tv MSNBC Live With Katy Tur MSNBC February 13, 2018 11:00am-12:00pm PST
much. it's 2:00 p.m. in washington. we're asking two big questions after the nation's spy chiefs went before the senate intel committee. one, are we, the united states, ready for another onslaught of russian interference in this year's elections? >> we're taking a lot of specific efforts to blunt russian efforts -- >> by the president? >> not specifically directed by the president. >> the second big question, who's lying? the white house or donald trump's fbi pick, christopher wray? >> the fbi submitted a partial report on the investigation in question in march. and then a completed background investigation in late july that is soon thereafter we received requests for follow up inquiry. and we did the follow up and provided that information in november. and then we administratively closed the file in january.
and then earlier this month, we received some additional information and we passed that on, as well. >> under questioning from oregon senator ron wyden, wray directly contradicted what the white house has been telling americans about what they knew about rob porter and when they knew it. >> his background investigation was ongoing. he was operating on an interim security clearance. his clearance was never denied. and he resigned. >> i can't get into the specifics. i can tell you that we were -- the process for the background was ongoing. and the white house had not received any specific papers regarding the completion of that background check. >> catch that? both sarah huckabee sanders and raj shah said porter's fbi background investigation was ongoing. sanders said, specifically, that the white house didn't receive any, quote, specific papers. wray just testified in front of congress that the fbi passed along information multiple times, completed the background
check in late july, and then responded to the white house's subsequent questions on porter last november. then, when the white house -- when the fbi received new information earlier this month, they passed on that, as well. so let's ask the big question one more time. who is lying? is it donald trump's fbi director or is it the white house, which has changed its porter story nearly every day. folks, credibility counts. and in the past year, this white house has proven not to have much of it. sarah huckabee sanders will brief reporters in a few minutes. how is she going to explain herself this time? but first, we have a team of reporters to cover all of these developments. let's start with nbc's ken dilanian in washington. we're going to get to the porter news in a moment. let's talk first about that hearing with the intel chiefs. what is the threat assessment for russia when it comes -- for us, with russia, when it comes to future elections? >> very simply, katy, the spy chiefs told the hill today that russia is planning to attack the 2018 midterms.
that they have continued their efforts in cyberspace, because they view what happened in 2016 as a successful covert operation by the russian government. and more than just election security, russia is spewing propaganda on a daily basis. this intelligence assessment says that is bleeding into our political discourse on social media and elsewhere. so it was a really stark assessment. and you know, it's not anything that various intelligence officials haven't said publicly before. but to see it all pulled together in this document that represents the all source coherent views of the splenl intelligence community, under the guys of the trump administration, that was a first and really important. >> there was also questions about what exactly the white house has done or ordered the intel community to do in order to disrupt russia's efforts. was there anymore clarity on that, ken? >> that was a very interesting line of questioning by senator jack reed of island. he essentially got these intel chiefs to admit that while they're taking this issue of russian meddling very seriously,
they have not been asked by the president to tackle this problem. he asked them all very directly, they're not doing this under instructions from president trump. and it's not clear at all how interested president trump is in this problem or whether he's actually engaged in it. we know from some reporting, in fact, that people are afraid to talk to him about this in the oval office, because he views this all as an attack on his legitimacy. he calls it a hoax, calls it a witch hunt. senator an gugus king of maine complained that some of his constituents don't believe that russia meddled in the election because of the confidence of president trump. >> and he asked those intel chiefs to please relay it to the president that they are two very separate things and two things to be taken seriously and not to muddy the waters. ken dilanian, we'll bring you back in just a few minutes. stay with us. now, the white house and their swiss cheese timeline around rob porter, seven days since we found out. it's been seven days since we found out porter was accused of beating up ex-wives. and the west wing still doesn't have its story straight. tuesday, february 6th, "the
daily mail" published the allegations. kelly released a statement calling porter, quote, a man of true integrity. sarah huckabee sanders said porter was not pressured to resign. the next day, "the daily mail" published an update, this time with a photo of porter's first wife with a black eye. kelly then released a new statement saying he was shocked by the new allegations. porter called those allegations simply false. thursday, february 8th, the white house says trump became aware just two days before and that kelly was not fully aware until the image of the black eye was published. kelly sent his staff an e-mail saying the white house takes domestic violence seriously. friday, february 9th, kelly said porter was gone 40 minutes after he found out wednesday. trump tells reporters that porter did a great job. and then yesterday, sarah huckabee sanders said that porter was gone within 24 hours and that porter was gone as soon as we found out about this. fbi director christopher wray just said, no, no, no, no, no. they passed all of that
information along to the white house in november, including the updates earlier this month. meanwhile, "the washington post" says that kelly pushed porter to stay on the job after the story broke. and according to politico, sarah huckabee sanders arranged an off-the-record meeting in the west wing with porter and four reporters. are you confused? because we are. nbc's kristin welker is at the white house. phil rucker is the white house bureau chief for "the washington post" and an msnbc political analyst. guys, it's really difficult to keep this straight, because the white house's explanation about porter and what they did when and what they knew when has changed so many times in the last seven days. but what we do know is what christopher wray, kristin, just said in front of the senate, contradicts what the white house has said. the white house has said that they didn't have all the information, that the background check was still ongoing. christopher wray said the background check was finished in july. the white house asked more questions after that.
