tv Deadline White House MSNBC March 2, 2018 1:00pm-2:00pm PST
this, thank you, is donald trump saying trade wars are good and trade wars are easy. that brings the week to an end for me. thank you for watching. deadline with nicolle wallace starts right now. >> hi, everyone. it's 4:00 in new york. the white house war within, which was once largely waged through proxies and guerrilla leaks to reporters is now playing out in full view. the president's son-in-law under a seemingly ceaseless barrage of devastating headlines like this brand-new one from nbc's investigative unit. breaking news this afternoon, special counsel robert mueller's team has asked witnesses about kushner's efforts to secure financing for his family's real estate properties. focusing specifically on his discussions during the transition with individuals from qatar and turkey as well as russia, china and the uae. according to witnesses who have been interviewed as part of the investigation into possible collusion between russia and the trump campaign to sway the 2016
election. nbc is also reporting while kushner and his business dealings have long been a focus of the investigation, this line of questioning suggests mueller could be building a case that directly links action he took after the election to his conduct as a senior advisor in the white house. kushner's attorney responded saying, quote, time and time again, unnamed sources seeking only mischief have misled the media about what the special counsel is doing. but it's been a pretcipitous fal from grace. the washington post painting a particularly vivid picture with this reporting. they were the ascend ant young couples of the trump white house. jared kushner and ivanka trump and rob porter and hope hicks. they enjoyed rarified access to the president and special privileges in the west wing. glamorous and well connected, they had an air of power and invincibility. they even double dated once. but an unlikely cascade of
events set in motion by paparazzi photos of porter and hicks published february 1st in a british tabloid crashed down on kushner this week that many inside and outside the white house could mark the fall of the house of kushner. all this chaos and the hours of executive time to soak it all in, making for a very grumpy donald trump. nbc news is also reporting this afternoon that donald trump was angry and unglued when he started yesterday's trade war. for that nbc scoop, a trifecta of events had set him off in a way that two officials said they had not seen before. hope hicks' testimony before lawmakers investigating russia's interference in the 2016 election, conduct by his embattled attorney general, and the treatment of his son-in-law by his own chief of staff. to help us understand a moment that people in and out of the white house will concede is perhaps the most perry lus and unstable yet, our favorite reporters and friends, nbc's peter alexander at the white
house, he's got a by line on the story about the angry and unglued president. from the washington post, white house reporter ashley parker, the author of what reads like camelot in the trump era, the piece i read to you at the beginning. at the table, former cia operative evan mcmullen who ran for president in 2016 as an independent candidate. former federal prosecutor paul butler now an msnbc legal analyst. john heilman, nbc and msnbc national affairs analyst and lydia paul green, editor in chief of huff po. let me start with you, peter alexander, about what led to a declaration of a trade war. a lot less to do with trade and a lot more to do with presidential peak. >> i think that's exactly right. it's striking as i speak to you now, nicolle, there are serious winds blowing here across the north lawn of the white house it feels like this is a great metaphor for what it must be inside the west wing over the course of the last several days. no better example than this one that we're reporting exclusively
this afternoon as the winds pick up here yet again right now. the bottom line is the president as you said, was angry and unglued as described to us by an official inside here at the white house. the president was so frustrated, not about anything particularly related to trade, but related to all these other topics, that he effectively just went off on this issue of trade as supported by two of his aides here, the commerce secretary wilbur ross, also one of his trade aides peter navarro going against the advice of steve mnuchin, against the advice of his national economic lead advisor gary cone here, in effect, in that meeting that took place without having completed a legal review at the white house counsel's office, without any legislative strategy, without any communications strategy, effectively went forward and said to the world that he was going to be imposing a 25% tariff on steel, a 10% tariff on imported aluminum. we've witnessed over the course of the last 24, now 48 hours the impact it's had on the markets
here. but what's most striking is what this says about the president and the way he leads, which is when he's got something on his mind, he just sits it out, not considering or perhaps considering in his own way the impact it may have. in this case the impact was significant and it was global, nicolle. >> and ashley parker, your piece, one of the most remarkable pieces of journalism in the time of trump, i mean this picture of these tua sewo d ant couples that had the world in the palm of their hands has all come crashing down. talk about not just kushner's fall from grace, but all of the collateral damage. >> sure. so, what was so striking about how this entire thing started and which was sort of how we told the story, the lens through which, it all actually started with a tabloid photo of hope hicks and rob porter just stepping out on the town, two glamorous young people dating and that was it. but it was sort of the butterfly
