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tv   MSNBC Live With Alex Witt  MSNBC  September 2, 2018 6:00am-7:00am PDT

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professes to be. that does it for me. thanks for watching. i'll see you back here next sunday. now to my colleague, frances rivera. >> happy anniversary to you. nice flashback for us to enjoy, thank you. good morning to you. i'm frances rivera in new york at msnbc world headquarters. with the with t alex witt is off today. direct message the president takes to twit we are a series of remarks including one that appears in some of the shots taken at the mccain memorial. new information on how jared kushner and evan ta trump ended up as surprise attendees at the cathedral. the gop candidate for governor in florida being accused of racist remarks. the whole affair may be spurring more racially charged fallout. details ahead. o, canada, the battle over trade with neighbors to the north. who is really winning a fight the president started?
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we begin with new reporting this morning in the mood in the white house during senator mccain's funeral. the president going on a tweet storm before and after he left the white house to golf, in one tweet appearing to hit back at meghan mccain who took several swipes at him during her emotional eulogy. the president focusing most of his grievances against the mueller investigation and giving congress an ultimatum over nafta amid negotiations with canada. let's turn to nbc white house correspondent jeff bennett who has more on that. can you describe what happened yesterday in d.c.? it's really kind of a split screen moment. >> reporter: it really was, frances, good morning. it's hard to know for sure what drove the president's tweet storm but we predicted he would react the way he did in part because it's done it before. think back to april, the funeral service for the late first lady barbara bush. president trump wasn't invited to attend that service either and at the time he was in florida and he spent the morning
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firing off a series of off-topic tweets before he then headed out to play a couple rounds of golf and that's precisely what happened yesterday. yesterday we saw the president send off these tweets attacking the fbi, the justice department, he tried to ramp up the pressure campaign he's putting on canada as those nafta talks pick up next week, this coming week on wednesday, but there was one tweet, frances, that caught our eye. the president tweeted "make america great again!" was he responding directly to meghan mccain's eulogy the america of john mccain has no need to be made great again because america was always great. we don't know for sure but the president had the opportunity to watch her speech. according to the white house pool report that gets put out every day by a small group of reporters that travels with the president, and tracks his movements to the minute, we know that he headed to his golf course in virginia the precise moment that meghan mccain wrapped up her eulogy and prepared to take her seat so it would suggest he got the message
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loud and clear. >> geoff bennett for us at the white house thank you. i bring in eugene scott for "the washington post" and jeff mason white house correspondent for reuters. let's pull the lens back here and look at this. you have the national cathedral, rows and rows of pretty much everyone and anyone who is anything in d.c. and then as geoff just described, you have the president along with his white house chief of staff jon kelley at the memorial. president trump was the one left out, leaving those tweets for all of us to see. any insight on what's going through the president's mind? >> it was a message both to president trump and to the country about his desire for more bipartisanship and civility in washington, those were values that senator mccain pushed for
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really his entire political career, and he's been very frustrated and obviously there's been a fairly significant feud between him and the president since the president started running for office, and since he's been in office, and that was on display yesterday at that very, very lovely cathedral service, in which he asked two of his former political rivals former president barack obama and george w. bush to speak and did not ask the president to come. so obviously president trump probably frustrated in general about the attention that has been paid to somebody who he also viewed as a rival and as someone who was not supporting his agenda, but there was a pretty swift and clear rebuke to him in that service yesterday. >> right, and eugene speaking to that, new reports that suggest the president is becoming increasingly isolated in the white house, what are you hearing about that and how is that manifesting?
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>> we're hearing individuals in the white house who have the president's ear and ability to control his twitter usage, and his comments during rallies when he's hoping to connect with his base. it's increasingly limited. we've seen the number of departures leaving the white house be consistent, even as we head into the midterms, and the administration is looking for a message of stability to carry to voters to let them know that they should approve of trump's first couple of years in the white house more than they actually do. whether or not that message is going to carry through just isn't yet clear. as we see in polling, it's looking like the republicans will not do as well in the midterms as the president would like. >> right, jeff, you touched on this a bit. clearly where there's references to president trump during some of the eulogies that we heard, the powerful words, a reminder here and we'll talk about it. let's take a listen. >> he respected the dignity inherent in every life, a dignity that does not stop at
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borders and cannot be erased by dictators. perhaps above all, john detested the abuse of power, could not abide bigots and swaggering despots. >> so much of our politics, our public life, our public discourse can seem small and mean and petty, trafficking and bombast and insult and phony controversies and manufactured outrage. it's a politics that pretends to be brave and tough but in fact, is born of fear. >> america does not boast because she has no need to. the america of john mccain has no need to be made great again because america was always great.
