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tv   The Beat With Ari Melber  MSNBC  August 2, 2017 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT

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republican efforts on obamacare. 60% of the independents have a favorable opinion on mccain. among his own party, his rating is underwater. there's something curious about a republican who can get support from democrats but not from his own party, it only explains po larization even better than we could by saying anything. just look at those poll reaction these days. the beat goes on because the beat with ari starts right now. mr. melber, how you doing? >> i'm good mr. todd. i'm old enough to remember 1999-2000 back then when mccain was more popular with the democrats. >> thank you. allegations fox news pushed a false murder report to undercut the russia inquiry is heading towards the white house
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tonight. did president trump personally push that false fox news story? the white house beating back allegations from an investigator that worked with fox news that a murdered dnc staffer might have fed e-mails to wikileaks. a discredited story that fox news pushed hard before backing down. this case includes a private investigator that said fox misquoted him in the story, a wealthy trump supporter rebutting allegations who said he texted the president about it and the president's people and sean spicer who met with both men. let me be clear, there's a lot we still don't know about this unfolding case, but it is raising tough questions. like why fox rested their conspiracy theory on a source they now say is incredible and whether a president who calls the truth fake news was actually getting into the fake news
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business himself. this lawsuit argues the answers to those questions can be found in text e-mails and calendar entries they have specifically calendar entries that overlap with the president's activities in the run up to the fox story. that was a rocky period, including may 15th when trump revealed classified info. may 16th when the news broke trump pushed james comey to try to go easy on mike flynn. the new york times was reporting on that day the chaos and confusion royaling the trump white house saying the president's mood was sour and dark and he's turned against most of hid aides including his son-in-law describing them as incompetent.
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rod wheeler, his new lawsuit against fox says he was misquoted in those headlines, in those articles to push fake news story. here is what he told me. >> why do you think, as you allegation they made up quotes from you. i know for a fact that ed who was the individual funding my investigation had been in contact with people from the white house and he was the one that was pushing this russian hacking narrative by the way i didn't know a whole lot about. i wasn't trying to debunk a narrative or support a narrat e narrative, i was trying to find a murderer. i know that and ed admitted himself. >> he may not have known a lot about that. this is all coming to a head tonight for the trump white house. we have obtained a voice mailer from wheeler. this is a may 14th voice mail. a message left by that man. this just to put it in context day and a half before that story first appeared on fox news. here is a portion of the audio.
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>> hey, rod, it's ed. a couple minutes ago i got a note that we have the full, uh, attention of the white house on this. and, tomorrow, let's close this deal. whatever we've got to do, but you can feel free to say that the white house is onto this now. >> "the white house is onto this now." jonathan capehart opinion writer for the washington post and msnbc contributor. jonathan, if the president or his staff were involved in this as mr. butowsky asserted, what does that mean and where does this story go from here? >> it means that the administration from the president on down, that
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complaints constantlabout fake news was involved in peetting and proliferating actual fake news. this lawsuit is incredibly damaging. even the allegations, the audio that you just played, the implications that come from this. this comes at a time when the trump administration, when the president himself, the credibility of the institution is now at stake. there are people in the briefing room, people around the country now looking and wondering what is it that comes from the white house that can be believed. the fact that there's a lawsuit alleging that the president was personally in on this, briefed on these things and wanted this false story out as part of a larger effort to distract from the russia collusion story is something that should concern this white house.
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>> yeah. we heard the voice mail. we know he did meet with sean spicer. it's not just any random guy's voice mail. here is sean spicer when asked about that around that time. >> can we get a white house reaction or the president's reaction to the report that said rich was e-mailing wikileaks before his murder? >> i'm not aware of -- generally, i don't get updates on dnc, former dnc staffers. i don't know the status of it in terms of d.c. it would be highly inappropriate to do that. >> that's what we call a generalized denial. the most interesting part is him acknowledging that kind of thing would be inappropriate. >> in this particular administration, with this particular president, we know they traffic in lies and chaos and collusion. this, if this were any other president this story would last a week, a month, it would be on
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every single front page. with this president we have jared testifying in front ot senate committees. the president making out landish comments to middle schoolboys. he's going to long island saying comments that the police should collude and harm suspects. every day there's something else thrown at the american public. in many ways this administration is like a three card monte. we don't know where to look. this is a story we must stay on. in political science we talk about media being the fourth wing of the government. the media is not listed in the constitution as the fourth branch. the president is listed as one of the three branches of government. we have to hold him accountable. it's the media's job to make sure they're not trafficking in fake news but this president clearly does not understand or respect the boundaries of his job and we know that he likes to meddle.
