tv MSNBC Live With Alex Witt MSNBC October 29, 2017 9:00am-10:00am PDT
i wanti did my ancestrydna and where i came from. and i couldn't wait to get my pie chart. the most shocking result was that i'm 26% native american. i had no idea. just to know this is what i'm made of, this is where my ancestors came from. and i absolutely want to know more about my native american heritage. it's opened up a whole new world for me. discover the story only your dna can tell. order your kit now at ancestrydna.com. that's our show for today. thanks to all of you at home for watching. we'll be back next saturday at 10:00 a.m. eastern. alex has the latest. >> i saw the adorable girls in the makeup room. i think they have a little bit of makeup, dad. they were going to lipstick and they look faelks. thank you so much, joy, for all
of that. i'm alex wiig here in new york. high noon here in the weeft, 9:00 a.m. out west and here is what's happening. new reaction from president trump on twitter, but is he making any direct reference to what is expected to be a bombshell revolution in the robert mueller investigation? meanwhile, members of congress telling us what they expect to happen. behind the numbers, a new poll out today. it shows president trump has reached a historical milestone. we're going to tell you if it's good or bad. one of president trump's lawyers is talking. he reveals the legal team's approach to the russia investigation in a new interview out today. but first, we have this breaking news out of puerto rico. just a short time ago, governor ricardo r ricar ricardo -- of course that contract has certainly come under fire for its generous terms and its lack of oversight on the small montana company.
in just a few minutes, i'm going to talk with nbc's gabe gutierrez. he'll join us live from puerto rico with reaction to that. he also spoke exclusively to the whitefish owner before this latest news. coming your way in just moments. meanwhile, widespread reaction at this moment to robert mueller's looming indictment. two gop allies say the focus today should be on thow the existence of these charges came public. >> depending on who leaked this to cnn, that's a criminal violation potentially. for us to have confidence in this process, we've got to make sure the grand jury process remains confidential. >> as a former prosecutor, i'm disappointed that you and i are having the conversation because somebody violated their oath of secrecy. >> also new today, preet bharara, one of the u.s. attorneys fired by president trump on what he is looking for if and when the president responds directly to the indictment. >> whether or not donald trump has some reaction and talks in a way that could be used against
him in the future. because bob mueller would do that. and the second thing i would look at is to see if the president of the united states is sending some kind of message to the potential defendant or other witnesses, and that's in two categories. one, is he sending a message of intimidation in some way through himself or his cohorts to suggest that people should not be talking, people should keep their mouths shut? and the second thing is whether or not he sends a message of reassurance. >> we're going to break it all down for you this morning with nbc's kelly o'donnell at the white house, former democratic congresswoman, and cnbc editor at large john harwood. quite a team right there. begin with kelly at the white house. kelly, good day to you. the president this morning firing off a series of tweets on the heels of mueller's indictments what all is he saying. >> reporter: it may be the president's reck ration this sunday. he is at the white house. used his twitter feed to respond more to the atmosphere than the specifics of the reports of an
impending indictment as a result of the special counsel's investigation related to russian interference in the 2016 election. so the president talking about some of the political elements of this more than the specific reporting about an expected indictment. and, again, u.s. officials tell nbc news it's expected monday. we don't know who would be identified as a defendant or what the charges are. so still a lot of questions. but in a string of five tweets over a period of time today, the president weighing in. first, he began by saying, never such republican anger and unity as i have concerning the lack of investigation on clinton-made fake dossier now valued at $12 million. the uranium to russia deal, the 33,000-plus e-mails, a whole litany of grievances against hillary clinton. the comey fix as he calls it and so much more. instead they look at phony trump/russia. that's key in that part of the tweet. collusion, which doesn't exist.