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>> so we heard those strong comments and the reporting from geoff bennett we heard earlier here at the top of the hour that the timing of those tweets before he went to golf "make america great again" you connect the dots, jeff but you wrote about it in your latest article. what might be the lingering fallout afterwards? >> we don't know nor sure but we can speculate that he is wanting to get his message out again after a few days where there's been so much concentration on the legacy of senator mccain, but i can tell you, being in that room yesterday, or in the cathedral, it was absolutely clear that there was a message that senator mccain wanted to get across and that those individuals whose parts of their remarks you just played wanted to get across. sometimes you have to think as a reporter, all right, am i getting this right? am i giving too much emphasis to this? yesterday it was so clear particularly after meghan mccain
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made her remarks and in the perhaps more subtle but still direct comments that the two former presidents made. >> absolutely. direct or indirectly, you have the comments from former presidents referencing there to a current sitting president. eugene, can you remember the time where you've been even talking about that or going back and reflecting on the words of former presidents about a current one? >> well, i think a lot of times we think that the message that former presidents are making is directed to a current president, but i think a lot of what bush and obama said was directed to voters and the american public, and some ideas they wanted americans to remember as they head to the polls this fall that they have the ability to make america what it is that they think america should be, that they, the people, elect their representatives, and that if they see something coming out of the white house and congress as of now, that they, themselves, could change that. and so i think what they were really trying to do more than use this moment to attack trump
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was use it to inspire the american public. >> and you watching the coverage yesterday you see the rows and rows of names and faces that we know in politics, certainly the case, but also we noticed that ivanka and jared, they were there, they attended the funeral and according to the "new york times," ivanka was asked to attend earlier in the week by senator lindhcy graham, who had cleared his invitation with the senator's widow and that he invited ms. trump before she expressed her condolences to her during a meeting on capitol hill. how do you think it played out and do you think there was hesitation on the part of ivanka and jared kushner to maybe not attend? >> well it's hard to say what they were thinking, but obviously they decided to come, and if it was lindhcy graham who invited them, that is another sign of lindhcy graham's role in trying to play a little bit of a bridge between the white house and the senate and some other republicans.
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that was not necessarily a role that john mccain, his dear friend, would play or would have played at all, but i know senator graham has said that that was not a thorn in the side of their relationship, but it was very interesting to see them there yesterday, certainly because of the absence of ivanka trump's father, but it's worth noting that there were other members and prominent members of the trump administration in the audience, also white house chief of staff john kelly and other prominent members of his administration. >> of course it makes you wonder and think about the dynamic they may have especially with ivanka and jared there, with the other members of the family, whether meghan mccain, how that would be. eugene, did they know they were going to be there? do we know they were going to be there as far as that going and how is that dynamic between daughters, meghan mccain and evivanka trump? >> i can't speak specifically to the relationship between meghan mccain and ivanka trump.
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we have seen on "the view" repeatedly meghan mccain criticized the president for his policies and words that there's been some appeal to ivanka perhaps to be some level of clarity as the president suggested she would when he was trying to convince the american public she belonged in the white house. i think the true test whether ivanka and jared and kellyanne and john kelly's presence at the memorial if it had any weight, if it mattered will be if there is a change moving forward, if they heard the words that came out of so many people's mouths about what it is they want america to be, if they take those ideas and convictions back to the white house and try to encourage the president to abide by them. this would be the 50th time perhaps i imagine that someone was hopeful that this type of thing could persuade president trump to lead differently, and therefore, that's why many people have little hope that he actually can, but this could be a turning point.
