tv MSNBC Live With Craig Melvin MSNBC April 27, 2018 10:00am-11:00am PDT
craig melvin at msnbc headquarters in new york city. historic step. consume jong-un making history on the korean peninsula. the promise of peace that seems to be on the table and the big process that hangs over the process. what is the north korean leader's motivation here. also, triumph and contradiction. the white house had a big week on the global stage. that agreement in korea, the french state visit, but it also had a big week of problems with its cabinet members and its nominees. the cosby effect. bill cosby found guilty, the first criminal conviction of this #metoo era. what's next for his case, and what long-lasting impact could it von our culture? we get to news stories in a moment, but we start with that historic meeting some 53 years in the making. north korea's leader kim jong-un taking one step across the border into south korea earlier today. the step could end this state of
war that existed since june of 1950. kim, warmly gree lly greeted by korea's president. the pair later issues a declaration vowing to usher in "a new era of peace." also agreed on a common goal of complete denuclearization of the korean peninsula. the breakthrough meeting seen largely as a victory for president trump who made north korea a cornerstone of his foreign policy. in a meeting with the german chancellor angela merkel, the president asked if the u.s. was perhaps being played by north korea? >> i don't think he's playing, and it's never gone like this. of gone this far, this enthusiasm for them wanting to make a deal. i agree. the united states has been played beautifully, like a fiddle because you had a
different kind of leader. we're not going to be played. okay? >> from seoul, our correspondent, and kelly o'donnell at her post in the white house. played like a fiddle. what's the sense from white house officials? how optimistic are they? >> reporter: the president is constantly talking in very glowing terms about these step, and while this is progress, and probably broadly people would give the president credit for moving things forward, he runs the risk of over-praising the steps incrementally that could be an area of concern down the line. at the same time, you've got the president acknowledging he would walk away from any meeting with the north if it did not appear to be fruitful. so you also have the president today giving us new information about a potential location for a trump/kim summit saying whittled down to two or three potential sites nap wi sites. that will be of high interest whenever this takes place, assuming it goes forward. the president talking about his
presence in this equation being a difference that allowed for the meeting between north and south today. always willing to take a swipe at his predecessor's over, really, decades, in both parties who had not been able to achieve peace with north korea or to be able to stop their nuclear development. so the president as he is often one to do speaking in terms that are glowing. talking about being good for the world and even good for germany noting the german chancellor at his side today when asked about this. some of the headlines, positive views from the president for sure. more information that the potential sites have been whittled down and the risk, if things keep going forward, and there is not the result the united states wants, which is denuclearization. how will the president respond to it then? will he take responsibility? he's quick to assign failed responsibility to predecessors. craig? >> bill, talk about timing. why this kim meeting now with
president moon, moon jae-in. why now? we've seen a handshake. do we know what they may have said to each other? >> reporter: well, in answer to the first question, craig, it's a very good one and we simply don't know. did kim agree to this from a position of weakness? in other words, maybe the sanction are biting and we know that they are. there was an intriguing report from chinese scientists that in fact his main nuclear test site had collapsed. the mountain collapsed in on it making it unusable, or has he come to the summit from a position of strength? he's developed his nuclear weapons, using them in north korean language as a sword. so the answer is, craig, we don't know. speculation will continue. what we can say is that it is, has been a day when those overused words, historic and
extraordinary, really are appropriate. but appropriate to have skepticism. let's start with the histories first of all. yes, absolutely amazing that kim jong-un walked across the border into south korea, becoming the first north korean leader ever to do that. there was warmth in his relationship with president moon. they spent 30 minutes talking privately at one stage. at the site, accorded a guard of honor, a feeling of respect, but then the skepticism again right at the end when they signed that agreement. the declaration contains the idea of denuclearization right at the end in the final paragraph, and it's all promises. there are promises and pledges throughout this declaration, but it's short on specifics. so on denuclearization, there is no timetable. it's the goal of a nuclear-free korea. it doesn't specify what north
