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tv   Morning Joe  MSNBC  February 20, 2019 3:00am-6:00am PST

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that's evidence of corrupt intent. >> on the phone call. >> would that be instruction? >> yes. it would be attempted obstruction. only obstruction if it succeeded. if you try to interfere with a criminal prosecution that may knock at your own door by putting your own ally in there, that is clearly an attempt to obstruct justice. >> napolitano, that guy has been doing 99 miles an hour fast. >> on fox. >> for months. >> the part of fox news the president might not have wanted to see or retweet yesterday. we'll go in-depth on that sweeping "new york times" piece. good morning. it is monday, february 20th. along with joe and willie we have mike barnicle, katty kay is here. and msnbc news intelligence and
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national security reporter, ken. >> first, manny. manny machado. $300 million to the san diego padres for 10 years. why? why? >> we've seen this movie before. it never works. you pay a guy $300 million. a-rod, whoever it is, it may ruin your team for a generation. >> it won't ruin your team for a generation. i bet they will trade him in two years. >> your son, colin. >> yeah. >> brought up a good point. these things never work. maybe worked with a-rod, these long term blockbuster deals never work. >> 92 they cripple teams, joe. in any business, you cannot give 75 to 80% of your payroll in any business. we do it here for you because
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you're such a talent. >> i deserve the $14 -- this has happened time and time again. the poor yankees with stanton. they're strapped with that guy. you could go down the list. pujols, how did that work out? >> it's crushing them. >> you won't win a world series. i'm happy for him. he got $300 million, a beautiful house on the water, maybe two of them if he wants it. you took $300 million, you won't win a world series. >> and the cardinals, a couple days ago, man, what an organization. >> great organization. >> cardinals a great organization. >> met your friend. >> tyler, my friend from the vanderbilt hustler. i know how it sounds but it was a school paper. >> change the name.
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>> how is that book coming out? >> it's great. we're now on the air. we're going to start with the news and politics. >> is there any? >> yes. >> we begin this morning with the exhaustive review the "new york times" published yesterday detailing the president's effort to intervene -- interfere in the russian investigation. the paper reports the president called his newly installed acting attorney general, matthew whittaker. >> the sweater. >> and asked if trump appointed the defense attorney in manhattan, jeffrey berman described at times as a trump ally that could take charge of the investigation that resulted in the president being implicated in campaign finance violations. the paper cites u.s. officials with direct knowledge of the call. the paper says whittaker privately told associates part of his role at the justice department was to quote jump on
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a grenade for the president, oh, my lord, knew he couldn't put berman in charge because berman, a former law partner of guiliani was recused from the investigation. according to the "times," the president soon soured on mr. whittaker, as he often does with his aides and complained about his inability to pull levers at the justice department that could make the president's many legal problems go away. the "times" reports whittaker did tell doj associates prosecutors in new york required adult supervision. according to the review, democrats are looking into whether whittaker perjured himself when he told he told the house judiciary committee said he never pressured him. >> nor has the white house asked for or i provided special
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counsel investigation or any other investigation. >> did you ever have any conversations with the president about firing or assigning any person or others that worked with the southern district of new york, anybody at all, i want to know whether you talked to president trump at all about the southern district of new york's case involving michael cohen? >> i am not going to discuss my private conversations with the president of the united states. >> mr. whittaker, did the president lash out to you on or about december 8th, about the southern district of new york where he was identified as individual one? >> no, congressman. >> did anyone on the president's behalf inside or outside the white house contact you to lash out or express dissatisfaction? >> did they contact me to lash out? >> yes. did they reach out to you in some way to express
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dissatisfaction? >> no. >> did you ask acting attorney general whittaker to change the leadership in the investigation of michael cohen? >> no. i don't know who said that. there's a lot of fake news out there. no, i didn't. >> not even trying anymore. >> the "times" says it reviewed documented and conducted several interviews with former government officials, members of congress, legal experts and more. >> first of all, looks like mr. whittaker may have a problem with his testimony before congress, possibly perjured himself. go back to what judge napolitano said on fox news yesterday, looks like the president may have engaged in a very active attempt to obstruct justice. >> this "new york times" story did a great public service, i think. it put the focus back perhaps
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where it belongs in terms of this president and his alleged misconduct. essentially, they summed up by saying a lot this conduct has been reported but the public has grown in ured to it because it is a public appearance. >> it's an extraordinary story of a president who attacked the law enforcement apparatus of his own government like no other president in history and turned the effort into an obsession. i think that's the key here. what we've seen with donald trump is not necessarily what richard nixon did, which was to order the cia to tell the fbi to stop investigating on the grounds of national security, he hasn't necessarily used the levers of his power. he used his bully pulpit, made calls, requests of people, sought to intimidate people all in isolation may be legal but together a pattern i think you
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will see in robert mueller's report described as potential obstruction of justice. we have to see what mueller says about it. i think this is a powerful case and the "times" has offered, information we have known a long time but the president has behaved in a way no other president has behaved and potentially obstructed justice. >> it is a pattern and james comey, jeff sessions and upset jeff sessions recused himself from the russian investigation. he saw people in the justice department working for him and to defend him. i think it's important to identify people at home not familiar with jeffrey berman, ken, who exactly he is and why the president would want him at the head of this investigation as a guard rail what he thought was coming down the pike in the cohen investigation. >> he was donald trump's appointee to be the u.s. attorney. that's really all you need to know about it. he had recused. the way it works the u.s.
