tv Deadline White House MSNBC October 25, 2017 1:00pm-2:00pm PDT
hour for me. ali velshi will be back in this chair tomorrow. find me on twitte twitter @chrisjansing. thanks for watching. "deadline: white house" with nicolle wallace starts right now. >> hi, everyone. it's 4:00 in new york. a day after jeff flake's declaration of independence from donald trump's republican party and bob corker's astute diagnosis of the current occupant of the oval office as utterly untruthful. donald trump today described his current standing with the gop as a lovefest. >> we have actually great unity in the republican party. >> bob cork ear. >> that's okay. they have to do their thing. if you look at what happened yesterday at the meeting, we had virtually every senator, including john mccain. we had a great conversation yesterday, about the military. i think we had a tremendous -- i called it a lovefest. it was almost a lovefest. maybe it was a lovefest.
stand ovations. there is great unity. >> so much unity, in fact, that jeff flake today refused to rule out a run for the presidency in 2020. >> are you considering running for president in the future? >> that is not on my radar screen. that's a long way off. >> 2020 is not that long off. has it crossed your mind? >> i'm focused on my work in the senate. i've got another good 14 months. >> it hasn't crossed your mind? >> i didn't entertain that thought for very long. >> in campaign speak, that does not count as a no. with prominent republicans like joe scarborough publicly declaring his own independence from the gop, and reality star businessman mark cuban openly pondering a presidential run himself, we wondered how much longer donald trump will be staring in the rearview mirror at his 2016 victory as though even he still can't believe it happened.
>> it's an election that's very hard for a democrat to lose because the electoral college is set in such a way that it's very hard to lose that election for a democrat. they tlauft. lost it very badly and very easily. you look at the votes. 306 to 223 or something. they lost it by a lot. >> today we begin with a question. is donald trump's overhaul of the gop opening the door to a more competative landscape in 2020. joining us to sort through the day's developments, the best journalists and guests anywhere. from "the new york times," glenn thrush. from axios, jonathan swann. here at our table, associated press white house reporter jonathan lamiere. serlina maxwell and now with sirius xm. and jeremy bash, former chief of staff for the cia and now an msnbc national security analyst. glenn, let me start with you.
put this to you as donald trump, you know, i imagined him on the phone with steve bannon doing a big victory lap. we're getting rid of them. doing what we promised we would do. drain the swamp, blah, blah, blah. is he inadvertently uniting a swath of voters who while they welcome disruption did not expect the debasement and what bob corker described yesterday as not only did he not rise to the occasion but he seems to be circling the drain? last week it was an eight-day fight with a grieving widow, a gold star widow. weeks before that, just seems to be a case against the debasement of the office. could he be creating a common sense coalition of democrats and moderate republicans against him? >> june 2016 called and wants its question back. >> well, you know what if they take trump back, i'll give it to
him. >> no, serious point on that. we've really literally been asking that question forever. like when are we going to see the great counter, counter revolution. when are all these forces going to array in that direction. and the fact of the matter if we look at the polls, he's lost independents, so far as we can see nationally. he's losing some republican women. but as you know, particularly in presidential elections, the party does tend to coalesce when faced with a candidate like hillary clinton who had such high negatives. the midterms are going to be a crucible of all kinds. all will be revealed in the midterms. not just in terms of the republican, democratic dynamic but whether or not some of these establishment candidates like tom barrasso who are going to be facing challenges, will be able to withstand trump/bannon attacks. if they are, then you can argue the center somehow has held and the other alternative here is, will this republican civil war, the question is will this
republican civil war result in significant democratic gains in places where they shouldn't win? >> john, let me bring you in. you are a better source than anyone i know in that bannon wing of the new gop and that's certainly where the kinds of folks that turn out at trump rallies are drawn to. i wonder if you think in sort of the base of support, not -- jeff flake isn't a moderate. so this isn't -- i know that the question about moderates often gets misplaced around the wrong people. jeff flake doesn't represent some center of american politics. he is a far right principled conservative. he has 100% voting record from all the pro-life organizations that give out voting records. he's well respected from people who care a lot about the second amendment. he's a small government conservative. if the agenda never materializes, if the part of the trump coalition that wanted to
