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tv   MSNBC Live  MSNBC  October 29, 2017 2:00pm-3:00pm PDT

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heartache, believe them. go to real yasmin v. that's it for us. i'm yasmin. see you again. news continues with my colleague a minute. >> thank you. i'm amin hadeen. we will soon learn the identity 0er targets of the first charges filed in special counsel bob mueller's investigation and what it will mean for the white house. the republican strategy right now for dealing with questions of collusion with russia, what else? blame hillary. are they just muddying the waters or is there something there? we're going to break it all down. and losing the base numbers just out from a new nbc poll. has the president's numbers down, but it's where he's losing support that might be most troubling to the commander in chief. and to republicans heading into 2018. more on that ahead this hour. but we begin with what's shaping up as a monday to remember, an indictment in the mueller investigation set to be unsealed in washington tomorrow morning. it is the talk of the town this
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weekend. >> believe me, if you're the person, you know. i mean, you've already been told you're a target. >> it could be maufrnafort, it could be flynn. people point out you go after the small fish first. those are not small fish. >> i have not yet seen any definitive evidence of collusion. i've seen lots of evidence that the russians were very active in trying to influence the elections. >> it's going to be really important whether or not this indictment involves 15-year-old business transactions or 15-day-old conversations with russia. >> president trump has not yet commented about the indictment directly at least. today a fact that his lawyers felt the need to release a statement about, but he unleashed a flurry of tweets once again calling the russia investigation a witch hunt and furiously trying to shift attention to the democrats and
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hillary clinton. we're going to talk more about the tactic later this hour, but right now we want to focus on the indictment itself and several key questions on the charges. who is the target? a big fish or a small one who might end up flipping? what could the indictment tell us about mueller's strategy and what will be the white house reaction to all of this? will it be harder to call this a hoax with actual criminal charges once they are filed? for that we've got an all-star panel with us. paula butler is an msnbc analyst, former federal prosecutor and now a georgetown law professor. tom lobianco covers the white house for the associated press. matthew miller is msnbc's justice and securities analyst and spokesperson for the justice department. yamisa political reporter for the times and msnbc contributor. lots to get here. let me begin with you, paula, if i may, and let's talk a little from the way you've read this investigation playing out so far the past several months since may.
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what do you think we can expect tomorrow in terms of who might be indicted and why they might be indicted at this stage of the investigation? >> so, with paul manafort, the president's campaign advisor, michael flynn, his quickly deposed national security advisor, the question has always been when, not if they are going to be indicted. so, they're the most likely targets. >> what makes you saw that i? >> they have the most exposure in terms of stuff that they've done that seems fishy. some of this doesn't seem related to collusion. it's real estate transactions, not being honest about their dealings with the russians. but if the charges seem minor tomorrow, make no mistake, this investigation is focused on the trump campaign's collusion with russia and obstruction of justice. so, if there is indictment of these guys tomorrow and it doesn't seem directly related to mueller's charge, it's coming. the idea is to throw the book at these people. this is what prosecutors do and
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it's a pyramid prosecution. you start on the bottom and you work your way up to the top. but as others have pointed out, these are pretty big fish. this was the president's national security advisor. it's most likely and the president's campaign chairperson. so, if these are -- in this case the little fish, we can only imagine who is at the top. >> let me ask you really quickly procedurally, what can we expect tomorrow, federal court house expected to open at 8:00 a.m., but walk us through and our viewers through what is actually the tick to be of how a day like this plays out? are we going to see people in handcuffs being dragged in and out of the courthouse? >> it's a key question. so far mueller has been going after these guys like they're thugs, members of organized crime families. no-knock raid at manafort's house, they literally search mrs. manafort. normally we see a polite invitation to show up to your first court date. there very well might be arrests here which would send a strong signal. bottom line, aman, this is just
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the beginning. this will not be the only indictment. >> matt, let me ask you this question. this indictment is coming in a little over five months since bob mueller was appointed. and we kind of went back, checked the history books. in the nine previous indictments or independent or special counsel investigations dating back all the way to the carter administration, the average for first charges filed was about 17 months. so, this is considered by anything lightning fast. does that tell you something there that the indictment has come down so quickly, within five months? >> you know, it tells you a couple things. one, i think anyone that's ever worked with bob mueller knows he's one of the most aggressive prosecutors in the last 50 years to work inside the justice department. so this follows a pattern of his time at d.o.j.. the second thing i think we can draw, we'll see tomorrow when the indictments are unsealed, is it's likely the core indictments are not going to be -- are not going to answer this big question about whether any americans helped the russians or coordinated with russians to