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he likes to meddle with his son, father of five. he likes to meddle with others trying to do their jobs. he doesn't get the gravitas of the office. he's talking to different people. he's making sure a story gets out there because he loves fox. he was having dinner with executives with fox and media personnel from fox. he wants them to be his extra wing because he feels like people aren't sticking up for him the way they should. this is something that could get him in a lot of trouble. the problem is tomorrow we know that it will probably be some other story that's just as egregious and chaotic for american democracy. >> luckily for people that care about this, it's not tomorrow. it's tonight. is this the chickens coming home to roost or do conservatives view this as overblown? >> obviously these allegations are just that. i thought it was very interesting during yesterday's white house press briefing at the very end when sarah sanders
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was asked about the merits. does the president believe the predicate of this initial fox news story that seth rich was involved in the hacking of the dnc. she said i'm not sure and immediately ended the press briefing. i don't think that's a position for the white house to lever th leave that out in the open. with this lawsuit they will be forced to weigh in on the merits of this story and what does the president think here. does he sort of buy in to this conspiracy theory. >> i appreciate your word choice because we all choose our words carefully. predicate is a very fancy word for a discredited, scurrilous allegation built on the murder of a young man that didn't have anything to do with the hack ng the russia case. >> the attorney for mr. chewhee saying he might be looking to depose the president at some point. we're looking at explosive
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developments with respect to the white house going forward. i expect this to continue coming up. i agree with christina that reports need to continue pressing this because this i don't know what the president thinks is thrown out in response to so many questions in that briefing room, i don't think will cut it here. >> it's very significant for all those reasons. jonathan i want to play mr. butowsky's response. we invited hymn add well as white house officials. white house is not responded. here is how he try to recharacterize what are pretty blanket statements that he had white house conduct. take a listen. >> i never talk to anybody at the white house. i've never talked to president trump in my life. president trump nor the white house has anything to do with any of this. this was tongue and cheek talking, just texting. wasn't serious. rod wheeler was always looking for a job because he has no
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money. >> jonathan, what do you think of that defense? you've covered a lot of stories where political explanations shift. he's saying the texting, e-mailing, voice mail that we played at the top of the beat were all jokes. i don't know the voice mail didn't have a lot of jokey format to me. >> you mean to tell me that on a story this big, let's just say this fake story was true. a story where you're in contact with the white house, where the president is saying we've got to get this story out immediately. you've gone in to meet with the white house press secretary, sean spicer to talk about this story and now that it's been blown up and shown to be false that all of these things are jokes. it doesn't pass the laugh test. it doesn't pass the smell test. i think because of that, because spicer when he first asked about it denied it and then to npr when the story broke actually said, yes, in fact, i did meet
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with him. that say to my reporter nose and ears there's smoke there and crackling there. because the president's name has been invoked in this horrible case, reporters, i think, are duty bound to run this story down as far as they can to tell find out what happened. how is it possible that someone peddling in a conspiracy theory and pushing out fake stories was actually able to have a meeting with the white house press secretary to help push this story along. there are big troubling questions here for our country. >> final thought. >> we know a few things. one trump's base loves conspiracy theories. two, we know trump has no bottom and he's willing to throw a murdered, innocent man under the bus to protect himself. if we remember those two thing, hopefully the media will stay on the story and congress will do their job and republican members
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of congress to push to make sure there's a committee to really investigate this much more heavily. >> all important points. the white house has issued blanket denials but the invitation is open if they want to submit to questions. that's what mr. wheeler was willing to do last night. appreciate your time in reporting on this. other fireworks at the white house briefing. a controversial aide back in the spotlight on immigration. will the trump justice department really use these civil rights division to launch a new atact on affirmative action. we have dae bait including the doj prosecutor who led that division under barack obama and a conservative perspective. a special break down on trump's evolving legal defense on the russia inquiry. what he was saying then and what he's saying now. you're watching the beat on msnbc. r ways to manage my symptoms. i thought i was doing okay... then it hit me... ...managing was all i was doing.
