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tv   MSNBC Live With Katy Tur  MSNBC  September 6, 2018 11:00am-12:00pm PDT

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hour of "msnbc live." katy tur is here. i will see you tomorrow morning on "today." >> thank you very much. 11:00 a.m. out west and 2:00 p.m. in washington. on capitol hill senators continue to press the president's pick on the vacancy for the supreme court. we are watching the hearing and we will dip in if anything starts to pop. but we begin over on pennsylvania avenue where today the president is, quote, volcanic and his white house is consumed by speculation about the identity of the anonymous senior staffer who dared to defy donald trump in an explosive "new york times" op-ed. according to "the washington post," trump staffers are stunned even as they hunt for the mystery writer who claimed to be part of a secret resistance inside the administration. quote, it's like the horror movies when everyone realizes the call is coming from inside the house. "the post" describes a white house where aides are analyzing language patterns to try to discern the author's identity
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or, at a minimum, the part of the administration where the author works. the problem for the president, it could quite literally be anyone. a senior official tells axios a lot of us were wishing we'd been the writer. i suspect, i hope he, trump, knows, maybe he does, that there are dozens and dozens of us. the rampant conjecture has forced the vice president and cabinet members to publicly deny that they penned the op-ed, an op-ed that the president has called treason which has prompted new paranoia in an already paranoid president. >> insubordination. it is. but it's insubordination born out of loyalty to the country, not to donald trump. this is not sustainable to have an executive branch where individuals are not following the orders of the chief executive. >> this is a classic case in washington of one man's whistleblower is another man's
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swamp dweller. it depends where you sit about whether you feel this is dangerous. >> at the end of the day what you see is just dysfunctionalty in a chain of command, and that, i think, ought to worry all of us regardless of who sits atop that chain of command. you want a functioning executive branch. you must have a functioning military. >> at the heart of the senior staffers' claims is the idea that the white house is run by a shadow presidency, one which advisors are, quote, working diligently from within to frustrate parts of trump's agenda and his worst inclination. in private the writer says a resistance movement been within the administration has gone to great lengths to keep bad decisions contained to the west wing, though they are clearly not always successful. the result is a two-track presidency. so the big question we are asking today is, if president trump isn't running the white house and the country, who is in joining me white house reporter
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from "the washington post," ashley parker, editor of "lawfare" ben wittes, op-ed columnist for "the new york times," brett stevens and director of progressive programming for sirius xm zerlina maxwell. all are msnbc analysts an contributors. you are doing the reporting on what's going on inside the white house and the effort to try to figure out who this is. they are going through speech patterns. how seriously is this being taken and does the white house think they will be able to discover this writer? >> it's being taken very seriously, trying to figure out who this anonymous official is. but i have to say, in terms of people i have talked to today, they are really no closer than we were before. we were heard a lot of theories, maybe a dozen specific names of who people are confident or believe it may be, which all
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gets back to absolutely no one knows. if they knew definitively who it was, they would have taken action against this individual. another thing that is striking is all of these statements you see coming out from all of these top officials in the white house. some whose names did rise to the surface in the d.c. parlor game rumor-mill and some aides and officials who you can't imagine why they would feel the need to deny something that they so clearly almost definitely did not do. i have been told that these are people following the anti-playbook from rex tillerson. and they feel that the only way to please the president is to come out with a very forceful denial that he can see. >> which rex tillerson did not do when he -- >> he did not. >> when he was asked if he called the president a moron. i guess he didn't lie. there has been more reporting that says he did. the nbc news count on the officials inside the white house in this administration that have denied being a part of this is up to 16 people. the thing about this op-ed is
