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tv   Deadline White House  MSNBC  September 21, 2017 1:00pm-2:00pm PDT

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washington post," manafort offered to brief a russian billionaire with close ties to the kremlin on the state of the u.s. presidential campaign. two weeks before donald trump officially accepted his party's nomination in cleveland. as a veteran of three presidential contests, this isn't normal. according to the post, paul manafort made the e-mail to an overseas intermediary asking that a message be sent to oleg dereposkav, an aluminum magnate. if he needs private briefings we can accommodate, manafort wrote. a normal campaign chairman is fine tuning the convention from, working on the convention address and making sure the party is united behind the nominee. now this story comes on the heels of reporting we brought you yesterday as it broke that bob mueller is scrutinizing several of the president's actions as part of his investigation. those include the firing of mike flynn, the firing of jim comey. president trump's meeting
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with -- donald trump jr.'s meet with russians -- no, i had it right the first time. president trump's meter with russians in the oval office and donald junior's role in responding -- donald junior's meeting with russians in which he was promised dirt on hillary clinton and the president's role in explaining that. let's get to all of this with our reporters who will help me make sense of this. i have all of you here because all of these stories have obviously frustrated the white house on a week when the president thought he'd be taking the world stage, taking manhattan by storm with his displays of brute strength. he seems to be dodged by your paper and others relentless pursuit of the truth and facts in terms of these investigations into russian meddling. talk to us about where this
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investigation stands. your reporting yesterday that bob mueller is honing in specifically on the president's actions in those four instances we named at the top of the show. >> we've known for a while that bob mueller was looking at the president's firing of the fbi director james comey and does that amount to obstruction? was he trying to get ahead of the investigation? trying to shut it down? we now know that mueller is taking a much broader look at white house activities. some of the most controversial decisions, documents related to the flynn firing, to that -- those two very important meetings that sally yates the acting attorney general had when she went to the white house and said, look, flynn is compromised with the russians. they loorking at the trump tower meeting that don junior had. they've asked for records about the statement that was crafted on air force one, that misleading statement when we first asked about that meeting and that white house, that oval office meeting where the president right after firing james comey told the russian
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foreign minister the pressure is off. i fired comey and the pressure is off. >> matt, let me bring you back in time to everything that happened around that meeting because one of the crises that ensued immediately after that meeting, he was in there with sergey kislyak and lavrov, right, the russian ambassador to washington and the russian foreign minister, right? >> correct. >> he said to both of them, comey was a nut job. now that he's gone, it has relieved so much pressure on me. does an investigation into potential russian collusion and the potential for obstruction of justice in said investigation -- do they look at those statements as sort of getting at the president's state of mind? >> i think they want to see what records are sort of underpinning that meeting. when the times first broke -- >> you mean like contemporaneous notes. are there notes, the kinds of things -- >> exactly. those records are all being
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sought by the special counsel. when the times broke the existence of that meeting and the contents of that meeting, we were read out on essentially the -- not a transcript but the summary of the notes. that's where those quotes came from. so bob mueller's question is, i want to see those notes and what else is throughout. what e-mails were sent around before that meeting. what e-mails sent around after that meeting? who else was taking notes because the content is going to be important. >> one thing that happened after that meeting is those aides that were in there did do cleanup but it was on a different front. it was on the question of whether or not the president had disclosed sensitive -- i guess it wouldn't have been classified because the president has the ability to declassify information on his own. but he shared intelligence information and there was some chatter in the media and in foreign policy circles that he may have harmed an asset. i don't want to use technical terms but he may have stepped in
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it in term whafts he disclosed to the russians. would that be something an investigator would want to learn more about? >> i don't think in this context. in a counterintelligence investigation, it might be interesting. and i think potentially i suppose it may go to his -- to show his state of mind regarding a predilection to do favors for the russians. i think that that would be something that they would look at maybe to show that. but i think the primary interest in this meeting is the one that you picked up on earlier which is he's talking about relieving pressure. due to the firing of comey. and sort of an odd thing to say. when you are a prosecutor and you loorking to prove intent beyond a reasonable doubt, it's not an easy thing to do. i've tried to do that many times in my career. you don't have a magic telescope to see inside somebody's mind and have to look at their own words and actions. when someone says i fired that guy and it's relieved a lot of pressure, that's an unusual statement. understanding the context in