korea means by denuclearization. so these are -- you know, vague goals. the same goes for a peace treaty. it's working towards a peace treaty that would end the 1953 armistice. it's not saying when and how and who would be the signatories. obviously, the u.s. would have to sign off on that agreement. so, yes, an extraordinary day. yes, a historic day, but let's not, you know, lose our skepticism in all the emotion of it, a day that ended with champagne and with hugs and kim jong-un now back tonight in the capital pyongyang. craig. >> really was a remarkable sight, though. our chief correspondent there in seoul, south korea. kelly o'donnell at the white house. enjoy the weekend. bring in james walsh from m.i.t.'s security studies program. and also former u.s. ambassador
to nato and peter baker, correspondent for the "new york times." big thanks to you and msnbc political analyst. mr. baker, start with you. white house officials are, should we expect here bottom of the hour, when we see trump with german chancellor angela merkel there will be a bit of a victory lap? >> you would imagine so. certainly after a week of rather trying moments. a cabinet nomination that collapsed. his personal lawyer in court. things like that, but the president, that he'd want to highlight this. obviously so far a very optimism moment, very positive and hopeful moment, but for all reasons we just talked about on your program, many steps to go. lots of skepticism going forward. for the moment, anyway, this is a president giving himself a lot of credit and other people are, too, saying programs his pressure on north korea at least contributed towards pushing to this point in the process. he's not one who holds back when
he thinks he's done something well, and i think you'll hear him talk about that. again, at the press conference, that's in a few minutes. >> james, we wanted to have you on because you're one of the few folks who spent some time in north korea. i want to go back to the point, the conversation i was just having with bill. the timing. the motivation here. what do you surmise might be behind all of this? is north korea now coming to the table because of conditions in that country have deteriorated to a point kim jong-un has to worry about some sort of uprising? >> i think bill got it right. we're not clear whether he's doing this out of a position of strength or weakness. i certainly don't expect a mass uprising in north korea. it is a police state, after all, and they keep pretty tight control over the population in the country. so it might be less strategy and more opportunity. sometimes foreign policy happens
by accident and happenstance. we have a sort of situation where the south koreans whisper to the north koreans, hey what about summit? kim says, sure, we can do that. why not? probably doesn't expect this offer to be accepted. goes back to mr. trump. he accepts it and suddenly we're part of a process, and i must say. i think everyone is right to say it is a process. let's not get too excited. also let's not get too disappointed if we hit in a bump in the road a month no from you. something to roll with the punches. i will say this -- i've never seen the north koreans concede so much. haven't even had the negotiate yet. no sit-down between north korea and and the u.s. first and a list of things part of the declaration, important ones. peace zone in the west sea, an area where you can have conflict and interesting president moon
emphasized speed. want it done in a year and the other pieces have to move quickly. kim acknowledged that. we'll have to see. you don't know until the test the proposition and sit down at the table. i must say, it's surprising and at this stage looks pretty good, but we don't want to get ahead of ourselves. >> former u.n. ambassador to the united nations nations and former governor as well. we all know bill richardson. talked to hallie jackson a couple hours ago. she asked what's changed since the last time north and south korea sat down for talks and this is part of what the ambassador said. >> two things changed. one, it's going from the top to the bottom. this time kim jong-un himself is engaged. he's the nuclear negotiator. in our case, it's always gone from the top -- from the bottom to the top, and now the president is personally engaged. my worry, we're not going to be ready and the president is impulsive and shoots from the
hip, but at the same time, this is good. >> are we seeing this -- this activity because you've got donald trump in the white house, and you've got kim jong-un running north korea? is this the kind of -- is this the kind of situation only could have been created by these two characters? >> well, i don't know. i think there's another thing that changed that i would add to the table which is that north korea has acquired a serious nuclear arsenal, and a nuclear arsenal that can at least deliver within the region and possibly deliver against the united states. it has now the capability that it didn't have the last time around when we were talking with them, some ten years ago, and that at least would give kim the confidence to engage in the kind of discussions that are now ongoing. as jim said, we don't know whether he's moving in this direction because of a position
