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tv   The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell  MSNBC  February 27, 2018 10:00pm-11:00pm PST

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their eyes in terms of what is going to happen in november 2018. every election is its own local story. you can't predict >> good evening, rachel. i have breaking news for you from "the new york times" about the color of lies. >> hmm. >> in the white house. and there is a hint in the name of the white house what color the lies are. stand by. i'm going to read it to you word for word hot of the press of "the new york times." hope hicks, the white house communications director told prosecutors that her work for trump that has a reputation for outright falsehoods had occasionally required her to tell white lies.
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white lies. >> which, though, so those are like good lies? small lies? pesky lies? >> they're when i was a kid, i remember white lie meant it was an okay lie to tell along the lines of, you know, you look great or something like that. >> how are you doing today? >> i'm fine. when you're not fine. >> i'm fine. biggest white lie ever. >> yeah. >> we'll see what color lies robert mueller thinks they are, if they try to get away with any of those under oath. >> and when you have to make that disclosure in the context of being sworn under oath where stating a lie is in fact a criminal offense, that's -- well, we shall see. >> but this notion that she is required to tell lies, required to tell lies in the trump white house. >> definition of a bad job. yeah. >> thanks, rachel. >> thank you, lawrence. current and former u.s. officials, administration
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officials, a former u.s. official, white house officials. those are the people who john kelly was supposed to stop. when john kelly became white house chief of staff, he was supposed to stop the leaking to the news media. but with john kelly running the trump white house, the trump white house leaks more than ever, and it leaks increasingly important information like this breaking news report from "the washington post" tonight that uses all of those sources that i just listed. the entire report is based on leakers. everything in it. some of those leakers currently work in the trump white house. the report says officials in at least four countries have privately discussed ways they can manipulate jared kushner, the president's son-in-law and senior adviser by taking advantage of his complex business arrangements, financial difficulties and lack of foreign policy experience according to current and former u.s.
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officials familiar with intelligence reports on the matter. the trump white house believes they have come up with a foolproof way of keeping information about security clearances secret. >> i've been very clear that we don't discuss security clearances. that's not changing today. it didn't change yesterday. it's not going to change tomorrow. >> uh-huh. but the trump white house does discuss security clearances. it does it all the time through its endless leaking. and today's leakers first told us in a politico report presidential son-in-law and adviser jared kushner has had his security clearance downgraded, a move that will prevent him from viewing many of the sensitive documents to which he once had unfettered access. politico added, all white house aides working on the highest level interim clearances at the top secret/sci level were informed in a memo sent friday that their clearances would be downgraded to the secret level,
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according to three people with knowledge of the situation. that was the first round of anti-kushner leaking from inside the trump administration today. and then came "the washington post" report about the four countries that intelligence reports indicate have been discussing ways that they can manipulate jared kushner by taking advantage of his financial difficulties and his lack of foreign policy experience. those four countries are the united arab emirates, china, israel, and mexico. "the washington post" electoral also contains the news that jared kushner's security clearance has been downgraded, and it attributes that information to, quote, administration officials. h.r. mcmaster, president trump's national security adviser learned that kushner had contacts with foreign officials that he did not coordinate through the national security council or an official report. the issue of foreign officials talking about their meetings with kushner and their
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perceptions of his vulnerabilities was a subject raised in mcmaster's daily intelligence briefings. according to the current and former officials. these sources are obviously people who are bothered by what they are watching in the trump white house press briefings, and obviously believe that jared kushner does not deserve the protection of the white house in those briefings. they obviously believe that jared kushner should not be benefitting from white house official secrecy about security clearances. and so they tell "the washington post" things like this -- "officials in the white house were concerned that kushner was naive and being tricked in conversations with foreign officials, some of whom said they wanted to deal only with kushner directly and not more experienced personnel," said one former white house official. who might or might not be steve bannon or one of jared kushner's
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other detractors who is no longer working in the trump white house. it could be reince priebus. it could be sean spicer. it could be one of a dozen people or more because the list of former trump white house officials is the longest list of such a list in the history of a presidency that's only a year old. and it is a list full of very bitter back-stabbers. and it might even include some people who are legitimately concerned about the way jared kushner operates in the trump white house. back to "the washington post." within the white house, kushner's lack of government experience and his business debt were seen from the beginning of his tenure as potential points of leverage that foreign governments could use to influence him, the current and former officials said. they could also have legal implications, special counsel robert s. mueller iii has asked people about the protocols jared