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that it's not unfamiliar. it's not anything we haven't already heard before or seen reporting on. anything that you have already reported on for the past almost two years or whatever it's been so far, especially after the woodward book that came out, hasn't come out yet, but we have been reporting on before it's released. they are all the same themes. the president is amoral. the president is a liar. the president doesn't know what he is doing with policy. the president is erratic. the president needs to be pulled back from his worst instincts. he could get the country into world war iii. we have been hearing about this over and over again for years. given that, what is the white house going to do to push back on this? what really effective tool do they have to push back on this narrative? >> that's a great question, and you're right in that there are the sort of content itself is nothing new. the idea that aides are always kind of running around and
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they'll tell you privately, you know, saving the president from himself, saving the country from the president, and trying to assure you that, yes, i know -- people say this was bad, but you don't know how much worse it could have been. the best description i have heard so far is that the president, in addition to being upset about this, he feels vindicated and justified. he has believed since he took office there was a deep state working against him, that he can't really trust anyone. someone i spoke with close to the white house said the likely effect of this and in the long term is going to be a president who is even more insulated, who understand, yes, i have aides and officials and sometimes i need to rely on them to get things done, but really the presidency is not an institution. the presidency is me. and that is the end result that a number of people close to him both predict and fear. >> so, ben, if the president is not entirely running things, if he is not running this country and making the final decisions, the question is, who is in and if it's not the president, the
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person who the voters elected, should we find as the writers says cold confident -- comfort? the writer points to russia being one of the ways in which the administration is different from the president, the administration imposes sanctions. the president cozies up to russia. it's not just that. it's the transgender ban, james mattis not -- or slow walking that. james mattis reportedly ignoring trump's order to kill bashar assad, which came out in the woodward book. we have politico reporting about bannon breaking with trump on daca these are reports we have seen for quite some time. but who is running the country if it's not the president? >> so one of the problems with a world in which the executive branch doesn't work is that there is no answer to that question, right? the whole theory of the executive branch is that it is a
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unitary actor. it's the president and the people who work for the president. it is a vertically integrated institution with a single person at its top. it's a little bit more complicated than that, but not a lot more complicated than that. and when that person is not functioning in that role, the institution itself doesn't work right. now, it's very self-congratulatory of whoever wrote this to talk about the adults in the room, presumably meaning among others him or herself, but none of those people were lengted. the person who was elected was donald trump. and, you know, i don't say that with any glee, but it is not a healthy thing for -- just as it is not a healthy thing for the executive to be run by a dispeptic crazy person, it is not a healthy thing for the
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executive not to follow the processes and systems by which the executive branch is supposed to work. and what we have here is a person at a switch board frantically pushing buttons and turning knobs and throwing levers, and it's not connected to anything underneath. that's a violation of a lot of norms, some of them norms about the deference and obedience that the branch owes its leadership. >> the question is, i mean, i think this is what we're all debating whether it's a question of the adults in the room who are saving us from, as ben put it, a dangerous dyspeptic president are, or are they creating an administration that is more or less sort of functioning and keeping us out of world wars, regional wars, or economic disasters, but at the same time providing a kind of
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cover to a president who is clearly out of control. you know, you said it so well at the beginning of the show. this op-ed could have been authored by anyone because we know at various types that general kelly has offered this view, that jim mattis has offered this view. former chief of staff reince priebus offers this explicitly in the woodward book. go down the list. secretary tillerson before him. all of them are more or less saying the same thing that, you know, thank goodness gary cohn, i might add, thank goodness they were there to prevent a disaster. this reminds me of households in which a father or mother have substance abuse issues and everyone in the family decides that instead of simply addressing that issue dead on, they are going to cover for the person who is suffering from substance abuse. they are going to clean up the vomit. they are going to pretend everything is fine. they are going to put up a nice facade to the neighbors. at the heart of this there is this danger.