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attorney asked the justice department permission to recuse, he doesn't make that decision on his own. the justice department granted that recusal. matthew whittaker knew there was no way that was going to happen and didn't happen. my reporting suggests whittaker knew he was under a microscope in this job and walking a very fine line and knew whatever he did he would be accountable for to congress. i think we're seeing that play out. it doesn't surprise me this ultimately did not happen. >> berman has pulled no punches at all in the southern district of new york since he's been down there. donald trump is misreading geoffrey berman and his character anyway protecting his own ethical lapses on somebody else. from everything i've heard, geoffrey berman doesn't look like or seem like the type of guy that would pull punches.
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>> you know, katty, yesterday, we were reading this story, mika and i commented, just one of those stories, if that story dropped in the obama administration with nothing before it or after it there would be immediate investigations and calls for impeachment. if it had dropped in the middle of the george w. bush administration or middle of clinton administration and nothing else dropped before, you could go back to every single administration, there would be immediate calls if the president went to the acting head of the justice department and said, hey, i want you to put pressure on the southern district of new york. get that guy back in there because they're investigating me. the heat is on. but we've gotten so used to it, it's just another day.
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>> there were two big stories yesterday where i had exactly the response you just outlined. one was this one and how that would have caused -- et would have been headline news for weeks in the obama administration and calls for him to step down immediately. the other is the story there were attempts from top trump administration officials during the transition and even after the transition to give nuclear technology to the saudis. that would have been -- being investigated by congress, also would have been the major news of the obama -- imagine if it would have come out that president obama -- some of his aides had been trying to get nuclear technology to the saudis. >> no. and everything else going on with the saudis and happened in this beginning of his presidency with this visit is incredible. >> and with profiting on, like
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flynn, they wanted to make a quick buck. >> you raised issues that you have a series of stories in a spate of 78 or 72 hours, you have the saudi story, 25th amendment story, mr. mccabe here later this morning speaking to the gang of eight house and senate leaders and house and intelligence committees about the president being under investigation for association with russia. you have all of that and this story of whittaker being the lead of the story. by the way, thank god for newspapers. the reaction in the country is, okay, pass the salt. that's what he has done. this daily fire hydrant of chaos, corruption, grifting,
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that's what donald trump has done. >> in the middle of a presidential campaign, if somebody is caught lying, a 20, 30 second ad of the campaign. when you lie 1400 times. >> or how about five times a day. >> five times a day, you can see evidence in front of you. he said this and then said this. >> it's happening with the border crisis, lying. >> you electric at statistics from his own administration, from the trump administration, you match them with the claims he's making at political rallies and any 5-year-old can look and say, oh, he's lying. all he does is go fake news. there are a lot of people that follow along. >> joe biden will show him later, talking about the impact of our place in the world given events that happened abroad recently and things said about
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this country and the way we were received. it's dangerous, damning, not what we want to be. this is that news concerning michael flynn this morning, a new report released by the house oversight committee says senior white house officials including former advisor flynn pushed to share nuclear technology with saudi arabia despite objection to ethics and national security officials. whistle-blowers within the trump administration, lawmakers from both parties expressed concerns saudi arabia could develop nuclear weapons if the u.s. technology were transferred without proper safeguards. according to the congressional report, flynn and others ignored repeated warnings as they pushed a plan to build dozens of nuclear power reactors in saudi arabia. the house oversight committee is opening a formal investigation into the possible transfer of
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sensitive u.s. nuclear technology to saudi arabia which it says appear to be ongoing. the report describes how flynn and derrick harvey, whom flynn had hired to oversee middle east affairs on the national security council worked closely on a plan with retired u.s. generals and admirals who formed a provide company to promote it. the report says the private sector officials and their allies worked to place a plan on trump's agenda with saudi arabia's king sal salman, despite warnings from white house staff and the top lawyer to stand down. house oversight chairman committee elijah cummings sent a letter to acting chief of staff, mick mulvaney regarding all the documents it has to build nuclear power plants in the
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middle east. that's oversight. but, my god, in any other administration this would be a blockbuster story. >> the recklessness is staggering. the fact these guys -- the stakes were so high, i hate to use the terms, they were such bush league amateurs. flynn was such a bush league amateur. calling him a bull in a china shop denigrates the intelligence of bulls worldwide. it's stunning. >> sure. >> the fist thing to be said about this, joe, what a difference an election makes. as you know, this story has been around for a while, people have been reporting on it. the house oversight committee fused information from whist whistle-blowers who felt confident to come forward because democrats are in power and there would be an investigation. there's an issue of ethics and
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bad policy. on the issue of ethics, flynn was advising this group, the marshal plan for the middle east, flynn was advising them during the transition and campaign. he had a financial interest with this group. he came into office and derek harvey told the nsc, we already decided we're going to do this. career officials said, no, you can't do this. you can't just hand over nuclear technology to saudi arabia. there are procedures for this, a law called the atomic energy act you have to comply with. there has to be a review. saudi arabia has never agreed to the conditions of what it would do with the by-products of the fuel to make us comfortable to do this. harvey and flynn disregarded this and tried to push it, even after flynn was fired by the fbi, harvey continued to push it and said he was talking to flynn
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after flynn left office. finally, h.r. mcmaster put a stop to it and said, we're not going to work on it anymore. h.r. mcmaster is gone and this plan is back on the table and they fear this is back on the table. >> to give nuclear technology to a regime that takes a bone saw to a "washington post" columnist because he, the leader, doesn't like the words written by the "washington post" columnist, dismembers him, tortures and dismembers him and after carving up the body, buries it all over turkey. speaking of turkey, flynn also writes an op-ed the day of the election day. the day of the election, doing the bidding offer erdogan, somey
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trying to kidnap somebody residing in america. flynn may have been a part of that, too. >> not only is this idea about middle east marshal plans still on the table, jared is going on a tour to discuss the economics with others including saudi arabia. and tom barrack. >> my god. >> he has had long time ties with the middle east through business. he spoke in rhyme time at the republican convention in 2016 and ran president trump's inaugural committee. he is at the center of this. let us remind ourselves last week he dismissed the murder of khashoggi and said what was said in a different context a couple years ago, america does bad stuff, too. >> barrett, by all accounts, made his fortune through the saudis in his real estate empire.