we've heard presidents stay that publicly many times. the dems are using this. terrible and, quote, bad for our country. witch-hunt notably in capital letters for evil politics. think he's coining a new phrase there. the "r"s, republicans, are fighting back like never before. so much guilt by democrats and clinton that the facts are pouring out. do something with an exclamation. the president urging there be some action against the former hillary clinton campaign or the democratic national committee, and then the final tweet in this series, all of this, quote, russia talk, right when republicans are making their big push for historic tax cuts and reform. is this coincidental? and then in a very trumpian end note, not, exclamation point. so the president is going at several things here. he is listing the grievances he has towards hillary clinton as he sees it. also feeling that there is not sufficient scrutiny over the dossier which was talked about in recent days that was in at least some part financed by the
dnc and the clinton campaign. and then maybe the most easy to understand political argument, he is saying that as republicans are trying to make some advances legislatively, which they have struggled with during his time in office, this is somehow a distraction from that. those are good political arguments for the president to make to his supporters. of course a special counsel is working in a parallel track, doing the work that is intended to be in secret and the grand jury process is intended to be in secret. so there are some questions about how even the awareness of an indictment came out, but we'll see how that plays out over the next few days. so the president not addressing sort of the headline, but talking about all of the atmospherics and sort of waging his own political response using twitter today. nothing official from the white house on the expected indictment. alex? >> all right. as always, many thanks to you. kelly o'donnell at the white house for us. let's get more now on the special counsel's probe. we bring in former u.s. congresswoman elizabeth
hotelsman. good to have you back on the broadcast. your reaction to what we heard promote bharara say a bit earlier. could bob mueller take issue with the way the president is reacting to the russia probe? even the indictment tomorrow that is expected. >> you bet. what's really concerning and for the president to suggest, which he did in the last tweet, that it's not coincidental, that an indictment is coming down at this time. that means he's accusing the grand jury process, the grand jury and bob mueller of acting politically as opposed to acting properly. to accuse misconduct on the part of the prosecutor could then feed back into the whole issue of obstruction of justice. we saw this with richard nixon during watergate. i mean, it's scary how many reflections there are of that time, but you can't -- if you start attacking the prosecutor and accusing the prosecutor of being political and the grand jury, that could ultimately be part of an obstruction or from
an impeachment point of view, an abuse of power. it is an abuse of power to attack the process. >> you bring up watergate and you were on that committee that recommended the articles of impeachment. you say it is scary. to what degree? what are some of the things you see in terms of parallels? >> well, the first thing is firing comey. that's what triggered the impeachment process way back during nixon's era, which was nixon fired the special prosecutor. he said, uh-uh, this guy's going after the evidence and i'm going to stop him. that's when the country stood up and said, uh-uh, mr. nixon, this is a country of a rule of law and you can't tell the prosecutor what to do. so if trump is trying to do that here, this is a problem and these are things that resonate, echos of watergate. >> do you see similarities in terms of this president's reaction to the reaction that was sustained from president nixon as both of them are facing scrutiny on their behavior while in office? >> well, you know, president
nixon got up and said i'm not a crook. president trump has said time after time there's been no collusion, there's been no collusion, it's fake, it's nonsense, it's just a hoax. we have a special prosecutor. he's -- special counsel. he's doing a serious and thorough job. no one really aside from the president and his team is attacking the credibility and the integrity of bob mueller. >> it's true. >> if you do that, you do that and you face the consequences. we saw that in watergate. that's what started the process that brought richard nixon down. >> and was it the same in that we find that members of congress on both sides of the aisle are constant constantly validating bob mueller's integrity. >> that's right. >> there are very few people who will attack him on that front. >> correct. he headed the fbi. he did a very good job. he's an experienced prosecute. he's a serious guy here who put
together a serious team that is going to do a serious investigation. the minute you accuse them of politics and try to interfere with that process and raise public concern about it and try to slow it down in some way or obstruct it into sum way, you're moving into abuse of power, or obstruction of justice. >> timing here of this sealed indictment. we find out about it on a friday night. allegedly being served some time monday morning/afternoon, we're not sure when. why seal an indictment, get it on the record and then wait a couple of days? >> you know, mueller's a very experienced guy. i can't answer that question. you have to sometimes worry about not just the leaks -- remember, the leaks don't have to come from government, they could come from defense counsel, from potential defendants. we don't know where this information came from. >> which means -- do you believe the person indicted is aware that this is coming? >> maybe. it could be. we don't know. >> i want to play for you a clip