of strength and the strength is the capacity to deliver nuclear weapons, and to have large numbers of them, versus the pressure that is happening economically because of sanctions and everything else. so it's a big step, clearly. we would much preemp lefer lead talking together at the table than threatening each other with nuclear doomsday as was only a few months ago the case, but we have to be clear what kim holds now is a very important key. he has the nukes, and it's going to take a while to figure whether he's even willing to give them up. saying he's willing to do so is something very different than actually doing it. >> we heard last hour from president trump there saying that you know, we've been played lie a fiddle in the past, because of past leadership. this is a president who's also had other choice words for kim jong-un over the past year or so. take a listen. >> north korea best not make
anymore threats to the united states. they will be met with fire and fury. like the world has never seen. >> rocket man is on a suicide mission for himself, and for his regime. >> and there's been lots more, of course. we didn't include any of the sound from the actual campaign. do we think that -- that part of the president 's rhetoric may have actually brought kim jong-un to the table and perhaps this was on some level an effective strategy? peter? >> well, look you know, that's what the president will say. he says being tough has made a difference unlike his predecessors, unlike barack obama, george w. bush, bill clinton. he showed mettle that forced north korea to come to the table. that's, you know, obviously going to be his point of view. what's interesting about this kind of bombast, as you played
just now, versus what you hear this week, just a few days ago. he said he thought kim jong-un was very open and honorable. a striking phrase to say about the leader of a country that has basically, it's a police state. a president who doesn't want, shy away from toggling back and forth between statements that would seem to anybody else to be xpra contradi somewhat contradictory. others presidents wouldn't have gone as president trump did to begin with and might not go as far in the other direction, because they don't like sending contradictory messages and ideas, and that's not something that troubles president trump. he's not locked into a particular either ideology a particular, you know, set of conditions. he just is will be to be very flexible in a lot of others most other presidents wouldn't be that gives him a strength and weakness, depending how you look at it. >> peter baker and jim walsh,
thanks to all of you. enjoy the weekend. again, we xbheexpect to see president trump and angela merkel, german chancellor in a press conference at the white house. we expect that in the next 30 minutes or so from the east room. what it happens we'll take you there. and just releasing a final russia report from the house senate committee and according to a new democratic memo, russia trying to use the national rifle association to make a first contact with the trump campaign. also, teachers walking out. thousands of arizona teachers now are demanding more money for themselves and their students. >> happened about $7.50 a week take-home pay. of course, you can't live on that. your heart doesn't only belong to you.
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house intelligence committee earlier today released a final declassified report on russian interference in the 2016 electi election. a 253 republican drafted report and found no evidence of trump campaign collusion. accompanied by a 98 page document including dissenting minority views by democrat members. the committee voted to end its investigation last month. in the last hour, president trump weighing in on what the report found. >> we were honored. a great report. no collusion, which i knew
anyway. no coordination, no nothing. it's a witch-hunt. that's all it is. there was no collusion with russia. can you believe this one. she probably can't believe it. who can? but the report was very powerful, very strong. there was no collusion between the trump campaign and the russian people. >> president trump there using some of his favorite words together, "no collusion" and referring to there, "her," angela merkel sitting to his right. and ken, reporter for nbc news. ken is closely, give us highlights of the report itself and some of the highlight from the democratic minority members of the committee. >> well, craig, the report not only found there was no collusion, as you heard many times there, but the report actually disagreed with the key finding of the u.s. intelligence committee asserting that the russians did not actually fave are donald trump as part of their russian election
interference. without citing much evidence. democrats are very frustrated with what they see by an attempt of house republicans to muddy the waters and essentially act as the defense attorney for donald trump. the democrats complaining that key leads were not followed. key witnesses not interviewed. an example. the democrats in their response pound pointed out while donald trump jr. was setting up annan if a kniss meeting with russians got a call from a blocked number. democrats say the trump candidate use add block number and wanted to investigate whether it was trump calling his son and were not allowed to pursue that lead. a lot of unanswered questions, craig and it falls to the senate nomination of robert mueller to get some answers. >> and didn't go after manafort, didn't bring in gates or flynn, which i think a lot of folks probably found a bit surprising as well. >> or even george papadopolos.
