tv MSNBC Live With Katy Tur MSNBC May 7, 2018 11:00am-12:00pm PDT
[ phone rings ] look at you. this tech stuff is easy. [ whirring sound ] you want a cookie? it's a drone! i know. find your phone easily with the xfinity voice remote. one more way comcast is working to fit into your life, not the other way around. that wraps up this hour of msnbc live. i'm chris jansing. katy tur joins us now to continue the coverage. >> it is great to see you. it is 11:00 a.m. out west and 2:00 p.m. in washington where time is standing still and the president is still preoccupied, seemingly above all else, with the mueller investigation. this morning's presidential statements, ie tweets, were heavy on what he calls the witch hunt. he claimed the probe is led by democrats with conflicts of interest. fact check -- rosenstein and mueller are republicans.
and warn republicans that if they don't get tough and smart, the special counsel investigation might lose them the mid-terms. all the president's tweets followed four days of interviews from his attorney, rudy giuliani. and if if you thought by now giuliani would, as the president said, get his facts straight on stormy daniels? or at least get his story coordinated with the president's story? you would be wrong. >> the president does acknowledge meeting stormy daniels. correct? >> gee, i'm not really involved in the daniels thing so i don't know. >> when did the president first learn that stormy daniels wanted money to keep quiet about the relationship? >> don't know and doesn't matter to me. >> why did the president deny any knowledge of the payments when in fact -- >> i don't know when the president learned about it. >> why didn't the president make the payment earlier? >> i don't know. >> before april 5th, 2018, the president knew that michael cohen had made these payments because he in fact had reimbursed michael cohen for it. >> i don't know and i don't think it is at all relevant
anymore. >> how did the white house think giuliani did? here's how giuliani rated his own tv performance. we all feel pretty good that we've got everything kind of straightened out and we're setting the agenda. "kind of straightened out?" really? what we still don't know -- when was the mapayment made to the adult film star? what precipitated the payment? if he knew about it, if so, when? giuliani technically isn't representing the president in the stormy daniels case. he was hired for the mueller investigation. also he's making a bit more confusing. so will the president interview with mueller? according to giuliani, maybe so, maybe not. maybe he'll plead the fifth. so our big question today -- does rudy giuliani's muddying of the waters work for or against the president? reporters will likely push to get answers to those lingering questions when press secretary sarah huckabee sanders takes the podium at the white house.
she's scheduled to hold her daily briefing at any moment. but let's start with our team of reporters. nbc's kristen welker is at the white house. matt apuzzo. and chris mcgeren is covering the special house investigation for the l.a. times. kristin, i've been gone for a week, trying to keep all this straight, this rudy giuliani news. i'm having a hard time. can you straighten it out for us? do we believe the wednesday night version of giuliani, the thursday night version of giuliani, or is it the sunday morning version of giuliani? >> it's a good question, katy. and it is not clear. still as of this monday. that's one of the things we are going to ask sarah sanders about. one of the headlines though i think from giuliani that remains is the fact that he says the president reimbursed michael cohen for those payments. that's significant because, of course he denied doing that. now in a conversation i had with mayor giuliani, he said the
president found out about a week ago that those payments were going to stormy daniels when his lawyers informed him. so it was striking to hear him sort of reverse that over the weekend. i think the broader point here though, katy, is that you're seeing a legal strategy that is very different from the one that we witnessed just a month ago when ty cobb was leading the charge. john dowd. this is a legal strategy that's more aggressive and in which rudy giuliani is much more out front. typically we didn't hear from the president's attorneys. now he has made a round of television appearances. as you pointed out, a number of legal experts say that could ultimately hurt president trump. we'll have to see if that is the case. but again, a lot of contradictions that still need to be straightened out, katy. >> i'm a little confused why giuliani was getting into the stormy daniels case to begin with. wasn't he hired to represent the president on mueller? >> well, he says he knew that ultimately the paperwork was there, the documents were there, he was made aware of the
documents. he believed the special counsel has access to the documents and based on his conversations with michael cohen's attorneys, according to rudy giuliani and the conversation that i had with him last week, he felt as though it was better to get ahead of this curve. he told my colleague, peter alexander, overnight that his advice to the president -- focus on foreign policy. focus on the issues of the presidency. leave all of this legal wrangling to his attorneys. but if you take a look at the president's twitter feed, he doesn't appear to be doing that. earlier today, he tweeted out the russia witch hunt is rapidly losing credibility. house intelligence committee found no collusion, coordination or anything else with russia. so now the probe says okay. what else is there? how about obstruction, for a made-up phony crime. there is no o. it's called fighting back." a second tweet referring apparently to prosecutors as the 13 angry democrats in charge of the russian witch hunt. as you noted, rosenstein, as well as mueller are not democrats.