of new jersey governor corphris christie. here's what he said. >> i think for us to have intelligence in this process, we've got to make sure that the grand jury process remains confidential, remains secret so that the special counsel can work effectively to be able to get to the bottom of all that he's looking into. i think the good news from the president's perspective is he's not under investigation. >> is that accurate? >> no. of course the special counsel is investigating whether his firing of comb was an obstruction of justice and whether his campaign, possibly including him, colluded with the russians to obstruct our democracy and undermine our democracy. that's just nonsense. christie should know better. >> i'm curious going back to conversations we've had about the president's ability to issue pardons. we know he did do with joe arpaio, even before he was sentenced. he was pardoning something that had yet to be specifically defined. what happens if the president in this case issues similarly
preemptive pardons? can that happen? >> it's not clear to me. i mean, he could try to do it, but i think it's just -- it could be a serious question -- well, let's put it this way, if he issues pardons to his team or to anyone who is indicted for the purpose of obstructing justice, then that's an impeachable offense. in my judgement, no question about it. richard nixon, part of the articles of impeachment against him was that he offered presidential pardons to the watergate burglars, telling them keep quiet, you'll get a presidential pardon. that was a ground of impeachment. that's history. that's precedent. could he do it? could he offer it? maybe. but if he does it, he's got to worry about impeachment and maybe even obstruction of justice. because, yes, you have the power to do something, but if you do it for the purpose of covering up a crime and protecting yourself, you could be in criminal area. easily. >> i want to play for you a bit of what richard painter said, of
course, house ethics attorney under george w. bush. he's talking about the congressional response overall here. if the president were to fire bob mueller. here is that. >> i don't see how the president could fire robert mueller without impeachment proceedings starting immediately in the house of representatives. i can't see how congress would tolerate that. >> what do you think? do you think if the president were to do that, that would start impeachment proceedings? >> it should. it would be an outrage, but will the republican congress finally stand up for the country and not their own special interests? i don't know. i hope they do. i saw the congress of the united states, everybody was pooh-poohing the congress during the nixon time. >> mmm-hmm. >> but the congress people rose up and did the right thing. even republican members of the -- of the house of representatives and house judiciary committee stood up and voted for the impeachment of richard nixon because they put country above party. in the end, that's what
patriotism is about, to preserve our democratic system. if people aren't willing to do that because they put the party ahead of everything else, you know, that's too bad and a very sad sign of where we are. i can't predict that will. they should. and the country should demand and expect that from them if they stand up for preserving the rule of law. >> thank you very much. always good to speak with you. we have some breaking news. this from provoke. just a short time ago, the governor dmanlding that the island's power company cancel that $300 million contract with whitefish energy. nbc's gabe gutierrez has the very latest breaking details from san juan, puerto rico. gabe with a good day to you. what have you learned on this? >> reporter: hi there, alex. well, this comes as a surprise to some here in puerto rico, at least that it happened this quickly. of course, this contract has been gaining some controversy over the last couple of days. whitefish energy up to $300 million to help restore the power grid here and restore power to a part of the island. well, just within the past few
hours, the governor saying that he now wants the puerto rico electric power authority, the board for prepa to cancel that contract. we're still awaiting comment from prepa officials. we understand there is supposed to be a news conference later this afternoon. still no immediate comment from whitefish energy on the governor's statements, but we did speak with the ceo yesterday and he seemed to have no clue that this was coming. he said that he would be in puerto rico as long as it takes. and what has been getting some attention is all of the questions, alex, about how they managed to get this contract. the ceo told me yesterday that he actually managed to do it by reaching out to prepa officials through the social networking site linkedin and did so after hurricane irma, stayed in touch with prepa officials and flew down to san juan on september 26th, six days after hurricane maria made landfall. still, many questions about how
this contract unfolded. one portion of the contract, alex, that raised a lot of questions was a section that seed that fema had actually reviewed and approved the contract. fema came back and said that just was not accurate. the agency said it has significant concerns about this contract and it forced both whitefish and the ceo of prepa to backtrack and say it was simply a mistake. ricardo ramos, he told "the wall street journal" he had no other explanation for it other than an oops. this was shaping up to be quite an embarrassing episode for the governor. he had taken pains to not take a stance on this as there were audits and now congressional investigations underway into this. but, again, today, the breaking news, alex, is that the governor now says that he wants the prepa board to cancel this contract. we're expecting some comment within the next few hours from the head of that prepa board.
