tv MSNBC Live With Craig Melvin MSNBC October 31, 2017 10:00am-11:00am PDT
we're out of time. craig melvin, take it away? all right, andrea, thank you, good afternoon. craig melvin at nbc headquarters in new york city. downplaying indictments of former trump officials. part of the pushback, that the criminal activity happened long before they worked with the president and the president barely knew the guys. for his part, trump is talking taxes today. but why that overhaul could be in trouble. russian's reach. social media titans, all set to
be grilled on capitol hill, as nbc news learns russian-backed election posts on facebook potentially reached one-third of all americans. and gridlock. the fema chief peppered with tough questions from lawmakers today on the government's response to the string of devastating hurricanes. meanwhile, the fbi is now looking into how that small montana company landed that huge contract to restore puerto rico's power. we'll get to those stories in a moment but we start at the white house, trying to undercut the special counsel's case. while putting the country's focus, trying to put the country's focus on president trump's agenda this week. his asia trip. his federal pick. tax reform. anything basically other than those two indictments and guilty plea. a short time ago, the president refusing to take questions from reporters. >> are you going to pardon manafort? >> thank you, thank you, everybody. >> what's your reaction about
george papadopoulos -- >> thank you very much. >> your reaction to the -- >> mr. president? >> thank you. thank you very much. >> and that was that. let's start with peter a lexen der at the white house and justice correspondent pete williams. peter, let me start with you. part of the attack at this point seems to be try to diminish papadopoulos as nothing more than a, quote, low level guy. >> that's exactly right. that attack coming from the president himself this morning, unloading on twitter. we'll walk you through some of those tweets and then we'll have a fact check on the other side. here's what the president tweeted. he wrote the following. he said the fake news is working overtime. as paul manafort's lawyer said, there was no collusion and events mentioned took place long before he came to the campaign. few people knew the young low-level volunteer named george who has already proven to be a liar. check the dems. so first starting on the topic of that george papadopoulos, to be clear, the president knew papadopoulos. it was in march of 2016 that he
described him in an interview to "the washington post" as an excellent guy. of course, we've shown you that photo of papadopoulos seated between the president and then senator jeff sessions, now the attorney general, at a meeting with sarah huckabee sanders say was the only meeting that convened of foreign policy advisers to the president. separately, you heard the president in that tweet basically quote paul manafort's lawyer saying no evidence, no collusion. but as reporters have heard from, the senate head, the chairman of the senate intelligence committee, senate chairman burr today, he said they haven't come to that conclusion yet. at this point, no evidence that investigators have come to that conclusion as well. >> pete williams, in the documents filed by the special counsel office, papadopoulos is called a proactive cooperator. there's been some speculation over the past 24 hours that that term could mean he was wearing a wire. what do we know?
>> well, i think that speculation's kind of crazy myself, here's why, that document that people have latched on to was actually filed the day after george papadopoulos was arrested at dulles airport on a flight to the u.s. from germany. he'd been overseas. he actually lives in chicago. but he'd been overseas. and the government is saying to the judge, we don't want this case to become public. because we don't want the criminal charges against him to become public. we're going to have a hearing later. we know that was on october 5th. but this court document i'm talking about was filed july 28th. and they say, you know, we hope that by keeping this under seal, we can get him to cooperate, making it public would eliminate the ability to be a proactive cooperator. in other words this is not a description of his cooperation that's in that document. it is a aspirational
forward-looking what we hope he'll be description. so it doesn't describe what he did. it's describing how they hope he'll be. now, does that mean they hope he'll do lots of things? i'm sure. but i don't think we can read anything into that phrase. i think there's a lot of overheated discussion about it. we do know, however, that he did cooperate substantially because the court documents say so. we know that they explicitly say he's been answering the questions that mr. mueller's team. we also can tell by the kind of a deal that he got by pleading guilty. the government initially charged him with two counts, lying to the fbi and destroying documents. the lying to the fbi charge carries a five-year maximum. the destroying evidence by erasing his facebook and throwing away his cell phone, that carries a 20-year maximum. he was allowed to plead guilty only to the lesser offense. even then he may not get any
prison time at all. that should tell you he was a valuable cooperator. i wouldn't get too excited about whatever proactive means or doesn't mean. >> what's the next stage of the investigation, pete, what do we know about that? >> nothing. >> okay. >> i don't know. >> always appreciate your honesty. our justice correspondent pete williams. and peter alexander at the white house for us. ashley parker is a white house reporter for "the washington post." she's also an msnbc political analyst. hugh hewitt is a conservative talk show host, also an anchor here on msnbc. frank fegulisia, former fbi counterintelligence who worked for robert mueller. big thanks to all of you. hugh, the big line out of the white house continues to be this papadopoulos guy, he was a low-level guy. take a listen. >> you know, from what i recall, george was a low-level volunteer. george was such a low-level volunteer, i don't recall having much interaction with him throughout the campaign.