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>> and the danger comes out. it's not like you can totally cover up the danger or clean up the vomit, as you said, and make things run smoothly forever. you are always going to miss something. and given that, and given that this seems to be sounding quite a big alarm about the president's fitness for office, from within the -- this person is within this administration willing to put their own words down in an op-ed, that's a huge step. taking the discussion of whether or not he should have been anonymous off the table for a moment, if people feel this way, is it the responsibility to alert the public in an op-ed, or is it their responsibility to resign, or is it their responsibilities, if there are whispers about the 25th amendment, to try to envoke something like the 25th amendment if you are as worried as you say you are? >> i think that something needs to be done. we just don't know what it is because we have never been in this position before. i think it's different than the
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president's narrative that there is a deep state because this is not the deep state. this is somebody he hired. this is a senior administration official that trump hired who is now saying that he is unfit. and i think that as citizens we have to thinking about what our options are. is t is it impeachment? is it the 25th amendment? how would that begin? we need to explain to the american people, who may not be familiar with the 25th amendment, that hasn't been a part of the everyday conversation, and i think it should be not just because of this op-ed, not just because of the woodward book or the books previously, because of what we see every single day with this president. he is clearly unstable because normal people do not wake up in the middle of the night and tweet in all caps. they just do not do that. >> given that the person is anonymous and refusing to put their name on it, is this person a patriot or is this person, as the president describes it, gutless? >> i hate to say, but there is
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an aspect of gutlessness to this. i think the right response when you are confronting a president so clearly lawless, so clearly out of control, so utterly uninformed is to resign and say so to the country. we have processes in place if the president is impeached and you happen to be republican, hey, mike pence is going to be your president. it happened before with jerry ford. the republic survived. i think it was a great service of the times to publish this piece. it's started a million conversations worldwide. it's alerted us to the danger that we have in the white house at the time. but, by the way, to the extent that this was supposed to alert the public that there are people there who are helping keep the republic afloat, so to speak, well, he has just made that task that much more difficult because you are going to have a paranoid
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president on the hunt for a mole in the white house. >> the argument has been for a long time by those who argue for the people staying in this administration despite the president's outrages, despite his actions that concern people, is that it's a good thing people like james mattis or people like john kelly are in the white house. i am not saying either of them are the author of this. but it's a good thing there are adults in the room staying on because they are the ones pulling the president back from world war iii, pulling him back from his worst instinct. so is it better to have someone like this remain anonymous and in the administration, or is it better to have someone like this out themselves and leave the administration? >> so i think the answer to that depends on who the person is. i do believe that it is better to have jim mattis in place than into the. i'm not sure i believe that about very many other people, however. unless this is by jim mattis, which i do not believe, i think the person is very likely
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kidding him or herself that he or she is doing more good than harm by doing this anonymously, feeding the deep state narrative rather than writing this same op-ed as a letter of recommendation, a letter of resignation with a copy sent to the house judiciary committee, which is the body responsible for initiating impeachment proceedings. and one of the problems here is that nobody has been willing to be that little child who says, the emperor has no clothes, as the naked emperor walks by, or trots by on his horse. and everybody, all these people are, you know, behaving like he is resplendent in his gowns. somebody needs to say, no, this is nonsense, and be willing to say that child was not anonymous
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in that story. and somebody needs to be willing to put their name on this. >> ben wittes, ashley parker, brett stevens, zerlina maxwell, thank you so much for starting us off. and coming up, the question democratic senator kamala harris could not get brett kavanaugh to answer. also, the senator who compared himself to spartacus. >> plus, the trump white house is hiding data that undercuts its arguments about refugees. we have it. you will see it. next, did the anonymous author of this op-ed put our national security at risk? two former high-ranking officials at the white house and the doj weigh in. i'm alex trebek here to tell you
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response to the anonymous "new york times" op-ed authored by someone inside his own administration was a question. treason? which, of course, it is not. but the president's second tweet was let cut and dry. does the so-called senior administration official really exist or is it just the failing "new york times" with another phony source? if the gutless anonymous person does indeed exist, "the times" must, for national security purposes, turn him or her over to the government at once. now "the times" has already said unequivocally they will not reveal the identity of the writer, at least the op-ed section. is there an argument to be made that the very existence of the op-ed is a threat to national