got it all started. hacked e-mails from the russians. the key question with him is, who did he tell within the trump campaign? democrats say the committee made to effort to get all correspondence between pop t papadopolos and the trump campaign. a lot of frustration. >> thank you. enjoy the weekend. tonight, don't miss a special series "on assignment with richard ingle" this week. 9:00 eastern only on msnbc. thousands of teachers are walking out of school right now. they're flooding the streets of phoenix in protest in near 100-degree temperatures. msnbc's gadi schwartz is in the thick of it as teachers gather for a second day. we go to him live, right after this. ♪
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correspondent. linder vester, former nbc news reporter told "variety" brokaw made two unwanted advances towar towards her in the 1990s. she did not report the alleged encounters to management out of fear of retaliation's in a statement brokaw says he made no romantic overtures, their interactions were brief, cordial and appropriate. meanwhile, america's dad no more. bill cosby faces 30 years in prisoning thursday's conviction on three counts of sexual assault. quite the fall from grace for a man who was known for the better part of his career as america's dad. >> in his heyday, bill cosby was america's dad. >> dad got a point, mom. >> there you go, thank you, son. >> once a patriarch put on a
pedestal. >> are you prepared to go to prison? >> reporter: now a pariah convicted of sexual assault impl. >> i actually feel sorry -- >> reporter: went on "the tonight show" and becoming a tv char on "i spy." the first black actor to star in a drama series. >> co-cola -- >> reporter: cosby soon became one of the most sought-after pitchmen in the country. >> i want to be a bowl of jell-o pudding. >> reporter: in the '70s created the "fat albert" cartoon series. >> hey, hey, hey! >> reporter: and the "cosby show" debuted in 1984, at its peak donning 170 million viewers. cosby became a moral authority, especially among black americans who idolized him for breaking barriers. >> this is your neighborhood! >> right. >> you're children should be
able to play right here. >> reporter: at its peak, cosby's personal wealth estimated to be upwards of $400 million, so wealthy and powerful he tried to buy the nbc network from its owner 1992. cosby even endeared himself to a new generation as the host of "kids say the darnedest things" in the '90s. >> you're going to get married. >> yeah, but i didn't find her yet. >> reporter: but in 2014, his public identity started to crumb belong. >> raping women, bill cosby. >> reporter: called out for allegations he vehemently denied. >> i want to just at least make it weird for you to watch "cosby show" reruns. >> reporter: soon dozens of women would come forward with
similar stories and cosby's career took hit after hit. nbc scrapping a planned project with cosby. and more than a dozen universities he once supported rescinding his honorary degrees. in the wake of thursday's verdict, his alma mater, temple university, where he had previously stepped down from the board of trustees, now considering the same course of action. and bounce tv" one of the few channels still airing reruns of the cosby show announcing thursday it would immediately pull the program off the air. through it all, his "cosby show" co-stars trying to make sense of the shocking allegations. >> i truly believe you're innocent until proven guilty. that's just not the man i ever experienced. >> hey! >> reporter: today, generations are reconciling the ethical dr. huxtable with cosby hilmself. his conviction eclipsing his fame and fortune, or at least
trying to reconcile the man with the character he played famously on television for so many years. joined by renee graham, associate editor and columnist with the "boston globe." thanks for your time this afternoon. you wrote an article when this trial first got underway that consult o caught our attention. this was also about the #metoo movement. the movement itself was on trial. how did the guilty verdict affect this moving forward? >> it says a lot about the strength of the movement. i don't think that the verdict was simply about the #metoo movement, but i do think there was a heightened sensibility in that courtroom about the harrowing stories women have to tell and the fact that for years and for decades, in fact, that they aren't believed. so i do think that the #metoo movement was extraordinarily important as sort of a backdrop to the cosby trial. >> do you think that the current
climate had a lot to do with cosby being convicted? >> i think there were a few elements at play. i think it made a big difference in this trial compared to his earlier trial that other women got to testify. so suddenly you had a pattern of behavior. it wasn't just one woman saying this happened to her. it was a series of women with very similar stories about bill cosby's behavior. but that also fed into the idea of #metoo. that is what the hashtag is. the idea it doesn't just happen to one woman or few. there are tens of thousands of women who can tell this story and jurors got a taste of that in the courtroom. >> i don't want to assume you were a "cosby show" viewer. i was. dr. huxtable was in many
households. the story that just ran, reconciling this man and what he has been convicted of doing, reconciling him with the character that he played on television, and some of the other characters he played as well and with his philanthropy. is it possible for both of those people to peacefully co-exist? >> i don't know that i would use the word peacefully, but, look. what bill cosby did was a purposeful welding of himself and cliff huxtable. cliff huxtable had five children. bill cosby had five daughters. they both have four daughters, one son. there was a purposefulest to join these two men together. if you loved cliff huxtable, you loved bill cosby. you know? it worked for him, because it became a shield. he was america's dad. a title he didn't give himself, by the way. that was what the public gave him and embraced.
