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tv   All In With Chris Hayes  MSNBC  May 16, 2018 12:00am-1:00am PDT

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tuesday night. thank you so very much for being here with us. good night from nbc headquarters here in new york. >> tonight on all in -- >> i could actually run my business and run government at the same time. the president promotes jobs in china as the chinese invest half a billion into a trump property. >> as you know, i have a no conflict situation because i'm president. >> tonight the ethical and national security backlash. then, michael cohen, donald trump and the ukrainian politician who is about to face robert mueller. and the search for "traitors and cowards inside the white house." >> sir, has the white house apologized to john mccain. >> the incredible self-inflicted firestorm over white house leaks. >> it's not so much leaking as using the media to shiv each other. >> whether he all in" starts right knew.
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good evening from new york. i'm chris hayes. tonight a new detail that might help explain why our america first president is innics publicly focused on rescuing a chinese telecommunications company whose products our own national security agencies called major cyber security threat. you'll remember this was the tweet sunday morning. president xi of china and i are working together to give massive chinese phone company zte a way to get back into business fast. too many jobs in china lost. commerce department has been instructed to get it done." get it done, get zte back into business fast which is weird because it was the commerce department that just last month barred american tech firms from doing business with zte for a period of seven years. so why now is the president so gung ho to save a company his own administration punished for violating u.s. sanctions against iran and north korea? it's hard to believe he cares about saving chinese jobs. >> a real unemployment is
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anywhere from 18 to 20%. don't believe the 5.6. they can't get jobs because there are no jobs because china has our jobs. >> we're limping through the greatest jobs theft in the history of the world. they're stealing our jobs. they're stealing our companies. they're taking our money. >> okay. let's rule out the president is very concerned about chinese jobs. today there are a number of possible explanations for trump's brand-new position. one is that this could be part of a potential trade deal. a chinese delegation visited with trump officials today to continue negotiations. according to "washington post," the president has been told in recent days relaxing restrictions on zte was a prerequisite to get the chinese toes engage if discussions. yesterday, the president's own commerce secretary told reporters zte would not be part of trade talks with china. >> it also wouldn't surprise me if they would bring up the zte but our position has been that that's an enforcement action separate from trade.
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>> within hours the president directly contradicted the commerce secretary tweeting zte buys a big percentage of parts from u.s. companies reflective of a larger trade deal we are negotiatinging with china and my personal relationship with president xi. which is it? who knows. another possibility is the president is trying to curry favor with x jinping ahead of next month's summit with north korea. the u.s. may think it needs china to keep pressure on north korea to come to the table and get a deal and preparations for the summit hit a major snag today when the north suspended is talks with south korea denouncing joint military exercises between south korea and the u.s. so maybe that's why the president cares so much about keeping the chinese happy. or maybe just maybe it has something to do with the fact that last week just three days before the president started tweeting about zte, his business partner on a massive development
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project in indonesia which includes trump branded hotels, condos and a golf course announced the project has secured up to $500 million in u.s. dollars in wait for it chinese government loans. now, we don't know if that's the real story because the white house won't talk about it. >> explain the administration's perspective on how this wouldn't violate the emoluments clause and b, how it wouldn't violate the president's own promise that his private organization would not be getting involved in new foreign deals while he was president. >> i'll have to refer to you the trump organization. >> the trump organization can't speak on behalf of the president as the president, the heads of the federal government, the one responsible who needs to assure the american people. you don't have that responsibility. >> you're asking about a private organizations dealings that may have to do with a foreign government. that's not something i can speak
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to. >> today the white house canceled its daily press briefing without explanation. i'm joined by senator richard blumenthal, one of dozens of democratic lawmakers suing the president for allegedly violating the clause of the constitution. the deal that was enough of influenced in which the chinese government will give half a billion dollars in loans, is that to your mind a violation of the emoluments clause on its face? >> it stinks. it fails to pass the smell test and on its face violates the emoluments claus. there's no need for quid pro quo for it to violate the claus. we've already included that indonesian deal in our lawsuit. and that lawsuit bloomin'thal versus trump, i'm the lead plaintiff, was filed a year ago almost to the day, june 14th of last year. it will be argued in court june 7th. we're going to add additional details to that lawsuit. i think they will figure
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prominently in this legal action. >> if the white house was set on convincing you there wasn't anything stinky about there, that it wasn't a quid pro quo, what could they do to convince you of that? >> well, the president for one has to come forward to the congress and actually provide the details. so far, he's refused to do so. the congress has to consent to these kinds of foreign benefits or payments and this deal is only one of numerous such deals that we name in the lawsuit that involve the president violating the constitution. there's no question that the president of the united states is defying the constitution and breaking the emoluments clause. the fact we're asking these questions shows how he has shattered the ethical norms and violated basic principles of law by failing to come to congress and seek its consent. i hope the judge will agree.