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kushner used when he set up conversations with foreign leaders, according to a former u.s. official. and needless to say, the special prosecutor's interest in jared kushner has to be the single scariest thing in jared kushner's life right now. jared kushner knows well the power of federal prosecutors. he knows that better than most people working in the trump white house because jared kushner spent two years of his life visiting his father in federal prison. his father is jared kushner's partner in the real estate ventures that have caused them both so much financial distress that foreign governments believe they can easily manipulate jared kushner. joining us now, john heilemann, national affairs analyst for msnbc news and msnbc. jill wine-banks and also with us ned price, former senior director and spokesperson for the national security council and a former cia analyst. he is also a msnbc contributor. and ned, i want to go to jared kushner's security clearance
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status as of now. it has been lowered to the lowest level. what's that the equivalent of in terms of other white house employees? >> well, lawrence, most senior officials in the white house, nearly all of them in fact would have a top secret clearance. not an interim top secret clearance as jared had, but a full-fledged top secret clearance. with only a secret clearance, you are severely limited in what you can do, especially when your portfolio includes foreign policy and national security. the big break point between secret and top secret information is the fact that when you only have a secret clearance as opposed to top secret, you cannot see most of the information that the nsa, the national security agency produces. so that is intercepted, for example, intercepted e-mails, intercepted phone calls, faxes, if anyone still uses those. all of that has to be left aside. and the pdb is top secret level, intelligence programs are almost all at the top secret level, and
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policy issues, including the -- for example, the israeli-palestinian conflict have to be understood at the top secret level in order for someone to be an effective mediator in a conflict like that. >> and john heilemann, the white house press briefings are comical when the subject -- well, they're comical most of the time. but when the subject of security clearances comes up. it's always the same answer. we absolutely do not discuss them. we're not going to say a word about them. and yet this same white house leaks more than very same subject than any other white house in history. we would know nothing about this without all of these leaks. and there is clearly a camp in there that wants us to know all of this about jared kushner. >> well, right. that's true, lawrence. the first unusual thing is it's not just that the white house leaks more than prior white houses is that of course it leaks more about security clearances because in general, in white houses, security clearances are not an issue about which there is much to leak.
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by this point, a year into a new administration, anybody who has had a problem with the security clearance, it would have already been cleared up a long time ago. we wouldn't have a senior serious top level official whose security clearance was still in doubt. that combined with the kind of back stabbing and warfare that characterized the trump administration leads to the situation we're in right now. jared kushner is not a beloved figure among the people that you were citing earlier, people who were former white house officials, nor among many senior white house officials that are in the white house. there are plenty that would like -- both former and current would like to see jared kushner go home and have always felt it was inappropriate for jared kushner to have the kind of role he has in the white house. of course, as they have seen some of this behavior, the behavior that has apparently troubled general kelly, that has troubled general mcmaster as he has gone out and had these meetings with foreign governments and had the kind of meetings that are totally inappropriate, of course those people who find him problematic on a variety of levels are going
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to seek at this point to try to use this opportunity to get jared kushner back to new york city where they think he should have stayed in the first place. >> jill, the paragraph in there that strikes me the most is the one referring to the special prosecutor. it's in the middle of the article, kind of tucked in there. but it's indicating that the special prosecutor obviously would have some investigative interests in what's the problem with jared kushner's security clearance. what has turned up in the investigation of jared kushner for security clearance purposes that is of interest to the special prosecutor? what can you -- what can you suggest to us the special prosecutor might be looking for there? >> well, for one thing i would suggest there is a follow the money issue here, much like there was in watergate. when you have someone who is as much in debt as jared kushner is and whose finances may have come from the russians in an administration that is showing
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undue deference to the russians and not imposing sanctions that congress has voted against the russians, you have to look at why that might be. and one of the reasons could be something that has to do with jared kushner. and that is clearly one of the reasons he hasn't gotten his security clearance. it's also interesting in that article you read that they also said that his lack of experience was one of the reasons they thought they would manipulate him. and again, that just shows the kind of staff that the president is putting together that they don't have the experience or the capabilities or the knowledge that are necessary to do a good job for americans. >> and ned price, how do you square the stories we're getting tonight with the public statement that john kelly in fact issued last week about jared kushner's security clearance, even though the white house claims they never make any comments about the security clearance. he issued a statement last week
