it is time for "the last word" with lawrence o'donnell. good evening, lawrence. >> good evening, joy. i have a $1 bet. >> okay. >> that jeff sessions ain't going to bring it up. he ain't going to bring it up, joy. >> he's not going to bring it up, and it was not a joke. i don't even know how you would make a joke like that. >> unfortunately the police who were present at the time, suffolk county police on long island, seemed to enjoy the president's comment. >> yeah. >> and they also very much enjoyed his comments about how much he wanted to dismantle obamacare, and these are all police officers who themselves and their entire families have government-provided health insurance basically for the rest of their lives through their retirement. >> when i heard that, the first thing that popped in my mind is freddie gray. it was a sobering thing to see police officers cheering for that. but have a great show. >> thank you, joy. well, the president brought
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in the mooch to stop white house leaking, to crack down on reince priebus and those white house leakers. that didn't work out so well. so today the president brought in former marine corps general john kelly to get rid of the mooch first of all and then stop the leaking. and of course, of course tonight right on schedule, "the washington post" has another massive breaking news story about the trump white house and the president in particular entirely supplied by trump leakers. >> if you want to eat an elephant, you got to eat it one bite at a time. sarah and i are going to do that together. >> he does not have a role at this time in the trump administration. >> was anthony scaramucci fired, or did he resign? >> oh, i think he was certainly pushed out. >> the president certainly felt that anthony's comments were inappropriate. >> reince is a -- expletive
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deleted -- paranoid schizophrenia. >> i think we can assume it wasn't because donald trump was shocked and appalled by the language he used. >> he will do a spectacular job. i have no doubt as chief of staff. >> how can any staffer end the chaos if the chaos comes from the top? >> president trump said today there is, quote, no white house chaos. >> people are kleenex to donald trump. he uses them and throws them away. >> i predict that general kelly will go down in terms of the position of chief of staff one of the great ever. >> i'm looking at my watch to see how long this lasts. [ applause ] "the washington post" is reporting tonight in another blockbuster breaking news story that it was the president of the united states who dictated the exact wording of donald trump
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jr.'s first statement to "the new york times" on july 8th about his meeting during the campaign with a russian lawyer with ties to the kremlin along with several other people in the room that day, which included other russians and the president's son-in-law and senior adviser jared kushner, who did not disclose that meeting as he was required to do on his application for a security clearance. it is news that the president dictated every word of that statement, but it is not news that that statement was a lie. the statement of donald trump jr. as dictated by the president from air force one said, it was a short introductory meeting. i asked jared and paul to stop by. we primarily discussed a program about the adoption of russian children that was active and popular with american families years ago and was since ended by the russian government. but it was not a campaign issue at the time, and there was no follow-up. i was asked to attend the
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meeting by an acquaintance but was not told the name of the person i would be meeting with beforehand. tonight's "washington post" reporting shows that the white house knew that that statement as dictated by the president was a lie. and we know this because on the very first day of general john kelly's service as white house chief of staff, the white house is leaking like crazy, which is to say liking like yesterday and the day before and every other day of the leakiest president in history. donald trump fire the reince priebus as the white house chief of staff on friday and replaced him with general kelly specifically to stop this, to stop what happened tonight, to stop the leaks to "the washington post" and to "the new york times" that come blasting at us virtually every night. the sources cited in "the washington post" article are
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all, all unnamed advisers to the president. and "the washington post" has multiple sources. when describing how the most inexperienced communication staff in history, quote, advocated for a more transparent approach. "the washington post" quotes, people with knowledge of the conversati conversations. this is a day one disaster for the new white house chief of staff whose job it is to plug those leaks. that's job one. that's what the president wants from him the most. and it is another disastrous story for the white house, showing the president trying to cover up the truth of what happened in his son and son-in-law's meeting with the russians at trump tower during the presidential campaign. an unnamed presidential adviser in "the washington post" story said, quote, now someone can claim he's the one who attempted
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to mislead. someone can argue the president is saying he doesn't want you to say the whole truth. "the washington post" article then says, although misleading the public or the news media is not a crime, advisers to trump and his family told "the washington post" that they fear any indication that trump was seeking to hide information about contacts between his campaign and russians almost inevitably would draw additional scrutiny from special prosecutor robert mueller. in an example of the public communications message that the new white house chief of staff, john kelly, seems to be controlling tonight, the white house is referring all questions about "the washington post" article to the outside lawyers, who are defending the president and his son and his son-in-law in the special prosecutor's investigation. we can only wonder how the white house communications team would have responded if anthony