>> can you just explain what george papadopoulos' role with the campaign was? >> it was extremely limited. it was a volunteer position. and, again, no activity was ever done in an official capacity on behalf of the campaign in that regard. >> hugh, let me ask you, do low level advisers sit in on foreign policy counsel meetings with president trump as the picture that we've been showing clearly demonstrates? do they frequently e-mail top campaign officials about setting up meetings with russian officials? >> well, i can tell you, i've never heard of the guy until yesterday. but that doesn't matter, craig. all that matters is what did he do and with whom did he do it and certainly the people who broke into the watergate weren't very high level in the campaign of nixon '72 and they ended up bringing down a presidency, so it doesn't really matter what his job title is, what matters is what he did. i would add to what pete williams said. i'd like to point out that
usually breathlessness in the reporting of legal matters is inversely proportional to the knowledge of them. pete is always restrained so i always listen very closely. mr. papadopoulos was not charged with any crime for seeking the dirt on hillary clinton. i think this is probably the most overlooked aspect of the story today. is that if it was illegal to go after the bait that the russians put out there, then he wasn't charged with that. he's very much up to his neck in this. and there may be others. certainly manafort and gates. but thus far, papadopoulos was not charged for wanting those e-mails. and that tells me a lot about what the special counsel thinks about what matters in this investigation. >> i was a little surprised there, hugh, to hear you compare the investigation so far to watergate. frank, you know how the fbi operates and conducts investigations like this. what's been going through your mind over these last 24 hours? what sticks out to you? >> yeah, i think first of all i'm betting a number of people had a very sleepless night last
night in new york and washington. just trying to replay in their minds. now that they know that papadopoulos is cooperating what phone conversations, what e-mail exchanges did i have with george since he was arrested? as pete keyed in on, likely probably not cooperating prior to his arrest, although i can't rule that out. i have seen staged arrests before. arrested at the airport. probably, you know, the real deal. but i've also seen staged arrests just to make things look like he's not already cooperating. but i can tell you based on past experience, particularly in corruption case, that he was recorded calls when he decided to cooperate. when that kicked into effect, not sure. the interesting timing. manafort's home gets raided the day before they arrest papadopoulos. >> papadopoulos, that's right. >> yes, why is that? okay, they don't want manafort
to get word of papadopoulos' arrest and start destroying evidence. why is that significant? i think by the time manafort's home is raided, papadopoulos may have been already indicating he was willing to cooperate. remember, for a search warrant on manafort's home, you need two thing, you need evidence that a crime is going to be in there and you need stress safety of the place. you need a crime occurring, and you need evidence of it in manafort's home. the question is whether swrorj may have provided any indication of that. where do i think this is going next? there's so references in the documents we're seeing so far that papadopoulos is a small player in a much more sensitive investigation. remember, there is classified information from the intelligence community available to mueller's team about the russian intelligence side of that. we haven't seen that yet. but rest assured mueller has that classified information. that's where i think this is headed next is the russian government angle.