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according to this report, the folks behind this plan drafted an order for president trump to sign that would appoint tom as a special envoy to push it across the middle east. that didn't get signed and his exact role in this wasn't clear and something the house oversight committee wants to pursue. there was talk jared kushner was involved in advancing his name and i saw reports mr. kushner soured on this deal because he had his own plans to develop good relations with the saudis. they are saying in a report they issued documents and the people involved. >> katty, it is important to
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remember this same man, america's atrocities are bad or even worse. >> he said it a couple weeks ago, it is so reminiscent, donald trump saying that americans have also committed murders and striking he was head of the inaugural committee and we remember him from the national convention, very close to donald trump. what the overtight committee is looking at, was this all done for financial benefit for the people close to donald trump. >> could i answer that yes. >> and the no answer, for the national security interests of the united states. even that the house is weighing those two things in a formal investigation is indicative where we are in the process. >> it's all about money. we said this all along, if you
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want to understand donald trump, want to understand his foreign policy, why he is cold to leaders in britain and france and germany, he doesn't have trump towers or investments there. why does he like tyrants in this philippines, turkey, russia, saudi arabia, the saudis gave him tons of money. $150 million to buy toys and the sons said they got most of the money from russians for golf courses and hotels through the years. the beat goes on. do they have two trump towers in the philippines? maybe they have two? >> i have to chicken out. it does all come down to money and that will bear out. >> still ahead on "morning joe," the man at the center of all this, former acting fbi
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director, andrew mccabe, he said top lawmakers were aware of the investigation of donald trump years ago and not one pushed back in real-time. he joins us at the table just ahead. katty, you need to come. joe's band is playing at the cutting room. >> willie is going to come. >> bring christina. >> you going to do that again? >> you will be in the cage dancing? >> a go-go cage. on one side of the stage and barnicle is going to be on the other side of the stage. no, no, he will be fully dressed, eating a ham sandwich. >> it's really early. >> gross. >> if you're in the area, you can catch that around 7:00 wednesday at the cutting room. horrible. fist, let's go to bill karins. >> delighting on the ham sandwich. >> what's the story? >> the snow is starting to fall in d.c. it's a snow day.
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no school. all federal offices closed today, under a winter storm warning. it's hazy in the background and under the lights you see snowflakes coming down. the roses are holding up so far but should change mid-morning. this is the biggest, not the most in tense but the biggest. 132,000 people under advisors and warnings. the heavier snow right over the top of washington, d.c. at the current time and also knowing hard, we reports of lightning and snow in western ohio. by the time we're done with this at noon today, d.c. should have 3-4 inches of snow. new york, slushy and "new york times," 2-3 inches for you. the timing for "new york timene
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makes it difficult. boston, 3-4 inches. don't forget our friends in the midwest. chicago, minneapolis has snow. and snow in detroit. minneapolis, a half a foot today. a lot of airport implications going throughout the day today. especially i-95 cities. we will continue to give you updates throughout the morning on "morning joe." washington, d.c., looking awfully beautiful in a snowy morning. nowy morning. -so much of our future is ahead of us. ♪ -it's all about the big picture.