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scaramucci was still in charge of white house communications even though he had never actually been hired by the white house. he was the only white house communications director who was in charge of all the communications without having been hired. friday night on this program, i said that the incoming white house chief of staff would face a very clear challenge on monday, today. >> i think we have a test for general kelly on day one, and that is exactly how many minutes does it take him to yank those white house credentials off the neck of anthony scaramucci because if scaramucci works in that white house, by definition general kelly has failed to control that white house. >> and he passed. general kelly passed that test today. it was the easiest test that any white house chief of staff has ever been given. and now he has the jared test,
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the ivanka test. the job of white house chief of staff was called appointment secretary until richard nixon militarized the title to chief of staff. the power of the appointment secretary was the power of who got to see the president. the appointment secretary was supposed to be an honest broker who made sure that the president was hearing all of the relevant information needed for presidential decision-making and none of the nonsense that interferes with presidential decision-making. jared kushner is one of the horrifically incompetent people in the white house who advised the president to fire fbi director james comey. it is general kelly's new job to preve prevent advice like that making its way to the president, advice from a person with no authority or expertise who has nothing helpful to say. there is a roving band of such people in the white house now with access to the president. steve bannon, kellyanne conway, jared kushner, ivanka trump to
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name but the most prominent. the list goes on to include most other people working in the white house. no other white house chief of staff has ever had the job of keeping most people who work in the white house away from the president. no other white house chief of staff has ever had the job of deciding whether to revoke the president's son-in-law's security clearance, which the son-in-law lied to obtain. that's john kelly's job now. john kelly is now the commander of a ship of fools. the challenge that he faces now is unlike any challenge he has ever faced. tomorrow's challenge and the challenge for the day after that and the day after that will be which fool did he control or get rid of that day. joining us now, chris whipple, the author of the gate keepers. max boot, a former foreign
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policy adviser to presidential campaigns of john mccain, mitt romney, and marco rubio. also with us, jeremy bash, a former chief of staff at the cia and defense department. jeremy, i want to start with you because you know general kelly, have worked with him, and i want to get your sense of what he's going to be able to accomplish going forward. first of all, in this leak patrol that the president very much wants him to be the leader of. >> i think general kelly sees his primary job not so much as constraining the leaks because i think over time he has seen in the pentagon and other jobs really the only way to combat leaks is loyalty. it's not by investigations and by trying to chase them down. it's really by engendering trust. so i think he sees his primary job is to get rid of the chaos and dysfunction that has led to presidential decision-making in a catastrophic manner thus far. i think he believes he has to control, as you referenced,
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access to the president. he has to have a regular battle rhythm of meetings, and he has to tee up decisions for the president in an orderly fashion. his job is not going to be to make decisions about policy but to make policy decisions are teed up for the commander in chief. >> chris whipple, he has brought in everyone. there's a situation in syria. should we fire these missiles or not? he's brought in everyone who has something to say about it, but before he makes his decision, ivanka would like a word with him. what does the chief of staff do in that situation? >> well, i think, look, his most important -- one of his most important duties is to be the so-called honest broker. he's got to make sure that all of these decisions are teed up with the best information on every side. he's got to make sure that only the toughest decisions get in there, and he's got to make sure that only the people who belong there are in the room. so if ivanka trump doesn't belong in the room for that kind of decision. so he's got to enforce that. you know, i think frankly he's
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also got to -- in addition to being empowered as first among equals, he's got to draw some red lines. think about this meeting. think about trump dictating this memo on air force one. you know, it's white house chief incompetence, malpractice, that donald trump was permitted to even be in that cabin dictating that message. it's white house chief malpractice for donald trump to be allowed to be in a room with james comey by himself in the context of an investigation into russia. i mean comey has to find -- i mean kelly has got to find a way to prevent those kinds of meetings and that kind of presidential malfeasance. >> so, max, the scene is they're at the g20 meeting, and the white house staff gets the word that "the new york times" is on to the meeting that the kids
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had, that jared and donald junior had. so the people working on this for the white house at the g20 meeting on air force one are a former fashion operative who worked for ivanka trump and then a former movie business low-level p.r. functionary. these are the two people who are working in the white house press office that day, and they actually have better advice than anyone named trump comes up with in the whole story. they actually advise for more disclosure, and it's the president who says, no, we're going to tell them not only less, but we're not even going to tell them anything close to the truth. >> well, respectfully, lawrence, i'm not sure i agree with you that more disclosure is actually in trump's interest because as we surmise, he's got a lot to hide. more disclosure only makes sense if he's truly innocent. >> but there argument is it's all going to come out, so maybe we should put it out. they finally figured that out, and they were right about it all coming out.