>> ashley, your piece that you wrote raised a lot of eyebrows. looking at how president trump was like a lot of us yesterday, glued to his tv set. what did your sources tell you about the president's reaction to all this? >> a number of things. one thing that was very striking, which you just mentioned, was the president and his aids were sort of finding this out in real time from cable news reports, just like the rest of us. they didn't have an advanced heads up. they knew something was coming because of news reports friday. over the weekend, like, again, rest of us, they were sort of speculating. they came up with an educated guess. that proved very pressient that manafort was one of them. another thing, when you're the president, you live above the shop so to speak, but he was late coming down to work in the oval office, and that's because he was burrowed in at the resident, watching tv and growing increasingly frustrated. they tell us he's angry because he believes and maintains as he
has both privately and publicly that he's done nothing wrong and he's incredibly frustrated that his name, his administration keep on getting dragged down into the russia morass so that was the mood at the white house today based on what our sources told us. >> the republicans that come on your radio show, we haven't gotten a great deal of response from capitol hill so far from lawmakers. >> kevin brady, chairman of ways and means, told me this morning as one example, craig, that it won't have any impact on the tax bill. i tend to believe that the congressional republicans are isolated from this. but every one knows that the special counsel has paul manafort and robert gates in a head lock. the good news is we are going to get to the bottom of whether or not illegal criminal activity took place because manafort and gates have every incentive to cooperate with mr. mueller and his team and if there was no collusion, we're going to find
that out. if there was, we'll find that out. we will get an answer, either ox on rating the president, exonerating the president, or condemning him and his team, as manafort and others will tell them. >> when you read between the lines of the documents filed yesterday, what message do you think that bob mueller's trying to send to the trump universe? >> i think the message we're all getting is that he has a strategy. its even referred to in the plea document we're now reading on papadopoul papadopoulos. there's a road map. he's got one. he's meth thoughtically going through the strategy. you don't want to be the next person in that strategy. the the other item is the constant referral to papadopoulos as a small player. what this reminds me of, this is dozens of drug wiretaps i've listened to where the drug leaders are talking about who's the courier going to be today. who is expendable. who's the little guy that can get caught because we don't
care. what it sounds like a little bit with the discussion of papadopoulos. very similar. let's not discount him as a small player. he was a part in this, even unwittingly. >> hugh, you mentioned the legislative part of this to a certain extent, president tweeting, is this today, i hope people will start to focus on our massive tax cuts for business and the middle class, in addition to democrat corruption. we also heard the president last hour spend some time talking about this. the tax plan, as it stands right now, hugh, is this a plan that we are going to see as the president has indicated something that's presented before thanksgiving and signed into law before christmas? >> it's going to be unveiled tomorrow in all of its glorious detail. it will get through the house. whether it gets through the senate remains the big deal because the income, state and local tax deduction is going away according to kevin brady. that's going to cause blue state republicans to stagger backwards. but it's going to be over by thanksgiving. whether it's a happy result or not depends upon a couple of
people in the united states senate and whether any democrats agree and i think a couple are leaning that way. >> all right, hugh, we'll leave it there. frank, good to have you insight as well. as social media giants get ready to appear before congress, less than an hour from now, nbc news has learned that a staggering third, a full third of all americans received russianbacked content on facebook during the 2016 campaign. do facebook, do google, do twitter, do they need to be regulated? also, the head of fema defending the government's hurricane response to lawmakers as a new investigation is larged into how the tiny company white fish energy landed that massive $300 million contract to fix puerto rico's power grid. ♪ hey, bud. you need some help? no, i'm good. come on, moe. i have to go. (vo) we always trusted our subaru impreza would be there
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126 million americans, nearly one-third of the country's entire population, received russianbacked content on facebook during the 2016 campaign. facebook representatives will testify to that at a senate judiciary committee hearing this afternoon. that committee is looking for ways to make sure americans know more about what we all see on social media. >> i've got some very light touch legislation that it would -- doesn't get at all the problems, doesn't get at false accounts, but at least tries to guarantee on political ads that
americans will know the content and the source of those ads. >> nbc's jo ling kent is in washington with the details for us. those are pretty staggering numbers from facebook. has there been as much surprise there on the hill about just the size and scope? >> yeah, it is a big about-face. remember last november mark zuckerberg the ceo of facebook said it was crazy to think of the idea of facebook influencing the election would be possible at all. now they're saying 126 million americans, that's about half of the american electorate, may have been exposed to these russian-backed posts. these are not advertisements. these are organic posts. we're talking about 120 fake russiabacked pages. they generated ole,000 posts. what's interesting is the volarity of this. posts going viral. that ballooned thanks to likes and shares and follows, craig. >> what other companies will the senate be hearing from?