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influence the election, but there are a number of related charges as paul laid out. both for mike flynn and for paul manafort that are easier charges -- easier charges to investigate, easier charges to prove. in some cases things the fbi was investigating long before mueller took over. so, i think it's possible what we might see tomorrow are indictments of, say, you think of these as -- if you think of the core investigation as a river and there are several big tributaries flowing into it, one of those tributaries is paul manafort, paul manafort, people that worked for him like brit gates, constantine, several lobby firms that worked for him on ukrainian business. you could see a series of indictments on each one of those so-called tributaries. mike flynn being the obvious other one. >> tom, let me ask you about both points paul and matt have raised, which is if this turns out to be somebody we haven't heard about in the past, like let's say it's not a manafort or it's not a michael flynn, someone of a lower level, someone we're hearing about for
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the first time or not directly connected to the white house, does that give the administration a chance to say, hey, we told you so. they have nothing. and how big of a problem would that be for bob mueller's investigation if his first move out the gate is perceived to be weak? or is it as paul was saying, this is going to build up regardless? >> i think you can pretty much count on two things happening here. one, the white house and the team trump and outside advisors, inside advisors will all be saying that there's nothing there. anything short of an indictment that explicitly states collusion, that's going to be what they say tomorrow. as for who these are, whether these are low level, so to say, people who are deputies and perhaps not the principal, people who are not paul manafort or michael flynn, the sense is that points to a longer, more drawn-out investigation, and potentially more danger for trump because, remember, these things -- it's not often what shakes out at the beginning.
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it's what shakes out in the process. and if this, you know, if this is a brit gates or constantine as matt pointed out, that would seem to indicate this is just the start of it. key things we're watching right now, what does the president tweet? we saw him tweet over the weekend -- >> not about this, though. >> he does seem -- he seems to be highly responsive as these go. so, all eyes on his twitter feed per usual. >> yamish, i want to ask you about this particular point which is if the indictment involves financial crimes, not necessarily collusion at this stage or an obstruction of justice from any of the parties potentially involved -- and i actually want to remind our viewers something the president told your newspaper back in july. take a listen. >> is that a red line? >> would that be a breach of what his actual -- >> i would say yes. >> so, he's saying it's a red line if it involves anything
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that is financially related particularly to his family or his businesses if there is a clear indication that everybody's finances are fair game in this investigation, including the president's and his family, do you think the president would try to have mueller removed? >> i mean, it's kind of anybody's guess whether or not what would actually push this president to try to actually do that. i would say the pretty big step of trying to remove mueller only because there are so many dominos that would hurt him. this idea that he's already in a bad position with his party, he's already kind of facing obstruction of justice charges possibly looking into those things. and then if he went ahead and fired mueller, i think it would create such a scandal in washington, it would completely stop and freeze everything that the democrats or the republicans were doing on capitol hill. i think it would just be such a storm if he did that, but i think that it would be a lot -- it would take a lot of thought for him to do that. but when i think about the fact that these finances are going to be part of this investigation,
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the president knows that is going to be part of it. i think that's why he was so upset with jeff sessions when he recused himself because he realized and understood right away that when you start a special -- when you get a special prosecutor and you start this independent investigation, that anything is fair game. and that essentially prosecutors can say we were looking for one thing and we came about this entirely unrelated thing. and then we went back to this other thing and they're all somehow connected. so, in other words, we started looking for collusion then we found money laundering, then we found people related to the president are also doing funny things. so, it doesn't agectually be collusion for you to be prosecuted. that's one of the things that scared the president so much and why people around him were so fearful and why you have meetings in the white house where aides are saying i need a lawyer. people are understanding there are so many things on the table now. >> we are also very lucky to now be able to bring in msnbc contributor charlie sykes. charlie, good to have you with us. the indictment comes amid a renewed focus, if you will, on