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donald trump's aides, they
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come, they go and then they come back. stephen miller had been a media block out for months. today after six months, he came roaring back this the briefing room. >> can you tell me how many -- >> maybe we'll make a card out in the bill that says the new york times can hire the low skilled, less paid workers they want from other countries and show you feel about low wage substituti substitution. >> that's not what you said. it shows your bias. i want to say -- >> sounds like you're trying to engineer the rational and ethnic flow of people into this country. >> that's one of the most outrageous, insulting, ignorant and foolish things you really said. that's a really, the goenotion think is a racist bill is so wrong and so insulting. >> miller kept repeating that
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phrase kcosmopolitan bias. once you're in trump world, you may get benched, attacked or sack. the rule is he who fights and runs away may live to fight another day. anthony scaramucci could fit the bill. he might finds a second act working for trump. roger stone telling her none of us are really gone. he still has the president's cell phone, the president's private number. just because he's not in the white house no one should ink influence has gone. turns out the same story for cory lewandowski. the new york times reporting the former trump campaign manager has started a new consulting business that puts him at the center of the ethical quandary surrounding the trump white house. indeed, he has the president helping him give him access and
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power to friends and loyalists who aren't on the payroll but work as lobbyists. donald trump certainly ends political lies but political death is clearly not always the end of the road. when there are zombie lobbyists and advisors roaming the town. t joining us now, the perfect panel. vickie, you look at this situation, scaramucci, does he have a krecredible reason to th he should return? >> absolutely. he's fielding calls from various people in the cabinet. >> they're talking to him today? >> absolutely. he might disappear. he's going to go dark for a bit
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but he will completely come back. i think that one of the things i've discovered in my reporting in talking to anthony is the president quite likes it when people who have worked for him blow themselves up. then sort of work their way back. >> what does he like about it? >> it's an extra demonstration of loyalty, isn't it? >> is it? >> they're still there. >> i mean know this is a -- i don't want to put you on the spot. i know it's a great british turn of phrase, it's loyalty, isn't it. i would ask you back, is it? >> take anthony, for example, he could wander off. he's made lot of money, unlike a lot of other trump people who are very reliant on donald trump for an existence, for their
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livelihoods. anthony could walk away and go back into the wall street world. the fact they left on these good terms and scaramucci has sort of said he still like to work with the president, advise him. that means a lot to donald trump. >> the pool of people who want to work for president trump is not growing. it's staying the same or shrinking. this is real problem the president has. he can't hire people from traditional establishment who have traditional experience. those people were against him in the campaign or don't want to work for a president whose under investigation for the russia stuff. he has to rely on the same people over and over again. they're swimming around in the fish tank, if they are loyal. >> you raise a big point, which is often times you start a new job. sometimes you get a new e-mail, address. if you start at a senior level
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at white house, you have to get a new lawyer. you dug into the fact if the concern is the swamp and pay for play, they are adding zombie alligators to the swamp, not subtracting. >> the trump idea of the swamp is different from the journalism. it's some combination of the media and permanent d.c. establishment and the b beauracracy. >> i think you're right. that's evolved. i was there when he talked about bankers and money going to hillary clinton which was a compelling critique because it's one that bernie and donald trump made. now that finance money and some of the that other lobbying money is going to lewandowski. he says to you, i'm now going to
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go dark. then i will reemerge as me. was he going to come back as someone else? was it a halloween party? >> anthony scaramucci see himself, he probably won't like me for seeing this as mini me to donald trump. one of the things he admires is the teflon. the invinceability that nothing can sink him. >> tenacity. >> scaramucci has that. there's nothing -- >> so does cory. the guy who has stuck it out. he has a first lobbying firm. he pblew it up because he had associations with foreign clients that he didn't want. he start add pseudo firm with