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>> what was your reaction to the two zte tweets? >> my reaction was that this kind of reversal of the united states banning this company which is so clearly betrayed the trust of our government and the norms of international law is unconscionable and inexplicable. i found it difficult to believe. now we have some explanation. the timing and circumstantial evidence points to some kind of quid pro quo. we can't really know. >> you think that's possible? you think it's plausible the president of the united states just straight hup one for the other invests in my deal, i will get your company back on the goodside of the u.s. government? >> i hope and i really do hope that that kind of suspicion problems to be untrue. the only way we'll know is for the president to come forward with the details. so far he's refused to do so. >> i should note one of the president's nominees testified today on the security threat of
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zte. the intelligence community is on the record with this committee and the american people with respect to the threat posed by china telecom. he was asked if he would ever use a zte phone and he said i would not, senator and not recommend anyone else would use it. do you think the fears are justified? >> the fears are certainly justified. we bound to be not only that zte's products could be hackable by the chinese, could be a security threat to our troops and others if they use them but also that zte has concealed evidence about its supposed compliance with an order that it separate senior personnel responsible for the betrayal. so i'm hoping that we will have our day in court for the sake of the american people that we will show these emoluments could have been avoided had the president divested himself from the trump organization. he continues to own the trump organization.
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and that's the kind of emoluments violation that the founders sought to directly stop and they regarded congress as representatives of the american people in enforcing the emoluments claus. we're the only one who have standing to enforce it. >> senator richard bloomin'thal, thanks for joining me. for more on the president's conflictses of interest, i'm joined by nick contest sorry, reporter for the "new york times," chris lu, assistant to president barack obama. chris, let me start with you. what do you think of this. >> well, look, senator blumenthal talked about how much this stinks and the conflict of interest that's inherent in this. there are two other norms the president is violate here. one is that presidents do not get involved in enforcement actions particularly enforcement action that your secretary of commerce has stuck his neck out on. what's ironic here is not only did zte trade with iran and north korea, when they were caught on this they ended up lying about it and gave bonuses
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to the employees who were involved in this. so it's the exact reason why you don't get involved in this precisely at a time when the president is reimposing sanctions on iran and companies that do business with iran. so that's another norm that's been violated. the other norm is you don't issue policy pronouncements by twitter. you do it after an orderly prols process. the white house press office as well as secretary ross were caught off guard by this announcement. >> it also brings to mind how little we know about the scope of the president's businesses. will he that one press conference. they showed all the folders with empty pages and that's it. that's all we've gotten. >> in fact, we have seen quite a lot and every time we get a glimpse of the president's business or his in-laws businesses it's disturbing. consider the pattern. the kushner family trying to raise money with visas in china for the real estate developments. you have a trip to india by the trump kids in conjunction with
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other things happening in the administration and now this. every time a new deal pops up, you see people in the trump family making real estate or financial deals on the margins of administration policy. and that pattern is what is so striking. and we can't responsibly connect the two. but the fact that it keeps happen is striking. >> my question to you nick, as a reporter who works with documents and financial records, what would you need to see to report out and know whether things were on the up and up. >> you would have to have in-depth documentation of when the discussions began for some of these projects, the terms on them. but really you would have to have some inside knowledge of discussions and channels in which the president and his team and the president's family. slurg and you'd have to know what was interesting between official action and private action on the family's part. it's very hard to get. >> chris, one of the things the president said in that
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transition press conference with the tritt prop pages of paper which remains one of my favorites, was that he wasn't going to talk to the kids about his adult children about the business. later he's contradicted that. is there any way to enforce that? he could do whatever he wants to do on this score. >> that's what we've learned these norms are invisible guardrails and if you have a president who is intent on running over to the guardrails particularly when you have a congress that is not going to be a coequal branch, no, there is no way of enforcing all this. the hypocrisy on this incredible. in 2009, we had the $800 billion stimulus program. president obama gave funding for clean energy projects and republicans were howling about how we were picking winners and losers among different companies. we were at least picking among american companies as winners and losers. not picking it chinese companies which had serious national security issues.