they are republicans. at least we should note that they have in the past been affiliated with the republican party. so bottom line -- this is a president who still is lashes out and really seems to be getting the green light from his newly installed legal team that it is okay to more aggressively go after the special counsel. >> let's also not forget that this president is the one who appointed rod rosenstein. matt, the stormy daniels case and the saga surrounding the payment is just a story that refuses to go away. we started covering it in earnest again in january. it was bubbling just before the election and we've gotten a lot of inconsistent stories about what exactly happened. listen to kellyanne conway from over the weekend and how carefully she chooses her words when being asked about this. >> an interview last night on fox news, rudy giuliani said that this payment to stormy daniels was in fact a campaign expenditure.
you ran the campaign. so is that what you would characterize it as? >> i don't know why anyone would say that. i would not characterize it that way. the president himself characterized it as not a campaign expenditure. all i can tell you as campaign manager of a winning campaign been in never made it to my desk. this came about long after i had been in the white house. >> matt, sounds like she's using her words really carefully here. what is the feeling from your reporting inside the white house? do staffers believe the president's version of events? are they feeling like they might get burned here? >> well, i think one of the things that we've got to address here is nobody expected rudy giuliani to go on national television and start bringing the stormy daniels and the payment and trying to get the timeline -- nobody expected that. anybody who was in the white
house, anybody any on the legal team. this was totally out of the blue. so for a president who says i don't know why people don't pay more attention to the fact that unemployment is at really incredibly low levels, and we're on the verge of this potential diplomatic breakthrough with north korea, he has a base that's very excited about the potential of him pulling out of the iran deal. why won't anybody talk about that? well, his lawyer went on national television. it was like actually, i have some news about stormy daniels and then had to spend three or four days trying to clean that up. there's obviously frustration in and around the president which is a common thing. and you're obviously right. this is a newer approach to a legal team. >> i mean if they really want us to focus on the economy and jobs and, et cetera, you think that would be all they talk about. but the president is still tweeting about all this stuff. it's very clear that he's pretty preoccupied with all of the
investigations, including the mueller investigation. chris, what do you think of the idea of this president pleading the fifth? the political stakes don't seem like they might have been -- i don't know a decade ago -- certainly not during the nixon era. >> i would say the political stakes are something that president trump is focusing in on very carefully right now. he is obviously trying to kick up a lot of dust around the investigation. his criticism of mob muellerbob team has been ramped up recently and rudy giuliani is more constantly criticizing the investigation. this could prove useful to a president who pledged to answer questions under oath and now he can say that, well, my lawyers have reconsidered this, maybe i've reconsidered this. and it looks like he could be trying to lay the groundwork to eventually refuse an interview and refuse to voluntarily sit down with prosecutors. >> is he going to pay politically for that though? i mean his base seems to be of the mind that this investigation
is a witch hunt, as he calls it. if he does plead the fifth, who is that going to affect? >> well, his base is already going to support him no matter what -- or almost no matter what. but you have a situation where some people may be a little more squishy in their support for the president. this could change their mind. >> i should specify. what about republican lawmakers? will it matter to them? >> it certainly could. i think more of a concern to republican senators will be how he treats the department of justice, how he interacts with rod rosenstein and bob mueller as far as interfering with the investigation or trying to remove anybody who he doesn't like. >> nbc's kristen welker at the white house. matt apuzzo of "the new york times" and chris mcgeren of the "l.a. times." joining me, chuck rosenberg, an msnbc contributor. and andrew kurtzman, a former
new york one political reporter and anchor. now the president of kurtzman strategies. chuck, back to the big question which is rudy giuliani's evolving story, his changing story, his saying something and then walking it back. he's muddying the waters. by doing that, is that strategy -- if it is a strategy -- working for the president or working against him? >> yeah. it's somewhere between utterly unhelpful and completely meaningless, katy. here's why. the prosecutors on this case are good and experienced. they've been doing this for a long time. and what they're going to do is follow evidence, not strategy. the strategy is something that the president and his legal team have deployed. the evidence is what the prosecutors are going to go after. and so i think this is really much ado about nothing. i will say this though, katy. there is a rule of evidence that permits prosecutors to use the statements of the president's lawyer, his representative, his
agents, against the president. now they don't do that often. they may not do it here. but mr. giuliani ought to be really careful about what he says because that stuff cannot only be used against him, it can be used against his client. >> let's just remind everybody how the story has evolved. on april 5th aboard air force one, the president denied knowing anything at all about the payment to stormy daniels. on may 2nd, giuliani dropped -- you could call it -- a bomb on hannity that the president repaid cohen. he said the president repaid it. on may 3rd, the next morning, giuliani implied the payment was made because of the campaign. saying imagine if that came out on october 15th, 2016, in the middle of the last debate with hillary clinton. on saturday, may 5th, giuliani was back on fox news and he called it a campaign expenditure. on sunday, may 6th, giuliani was on abc saying, even if it was a contribution, a campaign contribution, it was entirely