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which that was said, what also may have been said before and afterwards is important to an obstruction case. and i think one thing those document requests show us is that there can really be no question at this point that that is something mueller is seriously looking at. >> i'm obsessed with your twitter feed. you have me hooked. i can't read three consecutive tweets from anybody else but i go all in with all 27 of yours. on the story we started off with, the breaking news from "the washington post" fom last night that two weeks before convention, and i'll speak for the republican party, the party was in disarray. it was unclear whether or not there would be a floor fight. there was a political crisis that a normal campaign chairman would have been wholly focused on. we learned from "the washington post" that paul manafort was offering to brief an aluminum magnate about the state of the campaign. now that's not normal. i can attest to that. but is it a sign of a relationship that could be under scrutiny as part of an
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investigation into potential crimes that mr. manafort may have committed? >> there is absolutely no question. thanks for the kind words. i did explore this in great depth on twitter yesterday. this is something that they are taking a very close look at because the question is, if i was back as a prosecutor, putting on that hat, why are you offering special access to this russian billionaire? the russian billionaire cannot legally contribute to the trump campaign. so are you doing this knowing that, you know, there's some quid pro quo there where there's going to be some russian effort to aid the campaign, which would be illegal, or alternatively, are you doing this to get something for yourself, like some money for yourself which would also potentially be problematic? i have to say, there was this announcement yesterday from manafort's spokesman that this was inocuous, commonplace. that, as you pointed out, it's not commonplace at all, it's at
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innocuous at all. his spokesperson should really say nothing about this subject. and i -- what i think is going to happen is more of what we saw today, which is trump lawyer ty cobb distancing himself and the president from manafort. mike pence having a statement distancing himself from this sort of activity, and i think what we're starting to see is mueller is moving into areas that are more politically explosive and it will be interesting to see if it's less likely that manafort could get a pardon. if i represented him, i'd think, my client may not get a pardon at this point. i'd start doing what i think i could do to help the government now that i know my client is going to be indicted. >> your paper was the first to report that mueller's prosecutors had told paul manafort that they planned to indict him. can you talk a little about the circle around the current state of that investigation which seems pretty advanced and where
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your reporting suggests the circle of investigation around mike flynn. i believe your paper also broke the story about michael flynn jr. now being a subject of the fbi investigation. can you talk about these two circles around these two men. two generations on both sides. paul manafort jr., mike flynn and mike flynn jr. under scrutiny. can you talk about where those circles intersect with the president and the list of categories, the 13 presidential actions that we learned from your paper yesterday mueller wants to know more about. >> sure. so, obviously, flynn and manafort are name checked in those document requests bob mueller sent to the white house. give me the documents you have on flynn. any documents you have for communications with manafort. it's pretty obvious that mueller's team is really focused on manafort in particular his taxes. when they raided his home in
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july, they took out binders full of documents and mirrored his hard drive. copied the contents of his hard drive. took pictures of the soups hanging in his closet. they are very interested in looking at his money, offshore bank accounts. they're interested in him on tax -- on potential tax charges. flynn has been looked at for his disclosures of his foreign travel. his disclosures of his foreign lobbying. and so those issues, disclosing to the government or failing to disclose to the government on federal forms is a felony. and so there's exposure there. the white house is trying to -- the president has said paul manafort didn't even work for me very much that long. they are really trying to distance themselves from paul manafort who was a campaign chairman for key points in the campaign. >> quickly, on mike flynn, this is the first time i've seen any reporting that reveals that the
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firing of mike flynn and perhaps those 18 days between the time that sally yates went to the white house and said mike flynn could be a subject of -- i stumble over these because i can't believe them as they come out of my mouth. mike flynn could be a target for black mail by the russians. this is the first indication that i've heard that mueller wants to know more about the president's role in the white house role and is looking for documents related to the events and conversations between don mcgahn learning from sally yates that flynn may be a subject for blackmail and the eventual firing 18 days later. what's the significance of that? >> great catch, nicolle. probably one of the only new things we did learn from that account. and what it tells me is that mueller is looking at, what did the white house think that flynn knew. what were their motivations behind keeping him around before that? what concerns do they have about