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mueller from trump surrogates in just the last couple of weeks. you had surrogates like trent frank saying his friendship with iz james comey should force him to step aside from the investigation. others raising questions about the budget, whether congress should try to, you know, start to wind some of this investigation down through any oversight they have over the department of justice. could this indictment be mueller's way of silencing critics, calling this a witch hunt by saying to them, look, this investigation is now beginning to produce indictments? >> well, it does two things. you're exactly right. yes, it clearly signals, look, this is about something substantive. we're working, we're pursuing something. so that whole story line that there is nothing there will be -- will be moved. secondly, he certainly has made it much tougher to -- for the president to fire him. and i agree with everything that's been said. however, when you think about all the things the president has been saying, what his surrogates have been saying and his media allies have been saying, they've been laying out the predicate
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for how worth lieutenants this investigation is, how it's a partisan witch hunt. they've done everything possible to distract and deflect interest it. clearly this next week raises the stakes very, very dramatically. it's highly unlikely the president would fire him. it was also highly unlikely he was going to fire the fbi director. >> paul, let me ask you really quickly. earlier this year when the president pardoned sheriff joe arpaio, a lot of people in washington and the country began to speculate this was a sign perhaps even a signal that the president is willing to pardon people in the mueller investigation if indictments start coming down the piech line. let me play for you what governor chris christie had to say. take a listen. >> i've never seen the president talk about that and quite frankly i think to have those kind of conversations now about pardons, if anybody is sitting around and saying, i don't have to worry about anything because the president will ultimately pardon me, they should talk to scooter libby. they should talk to others who thought they were going to be pardoned and all the people involved in watergate and the
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pardons they thought they might be getting from president nixon, they're still waiting. >> can the president pardon anyone preemptively here? what do you think his next play is in that realm? >> he can pardon. i think it is very unlikely for two reasons. one, we know mueller is working with state prosecutors, including the new york attorney general. trump has no power to pardon anybody over a state prosecution. the second reason is that, again, i think it's very unlikely -- i'm sorry, i lost my train of thought. >> the interesting point you were talking about with the state prosecutors the president has no ability to pardon anyone -- is that rubt mueller's way of of trying to create redundancy to sure up his investigation? >> yes. i caught my train of thought. again, if the president does pardon, he is writing his own article of impeachment because that's obstruction of justice. the mueller special counselship
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has sailed. if he tries to pardon him now, it's going to look like he's impeding the investigation. that's a federal crime. >> sorry, go ahead. you wanted to say something? >> i wanted to say something on that point. i think it is so important to remember this is the president's family. we're talking about jared kushner. we're talking about his daughter. we're talking about people that are actually connected to the president that are not just people who work for him. and i think that's why i sit back and think, would he pardon his own family? would he allow his actual son-in-law to go to prison? i don't think anybody in washington, d.c. thinks that donald trump is going to sit around while his family members get charged with crimes and while they get thrown in prison if he can do anything to stop them. >> the question paul also brought up is how the mueller investigation may try to flip any one of these individuals. paul butler, thank you very much for joining us. matthew, yamish, i'm going to ask you to stay with us for something later in the program. the strategy, blame hillary.
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you'd almost think she's the president who won the election. is this just a distraction or is there something there? we're going to break that down. and president trump will soon be as close as he'll ever get to the man he has dubbed "little rocket man." what could possibly go wrong you're asking yourself. a preview of trump's trip to asia. what may be the most volatile region in the world right now. my 30-year marriage... ...my 3-month old business... plus...what if this happened again? i was given warfarin in the hospital, but wondered, was this the best treatment for me? so i made a point to talk to my doctor. he told me about eliquis. eliquis treats dvt and pe blood clots and reduces the risk of them happening again. not only does eliquis treat dvt and pe blood clots. eliquis also had significantly less major bleeding than the standard treatment. eliquis had both... ...and that turned around my thinking. don't stop eliquis unless your doctor tells you to. eliquis can cause serious and in rare cases fatal bleeding.
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welcome back, everyone. president trump gets to flex his diplomatic muscle as he heads to asia next week in an effort to build pressure against north korea. trump's 12-day visit to the east. includes china, japan, philippines and vietnam. but where he's not going, well, that's grabbing headlines. the president will skip the east asia summit in the philippines, a chance for him to advocate for american interests across the region. and trump's possible visit to the dmz, the closest he would get to kim jong-un is still up in the air.