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the award for reporting on khashoggi. david ignatius and karen attiah of the "washington post" have not let this story go away and we're trying to get the answers. >> as willie pointed out, julie brown from the "miami herald" won a polk award for her dauntless coverage of the jeffrey epstein story. >> glad that happened. >> with no newspapers, there's no stories. >> no stories still or no answers. there are no answers to why -- no good answers why they gave out that they gave out. >> to jeffrey epstein. >> and that guy got such a sweetheart deal, was walking in and out of jail all the time. it's ridiculous. sorry, the justice department
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needs -- they need to continue this investigation and let us all know who were they trying to cover up for. they were trying to cover up for some very powerful men. in that's the key to the story. they will continue to look into it because julie brown and her team at the "miami herald" took this on, perversion of justice. this is what we've all seen over the years, a reporter digging in deep going places a lot of people wouldn't go and taking on people a lot of people wouldn't take on, extraordinarily powerful people not just in florida but around the world. because of it there may be some justice for people who deserve it. >> david ignatius is going after -- continuing to dig in and go after the truth in what happened in the khashoggi murder. his colleague, while people in the administration want him to let this go away. the saudis want this to just go away. the state department wants this to just go away. 92 these are two stories that had effects where you had investigative reporting hard to
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do, expensive for newspapers to run especially on a local level, this takes time to do investigative reporting but neither the post nor the herald gave up on these stories still pushing on them. on the case of saudi arabia, putting new scrutiny on the war in yemen and because of the khashoggi it had that impact. the "miami herald," that's being revisited, too, that could be a revival of what kinds of punishment he may face. two instances of journalism and pushing it have had consequences. the judge overseeing the case of roger stone ordered him into court to decide whether he should be sent to jail. stone has been ordered to court tomorrow to explain to judge amy jackson should have his conditions changed or revoked. it was ordered after an image was posted to stone's instagram monday showing the judge's face
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next to what appear to be crosshairs. stone initially said the image had been misinterpreted and said it was a threat to the judge that was misin interpreted. if the judge invokes his $250,000 bond. stone said, i will be present for the hearing as ordered. >> i can't speak for all federal judges, but this would be a pretty open and shut case if you had done that to one of the three federal judges in northwest florida in northwest florida when i was practicing law up there. man, i think they'd bury you under a penitentiary in atlanta if you did that. i don't know how stone doesn't go to jail for this. >> not only did he post that picture, joe, in the text of the post, he called her an obama appointed judge who dismissed
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the charges against hillary clinton, whatever those were and called her a hitman. roger stone is operating in a different arena now. not sure he understands that. this is a fund-raising appeal, trying to raise money for his defense. the stakes are incredibly high. this is the judge that sent paul manafort to jail, where he remains to this day over those witness tampering allegations. i would not want to be in roger phones shoes at 2:30 thursday when he faces the judge. >> politics and the law, i remember when i first got into politics, somebody would say something that wasn't true, you'd look around and wait for a judge to say out of order or hearsay. it was so shocking that after -- it took me a month or two to say, wait a second, there is no judge calling balls and strikes here and i realized it was a different arena. this is working now the opposite
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way for all these trump officials lying to tabloids and playing the press and lying to everybody and in the realm of politics 30, 40 years. now, they're engaged in a fight for their freedom where actually words have consequences. the truth actually matters and if they step out of line and don't tell the truth they're going to end up in jail. >> that roger stone post i saw as a threat and also inciting. help me out, inciting violence. i wish him good luck with the judge. he will need it. won't have it. ken, thank you very much. it's been about 30 hours since bernie sanders jumped into the 2020 race and his supporters are turning out in a big way. "morning joe" will be right back. ght back everyone's got to listen to mom.
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the vice president of the united states spoke there, and i know him and i like him, but he spoke on behalf of the president and lectured, lectured nato about their obligations, how they had to break all ties with iran and how they had to do and dictating to them, when he said, i'm here on behalf of the president of the united states of america. got the exact same result i just got. dead silence. i'm serious. this is worrisome. it's not about democrat, republican, it really isn't. there was a deafening silence. the conclusion was the conclusion was the united states cannot be counted on. >> former vice president, joe biden, speaking yesterday in pennsylvania. >> mike, is he going to jump in? >> i don't know. he's got a big event this coming tuesday, the 26th of february,
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the opening of the biden center at the university of delaware, being interviewed by jon meacham on stage at the end of the day. maybe he will have something to say then, maybe he won't. i think what he's thinking, whatever he chooses to do, and i think he is still undecided in his own mind at this point but he wants to maybe lengthen the game and announce the end of march or this month. >> he wants to run, he has to be talked out of it at this point, fair to say? >> he has to talk himself out of it. >> i would understand that. >> he has time. looking at the latest polls, a lot of people love the guy. he's the only democrat that starts with a lead outside the margin of error over donald trump by 10 points. >> he knows the difference, joe, between polling numbers that are basically name recognition anthropology numbers that show, oh, he can beat trump. >> there are people who said he will run if he feels there's not
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another democrat in the race that can beat trump. i don't know the degree i buy that but not sure what changes between now and the middle of march. he knows he's in the field and knows what the field looks like. if he hasn't made up his mind by now after two years, what's he looking for? >> things are starting to shake out a little bit, ideologically, you're now seeing amy klobuchar saying, no, we can't afford to give everybody a free four year degree, at the same time, we're putting everybody on medicare for all at the same time, we're spending all the money we're spending on the "new green deal." then, you have kamala harris saying we will get rid of all private insurance and the next day saying, no, we're not going to get rid of -- it is interesting how things are shaking out a little bit. i wonder if he will see more of a lane for himself maybe even a
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month from now. >> the other thing that's interesting, we're not talking about a race where there's the woman or black man or black woman. we're talking about a race with progressives and less progressives, really a race less about ideology. and for democrats going after identity politics, i'm not hearing about that in this race. >> i think people are focusing way too much in ideology now, yes, there's a progressive wing of the democratic party and moderate wing of the democratic party, democrats want to win. if a progressive voter in iowa thinks joe biden is going to beat donald trump, they'll vote for joe biden. in the polling shows that, democrats want a candidate who can beat donald trump. to me, the core of joe biden's argument is i can win back the people that cost us the election last time. he told us before the clinton
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campaign is not talking to scranton and youngstown ohio and all the rest of it. if he feels the party is drifting to the left and can fill that lane and bring those people back he ought to jump in. >> to founder and ceo of axios. we will talk about bernie sanders in a second. we will talk about the race. i want to follow up because you know this stuff better than anybody. everybody is talking about these ideological lanes. at the end of the day, it's about beating donald trump. i don't see democrats scratching their head saying, how can i vote for joe biden because of what he said in 1974 about busing or how can i vote for elizabeth warren because of what she did 20 years ago on an application in the bar in texas, they're not looking backward, looking forward, who's going to beat donald trump in november. >> i mostly agree with that.