see progress, that wanted to see breakthroughs in the gridlock if they suddenly become open to something that looks like trumpism without all the trash, do you think that bannon's plan could backfire in four years? >> well, i think as a general proposition, bannon's influence tends tock overstated. often by himself. but he does have influence. more to the point, i think your question rests on like some assumptions that have been blown up over the last year. one being that this is about policy. some of these people -- roger wicker is not a liberal, but it tends to be temperament. ben sasse, no liberal. i bet you he has 100% on every heritage voting card, but this is a temperamental thing. steve bannon met with michael grimm, the new york congressman who went to jail. he has as squishy a voting record as you'd expect from someone representing the
district as he does. and they just sat there and he's got -- michael grimm swears like a sailor and they hit it off and bannon may well endorse him. i don't think that's because he ticked every box on some policy sheet. and there's a large, i don't know what the numbers are and i don't think we have useful polling to show this but there's a large noninsignificant part of the base which is looking for emotional, you know, sustenance as much as they are policy victories. >> and i think jonathan swan put that perfectly. this was about someone who was going to shove it to the elites. i guess the question is, this isn't about elites. if a coalition can be built where they rage against wall street, where the candidate gets back to talking about main street, gets back to putting people to work and does so without all the baggage, what's i keep hearing from people in
and out of the white house is that this is the trump baggage. there will always be drama. there will always be a side show. it will always be about him. he will never apologize. and if the result is that in two years or in four years nothing has gotten -- nothing has been achieved, do you think he is inadvertently weakening his own case? >> this to this point has all been about population and personality. or the idea of populism. the idea hasn't been there yet. to this point, trump supporters, his poll numbers have ticked down. his core still seems to be with him. they still seem to be thrilling to these fights. >> not just with him. they are still, those rally goers that i describe. >> of course. >> i came up from california republican politics. and i don't know that there is still a very vibrant -- i think it's the last gop convention they were talking about hanging john mccain and hissing at george bush. i don't think anyone has been elected statewide under the
banner of republican since i left the state two decades ago. there isn't a widening coalition. i wonder if anyone in the trump political operation sees the intensity is not the same thing as a broad -- not only do they not have a governing coalition, but i wonder if they see themselves as losing grip of a winnable coalition. >> intensity won them the election. one of the arguments by jeb bush or marco rubio was the republicans needed to widen the tent. if they couldn't attract african-americans they needed to attract hispanic americans, asian americans. >> trump widened it. >> romney had lost. and what bannon and trump decided was actually intensity can bring out a hidden white vote. and that's essentially how they won the election. i hate the theory for what it implies, but it worked for them. so why shouldn't they run it again? >> give kellyanne conway credit
for that. white working class voters. they wanted to see nafta. they wanted to see us out of nafta. they wanted a foreign policy that did not get us into more wars. bob corker, for his part, thinks that donald trump's tweets alone are marching us toward potentially world war ii, in bob corker's words. i guess the question is, does that coalition hold if the world that donald trump promised doesn't come to pass? >> i think there's certainly people in donald trump's corner, certainly after charlottesville, that are going to stay there forever no matter what. if there's a tape that comes out tomorrow of him and vladimir putin talking about colluding, there are people that will stay stay in his camp. it's important to make the distinction. donald trump was framed as someone unfiltered and who was authentic and not reckless. that's what happened yesterday when you saw senator flake essentially say, no, it's not just outrageous behavior. it's not just out of the box tweets. it's reckless behavior that impacts foreign policy and domestic policy.