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>> i want to take a turn here to another topic, jeff, before i let you guys go, on nafta. the president, the talks will continue, the marathon talks that led to nowhere, will pick up on wednesday. what do you see come out of that, at this point, no deal with canada in the works and again, a possibility on wednesday for some progress? >> well, the president is certainly putting a lot of pressure on canada and that started last week, when we announced that they had already reached a deal with mexico, and said that we may or may not bring canada into that deal. what is interesting, though, is he certainly has leverage in these negotiations because mexico is already on board but if you look at the response from business, and from lawmakers on capitol hill who are saying we want canada to be part of this deal, we want a trilateral deal, there is also pressure coming back against the president and the administration, so we'll see what happens on wednesday, and in the coming days in the announcement to congress last
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week he did say we are going to give a chance for canada to be part of this deal so we'll see if that is what ends up being the case. >> when it comes to new mexico, eugene, we have something in the works that looks like it could work. what is the united states gaining from that what? what are we winning with enit comes to that agreement with mexico? >> the details of the agreement have not been made public because it's yet to be finalized and the president has not communicated to the american public what he believes they will get out of this agreement in part because it's not final but what's also not final is whether or not he can actually make this agreement without the support and approval of congress. he keeps saying that he can but that's not yet clear. we know that lawmakers overwhelmingly want to see canada involved in an agreement involving nafta and whether or not the president will be convinced to alter his original plan is not yet clear. >> we heard about that, too, during the time of the senator's memorial, during the time that the president with as alone
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tweeting about that as well and he'd been threatening, you know, congress when it comes to that. interesting enough, when it comes to that tweet, addressing members of congress, many of them there's lawmakers sitting in the national cathedral. jeff? >> he said in that tweet, congress needs to stay out of these talks with canada. clearly he's not looking for any feedback from lawmakers about what he's doing with those negotiations, but you're absolutely right. many of those people, it was a who's who really of power players in washington who were in that cathedral yesterday and that really underscored the emphasis that senator mccain wanted in that service and the fact that president trump was not present. >> absolutely. eugene scott and jeff mason, thank you for the breakdown. >> thank you. t.e.d. talk for the russia probe. what happened to the deadline rudy giuliani set for the mueller probe to end, and what the fallout might be.
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there's new insights this morning into the next steps the president's attorneys are taking against the special counsel with a report designed to discredit robert mueller's conclusions in the russia investigation, the rebuttal comes as rudy giuliani extends his original deadline defiantly set for mueller from yesterday to friday. >> reporter: you've said there should be a september 1st deadline for mr. mueller to finish whatever he finishes. what happens if he doesn't?
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>> that's his problem. really september 7th would be the date, the justice department has a rule that you should stay out of politically charged investigations within 60 days of the election. i hope he respects that. >> reporter: or what? >> or nothing. otherwise it just affects how people look at the legitimacy of the investigation. is it political or is it a real law enforcement investigation. >> joining me is former federal prosecutor liam brennan. let's talk about what rudy giuliani is saying there, referencing that rule from the justice department. it's a law that basically says enforcement should stay out of politically charged investigations within 60 days of an election. here's the thing. there's no black and white, no piece of paper that has that rule, right? >> that is correct, frances, good morning. this is a policy of the department of justice to not interfere with elections when they're coming up, but by no means is this ever meant to shut down an election or stop a legitimate investigation from
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going forward. it appears mr. giuliani is trying to use this tradition of the department of justice of trying to not influence or in any way affect an election to play the refs to essentially say the mueller investigation should shut down now to advantage his client, mr. trump. the reality is that the department of justice is always continuing to investigate but sometimes when it gets close to the time of an election, it will adjust the tactics that it will use, so as not to in any way raise its head and affect the outcome of the election. >> speaking to that, how would that come into play in this case here, with this particular investigation, when you say adjust, what would that mean? >> so sometimes what we would do is not go and do a search warrant during that time period if we could wait until after the election or not go out and interview a key witness that is prominent in the public so as not to raise the head of the
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investigation. the difference here though is that this investigation has been very public, and everybody knows it's out there. so even if mueller acts now, it's really, i don't think, changes the public narrative or anyone's, it shouldn't affect the investigation so really this is mostly giuliani trying to play the refs. >> when you say giuliani trying to play the refs do you think in a case that kind of strategy would add any sense of padding when it comes to what mueller comes up with? >> i think it's hard. bob mueller is, has been in this game for a long time, used to head up the fbi, was u.s. attorney for many years. he knows how to conduct these investigations and he has a lot of history and he's a by the books leader. what i think giuliani is doing, though, is, and he's talked about this, is sowing doubt about robert mueller in the public so he's trying to maybe not even message to mueller or try to push him into a corner and withdraw that public support
