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tv   Deadline White House  MSNBC  October 27, 2017 1:00pm-2:00pm PDT

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the market has been doing very well over the last several weeks, largely because of interest rates. some good news on the gdp today. that wraps it up for me for this hour and for this week here on msnbc. i'm ali velshi. "deadline: white house" with nicolle wallace starts right now. hi, everyone. it's 4:00 in new york. it's fitting that the end of a week that started with gop senator bop corker describing donald trump as utterly untruthful, donald trump started his day today by tweeting this. it is now commonly agreed after many months of costly looking that there was no collusion between russia and trump. was collusion with hc? it turns out that donald trump often tweets the opposite of what is true. in this case, not five hours after he sent that tweet this morning, "the new york times" is reporting that the russian lawyer na tallia veseletskaya
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who found herself in trump tower sitting aacross from the president's son, his son-in-law and campaign chairman was closely tied to the kremlin. we know the trump tower meeting is of special interest to bob mueller as he investigates potential collusion between the trump campaign and russia, as well as whether or not obstruction of justice may have occurred when the white house told a phony cover story about the circumstances surrounding that meeting. today's times report adds to earlier nbc news reporting connecting the russian lawyer and russia's top prosecutor back in moscow. according to "the new york times," quote, the coordination between the trump tower visitor and the russian prosecutor general undercuts ms. veselnitskaya's account that she was a purely independent actor when she sat down with donald trump jr., jared kushner, the president's son-in-law and paul manafort, then camp pain chairman. it also suggests that e-mails
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from an intermediary to the young pler trump promising that ms. veselnitskaya would arrive with information from russian prosecutors were rooted in partly fact not puffery. she acknowledged to nbc news back in august that she has worked closely with the russian prosecutor's office in the past and even called herself the primary source of information to the prosecutor. all of this as politico reports that the gop is eyeing an end to the russia probes with trump collusion unanswered, setting up even higher stakes for the mueller investigation. politico reporting that, quote, the painful choice for democrats is whether to attempt to forge a fragile compromise with republicans that depicts what both parties generally agree on, that russia orchestrated a massive interference campaign to undermine u.s. politics and stoke intense division. that would likely mean abandoning a definitive
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determination on collusion or punting to special counsel bob mueller who is leading a criminal probe of possible crimes connected to the russian plot, end quote. to make sense of all of this, we have the best of the best. matt miller for the justice department, now an msnbc justice and security analyst. jeremy bash, national security analyst and a former chief of staff for the cia and department of defense, phil rucker, white house bureau chief for "the washington post" and kathryn lucy, white house reporter for the associated press. jeremy, let me start with you. i feel like you and i have been having this conversation since january. what is the significance of the "new york times" confirming in a report today, essentially the opposite of what donald trump rolled over and pounded out with his thumbs, i have to guess, on twitter. he says there was no collusion while "the new york times" offers yet another fact pattern
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to prove that there was indeed collusion between the kremlin and the trump campaign? >> yeah, let's go through precisely, nicolle, where this new piece of information fits in the collusion question. first of all, a number of circumstantial pieces of evidence that demonstrate collusion. the longstanding financial ties between the trump organization and russia. candidate trump and president trump's fawning over putin and his pro-putin policies. and, of course, all the back-door discussions, private secret discussions between jared kushner and the russians and mike flynn, then national security adviser and the russians. those are circumstantial. on the direct evidence side you have the june meeting in which it was set up with an e-mail saying this is part of the russian government's support for the trump campaign. and now comes this piece of evidence which directly corroborates that other piece of direct evidence. in a sense it states that the kremlin knew that this
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delegation was going to trump tower. they authorized it and greenlighted the talking points. that is direct evidence of collusion. >> jeremy, you often remind us that collusion in and of itself is not a crime. tell me why, if it's not a crime, it is such an electrified third rail for donald trump? why is he tweeting about it on the same day that another fact is revealed in "the new york times" that simply makes it more obvious, makes it more clear that collusion between the kremlin and the trump campaign was at least attempted? >> there could be some criminal actions here that bob mueller will take before the grand jury like violations of federal election law. violation of the registration requirements, as a foreign agent, but more fundamentally, this is a national security violation and part of the fbi and bob mueller's probe is to determine whether or not america's national security was compromised. what leverage russia had during the campaign and now has over
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our foreign policy and this is going to be a major part of what bob mueller and the congressional committees look at. it's so undermining of what trump has been claim chicago is i'm not in the pocket of anybody. this evidence shows that maybe, yes, in farkct, he is. >> i don't want to rush through this because you just struck on what is probably the president's raw nerve. there are still questions about whether our foreign policy when it comes to russia with the delay of the implementation of sanctions, saying to two russian officials who have been largely banned from the obama white house, kislyak and lavrov had not been inside the oval office since i believe 2015. that they were welcomed in by donald trump and to them he said what? he said i am relieved of pressure now that i've gotten rid of that nut case jim comey. can you talk about, because i think we dispense with the facts that collusion in and of itself is not a crime.