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his firing? what i think it was was not necessarily obstruction related to the firing but more, what are they talking about as the up sides and downsides of the firing of flynn. were they concerned about what he knew about certain subjects? what were their thoughts about his potential liability? none of that is privileged, and all of it could be useful to mueller. >> the white house is exasperated that during this week where i think in their view, the president is making his first big foray into multilateral diplomacy as you do during these weeks. so much news has broken on the investigation. the president's own lawyer helping to advance the story. ty cobb today responding to "the washington post" report by saying, it would be truly shocking in paul manafort tried to monetize his relationship with the president. it certainly would never have been tolerated by the president and his team. heidi przybilla, why would they be shocked this is sort of the ethical compass of paul manafort? >> i don't know just because they issued a statement they are
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shocked but this is so evergreen. what week can you name when there hasn't been a russian story that's coming in like a missile and interrupted their agenda. another thing i wanted to add on the flynn angle that is significant in terms of them looking at the flynn firing is, it is also about what donald trump knew. it's about where the fish head is in terms of when michael flynn is on the campaign, after the russians have successfully hacked and hurt the hillary clinton campaign with wikileaks and then mike flynn is talking to them about potentially easing sanctions, then trump fires him for supposedly not telling the white house about this. did he really not know? and i remember pointedly that at the time we had that news conference, it was the one question that actually, surprisingly, didn't get asked of the president was whether he knew, did he know anything about whether mike flynn was wheeling and dealing ing oing on sancti russia after all of this had gone down. >> what would the significance be of that? >> well, i think -- you know, i
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think that the significance of ty cobb's statement if that's what you're referring to -- >> but finding out if the president knew -- this is an interesting point heidi raised. we know that flynn was fired because pence was kept in the dark and pence was mad and the president stood by his vp. we never learned whether or not donald trump was blindsided by any of this information. >> and that is something mueller is going to be interested in. what did donald trump know about what mike flynn was doing? was there discussions that if mike flynn was fired that he might reveal what the president knew? those are the sort of things i would be interested in if i were on mueller's team. that's why i would be making this document request. not so much because i think that you'd fire flynn to an obstruction investigation but because the discussions around what they knew about what flynn knew and what -- and concerns about what he might say about others might reveal a lot about their state of mind and make
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attach more difficult for them to answer questions in a more guarded way if they were interviewed by mueller and his team. >> kimberly, they have long expressed out loud how frustrated the president is by this investigation. but they are at a point now where it has a life of its own. as i said, they are frustrated that all these developments have been revealed while they are trying to shine a spotlight on, in their view, what has been a strong week for the president. what do you make sort of looking back at all the things the president did over the first eight months of his presidency to make this situation so much worse for himself? >> he has. look. and as an aside, the u.n. visit, it depends on who you ask how successful it's been. >> no doubt. white house sources say that they would like the attention to be on the president this week. i agree with you that for a whole host of reasons, about six a day, it might be a good thing that it hasn't been in focus, but their view is that they would rather that we be focusing
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on, i'm sure today, the sanctions against north korea and other top ics. >> a great deal of this is based on what the president did since getting into office. this all started with meet with comey in private and then firing him and waiting so long to fire michael flynn and that has been the idea the whole time that every question that every reporter is asking is what does michael flynn have? what does he know and what does the president know that he knows? all of this? so this is all much of this is based on the president's own doing. and as the concentric circles around the key people in his campaign and in his white house get closer in this mueller investigation, that's something they have to be concerned about. >> matt, you guys have any leads on sean spicer's volume, someone called it a honey pot of contemporaneous history in the making notebooks full of every little thing that happened or did you get the same kind of hostile brush-off the folks from axios got when they reached out
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to him. >> i didn't personally reach out to sean spicer. i enjoyed that little text exchange and axios and everyone else did. what we do know is sean spicer's statements talking about comey are among the documents being requested by bob mueller. he wants to know. when spicer comes out and says the president has confidence in comey and then when he comes out and talks about the comey firing or his ability to do his job, all of that stuff is getting looked at by mueller as well. they've cast a wide net both in what is the white house saying publicly about all of this stuff and then also what's going on privately? that's kind of classic, you know, prosecution tactic. you look at the outside story and you look at the inside story and see where they don't line up. >> this is where it gets really tough and where an investigation ensnares so many other people. not the kinds of people that maybe were privy to, you know, the intel or actual information