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saying he saw absolutely no problem with jared kushner in the future continuing to do his current work in the white house. >> well, lawrence, i'm glad you started this segment speaking about the anonymous sources that have characterized these stories of late because what we have heard today and over the past couple of days in fact, it just doesn't add up. what these anonymous sources said today was the fact, the claim at least that jared's security clearance had been downgraded from top secret to secret. at the same time, we have heard, including today from senior white house officials, from president trump to sarah huckabee sanders to her deputy today, to even jared kushner's personal attorney saying that jared's foreign policy portfolio in the white house will not change. again, refusing to comment on the status of his security clearances. those two things cannot be true. jared kushner cannot have an interim secret clearance and continue to be a point person on the israeli-palestinian
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conflict, or on the bilateral relationship with china, for example. those are issues that require a top secret clearance for anyone to do anything, even approaching either of those issues. so either -- one of those two reports cannot be true. either jared's clearance remains at the top secret level, or he will not be doing the same work. and we just don't know which it is. >> john heilemann, what is jared kushner's future in this white house? >> well, i don't know the answer to that, lawrence. but i will say two things. one, donald trump at the press conference last week sang jared kushner's praises and said he was going to leaf up the question of security clearance to general kelly. a lot of people read that as president trump trying to put his finger on the scale and send a message to general kelly. i read it a different way. and i was just talking last night to someone very close to the situation, close to the family, and someone who knows this dynamic pretty well who
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said he read it as i did, which is that was donald trump cutting jared kushner loose. he was saying -- tried to say some nice things on behalf of his son-in-law, but was still not saying he was going to get in general kelly's way. saying he was going to defer to general kelly. i think president trump knew full well what general kelly was going to do. second thing i'll say, these stories, you've got to look -- everybody has been talking about the debt issue. it is the biggest issue in jared kushner and his father charles kushner's life. 666 fifth avenue is a huge problem. it's a $1.2 billion that is still on the books for them that comes due less than a year from now. and it has put them in an extraordinarily vulnerable position. and it casts all of these matters into a great deal of concern. every one of the meetings as jared kushner and his father have sought foreign money to try to solve that problem. it puts him in an extraordinary position of vulnerability. makes him a huge security risk. and it's not just a question of special prosecutor. i was just going to commend
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people to keep your eye, not just on bob mueller, but to keep your eye on eric schneiderman, the new york state attorney general and what he might be looking at and what he might proceed to do in the months ahead on this question. >> jill, a lot of us could not imagine the president choosing john kelly's rule book over jared kushner's needs in the white house. but it could be that the lawyers combined with john kelly have convinced the president that at this point, it is a criminal risk. it is risking criminal liability to allow jared kushner in certain discussions in that white house. >> i would think that is correct. and i would also add two things that i think it's important for people to know. one is that in his current position, he will know less than anybody else he is dealing with. so if he meets with an israeli official, the israeli official or even our own ambassador in israel is going to know more than jared kushner knows.
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he cannot possibly fulfill his obligations. and i want people to understand how low level secret is. the kinds of things that you would find in a file marked secret are newspaper articles. and the only reason they're marked secret is just because the government doesn't want anyone to know that we're collecting information about a particular person. so it's not anything that has to do with electronic, it does not deal with sources and methods. it's really insignificant information. it cannot allow someone to do their job if all they have is a secret clearance. so i think that's important for people to understand. >> jill gets the last word in this round. jill, john and ned, thank you all for joining us tonight. really appreciate it. >> thank you. we're going to have more on the breaking news tonight about the white lies, the white lies that hope hicks says that she is required, just part of the job, required to tell. white lies in the trump white house.
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that's next. and today jared kushner praised president trump's choice to manage the reelection campaign. it is the same aide who ran the trump digital operation in 2016. and yes, he has already been interviewed in the russia investigation. pssst. what? i switched to geico and got more. more savings on car insurance? a-ha. and an award-winning mobile app. that is more. oh, there's more. mobile id cards, emergency roadside service... more technology. i can even add a new driver... ...right from her phone! geico. expect great savings and a whole lot more. jimmy's gotten used to his whole yup, he's gone noseblind. odors. he thinks it smells fine, but his mom smells this... luckily for all your hard-to-wash fabrics...