regardless of whether or not the coal cisiition is going to stay him if he says offensive things, we need to think in terms of national security issues. more senators in the republican party need moral courage and stand up and be patriots because it's dangerous what he's doing on twitter. not just offending a widow, although that is horribly damaging to the office of the presidency. i think it's a bigger picture. >> that's such an important point. the truth is, here we've been complaining about the trump administration from before it began. so far, nothing has really happened. we bomb syria briefly. added a few more troops in afghanistan. there's a potential crisis brewing in north korea. what's mainly happened is stock market is up. economy is taking along nicely. no thanks to donald trump but it's still ticking along. a lot of americans are tempted to say, much ado about nothing but it has no effect on us. >> let me bring jeremy bash in. this national security question
is one often debated by elites and among elites. i do hear from the trump voters that i met in january and went out and talked to a dozen times that what they liked about trump was the promise of isolationism. that while elites understand the dangers, george bush gave a speech where he talked about the dangers of not combating threats in far away places, are that they come to our shores. but that's what people wanted. that's what they chose. they were tired of our -- of the iraq war, the wars in afghanistan. but i wonder if there's an open question now and something that democrats might also be talking about if the sort of result of four years of isolationism is something that changes the political landscape. >> it's an incoherent isolationism. on the one hand, yes, he's saying, i want out of trade deals but he's tripping us into global engagements and potentially war on the korean
peninsula. so i don't think there's a real policy coherence there. and i think it is dangerous just to come back to the earlier point. it's not just a distinction in policy versus style as jonathan swan and others were putting it. it really is fitness for office. that's the fundamental issue that bob corker was talking about. it's the reason why his own secretary of state came out of a meeting in the pentagon and said he's a moron, according to people who have watched him up close in the situation room, in the pentagon making national security decisions. this is the thing that breaks away people like president bush, like john mccain, jeff flake, bob corker and people like mitt romney. and it is going to ultimately divide the republican party into republicans and trumplicans. the trumplicans will be the ones that stick with the president and republicans are the ones who break. >> my question back to you, glenn, are the republicans that jeremy just named still a small
enough mass to fit in a large van, or do they bring any of their voters with them? >> that's really a huge question. i'm just -- jonathan swan had a great phrase that i think we should memorialize. emotional sustenance. >> it's what it is. >> it's exactly what it is. the president is providing this group of voters with emotional sustenance as opposed to policy. it's why he can get away with being so vague on policy and none of these other republicans, none of them, are providing that as effectively, whether it's jeff flake, bob corker or even people like ted cruz. this guy owns this particular brand, and nobody has really come along to challenge him on the emotional level. >> i want to ask you, jonathan swan, two questions. one, your name was invoked, and that's right. that emotional sustenance is what he sells. i wonder if you think it stands alone and apart from a single
accomplishment? i'm going back to erie next week, and i had interviewed democrats, life-long democrats, two-time obama voters, some clinton voters, bill clinton voters who flipped and voted for donald trump because he thought they'd bring back manufacturing jobs. there are fewer manufacturing jobs there now than a year ago. i wonder if you think the emotional sustenance stands alone without any major legislative accomplishments. >> well, it will for a certain number of people. but that may be a -- he's already got, what, two small percentage of people who are diehard trump fans for him to be re-elected. he needs to somewhat expand that if he's at the lower end. take the assumption he never goes above 35 or 45. he has to change that. but i don't know. i'd be really curious to hear what they have to say. depends where you apoportion th blame. trump is very effective at never paying the bill. always blaming somebody else.
and i'd be very curious to hear what these people say, whether they blame donald trump or whether they think it's mitch mcconnell and paul ryan and all these other people that, you know, are so easy to demagogue. >> i will bet you, jonathan, everybody here, anybody here, that they will blame three people -- the media. they will blame the mess he inherited from his predecessors and the people jonathan swap just named. but the question to put forth. flake's speech could not have been more powerful. corker's indictment could not have been more brutal. but the question i think for everyone to sort of try to answer is, to what end? >> are there going to be people standing up to him? flake and corker are retiring. george w. bush is out of office. mitt romney is out of office. john mccain is in office but wat battling a serious health crisis. this may be a short window of people stand iing up to him in s own party. will we see these numbers grow?