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but all the people that were involved in telling that fake story that went to the white house lawn and waved around the rod rosenstein memo and said comey stepped out of -- i remember that memo coming out the night he was fired. i was with brian williams covering that story. and that story fell apart when he did an interview with left r hester holt and said i was going to fire him all long. but every staffer given instruction to take the rosenstein memo and articulate that as the defense for the comey firing is now i would assume going to need to answer some questions or produce documents. >> rosenstein memo in many other instances, including the staffs or the air force one ride back when they came up with the somewhat more than misleading statement about donald trump jr.'s meeting. so i think all of them have to be, to use the word paranoid at this point, you have even lawyers potentially hiring their
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own lawyers and people have to be very concerned about, at some point if you are hauled in, are you going to have to make a trade for information on your friend or colleague in order to protect yourself? and this, of course, has a hardship not just in terms of the stress that creates but also the financial stress. not everybody in this white house is rich, especially some of these lower level aides. >> as we all know, a grand jury summons can be like a truth serum. matt, it's a pleasure to have you. i'm addicted to your twitter feed. when we come back, president trump squares off against rocket man. the white house announcing new sanctions designed to pressure north korea to give up their nukes. also ahead -- failing the kennel test. republicans, including our guest yesterday chris christie get blasted by the late night host. we'll find out if his warnings
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today i'm announcing a new executive order i just signed that significantly expands our authorities to target individuals, companies, financial institutions that finance and facilitate trade with north korea. the brutal north korean regime does not respect its own
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citizens or the sovereignty of other nations. our new executive order will cut off sources of revenue that fund north korea's efforts to develop the deadliest weapons known to human kind. >> president trump today stepping up economic sanctions on north korea and anyone who does business with north korea in an effort to quash dictator kim jong-un's nuclear activities. today's executive order comes just days after donald trump threatened to, quote, totally destroy the rogue nation. kelly o'donnell joins me from bedminster. where is the president headed and what is the strategy behind the sanctions? is it to really get china to put some economic teeth in their efforts to be constructive partner? >> first on the where is the president? having finished up his four days of intensive meetings and his first major speech at the u.n.
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general assembly, he'll be spending the next few days at his bedminster home on the golf resort property and tomorrow he'll be making political travel going to alabama on behalf of senator luther strange who sup for his first election to the seat once held by jeff sessions. it is conservatives at each other on that. back to the business of china and the sanctions. this was important because for china to be involved and telling its central bank not to do business with north korea anymore, it really is one of the strongest levers we've seen in quite a long time. and certainly something the trump administration is excited about in terms of what can be done differently to try to compel kim jong-un to behave in a way that is more in line with the international community. in some ways, it harkens back to something from the bush era. you're either with us or against us. this is about going after businesses. they can do business with the united states or with north korea, not both. so using the tools of the
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financial institutions, they are trying to clamp down on those who profit from north korea or get revenue to north korea. it's follow the money time. and following the money is a way to look at how can kim jong-un get the necessary resources to keep building and doing and provoking the world. so by reducing his potential revenue, it's intended to try to force him to comply. we'll see how that goes but the president seemed pleased about the central bank taking action and this was an opportunity with the meetings with the japanese and south korean leaders where the president again could have had that personal face time to be able to come -- essentially before the world body in this united nations week to say that they were able to extract something more and he put his pen to the paper on the sanctions, and he's trying to urge the other leaders to make sure they're not trade with north korea as well. >> thank you for spending time with us and for all your reporting.
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this is a hard week on every delegation but also on the press to have to cover them. joini ining us is heidi, ken palmieri, rick tyler. twitter demanded to see on this show at this table. twitter, we hear you. let me read something that nbc news is reporting this week. u.s. to allies. the u.s. believes in diplomacy despite trump's words. many of the president's own advisers were just as surprised by the president's u.n. remarks as the delegates and found themselves having to allay fears that the president will pursue hasty actions. dogged by leaks since taking office, trump and his inner circle have grown secretive with policy planning often leaving regional specialists and national security advisers in the dark. this is so interesting to me because so many of the sort of information releases, is how trump folks usually describe them have come from the president himself.