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however, there are still questions about whether or not our foreign policy was being influenced by something. some ties to russia. can you talk about how this new information today may answer some of those questions? >> i can. but i want to make clear. collusion can be a crime because there is a criminal law that says that you cannot engage in conspiracy to engage in a criminal act. when two people meet and conspire to engage in another criminal act like to violate the federal election law or to violate campaign finance law or the law against foreign agents coming here and influencing public policy without register with the justice department. if two people have an agreement to meet about that and then conduct an overt act and a meeting is an overt act, that's a violation of federal law and bob mueller is looking at conspiracy. but again, just to come back to the broader point, it may be a violation of law but more importantly, it's a violation of america's national security and our national security principles. and when the president brings
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russians into the oval office and complains to them and says, you know, this russia investigation is a hoax and now the pressure is off, that only showcases his state of mind that, in fact, he is beholden in some ways to russia and is concerned about those who would investigate him. >> obstruction of justice. we know that obstruction of justice is a crime or a set of crimes that bob mueller is looking into. one of the avenues of questioning, part of that investigation is into this fake cover story that was crafted, dictated based on "washington post" reporting by the president himss himself. he suggested answering questions about his son's meetings with nataliy nataliyev. talk about how the development today fits into an investigation into potential obstruction of justice. >> well, again, here we have
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revealed through this evidence the true nature of the meeting in june of 2016 at trump tower was that a delegation authorized by the kremlin came with kremlin authorized talking points, and they were going to be talking to the trump campaign about two things. number one is, interfering in the election to provide dirt on hillary clinton and second is to lobby for a policy of sanctions relief. that's in a sense what the magnitsky act was. and she was there to lobby, to say to the trump team, when you get into office, we want those sanctions relieved. so if the investigation that bob mueller is leading that jim comey previously led was about that meeting and that undermining of american foreign policy and the president was trying to change the cover story or to advance a cover story to change the true nature of that meeting, then that is circumstantial evidence that he was witting of an effort to obstruct justice. >> i'm trying to translate all
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of jeremy bash's careful legal analysis here. but it sounds like we have another piece of evidence today that there were ties between the kremlin and the trump campaign. with that in place, how is it possible that what politico reports today could be true. they're nearing a point where they'll wave a white flag and say, we'll leave the question of collusion to bob mueller? >> i think it would be a mistake for them to do that. obviously, they shouldn't make any conclusions that the evidence they found doesn't support. if they aren't at the end of their investigation, they should object, forcefully object, make it a scandal and push forward in their investigation any way they can. it's very important they do. on the other hand, it's been a mistake to expect the congressional committee would get the full picture of what's happening here. they don't have the same investigative resources that mueller has, and most importantly, they don't have the
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ability to threaten reluctant witnesses with criminal charges to get them to come in and tell the truth. paul manafort and mike flynn, two people bob mueller is putting great pressure under. they have no interest to talk and you presume they'd take the fifth amendment but being forced to face down the barrel of criminal charges and a long jail sentence has a way of changing people's minds. that's a tool that mueller has to get to the bottom of what actually happened. those congressional committees just don't have. at the end of this, it's always been and continues to be bob mueller that's going to tell us what really happened in the course of the campaign. and not just in the course of the campaign but also to answer this obstruction of justice question which we know he's looking into. >> let's leave the campaign behind for a minute and talk a little bit more about how obstruction of justice might have taken place after inauguration and who might be involved in that. we know bob mueller sent over a list of five or six white house aides to whom he wishes to
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speak. are all of those aides going to be forced to speak under threat of, if they don't tell the truth they will perhaps have committed a crime, perjury? are they going to have to tell the truth about how that cover story was crafted aboard air force one to answer questions about this meet with russian -- with, i'm sorry, this russian lawyer veselivskaya. can you talk about legal exposure and how anxious stories like the ones that are now in "the new york times" as of this hour make white house aides facing questions about whether they participated in a potential effort to cover up this meeting. >> bob mueller wants to talk to everyone involved with not just that statement, that untrue statement that donald trump helped write that his son put out but also with the decision to fire jim comey. the president's acts to call the
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director of central intelligence and urge them to interfere with the fbi investigation. anyone that knew about that. anyone that was involved. bob mueller wants to talk to either through a voluntary fbi interview or for people who won't submit to a voluntary fbi interview, with a subpoena before the grand jury. that puts white house aides under a lot of pressure. if there is something they saw that was unlawful, you know, sometimes people get together and come up with a version of events that's a more charitable explanation of what happened. if you do that, that's a crime. if you don't go in and tell the truth about what happened and someone else in that meeting does, you've now sacrificed your career and potentially your freedom for donald trump which i think would be, obviously, a huge mistake to take. >> it doesn't take a psychologist to understand some of the psychology of the white house this week is that the president came out on top.