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security? joining me former chief spokesman for the justice department matt miller, and former special assistant to president obama, national security counsel spokesperson, ned price. gentlemen, welcome. thanks for being here. matt, your first instinct. is there a national security problem here? >> no. the fact or the claim as the author makes in the piece that the president is amoral and incompetent and reckless and out of control, that may be a national security threat or emergency, but it's not a national security secret. the only way the author would be violating a law if he was disclosing classified information, disclosing secrets that could subject him or her to prosecution. that's not the case here. i think if you want to make an argument about whether the person was responsible or not to do it, whether this advances the author's case, that's a legitimate fwrumt to make. in no way, shape or form is this in any way a threat to national
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security by making these arguments in "the new york times." >> ned, what with those who might say, listen, there is a difference between reporters getting anonymous sources and reporting on a story and somebody in the administration wri writing an op-ed and sounding an alarm bell about the president's fitness for office and what message that could send to countries around the world potentially hostile actors around the world about what they could get away with or what they could try to do within the united states with somebody as erratic and unstable as donald trump is described in this op-ed at the helm? >> well, matt is right. there is a national security threat here, but it's not emanating from the writer of this op-ed. it's emanating from the oval office. this is a function of having donald trump at the helm, having donald trump as our commander in chief. in terms of the implications of this op-ed on our foreign relations and foreign policy, i don't think other world leaders learned anything from this op-ed or the woodward book or any
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other piece of evidence that we've seen or heard in recent weeks because it's now been 18 or 20 months of the donald trump presidency and our counterparts around the world now how this president operates, knows the degree of chaos and in some cases i'm sure they hear it from their state department or pentagon colleagues, many of those of us who have lived and borked in the communities, from our former colleagues. i don't think this will be a game changer in terms of how we are viewed. i think this is having tremendous ramifications on public opinion here at home. communicating the message to all americans who have seen this in bits and pieces who are now seeing it in comprehensive form before their eyes that, yes, there is a problem with the white house. >> let's take another quote from this article or op-ed. there are bright spots that the near seesless coverage of the administration fails to capture effective deregulation, historic tax reform, a more robust military and more. what i find interesting about
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that, matt, is that this is a person within the administration saying that they agree with some of the poll issy positions that the president has, but clearly this person doesn't agree with all the policy positions the president has and what this person is saying is that there are administration officials picking and choosing which ones they implement and which ones they slow walk or, i don't know, try to swipe off the president's desk. what is the problem with that? >> look, i think that there wouldn't be so much of a problem if you agree with certain parts of what the president is doing and you are trying to advance the agenda. i don't think there is any problem with that. the faustian bargain a lot of republicans have made with donald trump is they get judges, tax cuts, you know, a roll back on regulations and those things they want and they will overlook some of the other, you know, the chaos and amorality as the author of this piece called it. the problem is if you are inside the administration and you have made the decision that this president is amoral, that this president is reckless,
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incompetent, he threatens national security, the question is what is your obligation it the american public? you don't swear an oath to the president. you swear an oath to the constitution and country. i think your obligation at some point, you know, tax cuts and bud gorsuch, is out weighed by the harm that you believe the president is causing this country. if you are mike pence and you think it's great, then same calculus doesn't apply. >> but, ned, my question is, picking and choosing which policy positions you are going to decide to go through with, that seems to be problematic because you weren't elected to pick and choose. if this sort of thing happened while obama was in office, you worked for the obama administration and the national security council, if somebody on your staff, somebody within the white house, some administration official decided to swipe something off the president's desk or wrote an op-ed of this nature, how would that be treated?
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>> well, look, it's quite rare and i hate to do it, but sometimes i find myself agreeing with the white house and sarah sanders and elements of their response. i think this person is gutless. i think what this person is doing displays coward andice an this person thinks too highly to call him or herself the adult in the room and gives himself or herself the wherewithal to decide for 300 some odd american people what is best. if this person is convinced that this president is amoral as the author has argued, that there is chaos around this president, then that person i think has an obligation to all the american people to say so publicly and to attach his or her name to it. and if the conditions warrant to step down. i think this is a half-measure that is neither productive nor healthy for our democracy. and i think the real issue here, and we're already seeing some of
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this, is that this is going to set off a paranoid and conspiratorial president even more. we are going to see even more of an internal witch hunt from president donald trump that i think will be unhealthy for democracy going forward nlt i wonder what happens when you back someone lake that into a corner if you describe him as erratic and somebody who is on the brink of world war iii, as described in the woodward book, what happens when you make that person even more paranoid? good question. ned price, matt miller, gentlemen, thank you very much. >> a democratic risks being expelled from the senate over an email he said should not have been considered confidential. that's next. fact is, every insurance company hopes you drive safely.