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no doubt if you look at the polls, electability seems to be at the top. you look where the energy of the party is and the response democrats saw to the green new deal, joe biden, bloomberg, terry mcauliffe all sort of sat back and said, wait, is the party potentially more to the left around ideas labelled as socialism than they first thought. i don't think it keeps joe biden out of the race because he understands this may be the most popular he will ever be. people forgot hillary clinton coming out of the state department was very popular. once you run and start getting pummeled everyday, that has an effect. right now he is a statesman everyone says could be a savior of the democratic party, that changes as you get in. >> what about sanders? >> sanders raised a lot of money, jumps in. he's old both in age but also because he has run before.
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biden just has to say, i can beat donald trump. i don't know if sanders has that argument. i've been there, we kind of did that last time around. i think he has to overcome that. there is new blood in this race and there are new faces and are people who have many dimensions of his politics in their platform. i think it's a long time before we figure this out. i don't think joe biden needs to jump in right now. there's no rush to get in, not like he can't raise the money or have the name recognition. once he gets in he has the full force of people with him 30, 40 years in politics. no rush for him to get in. where it complicates things is other candidates. michael bloomberg will not get in if biden gets into this race. he has told people that, feels like biden would fill that portion of the race he would. other people are waiting to see
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what biden does. no reason to get in for his own self-interest. >> in the hours after senator sanders jumped in yesterday, almost 150,000 individuals donated more than $4 million mirroring his 2016 average donation of $27 per person. meanwhile, he defended. >> can we stop there for a second? >> we need to stop right there. >> that is so powerful. >> i will tell you -- i'm listening to the conversation and trying not to repeat 2016 on every level. we can't make mistakes. some mistakes are maybe to impose our own feelings about what we think a candidate might be like. why don't we just see the money come in and see the support and see who people really like and we'll talk about it. look at the numbers for bernie sanders. he defended his second presidential bid by saying the democratic party adopted many of his radical ideas.
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>> in 2016, many of the ideas that i talked about, medicare for all, raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, making public colleges and universities tuition-free, all of those ideas, they're so radical, american people just won't accept those ideas. you know what happened in three years, all of those ideas and more are part of the political mainstream. >> you're saying the party came your way? >> i don't want to say that. i think most people would say that. >> most people would say that. again, the contributors, willie, having that online base, so you raise $4 million, average donation, $27, we were marveling at that last time because he raised, what, $150 million? >> that was real. >> average donation, $27. >> if the thrust of this
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campaign for democrats is about populism, there's the greatest demonstration that $27 donations adding up to the totals we've seen. jim, how are you looking at bernie sanders this time around? the democratic party saw him as an irritant in the hillary clinton coronation last time around. is he a leader here? >> first, he was a formidable leader last time around. he perform quite well and hass an activist base you saw in the donations. he is right, a lot of candidates, the first batch that jumped in, they are talking about bernie sanders ideas, you talk about the green new deal draws from a lot of things sanders said in the past. tax on wealth or higher income earners, he has been talking about that a long time. the party has moved his way.
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he deserves credit for that because he talked about these issues before. it is a potential problem because there are other candidates talking about it. senator harris may not be as far to the socialist wing of the party as he is but she embraced many of his ideas and she is having similar luck, look at the social media and amount of media coverage that is the biggest challenge to sanders. >> you look at biden and bloomberg and other people that aren't from the progressive wing of the party, they have to ask themselves whether they can raise money online. they can get the big checks written to them. >> they can write them. >> in the democratic party, the game is getting the money online, can they do it. not sure. >> jim, thank you very much. coming up, the director of national intelligence angers the
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president by telling the truth. officials fear dan coats could be on his way out. reporting on that. and former acting fbi director andrew mccabe is here at the top of the hour. at t he top of the hour they're our parents...