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>> there's is the uranium one story which was a favorite on fox news which was a russian acquisition and it had to go through an actual process with a board that evaluated and unanimously said this acquisition is okay and the allegation was pay for play and clinton's people could say look, they ran the process and the process came through this way. in this case, he is overriding what the process produced in terms of zte's status. >> it's worse than that. look, of all the concessions the president could make to china in what might be an important trade negotiation, to pick the one concession aside from say steel tariffs that also raises a concurrent national security implication to pick that one and knowing that the chinese suggested that it's a prerequisite, if they care so much about protecting this one access to the u.s. market and u.s. parts, it should make him wonder why they care so much about this and maybe listen to his own bureaucrats on there question. >> there's also the question, chris, however it's being receive inside the white house what the clooez are thinking
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when the go-ahead is given through a government backed loan to a project they know is connected to the president. >> that's a problem. look, the indonesian project may be completely separate from what's happening with zte, but the optics of this stink. you said that senator blumenthal said it. it's why we have divestment rules and why you don't have previous president who'ses have business interests because anytime the president takes action, you're going to question the legitimacy of it. >> final question for you, nick. slightly adjacent to this, you have a story you broke with your colleague about the fbi now investigating cambridge analytica, the notorious firm that was hired by the trump campaign run by conservative billionaire robert plerser or backed by him. what have you learned about that. >> the fbi and the justice department have opened what may be a separate investigation from the mueller probe into cambridge
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analytica and concurrent with an investigation by the uk version of the fbi. and they're looking at financial practices, at data practices, at violation of european data laws on the uk side. this appears to be new. they've been making the rounds of financial institutions that have done business with cambridge analytica talking to ex-employees. we thought the chapter was over for this company. they're now bankrupt and going out of business. in fact, their journey is just beginning it seems. >> from my gloves your reporting the article i read before i came on air, it seems like a fairly serious inquiry. >> that's right. it's not just the fbi making rounds and talking. there's an actual person who is heavily involved in cyber crimes at justice involved in this. that suggests they are further along than just making the rounds and checking boxes. >> i'm going to need to get full bird watching books to write down all the criminal inquiries and keep track of them when i spot hem. chris lu and nick, great to have you both.
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stormy daniels lawyer, perhaps you heard of him michael avenatti has been teasing a bombshell story tweeting out images showing a qatarry investor entering trump tower with avenatti claiming that investor bragged about bribing trump officials. he was indeed in that elevator. did he meet with trump transition officials in trump tower during the transition december 2016 and then just a short time ago we got this, the daily mail reporting, i'm quoting here, michael cohen asked qatari investor for millions of dollars which he said he would pass to trump family members. that is a huge deal if its true.
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we don't know if it is yet. the story i should note is sourced to a single unnamed kuwaiti source and the daily mail has a somewhat mixed record. it the did break important stories including rob porter's spousal abusal which led to his resignation. to make sense of this and a bunch of other stuff, legal analyst amy rocha, former assistant attorney in the southern district of new york and investigative correspondent michael isikoff. and michael, lets me start with you. that daily mail story is sourced to a single kuwaiti official recounting a conversation he said he had with this individual after the meeting in trump tower. what do you make of it? >> hard to know. look, as crass, as michael cohen has been and it's hard to imagine that even he would advertise the fact that he was going to pay off trump family members to a foreign national.