yes. it was great that bill cosby was a philanthropist and bill cosby broke cultural barriers but doesn't match the fact that bill cosby is now a convicted felon. he was convicted. he is a convicted sex offendser, and i think more than anything else bill cosby achieved, that's what bill cosby needs to be remembered for. >> and it's also -- you have to wonder if cosby had not really put himself out as this sort of moral voice and he really did. i mean, bill cosby spent the better part of the '90s and early 2000s telling black boys to pull their pants up and stop using profanity. you have to wonder if he had not put himself out there like that, if, perhaps, some of this might not have been brought down on him? >> given the stories that existed about bill cosby for decades, it hit people really hard that here he was coming out as a moralist, and telling other people how to conduct their lives and how to be and everyone
knew or a lot of people certainly knew, there were all of these rumors about bill cosby not just being a if a land derrer but he was drugs and sexually assaulting women. none of these things were surprising. just it finally took root in a very different way in 2014 when hamilton buress mentioned it'sthe tragedy, of course, it took that. if you think of all the women who might have been saved from this fate if people had taken seriously the stories of women in earlier generations? it's disturbing when you think of that. hopefully that starts to change now. >> thank you. i want to bring in paul henderson now. paul is a veteran prosecutor and also a legal analyst. paul, thanks for your time. i do want to talk about the legal aspect of this, because there are three california lawsuits that are currently ongoing. sieve's lawsuits that -civil
lawsuits dr. cosby faces. how does the guilty verdict on thursday affect those cases? >> it's huge. this is a watershed moment against bill cosby with this conviction. you mentioned, alaud lewd allud three lawsuits. we noel accusers against bill cosby and all are turning around and going back into court. we already know three or four states extended their statute of limitations and rescinded them against rape allegations. so there's possible -- the possibility of more criminal charges facing him, but beyond that, the civil charges are now going to be proliferating our courts with bill cosby. here's why -- all of the other settlements he may have been involved in and all of the other gag orders that may have limited what evidence and information could be used against him are now out the
window, because all of this information about his conviction and his trial is in the public domain. so that information can be used against him in these civil trials and they still have to use, have to prove their case. right? most of these cases are defamati defamation. they have to prove damages for their reputation, but those cases, which by the way, don't have a statute of limitations. >> right. >> are all going to be filling our courtrooms as well as the criminal charges. the difference, though in a criminal charge that may be pending for the states that rescinded their statute of limitations and sexual assault cases like this one will run concurrently, if there are convictions, with this case. we still haven't gotten the sentencing yet. the judge has the option when he does sentence him of running those sentences, which as we already know are up to ten years per charge. either consecutive or concurrent. he can stack them or merge them together. >> paul, really quickly.
tom mesereau insisting he would appeal this decision. the likelihood that cosby's attorneys have a successful appeal case? >> it's not very likely. i think with those attorneys, what they're focus on is the judge's discretion in the second case to allow more witness victims to come in showing modus operandi. that's going to be the key thing. that information and that type of testimony is very influential on a jury. and certainly affected the outcome in terms of how they prepared for their case. i think that's going to be the key for them to focus on, but it's a really high standard to overturn a case, and they're going to have to show that that independently was the reason for the verdict, and there certainly was evidence independent of that decision to have found him guilty, even though there was a mistrial in the first
presentation. entirely different from the prosecution and defense based on these other witnesses coming in and also how the defense approached the case in the first place. instead of presenting information to the jury that this was a con sconsensual, the attacked the victim, the #metoo movement and the mob mentality referencing cosby as a victim, and a lynching. i think that was a big mistake and certainly didn't pan out with this jury. i don't know they're going to allude to any of that in their motion. i believe what they're going to focus on is that singular decision by the judge to allow more victim witnesses to come in and testify showing pattern and practice, which certainly made cosby look much more guilty obviously and resulted in the conviction. >> paul henderson in san francisco. thank you. enjoy the weekend. as we had that conversation, a bit of a development here in the cosby story, perhaps unsurprisingly, talking about
temple university considering rescinding the honorary degree. seems as if they've made that decision. temple university, bill cosby's alma mater rescinded his honorary degree and in a statement they write in part -- "in 1991 based on his career achievements temple awarded an honorary degree to william cosby. yesterday dr. cosby was found guilty by a jury of the felony of aggravated assault. today the board of trustees accepted the recommendation of the university to rescind the honorary degree." meanwhile, visiting the white house, german chancellor angela merkel. we expect to hear from the president in less than 30 minutes.