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burberry. burberry it is 55 past the hour. election workers in north carolina admit to counting votes before polls closed in the still undecided house race. hearing from poll workers in then rural county of the center of disputed district nine house race votes were tallied when in person voting ended days before election night. the workers said they could see who had the early lead in the sheriff's race, they did not alert anyone. they presented evidence that showed the disputed house race between republican, mark harris, and democrat, dan mccready, was
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marred by falsified signatures and uncompleted ballots and disappearing documents. harris currently leads mccreedy by 905 votes. supreme court justice, ruth gader ginsberg returned to the bench on tuesday. the 85-year-old underwent surgery for cancer and working from home since late december. missing oral arguments for the first time but participating on decisions by written briefs and transcripts. and pr reports ginsburg was the first to ask a question quote in a firm and strong voice. at the end of the argument, ginsburg got up carefully, as she descended the steps behind the bench. chief justice, john roberts, walked next to her, ready to help. ginsburg walked on her own. while justice ginsburg may be
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back on the bench, she is not expected to be in the oscars audience sunday where "rbg," a documentary on her life and work, has been nominated for an academy award. coming up, a bombshell report raising new questions on donald trump and obstruction of justice. we'll talk to the man who said he ordered the investigation into obstruction of justice. former acting fbi director, andrew mccabe. anew mccabe. that's why i switcd to liberty mutual. they customized my car insurance, so i only pay for what i need. and as a man... uh... or a woman... with very specific needs that i can't tell you about- say cheese. mr. landry? oh no. hi mr. landry! liberty mutual customizes your car insurance so you only pay for what you need. ♪ liberty. liberty. liberty. liberty. ♪
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welcome back to "morning joe." it is wednesday, february 20th. mike barnicle is still with us and joining the conversation, we have former acting fbi director, andrew mccabe, author of the new book, "the threat" how the fbi protects america in the age of terror and trump. >> i want to make sure my past tweets have been accurate when i talk about the democratic conspiracy at the fbi and washington, and then i list the 11 or 12 republicans. you were a life-long republican before all this, right. i was. i was. i voted for republican presidents in every election until 2016. >> the same here. so, what i find, there's so much that's come out that's been so fascinating, so surprising, what shocks me the most is -- and i
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shouldn't be shocked anymore, is that mitch mcconnell and the gang of eight were told a long time ago that you had concerns, not only the fbi, you had concerns about donald trump's ties to russia, but that you were investigating him. what can you tell us about that? >> that's right. an important part of that very dramatic step of initiating investigation certainly getting that recommendation from my team, considering it very closely, approving it for the reasons that i've details, we had observable facts that indicated a threat to national security may exist and a crime may have been committed, talked that through with the deputy attorney general, rod rosenstein. >> what's so compelling, so many things when he was bragging about firing comey, and in the white house with no american reporters in there and russian ambassador, what was the tipping point for the fbi when they
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said, this is something we have to look into and if we don't we won't be doing our job? >> that concern, those concerns had been building as our investigation went forward. we had been through a series of strange intra-actions between the president and jim comey. there's that watershed moment where he asks jim comey to drop the michael flynn case, something we would never do. in this wake of that ask we were stepping back and realizing, this is not just inexperience talking, a lack of knowledge how the fbi works and how the department of justice, where we fit in, in this town, this was an actual attempt to put a thumb on the scales and impact it for the benefit -- then he fires the director. >> when you went and talked to the gang of eight, when you talked to mitch mcconnell, when you talked to devin nunes, any
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concerns from nunes, burr, ryan or mcconnell, the republicans there? >> no concerns. >> did they say -- you're doing what? you're investigating the president? >> no pushback whatsoever. i walked through a fairly detailed brief i won't share the details here, of course. there was resignation at the table. there were a few nodding heads. >> but you were specific, we are investigating the president of the united states because we are concerned that there may be something amiss regarding his relationship with russia? >> i was perfectly clear of that. >> on that point? >> yeah. >> perfectly clear with that point. any responses from any of them, the four republicans, that you can tell us here? >> there was not a discussion after my presentation. did you get a call after --
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>> no. >> -- from one of those four members, mitch mcconnell, my god, what the hell are you talking about? >> yeah. >> hey, what are you talking about, mccabe? did they call you and ask you about the investigation. >> no call, no questions. look, the basis upon which we made that decision was perfectly clear. we were in possession of facts that made it abundantly clear we had an articuable basis to believe that threat might exist. under those circumstances, the fbi is obligated to open a case. if we don't open a case because the subject happens to be the president of the united states, we're not doing our job. we've been undermined and motivated by politics. that was not the case here. we went forward, made that tough decision and announced it to the deputy attorney general and congress the way we're supposed to and moved forward. can you tell us what the facts were that led you to believe there should be an investigation? >> sure. some of those things adding to that conclusion were, at the
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very first mark, the president made it clear publicly, as you said, joe, he did not like what we were doing, undermining the case, referring to it as a hoax, constantly communicating through his twitter feed he was not happy with the investigation we were pursuing. he then talks to director comey about dropping the flynn case, concerning to us, repeatedly pressed -- >> let me ask, how long were you in the fbi? >> 21 years. >> in 21 years, did you ever have a public official ask you to drop a case for somebody that worked on their staff? work closely with them? >> not once, not ever in 21 years. >> anybody in the fbi you know, says, this reminds me of '86, when the mayor of -- why don't we say providence, rhode island.