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white lies. "the new york times" is reporting tonight that hope hicks told the house intelligence committee today
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that she believes her job in the white house working for president trump requires her to lie. she called them white lies. and in the trump white house, of course, everything white is good. white is the way the world is supposed to be in the trump white house. and so white lies are good lies. but there is no color of lying that is acceptable under oath, which hope hicks is finding out the hard way. this morning, just before 8:00 a.m., the president delivered his most economical tweet ever, two words and one exclamation point. there it is, "witch-hunt!" he apparently decide head no longer needs to bothered with verbs or adjectives to describe how he feels which so far has brought charges against 13 russian witches and six witches in the united states, five of whom have already pleaded guilty. today the youngest, least experienced and least competent white house communications director in history, 29-year-old hope hicks testified before the house intelligence committee, as
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we said. she testified for more than nine hours. according to members of the committee who attended the closed door session, hope hicks refused to answer questions about anything that has happened during the trump presidency, and initially refused to answer questions about the transition period. the committee was eventually able to compel her to answer some questions about the transition period because she had already discussed that with the senate intelligence committee last year. she specifically refused to discuss her role in writing or cowriting or suggesting the false statement about donald trump jr.'s meeting with russians at trump tower during the presidential campaign that false statement was written on air force one last year with input from the president and hope hicks. adam schiff, the top democrat on the committee said this about the questions hope hicks refused to answer. >> this is a breathtakingly broad claim of privilege that i don't think any court would
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sustain. and i think the white house knows that. this is not executive privilege. this is executive stonewalling. we requested the majority to issue a subpoena on the spot, use essentially the same process that we used with steve bannon. the majority declined to do so. >> at the same time that hope hicks was being interviewed today, nsa director mike rogers was 7ing to the senate armed services committee where he said that president trump has not directed him to take any action to stop russian meddling in future elections. >> as i understand, you said that president trump has never ordered cybercom to take any action to defend or thwart russian attempts to meddle in the elections this fall. that correct? >> i have never been given any specific direction to take additional steps outside my authority. and have i taken the steps within my authority, you know, trying to be a good proactive commander. because my view is -- >> but no one from the administration has asked you the
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take any additional steps? >> i haven't been granted any additional authorities, capacity, capability. no, that's certainly true. >> tonight natasha bertrand of the atlantic will join news a moment, is reporting on secret messages between long-time trump associate roger stone and wikileaks. quote, private twitter messages obtained by the atlantic show that stone and wikileaks, a radical transparency group communicated directly on october 13, 2016 and that wikileaks sought to keep its channel to stone open after trump won the election. we are joined now by natasha bertrand, staff write at the atlantic and jill wine-banks is still with us. natasha, the significance of your discoveries of wikileaks and roger stone. >> well, it just kind of undermines all of the assertions that roger stone made during the campaign that his communications with wikileaks and with julian assange took place primarily if not exclusively through a back channel. that was his main line of
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argument. he said, well, i never actually spoke to assange or wikileaks directly. it was always through some kind of intermediary, who he later identified as this radio host. but now we see he actually was directly communicating with wikileaks on twitter. and the morning after trump won the election, wikileaks messaged him, well, are you happy now? we're much freer to communicate. when i asked stone he said the entirety of their communications, suggesting that there was actually more than this exchange that i was provided which was between october and november of 2016 would essentially exonerate him, would show that he had no knowledge, previous knowledge of any of the document dumps that wikileaks was going to release about john podesta's e-mails or anything else. but he declined to provide me of the full extent of his communications with wikileaks. so right now it's kind of up in the air. >> jill, this is a possible root of collusion to the russians.
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on the other end of wikileaks communication could be direct communication with the russians. >> it certainly does sound like direct communication. and as charming as roger stone can be, these e-mails port tray or the tweets portray a very different person. the whole context of natasha's article makes it very clear that he was indeed in communication with them. and i think he has even admitted at some point that he had some contact. so he is changing his story a little bit. and i think it could lead to some problems. and keep in mind what good friends he is with the president that he and the president were both mentored by roy cohn, who would have no problem with this kind of behavior, i am sure, were he still around. so it's a very good road for mueller to be pursuing. >> and natasha, we have hope hicks spending nine hours in a committee where she is actually refusing to answer questions about many of the relevant periods. it's kind of extraordinary she
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can spend that much time in there and not answering a lot of questions. >> right. it's really remarkable. she was in the white house when some of the most consequential decisions were made, when james comey was fired, for example, when the misleading statement aboard air force one about trump jr.'s meeting with the russians last june was crafted by donald trump with her consultation. so she really would be able to provide an intimate glimpse into what trump's intent was when he fired comey and when he drafted this statement, not to mention, of course, her role as his -- one of his closest confidantes and the person that has arguably been the most loyal to him throughout the last two years. so hope hicks' value really to investigators is what she can tell them, not only about the campaign, but also about trump's intent over the last about year in terms of firing comey and everything else with the russia investigation, the alleged obstructive acts that he has taken. the fact that she declined to answer questions about her time in the white house really understandably frustrated democrats on the house intel committee.