>> we're also going to speak with new york governor andrew cuomo who has been in place de la republique -- puerto rico a couple of times. gabe, thank you so much for that. on pins and needles, both sides awaiting word on the first charges in the robert mueller investigation. will it be as explosive as some expect? informed opinions next.
r i certainly would have, you know, liked to know who paid for it earlier, but nonetheless, that's just one factor to be considered. it doesn't answer the ultimate question, which is how much of the work is accurate? how much of it is true? and my colleagues don't seem particularly interested in that question, but that is really the most important question for the american people. that is, how much does this allegation that christopher steele makes in the reports that
he hears are true about the russian government wanting to help the trump campaign? >> ranking member of the house intelligence committee congressman adam schiff talking about the trump dossier and the sources who funded it. joining me now reporter for "mother jones" and john harwood, cnbc editor at large. good to see you both. john, first for you here. congressman schiff he was saying he would like to know who funded the research that funded the dossier but that's not the central question. does one thing lead to the other? >> no. look, the central issue is that the u.s. intelligence community has concluded that russia intervened in the 2016 election to help donald trump. the steele dossier had some allegations in it which suggested the same thing. which said that that was what russia was trying to do. we have since learned that the trump campaign received a meeting, the president's son, his son-in-law, campaign chairman with a representative of the russian government who said he wanted to help the trump
campaign. we've since learned that the data analytics firm for the trump campaign and a big donor contacted wikileaks to assist with these e-mails. those e-mails are what the russians stole to harm hillary clinton. the connections are right there to see, and it is obvious that the president is getting increasingly concerned that robert mueller is honing in on this story and we'll find out tomorrow what he's got in terms of this first charge. >> yeah, what are you expecting to see tomorrow, john? >> my personal expectation would be that unless this is much more advanced, the investigation, than we all realize, that he would be charging some lower-level person in an attempt to squeeze them for more information about higher ups. don't know who that would be. obviously paul manafort is under serious scrutiny.
so is carter page and so is donald trump, for the reason that elizabeth holtzman told you that he fired james comey as head of the fbi and the question is, did he do that in order to halt this investigation? >> how about you, pamela? what are your expectations for tomorrow? >> i think that it will be really interesting and, you know, apart from the guess work about who this first indictment is for, i think we should be watching really closely at how the white house reacts to this. the president's tweets this morning, the answers coming from the president's spokesperson sarah sanders, they all basically show that the white house is scared and that their strategy right now is sort of to muddy the waters and make people think that the intelligence community hasn't already confirmed and decided that the russians did get involved in this election in order to help donald trump. in order to hurt our democracy. and so i think they're really trying to muddy the waters here and the accusations really don't
even make sense, but i think that it is important, again, going back to your interview with the former congresswoman, you know, what the response is and whether or not they try to obstruct justice. >> do you see a best case/worst case scenario, pamela, for the president here? >> sure. i mean, a best care scenario is that the indictment -- you know, an indictment doesn't mean guilty, it means that there are charges. a best case scenario is that this doesn't work out, that the charges fall through or the person is ultimately not convicted. that would be a big vindication. the worst case scenario is they give up more information and this investigation keeps going and gets more and more serious. >> okay. let's get back to the tweets that the president has fired off this morning about what he is calling this fake dossier, russia, the urine yuanium deal t one mention of the indictment, sean. what do you think about that? do you think he's getting advice to stay away from it? >> yes, i think he's trying to kick up a bunch of dust to cloud
the issue as this news breaks tomorrow. and, of course, we've seen the same thing happen all week. fox news has run a huge fog machine campaign to suggest that the -- and the white house has been part of this, to suggest that collusion has been shown with hillary clinton and the russians. that is up is down, night is day, black is white preposterous stuff because what we've seen is, you know, this uranium deal was approved by national security officials in the united states. a government-wide review. hillary clinton wasn't part of it. this is all simply an attempt to misdirect. >> okay. i want to get both of your reaction to the latest nbc news/"wall street journal" poll numbers, the president's approval rating dropping to the lowest point of his presidency. look at that, only 38% say they approve of his job performance. so, padma do you think that donald trump is not paying attention to these numbers?