>> well two sources are telling us here at nbc that twitter is -- has huge numbers, that they're going to be sharing today. 37,000 accounts linked to russia. they tweeted 1.4 million times. they were seen about 288 million times. but we want to point out that these numbers come from just a two, three-month span from september to november of 2016, leading into the election. the facebook numbers you saw earlier were from a two-year lead up to the election. so twitter actually having a major issue here. and some of those issues are coming from automated accounted, we're talking about bots here. we reported on this over last week, how russians can buy these very cheaply and deploy messages and retweet fake news very easily, craig. >> these companies who are testifying, do they spend a lot of money lobbying members of congress? what do we know about that? >> yes, they're walking into these hearings this afternoon and tomorrow. and they've certainly paid a big
bill. google has spent $4 million on lobbying in the last quarter alone. that's according to cnbc. we also have some numbers here from twitter as well. they've put down about $2.85 million and facebook spending $4 million there as i just said. but google only spending about $120,000 in the last three months on lobbying. but what you see here is individuals, senators, investigators, really trying to get to the bottom of this as they face off with these companies who clearly lobby the hill and this is a really big departure from the cozier relationship that a lot of these senators, especially democratic senators, had with these tech companies. so we're going to be watching that, especially as all congressional investigators are worried about what's going to happen in 2018. what's the influence going to be in 2020? all of that is coming down the pike right now. >> jo ling kent, thank you. let's bring in megan smith, former chief technology officer of the united states and assistant to the president, under president obama. ned price, former national
security council spokesman, former cia analyst, current msnbc contributor. megan, let me start with you, the russian-placed ads on facebook alone, 126 million americans. are you surprised at all by the sheer size and scope of the infiltration? >> yes, it's really striking. this is an amazing almost propaganda attack by russia on us. these are the platforms. this is not new. russia has used propaganda in the past. they take martin luther king, the kgb, lots of people, as well as fbi, working on him. so they're trying to fuel the scent in our society. get us to fight with each other. get us to disa degree. we really have to be vigilant. i'm very happy to see our silicon valley colleagues coming to d.c. to really talk about this. you know, ida b. wells, amazing journalist, says the way to right a wrong is shine the truth
on it. we really have to get in and learn and see what has specifically happened to see how we can reorganize ourselves to fight this attack. >> how can tech companies who are testifying, how can they filter out what's real news and what's not? >> yes, this is a challenge of our time. in fact, did you see that italy today at the highest level from their congressional parliamentary side has launched high school programs to begin to help young people understand what is fake and what is not fake. this is something we should consider for our american high school students and others. this is a challenge for us. we built these beautiful platforms. these are fabulous american entrepreneurs. but they can also be weaponized by people who try to fight our democracy. this is important for us to dive in, understand exactly what happened, and really, you know, engineers like tough problems, so we should really do some definition of what we see here and dive in and figure how we're going to fix this. >> ned, a lot of the talk at facebook especially has been about the ads.