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i mean, you know, cohen clearly you know, works at the edges, was pretty crude in the way he shook down american companies, but you know, advertising he's going to funnel funds to the first family seems -- something he even he would know is not advisable. >> i would need more confirmation to believe the story. it seems totally possible and almost sort of obvious that michael cohen was probably hanging a lot around trump tower a lot during that period trolling for business now that weigh learned his m.o. >> there is a significant development for him this week with the news that this former
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ukrainian lawmaker who devised this pro-russian peace plan that was going to offer an opportunity for the russians to lease crimea from ukraine for 50 to 100 years, that he is going to testify before mueller's grand jury. for one thing, that shows that you know, the legal troubles facing cohen are both not just in the southern district but also continuing in the mueller investigation itself. and the fact that a foreign national like ardemenko would be willing to accept a subpoena and testify suggests that he is in some way cooperating with mueller's investigation. he doesn't have to fly over to washington to testify before a grand jury. you know, mueller doesn't have cop pullcy power to force him to do so. that's probably an ominous development for cohen, as well. >> as someone who is a prosecutor in the southern
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district, what do you think of that. >> i think that's right. it's interesting that sort of each little fact that comes out is you know, we get closer and closer to it being verified. as you said, this is only one source about this claim about the millions of dollars, but you know, first it's with the photograph. now have confirmation. >> he was in the building. >> and we have confirmation from ardemenko he is being subpoenaed. he did meet with cohen. we're trying to connect the dots and we only have about three dots. mueller's connecting the dots and he's got a lot more to connect. >> how hard is it to get? what does it mean. >> i was surprised too when i saw the ukrainian politician who pitch this had peace plan that would lift sanctions that was carried through michael cohen back to the trump white house. how hard is it or unusual to get
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someone like that to fly in for grand jury testimony. >> michael is right. there is no grand jury compulsory process in another country. if he ever wanted to come here again which it sounds like he does, he could be served with a subpoena then. >> you're not without leverage if you're mueller in this situation. >> unless he never wants to do business here again and it doesn't sound like he's that kind of person. so you know, it was going to -- it sounds like it probably would have happened inevitably anyway. obviously, look, he might have other leverage over him. we don't know. but certainly that's one way to get someone who is out of the country to come now on your timeline is look, if you ever want to come back here, you have to do it then. you might as well do it now. >> the other thing about ardemenko coming to the grand jury, the white house has tried hard to say there's no collusion. now there's all this talking about obstruction. him flying to the u.s. on a friday to talk to the grand jury doesn't really square with that.
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>> no, let's remember why this is potentially significant. ardemenko gives this peace plan for the lifting of sanctions in exchange for these various concession to the russians to felix sater, the long-time trump business associate who then gives it to cohen who then allegely gives it to michael flynn. now, why are those characters still of interest to mueller? remember, it was sater and cohen be who were trying to do that second trump tower business deal while trump was running for president. they were pursuing this business arrangement to build a trump tower in moscow. something the american voters knew nothing about but we learned well after the election. and also, remember, this is february 2017. this is during a period when the -- when the trump white house is pursuing the idea of lifting sanctions on russia without any concession on the russians' part. and you know, the fact that that came right after the election
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after everything that happened during the election, clearly mueller is trying to connect those dots. >> all right. mimi rocah and michael isikoff, thank you both. why the president is calling members of his staff apparently traitors and cowards. a fine tuned machine of the white house next. needed to apologize to senator olympic cane.
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>> senator mccain apology, mr. president? >> senate republicans are reportedly furious and openly seething over the white house's treatment of john mccain. today's closed door meeting with the president was a perfect opportunity for them to bring it up to his face. that is the insult by one of his staffers in a meeting. except no one did. republicans asked two questions, neither about that comment about mccain's impending death. five days an ago an aid to trump said they didn't need to get a vote from john mccain because the senator is dying anyway. that story quickly leaked to the hill. sarah huckabee sanders blasted staffers for the leak telling them i'm sure this conversation is going to leak, too. she was right. it did. the white house has yet to issue a public apology. the president tweeted yesterday the leakers are traitors and cowards.