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take a listen. >> dmz, yes or no, are you going? >> i'd rather not say, but you'll be surprised. >> all right. joining me now, gordon cheng, north korea takes on the world and the coming collapse of china. we both had a laugh there. i don't know why it would necessarily be a surprise if he goes one way or the other. is it a surprise if he does one way or the other? >> i think it would be a surprise if he went because the white house has indicated he won't go. almost every president goes to the dmz. you have to show resolve. president trump should do it at least sometime in his four-year term. maybe not this trip, but the thing is you do that because you want to show american presence and by the president having three aircraft carriers ed in the region, that shows a lot of american presence. >> speaking of that, it also sends the message to the south koreans and it is something i wanted to ask you about, because when he was running as a candidate, candidate trump, he was very critical of the american bilateral agreements with south korea, japan, both from a security perspective, and even a trade perspective.
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is that -- has that changed now since he's become president, in showing commitment to south korea's defense and also the bilateral trade deal that is up in the air? >> candidate trump is talking very differently from president trump because last march as you point out, he even talked about walking away from the mutual defense treaties with japan and south korea. >> he wanted to have nuclear weapons and sort it out themselves. >> that was really surprising. you had the chinese happy about it. right now the president has been talking about the ironclad agreement with south korea. you have secretary of defense mattis, secretary of state tillerson, all the time talking about our commitment to defend the region. and that is going to be what people are going to be looking at because while we're very concerned about trump provoking a war, people in the region are much more concerned about the u.s. walking away. >> so, let's put up a map for our viewers so see some of the stops and issues he's going to be addressing and we'll start first with china, probably the biggest and most important of all the meetings he's going to have. we know that president xi recently promoted within the
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communist ranks to levels we haven't seen before. one of the key issues that is going to emerge is china's desire to become the preeminent power globally. they certainly perhaps are in the region. what is the negotiating tactic here for trump with a president of china who has just been heavily empowered and the presence in the region? >> he'll say to xi jinping you now have secured your position in the communist party. that is going to be very difficult for xi jinping to deflect because he now looks as powerful as any chinese leader, maybe as powerful as mao tse-tung, founder of the people republic. may not be there, but he's inaway. i think trump will use that against the chinese. >> he's go there, the philippines, he's skipping the east asia summit. he will be speaking with the president of philippines, a controversial figure who launched his own drug war in that country, a lot of human
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rights flagged for its abuses. he'll be talking about the drug war. what is the common ground between these two leaders, somebody trump praised in the past, but somebody who is an authoritarian leader? >> this is going to be a difficult stop. duterte, president of the philippines, has been anti-american his entire adult life. there is nothing the u.s. can do to make him happy. trump needs to sit on him. trump was very effective in sitting on the south korean president who really wanted to defect to north korea. trump was able to prevent that. i think they have the same dynamics here where we are going to have to make sure that duterte doesn't do things that we don't like. we may not talk about the human rights abuses and the killings, but we have to talk about china and north korea. >> and we certainly ignore those human rights abuses if he becomes a strong u.s. ally down the road. gordon cheng, pleasure to be talking to you. we'll be talking a lot through the next several days. >> take care. >> opioid, is it just an american problem?
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hg a look at how the international media is covering the drug crisis. hillary clinton's e-mails, the dossier the subject of today's twitter attacks from the president leading the charge in the republican/russian distraction strategy. this three-pronged attack on hillary next. my mom's pain from
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welcome back, everyone. time now for a look at we said, they said, where we take a look at how the international media deals with stories that are making headlines here in the u.s.. and tonight the opioid crisis. on thursday president trump declared a public health emergency calling america's addiction to painkillers a national shame. while journalists at the bbc agreed with trump, they say when it comes to taking opioids, the united states has the dubious honor of leading the world. but then trump added something else. the epidemic isn't just an american problem. >> the fact is this is a worldwide problem. >> well, it turns out the philippines president rodrigo duterte was watching trump on cnn and said, i told you so. this from a man who has led a bloody antidrugs campaign while battling his own addiction to the controversial painkiller fentanyl as a result of a
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motorcycle accident. >> more than just the disappearance, you feel that you are on cloud 9. but everything is -- >> fentanyl also grabbing the headlines in thailand, the bangkok based asia times calling out china for its billion dollar illegal drugs. canada dealing with its own drug disaster, john brown asks, is canadian media being responsible in reporting about the opioid crisis, or is it simply fear mongering? >> opioid overuse is creating lost generation, the new face of fentanyl addiction. it's never been less safe to tryout drugs. those are just a few of the headlines in the coverage of the recent rash of opioid overdoses in canada. >> now, a cnbc's jim brown, america may be awash in