that flapped its wings and if you look at the four people in that couple who once double dated, let's go through them. rob porter, no longer works in the white house because he has been accused of domestic violence by two of his ex-wives, and his departure from the white house led to in many ways the trade mess we saw this week. hope hicks, you know, testified before the house intel committee yesterday or wednesday, and then also shockingly resigned. so, she is no longer going to be in this white house. jared kushner, there have been a number of stories sort of detailing this, but as the person who felt the most of that fallout, he is under investigation, your story says, by mueller's people for some of his foreign contacts. we have reported that foreign governments were talking about how they could manipulate him. and "the new york times" reported he had meetings with companies at the white house that then gave loans to his family. he has described to us as a
shell to himself. i guess you could say ivanka trump, someone who likes to control everything -- everything is spiraling out of control, but she personally within this framework is faring somewhat okay. things are not going well for the white house. if you look at that four some, things are not going well for them. >> peter alexander, you and ashley were both at a gaggle, an informal conversation with a few journalists, right, today with chief of staff john kelly? >> yes. >> it is so stunning that he is newly emboldened, newly fortified by having had the effect that ashley just detailed on the kushner wing of that white house, that the tension was at a breaking point and kelly's critics will maintain -- and i heard from several of them today -- that even the story he told all of you today about the handling of rob porter's security clearances is still not factually accurate, yet he appears to be the victor in this
standoff. >> you know, what struck me and i'm curious for ashley's take on this. it is not clear to me why they were holding what began as an off the record briefing with john kelly and we were allowed to share some details of that conversation specifically as it relate to the rob porter mess. you think about how chaotic this week was and now we re-ignited the conversation about rob porter based on somebody's on the record comments from john kelly where among other things he acknowledged the white house, the team here could have done a better job. they were not covered in glory in how they handled that situation. he said at the time. but it was confusing. but the bottom line, the takt away specifically as it related to rob porter is that john kelly insists in a matter of basically two hours after he first learned about any accusations about rob porter, initially that they were only allegations of verbal abuse, no physical abuse, that rob porter was gone, that he was -- that he had resigned. effectively what john kelly said
was when it went from being something that was emotional abuse to physical abuse, he immediately said this is done, you are resigning. but that time line doesn't match up with what the daily mail initially broke this story says. they say the white house was alerted right out of the gate that the allegation wasn't just a verbal abuse by one of porter's ex-wives. but also of physical abuse, including one scene where jennifer willoughby, one of the ex-wives porter said he yanked her, physically yanked her out of the shower in one of the fights the two had. so, in an effort to, i think in some ways, put this story to bed they have only revisited some of the questions that made it so hard to believe in the first place. >> and, ashley, i am wondering -- i want to read you something else that you guys reported today about the president reiterating his long-stranding concerns. he was angry that kushner and by extension his daughter ivanka were being maligned. he said everything would be better if they simply gave up
their government jobs and returned to new york. i know there is a theory that some folks within the white house feel newly emboldened to help speed up the process, if you will, and i wonder if there is any sense that the president has green litany of this. or do you think this is happening without his knowledge and without his permission if it is happening at all? >> well, in terms of the tensions between jared and ivanka and general kelly, the president frankly is doing no one any favors because our understanding is he will talk to general kelly and he will say what you just recounted, which is that i don't understand what they're doing here. their coverage is horrible. he takes all of that very personally. he says i think they should go back to new york. they will be safer there and there won't be this negative coverage. then when he speaks to his daughter and his son-in-law, he says, you have to stay here. you know, i don't know what i would do without you in this white house. you have groups that are feuding, getting diametrically opposite messages from this president.