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i want to bring in jennifer ruben, "washington post," and francesca chambers from the daily mail. francesca, why does account white house leak as much as it does. >> well, kellyanne conway pointed to this yesterday when she said there are some people who seem to want to shiv their colleagues. of course, there are also people in the administration i think as it pertains to this one who might be very upset about what was said about senator john mccain which is a fellow republican and perhaps wanted to force the white house into a position where they had to do something. that hasn't worked so far because kelly sadler i was told today still has a job at the white house and still has not apologized publicly as of this time for the comment she made and raj shah, the deputy press secretary told reporters in the briefing yesterday that the white house wasn't going to comment on this further and refused to say whether or not he thought it was an inappropriate remark. >> jennifer, i can't imagine them apologizing over anything certainly not this. >> right. frankly, it's almost a direct
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quote from president trump who has always disapparentlied john mccain and just about everybody else and everything else. the reason that these people babe in there fashion and use this kind of language is because the fish rots from the head. that's what the president does and he sets the tone. they emulate it. the other reason i think they are leaking this is a slowly dying administration in which scandal and incompetence and dishonesty are going to be what is it's known for. everyone is scramblinging to distance themselves so they're painted as somehow purer than the next guy to get their position out so that the blame falls elsewhere. they're not traitors. . that's something far different. in one sense they are cowards. this they really don't believe in this administration, they know this president is so corrupt, they should leave but don't have the nerve to do so. >> it's interesting you said this is the axios source, axios which runs a ton of blind items an sometimes in helpful bullet form says part of the reason
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they're leaking is to make sure there's an accurate record of what's really going on in the white house. do you francesca, does that square to you. >> what jennifer's saying i'm not sure i agree with her impending doom, things are closing in, implosion in the white house. is that how it feels there, do you think? >> i think she makes a very good point about the fact that sometimes things are leaking out into the public from the white house because various staffers want to get their position in front of the president who think if they can get it into the press, then the president will look at that point and listen to it. sometimes the white house is purposefully leaking information because they want to get reaction from the public and we've seen that several times in this administration before they've put out plans. you repeatedly have the white house saying these are anonymous leaks and none of these things are happening and they move forward with the plans shortly afterwards. >> also, we should note my sense is the president talks to the press off the record all the time.
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he is one of the leakers. par excellence. at the certainly has a record of doing that back in the new york tabloid days. there's also it seems to me the issue usually white houses convey information to the president through a closed process in which people produce briefing books, the president reads them and that's how he gets a lot of his information. that doesn't appear to be the case in this white house. if you want to get something before the president, the surest way is to leak that to the media that he is cone assuming all the time. >> or go directly on "fox & friends"ton get his attention. that is the problem. he does not read. he doesn't know what good advice is so he doesn't seek out knowledgeable people. he has eliminated anybody who he perceives as less than sick cofan tick to him. you have people like hr olympic master replaced by john bolton. you have a whole series of firings for people who are insufficiently loyal to him. right now you have a closed
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circus -- closed circuit and circus actually of people who will not tell him bad news, who not argue with him, who confirm his judgment. if there's someone within the bureaucracy who feels des prats to get his attention, this is one way to do it. >> is it understaffed in that white house? it strikes meese that it must be. >> well, the white house would say they don't need as many staff for president trump. you look at the communications director position which remains empty at this point. they'll say that the president is his own best communications director. he doesn't need someone to be running point on communications directly and that they have plenty of other white house staffs like sarah sanders and raj shah at the white house, as well. >> jennifer and francesca, thanks for joining us. still to come, the urgent health concern the epa and white house do not want you to know about it because it would be a "public releases nightmare." the reporter that uncovered the story just ahead. plus tonight's thing 1, thing 2 starts next.
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of thing 1 tonight, you may remember former texas congressman blake farenthold from this image taken back in 2009 of then candidate at a pajama party in a ducky print ouncie or maybe from this fairly disastrous appearance on there is very show. if a tape came out with donald trump saying i really like to rape women, you would continue to endorse him? >> i -- again, i'd -- that would be bad.
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and i would have to -- i'd consider it. >> would be bad or you may remember him from the most recent time he made headlines last month when he resigned just as the house ethics committee was set to rule against him. our old friend is back in the news today. it's good news for him. he's got a new job, lobbying for a port in his home state of texas, a port that got over $2 million in federal money a couple years ago thanks to farenthold. reportedly making $160,000 a year. more good news from mr. farenthold because he has outstanding debts, namely $84,000 of public money used to settle a sexual harassment case against the former congressman which he promised to pay back. you'll never guess what he had to say about that promise today. that's thing 2 in 60 seconds.