will there be other republican senators who have been in office a long time standing up? right now they're saying, i'm willing to put up with some of the nonsense if i'm -- >> nonsense? i'm willing to put up with the debasement of the presidency. that's the current position of the republican leadership. >> but that's amazing how quickly they have slid into this. the runaway best seller of the 1970s was called "the happy hooker." >> i love you for bringing happy hookers into this. >> started a brothel in new york in the late 1960s and, you know, sort of celebrated this. and everyone says, oh, it's so shocking but, in fact, people said, it's kind of liberating to participate in what i would say is your own self-debasement. look at the pro-trump intellectuals for the federalists, the american thinker, washington times. they never have a negative word to say about donald trump. it's always 100% pro-trump. they'll never say, well, i agree on balance, i'm in favor of the
president. they are 100% behind him. it's remarkable such a conservative party has participated in the moral debasement of the presidency and of the movement in which they ostenseibly participation for mere entertainment and sticking it to people they don't like. >> i have to sneak in a break. glenn thrush and jonathan swan, i'm going to let you exit stage left on this one. when we come back, two former presidents, two retiring senators and an american hero with a cancer sdpdiagnosis sing from the same song sheet in a matter of days. coincidence or crisis? our panel weighs in. also more answers about the dossier that makes donald trump squirm and rant and rage every time it's in the news. we'll bring you the latest. and behind bob corker's rebuke is a grave concern about donald trump's temperament leading us to the brink of war
with north korea. we'll share some new exclusive reporting from nbc news. please stay with us. e looking to save money on your medicare part d prescriptions, switch to walgreens. we make it easy to seize the day, so you can get more out of life and medicare part d. just walk right in for savings that will be the highlight of your day. walgreens has $0 copays on select plans and 100 points on prescriptions. so, swing by and save today. walgreens, at the corner of happy & healthy.
conspiracy theories and outright fabrication. >> instead of our politics reflecting our values we have politics infecting our communities. instead of looking for ways to work together and get things done in a practical way -- >> some half-baked conspiracy nationalism that would rather find scapegoats than solve problems. >> the notion that we should say or do nothing in the face of murcu ra ial behavior is profoundly misguided. >> in just the last week we've heard five voices from across the political spectrum expressing a common concern. "these men represent a new type of freedom caucus, one whose members are free to speak their minds about the president and how they see his words and actions diminishing the united states and its standing in the
world without fear of the political backlash from hard-right conservatives. but who, if anyone, will follow." our panel is still with us. joining the conversation is our friend, republican strategist steve schmidt. let me get you in on that and ask you the question. if no one follows those five men and their perhaps divine coincidence they all spoke out in the last week, what happens? >> well, a couple things, nicolle. we don't talk enough about this. the truth is that every day that's passed since donald trump has been inaugurated president of the united states, his coalition has gotten smaller, not larger. he's losing altitude. about a quarter of the republican party is not with him. sometimes it stretches to about 30%. you look at the collapse of independent voters, the unanimity of disapproval among democratic voters. approval level at about 32%.
his coalition is shrinking. and as these political parties grow smaller, what tends to happen is they get louder and they become more intense. i ran arnold schwarzenegger's campaign for governor in california. i believe that arnold schwarzenegger will be the last republican who is ever elected to statewide office in that state. so the republican party, such as it is, a group of nut cases screaming out to hang john mccain at their convention, they are loud, boisterous, obnoxious, mean, but they can't project any political party. and so -- >> in the words of donald trump, they couldn't get elected dog catcher in that state. >> that's 100% correct. look, you know, the reality is, if it is the case that in order to be nominated on a republican ballot you have to be a nut case, then i suspect what you'll see happening is that conservatives will access the
ballot as independent candidates and go to a general -- do a general election electorate which looks a lot different than the primary electorates. 12% turnout primaries, that elect people like roy moore or christine o'donnell from delaware. >> christine o'donnell, the witch. since you brought us to nut cases, let me stay there with you and read from "the new york times" op ode today. jeff flake's defiant surrender. if corker really means what he keeps saying about the danger posed by trump's effective incapacity, he should call openly for impeachment or for 25th amendment proceedings. and other anti-trump republicans should join him. if flake really means what he said, then he should choose a different hopeless-seeming cause and primary trump in 2020. george w. bush should endorse him. >> well, look, i think that when you look at the remarkable speech jeff flake gave the