reimbursed out of personal funds. so it is inconsistent, to say the least. andrew, you know rudy giuliani. you wrote the book on rudy giuliani. is this the way he operates? is this a man who has a clear goal in mind and is working towards that goal? >> well, some of it is predictable and some of it is not predictable. what's not predictable is his utter failure to kind of take control of this situation when that's his kind of legend, is the man who is in firm control of 9/11, the man who turned around the city, the man who was in control of busting the mob. now he seems defensive, he seems out of his depth. i don't see how he's helping the president, even though he claims that this was their strategy all along, that they are controlling the narrative. it seems to me that they're completely behind the narrative. it seems so far to be a pretty disastrous marriage. >> he's the kind of person though that fights back and fights back loudly. he made a name going after the mob and instead of being like normal prosecutors at the time not saying a word until they're in court or potentially a of a verdict, he was out there
talking to any reporter he could. he's employing clearly the same strategy here. but it seems like he has -- doesn't quite know the facts before him. or if he does know the facts before him, when it goes south, he needs to quickly try and clean it up. >> right. right. i mean why it's smart for rudy giuliani to go on television and say, well, actually, i don't know, this is just rumor, i'm not sure, i'm still studying this. what is that the point? how is that advantageous to the president? to me, it seems like a pure exercise in vanity on giuliani's part. >> but, chuck, if you are a lawyer and you look at all the conflicting statements, can you make the arcment that even though rudy giuliani said one thing last week where he said the president knew about it and it was a campaign expenditure. and then walk it back and confused everything later in the week, can you make the argument that he really had no idea what he was talking about? >> yeah. it seems like he often has no
idea what he is talking about so i think you can certainly make that argument, katy. nevertheless, there is a truth out there and the prosecutors will find it. mr. giuliani may not really be very helpful in that endeavor. but they're going to find it. and so that's why i say his musings are somewhere between unhelpful and meaningless. they don't necessarily help the president. they don't necessarily help prosecutors. they muddy the waters. what they do is draw a lot of attention to mr. giuliani. maybe that's what he's after. >> chuck, jonathan turley has been putting the constitutional lawyer and scholar, has been pretty skeptical of the whole mueller investigation. but he is not so skeptical of the stormy daniels case. take a listen to what he said. >> they have a search warrant referring to the payment to stormy daniels. any effort to influence witnesses, withhold evidence, produce false narratives, could be the obstruction case that has so far evaded robert mueller.
it is a much clearer shot for the southern district to allege something like obstruction. >> do you agree with jonathan turley on "morning joe," that this is an easier case for them? >> i half agree with jonathan turley. i think obstruction is a viable theory here. by the way, the president is wrong. you don't need to prove an underlying crime to prove obstruction. obstruction is a stand-alone crime. and it may be what they're after in the southern district of new york. where i disagree with mr. turley is that it seems that there is also a viable ongoing investigation by the mueller team of the conspiracy to interfere in the election. >> andrew, just one thing about rudy giuliani that we should know. >> he's a lot calmer in person than he is in public. that could be why trump is gelling with him better than we would think from the outside. >> andrew kirtzman, good to have you. chuck rosenberg, always good to have you. sorry i wasn't here last week when you were here in new york. >> sorry to miss you. >> bummer.
thanks, guys. and former trump advisor michael caputo sat down with robert mueller's team. what did investigators ask? mr. caputo is live -- next. alice is living with metastatic breast cancer, which is breast cancer that has spread to other parts of her body. she's also taking prescription ibrance with an aromatase inhibitor, which is for postmenopausal women with hormone receptor-positive her2- metastatic breast cancer as the first hormonal based therapy. ibrance plus letrozole was significantly more effective at delaying disease progression versus letrozole. patients taking ibrance can develop low white blood cell counts, which may cause serious infections that can lead to death. before taking ibrance, tell your doctor if you have fever, chills, or other signs of infection, liver or kidney problems, are pregnant, breastfeeding, or plan to become pregnant. common side effects include low red blood cell
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so sophie, i have an xfi password, and it's "daditude". simple. easy. awesome. xfinity. the future of awesome. president trump says he has not obstructed justice. he's only one fighting back against a witch hunt. house intelligence committee found no collusion, coordinate or anything else with russia, he declared on twitter this morning. quick fact check -- it was the
republicans on that committee that came to that specific conclusion. their democratic colleagues were not so sure pointing out the committee failed to interview key players before the republicans ended their investigation. among them, paul manafort, michael flynn and the russian lawyer involved in that 2016 trump tower meeting. but the house committee we know is not the only game in town. robert mueller's team is still investigating collusion, according to hose wthose who han interview. one of them joins me now. michael caputo was a trump campaign manager from 2015 to 2016 and recently sat down with the special counsel's team. michael, thanks for being here. first question, what did they ask you? >> i have to be careful what i say because i know they're watching. but i look at this -- my participation in the mueller investigation, somebody compared to me looking through a straw rather through a really big pipe. i was in the campaign from november 15 to june 16.