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painkillers, japan times focusing on the problem. many poorer countries don't have access to the same drugs to fight bain. one day after the white house just says no to drugs, india times reporting on the indian-american billionaire charged in the u.s. with bribing doctors to prescribe more opioids. that's we said, they said for this week. now this. >> 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. >> and as we wait to see who will be named in tomorrow's indictment, the trump administration and its surrogates are trying to shift the focus to hillary clinton. this morning president trump fired off a series of tweets focusing on the clinton campaign and the dnc's link to the steel dossier which is part of the investigation into russian interference in the election. the president tweeting, never
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seen such republican anger and unity as i have concerning the lack of investigation on clinton made fake dossier now $12 million. adding, there is so much guilt by democrats, clinton, and now the facts are pouring out. do something. but the allegations don't stop here. the president also continues to claim that hillary clinton as secretary of state gave 20% of u.s. uranium to russia. >> if the mainstream media would cover the uranium scandal and that russia has 20% of our uranium, for whatever reason, and a lot of people understand what those reasons may be, i think that's your russia story. that's your real russia story. >> all right. these claims are in addition to his continued focus on, of course, the clinton e-mails. to look at all of this let's bring in russian host and journalist, cnbc editor at large john harwood and back with us
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nbc justice and analyst matt miller and associated press reporter tom lubianco, author and msnbc contributor charlie sykes is with us. john, let me begin with you if i may. i want to start with the issue of the dossier. it was obviously revealed this week a conservative website, the washington free beacon was actually the first group to hire fusion gps do to do opposition research on then candidate donald trump. they claimed they actually stopped paying before the former british intelligence officer christopher steel was hired and that they did not pay for most of what ended up in the dossier that we've now come to know as being some of the salacious stuff and the alleged collusion stuff. does the link to the dossier present a problem for the dnc and specifically the clinton campaign now? >> well, first of all, aman, congrats on the new show. >> thank you. >> most importantly, no. look, the dnc is not being
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investigated by robert mueller. the dnc may have financed this dossier. the issue is what of the core elements of the dossier are true. step back. we have had our intelligence agencies conclude that russia intervened in the election to try to help donald trump get elected. donald trump was elected. he was running against hillary clinton. the whole idea that the real scandal is uranium or that the financing of the dossier is the issue, that is a giant fog machine meant to cover what is going on in front of our eyes and we're going to see the first act of it tomorrow. >> the company at the center of the fusion gps, they worked to get information on russian businesses and particularly any ties they may have with the trump campaign. walk us through what's the connection between russian businesses and fusion gps? >> i think what's interesting
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here is -- because honestly, i don't know the full connections between russian businesses and fusion gps, but i think what it shows you is the way that our political system works. a company like fusion gps is willing to work with anybody, right, whether it be somebody from the republican side of the aisle or from the democratic side of the aisle. i think of this as an important moment for the american public to just see the inner workings really of what campaigns are willing to do to get information, especially negative information who might be their opponents. >> does the source of this funding for the research cloud the nature of the research? do you think companies like fusion gps are trying to produce products or research they know that their clients want to pay for? >> i assume so, right? that's what you're supposed to do if you have a client, you're supposed to present information that is going to help them at any point. as to whether or not this presents a problem for the hillary clinton camp or the donald trump camp, i think it's interesting because it shows how, you know, especially with the trump administration, they
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can't decide when it's good or bad to be involved with russia as a country, right. at one point there is nothing so bad about wanting better relations, then when this news comes out and they need to deflect, suddenly it's the hillary clinton campaign guilty of treason. >> interesting enough. matt, let me ask you quickly as john was mentioning there, some of the salacious details from the dossier have not been corroborated. many of the details involving trump's attempts to do business and are being used in the russia investigation by bob mueller, even some of it being substantiated by the senate investigation. but the dossier itself is really not all that mueller has to work off of, correct? >> yeah, that's right. and, look, it doesn't really matter whether everything in the dossier is true or not. the fbi gets its information from all kinds of different sources. they get anonymous tips, people with axes to grind. members of congress have been indicted over things that started in opposition research. so, it doesn't really matter who paid for the dossier for purposes of the department of
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justice's investigation. but as you said, that's not the only thing that led to this investigation. we know that on a number of occasions u.s. intelligence sources overheard people from the trump campaign. we now believe to be paul manafort, mike flynn, maybe others talking with russian intelligence sources or people connected to russian intelligence during the campaign itself. that didn't come from the dossier. there were a number of concerning signs that led to this investigation to begin. and then the investigation was expanded and given to bob mueller because the president himself reached into the justice department and fired the fbi director because he was not happy with how it was handled. so, very little of this actually comes -- actually stems from the dossier itself at the beginning. >> one of the issues that the republicans are mentioning as well as the president there is the so-called uranium one deal. i want to play for you guys how hillary clinton described the story recently. i'll get your reactions afterwards. >> i would say it's the same baloney they've been pedaling for years. and there's been no, no credible