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the same clies. he's standing in the mix. >> what do you want your sources to know as they are watching tv as so many people in trump world do? why did anthony call you? >> i've known anthony quite a long time. i think he had a few things that needed to clarification. most people wanted to know why someone wouldn't be there for the birth of their child. why they would have that profanity laced conversation with the new yorkers. i think he was right to maybe try -- >> add to it. not let the now infamous new yorker interview be his last ber view. thank you both. interesting stuff. ahead we take a turn. can the trump administration sue colleges over affirm tifr action policies by arguing they hurt
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white and asian applicants. later, constitutional crisis. what does that mean and are we approaching one? to rethink what's possible. rethink the experience. rethink your allergy pills. flonase sensimist allergy relief uses unique mistpro technology and helps block 6 key inflammatory substances with a gentle mist. most allergy pills only block one. and 6 is greater than one. rethink your allergy relief. flonase sensimist. ♪ at the lexus golden opportunity sales event before it ends. choose from the is turbo, es 350 or nx turbo for $299 a month for 36 months if you lease now. experience amazing at your lexus dealer. oscwe went back toing bithe drawing board...s.
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there's always two sets of stories about trump administration. the story the trump white house, leaks, tweets and shifting cast of characters that spend time talking about each over as they do the people's business. many career republicans are quietly governing and enbasacti policy. the story at the agency has more impact on americans lives. that is where a drastic policy change is under way. that were no big tweets about this. no one called the new yorker magazine to swear about it. instead, trump's political appointees are recruiting staff to sue universities over affirmative action to benefit
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white or asian applicants instead of minorities. the doj says it will neither confirm or deny any ongoing investigation on this issue. the supreme court has weighed in upholding narrow affirmative programs as lawful. it's not clear how far the plan will go but it could produce new cases that will narrow it even further. when you look at this report, what does it say to you about the trump administration's approach to affirmative action and diversity programs? >> i think it was a tall sign they were asking for employees to come join the political front office of the civil rights division to engage in this work. there already are a number of career lawyers at the civil rights division who day in and day out are enforcing our
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anti-discrimination laws to ensure there's equal opportunity for all students in this country. i think it was an odd move to move that into a political front office. that really suggested there's a different underlying agenda here aimed at parsing out discrimination against white students in particular. >> the supreme court has decided this multiple times. is this really a good place for conservative energy? >> i don't know about conservative energy, but if we care about civil rights and treating people based on the con tent of their character rather than the color of their skin then absolutely, the justice department will look at whether similarlily qualified applicants are being treated differently. if this going toward the lawsuit of harvard, it looks like asian apply kantss are 16 less likely to get in. i'm not surprised by the way
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this is being taken care of by the front office because under the obama justice department and especially under the tenure, the career officials were only hired if they had time spent in radical left organizations that most of which didn't -- >> hold up. >> against white applicants. >> if you want to make those charges on this showou'll have to useore than the word dical. do you want to name an organization? >> all of these traditional civil rights organizations that are the only kind of diversity is different colored liberals. >> i'm not hearing an answer to my question. >> the lawyers committee on zif civil rights. human rights first. >> okay. you're giving a bit of a tell. you think human rights first is radical for advocating human rights? >> we're getting off track. >> we're not getting off track. you come on tv and call people rads cal left because they
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support now your words, human rights. >> i'm calling them radical because they would not count claims someone that a white person or asian person can be discriminated against in the context of educational admissions. we don't know what's going on at harvard and these other places. the justice department will investigate. >> it's your words. your words was human rights first. i want to give her chance to respond. >> the organizations he's claiming to be radical are organizations engaged in enforcing the law and protecting our constitutional rights. if that's radical then i'm afraid we're in a dift part of zone in the country i don't want to be part of. these are organizations about preserving the rule of law and ensuring that the federalsivi c rights that congress enacted over many decades are enforced.