comments that bob corker made, what they are all about and what they are saying with some level of direct sentence that donald trump is unfit to be the president of the united states. he is unsteady. he is unworthy. he is not trustworthy with the nuclear codes. so far we've seen the action of rhetoric. it remains to be seen, are we going to see action? for example, all it takes is bob corker, jeff flake and john mccain. they can make angus king the majority leader of the united states senate. they can broker a deal that allows for conservative judges to move forward, but they can put subpoena power into the hands of people who are actually interested in doing oversight over this administration. jeff flake and bob corker have a lot of liberty now to take direction action. they can turn over control of
the united states senate should they choose to do so. not necessarily to chuck schumer, but to somebody who has a little less of a partisan edge to them. they have significant resources over the next month to stand in opposition to this. and it may be the case that we're seeing a moment of political realignment. and i'm not interested in expanding the regulatory state. i'm a traditional conservative republican. but i care much more about democratic norms. i care about concepts of decency and reptitude among our officials. there will be a coalition of people who don't agree with each other on very much in the way of policy but agree with each other completely on decency, on the ideals of the country, on the values of the country and the
essential importance of democracy and freedom and all the authoritarian impulses of this administration. all of the lying. all of the assault on the norms on our institutions, maybe the coalition will stand against donald trump and it will span an ideological divide but be against his comportment and behavior. >> let me see if jeremy bash, if i can put him on the spot and see if he can come up with any democrats who for national security purposes might join the coalition that steve schmidt is talking about. >> i think so. >> your old boss jane harman. could she? >> and there are a lot of people. i worked for secretary leon panetta who throughout his career, although he's a progressive in many ways, is also tough on national security and he believes strongly as a son of immigrants in equality, in the pursuit of the american dream. and i think there are a lot of people who share steve's vision
of bringing back some decency, bringing back the sense of social promise and the american dream to the united states. and also tough internationally in this idea of pulling up the drawbridge and being a nationalist which is really thinly veiled for white nationalism. there are democrats who i think will go along with that vision. >> i could write that brooit breitbart headline myself. but i'm going to ask you, do you think any democrats would go with the scenario that steve schmidt just laid out? >> i think they would be open to it because this is more about patriotism in this moment, and going back to the national security piece, i really do think that nothing has happened, but something will happen, right? i think that there are always dangerous hot spots in the world. frequently mass shootings and terrorist attacks. we have to remain vigilant in the hopes that somebody is going to step in and be responsible here. i would also say that, yes, donald trump's at 32%, but
what's also happened is that 70% or so of people that are opposed to him have coalesced and called themselves the resistance. there are thousands of women signing up -- >> the resistance is big thaern donald trump's approval. >> it's become stronger and more united against donald trump. not just on policy but his fitness for office. when you have thousands of women all over the country signing up to run for office because they see donald trump can be the president and they are like, i'm going to be on the school board or run for congress because i'm qualified to do that if donald trump can be the president. i think that we're going to have another year of the woman and we're not going to realize it until it happens. >> i wish you were right. >> breaking my bubble. >> i wish steve were right. i was listening to his speech. it was beautiful. it belongs on a wall but i think it's mistaken for a couple of reasons. number one, nationalism, populism and ethno nationalism that almost slides into fascism is a very effective form of politics.
we don't recognize it so easily in the united states because it's been so alien, miraculously for the most part to the american political system. but just look around the world and see how effective it is elsewhere. secondly, the fact is that, where does a guy like me go, right? presumably there's going to be a new party representing moderate or reasonable conservatives and so on. the truth is most of the time we just go into the wilderness. millions of americans live in a political wilderness where they do not feel represented by either political party. that's going to happen to the jeff flakes of the world. i'd love to see some charismatic anti-trump figure come out. >> even just a noncrazy populist. when we come back, all is fair in love, war and the dark campaign art of opo research. why did the clinton camp keep the best dirt they discovered about their opoenponent a secre from even some of their most senior aides?