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and accessoriesphones for your mobile phone. like this device to increase volume on your cell phone. - ( phone ringing ) - get details on this state program call or visit >> when you were in tstarr prosecution effort, you were exposed to this contest with the clinton white house and you described the clinton white house as running a, and i'm quoting you here, a presidentially approved smear campaign, was one phrase you used, a disgraceful effort to undermine the rule of law was
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another phrase you used, an episode that will forever stand as a dark chapter in american presidential history. >> that was about something different. >> and you presidentially approv approved smear campaign against starr. you said in a later memo that the president has tried to disgrace starr and his office with a sustained propaganda campaign that would make nixon blush and he should be forced to account for that. have your views of presidential interference or smearing of independent or special counsel changed sense you made those statements? >> those comments were in a memo written, as i recall -- >> two, actually. two memos. close enough. yeah. >> well, the one that i'm remembering writ ten late at night an an emotional meeting in the office.
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i think i told some of the senators in individual meetings, it was heated, and i understand that. but that was my memo at the time. i have been clear i don't want to talk about current events because i am a sitting judge as well as a nominee. >> how about just the guy? the guy who was outraged at being on the receiving end of a smear campaign. does that guy exist, or he is long gone? >> that's what i wloet rote at time how i felt one night after a meeting we had had in august of 1998, i believe is the memo i'm remembering. >> minutes ago on capitol hill democratic senator sheldon whitehouse, today marks the third day of kavanaugh's confirmation hearing, but the most intense exchange today happened this morning between members of the senate judiciary
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committee. specifically, cory booker, who threatened to release confidential emails from kavanaugh on the topic of racial profiling at the potential expense of his senate seat. >> i'm going to release the email about racial profiling and i understand that the penalty comes with potential austin f m from -- ousting from the senate. i am releasing this document to show, sir, that we have a process here for a person, the highest office in the land, for a lifetime appointment, we're rushing through this before me and my colleagues can even read and digest the information. this is about the closest i will have in my life to i am spartacus moment. >> i would correct the senator's statement. there is no rule. there is clearly a rule that applies. >> by the rule -- bring the charges. >> senator booker did indeed release that email exchange.
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now it is no longer marked as confidential. so i don't know what's going to happen with senator cornyn. anyway, with me former acting solicitor general of the united states and senior vice president for social justice at the news school, maya wiley. so it ended up being moot because they made that email not confidential any longer. but the democratic senators were clearly trying to say, hey listen, the emails and the documents that you have mark as confidential should not have been marked as confidential. we didn't have a bipartisan agreement on this and we are willing to break rules and risk expulsion and you can press us on it if we think these emails should be made public. >> absolutely. >> a big deal. >> it is a big deal. it's a big deal in part also because one of the emails that was released today is about abortion. so judge kavanaugh yesterday said in response to questioning about roe v. wade that settled precedent. that's what he told senator
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collins. when you are on the supreme court, the supreme court is not like lower courts. they always are able to overrule their precedent. and here in these emails at least it looks like they tried to suppress a document in which judge kavanaugh said, you know, as a white house staffer, it's not settled precedent. >> let's put that on the screen so our viewers can see it. this is an email from kavanaugh on roe v. wade back from 2003. he said, i am not sure that all legal scholars refer it roe as settled law of the land at the supreme court level since the court can always overrule its precedent and three current justices on the court would do so. here is brett kavanaugh's response to that email a little bit earlier today. >> in that draft letter it was referring to the views of legal scholars, and i think my comment in the email was that might be overstating the position of legal scholars.