because nothing seems to change. >> no, you know, i think when it comes to poll numbers and donald trump, there is actually an interesting phenomenon here, which is that the president only cares about his base. and, you know, these numbers are a little bit worrisome on that front, but for the most part his base is still there. his election and re-election will come down to the base staying with him and then other republicans just sort of falling in line because of our political polarization right now. i think the biggest problem here is not really for the president. i think it's for congress. because they're the ones up for re-election in 2018 and they're the one who's are going to have to either stand with or run away from the president. so, you know, in terms of the president -- he just sort of has this sweet spot where has long as the base stays with them and he throws red meat at them, he's going to be okay. >> john, what do you think about the base? >> well, i want to add to what was said and disagree with her in some sense. the sweet spot he had is getting smaller and smaller.
we show in our poll the numbers going down. fox shows in their poll, the numbers are going down. we see the fallout for republicans in the fox poll which showed by 15% points americans plan to vote democrat rather than republican for congress. that has limited utility because of the way seats are distributed, but the point is the political environment is getting worse and worse for donald trump. he is getting defections of some of those soft supporters he had who had misgivings about him but nevertheless decided he was better than hillary clinton. this is a situation that donald trump cannot sustain if he continues to erode his base. >> well, fact is, when i look at the numbers from this poll, it shows only two areas in which he's above water, those being the way he handled the aftermath of hurricanes harvey and irma and the way he handles the economy. in everything else, he is underwater on this most recent poll. good to see you both. with someone potentially in custody tomorrow, how might it all unfold?
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welcome back, everyone. i'm alex witt here at msnbc world headquarter here in new york city. at the half hour, here's what we're monitoring for you, the indictment secured by special counsel bob mueller. earlier, top democrat on the house intelligence committee congressman adam schiff spoke with my colleague joy reed on "am joy" about it. >> it could be manafort. it could be flynn. many people have been pointing out that you generally go after the small fish first. >> right. >> those are not small fish. >> yeah. >> we're talking about the national security adviser for the president and we're talking about the president's campaign manage. >> yeah. >> if those are the small fish then the big fish has got to be pretty big. >> joining me now former assistant director for counterintelligence at the fbi. thanks for joining me today. we have a couple of more questions to throw your way, frank. there has been silence from the white house this weekend, but beneath the facade is any
frantic sense of things there for the president? is the mere idea that a close associate or relative could be indicted, is that just sending everybody behind there scurrying? >> i'm sure what it's doing, alex, is causing much thought about how to respond to whoever it is and they're probably working out a decision tree. if it's this person, maybe we say this. if it's that person, we say this, but the president is skating very carefully on obstruction of justice if he comes out and starts signaling various subject who's might be cooperating or signaling that he might pardon folks. so it's a tenuous tight time right now. >> so if a target or targets are taken into custody once this indictment is handed up, does that happen in the first few hours of the day tomorrow? is it an early morning knock on a door or could it wind up being something else? >> that's a good question. and as with most good questions, the answer is, it depends. what does it depend on? it depends on who we're talking
about being indicted and the level of cooperation that exists between that person and trump -- excuse me, on mueller's team. it could actually give us a signal how this arrest goes down as to the degree of cooperation that this person is offering mueller's team. so historically the way the fbi operates in such things, it's kind of a chess game. you want to position yourself to take down the police officer ral players, work your way in. and that cooperation is so essential and plays into how you negotiate the arrest plan. i had a case with a public official in miami, florida, years ago, we negotiated to meet him in a donut shop. he didn't want us coming to his house. he didn't want to come to the fbi building in his vehicle and being followed to the media. why is that helpful to let him negotiate that? we never give up on the possibility that this person might cooperate. if you upset them by dragging them out in their pajamas in front of their family, less likelihood they'll cooperate.