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if there's real race discrimination in these programs that's what the career employees of the civil rights division do day in and day out. that's they root out. to call this work radical in any way i think rlly does a disservice to the very real work of civil rights enforcement that they do every day. they're not interested, ari, in pursuing cases or investigating when, for example, asians are the largest growing segment in the american populous and their numbers at your harvards, elite universities don't change. they're not interesting this pursuing whether it's in the voting rights division, whether it's in education where there's allegations of racial preferences being used in ways that aren't countenance by the supreme court. this kind of investigation or use of race is a black box. hopefully the justice department before suing anyone is actually going to investigate and get the
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statistics and data from these universities. >> two things. i want you to speak to that point because he's arguing that these programs can become a quota or a kind of discriminatory cap on certain student bodies. he's proposing asian students. two, for both you have, i want to play candidate donald trump who said he was fine with affirmative action. we're seeing sometimes in the agencies something different than what he ran on. let's take a listen to that. >> i'm fine with affirmative action. >> should it be expanded or limited? >> it should be -- you have to also go free market. you have to go capabilitcapabil. you have to do a lot of things. i'm fine with affirmative action. i've lived with it for a long time. i'm had great relationships with lots of people. i'm fine with it. >> speak to the point and i'd love your response on the quote there. >> first of all, he's made a lot of allegations. i don't know what his evidence
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is that the division was discrimination against any and all groups. let me put to one side. the reality is that these universities have been struggling with the reality of needing to engage and produce diverse student bodies that will be able to perform in the global economy. that's something they take seriously. this isn't about quotas. the university of texas case that went up to the supreme court where the decision came down in june 2016, was about whether the university of texas could consider race as one of many factors in creating a diverse student body. among factors whether they have an athletic ability, whether they are a legacy student, for instance. this is a very complicated mix for admissions officers who aren't just looking at race at all. that would be unconstitutional. they are looking at a number of different factors about what brings the student into
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diversity. if we acted on pure numbers, that would be an easy thing to say because they didn't make the test. >> your view of if donald trump was going to do this, shouldn't he have said so when he was running? >> i'm against racial preference. i'm not against affirmative action. the office of professional responsibility is the agency that found discrimination claims against whites and others -- >> not during my time. >> this important issue. it may be back in the headlines with these cases. we'll have you both back on if you join us. appreciate your time. > >> thank you. we heard lots of taung about the russia inquiry and how it would lead to a constitutional crisis. what does that mean? a basketball costs $14. what's team spirit worth? (cheers) what's it worth to talk to your mom?
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in jellyfish. in clinical trials, prevagen has been shown to improve short-term memory. prevagen. the name to remember. two words we keep hearing, constitutional crisis. not everyone agrees on the definition. >> we're heading toward along and that's a constitutional cris crisis. >> recess appointment of attorney general who can then fire mueller, that's a constitutional crisis. >> i can't imagine they could be complicit this creating a constitutional crisis. >> my own view is if the president fires bob mueller without cause that's going to trigger a constitutional crisis. >> these two actions alone bring us closer to a constitutional crisis.