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>> oh, yes. >> when stuff gets out, it's usually because the president tweets it. leaving out your national security advisers and not telling them what's in the speech. >> i never understood that. he's not a team player. the amazing thing if you are a team player, as you know because you come from the communications part and your whole team is going out and everybody sends the same message and you know where the president is, it works exponentially better than going out on your own and having everybody else catch up with you and then changing it and having everybody catch up with you again. >> for some of these issues, i raise this because if you're going to -- i think there's a lot of support on both sides of the aisle for tougher sanctions against north korea. people are for anything other than what is the grim reality of the military option. but if no one knows what you're going to do, it's hard to build consensus. >> and an issue like north korea which is so hard where there's not a lot greatest solutions. any time you are doing something in the diplomatic space, you know, which i think you can put sanctions in that bucket, it's
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very reassuring to the country at large, very reassuring to politicians on the hill to know there's a plan that's being worked out with the japanese, even the chinese have bought in and you can get a lot out of it if you leveraged it as such. >> i guess where we are, and i am going to quote don rums feld because he may be the only one that looks good by comparison to -- i think donald trump can make don rumsfeld look good in this manner. you go to war with the army you have. we have to sort of advance our foreign policy with the president we have. but jim mattis seems to be doing a bit of a work around. our own network is reporting he sought to put an end to speculation that a u.s. attack on north korea was imminent saying the administration is still dedicated to finding a diplomatic solution. that's a long, long way to, we're going to destroy you which we heard from the president standing in front of the famous green wall. >> you've seen cabinet members or other aides or diplomats
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trumpsplaining what the president said. mike pence will retweet something by the president and word it the way he wished the president would have worded it in an attempt to explain something. you're seeing this in this case, we're talking about potential nuclear war. it's much scarier. diplomacy is still an option. the president doesn't really think much of diplomacy and his plan to gut the state department and doesn't really see the value there but everybody oels this team keeps pushing back. >> this -- in this case it was shared. and i think trump was essentially saying to the u.n., look, if diplomacy fails here. >> real consequences. >> this guy is a bad guy. he shamed some of the people in the u.n. when he kills his own brother with a deadly vx banned nerve agent. these are bad characters and he
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should not treat it with the rest of the civilized world. >> what people are still scratching their head is that one of the actors that makes the situation with north korea more attractable is russia. and there was nothing uttered by the leader of this country, this week, in new york about russia. nothing. against the backdrop of breaking news every single day. so i think you are thoughtful and if that's your analysis of the speech, i respect that you came to that with a lot of knowledge, but i think what leaves people feeling sort of like it doesn't all add sup that one of the actors that are least helpful, least constructive on north korea and iran is russia. >> nothing changes. this is the same and it's been the same for the past few months we've been talking about this. unless moscow and beijing extract real pain on north korea and we're not sure if these sanctions are going to constitute real pain. there is still this friendship pipeline that's pumping all of the crude oil into north korea that we're still doing. china, north korea, a lot of trade.
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in the meantime, i think the problem is that we americans don't understand what the policy is. it's like, i don't know if you all went to public school but it reminds me of like a schoolyard brawl where trump is here. hey, rocket man and kim jong-un is, hey, barking dog. we don't know if this is going to end in a brawl but if it does, we are just bluffing, or are we really prepared to go in there and quote/unquote annihilate north korea. it seems our policy is just to agitate and infuriate a mad man. >> the question is russia, though. once again, the simplest explanation for the fact that russia wasn't raised this week that trump always ends up in a pro-putin place is that he's compromised. that manafort isn't the center of this. he's the doorway to trump which is at the center of this. >> that's a known/unknown. we'll have to hit pause. blasted by jimmy kimmel and on the outs with some of the trump base, republicans make one
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are you ready to support it? >> nope. >> why not? >> because i am doing the due diligence that i committed to doing yesterday. what i have had an opportunity to do is to sit down with my team who sat down with hhs, and we are ferreting out lots of numbers, and we're continuing to do that. block granting to the states is something that we have seen before so you have that level of familiarity. what you need to know is what kind of funding is associated with it. that's kind of important to us. >> that was kasie hunt chasing down one of the most important votes in the senate, alaska senator lisa murkowski whose party is actively trying to woo