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so it wasn't a technically accurate description in the letter of what legal scholars thought. >> he has said when it comes to roe that there is precedent on precedent with roe, that multiple cases have come before the supreme court that have reaffirmed roe. given that he has made that statement multiple times, do you think that means it's more likely that he is going to be willing to stand by roe or do you still question his motives? >> i think that he is clear that he will support restrictions on abortion, and i say that not just because of that email, that memo, but because he actually has ruled in a case already just last year where he supported the trump administration's ability to significantly restrict the ability of a 17-year-old to get an abortion by hold are her in detention. an abortion like voting is time
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sensitive. you can either do it or you can't because you will hit a point at which they can constitutionally interfere with your ability to get the abortion. so i think the point he has made before is there has been, and this is the more complex issue i think for democrats, is you can actually significantly prevent women from being able to govern their bodies without overruling roe. >> yeah. there are cases out there that restrict where you can get an abortion and how wide the hallways need to be in the clinic to get an abortion. clinics in one state had to shut down left and right. >> absolutely. the odd thing is why is judge kavanaugh hiding -- you know, afraid of this? why isn't he proud of this? this is what president trump promised when he ran for election. he said he would appoint pro-life justices. that looks like what judge kavanaugh is like. he should be proud of this. the weird thing is these documents are suppressed. they weren't shown to the american people. it took to the third day of the hearings. i think the democrats have a
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really important point, which is you have rushed this hearing through. you haven't given us the documents. lo and behold, every time we see a document, it looks a little more like a smoking gun. >> the special counsel wrote he doesn't believe the president should be subject of investigations because of his role in the ken starr investigation and how that distracted president clinton from osama bin laden and how it led to 9/11. he has been asked about that a number of times in the hearings. what do you make of his response and where does that leave him in case the president himself is subpoenaed? >> i think he has made clear, and he hasn't said i will take this position as a supreme court justice, but he made clear yesterday and today that he views that department of justice memorandum as standing and that, yesterday he basically said this would not become an issue until after a president was out of office. i mean, so he didn't say it as if i was a supreme court justice
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in this case. but if you read the way he made the statements he made, i would suggest that that's his assumption. his operating principle. >> he wouldn't affirm, uphold the subpoena? >> i think he would be balancing the question of the -- he can't -- it's very difficult for the supreme court without overruling previous precedent, i this you, to ignore the subpoena power. the question becomes, would he make some argument connected to the inability to indict in terms of when a subpoena could be effective. >> i would say the question here is really, is the same yardstick going to apply to this nomination as every other? after all, this nomination is different than every other supreme court nomination. it's given by a president who is under threat of criminal suspicion, whose own personal lawyer fingered him in a criminal enterprise. we know from the op-ed and the woodward book, looks very, very unstable. i expect the democrats with the remainder of the hearing to say, look, we actually need some assurance from you. i understand other nominees,
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kagan, ginsberg couldn't say certain things, but this is different. the stakes of america are fundamentally different here. where are you, flake? where you a senator sasse, corker on this? we can't confirm someone to the supreme court if you are not going to stand up and be an independent check to donald trump. >> guys, thank you so much for joining us. and next, the federal report on refugees that the white house did not want you to see. i'm alex trebek here to tell you about the colonial penn program.
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the department of justice, the vast majority of individuals convicted of terrorism and terrorism-related offenses since 9/11 came here from outside of our country. we have seen the attacks at home from boston to san bernardino to the pentagon, and yes, even the world trade center. >> the president uses stats like that one, which he touted before a joint session of congress in 2015. he reasserted the claim this year on twitter by setting a joint report from his homeland security and justice departments writing three in four individuals convicted of terrorism-related charges are foreign born. there are doubts about those numbers citing three former senior officials. nbc found the trump administration had rejected an interagency intelligence
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assessment last year that showed refugees are not any more harmful to america than u.s. born citizens and that same report reveals the dismissal was part of a white house strategy to consistently exaggerate the potential security threat posed by refugees. joining me is a journalist who broke this story, nbc national security and justice reporter, julia ainsley. this reminds me of the first sit down i had with donald trump when he talked about immigrants coming across the border in mexico were committing crime and the border towns were rife with crime. i gave him stats that said people born here commit more crimes than immigrants. he said i was wrong and naive. he has been consistently exaggerating these things. what you have you found? >> the president selects facts and figures.
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we understand a year ago there was a meeting at the white house where the intelligence community said we have a report that shows that if you curb refugees, it's not going to help us on a national security level. they don't pose that great of an out sized risk and we vet them very carefully. at that point rachel brand, the number three the justice department, said my boss, the attorney general, does not agree with this and they dismissed it. since then they have moved forward with policies to bring down the number of refugees. >> we have these numbers on the screen right now. 53,000 for 2017. 18,000 for 2018. >> so we know that they are dismissing the intelligence they don't want and then they took up this other report which only focused on international terrorism. that would be very selective polls. you are leaving out anyone doing terrorism on behalf of like a white nationalist group, alt-right, anti-government. they are out of that. if you think about it, it's more likely those people are u.s.