they responded to those questions in november and then they updated them again with new information that came to light earlier in this month. so what's the white house saying now when it responds to christopher wray? >> the white house hasn't said anything yet, katy. we have reached out to multiple white house officials for clarification and so far haven't gotten any. but just to underscore the key points here. you're absolutely right. the biggest contradiction that we heard from christopher wray earlier today is that he said, case closed. they closed, essentially, the investigation into rob porter, into his background, in january, and that they made the white house aware of that information. now, the white house, as you pointed out, as you walked through, has said that they are just finding out about all of these allegations of abuse after those news reports came out. and specifically, after that picture came out. and they said the investigation is ongoing. so that difference between case
closed and ongoing. i think that's going to be the first question for sarah sanders, that she's going to have to clarify. in addition to that, this white house has indicated that it was somehow up to the fbi to grant security clearance. that's not the case. the fbi does a background check and then they submit information. it is then up to the white house to make a determination about whether a permanent security clearance can be granted. so that is yet another contradiction that we are hearing, katy. and then more broadly, you're right, the story has been shifting ever since this first broke in the news. first, john kelly saying that rob porter is a man of true of integrity. and then pointing out, saying that he was shocked by the new allegations, once that picture was made public. so this is a white house that has been really struggling and twisting to try to explain to people how this all went down and the timeline and who knew what and when. and of course, it all raises even more questions about the chief of staff, john kelly. he was embattled.
there were a number of reports and rumors and buzz about the possibility that he may be on his way out at the end of last week. he survived the weekend, seemed to be on more solid footing. and then all of these new revelations. so this is going to complicate things not only for him, but the president, as well as, of course, the communications team, who has been out front on all of this. >> let's talk about when the fbi finished their background check and what the process is. they finished it in july, phil, and then we presume, at least, it goes to don mcgahn. presumably, don mcgahn asked the subsequent questions that the fbi responded to in november. i say "presumably," because this is not clear right now. but is there a scenario where john kelly would not have been looped into that? >> that's a scenario that's very difficult to imagine, katy. and i think john kelly would help himself if he would come forward and answer some of these questions. yesterday in the press briefing, there were a number of sharp and very specific questions about the time frame that sarah sanders unable or unwilling to
answer. the white house has not been transparent through this process. and a lot of the focus here is on john kelly, don mcgahn, the white house counsel, what did they know? when did they know it? why did they make these decisions to act or to not act? and why were they protecting porter all the way up until, even after, those photos came out, according to our reporting. so it's a really troubling situation. and it's important, i think, for the viewers to understand. it's not just a matter of rob porter's character. this is a national security issue. the reason he was denied the background check by the fbi is because the allegations of domestic violence could be used as blackmail against him. he had access to the most secretive classified materials in the white house. >> what about don mcgahn, kristen? is there more scrutiny being paid to him right now and what his role was? we're told in past administrations, this sort of thing, abuse, as phil just noted, is taken extraordinarily seriously for that reason, for the blackmail reason. because these people that are applying for a security
clearance are folks that are going to be trusted with the nation's top-most secrets, very sensitive information. so what is the -- what is the -- what's it like for don mcgahn right now? what's the scrutiny on him? >> great, great point you raised, katy. it's my understanding, based on my conversations with sources, that the president is very frustrated with don mcgahn and the way that he has handled this situation. it's also my understanding that he was made aware a year ago that there were problems with rob porter's security clearance. so presumably, he would be read in on some of the details at the very least, and then the question becomes, who did he alert? did he raise a red flag for the president himself? and why did he allow rob porter to continue working with an interim security clearance that we believe did, in fact, lapse in january? so there's no doubt. there's a lot of scrutiny on rob porter and certainly on don mcgahn, the white house counsel right now. >> but let's also be very clear.