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>> i think president trump, what we're seeing now is he understood that they had something serious to hide. this wasn't just a p.r. problem. it's a real issue, and i think the broader problem is here you can talk about the staff all you want. yes, of course he's surrounded by sycophants and misfits and third raters. that's all true, but that's not the problem. the problem is not sean spicer. it's not reince priebus. it's not even anthony scaramucci. the problem is donald j. trump. he is not qualified intellectually, morally, or ethically to be president of the united states, and at some level it doesn't matter who he's surrounded by because this is not a situation like ronald reagan or bill clinton where you can have a more effective chief of staff come in and rescue a president who is flailing around. flailing around is kind of donald trump's nature. i don't think he can escape this. >> jeremy, i want to go to that scene at the g20 where this information comes in, and now i want to put general kelly there. what does he do? you have ivanka's operative there. they have access to the
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president, and they want to tell the president that donald junior has this issue with "the new york times." we have chris whipple and others in "the washington post" saying the president should not be allowed even near this information at this point in time. he should not be involved in any way in what the statement is. does general kelly simply say, no, no one is allowed to tell the president this information? does he tell the president the information, close the door on air force one in the office there and tell him then what not to do? >> i think general kelly has to lay down some key ground rules at the outset of his tenure here. i think he will do that. one of the first ground rules will be anything pertaining to the criminal investigation of the president, and it is worth repeating, lawrence, the president of the united states is under federal criminal investigation. and general kelly should inform everybody anything having anything to do with that should be handled by the president and his counsel, not by the white house staff. the moment any member of the
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white house staff talk the to the president about these matters uninvestigatider invest they become a witness. so i would think that is one of general kelly a principal jobs here. i think he will do that. >> i think the problem that general kelly has here is he doesn't actually know what happened with the russians. i think president trump does know what happened with the russians and john kelly does not. so he's really operating in the dark, and i don't think donald trump is going to tell him what he knows. >> but the rule that jeremy just laid down sounds like the reasonable rule for the chief of staff to try to add miminister. let's go back to one of the president's lawyers. this is what's happened when you consult the president's lawyers on this. "the new york times" was aware that the president was involved in the drafting of the statement. they didn't know that he actually dictated it. that's "the washington post's" contribution. so let's listen to george stephanopoulos' discussion with jay sekulow about this point. >> so the president signed off
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on that statement. does he feel he was misled by his son and by jared kushner if, indeed, they didn't tell him about these e-mails that they both received? >> the president didn't sign off on anything. he was coming back from the g20. the statement that was released on saturday was released by donald trump jr., i'm sure in consultation with his lawyers. the president wasn't involved in that. >> "the new york times" says he was involved in it, that several people on the plane were involved. so you're disputing -- >> that's incorrect. >> so, chris, that's the quality of information we're getting from the lawyers. >> yeah. well, you know, they could take a page from the clinton white house. i mean during the monica lewinsky scandal whenner skin bowles was the white house chief, they had podesta in charge of the monica scandal. you know, they were able to isolate it there, and bowles was able to keep bill clinton focused on governing every day. you know, you have to keep the president away from stuff like