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if at the end of the day the resignation of jeff flake, the fact that no one followed bob corker's lead in reupping those attacks against the president debasing and devolving in office was viewed as a victory by the president and his team. they viewed yesterday's opioid event as a praise winning success, by and large, across the divide. but he woke up again tweeting about russia. why? >> corker and flake seem somewhat isolated in their criticisms of the president within the senate. but russia is always on his mind. it has been from the beginning of the president and continues to be. in part because he views this whole russia question as a reason to delegitimize his victory. he's very proud of those electoral votes as he'll show you with his map of all the red states and feels like any time you bring up russia, it's just
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getting to the heart of whether he was elected president correctly, duly by the people or whether there was some sort of conspiracy here. and he can't seem to get past to to understand there really is a national security question here. the intelligence community has concluded definitively that russia tried to influence and did influence and did meddle in our democratic process in the united states. >> we saw him walk out to his helicopter and give this rambling press conference where he talked about a lovefest. and he has this rambling way of making the same point over and over again. he said, i went up to the hill and it was a lovefest. there were standing ovations. i read some reporting that there weren't any chairs but we'll give him a standing "o." in a column in "the new york times," somewhat unrelated to that, has a line where he says
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about how some members of congress who came into wct kith trump said that rambling style of speaking is potentially an early sign of alzheimer's. we talked about that which is spoken about and that which is reportable. your paper doesn't find this reportable but "the new york times" obviously did. i wonder if you are starting to hear different theories emerge from different sort of pockets of dissent and/or resignation to explain the president's sort of bizarre speaking style and the way he keeps winding back to russia. >> well, you're right that that's not something that we've reported here at "the washington post" and i haven't seen that elsewhere, but i will say that you are talking about lawmakers, talking to other republicans who are closely observing this president privately, they express some concern with his fitness for the office, with the way he comports himself, with the way he delivers speeches. but this is not new as of this
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week. if you look back, for example, of interview transcripts of the way the president, you know, communicates in one on one interviews dating back to the campaign, he has a tendency to bounce around. his aides will say that's in part because he has a lot of energy and thoughts in his mind and is coming up with a lot of different things to say. that's his speaking style. the way he communicates at his rallies and the way he's communicated to me when i've interviewed him one on one. >> kathryn, let me bring you in. it says the republican senators went to the white house and saw president so repetative and rambling, some thought he may be suffering from early alzheimer's. but they know which way the wind is blowing. they gave him a standing ovation. can you just speak to the events of the whole week bookended on monday and tuesday by corker's stinging rebuke of donald trump debasing the office of the presidency ending with a friday "new york times" story with another proof point of collusion between the trump campaign and
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the kremlin and donald trump all the while tweeting mistruths. >> every week here feels like about a year in terms of news cycles, doesn't it? >> it does. >> to phil's point, the speaking style is the way -- this is the way the president communicates. this is the way he communicated on the campaign trail. he has a rambling style. and his -- he employed it to great effect at events and in rallies. and it was, by and large, a week with a lot of things his staff would name as wins. the opioid event yesterday they felt very good about. they note that, yes, that no one joined flake or corker in their rebu rebukes. and the president certainly felt good about his visit to the hill. we weren't in the room, obviously, but it is true. we did hear applause from the outside. so certainly he got applause
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reception from some people. so overall, and i think they feel positive, but, yes, he can't quit talking about russia. it is something that continues to dog him and he -- it seems unlikely that he's going to stop any time soon. >> there you have it. the inconvenient truth. matt miller, jeremy bash, phil rucker. the sound you hear is of a million men shaking in their wingtips. that's according to a "washington post" column on the fall out from the cascading sexual harassment scandals. also, was it a fishy deal as the trump administration faces scrutiny over how and why a small company from interior secretary ryan zinke's hometown was awarded a massive contract to help get the lights back on in puerto rico. a leaked copy of the paperwork is raising even more questions prompting congress and a federal watchdog group to look more closely into the matter. for the holidays, we get a gift for mom and dad.