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>> he puts us in a constitutional crisis perhaps worse than october 20th, 1973 when president nixon fired the special prosecutor investigating him. >> we're on our way to see a constitutional crisis that will make watergate look like a minor event by comparison. >> what is a constitution noal crisis? it's when the governing system faces a constitutional test. they cannot solve the crisis facing the country. there is when there is no tool in the constitution to resolve the problem. nixon broke some rules but followed the supreme courtrder to turn over incriminating tapes. another ishen the government disagreements turned to violence like the nullification action threatening to use the military against the state. those are historical kpamexampl
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but what about today? what does this term and what does it mean applied in the trump era? >> a constitutional crisis is really when the constitutional scheme isn't working. when there's a basic problem with the president disobeys a court order and says what are you going to do about it. that would be a constitutional crisis. what do you do about it? does he control the military? what do you do? we almost had a constitutional crisis when the president fired comey. he said the reason for firing him, there was some dishonesty about it but he told the russians and nbc news is the reason he fired comey is to stop the investigation. that was resolved by the appointment of mueller as a special counsel. he's investigating it. if he were to be fired, that
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would be a constitutional crisis. then you have a situation where the president who might or might not be guilty of crimes and crimes against constitutional order would have stopped the investigation of his own possible crime. >> is that, in your view, what makes it different than bad policy or irresponsible decisions? you followed presidents in both parties. you're saying the nature of the mueller investigation makes it a crisis because cutting it off means what? >> the fact that the president is suspected. his campaign is suspected of having colluded with a foreign power trying to rig an american election. we don't know whether it's true. it's being investigated. if that investigation is stopped by the subject of the investigation then you have a constitutional crisis. >> how you resolve sit a big question. >> do you think there are official fls the white house who understand that? >> i think there are officials
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who understand it would be a real problem at that point. you have to have a majority in the house and it's got to be bipartisan. it can't be one party trying to be. >> it can't be partisan. >> the impeachment of clinton was partisan. the republicans with no democratic support and it failed in the senate. >> you didn't get any conviction. thank you very much for joining us. >> you're quite welcome. it's the people's house but the current resident calls it a dump. the ever changing legal defense in the russia inquiry. this is a story about mail and packages.
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the white house is the people's house a michelle and i always joke we're just renters here. the owners are the american
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people and all those who investinves invested in creating this amazing place. >> that is one way to put it. president trump, for his part, just lit into his own public housing telling some golfers he stays at his own property because that white house is real dump. the attack joining widespread combination especially since the white house is not donald trump's house to insult. it's the people's house funded by taxpayers. he is a temporary tenant. it's change of tone from when he moved in calling it a beautiful resident, very elegant. donald trump also has a personal conflict when promoting his own hotels over the white house. he has spent now 58 days at his properties continuing to profit off of them. he doubled the fee to $200,000 after the election. with me now is a former obama and bernie sanders supporter who voted for and backs donald trump
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and jamil smith. welcome to you both. >> hi. >> thanks for having me on. >> absolutely. taylor, i want to start with you because you came to our attention as one of those people out there that a lot of folks are curious about. you like bernie sanders but you're with trump. starting with this sort of sur if you have fi cur if you have fall, i think it comes down do matter of perm taste. i'm concerned we're making national headline of off handed headlines in a golfing magazine. >> there's a certain standard that comes up with other presidents, barack obama is one but more than barack ama have been held to a standard about a comment like this and a lot of folks seem to want to look the other way with president trump. what do you think? >> when you look at the conservative media, that he would have had a field day if obama said this. i think it's relevant in that
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respect but also it tells you a lot about the man himself. what kind of person takes a job with that kind of importance, with that kind of power and just disregards it to the point where he just calls it a dump. there's lots of hard hard worki people there, cooks, janitors, landscape folks who are working their tails off not nearly as much as donald trump is earning. and they make place beautiful. so i think he owes them an apology. >> when you look beyond this story, you look at the president's first six months, what grade would you give him and how do you compare him to obama who you did previously support? >> it's very different. i'll give you that. i support my president. i'll never agree 100% with policy with anybody but myself. but i would give him an "a." >> an "a." what do you think is the best thing he's achieved or done in the first six months? >> i think his infrastructure plan is very generous and i think it is a great thing for an
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economy, a reboot if you will. >> what do you think about the fact, you mentioned infrastructure. proposals. he hasn't passed really any major domestic spending or legislative program. >> yeah, but according to the hill, it doesn't seem like it will get much resistance. he got $1.6 billion put in already for the wall. the rest is, i mean, even more generous. but i think he'll get it through. >> what do you think? what do you say to people like taylor and others who think that donald trump deserves more than a six months chance at this juncture? >> i would like to know what infrastructure plan she's talking about. there hasn't been any infrastructure plan. of a wall as an infrastructure plan, i would like him to talk to the folks in places like cleveland and minneapolis and detroit whose bridges and roads are falling apart. he could have scored a big win had he concentrated on the infrastructure to start. instead, he chose to use his
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political capital to wage the health care fight, which as we can see, he can't get that done either. so i'm curious to know what exactly he's done so well that has taylor so happy about his job performance. >> taylor davis -- go ahead. >> you might not have heard but his plan is very generous. probably more generous than bernie's he infrastructure plan was. and he is allowing, he has proposed $100 billion to states to foresee how they want to see it done. so that's the roads in cleveland and for cleveland to decide. >> as we say in the business, to be decided. appreciate you both coming. on coming up, the russia defense. next. if you have moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis like me, and you're talking to your rheumatologist about a medication... ...this is humira. this is humira helping to relieve my pain... ...and protect my joints from further damage. humira has been clinically studied for over 18 years. humira works by targeting and helping to...