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>> and jill, she wasn't claiming executive privilege. she was just saying i'm not going to answer those questions because the white house asked me not to. >> that's not an excuse. it's not a legal basis. executive privilege also would not be an acceptable explanation. there is no such thing as saying that i'm exerting executive privilege. only the president can do that. he has not done so. and were he to do so, there is not a court in the country that would not abolish that. it would not be permitted because executive privilege only covers conversations that are about policies and politics. it would not cover discussing how to cover up a meeting that had nothing to do with politics. and i just don't see how anybody can argue that executive privilege or this ridiculous claim of i'm just not answering can be tolerated. and the republicans are part of a cover-up if they do not
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subpoena her and force her to answer and take this to court to be determined whether she has to answer these questions. she does have important information that could be very probative. and the american people have a right to know. these hearings should not be closed. they should be open to the public. we need to see how the president and his staff are behaving. and they ought to bear the consequences for that in the american public's view. >> jill and natasha, thanks. >> thanks, lawrence. coming up, 2016 deputy campaign manager rick gates is cooperating in the special prosecutor's investigation. and donald trump's choice for his 2020 campaign manager has already been interviewed in the russia investigation. that's next. my gums are irritated. i don't have to worry about that, do i? actually, you do. harmful bacteria lurk just below the gum line, and if you're not taking care of your gums, you're not taking care of your mouth.
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what is in his and his family's business dealings with russia that he is so determined to hide, that he'd betray our country? and the second question is: why is he still president? join us today. we have to do something.
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special prosecutor robert mueller moved to dismiss more than 20 counts of criminal charges, including tax fraud and bank fraud against former trump deputy campaign chair rick gates. mueller asked a federal court to drop the charges in accordance with a plea agreement that included gates pleading guilty to conspiracy and lying as recently as last week. mueller also didn't object to gates' request to take his children to boston for spring break next month. today a federal judge reportedly granted that request. rick gates is also the former chair of the pro-trump political organization america first policies that he founded with five former trump campaign staffers, including brad parscale. he worked very closely with jared kushner. the ap is reporting tonight that he has a close financial
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relationship with a penny stock firm with a questionable history that long-standing ties to a convicted fraudster. john heilemann is back with us. john, what are we to make of this announcement of a campaign manager? >> well, we're going make certain that brad parscale is someone who had a lot bigger role than in of the names we associate the campaign. his role was larger than just being in charge of digital operations, though that itself was a pretty important job. he also was in charge of the advertising buying that went on in the campaign. he was operationally very significant. he was not in trump tower. he worked mostly in san antonio, texas. he was in fact very close to jared kushner. he is someone who gamed out the facebook algorithms in a way that people inside facebook and
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people who have now gone back and studied the effect of trump's advertising dollars, particularly in social media look on with both degree of suspicion and also some degree of admiration in the sense that he got a lot of bang for the trump dollars that got spent on social media. but he is at the nexus of a lot of stuff that happened in the digital realm that robert mueller and a lot of other people now look at with a great degree of interest, especially in connection with potential activity among the russians. >> and the trump campaign entity is churning up a great deal of money, raising money that it can use to pay legal feels in this investigation. >> right. >> also raising money that is paying rent at trump tower. and i'm wondering to what extent did the president feel the need to name a campaign manager at this date in order to in effect legitimize all this fundraising of money in the name of the campaign that won't actually be used for the campaign.