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for the investigation. >> it's no secret that president trump has had some targets in the department of justice, you have attorney general jeff sessions, recently the past couple days taking aim at official bruce orr, whose focus is international and russian organized crime. the president threatening to revoke his security clearance because of his ties to the russia investigation. i understand you know him personally. >> i don't know him personally. bruce was one of the people who first interviewed me to join the department of justice back in the bush administration, and so i went into the fraud section, he worked in organized crime, but he is a career civil servant. he is also someone who is not political in any way. he preceded the bush administration, he was there then, he was there during obama and here during trump now and i think this threat of revoking his security clearance, who is not only, he's not someone who's like the other people that trump
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has threatened who have left government service, he's there now, is really a scary reality for civil servants around the country. this is an individual who has not interfered in any way in the political arena, and he's being targeted by the president of the united states. that's something that should really concern us all. bob orr has given his life, given 30 years to the department of justice to trying to stop organized crime and other crimes, and to target him because of the information he knows and possibly because of who his wife is, is completely unjust, and improper for the president. >> especially now that we know the "new york times" reporting he was part of the secret program to flip russia oligarchs as well. liam brennan thanks for being with us. >> thank you, frances, have a good one. michael cohen and the betrayal some trump associates say terrifies the president, we'll have that next.
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pg&e wants you to plan ahead by mapping out escape routes and preparing a go kit, in case you need to get out quickly. for more information on how to be prepared and keep your family safe, visit pge.com/safety. president trump isn't backing down from his public fight with robert mueller, fbi agents, the department of justice, his own attorney general and deputy attorney general but while the strategy may be rare or even unprecedented for a president, close associates say mr. trump fought the doj before and won.
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joining me is michael croes, senior staff writer at politico and author of this article. as we look back at those cases you say the president's current strategy goes back to pre-oval office, pre-white house to real estate developer donald trump and his father prosecuted by the department of justice found guilty of systematic racial discrimination at their new york city apartment building. were there parallels in what you found in those cases and the ongoing investigations now? >> absolutely. what we are seeing right now in terms of how the president is fighting back against justice and attempting to discredit bob mueller has roots in his past, roots that go back almost a half a century. of course the united states, the department of justice sued donald trump and his father in 1973 for systematic racism in
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their apartment rentals, they look at evidence as early deep-seeded racial animous but at this point it is more useful as the episode in his early life in which he learned how to fight back against the government, how to fight back against the department of justice, how to fight back against prosecutors, and he learned this most principally from roy cohn, the most important mentor in his entire life. he was an ardent practitioner of the counter-punch of deny and delay, and doing that constantly shamelessly unabashedly, and so what we're seeing right now is really sort of right out of the roy cohn playbook that started in the middle 1970s. >> pulling out the boxing gloves from back then from those fights using them here as far as your reporting here interesting, when you had a former doj prosecutor
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in the discrimination case that told you this, "they never liked the government, they had no respect for it," but what were examples of that, how mr. trump and his father showed that disrespect, dislike for the government and did they feel they were just beyond it, above the government at that point? >> the government at this stage in their business existence is an obstacle, is something that is getting in the way of their ability to collect rent and to turn profit. earlier this year when rudy giuliani used the word stormtrooper to describe fbi agents, it definitely sounded some bells in my head because that is not the first time an attorney on behalf of donald trump used that exact term in that way to describe fbi agents. that was roy cohn in 1974, one of the most amazing things that happens in that case in 1974 is cohm and the trumps, of course, his clients fight back against
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prosecutors attempting to have one of them held in contempt for staging "gestapo" type investigation, stormtroopers, undercover agents raiding the offices of trump management in brooklyn. the kind of political rhetoric we're seeing right now, the charged politically incendiary language we've seen from the president, and rudy giuliani who is playing the cohn role is unprecedented. >> the developments when it happened in the same day that ma in a fort and michael cohen you interviewed another long time trump associate and write about where michael cohen's betrayal terrifies the president so much. why do you think it is? >> michael cohen played the role
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of roy cohn, a poor man's roy cohn, much later in donald trump's business career, that is to say his fixer, relentlessly loyal fixer, make bad things go away. so the fact that michael cohen has, in a sense, flipped on the president, is very different from roy cohn would have done. roy cohn would have fought to the end, he always fought to the end. the fact that michael cohen is not, and is cooperating with prosecutors is of enormous concern or should be of enormous concern to the president, and i think because of that, starting with the cohen news however many days ago it was at this point, we've seen an almost even heightened level of unease, level of angst in the president's tweets and some of the president's comments, so i feel like he thinks some things are closing in on him, and
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certainly michael cohen's decisions are not helping his mood. >> all right, michael kruse, senior staff writer of politico, thank you for being with me this morning. >> thanks so much. still to come, tense trade talks. the president accuses canada of ripping off america and abusing it for decades. so who's winning the trade war? i'll ask nbc's ron insana and mr. wonderful, kevin o'leary. we'll have that for you next. [music playing] (vo) progress is in the pursuit. audi will cover your first month's lease payment on select models during summer of audi sales event.