culture is created from the top down. the president of the united states has not come out and said much about this. when he has, he's defended rob porter, both on camera to reporters and on twitter. the white house says he takes allegation of domestic abuse very seriously. but phil, should we expect that given that this is not going away, this is only mushrooming into an even bigger controversy, each and every day, that the president himself is going to have to, at some point, come out and say something? >> he should, katy. like you said, he said nothing so far about domestic violence and the me too movement and the sort of bigger national story underway here. he's just been unwilling to engage that subject publicly. but the problem for the white house is, this is morphing into now questions about the security clearance process, generally. there are dozens of officials in the white house, according to the reporting at "the post" and elsewhere, who are on interim clearances, who have not been given their permanent security clearances, including one of the most important advisers, jared kushner, the president's
son-in-law, who's been operating at a very high-level in the white house, managing a lot of foreign policy issues for 13 months now, with only an interim temporary clearance. >> and according to your paper, also allowed access to the presidential daily briefing. >> correct. >> phil rucker, thank you very much. kristen welker, thank you very much. good luck keeping this straight. we have breaking news out of israel. prime minister benjamin netanyahu just addressed reports in the israeli media that police are recommending he be indicted on corruption charges, bribery, specifically. netanyahu's message is that he'll continue to lead. nbc news chief global correspondent bill neely is in our london newsroom. bill, this investigation has been ongoing for some time. it was expected that the investigators would come down with this conclusion. and netanyahu has obviously been pushing back against it. but what's going to happen with him, if they do come out and say that he's going to be indicted for bribery.
can he stay in that role? >> well, he says, yes, katie. in fact, in that televised address, he says, i will continue to lead israel. he's always denied any wrongdoing. he's rejected the allegations against them, in fact, dismissing them as a political witch hunt. well, tonight, israeli police recommended that he should be charged with bribery, with breach of trust, in two corruption investigations. now, important to say that he hasn't actually been charged yet. he's been investigated for about 14 months, and the police have now found enough evidence to recommend that the state indict netanyahu. he faces charges in two cases. in one, police say he improperly accepted expensive gifts like cigars, pink champagne, jewelry for his wife from different businessmen, indeed, billionaires. and in a second, that he negotiated with a newspaper publisher for favorable coverage of himself.
and that would be in exchange for a bill that would weaken his biggest competitor. but as i say, he hasn't been indicted yet. the attorney general will now decide whether he should be. katy? >> he also stepped into it a little bit yesterday when he was talking about the settlements in the west bank and saying that he was in discussions with the white house on that. the white house has pushed pretty fiercely back against that, obviously, pretty sensitive topic. nbc's bill neely in london. bill, thank you very much. good to hear from you. >> thank you. next up, the director of national intelligence says white house staffers should not have access to stop secrets without having the proper security clearances. between 30 and 40 people are currently working on temporary clearan clearances. right now, some of them are handling the nation's most sensitive intelligence. stay with us.