>> but one thing there is not a lot of dispute about, john heilman, is that in losing hope hicks, donald trump is losing a limb. his affection for hope to see him as unhinged as we've seen him, maybe since he lost wisconsin. i don't remember a period in sort of the trump era where he's been more off the rails than in the last five days. something is clearly got him rattled. i don't know if it's the combination of the mueller probe, the destabilized nature of jared and ivanka's presence in the white house, or -- and i heard this from a couple white house aides today, that john kelly is too heavy handed with them. >> i think it's all of them. this is not one of these things where you can point to a single factor. and i think if you think about what's happening over the course of the last couple of weeks, you can't ignore the fact that the mueller probe is in its weird simultaneous way, like the net is widening and tightening at the same time. and you see, you know, the
pleas, you see the indictments, you see the stock market falling. you know, it's been 23 days. >> after the trade war was declared. >> no, it's been 23 days since trump has tweeted about the stock market, after tweeting about the stock market almost daily or at least every other day for months as the stock market went up. we can make the now point the president shouldn't be tweeting about the stock market. you find yourself in this situation. es he has nothing to hold on to. he moved the closest thing, the limbs in your metaphor, are being sawed off one by one. while the few good bright spots in his world outside the white house have also gotten darker and turned to the negative. he is a very emotionally driven person. he's obviously volatile. and when he is in trouble, he looks for something to grab onto. right now there's nothing, and it's just -- he's losing his mind. >> i'm sorry, go ahead. >> i was going to say i think that's why we ended up with this
bizarre tariffs announcement. he wanted something that he could do unilaterally that would win him love from somebody, from his base, you know. it didn't win him any love from the orthodox republicans. >> right, attacked by rob portman, attacked by john mccain. >> it looks like it could push gary cone out of the white house. >> he threatens to leave -- >> and he never does. >> not to be overlooked, something that he got applause for routinely on the campaign trail -- >> exactly, yes. >> one of the bright -- the most important thing in his mind always, how did i win the white house? i won the crowds, all that enthusiasm. he used to get huge waves of applause out of the campaign trail for promising this very thing because, of course, it' easy and cheap to do it in front of a bunch of voters in economically depressed parts of the country, but it ignores the rest of the world and the stock market and everyone else. you can see him reaching back in the bag of campaign tricks and that's fallen short, too, another reason for his desperation. >> and it is undeniable that
jared kushner, whether through true developments in the mueller investigation, through the reality of having had his security clearance stripped, and perhaps through his lawyers are asserting these are leaks. i've heard that from a couple of folks aligned with him, that these are sanction leaks coming from inside the white house. he is weakened to a point of his tenure at the white house being almost unsustainable. >> absolutely. so, before this week it's been like special counsel mueller has been going after people in trump world like they're an organized crime family. this week he appears to think that they are an illegal cartel racketeering wheeling and dealing on behalf of foreign governments, on behalf of their own individual business interests, on behalf of everybody other than the united states of america, who has government employees. they have sworn allegiance to. so, one reason that trump needs to be very concerned this week is not only about his
son-in-law, his son, possibly his daughter, but himself as well, because the other thing that happened this week is that we learned that mueller is asking questions about what trump knew about the dnc getting -- e-mail getting leaked by the russians. >> right. >> if he was involved at all in that, in coordinating when they would be released, who they would go to, trump is going down. >> look, i've got to say this. javanka is the president's security blanket. as much pressure as there may be on them and him because of him, i just do not see them going anywhere. i don't see the president letting them or wanting them ultimately to go away. imagine a white house with this net that is widening, as john said, and constricting at the same time. all these other things going wrong, putting pressure on the president and not having jared and ivanka there. i can't imagine it. the other thing is from their perspective as paul just mentioned, they are now being caught up in this investigation
role of donald trump. here it is the tweet is alex ball win whose dying mediocre career. he spelled dying wrong, he would correct it later. >> he would or someone would. >> exactly, someone else with access to that account. the bottom line, this was just -- you know, we have been paying attention to this for a while. there are small moments where you see a window of sense here where the president holds off, or he's disciplined in the tax reform. the final days to be on message, that the one win they keep wrapping their hands around whenever they can, but at moments like this the president is all over the map. everything from trade wars to saturday night live. >> ashley, let me give you the last word from jennifer ruben's piece. don't worry, it will get worse, it always does. >> so, to jump off of that, right before i came on, i was talking to someone inside the west wing who was saying that the president is spending at least one night at mar-a-lago this weekend, which is exactly
what no one wants to happen because they think exactly what you just read, it will get worse there. >> all right. we'll be watching. peter alexander and ashley parker, remarkable week. i don't know if you can keep track of all that you've brought us this week from behind that building you're standing in front of, peter and from your newsroom, ashley parker. thank you both so much. when we come back we're joined by former cia director john brennan on the freight train that is the mueller investigation into russian meddling in the 2016 campaign. something he knows a good deal about. stay with us.