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new this weekend, president trump sounding off after failing to reach a deal with canada an a revamped north american free trade agreement. the president tweeted "there is no political necessity to keep canada in the new in a of ta deal. if we don't make a fair deal for the u.s. after decades of abuse, canada will be out. congress should not interfere with these negotiations or i will simply terminate nafta entirely." joining me now investor on the hit show "shark tank" kevin o'leary and cnbc contributor ron insana. let's get started on this. let's jump into this question for both of you. when the president is tweeting that, not only is it a threat to congress, but it's a time when everybody is at the memorial for john mccain. first, kevin, then ron. kevin? can you hear me? >> yes, well to understand this situation, this is pure politics in canada.
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let me explain. there's an election coming up. this is like the mexican situation where the current administration prime minister trudeau faces an election months away. in fact the campaign unofficially starts next week, and it really boils down to numbers. quebec, which is a very heavily subsidized province, when it comes to dairy, has 78 seats out of 334 in the canadian parliament. any politician in the last 25 years that's tried to mess around with dairy subsidies has lost. this happened recently only 12 months ago to a popular conservative who tried to end supply-side management and lost his election. now, there's 78,000 farmers in wisconsin that want to sell milk powder. they helped trump get elected. everybody knows that. that's a fact. they've asked to have the 290% tariff removed from milk powder being sold into the province of quebec. now, if trudeau does that, he risks losing the election. that's why that room on friday
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in washington was probably more like a hellhole, because they know they can't give this up. no one's ever messed with supply-side. trump is doing something no other president has ever done to canada. he's making a tiny fractional product like milk powder become a major issue that could affect manufacturing of car parts, automotive, and the supply-side system of ontario going into the southern states. we've never seen anything like this before. as investors, this has got my ner -- me nervous. >> ron, you're speaking as a canadian, i heard you trying to jump in. when it comes to the deal, dairy is a big one. we've got 8 million u.s. jobs here at stake when it comes to the deal with canada. i know you're eager to jump in. >> yes, listen, in a strange way, i think kevin and i agree from different perspectives. on the one hand the united states also protects rather dramatically its dairy industry. we have import tariffs, import quo tass, we have tariffs and
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it's interesting, we also have a huge dairy surplus with canada, export about $600 million worth of dairy to canada and have close to $400 million surplus and i think the president is also like justin trudeau making this a political stand. we have a trade surplus with canada overall of $8 billion. we have about a $25 billion surplus in services, deficit, i should say in goods and a larger surplus in services. net-net we still have a better balance with canada than we have with some other country. it strikes me as odd the president suggesting canada has taken advantage of us for years when we have roughly trade imbalance and they are second largest and one of our most important trading partners even beyond china. >> you were on our air a couple weeks ago, ron, and you mentioned you know what, this is a bad idea, bad news when it comes to this here. is that still the case knowing we're at this point and talks picking up again on wednesday? >> this whole thing could have been remediated a long time ago,
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when president trump, upon taking office, pulled the u.s. out of the transpacific partnership or tpp, many of these issues that are being debated both with mexico and with canada today, were being resolved in the tpp, and the u.s. pulled out. mexico and canada are both signatory. furthermore, the tpp would have further isolated china in its own region and given the united states a much larger foothold in asia than it currently has, so i think the overall strategy here has been wrong-headed, and i think when we're hunkering down on relatively small issues, dairy accounts for 10% of u.s. trade with canada, we're stuck in a situation where we're fighting over things that, to the u.s., don't really accrue to our benefit in a big way. >> kevin, your take of that, are we stuck in that when it comes to this going on here, you have justin trudeau speaking about, you know, the negotiations on friday.