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and when you are a star, they let you do it. you can do anything. grab them by the -- you can do anything. >> who knew it would be a sign of the times. that now infamous video surfaced about a month before president trump was elected anyway. in the wake of its release, the president described what we saw there as locker room talk. it was a dismissal that to many
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women sounded instantly, eerily familiar because they've come of age in institutions where it was commonplace. and those who dismissed it allowed it to flourish. a series of bombshells against harvey weinstein has changed the conversation. as "the washington post" puts it, quote, in the three weeks since the world learned of producer harvey weinstein's side career of harassing and assaulting women, the dam now seems to have completely ruptured. men have been swept away by the flood of allegations which range from the creepy to the monstrous. the allegations have come pouring out across every industry, including ours. mark halperin who has been an msnbc political analyst is facing allegations -- several allegations of sexual misconduct from his time at another network. he has stepped away from his role at msnbc. let's bring in our panel. with me at the table, joy reid, host of a.m. joy, host and business correspondent stephanie ruhle, bloomberg business week
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editor megan murphy and bbc's cattie kay. this may be my favorite group of people. i'm going to glue you all to your chairs. let me read something that sort of shook me. from "the washington post." the sound you hear right now is a million men shaking in their wingtips and cowboy boots. men who are experiencing perhaps for the first time the kind of enveloping and unease and fear they've triggered in women in some cases for years. the metoo campaign in which legions of women have -- revealed their experience with abuse. another man is dragged into the spotlight for his behavior. >> i'm glad you started with that horrific, gross, "access hollywood" video. in a lot of ways, we talk about the trump era as this sort of moment when white nationalists and the so-called alt-right have felt free to let their freak flag fly. >> that, too, right. >> but people forget the
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alt-right so-called, dovetails with a couple of things. one the gamer gate movement. about harassing women in the gaming industry. and there's also a diagram with the so-kaufled men's right movement. so they are all of a piece. this alpha male is back. that's tied in to the same ethos that elected donald trump. it wasn't just about white americans saying enough with the diversity and multiculturalism. we want our guy in the white house to represent us symbolically in the white house. it was also about men saying we want to go to the mad men era. we're tired of women trying to assert themselves as essentially being our bosses and our president. >> and let's be careful as we are with white nationalism and say that those people were part of trump's coalition, but trump's coalition included a lot of people. >> a lot of women. >> but not everybody -- not every trump voter could be painted with that brush but just about everyone who has that world view was a trump voter,
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not a hillary clinton voter. megan, let me bring you into this discussion. i feel like so much caution has been used and, obviously, there is someone familiar to a lot of us and familiar to our viewers involved now. but how do you -- how do you sort of walk around and miss this for so long, as a man or woman. >> did we miss it or was it a structural system of control that allowed this to happen? and i think probably everyone on this table i know has #metoo. but everyone has also had tough conversations with their male colleagues this week and recent weeks in saying men coming to me and saying, i wish i had known. had i known. what am i doing? what can i do differently, megan? is this still going on? who should we be watching out for? how do i talk to my daughters, my sons? in that quote it says wingtips, talking about quaking in their boots. i want to talk about the other side which is cowboy boots. when i've thought about this
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week, it's easy for hollywood producers, people in the media, big names we all know. i'm talking about the nurses, the waitresses, the women that in industries that don't have the voice, the access. and my really meaningful sign of change will be if we can make real motion in those industries where all women feel empowered to bring improper treatment, harassment and just empowering women across all of our industries, across all of our economy who do the heavy lifting day-to-day at home and at work. >> the restaurant industry is among the worst. that's a job that you are literally working for tips. i just did something for sunday "today" show on this specifically with waitresses not in a position to say take this job and shove it. when you walk into a restaurant and know it's performance based and you walk in front of a table and say what am i going to have to do for my tips. you need to revisit that. can those men and women who are harassed go to someone? is there a restaurant manager, an hr department? they don't necessarily have the outlets we do. so this needs to be a time of
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true social and cultural change. >> we're both mothers -- a lot of us are mothers of sons. what's the message to boys? >> that this happens. and this happens -- >> what's the message that someone that grab women by the -- is the most powerful man in the world. >> it's a message to our sons and daughters. i completely agree this cannot be a few famous men. then we're not getting anywhere. then it's just a few guys. but i think the message to our sons and to our daughters is that we have to speak about this. i remember writing after donald trump and that awful video that thinking, if there's any -- a pollyanna-ish moment. it's that the veil of secrecy has been lifted. he was elected anyway. i'm surprised by the degree to which men are not aware this is happening. i think it's because it's probably about 5% to 10% of men who are serial offenders. the other 90% don't know about