so they're not asking me questions about obstruction during the whole comey thing. they're not asking me questions about financial crimes they have accused others of. they would only really ask me about collusion and that's pretty much what i sat through. >> well, they've asked you about collusion. do you think that they have a case? >> i've never thought they have a case. i'm more optimistic about that now even after sitting with them on wednesday. i think these gentlemen are doing what they're assigned to do. they were tasked to try and find russian collusion. they're digging every hole as deep as they can. and, unfortunately for them -- or unfortunately for those who believe that there is collusion, they're coming up dry each time. >> you've also said though that they're not just net fishing. they're spear fishing. they know what they're aiming at and they are deadly accurate. you've said that they know more about what you did in 2016 than you knew yourself. if you believe that they're as adept as they are or they know
as much as they do, how can you be confident that they don't have a case? >> i just know what i know from the campaign. i know from the people i work with on the campaign. i also know from the questions that i was asked. not just by mueller but also the senate and the house. i believe there's nothing there. i've been saying that from the very beginning. i believe there's probably a bit of confirmation bias over at the mueller investigation. but, frankly, i think these gentlemen and ladies are tasked with following these leads as far as they go. i'm not sure they're going to be disappointed if they find nothing, but they're not going to find anything. >> you've also said that so far -- or the questions you were asked, at least, were not focused on the president. who were they focused on? >> i don't really want to go into that directly. i think that might be construed as somewhat of an interference in this investigation. but i can tell you they didn't ask me about the president except peripherally, kind of like you would look at an address on a house or something as you are driving by. they didn't ask me about
anything named trump really at all. and they talked to me about my friends inside and outside the campaign. they really focused on what the media is focused on, in a lot of ways. all the wikileaks and dc leaks and guccifer leaks. but i have great confidence that's going to end up as a dry hole and we'll see there is no russian collusion between this campaign. >> are they trying to find out if there is any knowledge or back channel knowledge of the wikileaks releases before it came to be, that anyone in the trump team or trump orbit knew about them? >> you know, i know so little about those organizations and the strategy and tactics that went behind that. because if you remember, i left in june of 2016. so i don't -- i'm not quite sure that i would be the person to ask. but i can tell you that they're focused on it just like the media is. because if people were just receiving something that was announced to the public, that would be one thing.
i think it might be considered a crime if somebody was behind the scenes helping one of those organizations. im -- i was certainly asked about those organizations. i'm quite confident that will come out fine. >> i know you can't name any names but can you tell me if the questions focused on one person or many people? >> it was several people. i third that what's remarkable to me is, i was ready for this. i've got a great lawyer who was new york attorney general. he prepared me expertly. i've been watching this for a little while so i was ready for this. but when i came in there it was remarkable to me that they knew the answer to every question they asked. you go in front of the senate or house, they aren't really trying to find out who you know, what you knew, when you knew it. i walked in to the mueller investigation, they knew exactly who i knew. they knew how long i knew them and they knew how long i knew the facts that i knew. there was no confusion on their side. i think that in the end when
this comes together and they have to make a decision, they know everything and they're not going to find russian collusion. and if they don't after knowing everything, i think the american people can rest easy. >> one final question. rudy giuliani referred to fbi agents over the weekend, i believe -- or last week -- as storm troopers. in an interview with me last year, you compared the fbi to our own version of the kgb. now that you've sat down with the special counsel, do you believe that those descriptions are still accurate? >> i believe that the special counsel is a separate entity entirely to the fbi and i believe i was speaking about the special counsel when i compared this investigation to the infamous kgb. when i see an investigation breaking into a man's home with guns drawn and forcing his wife out of bed in her night clothes, i think about the kgb. when i hear about raids on a
president's attorney, despite all the clear relationship ander to -- attorney-client privilege that might exist, i think about the kgb. i think some of these tactics are hand-handed. i think it is not a good look. think in the end, this investigation is going to find no russian collusion and kgb or no kgb, that's the way it is going to end. >> rudy giuliani is the one back in the '80s who used to go after the lawyers of mafia families in order to convict those in the mafia. i wonder if he would compare those same tactics back then the same way you just did. >> i'm telling you, i'm enjoying watching rudy giuliani. i don't exactly agree with all the strategy and the roll-out here in the last several days. i think he is going to do a good job for the president. and how interacted with the mafia lawyers was -- i think i was probably a little bit young to remember much of that. but i know the people i faced in the mueller conference room
treated me professional. i think that might not be true with some of the leadership. we've seen some of the complaints from the president. i tend to agree with him. i tend to agree more with some of the problems out of the top of the department of justice. but the people i met with in the mueller conference room i think they're real pros. >> former trump campaign advisor michael caputo. thank you much. the white house is standing by their cia pick, gina haspel, despite reports she tried to back out last week and despite her history with waterboarding. what could it all mean for her confirmation hearing wednesday? that's coming up next.