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let's listen. >> we will only sign a deal if it is a good deal for canada. again, no deal is better than a bad deal for canada and for canadians and that's exactly what we are remaining firm on. >> all right, remaining firm there, kevin, so what does that tell you about how the president is going about it? >> let me translate that. what he's basically said there was i cannot give you anything on dairy or i will lose my majority mandate in canada. now, this is affecting canadian investors badly. when the news got out there was no deal late in the afternoon, the canadian dollar dropped three-quarters of 1%, that is a lot, and most people realize this is not a balanced issue in this sense. the economy of canada, let's take the number one province, ontario, 49% of the gdp there is tied to trade with the u.s., particularly automotive and manufacturing and supply side. if anything goes wrong there, there is a recession in canada. that's a disaster for trudeau,
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who faces an election in about 11 months from now. so this is an extremely difficult negotiation, and basically, boils down to milk powder. sounds ridiculous, but in politics, anything can happen. he can't give on it. if he does, he'll lose his majority mandate. right now the opposition is taking advantage of this pointing out all capitalists leaving canada because nothing can get built through litigation. they lose the kinder morgan pipeline, the government nationalized it. it's not a great day for the current administration and now they have this, milk powder. >> overall to both of you, with america in this, and canada out, is america going to see a better deal overall or did the president really just make a lot of noise about nothing? who is going to be the winner when it comes to this trade war or is it lose, lose, lose for everybody involved? >> to paraphrase foreign minister freeland looking for win, win, win, there is a risk
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of lose, lose, lose. next week we have the possibility the trump administration will impose new tariffs on $200 billion of chinese goods. transatlantic partnership in limbo, its u.s. not making any progress with europe on the trade front and the disjointed conversation about nafta, the president threatening to abrogate the treaty to give six months notice to congress, he can do that and rewrite a treaty with mexico but congress would have to approve this. we'd be in trade limbo not only with canada going into recession but you could create a global slowdown if these things are not resolved satisfactorily for everybody. trade is not a zero sum game. it can be a win, win, win. >> do you agree with that, win, win, win, or lose, lose, lose, kevin? >> i think the market is anticipating a positive outcome. the s&p along with many other indices are hitting new highs, particularly small cap stocks, the russell 2000. basically what the market's telling you and the participants that invest, that they believe
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even though this talk is tough and unprecedented in some ways it's important for trade routes to be open not just with canada and mexico but europe and china as well, that it's looking forward at least 12 months, making the assumption if we took a snapshot where we'd be 12 months from now, all of this or much of it will be worked out. in the meantime, will canada have a better deal than it had before? probably not. >> kevin o'leary, ron insana, always good to have you together. thank you. a racist robo call enters florida's governor's race, how the campaigns are reacting next. and joy reed will speak with andrew gillum about that call and the overriding issue of racism in america. ♪ ooh, heaven is a place on earth ♪
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nooooo... noooooo... quick, the quicker picker upper! bounty picks up messes quicker and is 2x more absorbent. bounty, the quicker picker upper. now to the firestorm around remarks made by congressman ron desantis, the republican nominee for governor of florida about his democratic owe point, andrew gillum. he's saying his remarks were not racial. >> i'm not going to apologize because i didn't say anything about race. it had nothing to do with race.
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it had to do with the far-left socialist platform. >> let's bring in republican political consultant shermichael singleton and democratic strategist don calloway. i want to get your thoughts on this tweet that just came center and right loving tiger, kanye, george foreman, jim brown and so many other greats, even more. the fact that african-american unemployment is now the lowest in the history of our country, same with asian, hispanic and almost every other group. the democrats have been all talk and no action. my administration has already produced like no other and everybody sees it. don, the chuckle right there. tell me what's behind the chuckle. >> my initial reaction is so what, right?