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>> well, it's unclear to me, lawrence, in the sense that i think it's a perfectly reasonable supposition that the president is trying to do two things. one is he is trying to do what you just said, which is the say i want to be able to use this as a vehicle for raising money for a lot of things that have nothing to do with campaigning in 2020. at the same time, i think at this moment donald trump intends to be campaigning in 2020. so this is not one of these situations where it's either or. i think he wants to send a message to the world that he intends to be a candidate in 2020, that he doesn't feel threatened, that he doesn't think he is facing existential threats. i think we all disagree with that, that he is facing existential threats. but he is saying to the world i am confident i am going to be running in 2020. at the same time i want to use my fundraising machine for purposes that aren't campaign related. i've got to keep myself alive here if i'm going to get re-elected. and all the money we're raising is going to go towards that big broad end, not just the campaign itself, but towards whatever is
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necessary to be done between now and then so that he can be a candidate. >> when he was staffing his campaign the first time around, he had to go to the bottom of the barrel. none of the top talent in the party was interested in working for him. where is he in those relationships now? could he attract top talent in the republican party to work on that campaign? >> well, there is no question, lawrence, if you think that the way the consulting world works is the way the rest of the republican party has worked, which is to say even those who said donald trump wasn't really a republican, even though who said they wouldn't support him as president, even though who don't think he is really a conservative, they all bend to his will largely. not all, but mostly bend to his will over the course of the past year. it's hard to imagine that the strategist community is not going to do largely the same thing. they will see the trump reelection vehicle as a gravy train, and they will want to get on it. at the same time, donald trump does regard brad parscale as someone who was a diamond in the rough and performed
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extraordinarily well for him by trump's lights and certainly jared kushner's. so he may have a much more high-end group of strategists and consultants around him. but i think that brad parscale, unless he gets into some kind of legal trouble between now and then is someone donald trump will want to have at the center of the operation. >> i guess you have to say that about everyone in the trump world. unless they get in some kind of trouble. john heilemann, thank you very much for joining us tonight. certainly appreciate it. >> sure, lawrence. coming up, the last time a democrat was elected to the united states senate in texas. was lloyd bentsen in 1988. and now thanks to donald trump, texas republicans are very, very worried that it could happen again. my digestive system used to make me feel sluggish
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tonight was election night in special elections in new hampshire and connecticut. two democratic state legislature candidates flipped seats from republican to democrat, the 38th and 39th flips since donald trump took office. in seat in connecticut was held by republicans for the last 44 years. next tuesday is primary night in texas. and texas republicans are very worried about the voter response that they're already seeing. they're calling it a liberal wave. republican texas governor greg abbott sent out this warning in a campaign e-mail earlier this week. early voting should shock every conservative to their core. that's because so far democrats
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are far outpacing republicans in early voting. "the dallas morning news" reports that compared with the first six days of early voting in 2014, which was a midterm election, democratic turnout increased 69% while republicans saw a 20% increase. the democrats even surpassed their early voting totals from the 2016 primary, a presidential election year. according to "the dallas morning news," governor abbott told his supporters, "we've seen a surge of liberal enthusiasm in deep red states like georgia, alabama, and oklahoma. we had always hoped the liberal wave would never hit texas, but these early voting returns aren't encouraging so far." a texas democrat hasn't won the united states senate seat since lloyd bentsen in 1988. but congressman beto o'rourke is trying to end that streak. in november beto o'rourke will most likely face republican
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incumbent ted cruz in a general election. so far this year, he has outraised ted cruz by $1.5 million. although cruz still has about a million dollars more cash on hand in his campaign. at a republican dinner earlier this month, ted cruz said the left are stark raving nuts. they have full-on trump derangement they will crawl over broken glass in november to vote we could get obliterated a the polls. donald trump won texas in 2016 by nine points. 52-43%. today the president tried to rally his texas supporters by tweeting not just once but twice for texas republican candidates, including greg abbott, ted cruz, and even george p. bush, the son of his former rival jeb bush. up next, can texas return to the democratic party? greg abbott's last democratic opponent, former texas state senator wendy davis will join
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you know what's not awesome? gig-speed internet. when only certain people can get it. let's fix that. let's give this guy gig- really? and these kids, and these guys, him, ah. oh hello. that lady, these houses! yes, yes and yes. and don't forget about them. uh huh, sure. still yes! xfinity delivers gig speed to more homes than anyone. now you can get it, too. welcome to the party. it has been a fall from grace for donald trump in texas. he won the state in 2016 with 52% of the vote. and now his approval is 39% with 54% disapproving. trump voters turning against donald trump in texas. joining us now is wendy davis,