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her to vote yes on the cassidy/graham health care bill ahead of next friday's deadline. kasie hunt joins me right now from capitol hill where she's been stalking the halls today. where do things stand? >> basically where they stood about this time yesterday, nicolle, although there may be some behind the scenes progress on trying to figure out some sort of deal that would ultimately get lisa murkowski and her colleague dan sullivan to yes. now nbc news is still trying to nail down these details but we do know that that video you just played was of murkowski coming out of sullivan's office where she'd been meeting behind closed doors with rick sant ouorum and with bill cassidy. so there's still the focus of this. and the political reality that is surrounding this is there is intense political pressure generally from donors among republicans in the senate who
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feel they've been seen as failing but on the flip side, there's a lot of pressure for lisa murkowski and john mccain not to be seen as completely shifting with the winds here. they were very high profile no votes the last time around that this happened. murkowski landed in a tiny town in alaska. got off the plane and was cheered in the airport. and part of what dan sullivan her colleague is in these meetings as well is because he had the opposite experience. he received a lot of negative feedback when he came back home having voted yes on the republican package. he needs a little convincing as well. mccain similarly. he reveled in many ways in that moment of being seen as a hero to many people who opposed that health care legislation coming in at the last minute putting his thumb down in that video we've seen so many times. so i do think there are still significant challenges to finding one of them to vote yes for this. mccain quite notably has not been giving himself more room to vote for this.
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he has not said, well, they are having a hearing on tuesday, sothat means this is much closer to regular order. instead quoted by politico as insisting, i still have regular order around this bill and this is anything -- technically, i'm going to get myself in trouble with mcconnell's staff. technically it's regular order but we all know that typically you don't revamp one-sixth of the economy with a bill that's had about a week and a half of daylight. >> and no cbo score and no committee hearings, right? >> not so far. there's a committee hearing scheduled for monday at 2:00. >> kasie hunt, thank you. and thank you yesterday for pressing governor chris christie on the central question when it comes to what the american people care about. they don't care about the gop politics or donors. as you correctly asked, they care about pre-existing conditions, who gets covered, winners and losers which is the consequence of any change to one-sixth of the economy as you correctly pointed out. thank you for carrying that load yesterday. i appreciate it. when we come back, who is passing and who is failing the
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jimmy kimmel test.
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governor christie, you come down on the jimmy kimmel side of the cassidy/kimmel smackdown. you are opposed to the bill? >> i don't come down on the jimmy kimmel side, but i'm not in favor of the bill. >> provide health care for people with pre-existing conditions. >> listen, i'm not going to get a jimmy kimmel. he's not a serious person. >> i'm not a serious? i never got my head stuck in a bucket of fried chicken, okay? i'm not a serious person. actu actually, you know, in this case, chris christie is allowed to make fun of me. and i did get my head stuck in a bucket of fried chicken. >> two men who can take care of themselves. jimmy kimmel his crystallized this debate. and he's always made clear. i vote for jimmy kimmel, the
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health care advocate, because he's made clear he has the means. this isn't about him or his family. his child was born with a heart disease and he understands that if a person is born with heart disease, you are born with a pre-existing condition. >> you are. and there's a real life -- this idea we shouldn't listen to celebrities twhen comes to politics. reality tv star was elected president. >> what a moment to make that point. >> i don't understand that. it's a real life point that people can understand and connect to. i'm enrolled on obamacare. i've written a lot about the increasing costs that i pay out of pocket over the course of the obama administration and now, you know, i'm thinking maybe i need to tuck away a little more savings just in case if this is -- if this bill goes through, i have to pay more money out of pocket for all the pre-existing conditions i've had in all the years i've lived. when you put it in real terms, in terms of real people, real care how this will affect you, that makes a very powerful