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this no matter how much he may know. you know, you've got to keep him away from that in order to have a chance of governing. and i think that, you know, at this point, this white house is broken. i mean it can't do anything right. it can't issue executive orders that are enforceable. it can't pass legislation. it can't prioritize the president's agenda. it can't get anybody on the same page. for kelly, you know, this really is almost mission impossible. >> so in kelly leaving it wisely, i think we can all agree, to the trump lawyers tonight and not responding from the white house, we now have this statement from trump lawyer john dowd. his statement is, quote, fake news, incorrect, and misinformed of no consequence. so, max, that's tonight's round with the trump lawyers who originally denied that the president had even any signoff on this statement. >> i think the fundamental problem here, lawrence is i
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think, yes, the president could use better damage control. he can use better lawyering. he can use better p.r. but at the end of the day, i think his problems run so deep that none of that stuff is actually going to resolve the issue because this is not a question like bill clinton lying about sex. i think we're seeing evidence of collusion with the russians. we're seeing evidence of obstruction of justice. these are very serious charges and there's no way to spin your way out of them. that's why i don't think that john kelly is going to be able to do the job that a lot of people expect him to do. >> jeremy bash, knowing general kelly as you do, does he, as many people in government do, basically have their resignation letters in their pocket, meaning they know exactly what lines they won't cross, might not necessarily be able to predict the specific one, but they know who they are and they know when that moment comes, they're not going to bend. they're not going to compromise. they're going to go. >> yeah, i suppose although i don't think he's going into the job with that frame of reference. i think he's going in thinking he can add value and can bring
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some order to presidential decision-making. i have to hasten to add that john kelly is a man of very high integrity, possibly the highest integrity of almost anybody i know, certainly anybody i work with at the pentagon. and i know that he -- and i think he would be the first person to say to the president and others that if he feels he's being personally compromised, he will not stand idly by. >> that's precisely why i think he needs to go into the oval office, close the door, and tell donald trump there are certain red lines here that you cannot cross. and one of them would be, look, if i can't control the twitter account, if you're not going to show me your tweets in advance, if you tell a demonstrable lie on twitter, that's the end for me. i will resign, and you can find a third white house chief of staff. >> jeremy, quickly, i would assume that the general would have covered a certain amount of this ground in discussions with the president already. we have some reports indicating
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the job was offered to him weeks ago and that he turned it down. and so something in the offer might have changed if that's the case, including these kinds of specifics. >> i don't know for certain, lawrence, but i can tell you obviously it's clear now that he went in saying, i cannot be chief of staff if somebody like anthony scaramucci does not report to me, and really if somebody like anthony scaramucci is at all a member of this team. his ouster of scaramucci today, i think speaks volumes on day one about just how much authority the president is vesting in him. >> he absolutely deserves credit for that, and it's absolutely stunning that scaramucci could have said what he said and stayed on -- not just stayed on the job, got on air force one and flew a couple of trips with the president back and forth on air force one, stayed on the job all saturday, all sunday, and it took the new white house chief of staff to get rid of him. jeremy bash, thank you very much for joining us tonight. max boot, chris whipple, thank you. really appreciate it. coming up, john kelly is
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also taking over a west wing intent on diminishing the role of jeff sessions and the russia investigation. how will general kelly handle that? and the president versus the republicans. he is now increasingly a president without a party. each year sarah climbs 58,007 steps. that's the height of mount everest. because each day she chooses to take the stairs. at work, at home... even on the escalator. that can be hard on her lower body, so now she does it with dr. scholl's orthotics. clinically proven to relieve and prevent foot, knee or lower back pain, by reducing the shock and stress that travel up her body with every step she takes. so keep on climbing, sarah. you're killing it. dr. scholl's. born to move. liz assumed all dressingsrust were made equal.