by the time i left office on january 20th, i had unresolved questions in my mind as to whether or not the russians had been successful in getting u.s. persons involved in the campaign or not, to work on their behalf, again, either in a witting or unwitting fashion. >> it's been ten months since those startling comments from former cia director john brennan and in those ten months we've learned a staggering amount about the scope and nature of previously undisclosed contacts between members of trump's orbit and foreign owe firnfficials. it became undeniable some in the trump camp unwittingly aided russians. some people close to trump may have knowingly advanced russian interests in the course of the campaign or the transition. here on set with us, john brennan former director of the cia now an nbc news and cnbc national security analyst. it's a privilege to have you at the table and at our network
helping us through these times. >> thank you. >> we were on the phone the day of those 13 indictments and the reason i guess the president's national security advisor general mcmaster calls it incontrovertible evidence, as though you needed more, is it those indictments actually named three unwitting people in the trump campaign. you've testified to people who have wittingly aided the russians. do you have any theories based on what you're seeing come out of the mueller probe about who they may be? >> no, and my comments to congress, i said individuals either wittingly or unwittingly may have aided the russians. this is why it's so important that robert mueller and the investigators continue to do their work. to pull those threads and try to determine whether or not individuals were actually working and knowingly working to advance russian interests. that's critically important, and individuals are doing that they obviously were doing it in violation of u.s. law. of all types of american ethics and values, this is something the american people deserve to know about and hopefully more
information will be coming out from bob mueller and the department of justice soon. >> something at nbc news broke from the mueller investigation, a threat of questioning, is that bob mueller does want to understand better jared kushner's contacts with, among other countries, the russians. do you, based on the public reporting, think that it is a legitimate line of questioning to want to understand if jared kushner's campaign activities either wittingly or unwittingly aided those russian efforts? >> oh, absolutely. jared kushner is obviously somebody who is very close to donald trump. someone who had the confidence of mr. trump. and i think the russians are very, very clever in terms of how they exploit relationships. the russian intelligence services are very good, very cunning, and they will look for individuals who they're going to be able to exploit. and as i said, sometimes these individuals don't know that they are being manipulated and exploited by russian intelligence. so, i think bob mueller and his investigators have every right to try to find out what might have been behind some of these meetings, some of these
engagements and discussions, and how then the russians or others might be trying to use it to their advantage. >> so, one meeting we know went down and jared kushner was in that meeting as was the president's son don junior, within trump tower, they went there to meet with russians to get dirt on hillary clinton. that seems to kos from unwitting to witting cooperation with russians, no? >> from the press reports and individuals, don junior was rather excited about the opportunity -- >> right, he said i love it. >> to get information. it's hard to disavow an interest in something like that on his part. so, i don't know still what's behind the curtain. and i know that this investigative team is among the very best investigators and i think what was happening now in terms of the indictments that are coming out, this last indictment of the 13 russian citizens, not a single mention of the russian government or security services, i think it was -- happened appropriately there. i wouldn't be surprised if we see future indictments of
russian officials who will be implicated and in the interference of the election. bob mueller was the director of the fbi when three senior members of the chinese people's liberation army were indicted for cyber hacking. so, this, i think, is now coming to fruition, the investigation, and we'll see what are the other shoes to drop. but i'm confident that bob mueller's team will get to the bottom of t. >> would you be surprised if one of those shoes was jared kushner's involvement having run the technology side of the trump campaign? >> well, i wouldn't be surprised if individuals that were intimately involved in the campaign and who were close to donald trump were being targeted by the russians and might have fallen prey to those efforts. and whether or not they were actively abetting the russian efforts or not is something that i think hopefully mueller's team will find out. >> i want to show you something admiral rogers, the head of nsa, testified to this week on capitol hill. >> my concern is i believe that
the putin has clearly come to the conclusion there is little price to pay here. >> bingo. >> clearly what we've done hasn't been enough. >> your predecessor, one of your predecessors, general hayden, my former colleague from the bush years, is quoted as saying, he's very concerned that as extensive as the 2016 operation was it may have only been a probing attack from the russians testing for american weaknesses and seeing how much they could get away with. he believes what's coming in 2018 and 2018 could be worse, much, much worse. one, do you share that concern? and, two, what explanation exists for everything about that testimony from admiral rogers who was just the body language alone screamed defeat, and whose words made abundantly clear he has not been directed by the president of the united states to respond to the russian cyberattack? >> well, i do think all americans should be concerned and worried, and donald trump should be concerned and worried about what the russians are going to do in the 2018 and 2020 elections.