what's your reaction to democrats paying for the -- >> i think it's very sad what they've done with this fake dossier. it was made up, and i understand they paid a tremendous amount of money. and hillary clinton always denied it. the democrats always denied it. and now only because it's going to come out in a court case they said, yes, they did it. they admitted it. and they're embarrassed by it. but i think it's a disgrace. it's just really -- it's a very sad -- it's a very sad commentary on politics in this country. >> oh, there are very many sad commentaries on politics. we'll leave that for another day. this afternoon, news on a scandal that's enraged president trumping since his first days in office. a source confirmed the story first reported that a law firm representing the hillary clinton campaign and the democratic national committee helped fund opposition research that
eventually became that infamous dossier on then-candidate trump. aside from the more salacious paragraphs it also alleges several connections between trump aides and russian operatives. before we go on, while some claims in the dossier seem to line up with known facts, some of the more serious allegations do v not yet been proven true. but for that matter, neither have they been proven untrue. behind bob corker's -- oh, i'm sorry. let me bring jonathan lamiere in on this. "the washington post" reporting and the president's reaction are an interesting new development. we know who paid for the dossier. there were some rumblings that if the person had paid for -- that had paid for the original product could have been the russians and that would have rendered it moot. but what is the clinton campaign's explanation for so compartmentalizing this that its own senior campaign staff didn't know about it, and lied about it.
reporters that cover the campaign, they have openly accused the clinton campaign of not being honest. >> they deny it truthfully, the funding behind the dossier. although sort of hired by a republican, an unknown republican candidate and then the democrats then, this firm attached to the clinton -- >> hillary's opoents. >> they said let's keep that going for which is opposition research, a standard political play to find out the dirt on your opponent. this has -- >> the good campaigns do opposition research on themselves. so opposition research you do it on yourself, on your opponent. it's standard. >> what's striking is the president's response where he was borderline giddy. he answered several times about this dossier calling it a disgrace. saying that this is something that's akin to watergate what the democrats have done. he feels that people close to him feel that this is a get out of jail free card for him.
that it's linked to the democrats, this russian thing is going to blow over. this dossier was not the original -- the origination of this probe into russian meddling. that was a u.s. intelligence assessment. >> bob mueller is looking into it. jeremy bash, why is it a scandal if democrats paid for highly respected, former investigative journalists to investigate their opponent but not a scandal for donald trump to have fabricated a lie aboard air force one for don junior's meet with a bunch of russians to get dirt on hillary clinton? >> it's a great question, and i know everybody around the table is shocked that opposition research is paid by one's political opposition. i mean, that is what its purpose is. in my experience, having worked on a couple of campaigns, it's not useful if it's totally fabricated and made up. it needs aspects of the truth. the document talks about
vulnerabilities of donald trump and his inner circle. and in the political context, that may be useful to a presidential candidate running against him. he's now president. and i think the reason the document is significant to bob mueller and the congressional committees because it talks about leverage. leverage the russian federation has had and may now have over donald trump and ultimately over american decision-making on issues that russia cares about. >> bob mueller is no fool yet he dispatched his investigators to -- out of the country. we don't know where the interview took place. but his investigators interviewed the former intelligence official, the former british intelligence official who was a russia expert to find out what he knew. i wonder why it's even relevant who originally funded the exercise. >> i guess it's just a story that goes completely over my head. i am amazed people are falling out of their chairs surprised it was funded by hillary clinton or
the democratic national committee. i mean, you dont need to be detectives benson or tutuola to figure that out. of course, they funded it. i don't know why they lied about it. the real issue is the allegations in it, are they true or not? that's what i'm interested in. and so i think that as we look at the russia investigation, you know, the only campaign that met with russian officials from the intelligence services of a foreign adversary are the senior leadership of the donald trump campaign. and over and over again, and over and over some more, every time, that a person close to donald trump has been asked a question about russia, they've lied about it. 100% of the time. and so i think that, you know, we're going to find out. the special counsel, we'll find out everything that happened by the time it gets to the end of the investigation. we need to wait and see. >> any theory on why the clinton
campaign wasn't more forthcoming about this? >> i think that mark elias, representing the campaign and the dnc, his firm was the one funding this. so certainly he gave a legalese answer to reporters off the record and on the record. and that's been corrected through this reporting. but it wasn't something that we were talking about on the campaign. there were no meetings we were talking about a dossier. we were not aware of this dossier at certainly my level and as reported, brian fallon reported yesterday he was not aware of it either. >> brian fallon tweeted, i regret i didn't know about christopher steele's hiring. if i had, i would have volunteered to go to europe and help him. behind bob corker's simmering capac peration with donald trump, is deep concern he'll march us into a war with north korea by undermining diplomats and tweeting reckless threats. we'll share nbc's exclusive reporting on that next.