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evidence by anyone. in fact it's been debunked repeatedly and will continue to be debunked. >> the claim that hillary in some way approved the deal by herself or in exchange for donations to the clinton foundation has a lot of holes in 2. noeltabl noe notably she wasn't in position to green light it. she was on a commission with eight other people, multi agency multi department task. it was the president who actually had sign off on the deal going forward. the donations from backers of the russian company buying the canadian company actually came long before that deal. and, of course, the deal itself does not give russia the uranium. in fact, it actually stipulates, when you go back and read it, that the uranium can only be sent to canada. so, charlie, knowing that those are the facts, despite all of that, house republicans are ready to roll this into their russia investigations. we heard that this week. how successful could this be in muddying the waters? >> well, that is exactly right. i think the phrase that somebody used a little while ago was the
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fog machine. any time you -- it takes you that long to explain what the facts are, you have a problem here. there's always been questions -- there's been a long string of questions about this uranium deal. but, you know, as you point out, there's never been any smoking gun. there's never been any quid pro quo. and also this has absolutely nothing to do with the investigation that's ongoing now. however, i will tell you that in the last week the right media and the left media are like two separate worlds. and the trump folks and the republicans did a very, very effective job in throwing lots of chum into the water, putting out lots of fog about this, making it very -- i mean, the way that the clip you played of president trump making it sound really, really, really sinister and it's very complicated. so, so far, until at least we get these indictments yesterday, they've been successful in a little bit of distraction.
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>> tom, let me ask you really quickly about the issue of the e-mail because house republicans also want to investigate the decision as to why hillary clinton was not charged for her handling of e-mails. my question to you is, and you probably know better than i, has this not been litigated enough, the issue of her e-mails, how they were used and how they were handled? wasn't that the whole big jim comey announcement he had earlier before the elections? >> yeah, one of my favorite metrics at the close of the campaign were the word clouds regarding coverage of clinton and trump. i mean, trump was all over the place, numerous different characterizations, whatnot. for clinton it was just one word, it was e-mails. so, whether politically, legally, whatever, it does feel like it's been litigated already. taking a step back and looking at the political strategy here, i think it's really fascinating to see them kind of do a second act in terms of a rebuttal to the russia
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campaign. remember the first time we saw this from the house republicans from devin nunez, the white house in the spring, it flounderred, it fella part. with the firing and -- firing of comey and ultimately the appointment of mueller. now it's more coordinated. and it's been much more organized. you see kind of going underground a little bit, but now it's much more strategic. so, you know, look, it might be distraction, it might not be, it's definitely not something we can ignore at this point. >> i'm going to ask you to do something few of us can do, put yourself in the mind-set of president vladimir putin. he's watching this from moscow and he's looking at all these investigations, e-mails, uranium deals, collusion, all of these things somehow are linked to russia. i'm got to be asking myself, what is he thinking about how russia has now consumed the political divide in this country? >> i think one hand russia has learned a lot of elections with
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the election of donald trump which is you can't just have a president elected who you think might be favorable to you because they said they would be during the campaign and then have all your wishes come true. if the political situation in the united states doesn't follow that, right, the appetite is not here politically. so, donald trump can't just lift sanctions unilaterally and make things better for russia on that level. and, so, then i think if you're vladimir putin powerfully you have to skip to the next step thinking, okay, now this means russia is an important player on the world stage and especially on the u.s. political stage, has an incredibly influential role. i guess you take that as a win. >> i can't remember anything happening in my lifetime of this impact. matt, let me ask you with the few minutes we have left, hillary clinton investigation, could that potentially produce any legal challenges for her, dnc going forward? >> it shouldn't. look, hillary clinton has been investigated extensively. it wasn't even close to a hard call for the justice department not to bring charges. i would say if the justice
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department were to reopen that investigation, as donald trump seems to want them to do, that would be one of the grossest abuses of power in the history of the justice department. it would be a troubling sign of the rule of law. that is the kind of thing that happens in banana republics when you bring trumped up investigations against your political opponents. >> thank you very much. john harwood, charlie sykes, i'm going to ask you to stick around for us a little bit. i want to get your thoughts on new nbc poll numbers just out on the president and his base. but before that, some breaking news to tell you about tonight. following days of controversy, puerto rico has now canceled a controversial $300 million contract with white fish energy. the decision coming just hours after the island's governor called for the deal to rebuild the crippled power grid to be scrapped. federal legislators are already looking into the contract awarded to the small montana company from ryan zinke's
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hometown. they call it a witch hunt and he denies any involvement in the awarding of that contract. the next era belongs to those who help ensure the next energy to power our dreams, will be american energy.