>> i know you've worked with special counsel robert mueller. how does he handle the optics of this indictment? >> well, first, i know i've heard people suggesting that this was some kind of deliberate leak by mueller's team. i can tell you this has got to be quite the opposite. i know bob mueller. i know his integrity. he would never jeopardy jeopardize the integrity of his investigation simply to leak a sealed grand jury indictment. i think this happened on the periphery of court clerk, a reporter who works a doj source. that's what's happened here. and i can tell you based on my knowledge of bob mueller, he's not a happy camper that this has leaked out. >> there is an ally of president bush pushing back on many of his colleagues calling for bob
mueller to recuse him. >> i think bob mueller has a really distinguished career of service to our country. i don't think any of your viewers can think of a single thing he did as the fbi director that caused them to have a lack of confidence in him. >> knowing bob mueller the way you do, do you think he would be phased at all by a smear campaign being waged by some republicans? >> he's got pretty thick skin. he's a decorated combat veteran, marine, doj official, director of the fbi. this is a man who plays methodically in the strategy game and he's not going to let public opinion impact the right legal thing to do. >> so if he's working methodically and with a lot of strate strategy, how many steps ahead is bob mueller right now with regard to this indictment being handed down tomorrow and then what comes next? >> so, they probably have a written plan that they discuss and it's dynamic. it changes every day.
but it's always dependent on something new in the area of cooperation. so let's say this person arrested tomorrow suddenly -- if this happens tomorrow, suddenly decides cooperate or some other cooperator comes in or some other bit of intel comes in from somewhere in the world, that will cause them to flex their strategy, but they have one, rest assured. it's likely historically based on how the fbi operates, one where peripheral players will indicted, arrested, try to get to flip them and look towards larger subjects. >> you said if this comes down tomorrow. what would influence it not coming down tomorrow? >> well, i think one of the things we can't rule out is the possibility that this quietly may have already happened. this leak was likely unexpected. it may be that the mueller team has already reached out to defense counsel and said, hey,
look, let's avoid a circus monday. let's get you in and process you over the weekend. that's a possibility. highly unlikely. i'm saying we're all focused on tomorrow but we don't know what tomorrow is going to look like. >> okay. frank, thank you so much. good to talk with you again on this busy weekend. appreciate it. there is one election next week that could tell us a lot about whether democrats are poised to take over congress in 2018. we're going to get reaction to that ahead. plus, president trump is touting the economy as one of his successes, but is it really? dry mouth has been a problem for me. i just drank tons of water all the time, it was never enough.
accused of obstructing justice to theat the fbinuclear war, and of violating the constitution by taking money from foreign governments and threatening to shut down news organizations that report the truth. if that isn't a case for impeaching and removing a dangerous president, then what has our government become? i'm tom steyer, and like you, i'm a citizen who knows it's up to us to do something. it's why i'm funding this effort to raise our voices together and demand that elected officials take a stand on impeachment. a republican congress once impeached a president for far less.
yet today people in congress and his own administration know that this president is a clear and present danger who's mentally unstable and armed with nuclear weapons. and they do nothing. join us and tell your member of congress that they have a moral responsibility to stop doing what's political and start doing what's right. our country depends on it. the president's advisers reportedly say the best approach to mueller's pending indictment is to divert attention back to the democrats and the dossier. is that the best strategy?