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nearly one year into the trump administration and nbc news has learned 30 to 40 white house personnel lack permanent security clearances. one of those folks was rob porter. another, according to the "washington post" is jared kushner. porter is gone, but kushner still has access to classified intelligence, including the presidential daily briefing. the director of national intelligence believes that needs to change. >> i think sometimes it is necessary to have some type of preliminary clearance in order to fill a slot, but i have publicly stated, if that is the case, the access has to be limited in terms of the kind of
information they can be in a position to receive or not receive. >> nbc's ken dilanian is back. also joining us, ben wittes with the brookings institution, nbc legal analyst and a friend of former fbi director, james, alice frank figluzi, a msnbc national security analyst and contributor. ken, first to you. what do you make of the warning from dni coates? >> well, look, what he just said there is not being followed by this white house. i think we have two problems. there's a bureaucratic problem where just in general, it takes two long for people to get a security clearance. it shouldn't take a year. but secondly, we also have a problem with the president who apparently is ignoring the signals that are being send to him by his own fbi about the suitability of certain people for high clearance. and in the case of jared kushner, my sources tell me it is unprecedented for someone to be seeing the presidential daily brief who has not received a
full security clearance. this is a document that has the nation's deepest secrets, including covert operation and top-level intelligence, nsa eavesdropping of foreign leaders. and to have someone looking at that document who hasn't been fully cleared, who hasn't been signed off on by the fbi is unprecedented and it's a decision directly made by donald trump, katy. >> frank, you've been privy to a lot of sensitive information. i know ken is privy to a lot of sources who tell him about this sort of stuff. but in your firsthand experience, why wouldn't you want someone with a temporary security clearance taking a look at the sort of stuff that ken just outlined? >> well, let's use porter as an example. there could be areas of compromise and blackmail that go toward whether someone should actually see top-secret. and let me point something out here. just because you have an interim top-secret -- and we're not even clear on whether all of these interims are top-secret or secret, it doesn't mean that you're cleared to see code word information within the top-secret category. in fact, you really can't get an
interim clearance that allows you to see code word. and if you're porter or kushner and handling the daily materials for the president of the united states, i guarantee you're seeing code word that you shouldn't be seeing without the proper vetting. so we've got what we call a spill here in the security clearance business. we've got people accessing work that they should not have accessed. >> but frank, break that down into layman's terms. something that everybody can understand. talk to me and everyday americans. when you're talking about that sort of stuff, you say "code word," what do you mean? and why should people be concerned? really concerned. >> yeah, so, within the top-secret classification, there are categories that you have to be read into and out of. and you're especially vetted for those. that means that even if you have a top-secret, this is actually especially compartmented, because it's singular source in nature. it might be a human source that literally is risking his life every day in a foreign country for the united states. it might be a microphone that's
placed in some president's office overseas in another country that you need to be especially read into, or a new technique that science and technology has developed that allows us to read messages or bounce things off of buildings that allow us to understand what's being said inside the building. these are techniques that are extremely sensitive and cannot be accessed by people without the proper vetting. if you have people in the white house every day with access to the president and takz access tt the president is reading. bankruptcies or credit problems or scorned spouses or boyfriends or girlfriends or legal issues. you don't know when where they're vulnerable or compromisable and they shouldn't -- >> or relationships with foreign governments. maybe you do real estate business with them or trying to do real estate business with them. jared kushner is about to lose his partner in this building down the street from where we are right now in 666 fifth avenue, which means that his family is going to go into a whole lot of debt. they're already in a lot of debt. but could go into some very --
could face some very severe consequences if they default on that loan, which i believe is somewhere -- gosh, i think it's about a $1 billion loan, correct me if i'm wrong, if anybody knows better. but it's a whole lot of money, regardless. when you have that sort of thing, ben, where you're tideedp with real estate or tied up with potentially having dealings with foreign governments, for whatever reason, you don't have a security clearance, elaborate on that, ben. >> well, look, i think the message of today's hearing is that the intelligence community leadership is significantly more concerned about a white house security clearances than the white house is. and that's a reflection of exactly the sort of thing that you're describing. there are a bunch of people, and jared kushner certainly appears to be one of them, who would not be able to get a security clearance in the context of work for any of these agencies. where people don't really start work, generally, until the clearance comes through.
and they're on long-term clearance -- you know, temporary security clearances, despite in some cases, some pretty obviously -- if not disqualifying, at least disqualification-raising background concerns. and this is the kind of thing that, you know, shocks and terrifies intelligence professionals. but at the end of the day, the president is in entitled to share information with anyone he wants. and that's the problem with having a president who doesn't protect information and doesn't surround himself with the sort of people who you can trust to protect highly sensitive information of the type that frank was describing. >> it's a $1.2 billion mortgage. it's due by february 2019. this is according to curb new york, which has done a lot of reporting on this. gentlemen, thank you very much for trying to hash this out and explain it to us. we appreciate it. and a reminder, reporters are
going to be asking sarah huckabee sanders about what i call the swiss cheese timeline surrounding rob porter and also the process surrounding security clearances. why the white house won't give us a straight answer on who gets a security clearance and why. we're going to watch that when she starts taking questions and gets to the podium. we'll go there. meanwhile, though, intelligence officials have said it over and over, russia will meddle in our future elections. but we still don't have a clear answer on what our government is doing to prevent it. congresswoman jackie speier, who sits on the house intel committee, joins me live in just three minutes. liberty mutual stood with me when this guy got a flat tire in the middle of the night, so he got home safe. yeah, my dad says our insurance doesn't have that. what?! you can leave worry behind
fbi director christopher wray still stands by the warning he gave to the white house two weeks ago about releasing the controversial nunes memo. >> we had then and continue to have now grave concerns about the accuracy of the memorandum, because of omissions. we provided thousands of documents that were very sensitive and lots and lots of briefings. and it's very hard for anybody to distill all of that down to 3 1/2 pages. >> and the democratic response to that memo still has not been made public. president trump said late last week, he was unable to
declassify it, citing national security concerns. congresswoman jackie speier is a democrat on the house intel committee. she joins me now. welcome, congresswoman. >> thank you, katy. >> so has the fbi alerted you to any concerns about the democratic memo? >> well, the staff of the minority on hpsci, on the intelligence committee, has been meeting with the department of justice and the fbi. and i think that they will come to an understanding as to what needs to be redacted without losing the benefit of having a context that needs to be provided to the republican memo that was so misleading, and as you harder from fbi director wray, is full of omissions. >> when do you expect that review to be finished? >> i can't really say. and then, of course, it all depends on the president as to whether he will follow the recommendations from the fbi and release it. he clearly didn't follow the recommendations if the fbi and did release the republican memo.