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now former congressman blake farenthold made a big promise to taxpayers last year pledging he would pay back every penny of the $84,000 in federal funds he spent on set ling a sexual harassment suit. >> i'm going to hand a collect over this week to -- to probably speaker ryan or somebody and say look, here's the amount of my settlement. give it back to the taxpayers. >> well, that would have been nice if he had done that or if he had taken the suggestion by texas governor greg abbott to give it to the state to cover the cost of the special election to fill his seat but it's been six months. he hasn't done that either. so if you're out there holding your breath for a collecting from congressman ducky jams, let it go. today he told abc "i have been advised by my attorneys not to repay that."
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the trump administration is going to war with itself. after the white house warned of a public relations nightmare if a federal study is released about contaminated water supplies near certain chemical plants and military bases nationwide. according to an e-mail obtained by politico an unidentified white house aide we cannot seem to get the hhs agency for toxic substances to realize the potential public relations nightmare this is going to be. more than three months after that e-mail that will crucial report has still not been made public. andy snyder is a reporter for
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politico who wrote that piece and joins me now. let's start annie with what the report is and where did it originate? >> this is a toxicology profile being conducted by an agency within the department of health and human services. it's meant to be purely scientific look at the dangers of certain chemicals in this case it's per flournated compounds used broadly in fire fighting foam in teflon for anti-stick properties. this is meant to be a stick assessment of what are the dangers of this and at what level of exposure. that's the key. how much of this stuff can we be exposed to the without seeing health effects and what's point do we have to start worrying. > someone in hhs is says here
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are the thresholds when you should starting to worried about this. is it more people than previously thought might have to be worried? >> so that's good question. this is a review of previously published research. it's not new research being conducted. and it is in fact lower than what epa has previously said. epa put out a health advisory for this class of compounds for a couple of them in 2016. this is an area of rapidly developing research. shortly after that epa health advisory came out, new research came out finding effects at even lower levels of exposure particularly related to the immune system effects. this study found for particularly vulnerable populations children, infants, breastfeeding moms even lower level of exposure than epa previously said could be dangerous. >> so that he seems like a pretty important thing. lower levels of exposure to this chemical in the water for children and babies and moms breastfeeding. that could be harmful. now, this makes its way to the white house and i want to read from the unidentified white
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house aide. the public media and congressional reaction to the numbers will be huge. the impact to epa and defense departments will be extremely painful. we can't seem to get them at hhs to realize the potential public relations nightmare this is going to be. what has happened since then? >> so there has been, well, first of all, the study has not come out. nothing has happened on the administration's front. the e-mails indicate there had been some reluctance at the hhs agency to reveal all of the information. this agency is known for being very slow but there already strong indications there was pressure exerted on the agency not to release the study in a timely manner. in the time since we've reported this though, there's been strong reaction on capitol hill. these compounds are in pretty much every american's blood and there are known could be tam nations of water supplies. a lot of military bases, it was used in firefighter foam by the miller and near factories and
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plants where these things were produced. there's strong concern from constituents and lawmaker who's represent them. >> you noted today mike turner was the first republican to call for the release of the quote nightmare chemical assessment the trump administration sought to block. is he on armed services. his district has a lot of this or has this clem cal in the drinking water. so do you think we'll see more of that? >> absolutely. so in the time since then, we've seen a couple other republicans come out with statements. senator capito of west virginia who is on the senate appropriations panel where pruitt is testifying tomorrow has also expressed some concerns. she and democratic senator joe manchin of west virginia have been very concerned about it in west virginia. we've also seen statements from thom tillis of north carolina who notably was one of the two republican who's voiced opposition to the trump administration's nominee now failed nominee to head the chemicals office at epa. he was a former industry consultant and his nomination did not proceed because he couldn't get the votes largely
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because the state's twos republican senators opposed it. their state is dealing with some huge clem cal contamination crises including a crises included one related to what we're talking about here called gen-ex in the cape fear river. >> annie snider, this is a fantastic piece of reporting. primary night in america in the age of trump, the races to watch next. hello. let's go for a ride on a peloton. let's go grab a couple thousand friends and chase each other up a hill. let's go make a personal best, then beat it with
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your personal better than best. let's go bring the world's best
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primary night in america in the age of trump, the races to it's primary night in four states, idaho, nebraska, oregon,
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and notably pennsylvania, a new court-ordered congressional app and all-male congressional delegation. the outcome of tonight's races should provide what's moving voters now. early reporting suggests it's not the dizzies trump-driven news cycle. democrats running on health care, response to voters' worries about rising premiums. to help analyze what's moving voters jeff weaver for bernie sanders' 2016 campaign, author of "how bernie won: inside the revolution that's taking back our country." i saw you this morning in washington, d.c., at the festival. >> you did a great job, chris. >> well, thank you very much. kind of you. i enjoyed the panel. we talked about the rule of law, sally yates. one thing that struck me talking about the message to voters and doing two things at once. take a listen. >> i believe progressives can do two things at once. we can focus on the agenda and what to do there and protect our democracy. >> what was your takeaway of hearing a lot of prominent politicians talk about where the party is at and where its messaging is at right now?