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i just want to congratulate him on the great job he's done with homeland security and i have no doubt that he will be an absolutely superb chief of staff. >> seated directly across the table from the president in the second meeting, only the second meeting of the trump cabinet today, was attorney general jeff sessions, who the president has publicly attacked and demeaned on twitter and rolled his eyes about when asked shouted questions by reporters. after a weekend of some speculation that the president might try to move jeff sessions to fill the new opening of secretary of homeland security so that the president could then install a new attorney general who could then fire special prosecutor robert mueller, the white house press secretary was authorized to say this today. >> there are no conversations about any cabinet members moving in any capacity, and the president has 100% confidence in all members of his cabinet. >> joining us now, al hunt. he is the columnist at bloomberg
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view, and betsy woodruff, a politics reporter for "the daily beast." al, general kelly has a lot to deal with, not the least of which is this latest maneuver being rumored about that the white house seemed ready to spike today, which is moving of jeff sessions, new attorney general, firing of mueller. it sounds like that was a kelly-authorized statement today with 100% confidence and no one's moving. >> yeah, it does, lawrence. look, the only -- the whole jeff sessions brouhaha was about one single thing, that trump wants to get rid of bob mueller. in his mind, the question is how does he do it and will he do it. it has nothing to do with jeff sessions. there's no policy disagreements with jeff sessions. he's furious about mueller being there. what he's furious about, we can all speculate. what he's trying to hide, we can all speculate. but, you know, it's remarkable. this should not be on the table. there is no one in law enforcement who could manage the
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kind of bipartisan respect that bob mueller does. he's doing the job. it's a serious investigation, and the notion that this president would really be looking for ways to get rid of him is just a travesty. >> i want to read another passage from tonight's breaking news report from "the washington post," which says trump -- his advisers say that trump is increasingly acting as his own lawyer, strategist, and publicist, often disregarding the recommendations of the professionals he has hired. he refuses to sit still. the presidential adviser said he doesn't think he's in any legal jeopardy, so he really views this as a political problem he's going to solve by himself. and, betsy, if he doesn't think he's in any legal jeopardy, why hasn't he been able to follow the advice that any lawyer would give him if he was not in any legal jeopardy, which is just to, you know, step back and let
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this process take care of itself? >> that's a good question. i think a big part of the reason for this is that the president just isn't the kind of person who thinks long and hard about the law and legal culture and the way that lawyers think and the difference between the court of public opinion and actual court of law. remember, unlike the prior president, trump does not have any sort of law background. he's been a businessman. he's never been a lawyer. he hasn't had any sort of formal legal education besides what he's just seen in his time as a businessman in new york. and based on my coverage of the justice department speaking with current and former officials, one sense that i get is that people who professionally work in the legal world see trump as someone who just doesn't whatsoever get it. they see him as someone who treats lawyers like means to an end, right? who sees lawyers as tools that he can use to accomplish his larger goals rather than as people who are integral parts of
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the way our system of justice works. i think that's part of the reason that the president's relationship with so many of his lawyers has been so messy and complicated and also part of the reason why he has been his own biggest stumbling blocks in terms of legal problems both individually and in terms of his administration as a whole. >> al hunt, so we have an irish guy from boston, chief of staff of the white house. i think the last one of those might have been kenny o'donnell for president kennedy, no relation to me. but he's not a political guy. this is someone who has been in the military. this is someone who is accustomed to people following orders. he's accustomed to having a lot of honor and decency around him in the workplace. what's your prediction for how general kelly manages this new white house? >> well, as the guest in your previous segment said, i think it's an impossible task, and i don't think he will succeed. i would just add one thing to what betsy said. not only does trump not have respect for the law, he is to be
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perfectly candid a chronic liar. he's pathological about it. any good lawyer really has difficulty with a client who is a pathological liar. i think general kelly is going to have an enormous problem here. i also disagree with jeremy bash that getting rid of scaramucci speaks volumes. if you couldn't do that, that was the easiest thing in the world. i mean from second one. but, lawrence, just to go quickly to your question, look at those white house chief of staffs who succeeded. jim and howard baker, john podesta, leon panetta, josh bolton, rahm emanuel. what do they share in common, lawrence? they all know the ways of washington. they all know politics in the broadest sense of the word. general kelly is a very respected marine corps general, but he's got a very narrow background in that sense. and i think the white house chief of staff is not a management job. it's a political job. >> and, betsy, it's the top political job in washington,