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it, and we weren't telling them about it. so i think we need to tell our daughters and sons this is happening and tell them explicitly that it's happening so that when they grow up, they cannot have a claim of ignorance. >> "the washington post" piece also says some men need to be educated. some men need to be improsonned. >> indeed. and i think i have a daughter and two sons, they already know it's happening in the sense it's happening in school. >> specifically, they need to know. >> this president is contributing to -- my sons, my youngest son who just turned 18, when donald trump was elected, shortly after, start ed ed to s even in school boys using donald trump's name to harass girls. you start hearing stories of even much younger boys using in donald trump's name, not only harassment that was racial but also harassment against girls and that you can speak to girls in a certain way, they don't matter or are less important.
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it doesn't stop when a guy suddenly has a job and has wingtips or starts working in a restaurant. >> telling your daughter the boy who teases you in school, don't mind it he really likes you. don't let that happen. and listen, teaching the son to -- >> men coming up to me saying, oh, does this mean we can't flirt with anyone. does this mean we can't have dates? women have figured this out. we're not being accused 5 sexual harassment. we know if we're sending out a signal and it's not returned then it's a no-go area. it cannot be that -- >> let me ask you, though. modeling behavior. my son was 4 when the campaign was going on. we were watching the debate. when they were talking about hands, he didn't know what the conversation was about, obviously, but, you know, modeled behavior starts much earlier than 18. >> and we tend to think the president of the united states as the ultimate avatar of what america is. and because it's always been a man, this sort of national father figure and sort of the comportment of the president.
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richard nixon behind the scenes, and we find out later through the tapes may have been a horrible person but found a way to comport himself in public. the president of the united states models the vulgarity in public and isn't rebuked by it. >> let's make sure we're celebrating and championing the women who have come forward. all of us at this table have had incidents we want to forget. you made a choice. is this something i need to take funct further or just move forward. i am focused on my career. women want to get ahead, too, and we've made a lot of sacrifices to get the voice we have. everyone that picks their head up, anonymous, not anonymous, wants to put their name on it or doesn't. but they are a legion and they are fierce. they must be celebrated, championed, and we should be proud of the changes they're making. >> it's the small stories never told. for years and years we allowed bad behavior that's in the margins that's not bad enough
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that we say i'm going to go to hr, but it's just bad enough that it keeps you down, and that we've all allowed for years and years. >> and also at the end of the day, be honest. when you think about it, am i going to go to human resources? human resources doesn't work for you. human resources works for the company. so who is your advocate if you're 24 years old? a lawyer? come on. >> we also have to remember that we have a person called anita hill who demonstrated what happens when you try to come forward and be brave. the guy gets his lifetime appointment anyway and you are vilified forever. and that's the tag that you wear if you are somebody -- >> you think monica lewinsky was a victim? come on. >> this table is too hot to put on pause. i might actually film the break. we're going to pick this oup the other side of a quick break. he . i need my blood sugar to stay in control. i need to shave my a1c i'm always on call. an insulin that fits my schedule is key. ♪ tresiba® ready ♪
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a flood of sexual harassment
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allegations started with harvey weinstein less than a month ago. the veteran journalist wrote to axios, if you are anxiously looking around your media organization wondering who the harassers are were, start with the men in power who are bullies, who screamed at subordinates, berated them, seemed to take pleasure in humiliating them often publicly. we all know them. we have all worked with them. there's clearly a correlation between that behavior and this. i'd love to send a message to the screamers that their behavior will no longer be tolerated. our amazing panel is back. let me ask you about congress. "washington post" has a story up today saying that -- how congress plays by different rules on sexual harassment and misconduct that makes some of your point about structural impediments. congress makes its own rules about the handling against members and staff passing laws exempting it from practices that apply to other employers. the result is a culture in which some lawmakers suspect harassment is rampant yet victims are unlikely to come