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legal ramifications for the inquire yiflt tonight let's break down the state of team trump's russia defense, because it keeps changing. now there are two major defenses to criminal conduct. one, denial. you didn't do it. or two, justification. you did it but it's okay. the trump campaign began with 100% denial. >> are there any ties between mr. trump, you or your campaign, and putin and his campaign?
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>> no. it's absurd. no basis to it. >> did you ever meet with any other person from russia that you know? >> i don't know. i've probably met with other people from russia. not in the context of a formalized meeting. >> the entire thing has been a witch hundred. there's no collusion between myself and my campaign. >> russia is a ruse. i have nothing to do with russia. haven't made phone call to russia in years. i don't speak to people from russia. i have nothing to do with russia. to the best of my knowledge, no person that i deal with does. >> that's the clearest defense to any kind of crime. the claim that it didn't happen. but that fell apart collapsing a series of russia meetings which were exposed for most of trump's inner circle and then came the smoking gun. th met with russians promising dirt on clinton. so the denial went out the window. they turned on a justification defense, even if they did it, to
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be clear, that can be a legitimate defense. the idea that some chakss would be criminal in certain circumstances. that a crime is justified when the conduct is necessary as an emergency measure to avoid, say, imminent injury. think of driving into the opposing lane to avoid hitting a pedestrian. after the trump tower meeting was exposed, trump defenders said, maybe if they did it, it's okay. >> there's no illegal at. that a meeting under the circumstances described by the release of the e-mails that donald trump did yesterday, is not a violation of the law. >> collusion is not illegal, by the way. >> i never understood it anyway. what was the collusion? was that a crime? to say release it? to show the truth? >> not normal. never in american history of government leaders or their close allies, openly suggested foreign collusion is acceptable and the defense spread with some republicans suggesting these meetings were okay.
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here's the bad news for team trump. a justification defense is he much harder than a denial defense. kit look for an emergency like using force and self-defense. it doesn't usually apply to crimes without an emergency or necessity. so you can punch someone the second before they punch you. but you can't commit tax fraud for six months and say it was justified because you needed the money to do some good deed. and legally that bogus tax defense is trying to justify election interference, because there's no emergency to rescue the underlying crime. if there was one. now, president trump might be learning, as he goes along. the most important thing about his dictation of don junior's defense is that it did not justify anymore. they went back to denial. whenever you think of trump, he's known line between controversy and danger and he told his son, the best defense was to deny the purpose of the meeting and go back to
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adoptions. now, think about that and it explains yes brought it up in a "new york times" interview. >> it was very interesting. we talked about adoption. >> you did. >> yeah. i always found interesting. he ended that years ago. and i actually talked about russian adoption with him, which is interesting. because that was a part of the conversation that don had in that meeting. >> that sounded bizarre then but it fits into this defense. adoption is the denial for the clinton meeting. the boss is back to denial. when he insists on denying the russia meeting with clinton when his son's e-mails demolish that claim, you can tell the compromise defense must be the best defense they have left. that's our show. "hardball" starts now. no wonder trump is scared. let's play "hardball."


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