and i think what admiral rogers was evincing there was his deep, deep concern that we're not doing enough. i think he said exactly that, that the russians are clever, they're cunning, they're capable. they're going to try to hide their tracks. it's not just the russians. it could be others as well that are now thinking about how they're going to interfere in the elections. and i'm hoping there are some senior level meetings that are taking place, at least from some accounts there's not been the type of national security discussions with the president actively involved in this. determining what we should do to better safeguard our electoral systems, to be able to also make sure the russians understand that if they do something, they are going to pay a price. but i think as mike said, there is little reason i think on the part of the kremlin now to think they will. when we were in the obama administration, we took action took out officials, we knew the window was closing rapidly. up to the trump administration to pickup the baton and really take the hammer to the russians
and let them know, this is unacceptable. and so we have to improve our defenses. we have to enhance the security and the technology we have available. the federal government has to work with the state governments, but also a clear message has to be sent to the russians that no more, you cannot do this and get away with it without paying a price. >> chris wray testified before admiral rogers did and said the president hasn't done anything you described. if we have a president who doesn't read the pdb and doesn't include any oral briefing about russia's role, how do we achieve anything you just detailed to protect us from russian meddling? >> i worked with the last three presidents closely, clinton, bush and obama. as you know, president bush got in detail with the issues and president obama did the same thing. there is no substitute for understanding the complexity of these challenges. and to be the one who is going to make informed decisions, and if those meetings are not taking
place, if donald trump is not reading the materials that are put forward to him, i have deep and grave concerns about not just the cyber issue, but issues related to north korea, terrorism, other types of things. so, you know, one part of me is angry because i think there are things that should be done, but i think like admiral rogers was showing, i think there's deep, deep worry and concern for this country's national security. >> well, one place where they could do something is congress. they could demand oversight hearings about the security clearances. there are a bunch of people walking around the west wing who haven't cleared -- it's not a low bar, but it's a pretty, it's a pretty narrow bar. the fbi checks the background of every candidate for white house service, not to decide it would be a good communications director, but whether they are a target for blackmail. jared kushner was reading the pdb. and the dni i understand in the bush years put together a distribution list for the pdb. did you ever hear any concern in the intelligence community about
who was looking at the pdb? >> well, it was a very short list. it was one that was carefully watched -- looked at. and everybody who had access to that pdb had top secret sei clearances so they would have access to the most sensitive information so they could do their jobs. having individuals for such a long period of time with these interim clearances with real questions in terms of their background investigations and the vetting, and i think thankfully i think john kelly now is really taking this very, very seriously and taking actions as appropriate. i'm sure donald trump is not happy with some of this, but there cannot be carelessness which borders on recklessness in terms of handling our national security and classified information. our fate and our future really depends on a seriousness of purpose, and a adult-like approach to these issues. and unfortunately i think there have been indications that that hasn't happened all the time. >> and until monday, jared kushner, who didn't have a
permanent security clearance, was looking at the pdb based on reporting that the white house never disputed. does that give you any pause, based on today's reporting, that he's in the cross hairs of the mueller probe and there have been questions, general mcmaster was alarmed when he heard the kinds of conversations he'd been having one on one with countries like china and the united arab emirates? >> yes, there are many people in the trump administration at the senior levels in the white house who have no experience in government before, do not -- have no experience in looking at classified information before. and i think as an inexperienced and naivete in terms of how they're supposed to handle this information and how they have to be on guard for efforts to try to take advantage of their knowledge, and i don't know what type of briefings and trainings and other types of things that may have been made available to them. but i am concerned by these reports that individuals have not gone through all of those obstacles and gotten overall the
issues related to questions of their security clearances and still have access to the most precious, sensitive, important piece of intelligence that is delivered six days a week to the president and the senior officials of the government. we should not just make that available to anyone and typically just because they may be related to the president. >> the son-in-law. >> yes. >> let me ask you the last question i asked general hayden. when you spies or whatever you call yourselves, intelligence community veterans sit around the watering hole or picnic table about what keeps you up at night, what is it? >> well, i think it's the political environment in washington right now. i am really concerned that the depth of the partisan ranker and animus in washington is like i've never seen before. it is preventing us from dealing with a lot of the domestic issues we need to deal with, whether it be gun controls or issues related to our economy. also, though, it inhibits to
take the position as far as foreign policy is concerned. it is no secret to anybody that donald trump was ill prepared and unexperienced in terms of dealing with matters that a head of state needs to deal with, head of government. and i think this is now coming to roost. and i am really worried. particularly the reports the last couple days, he must be feeling this pressure. and there is a part of me that has been very angry at donald trump for the things he said and things he did. i am now moving into the realm of deep worry and concern that our country needs strong leadership now. our country needs to have confidence that we're going to be able to deal with a mr. putin who is flexing his muscles once again on the military front, that we can deal with north korea, that we can deal with these issues. and if we have somebody in the oval office who is unstable, inept, inexperienced, and also unethical, we really have rough waters ahead.