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pure political job. and general kelly does have experience in the pentagon working on defense appropriations bills and lobbying the house and the senate on that, but that's really the only legislative experience he's ever had. that tells you nothing about how to handle finance and ways and means on tax bills and all these other forms of legislation that are moving -- the health care legislation, which is behind us now. so he doesn't have -- it's hard to point to people with less experience. i guess matt mcclardy for bill clinton at the beginning. in that arena of domestic governance in washington. >> i think that's very much by design. before general kelly's name was batted around as someone who potentially could run the department of homeland security, there are reports he told some of his confidants that he specifically did not want to be in any administration. he didn't want to be a creature of the beltway. he doesn't see it as his natural habitat at all. of course there's this perhaps
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no particular job that puts you closer to the epicenter of the d.c. beltway than being the president's chief of staff. my understanding based on conversations with current and former officials, with folks who have worked with him in the past, is this isn't a gig he was jonesing for, and how i view it as a big part of the reason he took this position is that the president asked him too, right? secretary kelly is not a political ladder climber. obviously you have to have some sort of political background to get to be a four-star general, but this isn't someone who based on my understanding had any sort of electoral ambitions. but given his time in the military, give his understanding of the importance of authority, hierarchy, chains of command, if the president asked him to do something, which is obviously the case, he wouldn't say no. and i think the important counterpart to that is in the same way that general kelly didn't want to say no to the president, he'll expect his subordinates not to say no to him. that's why you're seeing scaramucci on his way out with potentially others to follow. >> al, my experience in politics
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and government in washington tells me that general kelly better have the resignation letter in his pocket at all times, and he better have informed the president about exactly what will provoke his resignation letter because that's where his power will come from. his power will come from the basic -- the threat of the disruption of his resignation if the president does not follow his advice on x or y. >> that is a mighty sword he has, lawrence, if he's willing to use it. he's got to start by telling the president, you can't lie. you just can't go out there every day and lie. that's going to be a tough conversation. i would remind you that the last time we brought a general in to really take care of a beleaguered presidency was alexander hague for richard nixon. that didn't turn out so well, did it? >> well, alexander hague ended up being the first chief of staff for president gerry ford when he moved up. al hunt, thank you for that historical perspective. betsy woodruff, thank you for joining us tonight. really appreciate it. >> sure thing. coming up, who is john
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kelly? what do we know about his record, and what do we know about his brief record as a civilian in government at the department of homeland security? stay with me, mr. parker. when a critical patient is far from the hospital, the hospital must come to the patient. stay with me, mr. parker. the at&t network is helping first responders connect with medical teams in near real time... stay with me, mr. parker. ...saving time when it matters most. stay with me, mrs. parker. that's the power of and. he's happy.t's with him? your family's finally eating vegetables thanks to our birds eye voila skillet meals. and they only take 15 minutes to make. ahh! birds eye voila so veggie good
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has a white house chief of staff who was not a part of his campaign and didn't like his campaign. general john kelly complained about what he saw as the lack of reality in both the trump and the clinton campaigns last year, and he publicly warned any former general like mike flynn that getting involved in politics is a mistake, especially what he called, quote, the cesspool of domestic politics. in his seven months as head of homeland security, general kelly has backed every bit of the
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president's immigration policy including every one of donald trump's unconstitutional executive orders banning people from entering the united states from certain muslim countries. and until the firing of anthony scaramucci today, there was no evidence at all that general kelly had any desire to talk donald trump out of any of his terrible ideas. joining us now, mieke eoyang, a former house intelligence committee staff member and now the vice president for national security program at the third way. also with us, vince warren. he's the executive director of the center for constitutional rights. mieke, i wanted to listen first of all to something that general kelly said about jared kushner's attempt to set up a secure form of communication with the russians and russian governments from the russian embassy in washington during the transition. let's listen to what the general said about that on "meet the press." >> it was before the government