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sh blnkenship. why does the president believe he can't win? >> let me answer the first question. in regards to acting director hasp haspel, her commitment to the agency is one of the reasons that she is the right person to lead it. she wants to do everything she can to make sure the integrity of the cia remains intact, isn't us necessarily attacked. and if she felt that her nomination would have been a problem for that and for the agency, then she wanted to do everything she could to protect the agency. at the same time, she wants to do everything she can to protect the safety and security of americans which is why she is 100% committed to going through this confirmation process and being confirmed as the next leader of the cia. >> the follow-up on blanken s e and best virginia.
why does the president believe he can't win? >> i have a few more limit acheses to the president and the hatch act and can't get into the specifics about an election prior to it taking place but i would refer you back to the president's tweet which i think is pretty clear. if he has more to say on it, he certainly will. >> sarah, rudy giuliani said that if necessary, it is possible that michael cohen could have paid off other women to keep then quiet about alleged affairs with the president. is that possible? are there other women out there who receive money from the president to stay quiet? >> i'm not aware of any other activity but i would refer you to rudy giuliani to respond to any of those questions or anybody else on the president's outside counsel. >> but you've been in his circle for a long time now. you were on the campaign. is that anything that came across your desk? >> again, i'm not aware of anything like that but i would refer you to the president's outside counsel. >> the president's got a may 12 deadline on the iran nuclear deal. is he wavering on this deal base
on pressure by the europeans like boris johnson this week? >> the president will make an announcement about what his decision is soon. he has a few days to do that and we'll let you know when he is ready to make a decision. >> in john kerry's shadow of diplomacy, how does that impact deliberations? >> i don't think it impacts it at all. i think the president spoke out about that pretty clearly and i don't think that we would take advice from somebody who created what the president sees to be one of the worst deals ever made. i'm not sure why we would start listening to him now. >> thank you, sarah. back to gina haspel. her confirmation hearing is on wednesday. it is an open hearing before the senate intelligence committee. are there any questions that are off-limits from the white house's point of view as relates to her career at the cia? >> we think that acting director haspel is a highly qualified, uniquely positioned individual to lead the cia. and we're very confident in her
ability to answer the questions that we know are going to come. and if you don't believe me, listen to some of the quotes from a lot of other people that have been very outspoken in their support for her. former director leon panetta said i i'm glad it's gina because, frankly, she is someone who really knows the cia inside and out. former director michael hayden says haspel is the absolute best choice to be director. michael morrell says she is capable, she has integrity and cares deeply about the mission of the agency and she cares deeply about the men and women of the agency. and lastly, former acting director and deputy director john mclaughlin said if you were picking a professional officer to head the agency, i can't think of a better person than gina. we want her to get a fair hearing, a thorough hearing and we are very confident that not only will all of the members of the senate see what the rest of us see and certainly even some of the people that have held that position see but that gina is more than qualified to run
and lead the agency. >> if she's asked any questions regarding enhanced interrogation techniques that took place during her tenure at the cia, that democrats say that she was involved with, she can answer them fully in an open hearing. is that your position? >> i'll let her address those questions as they come. but as we've said, we think all of the issues surrounding her record, her experience will be brought up and we're fully confident in her ability to answer those questions. >> yes, sarah. president putin in moscow was inaugurated today for a new six-year term. over the weekend, throughout russia, we saw police arresting it is estimated about 1,600 anti-putin demonstrators, including organizer and anti-corruption campaigner. we've seen the president tweet about other russia matters today but not about either of these things. what message does the president have for the kremlin and the
russian people about these events? >> first, the president congratulates him and looks forward to a time when we can hopefully have a good relationship with russia. however, the united states believes that everyone has a right to be heard and assemble peacefully. >> sarah, thank you. president has said in the past that the russia investigation is an excuse for democrats losing the 2016 election. but today he appeared to look forward to the 2018 mid-terms and tweeted out, quote, this is phony witch hunt going to go even longer so it wrongfully impacts the mid-term elections which is what the democrats always intended. he ended that with a question mark. does the president now believe that the russia investigation actually has to do with the 2018 mid-terms as well? >> i think he thinks that the idea that this narrative continues to be driven, the fact that a year-and-a-half later after spending most all of your time, every single day, looking into this and still finding nothing, the fact that we're still talking about it will --
and has the potential to impact the 2018 election. i think the point he's making is how ridiculous it is that we're still having this conversation and the depths to which in research has gone on and investigation has been conducted and still produced nothing. >> is the president pleased with the appearances of rudy giuliani over the last few days. >> >> i didn't speak with him specifically about his feelings about it. but certainly feels that he is an added member -- added value member to his outside special counsel. >> thank you, sarah. on that note, rudy giuliani said yesterday that the president could plead the fifth if he's subpoenaed by the special counsel. i want to know why the president would even go that route if he hasn't done anything wrong, as he said repeatedly, that there was no collusion and there was no obstruction of justice? >> that's a question you'd have to ask the outside special counsel. certainly koents lly couldn't a. >> in the same vein, does the president believe he is within