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i apologize -- >> buddy. >> was it buddy? then i'm okay. has anybody in the fbi ever had a public official ever pressure them to drop a case, an investigation of somebody that worked under them? >> i can't speak for everyone. >> did you hear anybody tell you that? >> in my experience, across 21 years, serving in this field office in new york city, hypocrisy, running the washington field office, i've had a lot of exposure to public corruption cases over the years, i have never seen or heard anything quite like this. >> could you help us out with the timeline? could you tell us when the russian intervention into our elections, when did it first become apparent you had open to an investigation into that aspect? >> we opened the initial russian cases, don't hold me to a specific date, end of july in
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2016. >> when did donald j. trump intersect with that investigation? >> the investigation itself was focused on whether or not the trump campaign may have had an inappropriate relationship or interactions with the russian government. this was a topic we debated hotly amongst the investigative team, whether or not we were actually investigating the president. we weren't, of course, until we opened the case in may. there were some on our team felt the mere fact we were investigating the campaign, campaign he was in charge of, brought us very close to having to say essentially he was under investigation. he wasn't until may 20th. >> january, he becomes president, he then gets the full presidential briefing. does he at that time become aware he is on the fringes or his campaign is on the fringes
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of an fbi investigation? >> he was aware of our concerns about russian involvement, not just russian involvement in the election but russian support what we in the intelligence community feel was the support of his campaign particularly, when we briefed him on the intelligence community assessment that took place on january 6th, before he was actually inaugurated. >> were you participating in that briefing? >> i was not. director comey did that briefing. >> when did you come face-to-face with donald trump? >> i did not sit face-to-face with the president until the evening of jim comey's firing. >> we're all now fairly familiar with the aftermath of the firing and the firing, given at this point in time, given everything you know and said and written, would you, as a private attorney other government attorney be confident for taking an in diameter or obstruction of justice on donald j. trump to a
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grand jury. >> that's a very loaded question for me particularly coming out of my previous position. what i can tell you, mike, is this, i was confident in may of 2017, we had ample facts to indicate the president may have committed obstruction of justice. that's the point the fbi is in, right? we decide when and what we investigate. we do it not based on politics or because we like the guy or don't like the guy or think this case would be interesting or fun, we do it because of the facts at that time. at that time, it was abundantly clear to me we had enough facts to indicate that may have been committed. >> you said may twice, the general standard the crime may have been committed. enough you would feel confident to have a u.s. attorney -- >> absolutely. >> -- pursue it? >> absolutely. >> you were asked yesterday on abc whether or not you believed russians ordered president trump to fire then fbi director, james
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comey. your response was quote we don't know. does that mean you leave open the possibility the president of the united states was taking direction from russia? >> absolutely. that's the possibility that exists in a counter-intelligence investigation. >> do you believe, as some have suggested the president of the united states is a russian asset? >> i can't sit here, willie, and tell you i believe that. i know we had good reason to open that investigation. i am quite confident director mueller and his team will get to the bottom of it. >> given all you know, now you've stepped outside and written this book and put a lot of it in the book, what's your best explanation for why president trump has seemed again and again to lean towards the russians, defend vladamir putin in cases where no one else would? >> i wish i could explain that for you this morning, right? that's something anyone either involved in the investigation or watching the results of what director mueller is doing sits
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back and scratches their head over day-to-day. the facts are, it doesn't take a serupticious recording. it doesn't take extreme investigative techniques. all you have to do is watch the president, watch what he does and listen to what he says and you can't help but escape those questions. >> broadly, you say it's no co-in dense the president is defending russia and putin. >> it's hard to say it's not a coincidence but never seen this before. >> what do you say about no note takers with translators and nothing else? >> i can't possibly explain that. it is a complete departure from the process i'm familiar with. >> three questions all related to the same thing. what mistakes do you think you made in your role in investigating trump? what mistakes do you think jim
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comey made? and what about the fbi overall? >> wow. that's a big question. >> let's start with you. not just the investigation of donald trump, what mistakes did you make over the past two jeers, where you look back and say, man, like to get a chance to get a do-over on that one? >> i spent a long time thinking about the decisions jim and i and the team went through going back all the way to the clinton e-mail case all the way to the investigation of russia. there were some momentous decisions we made and some may have had an impact on electoral politics far beyond anything we ever intended. i'm pretty candid in the book aboutree thinking our decision to even announce our investigative results in the beginning of july. >> i was going to ask about that. that was such a departure from precedent. did jim comey make a mistake while saying we're not going to indict hillary clinton but basically holding a press
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conference indicting her politically? >> joy, i think in retrospect -- i supported jim's decision to make that announcement at the time. >> was there anybody telling him not to do that? >> no, there wasn't. >> it was such a departure. is it not strange there was nobody around jim comey saying, mr. director, we don't do this. indict or don't indict and go away. >> we had those conversations. we were aware of the departure of precedent but we banked very heavily, and we were incredibly confident in jim's ability as a communicator. i think we were overconfident and put too much stock in our hope and belief jim could communicate to people not just the extensive investigation we had done -- >> wasn't he grandstanding? democrats fairly say he was grandstanding. >> i wouldn't call it that. we were in a position we felt it was essential to explain to people what we had done, what we had concluded and thought about the case. if was it done in part because