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argument. >> this is why it's a giant loser for republicans because you can't something awaugh once you have given it to them. there were more than 20 laws passed to fix and adjust different aspects of obamacare while president obama was still in office. why can't republicans get around fixes? why are they still trying to repeal it? >> they are hung up on the fact it was obamacare. >> call it trumpcare and just call it a day? >> maybe. >> i wasn't for obamacare but once you offer something and have medicaid expansion and this new formula, what it does is cut the medicaid funding and redistrict r redistributes it among all the states. but it means that california would lose huge amounts of money. republicans don't care. new york will lose tons of money, republicans don't care. but it's just that when you pass something and then you pull it away, and it destabilizes the market, and we're going to begin this terrible reform or whatever
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it is. but i blame it on the republicans in the sense they went seven years, right, and they did not have a plan. if there was an election fraud, that was it. you have to have a plan. and there's nobody communicating what a plan is. this is politically untenable. >> those states you talked about, those were states that chose not to -- there are states, i'm on a federal exchange because my state refused to set up a state exchange. this is what obamacare was supposed to work by states actually doing something. so this idea now, we're just going to leave it to the states to do and now they're somehow magically going to do it is just silly. >> heidi, what are you picking up from republicans? i understand this to be a real stress test for mitch mcconnell's leadership in the senate. >> mitch mcconnell is doing what i call the boehner two-step. the people that i have talked to who are very close to mitch mcconnell and also to the white house and these are, you know, conservatives but they
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understand that what mitch mcconnell is doing is what he must do which is to prove to the grassroots conservative base -- >> keep throwing himself into the flames? >> exhaust every single option to try to get this campaign promise done. at the end of the day, they know it's very unlikely that people like john mccain, who had what i would say is a history making moment on the floor of the senate, when he is ailing and sick and god bless him. hopefully we have him around much longer. and people like lisa murkowski who, again, came home and was gree greeted by those people thanking her and asking her to hold firm on this is going to all of a sudden flip because she gets a slush fund for alaska, kind of a carve out to essentially keep obamacare, which is what we think they're talking about right now. >> it's virtually impossible for her to flip at this point. this is the problem. the other reason why we're doing the last, last, last-ditch effort to do this is to be able to do tax cuts for rich people. this is to get -- the deadline is coming up to do
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reconciliation. so this is about -- this is the last time they can get savings from medicaid in order to do tax cuts. >> because of -- and keep the obama taxes. >> but they -- and you can't do -- within two weeks, it's not long enough to do regular order to build a coalition but definitely long enough that something like jimmy ki moomy k take hold. how murkowski could justify voting for something now will look like a sweetheart deal. >> i think mccain is a no. >> the dynamic in the republican party is now that trump and his base is aligned with breitbart and fox news and their viewers against the republican establishment on this question. for the very reasons you articulated. they had seven years to come up with a plan. the president came in. they embarrassed him by not being able to repeal and replace obamacare. what happens to this already rocky dynamic between trump and the republicans in congress and his new bromance with chuck
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schumer and nancy pelosi. what ensues if they fail again? >> well, the plot is going to thicken. look at -- >> in what way? tell me. >> look at alabama. trump is on the opposite side of breitbart and steve bannon and the conservative base. look, trump -- don't mistake trump's base, right, for the republican -- >> ideology, right. >> he's a celebrity, a cult figure. they like him because he's trump and smashing washington, d.c., and they'll not go away. in alabama, they can't wait for him to come down and endorse luther strange. they can't wait to see him and then they'll vote for roy moore. that's just what's going to happen. again, it doesn't mean that they're going to march -- he's not a movement. >> what do you think the politics are for the republican leadership if they fail to get this done? do you think that the president just punishes them with more back deals with chuck and nancy? you think the conservative media champions all their primary
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challengers? yeah, you're nodding your head? >> the adventures of chuck and nancy will go on. if this bill fails. >> 73% approval for working with chuck and nancy. >> there you go. the president loves high approval press, get ready for donny, chuck and nancy. sounds like a sitcom. had we come back, live to mexico city, working around the clock to rescue survivors still trapped in the rubble. our life to let chronic dry eye symptoms get in the way. to learn more about chronic dry eye symptoms, chat with your eye doctor and go to myeyelove.com it's all about eyelove, my friends. feeling the love? are your eyes dry, itchy and gritty? blurry vision at times? grab some face time with your eye doctor and show your eyes some eyelove. but their nutritional needs (vremain instinctual.d, that's why there's purina one true instinct. nutrient-dense, protein-rich, real meat number one.