his executive powers to reject a subpoena from the special counsel's office? >> that's a question i would refer you to special counsel. >> i can follow up on gina haspel? >> i have to keep moving. >> the president this time around on iran, mike pompeo, secretary of state, you got john bolton, your national security advisor, they've been among the most prominent critics of the iran deal. is there any reason for think president trump won't kill the deal when saturday rolls around? >> the president will make that announcement very soon. we'll certainly keep you all posted on it as it happens. >> on epa, andrew wheeler is now confirmed as second in command at the epa. does the president think that he would be able for continue the deregulatory agenda that mr. pruitt has been in charge of were he to remove mr. pruitt? and given the sort of cascade of ethical problems, how close is -- what's the status of the review that you guys have been saying that you're doing, and is the president closer to removing mr. pruitt from office? >> i don't have any personnel
announcements on that front. certainly we have confidence in the number two. otherwise, the president wouldn't have asked had imto serve such a senior level position within the epa. i don't have anything further on that front. >> i want to touch back on china after the delegation came back. presuming that the president's had some briefing on that interaction now, can you tell us his reaction to the talks that happened if the u.s. plans to talk to china again before the may 22 public common deadline and what the sort of next steps are? >> sure. the president had a briefing this morning with members of the team that traveled. the president has a great relationship with president xi and we are working on something that we think will be great for everybody. china's top economic advisor, the vice premier, will be coming here next week to continue the discussions with the president's economic team and we'll keep you posted as those discussions are ongoing.
>> sarah, in a story this morning "the washington post," among things, reported there are persist tent rumors that mrs. trump does not live in this white house and that she lives with her parents somewhere in the suburbs. what do you make of those rumors? >> i make of the fact that just when you think "the washington post" can't get things any more wrong, they do. and that that is an outrageous and ridiculous claim. the first lady lives here at the white house. we see her regularly. and i think that's something that belongs in tabloid gossip, not on the front pages of the "washington post" and i hope that they'll do better next time. >> sarah, we're going to hear from the first lady in a moment. she'll promote, among other things, good behavior among dhirn children. part of this effort has to do with cyber bullying right now. does the president accept any responsibility for americans' skepticism that the first lady from the white house would be speaking out against cyber bullying? >> look, this is something that's extremely important to the first lady. i'm not going to get ahead of
her announcement and comments. in fact, i'm only going to take one last question so we have to make sure we get there so nobody misses that. the president will also be joining the first lady at that event so we want to make sure everybody has a chance to tune in. >> the question was about him, not about her. i know that -- we'll wait to hear what she says. does he accept responsibility for this climate that exists right now that there is a need to address cyber bullying. >> i think the idea that you're trying to blame cyber bullying on the president is ridiculous. when it comes to kids, that's something that's been problematic and something that we have seen over the last decade and the first lady sees it to be an important issue and something that she wants to address and she'll do that here shortly. >> thanks, sarah. there have been some reports that an israeli intelligence firm was hired to kind of dig up dirt on a former obama administration official regarding the iran nuclear deal. does the white house have any knowledge of that or the idea that any trump aides were
involved in hiring this intelligence firm? >> i'm not aware of anything on that front. if something comes up, we'll let you guys know. thanks so much. we hope you'll join us here in the rose garden with the first lady and the president rolling out her initiatives. thanks, guys. >> boy, a week away and nothing has changed! i found it just so interesting right there. sarah huckabee sanders getting tough with our own peter alexander and saying that it's ridiculous to blame the president of the united states for having anything to do with cyber bullying, which is a topic that the first lady has decided to take on, that she said that with a straight face is just, in my mind, remarkable. kristen welker is inside that briefing room. also nbc's national security intelligence reporter, ken dilanian is with us. ed mcmullen, former cia operative and former independent presidential candidate is here. also with me here, ian bremer,
president of the yoeurasian gro. author of "the new york times" best seller. i want to talk to you about gina haspel and her confirmation hearing that's coming up. she just had a meeting with senator joe manchin and they both went to the podium to talk to reporters, although manchin is the only one that spoke. let's listen. >> gina coming and speaking with me. we had a great conversation. we've talked about an awful lot of things that helped clarify for me and it was very helpful and i just appreciate her so much. i'm looking forward to the hearing on wednesday to see what my other colleagues and concerns they might have and questions they may have. and learn little more. so as of right now, it was a great meeting and i appreciate very much her being here. >> it was an excellent meeting, senator. thank you so much. i'm looking forward to wednesday. >> i'm looking forward to hear all the other concerns and questions and answers. >> thank you, sir.