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at this hour, a second day of historic protests for educators in arizona and colorado as the teacher rebellion continues to sweep this country. it started, of course, in west virginia when teachers walked out for nine days there demanding better pay and better conditions. then it spread to red states like oklahoma and kentucky. now protests have reached arizona and colorado. more than 50,000 arizona teachers are out in 100-degree weather headed to the state capitol protesting budget cuts and low pay, and in colorado, nearly half of all of the schools in that state are closed on this friday.
nbc's gadi schwartz is on the ground in downtown phoenix. steve patterson joins us live from denver. let me start with you there, steve. what's the dialogue right now between colorado teachers and lawmakers there? >> reporter: well, craig, you know i love talking to you but i'll ask you probably not a good time for a follow-up question. the crowd is intensely loud when if not the p.a. system is entirely loud. you said it, this impacts about half the students in colorado. show you a small fraction gathered in his amphitheater. the colorado education association estimates about 833 million in underfunding to schools every single year. we spent some time with a denver public school teacher today in her classroom just to give you a view of what this is. she serves about 32 students with only 20 textbooks, has about three levels in that high
school where she serves on each level there's only about one working bathroom, because the rest are crowded with sewage. every day after class has to grab a mop and a broom because the custodial staff has been deeply cut. teachers are frustrated and want answers from the stage legislature and also about 3,000 teacher vacancies here in colorado. teachers are -- [ muted ] -- won't be able to keep the jobs because of how low wages are here. we just heard the governor speak onstage and much more planned today. this follows events like [ muted ] west virginia virginia, oklahoma, that massive [ muted ] the difference here in colorado by all accounts the economy is booming. teachers here say there must be wiggle room in the budget.
>> steve patterson in colorado. down to arizona. gadi schwartz again standing by. gadi, teachers there voting to walk out after governor doug ducey unveiled plans for raises. what exactly is it teachers in arizona are demanding? >> reporter: craig, hard to hear you. same issues as steve patterson had in din verify, but this is a sea of red out here. you asked what are teachers wanting to see? they want to see $1 billion restored in education funding. they want to see a 20% raise and class sizes much smaller. let me show you what's going on here. teachers stretching all around the state capitol here. just a little while one of the speakers that got up informed the crowd that the legislators are not here. they basically observed yesterday a lot of teachers feel this is a slap in the face. they came here to have their voices heard. they are chanting -- red for ed.
teachers going by, gop legislature's they are wearing red and want their voices heard and want demands met. education, restore 20% raise and the governor has said he can meet them with the 20% raise over the course of three years but a lot of these teachers here don't trust those mnumbers and think it's sketchy the way they've come up with the ability to pay them [ inaudible ] saying it might not be there and taking funding from education and putting it back into the pocketbooks of teachers and want to see money come in from the outside and not robbing -- [ inaudible ] a lot of people said -- [ inaudible ] --
>> gadi schwartz. some technical difficulties there in arizona. some in colorado as well as these teachers, more teachers throughout this country are fed up. in a few moments, president trump expected to walk to the podium with german chancellor angela merkel to cap off quite a week of big moments for this president including a staid visit and historic summit in south korea as well. (vo) why do subaru forester owners always seem so happy? because they've chosen the industry leader. subaru forester holds its value better than any other vehicle in its class according to alg. better than cr-v. better than rav4. better than rogue. an adventure that starts with a subaru forester will always leave you smiling. get 0% apr financing on the 2018 subaru forester. roundup for lawns has arrived to put unwelcome lawn weeds to rest.
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congressman patrick meehan, a pennsylvania republican, is resigning from the house of representatives. meehan had previously said he would not seek re-election after we learned earlier this year that his office had settled a sexual harassment complaint. meehan has denied the allegations of sexual misconduct involving a former aide, but the congressman said that he believes he would be exonerated of any wrongdoing -- but, nonetheless, he is going to reimburse $39,000 to the u.s. treasury. it is up to the governor of pennsylvania to decide whether there will now be a special election. but again, some breaking news on patrick meehan, a pennsylvania congressman, is resigning from the house, effective next
friday. meanwhile, a live look in the east room of the white house where german chancellor angela merkel is set to join president trump in a joint presser here. as we wait for them to start that, we've got you covered with our team of reporters. nbc's peter alexander is in the east room there at the white house. ashley parker, white house reporter for "the washington post" also joins me, along with michael crowley, politico's national political editor and senior affairs correspondent. mr. alexander, what are we expecting to hear from president trump? what are we expecting to hear from german chancellor angela merkel? >> well, this is interesting. this week has been a foreign policy week for this president, first hosting emmanuel macron and today hosting angela merkel. that was part of a special relationship as the men destr d described it, this more of a strained relationship between the german chancellor. earlier when she arrived the two
shook hands. last time he didn't do that when they met in the oval office. but he kissed her on both sides. this working lunch will be punctuated by this news conference. among topics, likely merkel will be pressuring president trump to stay in the iran nuclear deal, even as we hear from the secretary of state now, mike pompeo, it is now unlikely unless certain changes, fixes will be put in place that the president will stay put in the iran nuclear deal and on the 12th of may, just a matter of weeks away. separately, the president privately has been pressuring merkel, as his aides and he suggest publicly, to spend more toward the military efforts of nato. beyond that obviously there is the issue of the fear of a trade war. with this threat, as the president suggested, there could be tariffs imposed on the eu as it relates to steel and aluminum. the exemption expires at the end of this month. literally a matter of days left.