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born and people working on behalf of international groups would be foreign born. and a lot of these people had come to the united states or naturalized citizens and then were radicalized. it's not like they exploited the immigration system to come in. it's flawed data. they kicked out what was the pure data here. >> it's clear that he is using this for political purposes because we hear him talking about it not only at the joint address to congress, but we hear him talking about it at rallies. there is new reporting on the refugee crisis and children thathat can be detained with their parents. a reminder to everybody, 497 children remain separated from their parents. 22 are under 5 years old. parents of 322 separated children have already been deported. so we have that. and now there is news that they are going to try to overrule the flores settlement. that means that immigrant children can be detained with their parents not indefinitely, but they want to say it's
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indefinitely. >> yes. right now they can only stay for 20 days. that's from a 1997 court settlement. they are trying to defy that. they want to get out from under the judge that keeps enforcing this, telling them they can't hod them longer. they could be held for months there. the average lengths of stay is 39 days. that could go up. this is what they wanted, katy, when they started to separate women and children at the border because they want flores to be overturned. they want this -- >> they want the supreme court to make it so they had to -- >> yes. and they wanted congress to do that. they didn't get that so they are doing it themselves. we could see this go all the way up to the supreme court to see how long children can be held in these kind of facilities. >> julia, you are our all-star utility player. julia ainsley, thank you so much. >> and we are watching the white house as we wait for the president to leave for montana. he is keeping to his rally schedule even as he faces two back-to-back reports about the state of his presidency and the
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inner workings of his administration. so will he stop to cameras and answer some questions? we are going to find out. tonight the president will be in billings where he will headline a campaign for senate candidate matt rosendale, who is challenging the democratic two-term incumbent, jon tester. but how effectively the president's messaging be tonight, and frankly going forward, after these damaging allegations about his fitness for office nbc's hallie jackson joins us from the white house and peter baker joins us as well. he's a white house correspondent for the "new york times." good to have you both. hallie, let's start with you. and i said this a little bit earlier for the "a" block, but i think it's worth re-posing. this "new york times" op-ed is not saying anything that hasn't already been reported. it's strikingly stellimilar to we've been reading in the woodward book, which was stri strikingly similar to reporting that we here at nbc news has been compiling and other
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organizations have been compiling as well, which is the president is erratic, the president does not tell the truth, the president has come close to bringing us to world war iii with kim jong-un and the president needs to be pulled back from his worst impulses. given that this is lining up with so many narratives, how does the white house, how are they hoping to push back on this in an effective way that won't hurt them in the midterms? >> i think you're seeing that strategy already developing in that the president and his aides in the west wing behind me here are turning what was this alarm bell sound from the inside into a weapon, basically, to bludgeon the media. that's it. this is a tactic that the president has used again and again from his time in the campaign trail from before he was elected, right up until today, going after the media for a story that he does not like. in this case, it is an editorial that he does not like. we've been talking about it here, based on our reporting. the president in the words of one of our sources, volcanic, erupting over this. he was livid. but i had one person tell me, not just with what was in this
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thing, but also the fact that the "new york times" published it at all. you are seeing that when sarah sanders, for example, tweets the phone number to the "new york times" opinion page out to many millions of people on twitter to say, if you're looking for who this -- in her words -- gutless coward is, call "the times." call the paper. so i expect tonight at the president's rally, listen, at every rally, he turns around and points to the people in the back of the pen there, our colleagues that will be there tonight, chris jansing will be in montana, and he says, fake news, fake news. expect to hear a lot of that tonight, i would bet, given that the president is upset and directing that anger at the press. >> peter baker, you write in "the times" today that a hunt for the author of the offending article was quickly initiated and scrutiny focused on half a dozen names. aides say they assumed it was written by someone who worked in the administration, but not the white house itself, although they could not be sure. where do we stand right now on the hunt for this writer? >> well, you've seen an extraordinary parade of senior officials today deny that they had anything to do with it, from the vice president on down.