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was in place, during the transition. i think anytime you can open lines of communication with anyone, whether they're good friends or not so good friends, is a smart thing to do. >> mieke, it seemed he was the only person who had any pentagon experience who thought that was not a terrible, disastrous idea. >> i think that's right. remember, general kelly also served in the obama administration, which was for opening up lines of communication with countries that were adversaries. however, it's really the method that jared kushner was suggesting that was really problematic. he didn't say anything about that. that method really looked like jared kushner was trying to set up some kind of channel to get around u.s. government oversight, and that's really troubling. >> so, vince warren, the president issued an executive order. the first one banning people with green cards, banning people with green cards from entering the country. and this secretary of homeland security says, okay. we'll go enforce that right
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away. >> well, not only did he do that, after the orders were issued and it was a huge kerfuffle and a mess, he took responsibility for something that he said that he actually had no idea was going to be coming out. this guy is someone that is willing to sort of take the heat for the president, and for this president, that's a terrible, terrible idea. we have to remember that he was the head of south command, the southern command of the army, which oversaw guantanamo, and he was in charge with the men in guantanamo were brutalized after a peaceful hunger strike and took no -- had nothing but positive things to say about the horrible way that the men were treated in guantanamo. now he's overseeing one of the largest pushbacks with respect to undocumented people in recent american history. and this is the person that we're now relying on to keep the president in check. and i think that even if he manages to wrestle the president's blackberry to the ground, we want to set the bar higher with respect to what we
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want from our public officials and someone that is overseeing civil rights abuses. >> you worked with general kelly in the past. have you been surprised by his tenure as the secretary of homeland security for president trump? >> i have been. i always thought of general kelly as someone with tremendous integrity and respect for congress, who had always worked very well and had a good sense of what it meant to serve the constitution. i was surprised at some of the things that were coming out of dhs. when you look back at what the trump administration was proposing at the very beginning and how over time they've had to whittle it back and whittle it back, i'm wondering if general kelly is pushing back on the trump administration but not talking about his opposition. >> vince, the executive orders were extraordinary because they didn't go through any kind of -- any of the processes that an executive order goes through. basically these things written on the back of a napkin.
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and secretary kelly either didn't seem to recognize that, and that could be understandable. he'd never been involved in an executive order before. he didn't know what the process was for an executive order. >> yeah, it's not shocking in this administration, but it's extremely problematic. one of the things that you would want to see from someone who is the head of the department of homeland security and what we expect to see with this person as chief of staff of the white house is the ability to say, wait a minute. let's stop this. we're not doing these things by the right protocols. i would love it if he would recognize that this was blatantly unconstitutional and didn't put his weight behind it, but we're not seeing that from him. one other thing is that generally if human rights groups have to sue you, it's not a good idea for you to be the white house chief of staff. in fact, my organization file aid lawsuit a couple of weeks ago where this administration's department of homeland security was refusing to let people across the border valid asylum
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applications in contravention of u.s. law and international law. it's a problem. >> vince warren and mieke eoyang, thank you very much for joining us. i really appreciate it. coming up, donald trump, now something rush limbaugh hates. a republican in name only. my sweetheart's gone sayonara.
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president trump behaves like a man without a party. he attacks republican senators when he feels like it.
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he complains on twitter about republican senators not protecting him. the president doesn't seem to realize that most of his tweets as conservative peggy noonan and others have pointed out are demonstrations of utter weakness. they are mostly expressions of his frustrations, about things he's not powerful enough to change. his tweets end with the word "sad" because he doesn't have the power to do anything. tweets from the president who tricked voters into believing that he would be the toughest guy whoever occupied the office. now he's just the sad guy. of course president trump attacks democrats too, but the public attacks against members of his own party in congress are uniquely trumpian and are producing new power dynamics in the republican party. senator luther strange, who was appointed to jeff sessions' alabama senate seat when sessions became attorney general is running for the seat in a special election. so is alabama republican congressman mo brooks. brooks is a trump republican.