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>> i think amy klobuchar, bernie sanders talked about issues that matter to voters and i do think there is a bifurcation which is a lot of us care about the assault on democracy, and we expect our political leaders to defend our democracy from the assault that we see every day from donald trump and his entire administration. at the same time voters are concerned about rising premiums and wage stagnation and a whole host of issues that affect their pocketbooks. and i think what amy klobuchar and a lot of candidates, doug jones, a range of folks who were competing at a congressional or state level we can talk about what affects people's bottom lines, high gas prices, et cetera, at the same time we say this is a democracy under assault from donald trump. i think donald trump requires us
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to do both of those things. talk about what's affecting families, kitchen table issues, and protect our democracy from the assault on the judiciary and the free press. >> jeff, you're nodding your head. >> i am. we do have to do both things at once. i think as the book you mentioned, we discussed in the book, when you poll voters, when you talk to voters no matter where they come from they have a very similar set of things they're looking for. they want economic security for their family. they want to be able to have their kids have a better life than they do, a family that can live in dignity, social dignity. the question is are we articulating a platform or program that speaks to those issues and at the same time speaks to the very different barriers that different communities face in trying to reach that sort of set of common aspirations. i think sometimes we fall down
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because either we -- i'll use 2016 as a sort of microcosm of this. bernie sanders talk very much about the sort of aspirational view much more so than i think the focus was in the clinton campaign. the clinton campaign focused more on the barriers many communities faced. i think we need to merge those so we are talking at the same time about a common vision for america that uplifts all people while at the same time acknowledging many communities have different barriers and higher obstacles to reach that set of common aspirations. when you do that i think you'll put together the kind of coalition we need to win. >> it's funny you say that. it strikes me that when you get down to the grassroots level and you read -- if you talk to people in races, talk to people running, you report on what's happening in the democratic party, there have been pretty pitched primary fights. it doesn't strike me there's a
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really intense democratic base at this moment in 2018 particularly when you compare to 2010 when the tea party just came after a bunch of democratic republican incumbents and threw them out of office. >> absolutely. i would say the greatest irony is that during the obama age republicans decided to go far right and they knocked out a bunch of moderate republicans. in this age under donald trump democrats are concentrated, trying to think through who is the best candidate. sometimes that will be a progressive candidate, sometimes a moderate candidate. the kind of warfare in 2016 in previous eras, people are practical candidate who can win. i take jeff weaver's point about trying to build a coalition where you both marry the issues around and both of those issues together are uniting progressive candidates to take on what we see as a real assault on democracy and a whole host of progressive values.
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>> it will matter where you're running, right? >> do we want candidates who will bring back voters we lost to trump? and that's entirely the wrong question. bernie sanders won in rural areas. the way to get to the people we have lost is to speak about a bold, progressive agenda. >> thank you very much for your time today. it was good to see you that morning, neera. today is the day the first three episodes of why is this happening, my brand-new podcast,
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are now available for streaming. we have some amazing feedback from people who have already listened. thank you for that. if you haven't checked it out, you should. go to tune in, whatever you use to subscribe or listen, and let me know what you think. that is "all in" for this evening. tonight as the president cries foul over the, quote, russian witch hunt, rudy giuliani tells nbc news tonight that the trump and mueller teams are in a holding pattern in their talks toward a sit-down interview. minutes ago, a late-breaking story just posted by "the new york times." plus is it over before it begins? kim jong-un threatens to back out of the much anticipated summit with donald trump. and voters back at the polls today in four states. steve kornacki manning the big board tonight with full results. "the 11th hour" on a tuesday evening begins now. well, good evening once again from our nbc news headquarters here in new york.


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