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turns out jeff flake and bob corker aren't the only ones shunning donald trump this week. diplomatic efforts between the united states and north korea are in peril with pyongyang shunning talks in response to donald trump's increased public attacks on the country's leader. nbc is also learning that diplomats are searching for a hail mary attempt to restart any sort of talks, including perhaps a high-level envoy or dispatch secretary of state rex tillerson. this report also reveals it was donald trump's repeated undermining of diplomacy when it comes to north korea that were at least in part to blame for bob corker's public critique of the president. the panel is still here. jeremy bash, can you speak to what specifically would have alarmed bob corker so much in the last 48 hours to sort of push him out?
he spent the whole day yesterday talking about donald trump's lack of -- he knows more than anyone about where this standoff with north korea stands. what do you think worries him most? >> joseph uhn, an experienced american diplomatic for japan and korea, he's been our point person on north korea. he's been over there. he is the one who talks to koreans in new york. he's been concerned and talking to congression al aides and staf members and telling them, look, i think we have a moment, an opportunity to have some diplomatic dialogue with the pyongyang regime but the president's actions, his tweets, his comments, his approach is undermining any hope at all of diplomacy and we're marching toward war. and that is very concerning because even if you were to be in a military confrontation, i
think the bob corkers of the world don't trust the president to be fit to play the role of commander in chief. >> it's important, i guess, to bob corker, that it's rex tillerson who instead of being 100% focused on north korea has had to come out and deny, deny, deny that he called the president a moron. >> secretary tillerson is traveling all over the world. he's on a seven-day trip as we speak. he's going to come become to washington and turn around and go back out to asia. once we get through this asian summit, the wintser and come to the turn of the calendar, are we going to be on the brink of war in korea and the bob corkers of the world again are very concerned the president'seratin possibility. >> is there anyone in the white house who can say what jeremy just says to the president's face? >> not really. certainly his national security team, we know from the meetings at the pentagon that led to the tillerson comment. efforts by matt, i tillerson, mccaster to try to educate him
on the world to understand the implications, real world implications of his tweets and comments and inflammatory rhetoric. this moment with north korea comes on the eve of the president's visit to asia. there was a telling moment in the rose garden. he appeared with the prime minister of singapore and the prime minister spoke glowingly about trump and america throughout but middle of it, he sort of slipped in on north korea the idea of the need for dialogue. there should still be discussion and diplomacy. whether that registered with the president or not, we do not know. there are a lot of american allies in asia who are very nervous about this trip. what is the president going to say when he addresses the general assembly in korea? what is the president going to say if he goes to the dmz. the white house suggested that was perhaps not in the cards. trump today getting in the helicopter says there may be a surprise. certainly wouldn't be shocking to all of us if there's an unannounced trip to the dmz that day. i'll be on that trip with him.