that's probably a topic of conversation these two have had privately. the backdrop to all of this, the new headlines as they relate to north korea. the president just earlier in the oval office saying that unlike his predecessors, he will not be played. earlier on twitter, he risked, i think, overselling what's happened so far. he said korean war to end. we've seen handshakes between north and south korean leaders before back in 2000. that didn't go anywhere. this president believes it will be different this time around. one of the questions posed to him today is whether he is sending a good message to kim jong-un while trying to get a deal, while threatening to get out of the iran knnuclear deal the same time. ashley, let me bring you into the conversation. under normal circumstances this is a press conference where a president could be taking a victory lap, closing out a triumphant week. but you note in your latest piece that this has been a week
that's convulsed by chaos and contradiction. mainly because of the president's cabinet struggles. how else? >> well, it's largely in the president's cabinet struggles on on a number of fronts, you had dr. ronny jackson having to withdraw his name to lead the va. but not before sort of very chaotic 36 hours where the white house couldn't really decide if they wanted to give him an out or support him. they sort of did both. sometimes even within hours of each other. you had scott pruitt, the epa head, facing very tough questions from capitol hill with not much support in the white house. just about every single person in the west wing is fed up with him and wants him gone. although until he loses the support of the president, it's likely he'll still stay in that job. you saw mike pompeo, the president's pick to lead the state department. he did get through, but it was way closer than it should have been and he almost received a
negative vote out of committee. and then you have the person who is going to replace him at the cia facing an even tougher confirmation process where someone told us she is going to have to be practically near perfect. you had these multiple distractions in multiple agencies and multiple fronts. but it should have been a triumphant week in this white house. lawmakers are looking into the enhanced interrogations techniques that many have likened to torture. that is something that bothers a certain sect of republicans. republicans right now don't have much of a margin for error. >> mr. crowley, what are you watching for? what are you listening for as we wait for this joint news conference to begin between president trump and german chancellor merkel? >> well, of course, in an action like this we'll focus on best we
can the interpersonal dynamic, what's this relationship like. it could be interesting to think about the trump-merkel relationship through the prism of the obama-merkel relationship. lang merkel was barack obama's, i could say, closest foreign partner. they talked all the time. had a very strong working relationship. in this case trump and merkel have a very distant relationship. they went five months without talking, which is extraordinary. admittedly, germany was having trouble forming a government so i think that played part of it. but there is no warmth here. of course it will stand in contrast to the kind of touchy-feely back-slapping hugging relationship that trump and emmanuel macron have developed. so we'll see i think in the tone and tenor between these leaders a shift where france is overcoming germany in some ways as the leading power in europe, at least in terms of its relationship with the u.s. on substantive issues, i think peter tipped off the key ones. i'll be listening very closely
to hear what's said about the iran nuclear deal. emmanuel macron left washington pessimistic trump would stay in the deal. doesn't sound like mike pompeo thinks he will do so, also. how tough is trump on merkel on a couple of issues also that peter mentioned, defense spending by germany. he's very upset that nato countries aren't spending more and a trade surplus that germany has with the u.s. that trump is very frustrated by. >> michael crowley, thank you. we see the trump cabinet there taking their seats. their french counterparts are taking their seats. t it would seem as if this thing is about to get started. i'll turn it over to katy tur. thank you. we just saw john bolton and sarah huckabee sanders. as everybody's talking -- right now here's vice presidnc