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in, you know, punishment or indictments, but to the extent that that happens, that's beyond his control and obviously he's not trying to influence that in any way. but the president has no concerns in terms of any impact as to what happens to them on his campaign or on the white house. >> let's bring in howard dean and susan del percio. good to see you guys, as always. susan, you heard the president's attorney right there, ty cobb, but isn't the president and his team, aren't they somewhat frantically concerned about who has been indicted in the mueller investigation? >> they have to be. there is no question about it because at some point it will lead back to them, even peripherally. it's the first time that we're actually going to see a piece of information backed up. it's an indictment. we can now say there is no longer an investigation, there is actually a hard piece of information out there saying that the -- someone close or maybe just on the peripheral has
been indicted. that is going to hurt the president's agenda going forward. ironically, think they are using some of this clinton information out there as a way of deflecting the president's attention so it's probably part of their legal strategy so he's not tweeting about these indictments because that could be very problematic for the white house. >> yeah, e-elizabeth holtzman was lining that out. your thoughts on who we're looking at tomorrow, howard. do you think it is a major player or as susan said, someone on periphery? >> i'm not an attorney so i'm a little at sea here. i think the most sensible thing i've heard is it may not be a major fish. i was betting on flynn and manafort, but more experienced people with this sort of thing think it's the smallest fish because they'll turn more easily. i think in the long run, manafort, flynn, donald trump jr., they're almost certainly going to get indicted now. we'll see what happens and who says what after that. that is why trump is so upset
and craze -- he's always crazed in his tweets, but there is this tone of desperation when you're trying to rally the republican party in the house after you just trashed them and had steve bannon say he's going to have people run against them. he's desperate and very upset. >> to add to the governor's point, if it's son. if a family member, jared kushner or his son, that is a whole different story because he will throw anyone else under the bus easily. we saw him do that with manafort. or even flynn, he'll do it. but his own family i think does scare the heck out of everyone there. >> why do you think, susan, the president has not come forward and spoken about this? i mean, he's not going to necessarily take advice from elizabeth holtzman. we haven't seen him take advice from those on his own team who say, please, mr. president, please do this. he doesn't stick to the script. >> he doesn't stick to the script, but now he's in a whole new territory. there are a lot of legal
implications about what he says, how those statements can be taken, and i think it's also because he is scared. he is in uncharted territory here. he can't threaten a counterlawsuit to threaten somebody up or promise for that matter any type of immunity. so this is a very -- this is brand new territory for donald trump, and, frankly, he's the president of the united states and should be focused on more important things than his own -- his own family. as far as a legal battle goes. he needs to be focused on where we are with korea, how this country is moving forward economically. i know that sounds a little bit crass, but it's -- it's time to put country before self when you're the president. >> howard, i want to move on and talk -- go ahead and comment. >> let me just add one thing. you know, think trump is pretty much incapable of focussing on anybody but himself, but this happened to nixon. if you go back and look what happened to nixon when essentially he had to resign facing removal from office, the
business of the country was not paid any attention to whatsoever by dick nixon. he was completely consumed with watergate, as the tapes show. it wouldn't be surprising by someone of a lesser stature. whatever you say about nixon, he certainly knew what the issues were and was well-acquainted with politics, which you can't say about trump. think susan's right. he's never been here before. he's always been able to bully his way out with lawsuits and lawyers. you can't do that with bob mueller and in a criminal investigation. >> all right. i do want to talk about the steele dossier with you, howard. because from, you know, captain to cook, all the democrats are denying knowledge about this. you are head of twere head of t. are you willing to say the head of the party would not know about an explosive document that the dnc reportedly paid millions of dollars for as pay piece of opposition research. the question is not whether or not they want to get opposition research. that's standard operating