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former texas state senator, and cornell belcher, pollster and nbc analyst. wendy what has happened to donald trump in texas since election day? >> donald trump has been president. >> that will do it. >> people see what it's like to have donald trump as their president. and i think that he is really not in keeping with so many of the values that texans and so many americans hold as well, including the position that he has taken on daca, on the affordable care act, on planned pregnancy, on and on and on. >> and wendy, here he is tweeting to texas republicans to get out there in a primary. it seems like an early alarm for a state like texas for republicans. >> it is an early alarm. and it's a really great sign for us. i tell you, lawrence, i would much rather be sitting where we're sitting right now than where they are sitting right now in the primary. >> cornell belcher, texas
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demographically is probably not what most people's image of it is. we've got 39% hispanic, 1% black, 5% asian. white is no longer the majority of in that state. >> you see that white number there, but when you look at the whites in proportion to who actually turns out, that number is up past 56%, 57% of the electorate is white. and what you're seeing throughout the other states be it texas, georgia, or florida, when you've the more diverse these states are, the most whites tend to vote republican. so a couple of things need to happen. that minority needs to turn out. you see that happening and you
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see a fundamental change of that happening in texas. when you look at the 52% that donald trump won, that is about 5 to 6 points less than romney got in texas. so you do see some drop off. and particularly among college educated voters where republicans are suffering from losing some drop offs particularly college educated white voters. if you see this trend expanding in texas, it could be problematic for a lot of those texas seats that are toss up. >> wendy davis, i'm wondering how much of this is personal especially in the case of ted cruz. texans watch ted cruz be insulted on a daily basis by donald trump during the campaign calling him lying ted insulting
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and insulting and attacking ted cruz's father and his wife. and then ted cruz just forgives it all when donald trump wins, and ted cruz fully embraces him. is that something that texans understand? is that the kind of standing up for your family that texans expect from ted cruz. or were they expecting maybe something else? >> i think really the issue, if you look at ted cruz's favorables to unfavorables right now, he still has that solid tea party ultra extra conservative voter with him 100%. and but he's upside down. and the reason he's upside down in his favorability ratings in texas really isn't about republicans looking at him and being upset because remember so many of our republicans did vote for donald trump.
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what is happening is he is so out of touch with the value and concerns of texans just as is the case all over the country from daca. you saw he was the one vote in the u.s. senate who wouldn't even vote to bring daca up for debate, for the affordable care act and so many other things he has been standing for and fighting against in terms of what's important to people at home. and then they've got beto on the other side. and beto has been a congressman for el paso for some time. he's running a phenomenal grass roots campaign. and the great thing of what he's doing, he's not just connecting with base democratic voters but he's going all over the state. he's not counting out a single voter. he's spending a lot of time in rural texas and giving a run for
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people like ted cruz who have been so out of touch. >> in that senate race, how much do you think it will matter when they look at ted cruz the person who took all of that from donald trump and then has just become a donald trump acolyte? >> well, you know, we make politics really more difficult than it need be. the truth of the matter is people tend to vote for candidates that they like, and that means the candidates they trust. if you look how ted cruz has flip-flopped here it's kind of hard to say you like him and trust him. the other interesting thing we point out about ted cruz, if you look at his performance last time around obviously he did better with hispanic voters. that will certainly impact his overall margin.
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>> wendy davis, can donald trump help ted cruz in texas? with his approval numbers right now it doesn't look like he'd be helpful campaigning in texas. oh, i guess, wendy, could you hear me? >> i lost my sound. >> we're going to leave it there. wendy davis, cornell belcher, thank you for joining us. we'll be right back. this is food made to sit down for. slow down for. put the phone away, and use a knife and fork for. and with panera catering, it's food worth sharing. panera. food as it should be.
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time for tonight's "last word." >> you know, i really believe -- you don't know until you test it, but i really believe i'd run in there even if i didn't have a weapon. >> wow. that's a brave man. okay. there's a lot in there that i doubt, but the part i really don't believe is that he can run. [ applause ] >> i just don't see it. >> stephen colbert gets tonight's "last word" and that word is run. up next brian williams will have more on jared kushner's security clearance problem and walter cronkite changed our understanding of the vietnam war.
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"the 11th hour" with brian williams starts now. tonight jared kushner loses his top secret security clearance as "the washington post" reveals four countries have talked about how to manipulate the president's son-in-law. and robert mueller is looking into kushner's tacks with foreign leaders. also one of the nation's top intelligence chiefs tells congress he has not received a direct order from the president to stop the russian meddling. plus hope hicks spends over nine hours before a house committee, charges for gates dropped, and paul manafort due for arraignment just hours from now as "the 11th hour" gets under way on a tuesday night. good evening once again from our nbc news headquarters here inor


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