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time now for the global checkup. a look at stories that are making headlines elsewhere around the world and we want to start with the constitutional crisis in spain. thousands rallied in barcelona today in favor ever unity. the region has been gripped by unrest since regional leaders called for independence. the spanish government has moved to take control of catalan, firing its president and replacing its police chief. in mogadishu somalia, two car bombs left 23 people dead and public confidence badly shaken in that country's government. the attack comes just two weeks after militants detonated a massive truck bomb that killed 350 people. impasse in the arabian gulf, amir says president trump has offered to host a meeting at camp david. they have cut ties with qatar accusing it of supporting terrorism. cuba is opening its doors to
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the country's expatriots, changes to cuba's immigration policy will now allow cuban nationals to travel back and forth through tourist ports. also, cubans who left the country illegally except for those who deported -- who wer departed from guantanamo bay can return. finally, in france, hundreds of women gathered in paris and other cities across the country to protest against sexual harassment in the wake of the harvey weinstein scandal. still ahead, a brand-new nbc news-"wall street journal" poll with troubling news for the white house. it's not where his numbers are down. it may send tremors through the republican party. be sure to turn in tonight to kasie d.c. that is 7:00 p.m. eastern right here on msnbc. guy.
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the tweets that are sent out mocking a leader of another country raises tensions in the region. and so people are sitting there, they know they've got an erratic leader in north korea. they've lived with three erratic leaders. actually, this is a third one. and then when we start exhibiting some of those same tendencies, it creates an air that leads, again, more fully towards conflict. >> tennessee senator bob corker today continuing his criticism of president trump. after a few weeks that included not only that growing feud with some republicans, but also the controversy over calls to the families of american soldiers killed in niger, new signs tonight that it's all actually taking a toll on the president's numbers. the new nbc "wall street journal" poll has the president with just a 38% approval rating.
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that's the lowest ever in that poll. back with me once again, yamish, charlie sykes, john harwood. yamish, let me begin with you. it's not only the dropharwood. it is not only the drop overall what's interesting here. what we're seeing he's losing support among some key demographics. he is down with independents but he's also dropped four points overall with whites to below 50% and even down larger seven points with whites without college degrees. both of those really made up a strong part of his base. is he in danger of losing that base? >> i think you could definitely -- i think if you're president trump and you're looking at this poll, you should be a little worried mainly because one of the things that the poll also asks about his handling of the actual issues so when you look at the iran deal, when you look at him being a commander in chief, when you look at him handling north korea, the polling shows that people don't think that he's doing a good job with those
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issues. so essentially not only are people saying okay, the personality of donald trump maybe he's brash, maybe he's getting into fights with other republicans, maybe we don't like that, but they're actually saying that day to day job, the things like actually having foreign policy, actually handling disasters, these are things that voters saying he's not doing a good job on. that's why you see him losing his base here. this poll also shows that 81% of republicans approve of his -- of the job that he's doing. i think that is also telling and some ways it hints at why you don't see more senators acting like senator corker or senator flynn because he has good numbers among the republicans. >> to that point, the president has 38% approval rating for his handling of the nfl players protesting during the national anthem issue. the other ratings are even lower in some topics including for example his handling of puerto rico and the aftermath of hurricane maria. he got into a twitter feud with
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the mayor of san juan. it seems clear for some they don't like it when the president gets into the battles but some people say that he's throwing his base red meat so to speak and that they actually respond favorably on the way he handles or weighs in on the issues like the national anthem controversy. >> yeah. and they do. you know, maybe there are some warning signs but i think amisch made a good point there. look at that number, 81%. he's under water in virtually every other category, but republican voters are still sticking with him. only 17% of the republicans disapprove which explains why people like jeff flake and bob corker are not running for re-election and after the remarkable speeches over the last week, there's so much see silence from the other guys. so he's at 38% approval rating. but at 38% approval rating at a time when the stock market is