research. not knowing whether you're paying for it, though? >> i haven't followed this closely because the important part is not who paid for the research, it's whether it's true or not. so far all of the intelligence about this from people like the cia and the fbi, which has profusely leaked a lot of stuff, not one thing in that dossier has been proven to be wrong. there are a number of things which have proved not to be true yet, such as the behavior in the hotel rooms with the women and all of that kind of stuff, but nothing in that document has proved to have been wrong so far. i think the american people, they know this is just back and forth between the democrats and the republicans. they're interested in, is this true or not? the truth is actually i don't think they care about the dossier. they didn't care about it when it came out, they don't care about it now, but the poll that came out this morning 71% of americans think trump's presidency represents a low point for america, that's the worst number i've seen so far. >> all of that being said, it looks like the clinton campaign and the dnc broke campaign
financing law by hiding the fact they paid for this and is that is problematic-- >> yes, that's problematic. >> they said it's legal services. that's how it's been identified, which is not specific. it should have been opposition research. >> or just research. that's what most people do is call itresearch. that's the way it should be disclosed. it wasn't for legal services. it may have been performed by a law firm, which is common, but whether it's a vulnerability study on your own campaign and yourself or opposition research. it was not declared properly. and this is just kind of adds to the entanglement where everyone is frustrateled, and think frankly, where the trump folks will continue to harp on this is this is more of the swamp. it's more of campaigns and politicians lying to you, and not disclosing and trying to hide something. it's the worst thing that could have happened to the dnc, is have this revelation come out. then the fact that they broke campaign finance laws. >> you guys stay with us because after the break, i'm going to get your thoughts on a possible gop plan to limit the way we all
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historically low job approval numbers. 38% approve of the job he's doing as president. 46% say they're going to vote for more democrats next year. for a check and balance there. so susan, are these numbers going to get worse or better if the gop passes its tax plan that involves possibly cutting 401(k) benefits? >> i don't -- all right, two separate questions. i don't -- i think it will help republicans say they have achieved something. the 401 tax break is a whole separate issue. at the end of the day, we may see a little tweak at it, but if the republicans basically say they're going to pass some form of middle class tax reform, do a millionaire's tax or something similar, and get the corporate rate down, that will help them. the president's disapproval numbers are based much more on more than just a policy than a single policy, but the republicans definitely need a win in order to keep themselves safe in 2018. >> speaking of wins, howard,
even with the low numbers, democrats are still locked in a pretty close governor's race in virginia between the lieutenant governor and ed gillespie. why isn't your team winning big there? >> virginia has always been close. it's an off year, so we don't get our folks out to vote as well as we have. virginia has alternated back and forth between the parties for quite some time. it's a tough state. it's a blue state, but it's not a flamingly blue, it has a tinge of purple in it, and this is an off-year election. i think we'll do okay, but we need to fight every moment of it, and the time is getting close. >> does it portend anything for 2018, howard? >> it certainly does. absolutely, when i took over the dnc, the first order of business was winning virginia and new jersey governorships. we did, and it set the tenure for the rest of the time i was there. >> all right, howard -- >> big deal election for us. >> i think that's why a lot of focus and attention is there. howard and susan, good to see you. thanks for staying for the second block with me. coming up at the top of the hour, ted lue will be here to
talk about tomorrow's pending indictment in the mueller investigation. plus, the clinton campaign. the dnc don't deny founding the trump dossier, but nobody is owning up to knowledge of the project. we'll ask a former senior advise toor the clinton campaign, how can that be? sh back new cardmembers earn at the end of their first year, automatically. whoo! i got my money! hard to contain yourself, isn't it? uh huh! let it go! whoo! get a dollar-for-dollar match at the end of your first year. only from discover.
i am grateful we all made it out safely. people you don't know care about you. it's kind of one of those things where you can't even thank somebody. to protect what you love, call 1-800-adt-cares good day, everyone. i'm alex witt here at msnbc headquarters. it's 1:00 in the east, 10:00 a.m. out west. the wait in washington. the mueller investigation charges. who's in the crosshairs for arrest, and how will it all go down. >> there's going to be a knock on somebody's door at 6:00 tomorrow morning. and arrests are going to be made, and the news media is going to be right behind the agents. >> the name game. if past headlines are prologue, does paul manafort need to plan for a dark monday? >> plus, waiting for wednesday. the details in the dollars of the gop's tax cut plan. will it change the calculus of the cuts? >> getting the tax bill done