and i do think it is going to get more painful, worse before it gets better. i do hope we're going to be able to get through this very difficult chapter of our history without incurring damage that will be -- could be long lasting. >> your former colleague james clapper thought he was too unstable to pickup on a word you used, the nuclear code. do you agree with that? >> when i hear what vladimir putin was saying about the nuclear capabilities he has, the president of the united states is tweeting about alec baldwin this morning, where is your sense of priorities? and so i think a lot of americans are looking at what's happening with a sense of -- this is surreal. and i'm hoping that those in congress as well as the 30% of americans out there who still believe in what mr. trump is saying will look past that and say, are we really doing what we need to do as a country to protect ourselves and ensure our
children and grandchildren are going to be remain safe, secure and prosperous in the future? and i have my serious, serious doubts. and the longer this goes on, the worse it's going to get. >> i'm so grateful to you for spending some time with us. we hope you come back. we're lucky to have you here. thank you so much. >> thank you. >> thank you. when we come back it seems like it was yesterday the untouchable jared kushner middle east peace maker and government reformer stood on top of the world. after the break, his apparent fall unfolding as we speak, broken into five distinct acts.
panel is back. we're going to get to jared kushner's five-part tumble from grace. i want to get your thoughts about what you just heard. >> look, i think director brennan is absolutely right when he says that we've got to strengthen our electoral systems, our voting systems at the state level. we need the federal government to do more obviously under president trump's leadership. he's right when he says -- >> can i stop you there? >> no, i'm coming to that.
i know, i'm coming to that. >> this is like waiting for the pivot. >> i'm coming to that, i'm coming to that. but also he's right that we need to deter russia. we need all of those things. but to your point and my point, we need to get to the point here where we all understand that this president, i don't think, wants russia's interference to stop. i'm going to say it. he does not want it to stop. lastly, i also agree with director brennan that this is going to get a lot worse, meaning the president trump's efforts to obscure, obstruct justice, that sort of thing. it's going to get worse before it gets better. i agree. >> paul, i was struck by his almost -- we've got to tell our viewers we have a nor'easter pounding the white house behind us. getting a lot of -- it's not us, it's a metaphor as peter alexander says. the cameras are weathering a
storm of their own. but no one is in danger. well, someone might be in danger. no one operating those cameras. but i felt like director brennan was almost imploring the trump base to believe the institutions of law enforcement and the intelligence community when they tell them things like russian meddling is real. >> it is extraordinary. we have a president who is at war with his own department of justice, who is at war with his intelligence services, who does not trust the people who bring him intelligence about the security of the united states. i can't even imagine a situation like this. again, bob mueller is focused on this. i think that win might be hurricane hope hicks coming to the special counsel's office. >> what do you think? >> i want to do just a small, brief history lesson here because we all think that trump is being completely irresponsible in this regard. but i've got to say john brennan knows that in 2016, when john brennan first saw some evidence
that some of it might be going on, some of the things we're all concerned about now, and got people in the obama administration to focus on it and got jeh johnson and jim comey and lisa monaco, went up there to capitol hill before donald trump was the president of the united states. before he was president-elect. they went up there and sat down with the leadership on the republican side, with paul ryan, with mitch mcconnell, with people who ostensibly previously were patriots and serious people and said to them what they knew at the time, which was in september of 2016 it said, our democracy is under attack now. we have an election in six weeks. we have to do something on a bipartisan basis to let the country know, to harden our electoral systems. we have to act. we need you in a bipartisan way to step forward right now before the vote is taken. and paul ryan and mitch mcconnell, before donald trump was president, told them, go pound sand and they weren't going to get involved. this is a problem that relates to donald trump and his irresponsibility.