it will be very interesting to see the body language, the rhetoric, what message is he going to send to allies there, china who, of course, has great influence over north korea, but also to north korea itself and what pyongyang's response is going to be. >> you'rebe. >> you're worried about something else entirely? >> yes. accidental war. study for instance, the history of relations with the soviet union, think of the abel archer exercises in 1983, accidentally closely came back to nuclear war because of missed signals, bad technology. what moment a nuclear launch was supposedly launched against. it was technical but that's how close we came and why in foreign policy, predictability, confidence, is hugely important. a sense you know your enemy. what served trump well politically, course, is unpredict ability. he wants to entertain you whether in washington, korea, or
bedminster. that's his modus or prperandi. that kind of talk, that sort of, sorts of actions, can very easily tip into a war that we wouldn't be able to control. that's why bob corker is beside himself. >> and why it seems this conversation about his fundamental lack of fitness can't are compartmentalized as a worry of the fussy elites of established republicans. we're talking about a trip wire we could accidentally touch and stumble into a car with north korea. every military analyst i've ever seen suggests as grim and fatal and catastrophic at best and really on the other end of the spectrum, unspeakable. can you talk about the way we separate out fitness for office as though it's some, you know, worry of fussy establishment republicans like you and me? >> look, i think when you see the specter of the president of the united states attacking the
pregnant wife of a fallen green beret, you're disgusted by it. the indecency of it, it's just heartbreaking. what we're talking about here is something of the ordered of a different magnitude. estimates are, on the korean peninsula, on the occasion of the second korean war, there would be a million casualties on the first day. more dead americans in the first five minutes of a second korean war than killed oelg eed total s in the last 17 years of war in afghanistan and iraq. we've had no discussion in this current about the casualties, about what a second korean war looks like. the current size of the u.s. military would we need to have a draft in the united states to augment forces, because when you activate all of our forces including reserve and national guard components, it may be the case that we don't have enough people for the second korean war. so i think that there's a real
act of imagination and clearly a lack of imagination in washington, d.c. among all of those senators who were cheering like sycophants yesterday about the possibility for a real tragedy caused by reckless actions by this president of the united states. there's deep worry. i'm an ottawa canada, talk to officials, they are deeply, deep letter concerned about this president and his recklessness. >> do you hear that concern in the halls of the pentagon? >> absolutely. if there were to be a military conflict in korea we'd have two important things neither we've done. one, coordinate with allies who house american service members in the region, could close the bases immediately if they disagree with our approach and we'd have to flow forces to the region. stephen puts his finger on an important truth.
and canadians fall alongside us, member of nato, critical ally, shed blood in defense of things we hold dear and countries like that are very worried about the road we're going down. >> are they worried, jeremy, let me press you -- worried because it is not a sound foreign policy or worried because of what brett stephens talked about it could be something we stumble into by accident? >> very much both. i think clearly worried about miscalculation, but also worried about, that the approach of cutting off diplomacy and thantithant i taunting a nuclear armed -- >> you don't make it sound like a good idea yourself. >> it's not. >> we'll stay on this. every staying put. we have to sneak in one more break but we'll be right back. thankfully, the breakthrough in prevagen helps your brain and actually improves memory.
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that conversation about north korea if it didn't alarm you enough, the white house today responding, trying to excuse the fact they haven't implemented new sanctions against russia. sarah huckabee sanders on her heels a bit. >> saying the trump administration is committing to holding russia accountable for their misdoingsing suggested they condemn their actions in syria, suggested they have not done night in the fight against isis and acknowledges the state department is still reviewing theirs and in her estimation explains the delay. of course, critics say it's a white house that moves quickly into things but drags its feet on its own. >> and jerry, an administration
that's tried to enforce a muslim ban from a post-it? >> fits another pattern of them doing things russia wants including giving them a freer hand in syria, denigrating nato and inviting officials into the oval office after years of being frozen out. i'm skeptical. the president told us he has one of the best memories of all time. >> in his head, a whole -- >> you know, when we asked about russia and they lie every time until they have to put out a statement explaining it. very suspicious. i agree with jeremy. when it comes to russia, so slow to respond when counterpunchingy morning with regards to widows and anything else. >> and bad faith or incompetence. either way, it's a bad look. >> someone that will have a lot to say, bob corker.
on "morning joe" tomorrow morning. catch that. my thanks to jonathan la mir, brett stephens, ms. maxwell and steve schmidt. appreciate you being here. i don't know if i'll sleep better. now to chuck todd and "mtp daily." >> hello, nicolle. if it's wednesday, the republican civil war is anything but civil. tonight, the fallout from the flake/corker one-two punch. >> okay, look, they have to do their thing. we have great unity. >> what are the two sides of this divided party really fighting about? plus, revelations on the russia dossier. >> i think it's very sad what they've done with this fake dossier. >> what's more important? what's in it or who paid for it? and senators continue to man answers on the deadly niger ambush. the ranking dem o