and i think as we well know now, this was a total spin document that was put out by the chairman of the committee, with the intention of creating a means by which the president could say i'm totally vindicated, which as we know now, is what he said, but clearly, the memo does not provide that kind of credibility. >> the white house director of legislative affairs, marc short, said the other day that he believed that adam schiff intentionally put sources and methods into the democratic memo, knowing that the white house would not be able to release it as is. is that a correct assessment? >> no, it is not. it was a comprehensive document. i've referred to it as a, you know, post-graduate dissertation as compared to a third grade book report. because, really, the republican memo was embarrassing in what it didn't say and how simplistic it was. and the democratic memo puts it
in context, which is very necessary. we're happy to have it redacted. that has never been an issue. in fact, our memo was given to the department of justice and the fbi before we even voted on it. so, we have no qualms about having them redact if necessary. >> let's talk about the hearing today where the intelligence chiefs were pressed really on what they're doing to stop russian interference by senators. so what is congress doing? anything beyond the sanctions that were passed last year, that the president has so far not enacted? >> no, and that's what is really troubling to me. i have said for the longest time that our job is to delve deeply into, into what extent the russians were able to get into our voting records. we know they got into the voting records of some 20 states. and it's never been clear to me that they didn't get into the voting machines themselves. and that's why i think we need paper ballots.
we need to have mandatory audits. we need to have an encrypted document that has the voting records on it. and we need to have better oversight over the three companies that provide voting machines. none of which is taking place, and is very troubling to me. because we know what russia will do. they will continue to infiltrate any way and everywhere they can. many of these databases are porous enough and easy to access. and that's why they were able to get into 21 of them already, from states to states. there's very little regulation of what goes on in states and counties. and the only way we have any authority, really, is to impose restrictions over federal elections. and that would be congressional elections coming up and the u.s. senate races coming up. >> i have two more questions and i want to get them both in before we have to go. the first one is about social media. there's a bit of a reckoning right now when it comes to facebook and other social media companies about what happened in 2016 and what could happen again. bill gates is even warning them. what do you think should happen?
should they be regulated by congress, by the government? >> i think we're growing in our understanding of how they need to be treated more like utilities. i know they hate hearing that. facebook is a constituent of mine. i think they have provided, you know, a great platform on which to communicate, but things have changed dramatically. and facebook was weaponized by the russians during the last election. >> let's talk about rob porter. this is getting a bit lost in it, because we're talking about the changing story at the white house. but the first ex-wife of rob porter is out with a new op-ed. and she's calling out kellyanne conway for a statement she made on sunday, saying she felt that hope hicks, who is currently dating porter, would be okay with him because she's a strong woman. quote, in an op-ed for "the washington post", colbie holderness says, borrowing conway's words, i have no reason not to believe her when she says
that hicks is a strong woman, but her statement implies that those who have been in abusive relationships are not strong. i beg to differ. recognizing and surviving in an abusive relationship takes strengths. there's also former white house communications director anthony scaramucci who's tweeting about this. he says kelly must resign, adding, "domestic abuse is a red line. covering up for it is indefensible." we should note, anthony scaramucci was fired, i think, within a week of his post at the white house because of things that he said to a reporter, bad language. he was treated much more swiftly than rob porter was for allegedly beating up his ex-wives. do you think john kelly should resign? >> i think john kelly should resign. i think that what's lost in all of this is that domestic violence is a crime. and it is one of the biggest factors in women being murdered by their significant other or their spouse. to have a number of people
working in the white house who have records of domestic violence is really chilling to women across this country. it certainly is chilling to me. and i think that kellyanne conway has never really been very good on recognizing women's issues for what they are and has always been an apologist for the president. >> california congresswoman, jackie speier. thank you very much. >> thank you, katy. up next, could one of the president's most vocal republican critics be the one who gets immigration reform to the president's desk? stay with us. with rheumatoid arthritis. because there are options. like an "unjection™". xeljanz xr. a once daily pill for adults with moderate to severe ra for whom methotrexate did not work well. xeljanz xr can reduce pain, swelling and further joint damage, even without methotrexate. xeljanz xr can lower your ability to fight infections, including tuberculosis. serious, sometimes fatal infections, lymphoma and other cancers have happened. don't start xeljanz xr if you have an infection.