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i think most of the cabinet by this point, the secretaries of treasury, defense, homeland security, housing, the director of the budget, almost everybody, but not everybody in the administration who was at a senior level has tried to come out and say, i had nothing to do with this, it's loathsome and i'm ashamed of whoever did put it out. now, that may or may not mean anything, because what we remember from watergate, we had deep throat, the source for bob woodward and carl bernstein. mark felt was the deputy director of the fbi. he denied being deep throat at the time. of course, three decades later, admitted that he was. so the denials may or may not mean that much, but clearly, they're aimed at assuaging an audience of one. the president of the united states who, as hallie just said, is raging mad and wants to be told that this story couldn't possibly be true. >> peter, axios is reporting that part of the issue here is that it could be so many different people within the administration. they quote a source who says that writer could have been them. that they wish it was them. given that there are so many
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people here that the -- that this could have been, with this white house and that ongoing narrative that i've been talking about, what do you think that means for voters, for those who are and were on the fence about trump in 2016? how does this affect him going forward? >> well, in terms of governance, it's a real challenge, right? he's going to convene his cabinet at some point, he's going to look around and wonder if any of these people who are saying such nice, flattering things about him, as they tend to do, really means it or whether they're actually secretly part of this, quote, quiet resistance, or not. and the fact that he might have this distrust or suspicion is very corrosive to the ability to governor. any president can't effectively manage his white house if he can't trust his team. with the voters, i think this will be part of his weapon against the press and part of his evidence about the deep state trying to thwart him.
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he's already said, look, this is the swamp fighting back. >> peter baker, hallie jackson, thanks very much. and we have one more thing for you, coming up next. how the white house used to address anonymous sources. you're not going to miss this. you're not going to miss this. claritin-d relieves more. diabetic nerve pain, these feet... ...raised a good sport... ...and became a second-generation firefighter. but i couldn't bear my diabetic nerve pain any longer. so i talked to my doctor, and he prescribed lyrica. lyrica may cause serious allergic reactions, suicidal thoughts or actions. tell your doctor right away if you have these, new or worse depression, unusual changes in mood or behavior, swelling, trouble breathing, rash, hives, blisters, muscle pain with fever, tired feeling, or blurry vision. common side effects: dizziness, sleepiness, weight gain and swelling of hands, legs, and feet. don't drink alcohol while taking lyrica. don't drive or use machinery until you know how lyrica affects you. those who have had a drug or alcohol problem
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one more thing before we go. c-span spent out an interesting video today on twitter. this one's from 1997. it is president bill clinton's press secretary, mike mccurry, addressing the issue of anonymous sources.
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>> all right! i'm briefing today as an anonymous source. this is what we call, this is the senior white house official who is so helpful to so many of you all the time. >> just i thought it was funny. that's it. that's the only reason i played it. i thought it was funny. that will wrap things up the for this hour. ali velshi picks things up. >> well, we don't know who the senior administration official is. >> we have breaking news for you right now. nbc has confirmed that burt reynolds has passed away. let's look at a little bit of his history. >> don't tell me your name. let me guess. >> reporter: burt reynolds, the macho leading man who appeared in 90 feature films and some 300 tv episodes could also play it for laughs. >> why so fast? >> reporter: here opposite sally field in "smoky and the bandit."
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>> you've got a great profile. >> yeah, i do, don't i? especially from the side. >> reporter: or clowning around with johnny carson in one of "the tonight show's" classic moments. >> your first love, perhaps your only love, your idol -- there it is right now. >> but he had serious acting chops, too. breaking through his lewis medlock in "deliverance." >> we get connected up with that body and the law, this thing is going to be hanging over us the rest of our lives! >> reporter: along the way, he confirmed his top leading man status as a macho icon with a funny bone, famously posing in the buff for "cosmopolitan" magazine. >> that was considered shocking in its time. but burt also has a great sense of humor. he added all kinds of dimensions to the sort of leading man category. >> reporter: and in his private life, he was the leading man to a succession of prominent women, from dinah shore to sally field to lonnie anderson. but acting is what defined him. >> let's do it.

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