but this is a problem that infects the republican party and infected the republican party before donald trump became its tichler head. >> power at all cost. a willingness to corrupt our most basic and sacred rights, the right to vote are at stake here. i'm personally feeling really grateful that we're finally talking about e-mails again. i mean, in 2016 everybody -- oh, my god, enough with the e-mails. but finally we're back to the e-mails because for all the chatter about bots and facebook, i think that the path to donald trump and collusion lies in those hacked e-mails. and i think a lot of us are watching very, very closely to see what robert mueller does with the e-mails in this case because that's where we're going to get some real progress. >> all right. we have to sneak in a break. but after that, the five reasons jared kushner is on thin ice. why number five should scare him most.
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owns "the wall street journal" and on wednesday their editorial board suggested the knives were out and that kushner should step down. act four is called the plot. that same day "the new york times" reported kushner's family businesses received loans after white house meetings. then act five, and this might be the most consequential when it comes to kushner's job security. torture trump. the times reporting trump is frustrated with kushner who he now sees is a liability. the panel is back. you have some theories about the president's true, true, true feelings about jared kushner. >> i watched him in that press conference last week when he came out and said all the things, nice things about jared and then said i'm going to leave it up to kelly whether or not he's going to get the security clearance. and many people especially on cable television said trump is trying to put his thumb on the scales. he's trying to help jared. he's trying to tell kelly what he wants him to do and i looked at it and said, no, he's not, he's cutting him loose right now. kelly has this. he already knew what kelly was going to do. he was trying to soften the blow
a little bit. and everybody i've talked to since then who is close to the trump family and to the kushner family all saw it the same way. i think donald trump sees the dimensions of kushner's problems which are not about not just merely on all these things. there are legal problems. there's a lot of discussion about new york bank regulators, about eric snyderman, about the fbi, separate from mueller about mueller, he is an enormous legal jeopardy at this point. you know, you said this on the show yesterday, 666 fifth avenue, people who looked at that building and the $1.2 billion loan those guys have coming up due less than a year now, people say that is going to be the thing that brings down jared kushner, brings down charles kushner, that the stuff that they're doing in this -- the story about qatar today, about the notion that the father was meeting with the qatari finance minister while trump was in office, trying to get the qatar i finance minister to come and save that building, a few weeks later when qatar said no, you have sanctions, not sanctions, but blockade the
>> the blockade. >> blockade against qataris. you are in some trouble and there is now reporting that the qataris want to come over and start talking about how kushner was part of conspiring against them. you are in the you are in the realm of some of the dirtiest, darkest aspects of international financial malfeasance and i think the man is in extraordinary significant legal peril from a bunch of different angles and donald trump for his of his flaws, knows what legal peril is and say my daughter could find somebody else if it came to it. >> but it was also predictable. we could have had this conversation at the start of the trump administration. this was a train wreck waiting to happen. >> yes. >> this is a guy with a bunch of international businesses and millions of dollars in debt at the same time running the businesses -- >> on behalf of the government of the united states. dealing with foreign governments.