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hitting one record after another, unemployment is down. the gdp is growing at the last two quarters at 3% plus. can you imagine what those numbers would be if the economy was not doing as well as it did? this has got to be one of the very few times in american political history that the economy has been doing so well or apparently so well and yet the president is not getting the credit for it. >> and charlie, i feel like you read off my question sheet because you teed it off perfectly for john harwood. 42% approval of how he's handling the economy. at the end of the day are people going to stay with him because their wallets are better off than nine months ago or four years? >> well, if they were better off, maybe so. but there's not evidence they are. yes, the stock market is doing fine. but job growth has slowed from what it was in the last year of
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president obama's term in 2016. overall, the economy is rolling on fairly well. if you start to see the economy dip down that's when you see a significant decline in the president's rating. but remember, his ratings are going down. he's been in the gallup poll he's been under 40% for the 22 consecutive weeks and he got 46% in the election. he's at 38% in our follower in some other polls. so he still has a -- most of his base, but he's losing the elements of his base that voted for him with misgivings and he is very vulnerable and republicans are very vulnerable. if you look at the fox poll this week, by 50-33, democrats had 15 percentage point advantage on the so-called generic ballot when asked who are you going to vote for for congress. it is true that 80% of republicans are with him, but he got more than 08% of the vote among the republicans that means his base still there, but
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getting smaller that's a danger for him and his party. >> amisch, you are away from the midterm elections but the in terms have been somewhat up for the democrats in terms of their fund-raising and the early signs. i'm curious to get your thoughts though, given the president's low approval ratings. do you think a majority of republicans want the president to visit their districts and campaign for them? although's not a congressional race, the race in virginia right now the president has not been weighing in on that to support the republican gubernatorial candidate there in the same way he has in the other races throughout the country. >> i think there's two things. one, from the reporting i'm doing when i talk to congressional aides there are a lot of people who actually echoed senator flake's feelings but aren't saying it. while they don't want to talk bad about the president, they also don't want to get pulled into the culture wars he's going after. they don't want to be talking about confederate statues in the district. they want to talk about tax reform and other things around you know if you bring donald trump into your district and you
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have a large crowd of people there's no way that he's not going to dip into the things like the nfl protests and the anthem. so in some ways you have candidates who are very, very shaky about wanting the president to do that. but the other side is that if you have democrats who are saying i'm going to be -- who have jet to really coalesce around an issue other than the fact they're not donald trump if you're a candidate who sees that that's happening, and that the things are getting close the president weighing in and endorsing you might help you. might help you take over -- take it over the line. i should say that most of the democrats i talked to are very frustrated. they're just very angry at their own party because they don't see them sweeping the house. >> charlie, we have about 20 seconds left. i'm curious your thoughts. what's the biggest challenge for president trump to turn the numbers around? >> well, the challenge for him right now is to reassure actually his own base, you know, that he's still going to get things done. that's why this tax bill is so important. he has to get a win because was
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his base thinking he's not winning or not getting things done, i don't know where he goes. >> that's the question on everyone's minds. thank you all for joining us. all right, that'll do it for this week. join me back here next sunday at 5:00 p.m. you can reach out to me of course on social media. be sure to join kasie hunt for "kasie d.c." but first it's "meet the press." ! ♪ that's it? yeah. ♪ everybody two seconds! ♪ "dear sebastian, after careful consideration of your application, it is with great pleasure that we offer our congratulations on your acceptance..." through the tuition assistance program, every day mcdonald's helps more people go to college. it's part of our commitment to being america's best first job. ♪ i just drank tons of water all the time, it was never enough. my dentist suggested biotene, my mouth felt more lubricated. i use the biotene rinse and i use the spray.
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and connect, as a family. just, uh one second voice guy. [ bloop ] huh? hey? i paused it. bam, family time. so how is everyone? find your awesome with xfinity xfi and change the way you wifi. this sunday, a momentous week in the history of the republican party. two establishment republican senators say they have had enough of president trump. bob corker of tennessee. >> you would think he would aspire to be the president of the united states and act like a president of the united states. >> and jeff flake of arizona. >> we must stop pretending that the degradation of our politics and the conduct of some in the executive branch are normal. they are not normal. >> both are now leaving the senate and their republican colleagues make it clear it's president trump's party now. >> we have actually great unity in the rca

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