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sarah huckabee sanders is out with elaine chao, the secretary of transportation at the white house briefing. we will go there live once sanders starts taking questions from reporters. meanwhile, the second day of the senate's open debate on immigration got off to a contentious start. >> the clock is ticking, but the debate has yet to begin. that's because our democratic colleagues have yet to yield back any of their post-cloture time so we can begin this important debate. >> our legislation is ready to go. and we'd be happy to vote as soon as the republicans have their proposal drafted and ready for an amendment vote.
to begin this debate as the republican leader suggests would be getting off on the wrong foot. >> that's a live picture right now from the senate floor. senators resume discussions on ways to protect hundreds of thousands of dreamers from deportation. but president trump wants any bill to include money for his proposed border wall and other border security measures. joining us now from capitol hill to talk about this is politico's senior writer and playbook co-author, jake sherman. jake, good to see you. let's talk about what is out there. there's multiple plans. senator lindsey graham says there's been some progress. what are you seeing? what are you hearing? what are you smelling down there? >> i just want to put this in a larger perspective here. i was just over on the senate side, outside of their lunch, and i think this is a truism that hasn't really gotten through yet. whatever gets out of the senate is going to have a very difficult time in the house of representatives. jeff flake, to me, according to my sources and my reporting up here has probably the most likely proposal, which is a
straight-up one for one trade, which is some sort of permanency on daca, traded for some sort of package on border security. the key here will be finding that sweet spot where democrats can feel like there is permanency on daca and republicans can say, yes, we've begun to build a border wall. we've begun to increase border security. and the president could be happy with that package, as well. i just -- i'm very skeptical, based on a long time up here and seeing this effort flail for many years, that some sort of broad-based package has any legs and any life whatsoever. and that's what many of these packages on the senate side look like. they look like comprehensive and somewhat sweeping immigration reform. >> so what do they need to do to get the house to vote in line with them? does it need to be an order from the president, a directive from the president that says, i'm onboard with this? do senators, republican senators, democratic senators need to go to the white house in order to get their sign-on, the
president's sign-on, to get the house to act? >> i think that's probably right. and the house conservatives are very upset about what they see as paul ryan's inaction on a bill authored by bob goodlatte, the judiciary chairman. a bill that's very conservative and has no chance of ever becoming law, no chance of getting through the senate. so conservatives in the house and immigration hawks are not in a good place. and they will say that the republican leadership hasn't done enough. but if and when, and i only give it a 20% chance of coming out the senate. i know i'm very -- i seem very dark at the moment, but that's kind of where i am at this moment. if a bill does emerge from the senate, it will need the president and some sort of presidential leadership to say, i want to vote in the house, i want paul ryan to put this on the floor. and that might not even quell anger from the right. that still might not be enough. paul ryan has said, we need to take this issue seriously. we need to solve daca. that all being said, we should keep this in mind, but paul ryan was a huge proponent for
comprehensive immigration reform. so when he says he wants to get this done, it comes with a decade of history of wanting to see this problem solved and trying to solve this problem with democrats. so people should kind of take his word, probably a little bit more seriously than they are at this moment. >> from your sense, what are the democrats going to be willing to compromise on? >> it's difficult to say. i mean, democrats have been kind of optimistic on a one-for-one trade. i think they want to see this issue solved in any way, shape, or form. i don't think anything limiting, seriously limiting legal immigration is going to be something that they would sign on for. so i think we have to wait and see. 60 votes is a really tough threshold in the senate. >> let's talk about 2018 politics really quickly and what this means for republicans in the house who are running in tough re-election districts or campaigns for 2018. if they don't get a comprehensive immigration bill done or at the very least, don't find a way to extend daca or