>> miss haspel, why did you think about withdrawing your nomination on friday? >> there is senator joe manchin and cia director nominee gina haspel. looks like their meeting went pretty well. we should also tell you that the president has just tweeted. he says he is going to make his announcement on the iran deal i believe tomorrow. i will be announcing my decision on the iran deal tomorrow from the white house at 2:00 p.m. be sure to tune in to our hour here at msnbc. we were expecting a decision i believe on saturday, so this certainly pushes this up. first let's get to gina haspel. kristen welker, the white house is standing firmly behind her. are they more confident that her confirmation will be successful today than they were maybe a few days ago? >> you heard sarah sanders strike a note of confidence from the podium. and this comes after she and other top officials went to the cia on friday to convince haspel not to drop out of this nominating process. you heard sanders reference that
when she was asked directly about what the concerns were. she said, the reason why haspel is the right person for the job is because she holds the agency above all else. that is a reference to the fact that haspel's really concerned that some of these questions, some of the criticism, the scrutiny that she's getting for harsh interrogation practices could create difficulties for the cia itself. so that was a reference to some of the controversy that haspel's facing. and i think she is still facing an uphill battle. but again, sarah sanders striking a note of confidence and really reiterating that she and this president have full confidence in gina haspel. in fact, the president tweeting himself earlier today that haspel should continue to fight and win. so that's a message that we heard sanders echo from the podium. in terms of what we're expected to hear on the iran nuclear deal, she was pressed about that as well. not tipping the president's hand, but of course we've watched him, listened to him talk about this issue. of course when he was meeting with the president of france, as
well as the chancellor of germany, indicating that he is moving toward potentially pulling out. will that be the case? we'll have to wait and see. because he also expressed a willing in es to get a tougher deal done. so a lot of anticipation as we try to drill down on exactly what we'll hear from the president tomorrow. >> let he a put gina haspel on ice for a moment and get into the iran deal because we have ian bremer here and there are few people better to talk about this. if the president decides to pull out -- and it certainly looks like that -- what is that going to mean immediately? >> it is a mistake. it immediately means oil prices going up. immediately means all of our allies in europe are deeply disappointed. probably will be the single biggest slap in the face to our allies. it is bigger than leaving the transpacific partnership from the asian perspective. it is bigger than leaving the paris climate accord, jerusalem and moving the embassy. this you just saw boris johnson on fox and friends appealing
directly to the president in -- through television. it is a mistake. they should be giving some time. both the french and germans have said that they would work to get a tougher deal done with the united states on iran. they would try to engage on ballistic missiles, they would try to come up with something that would be a sunset clause so that there would be some sanctions if the iranians were to give up after ten years. it doesn't hurt trump at all to wait for two more months. >> any indication he would accept trying to negotiate a tougher deal? >> his ability to -- he has said from day one that this is the worst deal but that he doesn't -- not that he doesn't want to see a deal at all. he wants to see something that's actually stronger against iran. why not give the american allies a chance to come up with something? and if they don't, then trump can say, i heard you, and you failed, blaming them. >> you just mentioned macron was here, merkel was here, boris johnson is here today, he was talking to mike pompeo, now the secretary of state.