but is there other content floating around social media that's just as problematic? >> that's right, craig. for several weeks, i think we've been looking in the wrong place. for several days last month, we were talking about the 3,000 paid ads that the russians placed on facebook. when in the past couple of days, we learned it's not 3,000 ads but it's about 126 million americans being served with some sort of russian generated content on facebook. but, craig, i think we're almost looking at the problem in the wrong way. this is not so much a facebook problem. it's not a twitter problem. it's not a google problem. it's really an american problem. it's a problem we all have to address. as your capitol hill correspondent said, it started with 26 million people on facebook being served this content. and that spread to 129 million, more than 100 million more individuals, because of likes, because of shares, because of subscriptions. these are people who fell for russian propaganda. and as megan was saying, as other countries have already
started to do, we need to educate ourselves. we need to be able to recognize russian propaganda and any other source for that matter for what it is. >> should we also perhaps, ned, consider having the government step in and start regulating paid for content on social media platforms? should we start to treat the googles and twitters and facebooks of the world the same way we treat television stations in large part? >> craig, i think more transparency is better than less and that's precisely why you hear candidates for example identify themselves on their television or radio ads. but while regulation in this space, light-touch regulation as senator warner says, may be appropriate, i think there are also steps short of that, that the administration could and should be taking. in some ways, craig, this challenge is analogous to the challenge of fighting isil propaganda online. a challenge the obama administration took on in
partnership with the private sector. but in order to do that, you really need a partnership between the public sector and private sector. that partnership is hard to effectuate when you have a commander in chief, the president of the united states, continuing to call this a hoax, continuing to call it fake news. the facebook -- senior facebook executive actually called for more cooperation from the intelligence community in identifying this. but until the administration sees that signal from the top, that this is a real challenge, this is something we have to confront, it's going to be very difficult to bring about. >> ned, thank you. megan, thank you as well. megan, we hope you'll come back as well. ned, you have to come back, we pay you. >> thank you. >> the fbi now reportedly investigating how that small montana company, whitefish energy, landed that huge $300 million contract to rebuild puerto rico's power grid. the company's ceo defending the deal after puerto rico's power authority moved to cancel the
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i've been in office 132 days. for 70 of those days, we've been actively responding to harvey, maria and the california wildfires as well. each one of these events could truly be catastrophic events, but they happened in rapid success of a 25-day period which is obviously unprecedented. >> fema spending $200 million a day cleaning up those disasters that the fema administrator brock long just laid out there as he testified before a senate panel this morning. defending the government's response to this year's hurricane season, especially in puerto rico. on this halloween, it is still very much a nightmare on that island. it's been almost six weeks since hurricane maria made landfall there. nearly 70% of the island is still without power. now, multiple reports that the
fbi is now investigating how the small company white fish energy landed a $300 million contract to rebuild the island's power grid. a contract that is now in the process of being canceled. nbc's gabe gutierrez remains in san juan. >> craig, good afternoon. fema administrator brock long saying the call this hurricane season historic is an understatement. he says nearly 4 million hurricane survivors have registered for fema assistance and that is more than hurricanes katrina, wilma and sandy combined. there are questions still being raised about white fish energy. that controversial $300 million contract that has drawn so much scrutiny here in puerto rico. the governor on sunday asked for that contract to be canceled. the power authority is try to cancel it in the next few weeks. but there are still congressional investigations under way as to how that company was able to secure this
contract. now, the ceo told me that he did so with the help of linked in, not any help from the trump administration. but that is not satisfying critics of that deal. so lawmakers will be looking into this. as officials here in puerto rico are now scrambling to find other alternatives. a governor says the mutual aid from other states like new york and florida will be critical to help rebuild this power grid. the governor says the army corps of engineers has had no sense of urgency, in his words, and that it has only seven brigades here on the island to help restore power. the army corps, though, says it plans to bulk up its response this week and it is working -- it is doing all it can to help rebuild the power grid here. the governor has said he wants 95% of the island to have power restored by mid-december. but as of right now, 41 days after hurricane maria, about 70%
of this island is still without power. craig, back to you. >> hard to believe it. after the bombshell indictments and that guilty plea from former trump associations yesterday, who could the special counsel be going after? meanwhile, in chicago, his former presidential rival hillary clinton was asked about her halloween costume at an event promoting her new memoir. >> i with ask just one question, what are you going to be for
halloween? >> oh, well, i'll tell you, i have to start thinking about it, don't i? tomorrow is halloween. >> yeah, it's tomorrow. what about charlotte do they know? >> i think i will maybe come as the president. >> i think that's a great idea. hi, i'm the internet! you know what's difficult? adulting...