make daca permanent, what does that look like for house prospects? >> i think it cuts both ways, because i think some sort of big immigration deal could depress the base, which republicans need in some deep red districts. but you're right, there are many districts across the country, moderate districts and sbruubur where this issue, while it might not poll high or be people's top three issues, they want to see this issue solved. and there are districts across the country, in california and arizona, in texas, where this is a big issue. this is a high polling issue, where people want to see this get done. but that being said, democrats, there is some peril, too, right. there are democratic -- republican districts that democrats want to win, where shutting down the government or causing some sort of big legislative calamity to solve daca, that's not a popular mechanism. that's not a popular strategy. so it's a really tricky issue. and republicans really do believe if the economy is
humming and there are no indictments or impeachment proceedings, then they have a good story to tell going into november. >> politico's jake sherman. jake, thank you so much for breaking that down for us. >> thanks, katy. and while you weren't looking, president-elect trump turned over the day-to-day control of his businesses to his sons, but president trump still owns and profits from those same companies, leading to repeated questions about potential conflicts of interest. by far the most obvious example is the trump international hotel in washington, d.c., just blocks from the white house. foreign embassies and governments have done business there. that has led to lawsuits accusing trump of violating the emoluments clause of the constitution, which bans u.s. officials from accepting payments from foreign governments. but, again, while you weren't looking, that whole hotel is not the only trump property where the president is making money off foreigners. it's not even close. "forbes" magazine compiled a list of 164 trump property
tenants in, quote, virtually every industry from all over the world. they pay an estimated $175 million in rent to the president every year and dozens of them have some sort of dealings with the federal government. here are a few examples. the industrial and commercial bank of china pays an estimated $2 million a year for space in trump tower. the chinese government owns a majority stake in the bank. the french insurance giant axa pays an extrapolate estimated $o rent space in a new york skyscraper in which the president holds a stakes. axa could be open to sanctions because of business dealings in iran. gucci spays around $21 million to rent space in trump tower. the italian government is reportedly investigating whether the company dodged 1.5 billion in taxes. nike pays $13 million a year for its niketown store near trump tower. the company is leaving the space this spring after opposing the president on trade and the nfl protests. trump's tenants also include two
of the nation's largest banks. bank of america rents space in a san francisco complex, in which the president holds a stake. that rent is estimated at $18 million a year. one pays an sti milli estimated $1 million a year to represent space on park avenue. the president's tenants also include a federal agency that he oversees, the u.s. postal service pays $25,000 a year for an office in a brooklyn development. the president holds a 4% stake. and rupert murdoch's media empire appears to be paying 00 50$,000 a year to leasen a antenna. joining me now is dan alexander who worked on the story. dan, great job. thorough reporting. we did not even list all the examples that you were able to list. when you look at the totality of what you found, what should
americans take away? >> basically the key point here is that there are more than 100 companies and entities renting from the president of the united states without any disclosure about who those companies are and how many millions of dollars are involved. what we do know is estimated numbers and we tallied them up and it looks like there is about $175 million in total. and you just named a handful of tenants there, but as you say, there are more than 100 others that we're sure about and certainly others we haven't found yet. >> the knock on the emoluments clause is that they couldn't anticipate a modern world. is that your take on that clause? >> well, that clause seems to be built for somebody who has business interests and who could be taken in money from foreign governments. so i'm not a constitutional guy, but the courts are sorting this stuff all out right now. and these are serious questions.
people on both sides of the aisle who are ethics officials are saying trump is actively violating the emoluments clause in a number of deals. >> and you said that the d.c. hotel is just the tip of the iceberg. the chinese government is paying the president of the united states, you write trump tower officially lists the ten nantz as the industrial and commercial bank of china, but make no mistake chinese government is paying the rent. what is concerning that the chinese government might be paying donald trump. >> so one thing intriguing about in, according to 2012 document, that lease expires in 2019. this means that it is possible that eric trump and don trump jr. are negotiating with an entity that is majority owned by the chinese government and whether that entity will continue to pay the president while he serves.