if they walk away having had no influence on the united states, what does that mean, one, for them at home, and, two, for our relationship? >> and the secretary of defense who has also been also has been saying that this deal that the iranstrans are fully implementing on it it's a slap in the face to him. it is damaging to a lot of relationships that do matter to president trump of the it weakens them. the french and the brits are still our allies, part of nato. you this better not going to be able to maintain the deal themselves because secondary sanctions from u.s. banks are needed. >> why is this -- give it, in i guess plainer terms, why should the american public care about whether or not the president stays in or pulls out? >> they should care for a much
more immediate reason. when obama did the iran deal they produced a lot more oil, and opec was basically on its last legs as a consequence. the united states is going to be the world's largest oil producer soon. they are going to take over from the saudis. we don't care as much about the middle east as we used to. that's the average american. if you want an america first deal you should care about american workers. the fact that he is willing to rip up this deal, which is much more relevant to to the saudis and the israelis, that's not an america first deal. i don't see why he doesn't use that as an argument and say i'm go the try to keep gas prices down. >> what does it mean with regard to the negotiations with north korea? >> it doesn't mean much. if the north koreans were actually seriously preparing toe denuclearization, in other words open themselves up to say regime change like gadhafi then i would say that fact that the american
are ripping up the iranian deal means we want be trusted. but they weren't going to denuclearization anyway. i think it is slooet completely separate from what is happening in iraq. >> what do you think about the black cube company, israeli company that was using their agents, if you will, to try to dig up dirt on those in the obama administration whoid might have had a hand in crafting the iran deal. >> they deny it. right? let's see what sort of -- how credible we think the digging actually is. fit turns out there was an effort to discredit the americans working on that deal and the journalists that were talking to them, clearly that would be very unfortunate in terms of american national security and would speak badly to the general sense of american patriotism of the president. >> ian bremmer, ian thank you
very much for going through this with us as it breaks. let's get back to gina haspel with ken delaney and evan, who we have. gina haspel arc lot of democrats will look at her and they are saying we don't need to have anybody in charge of the cia who has been involved in torture. but at the same time, the obama administration came in and they had their chance to punish those who were involved in torture during the bush administration. they did not do that n. fact, ned price was asked about this a little bit earlier today, former spokesperson for the obama national security council, and special candidate to president obama. and he said we had our chance, we didn't take it. and it would be something else if gina haspel became the first person to be held accountable, to face consequences for that -- for those decisions. what's your thinking? >> well, my thought is this. everyone who was involved in that program does bear some responsibility for it.
but the point is just that that was a program that was approved by our democratically elected leaders. it was signed off on by the department of justice at the time and it was implemented by the central intelligence agency amount of lot of people across the government were involved. again, i think everybody sort of bears responsibility for their own decision making. i think it was a policy that i wouldn't want to see us go back to. i think it was mistaken, circumstances were tough. but i do think it would be wrong to pin it all on one woman, gina haspel, who did what her government asked her to do. again, i still say everybody bears responsibility who was involved. but it's unfair i think i think to pin it on her. as it concerns her nomination now he is a highly competent cia officer. she is very well respected. i believe she deserve as hearing and she deserves the opportunity now that she has been nominated
to answer questions like what will you do if a president who seems to condone torture asks you to be involved in such a thing again, asks the agency to be involved this such a thing again? she deserves the opportunity to respond to that and reflect upon that program. i think she is going to give heart felt sincere answers that will put a lot of people's concerns to rest. that's what i expect to happen in that hearing. but i think he it just isn't the right thing to do to pin it all on her especially at a time when we have a president who if he doesn't nominate gina haspel, a career professionals or someone like her he is likely to nominate someone who is political ally and poll size their service in the agency. >> ken delaney what's your sense? >> it goes beyond the moral issue of torture. i agree with a lot of what you just said. but there is a lack of
information. the thing we have been reporting that she was a base chief in thailand where a detainee was water boarded remains classified. she will not be able to answer questions about what she did there. sarah sanders was asked whether she be able to answer every question about her role in torture sn the answer was no. the ranking democratic on the intelligence committee sent out a letter where he is criticizing the cia for failing to declassify more information about her record and releasing anecdotes like the time she met with mother theresa in africa. they are not saying they are ruling her out because of her involvement in the program but they want to ask her, you were there, what did you say about it? did it work? do you have any qualms? and she is not going to be able to answer those fundamental questions. >> we will be watching. gentlemen, thank you very much. we'll be right back.
stray that will do it for me this hour. i will see you at 5:00 5:p.m. eastern for she "mtp daily" daily. >> i'm kasie hunt in for ali velshi today. any moment from now the first lady will take to the podium to reveal her policy standings we will bring that you speech from the rose garden as soon as it starts. playing out in the backdrop, the trump administration battling it