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i don't look to tiger woods for thoughts on nor to my parents nor common americans look to tiger woods for thoughts on how we feel about this administration. presidential approval ratings came out, african-american views on the views of the president were a subset of that. 3% approval. 96% of african-americans are not somehow misguided by the mainstream media. we see the president calling our ancestors coming from s-hole countries, we're aware of that. we're aware of him asking what do we have to lose. we're aware of how he tweeted hurricane maria survivors. the proof is in the pudding with this president. he is no friend of african-americans, he's no friend of good and decency and african-american approval ratings speak to his overall approval ratings in this country, which are dismal. >> shermichael, given the tone and what we're talking about here and in florida where we know the candidate there is a backer of president trump, your
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thoughts on that when you hear him saying who cares and this is the climate we have seep into races like florida? >> under the ordinary set of circumstances, a president would love to be campaigning right now in the midst of unemployment levels that low. the issue with donald trump, however, is many of his tweets and perceived character flaws that are a huge distraction from what, again, i think folks on both sides would agree would be net positives for most presidents regardless of political party. i think as it relates specifically however to mr. desantis, it would probably benefit him to just go ahead and get in front of this now, the longer he drag this s this out, will only become bigger. he should apologize, by not doing so it becomes a political issue. >> let's remind our viewers of those remarks.
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let's listen to that and talk about it on the other side. >> he is an articulate spokesman for those far left views and he's a charismatic candidate. the last thing we need to do is monkey this up by trying to embrace a socialist agenda with huge tax increases and bankrupting the state. >> so we also know that he didn't -- as we heard earlier, no apology there, don. it had to do with far left socialist platform. >> and you know it's interesting that the comment that's coming out of that that's getting the scrutiny is the monkey it up but he went and said -- he started with articulate and i forget the second word he said but specifically articulate and charisma indicates that african-americans are not substantive thinkers and that we cannot be policy and thought leaders but her here simply to be articulate and charismatic and not leading based upon substance and there's nothing real behind it. if you remember, joe biden said the president was clean and
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articulate when he faced primary candidate barack obama. so there's several dog whistle there is in what ron desantis said. he then went on laura ingraham's show this week and accepted her notion that andrew gillum should be apologizing to him for calling him -- for pointing out that this was racist. so the new racism is calling racists racists. go figure. >> shermichael, when you hear not monkey it up, your reaction? >> look, i think he could have articulated the differences policy wise between conservatism and more progressive positions. >> were you offended, though? >> as a person? >> of course. >> this guy went to yale, he went to harvard. you cannot tell me that someone with that type of academic background did not know that using such a term as it related to any african-american would not be perceived as being offensive so of course i'm offended by it. i don't think it was the right words to use. he could have articulated his
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differences policy wise without talking about oh, he's articulate as don just said. those are terms that have been used throughout our history to dehumanize in many ways african-americans as if it's some great surprise that we have intellectual faculties and that's not the case. >> but what does it tell you about this race in florida if those are the words coming out of his mouth? who is he trying to gain there as far as gaining votes to win the race? >> i don't know the exact reason behind it. again, of all the campaigns i've worked on, and i've worked on a lot of republican campaigns, i have never advised a candidate to use those types of words to turn out a base. i'm going to presume, however, he thinks that will resonate with at least some part of the base within florida by virtue of the president winning that state. but let's keep this in mind -- president obama won florida in 2008. president obama won florida in 2012. there's .8 million registered democrats in florida, 4.5 million registered republicans in florida however there's 3.4
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million non-affiliated voters in florida. that state can go in any direction. if i was mr. desantis, he needs to get in front of this and apologize because he could lose this race if not. >> i find it interesting, shermichael. we know he went get in front of this and apologize. he's already been defiant and then if you see on day two of the campaign the extremely racist robocalls that came out and he has said nothing. who has said something is rick scott who's running for the united states senate but in this governor's race against a progressive african-american candidate, we have nothing from ron desantis and that's shameful. >> wish we had more time with both of you. shermichael singleton, don calloway, thank you so much. you can hear more from andrew gillum on the top of the hour on ya"a.m. joy," joy reid will be speaking with him in a few minutes. few minutes.
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that does it for this hour of msnbc live. i'm francis rivera in for alex witt. right now, time for "a.m. joy" with joy reid. looking for ward to your discussion with andrew gillum, jo joy. >> tallahasse mayor andrew gillum will win the democratic nomination for governor of florida.

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