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presidential election. court document suggests papadopoulos had known russia was actively trying to undermine clinton before virtually everyone else. that was in april of 2016. news the dnc had been breached by russianbacked hackers, that news didn't break until june 14th, 2016. our msnbc analyst. and natasha bertrand, political correspondent for "business insider." the introduction of george papadopoulos, what did he give us that we did not have before? what do we know as a result of papadopoulos being introduced to us in this investigation? >> so he gave us an entire new understanding of russia's election interference and the time line surrounding it. we had no idea or, you know, we really didn't know that the campaign knew as early as april
2016 or at least someone was in touch with fairly high level people in the campaign knew russia was actively trying to influence the election and undermine hillary clinton. he learned of the supposed hacked e-mails in late april 20169 a2 2016 and told his superiors around that time. manafort knew shortly thereafter. lewandowski knew the russians were trying to make contact with the campaign far, far earlier that the "washington post" reported that the dnc had been hacked by russia-linked hackers. this shifts the idea of the time line. >> we have a new time line. >> yes. >> the white house continues to try to downplay the role of george papadopoulos. a lot of folks suspected yesterday that manafort was going to be the guy we heard about. gates was also someone whose name had been whispered about. but papadopoulos really sort of came out of left field for a lot of folks, myself included. a huge surprise. why would the special counsel announce on the same day as
those indictments that papadopoulos had copped a plea? >> it's really a question -- actually, three answers to that. one, i think he wanted to send a message not only that he was going after manafort for serious criminal activity, not of which related to the campaign, but he also wanted to send the message that he was also going after the russian collusion. and this was all about the russian collusion. the fact that somebody has pled guilty. the reason why he waited that long, i think there's two reasons why. because papadopoulos didn't start -- he started to cooperate way back in july. and so waiting this long and sealing the whole matter with him allowed the prosecutors to do two things. one, to go out and interview people about papadopoulos to see what they would say. probably a lot of other people have lied and are in the pipeline to be indicted for lying to fbi agents. secondly, i think there's a very good shot that papadopoulos was
wearing a body wire. was playing dial a crook. >> what makes you think that? >> because it took so long. you're talking july, august, september, it's now october. there is no real good reason to have sealed that information and the fact that he was cooperating -- in fact, i think it refers to him, the information as active cooperator. he was out there doing things to prove the truth of what he was telling the prosecutors. and that's what any good prosecutor would do. so with that amount of time going by, and knowing how robert mueller operates, knowing that he knows all the tools at his disposal, and one of them is using a body wire, i think he had people going -- he had them going around, talking to various other people that he dealt with in the campaign. and said something to the effect, look, the fbi's on my back, they've come in to interview me, what am i going to tell them? and get people engaged in
conversations. all of which would be incriminating. >> natasha, the president's pick to be the chief science adviser at agriculture, according to "the washington post," may have been one of those anonymous campaign officials mentioned in the papadopoulos plea deal. are we likely to see some political fallout here? >> absolutely. he is definitely going be to the subject of the investigation if he's not already. we don't know if he's been questioned by mueller. that's something we have yet to determine. he essentially told george papadopoulos at one point during those e-mail exchanges that we saw released yesterday great work. you know, he said we're going to need to figure out how to mitigate the potentially negative fallout of sending, you know, someone from the campaign to go to russia. he was a little hesitant in that respect. also praising the work papadopoulos was doing in trying to foment the connections between the trump campaign and russia and i think the big question that mueller or the congressional investigators will have is why. >> assistant special watergate prosecutor you were, there have been a fair amount of
comparisons made over the past 24 hours especially to watergate. what parallels do you see between what we're witnessing now and what we all -- what you saw back in the '70s? >> first of all, the idea that manafort, trying to turn him, to cooperate against other people, that's how the whole watergate scandal became unravelled. it was because george john sir rica, a republican judge, smelled a rat and wound up giving each of those watergate burglars 28 years in prison. as a result, james mccord who was a former cia agent, came forward and said i'm not going to spend 25 years in jail for richard nixon, and he started naming names and fingering people who are on the committee to re-elect the president. this is exactly what robert mueller is doing with this ma a manafort indictment. in fact, this manafort indictment is so perfectly put together, it's done in a way that it can be proven strictly by documents. you don't need a witness.