>> and not recused himself from the businesses and not divested or done none of the things that we expect of serious money people when they come into government. he is running the business and lawyers all say he is not discussing the business. but his father is still running the business and he has his personal wealth tied up in the business. it is a dangerous situation. >> and now of course we have ivanka trump, her involvement in the financing for the vancouver project involving a very wealthy malaysian citizen is subject of a probe by the fbi. so i think you're seeing the pair of them in enormous peril. and everyone close to donald trump in fact is in big trouble. hope hicks who is often described as a surrogate daughter, she's facing huge mountains of legal bills. >> that is a good point. and there is reporting in politico that suggests that. that the president may have inadvertently put her in jeopardy by just speaking
loosely about these things. >> there is just a fundamental carelessness about this administration. this complete inability to protect people, even the people he supposedly cares about from peril is extraordinary. >> although the main person trump put in jeopardy by talking to hope hicks is president donald trump. because every defense lawyer tells the client, shut the heck up. doesn't matter who you are talking to, because that person can be hauled into grand jury and made to tell robert mueller everything that you've told her. and we can be pretty sure that at some point miss hicks will receive that subpoena to the federal grand jury. >> and she spent two days with robert mueller investigators already. but if they prepare to bring charges she would be asked to go before the grand jury and testify. >> yes. and the scary thing for donald trump, this is a pyramid prosecution so robert mueller is moving up to the top. so when we look at people like hope hicks and jared kushner, that is almost the next level, the next level --
>> not much between them. could you bring this back to the question we talk about all of the time, where is the bleeping republicans. >> the republicans are sticking with the republican base. right now the president has about 85% approval in the -- within the party. why is it so high? well it is high because fox news feeds them a bill of goods every night. if you ever watch hannity, i tune in once a week -- >> it is like a workout. >> so this is the thing, it used to be the -- i noticed a change a week ago. you would tune in and there is a conspiracy theory and you try to follow it. and it would make sense for a while little and then -- the facts would sort of hold together and then you notice there is this piece of clear common sense missing and there is this other fact and then it unravels. now it is not that. now it is just a slew of unrelated conspiracy thoughts
that don't connect and if you try to connect them, it is exhausting. and it is depressing. but that is what they get. and lastly one thing. if you are a conservative, if you are a republican out in america somewhere, you're getting that from fox news, because a lot of people only watch fox news. i used to be in that camp, frankly. >> me too. >> but also they don't hear from -- they don't hear from the leaders. the leaders are unable to stand up and take a political risk and that is nonsense and this is a serious problem and this president is danger. and they hear everything is okay and it is all of the dems. >> i can't remember if it was last night or the night before but in the middle of all of the news in the last few days you turn on hannity and his lead story, the lead was hillary clinton and her e-mails. >> of course. >> this week. i'm talking this week. >> i want to ask you a serious question and uncomfortable question for me. condi rice was here yesterday. i worked with her and respect her a lot.
she could not say that -- she couldn't go as far as george w. bush said when he said the time of trump has emboldened racism and why are people -- like condi rice who has no interest in politics, why can't people call out what is so plain for everyone to see. whether he is or is not a racist in his heart, he said racist things and the racists in this country are em boldened, so says bush. >> and i can't speak -- >> why can't they say russia is getting away with murder because donald trump wants them to. >> we've watched over a course of a decade or more the intellectual and philosophical moral core of the republican party is hollowed out and donald trump is not the cause of that. he's a symptom. there is -- people ask, how did donald trump stage a hostile takeover of the republican party. because the republican participanty was a broken thing at the national level. we know republicans had the gubernatorial level and legislators are successful but as a national governing party,
they had been hollowed out and waiting to be taken over. that is -- if the party had been a robust real thing, donald trump would not have been able to take it over. so i don't know why someone like condi rice or why people like paul ryan or mitch mcconnell as i mentioned earlier, didn't do their duty, their civic and patriotic duty but is a process that left the republican party in a place where a populist demagogue and no background and no experience and taking the race that seriously could walk there -- >> and perhaps not even wanting to win. >> perhaps. but whatever his genuine motivations were, the man -- a real political party in really good health could not have been taken over. that easily. and it wasn't even hard to take it over. and that tells you about how weak and corrupt the party is. >> we have to sneak in a break. the last word and then we'll be right back. ely... so graceful. the corkscrew spin, flawless...
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weird protection of donald trump. if the republicans in congress take the same tactic they will get a report from robert mueller and it is up to them to act. we have to wait and see what happens. >> you hear that republicans. so tonight don't miss the return of the special series on assignment with richard engle. this week he reported from seoul, south korea and investigates what role russia may have made in advancing the north korea missile program. watch tonight at 9:00 p.m. that does it for the hour. i'm nicolle wallace. "mtp daily" starts right now. hi chuck. >> hi, nicolle. >> i pay you back the seconds in a big chunk. >> that is good. i'll take it. much appreciated. >> if it is friday, as mr. zimmerman said the hard wind is ablowing on this white house. >> tonight, believe it or not, have revelations of white lies and the white house killed the president's credibility?