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forward according to attorneys who represent them. >> think about social media. this is the first time in history, especially through what's happened with harvey weinstein that individuals are actually finding the courage to stand up. so at the very least, maybe those -- i don't want to call them attackers but those abusers will be shamed to get their act together because to that point earlier about shaking in your wingtips, without a doubt, guys are looking at themselves saying, what could get said about me. every woman at this table at some point in your career, you've been pinned in the back seat of a cab, stressed, how much i going to get out from under this guy. i'm not saying you were attacked but all of us have been put in compromising positions by men, today, that are very powerful and they don't want that throughout whether they're in politics or business. >> i was going to say, if you think about one of the deterrents, is at the corporate level. think about what finally got fox to get religion it's that their merger would be stopped and they had to pay out tens of millions
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of dollars. that the brand is damaged. and so these companies have a great incentive to rein it in. what do you do with the migrant worker who is a woman being victimized who nobody will talk to and there incentive. we need a more comprehensive social -- >> it does come from the top. think of the last five presidents. three of them have now been accused of some form of sexual harassment. how on earth are we going to change? >> fox had no interest in cleaning up fox. it was about a european merger, and they knew that european regulators -- >> the british regulators wouldn't like the behavior. >> and they are joking about bringing one of those. claire mccaskill always speaks from the heart. let's watch it. >> i was a very young state legislator, and in my 20s, and i was single. and i was nervous about getting my first bill out of committee.
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so i cautiously approached a very powerful speaker of the missouri house of representatives. did he have any advice for me on how i could get it out of committee. and he looked at me and paused and he said, well, did you bring your kneepads? >> you know, i'm shaking my head on this one because i'm sitting around the table with four amazing women who i respect so much and have influenced me in my career. when i see things like that and i consider myself a pretty strong woman and i've been in these situations as you all have. i've gotten through them, but you know what? there's a lot of women who have made different choices because they couldn't, because they felt too under pressure because the moment in hollywood and board rooms and it breaks my heart because for every situation that i've been able to push through and blow by and keep my head down and do the things i needed to do to get through it, i think about women who didn't have the outlets that i had, the voice that i had, the will, didn't have the choices, and that's
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what we need to change. when we are going to break through and make meaningful change here. when is this going to stop happening. you talk about fox. they allowed him to continue this culture. they knew it was going on. >> signed the contract after knowing he had a settlement. how is that even possible? >> the other thing that needs to happen, we need to stop talking about how this makes the women feel. for years after an incident, you blame yourself. you feel, why didn't i say no? why wasn't i strong enough? did i somehow invite it? is it something about me? am i dirty in some way? why does this keep happening? or am i weak? i wish i'd said no and walked out of the restaurant. >> or we think we invited it. we wanted to go to that client dinner and guess what else we did. we looked pretty, dressed good because we thought it was a good idea. >> women shouldn't be punished for wanting to be in the industry and go to those dinners because you have opportunities for women to network with powerful men. and so women take advantage of the opportunity and then get blamed --
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>> so i heard -- and i heard there was a panelist on another cable network, one known for having people on both sides of every debate, even debates with us, we'd say, who said to kirsten powers who worked at fox news who knows the culture you described better than all of us. while my advice is don't take a meeting with a woman alone. >> right. >> the women get penalized. >> you can't meet with a man until there's a chaperon available. >> we're going back to the victorian era. >> then tighten up your game, men. if you are so extraordinary that you should be a leader of business, then you should be able to pull your act together -- >> i've had this conversation with my students. their question is we're at the entry level point of our careers. what do you do? as a man, it's simple advice. if you can't figure out how to be alone with a woman in a meeting without leaping across the table and sexually assaulting her, maybe you ought
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to get psychiatry involved. it shouldn't be that hard. >> treat those women like you treat your mother or daughter and how you want them to be. this isn't rocket science. >> it really isn't so difficult. and don't do things that you know are wrong. it is not about sex. it is about power. it is always about power and we all know that and it still is. look at boardrooms, the executive suites, media suites. we are pushing up and we're going to smash that glass ceiling but until then, don't use your power that way. >> which is why they pick on the women who are vulnerable. >> and the ones on their way up. i'm happy to have all of you in my corner and here today. steph, i think you have to go, but thank you for joining us. the swirling questions surrounding that tiny company awarded a $300 million contract to restore power in puerto rico. what the white house is saying about it. that's next.