>> it is pretty -- it was pretty eye-popping to read the detail with which they released the 31-page indictment. some of the money that paul manafort was spending on rugs and suits, bizarre. >> doesn't have a lot of jury appeal in terms of his defense. particularly when it's all put in by records. i mean, the defense counsel can't get up and say, you can't believe so-and-so. you can't cross examine a document. you can't cross examine an e-mail. i mean this is an indictment that will be tried very quickly and he's gone. i mean, he's looking at substantial periods of time in prison. so if you have to take any one parallel, this is it. >> yes. we'll have to leave it there, we're out of time. natasha, thanks. nick, always good to have you as well. vice president pence heading to capitol hill today. as any minute now speaker paul ryan, speaker of the house paul
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you're reading way too much into george papadopoulos. >> senate intelligence chairman down playing yesterday's indictments and the guilty plea from papadopoulos. with the news looming over the white house the president is trying to shift attention away pushing long awaited tax reform plan at the white house last hour. >> the democrats will say the tax bill is for the rich but they know it's not. they don't know the tax bill. the tax bill hasn't been put out yet. it will be out in the next short period of time. >> house speaker paul ryan will be speaking with the president about the plan which is scheduled to be unveiled tomorrow. garret hague is on the hill. before we get to the tax plan,
republicans talking about the indictments yesterday. any of them talking about the mueller investigation? >> sure. they are being asked about it at every chance we can possibly get. the general response from republicans has come in a couple of categories. republican senators try to cauterize this saying manafort's problems were manafort's problems. and this young volunteer using language the white house has used did something that one senator john kennedy of louisiana called bone deep stupid but beyond that not a tie to russia. they are trying to cauterize that off and say none of this shows president trump was involved in anything. they all believe that mueller should be able to continue to do his work without interference from the white house. there is some disagreement about whether that has to be codified by some kind of act of congress.
all of them are saying let this progress continue. >> republicans reportedly making last minute changes to the tax bill before the plan to release tomorrow. have you heard any details about the changes or the plan? >> one thing republicans have learned from the health care fight is it is easier to deal with this before the plan becomes public than to fight things out. we are hearing that there has been kind of a compromise offer to the republicans from high tax states who were so worried about the state and local tax deduction being wiped out. that we hear will be going away. they will keep a write off for property tax, sort of a compromise deal to hopefully keep those nine or ten republican house members on board with this deal. we are hearing that the white house does not want to budge on the 20% corporate tax rate. one thing was the idea that they would phase this in. the white house saying we want to get this done right away. we are hearing the top rate for
individuals for folks who make probably over a million dollars a year might stay in place. some conservative republicans might not like that but some say it is to be done for a tax cut for rich people. >> something caught my attention on the interweb a little while ago. alabama republican senate nominee was on the hill today. the election still a good deal away. what is he doing there and tell me about the exchange he had with one of our colleagues. >> he is meeting with republican senators and it happens every tuesday. for a lot of them it is the first time meeting this candidate who has been incredibly incendiary in the past and said things like keith elson should not be in congress because he is a muslim. he said homosexual acts should be illegal. and our intrepid producer followed him through the hallways in an area where cameras are not allowed and tried to can him about the positions.
i think you see the responses on the team. do you believe keith elson should not be a member of congress because he's a muslim. moore says he'll address that later. moore says i'm not answering any questions on issues right now. there is a transcript of this interview conducted on audio only that goes on and on and on in this way as moore refuses to even comment on these positions he has taken. he has put his republican colleagues in a tough spot because they are being asked whether they agree with some of the things he has said. i will point out so far only jeff flake of arizona has said he opposes these things and opposes roy moore joining the senate in december. >> sometimes it's hard to believe it is 2017. white house press secretary sarah huckabee sanders set to deliver her daily briefing to reporters about a half hour from now. live coverage coming up here on msnbc. alright, off you go.
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that's going to wrap up this hour of msnbc live. my colleague katie tur newly married, still has the glow. she is back. >> i am back. >> good to see you. not as good to see you as it was to gelt married over the weekend. on that note let's get to the news. 11:00 a.m. out west and 2:00 p.m. in washington where this hour we expect white house press secretary sarah huckabee sanders to take the podium.
for a second day in a row we exsect two indictments and plea deal to dominate today's briefing. questions like who brought george papadopoulos on to the campaign and who knew about his meetings with russians? and what was discussed at this foreign policy meeting ing d.c. with that picture you just saw with then candidate donald trump and advisers including papadopoulos? earlier today the president was pressed about the developments in mueller's investigation but he had nothing to say. >> mr. president, you called george papadopoulos an excellent guy. what is your reaction? >> thank you. >> manafort and gates have pleaded not guilty. the white house has argued that the indictments against them and the papadopoulos plea deal have nothing to do with the