that sort of leverage in negotiating is something that we just simply have never seen anywhere in american politics. i will say that back when he was running, donald trump was trailed by a couple forbes reporters in trump tower and he made an off hand remark and said that chinese guy just resigned their lease. but when we asked him this time, they wouldn't say whether they had resigned it back then or not and whether it is still in negotiation now. so again, just huge question mark with major geopolitical stakes on the line. >> donald trump said he was going to divest or he talked at least about divesting, but then ultimately did not do it when he won. and said he has transferred the authority ever the compaof the two sons and that he will no longer have conversations with them about it. we can only take him on his word for that. but without divesting, because someone like mitt romney says he
would have divested. without divesting, can you truly untangle yourself from the interests of your company? >> one thing on the only take him at his word part, i was talking with eric trump maybe nine months ago and he flat out told me that he planned to give quarterly financial reports to his father. so there are questions about whether that part is even true. but to your larger question, no, if you have continued to retain ownership interests, then every head or owner or investor delegates. and he has chosen to delegate to his sons while he is president. >> so eric trump told you that he is giving quarterly reports to the president after the president said he would have nothing to do with this? >> it was right after the inauguration, eric trump said this is what he planned to to do. not that he had done it already pup he said quarterly reports on profit ability and things like that. >> dan alexander, thank you very
much. and we're continuing to watch the white house briefing where transportation secretary elaine chow is taking questions. they just announced that the president will donate his fauouh quarter salary to that department about that a department. we'll write if bring to you liv sarah huckabee sanders starts taking questions. and look at that. we'll be right back. stay with us.
we explained the process last week. the white house personnel security office staffed by career officials received information last year in what they considered to be the final background investigation report in november. but they had not made a final recommendation for adjudication to the wlouhite house because t process was still ongoing. in the view of personnel security office, the fbi's july report required significant additional investigation todayer to field work before personnel security office could begin to evaluate the information forred a jude kagtadjudication. information was still coming to the personnel security office in february. >> so just to be clear, the july report, if not back to march, was there information contained in those reports about the allegations about rob porter? >> i wouldn't have access to that information. i wouldn't know the answer to that. >> i want to drill down on one
important fact because you said this again that the investigation was ongoing. christopher wray said it was closed in january. so who is telling the truth here? >> both. as i said, the fbi portion was closed. the white house personnel security office who is the one that makes recommendation for adjudication had not made a recommendation to the white house about that. >> and you said yesterday you didn't get any paperwork from the ib fbi. chris wray said he did submit paperwork. >> again, that would come from the white house security personnel office which had not completed their investigation. >> but do you acknowledge that you did receive paperwork? >> again, i think you need to be very clear because there are multiple groups here. the white house personnel security office which is staffed by career officials may have
received information but they had not completed their process and made a recommendation to the white house for adjudication. >> and who allowed john kelly -- rob porter rather to stay here without permanent security clearance? >> i can't comment on specifics of that other than what we've already said on that matter. i'm going to keep moving because we have a short time today. >> is the white house still maintaining that john kelly had no idea about these allegations of domestic abuse until this story broke? >> i can only give you the best information that i have. and that is my understanding. >> does the president believe the women. >> again, the president takes all of these accusations very seriously. he believes in due process. above everything else, he supports the victims ever any type of violence and certainly would condemn any violence. >> but we still haven't lettehe him say that himself. >> the president dictated that
to me comments yesterday which i read out to you. >> did anyone at the white house personnel security office had any communication with anyone in the west wing about rob porter's clearance between when the fbi started submitting its interim reports and -- >> i'm not aware of any communication. i can't say definitively, you about i'm not aware of any communicati communication. >> and on capitol hill dtoday, should have limited access rather than access to the whole gam mitt. gam gamut. is that the current practice for a significant numbering of officials whether west wing or broader white house complex who doesn't have permanent security clearances? do they have limited access to classified information? >> i can't speak to whether people have interim or permanent security clearances at all. and therefore can't comment on the process.
we are following the process that has been used by previous administrations and we would rely on the law enforcement and intelligence communities to determine if that process needs to be changed and they would be the ones that would make that determination and play a role in what those changes would look like. josh. >> on four different occasions the fbi says that it made the white house aware of the allegations and white house says until tuesday night, they did not realize the extent of the allegations. shouldn't the fbi and personnel security office be punished? >> that is something that is well beyond my scope to determine. >> they weren't told if anyone knew but no one in the senior staff found out. >> i haven't asked him about that specifically. matthew. >> raj the other day said last week that the situation could have been han