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prior to hurricane maria, it just had two employees, and then after hurricane maria, it's awarded a $300 million-plus contract. i realize that you said this was a contract that was awarded by officials in puerto rico, but would you acknowledge that doesn't look right just on the surface of things? >> i'm not going to comment before the audit is conducted but we certainly look forward to seeing the results of that. this was a state and local decision made by the puerto rican authorities and not the federal government but we'll look into the audit once it's published. >> sarah huckabee sanders was hit with many questions about a $300 million contract awarded to a small energy firm hired to restore power to puerto rico. 72% of the island is still without power. and the company chosen to fix the power lines, white fish energy, got a no-bid contract despite having no previous
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experience with the project of this size. the company is from the hometown of interior secretary ryan zinke who happened to meet with the president today and according to the white house, clarified to him that zince had no involvement in the contract. nbc's gabe gutierrez joins us from san juan. gabe? >> reporter: hi there. yes, this news conference just wrapped up. senator bernie sanders along with san juan's mayor were here and they were flanked by officials. i asked senator sanders what he made of the white fish deal. he said it was an outrage. i spoke with one union official who called it robbery. there are many questions about this contract and how this small company had just two small employees how it came to get it now. the interior secretary just released a statement reiterating he had no involvement in this and welcomes any and all investigations. he also said the company white fish did contact his office after the contract was awarded. but that he took no action.
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but again, there are many questions here in puerto rico. of course, this company whitefish is not the only company here that is helping to restore energy here, but it is drawing the most scrutiny because of its size, because this contract wasn't bided out, and it now has -- it now says it has more than 300 workers here on the island. but it will be many months before power is restored here. the question is, was this contract given the due diligence the power authority here has had? he's sticking by the decision. he says if you have to do it over again, he would. and he says any criticism of this deal is, quote, mainly gossip from the u.s. nicolle? >> thank you, gabe gutierrez. steph, you had a spokesperson from the company on this morning. what is the bottom line here? why did they win the contract? and i understand earlier in the week, they were in a twitter war with some of the people they're trying to help. obviously not acting like a -- >> when i spoke to whitefaith
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with good-faith questions they kept saying these conspiracy theorys. a $300 million no-bid contract. whitefish, montana, the hometown of ryan zinke or, by the way, his son used to work. i spoke to the spokesman, we we one whose went down there with an entrepreneurial spirit. straight up that's a lie. talking about the agency from the dominican republic, florida power and light or psa & g. others were interested in doing the work and weren't even called back. offered no strings. don't have to give us money up front. the story keeps changing. others wanted a ton of money up front nap is si front. that is simply not the case. we're coming off hurricane katrina. someone was jailed for the use of furnnds and here we are backt a desperate time.
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we have to deal with an audit? come on. >> and one of the concerns that the governor and i think the mayor of san juan had, without a recovery czar they didn't have to -- as you said, people are dying from dirty water. >> but the government didn't want a czar, the supervisory board to bring in a czar because they wanted to control this. when the administration said we'll bring in somebody from the outside to look at this, and from scott pruitt's home state, expertise in drilling and fracking yet they're working on the grid, too. that's when they brought in an outside person to look at this and the governor didn't really want it. >> be clear exactly what stephanie is saying. this is of a magnitude, a corporate reporter all my life, i have not seen. not just the biggest contract ever signed by a magnitude of 300. it was a $1 million deal for a pipeline in arizona. this is a $300 million deal to
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restore vital lines for an island where 72% of people still do not have power. this is exactly the kind of thing that you find mass corruption. another part of the bill. >> the language. >> $300 a day, a day, for accomen daaccom en dags. $80 a day for food. subcontacter rates up in the 450. if whitefish can restore the pow i'm for that, those people need it. but the contract stinks, stinks to high heaven. no oversight. put language in the contract to avoid that and we need to get to the bottom of this. >> and nothing about the language. in this contract, ready for this. in no event shall government bodieses have the right to audit or review the court and profit elements. so prepa signs off on a document where whitefish says, you can't audit it, review it and i don't have to get it done on time.