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continue their search for anyone stale live amid the rubble of a school that collapsed. there have been reports throughout the day children may be trapped. who is inside is unclear. go to mariana atencio. what do you have for his at this hour? >> reporter: nicolle i just spoke with a colonel with the military and leading the rescue efforts with the mexican marines here in front of the primary school, and i want to go on the record about what he told me about those people trapped inside. he said they have been able to detect, with technology that there are one to three bodies in one area of the school. we believe that's the area where the majority of the focus has been today. one to three bodies, but at this point, they cannot determine what the age of those people are, or even if they are alive or dead. he did say that technology, sensor technology specifically
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leads them to believe there are signs of life, and that is why you see all the activity behind me here today. he said that is why we're here. to save lives. so still the possibility of signs of life, one to three bodies in one area but we do not know at this point, according to the colonel if they are children or adults. also theories swirls on the ground. first responders telling us, two separate groups, they have been able to see communication between authorities and people trapped inside with cell phones and also said they have not been able to communicate as far as he knows with the people trapped inside. so that really is in line with some of the statements that the marine corps general of the mexican marines here said that there are signs of life, but, again, they cannot determine if they are adults or if they are children. we do know the government numbers from the school, 19 children died here and 4 adults,
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and 11 have been rescued here from the primary school in mexico city. >> mariana, we've been watching you all day long, reporting in two languages and brings us extraordinarily dramatic and heartbreaking scene, but one moment i want to ask you about. you spoke to a mother and her son who said they had to be there. tell us about that scene at the rescue and recovery operation. are there a lot of parents there? are there other students there? and what is that like? >> reporter: nicolle, i can tell you just standing here i can still see that mother and her child on the scene right now. i don't want our cameras to pan, because they've just come in to the medical unit, but most of the families, i can walk over here, most of the family ares in this makeshift medical unit behind me. what we showed you on tv cannot begin to describe what it feels like to be on the ground, because we saw several of these
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mothers hugging, crying. we saw children being consoled. you know, children that were coming here for the first time, that survived a devastating earthquake and we spoke to one teacher a 27-year-old teacher so devastated because she told you, when you're put in that situation you try to save as many children as you can, but at one point you don't even know if you've done everything you can. so she's here waiting to see if these one to three bodies that colonel reese telling me they detected there to possibly be one of her opportunities. >> mariana, i saw that interview with the teacher and i thought about newtown. the tragic shooting and i thought about the heros in a situation like this. can you talk about the first responders and the heroic acts of the teachers? i think this is a country now looking for some glimmers are hope. >> reporter: this is a country that has come together after
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this tragedy, nicolle. i want to walk over here again to see many of these young people are people that left work, that left school, to come here to see if there's any way they could help. these are people coming here with household tools, to see if they can help break some of the concrete in the school. these are girls, and i want to see if we can show the supermarket cart that they're bringing inside here, and -- [ speaking in foreign language ] -- some of supplies everyday people are bringing here. in these bags you see granola bars, sandwiches, lollipops for first responders, family members waiting and watching, people coming with soups to keep first responders fed. a glimmer of hope and more than a glimmer of hope, a ray of hope in this country that is going through so much, to witness the solidarity and resilience of mexicans everyday mexicans after this tragedy. nicolle? >> mariana, our understanding,
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there are some potential signs of life. i know you're going to be there around the clock. your reporting on the ground there, i'm sure you don't know the story you've told to so many of us today. thank you so much for your reporting and i know you'll stay on that and bring any updates from there. thank you to everyone who joined us today. rick tyler, as i said earlier, by twitter demand, how he roll here. you have predictions on the health care vote? >> not going to pass. >> no? heidi? >> yeah, no. >> kim? >> unless lindsey graham can be real persuasive to senator mccain. >> you heard it here first. predictions from some of the best. that does it for our hour. i'm nicolle wallace. "mtp daily" starts right now. hi, chuck. >> hi, nicolle. i'm voting for you. >> for what? lead-in? >> yes. as a lead-in. if it's thursday, the president's popularity rebounds.
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>> tonight, the great gop divide. the brand new nbc news/"wall street journal" poll shows the president's war against his own party has take an toll, but not on him. plus -- the feds reportedly turn up the heat on the russia investigation on paul manafort. why is he suddenly at the center of it all? and first responders in the earthquake zone race to save children trapped alive in a collapsed school in mexico city. this is "mtp daily" and it starts right now. we'll get to today's big political headlines in a moment, but first, we want to check in on the 24/7 rescue operation taking place in mexico city. rescue teams of military police, medics, volunteers working to

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