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senator strange is now a mcconnell republican, and senate majority leader mitch mcconnell is doing everything he can to deliver financial support to senator strange's campaign. mitch mcconnell knows that his party has the least popular president in the history of polling at this stage of his presidency. mitch mcconnell knows that there really isn't a trump agenda in congress, but congressman mo brooks doesn't know that. >> maybe they ought to start at the top with mitch mcconnell leaving his position and letting somebody new, somebody bold, somebody conservative take the reins. if mitch mcconnell cannot get the job done on this, how is he going to get the job done on the rest of president trump's agenda over the next 3 1/2 years? >> now mitch mcconnell knows that the last thing he wants in the senate is another trump-supporting senator like mo brooks. coming up, senate republicans slowly turning away from their president. let's party!
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here we are trying to focus on whatever the issue is at the moment, whether health care or tax reform or infrastructure. but if we're having to deal with these types of -- whether tweets or inappropriate statements coming from the president, that just completely distracts us. frankly it's exhausting. >> joining us now former republican congressman, david joly, david are you seeing the
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third party develop in front of our eyes, the trump party in washington that seems to think it's not republican? >> of course. what does the republican party do with a donald trump party? listen, you referenced mitch mcconnell. you referenced the alabama race. mitch mcconnell in the election conof twitter is not old enough toer that after the tea party wave we sharon engle in nevada lost a race. kristine o'donnell in delaware having to run a ad saying i'm not a rich. and richard myrhh dock says god ordained rape. the left the guy loves to hate is pushing back against the far right because he a opportunity squandered six years ago in the wave of the tea party. and it will be more squandered in the wave of donald trump. >> all of those characters emerged before donald trump. i want to look at the tweet he did about lisa murkowski voting against the trump mcconnell
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health care bill. senator lisa murkowski let the republicans of the country down today. too bad. couple of things about that qb david when he was running for president he told everyone it was going to be easy to repeal and replace. he never said, unless lisa murkowski stands in my way. then it's just going to be too bad. when his people read this tweet, this kind of idea of -- we were going to but lisa murkowski got in the way so too bad. when does the deflags of the all powerful trump appear? >> and lawrence, rhetoric plays fools and only fools play rhetoric. listen you know this as article 1 sib cynic kai guy. the lisa murkowski controls the department of the interior and nothing donald trump wants to do will affect anything more than what lisa myrhh caulks owekowski can do to them. what we are seeing is a jv
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president who has no idea what he is doing inside the beltway. he likes to indicator to the base but that's 35% we've seen that over annual over processle polls. >> general kelly the guy saying to the president saying you need more in order to win this thing you need more votes. he is not the political guy. he is not the vote counter the white house chief of staff is supposed to be. >> he is not. but he was the legislative lee son for the marine corps. i hope every viewer licenses. general kelly is a solid guy, a leader's leader. and here what is we need to hold on donald trump right now. the ultimate fate of john kelly will be the seriousness of donald trump's interest in leading. if john kelly can't do it nobody can. and that is the litmus test for in administration. >> david jolly thank you for joining us. >> tonight's last word, is next.
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you got to hand it to him. no one is better than trump at claiming victories from overwhelming defeats. i could honesty see him at the end of the term saying i didn't have the ability experience or intelligence to be a successful president. i turned out to be right. he might -- he might say it. john oliver gets tonight's last
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word. "the 11th hour" with brian williams is next. the breaking news we're covering tonight, another bombshell from the "washington post", the report that the statement that covered up for don junior's meeting with the russians, the one that said the meeting was about adoptions, that statement was drafted by his father the president. meanwhile, the big story all day, the mooch is no more. the spectacular fall of anthony scaramucci as communication attention director in no small part because he communicated with a reporter using language we can't repeat. in short a big day on day 1 for the new chief of staff, the 11th hour, gets under way right now. a monday night and good evening once again from our nbc news headquarters here in new york. day 193 of the trump administration. anthony scaramucci is out as white house communications director, ten days after he first walked into the briefing room podium announcing his


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