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no biggy. >> what does the federal government do, at a state level, resistance? >> a good question for congress. congress stepped in, made decisions who can pull up ships to puerto rico. a lot of federal oversight is possible. we have a congress that doesn't do a lot of oversight, in is case of this and other scandals the fish rots from the head. this is the air donald trump. an idea profiting off government is diragir. >> have you seen the statement from ryan zinke, just came out in the last 20 minutes? one of the most amazing clients, he says, only in elitist washington, d.c. would being from a small town be considered a crime. >> that's not the crime. >> who said -- >> nothing new. >> don't look over here. look right over here. >> and can you talk about how a politician who ran on the idea of draining the swamp is
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flooding it? >> where do you start? right? . start with the people he's placed around him. start with the politicians who have used private jets to make government trips at the expense of millions of dollars to the taxpayer. i think this is -- one of the biggest questions about the experiment of populism, we're seeing here and in europe can it work? can it work for the people who feel they have been forgotten by the process and boy the organization. >> this is -- >> so, for me, the biggest problem with this administration is that it's not working for those people. that the promise that was made to people that we are going to improve your lives by cleaning up washington and by working directly for you, at least so far there's no evidence of those steps being taken. >> and whether or not -- >> or any interest in it. >> and the president's working agenda doesn't work for middle class americans. going to rallies hoped trump's base -- >> and we have to sneak in one
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more break. thanks for staying one more block, steph. we'll be right back. it takes more than buzz words to reach your goals. it takes tools to help you work smarter. on "your business," we focus on what will attract customers and drive growth. getting you and your business to the next level. join me, weekend morning at 7:30 on msnbc and connect with us on our podcast are and online. >> announcer: sponsored by american express open. helping you get business done. what does that mean for purchasing? purchase. let's do this. got it. book the flights! hai! si! si! ya! ya! ya! what does that mean for us? we can get stuff. what's it mean for shipping? ship the goods. you're a go! you got the green light. that means go! oh, yeah. start saying yes to your company's best ideas. we're gonna hit our launch date! (scream) thank you! goodbye! let us help with money and know-how, so you can get business done. american express open.
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we're back. joy, these are not victimless crimes. what's happening in puerto rico, yes, a political scandal, a drain the swamp scandal. it's a combination of incompetence and corruption but not a victimless crime. neem puerto rico may go longer without power, people may die without air conditions and refrigeration, think about coming back from the u.s. virgin islands facing the exact same
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crisis. not just of infrastructure but human lives. people waiting for hud to show up and look at the wrecked public housing no one inspected and people are still living there and in puerto rico tapping contaminated water. elderly people, people with children. these are situations it's not just humanitarian. there's an economic loss, ridiculous. a corruption. also the human beings counting on this company from whitefish to restore their very lives, and there's no evidence that this is the best company to even do that. >> now that donald trump's done sort of tweeting about his own press coverage you wonder if it's on the white house radar. >> and the company adopt trump as its modus operandi on twitter. the company faced with whether there corrupt, get into a twitter fight with the mayor from san juan. teaching them how to behave. >> setting a tone. thank you all.
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catch joy at 10:00 tonight when i watch and learn what the news really was. that does it for our hour. "mtp daily" starts right now. >> thank you, nicolle. happy friday. have a good weekend. if it's friday, the more things change, the more they stay the same. tonight -- capitulation nation. a year of republican surrender to trumpism hit a breaking point this week, but did anything actually change? >> we don't comment on political situations or contributions from the podium. >> plus, shades of blue. from always sliberal to disfactored democrats. is the divide on the left as dangerous at the all-out civil war on the right. and are the president's promises to fight the opioid crisis enough? >> they are clogged, overwhelmed. first responders are overwhelmed. >> reporter: to the front lines of the overdose capital of the country. this is "mtp daily" and it

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