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you and jim comey and the fbi, like everybody else in the media, except for two or three people, thought hillary clinton was going to win the election and everybody wanted their hands clean when she did? you wouldn't be having hearings nine months into the clinton administration why you weren't more aggressive with hillary clinton? >> absolutely not. it was done because we received this investigation in an incredibly public way. >> let me ask you this question. if you could give advice to future fbi directors -- >> yeah. >> would you tell them, when you're thinking about holding a press conference after you decide not to indict a public official, don't do it? >> i think i would tell that future fbi director that precedent is important for good reason. even in those moments, when you are so confident and you're trying to do the right thing you feel that departure from
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precedent, you have the about and confidence in your communicator, in the righteousness of your cause and work you've done. that's all great, that idea of precedent should weigh very heavily. >> keep your head down. let me ask you about the letter 10 days before the election, which again, this is one of the most bizarre things, when i hear about the deep state conspiracies about donald trump, deep state elected donald trump. if you talked to donald trump during that time he would tell you that letter actually gave him a chance to win the presidency. what regrets do you or jim comey have about that letter you can speak to. >> sure. i can't speak for jim. jim has been pretty clear. >> do you regret that letter was sent 10 days before the election? >> i didn't agree with the decision to send that letter at the time. unfortunately i didn't have the about to participate in because of what was swirling around me
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about "wall street journal" reporting and this idea i would recuse from the case. jim told me he didn't want me to participate in that discussion and decision. >> why is that? >> i'm sorry? >> why did he not want you to participate. >> i can't speak for jim and don't want to say what was in his mind or what might have been circulating in his mind. >> can you tell us who he consulted with. we always crazy donald trump for not consulting with more people before making momentous decisions. can you tell us who was he talking with before he sent out that letter to donald trump? >> i don't know. my understanding, it was the same members of the teamworking the issues right through the fall. >> on a personal level, talking about the "wall street journal" reporting, talk about the clinton decision, deep state actor, andrew mccabe leaks something i remember on this show we said, this really
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matters. this is really going to be damaging to hillary clinton's campaign. the deep state working for donald trump, bizarre what impacts the minds of devin nunes. >> talk about the leak, the fbi does it all the time, the cia does it all the time, take it into your thought process. why did you leak that information and why did you not tell the truth to investigators later? >> yes. i will correct you on a couple things. just to start out, i am limited in what i can discuss with you about the "wall street journal" articles and everything that came from them. i still to this day still caught up in legal issues from those events and everything. >> what can you tell us about? >> i will tell you this. when i served as deputy director, i was one of two people in the fbi who had the authority by fbi policy to interact with the media and decide what information as an
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organization we shared with the media. my activities and involvement, transacting day-to-day on numerous media requests across the spectrum. that is not activity any right thinking well informed person would -- >> who is the other person? the director? >> yes. >> you don't consider your discussions with "wall street journal" to be leaking. i don't consider any authorized dissemination over my course of deputy director to be leaks. they are not leaks. >> we will read about the decisions leading up to that. did director comey know you were talking to the "wall street journal"? >> i cannot -- i would love to take outer that report and lay it on a table and go point by point how i disagree with the conclusions in that ig report. i will tell you i at no time ever misled director comey,
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inspector general or another media issue. the fact is that report -- and i have been reading investigative reports for 21 years is not the product of any investigation i'm familiar with. >> do you think you were railroaded? were people trying to please the president in the conclusions they reached? >> there's no question what conclusion the president desired from that investigation. he made it clear from the twitter account and the ig delivered the result he was demanding. do i know there was direction? i hope to get it clear with the civil lawsuit i'm filing. >> do you think when history is written and the report is laid bare you will be vindicated and they will turn on the decision of the ig. >> should the ig be investigated? >> that's a good question. they are overseers. it's less clear who oversees the
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and have professional monitoring backing you up with xfinity home. demo in an xfinity store. call, or go online today. by the way, i just have to say -- i'm sorry, willie. >> willie was just about to speak. >> we are in the middle of a very important conversation with andrew mccabe, but, mika, it's time to give out our daily scorecard. >> yes. >> he's summoned for chris matthews -- subbing for chris matthews. how did he do on the air? it was good. >> it was better. >> we told kornacki, you have to be really punchy. >> his opening line. >> things are really disturbing when you look -- mika was like, two syllables, like, meltdown, let's play "hardball"!
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>> what will he do if he has andy mccabe on? what should you do? >> mccabe meltdown, let's play "hardball"! >> storm clouds over the white house. >> no. storm clouds, let's play "hardball." good cover. >> all right. >> can i ask you something, with all your regrets, your biggest regret you came on this show? you can say yes? >> no. this has been great. >> he looks really uncomfortable. >> his new book is "the threat, how the fbi protects america in the age of terror and trump." i will ask you about this 20 minute conversation you had with deputy attorney general rod rosenstein. there has been some discussion about what you said on "60 minutes," not in the book. can you clarify what conversation you had with rod rosenstein and what he wanted to do. >> let me put you in that week. rod and i had a series of
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meetings in the wake of jim's firing. four meetings between the time jim was fired and we went to congress to brief the work of the special counsel and work we had done. those were incredibly fraught conversations, some with rod and i and some with other people. we were grappling with an issue what to do about a president who might have committed a federal crime and might be a national security risk. >> wait a second. what is the national security risk you think he may have posed. >> if the president obstructed justice for the purpose of negatively impacting our ability to investigate the russian interference with the campaign and russian connections with his own campaign effort, why would a president do that? why would the president not want the fbi to understand what the russians had been up to in our political process. >> based on that you were discussing the 25th amendment
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that discussed removing a president from office. the conversation wasn't about the 25th amendment. >> that's what the 25th amendment. >> rod brought it up in a wide ranging conversation. it's not something he took any wide action to pursue. i don't know of any other meetings with discussions of it. it was simply one topic in the midst of a whole host of issues we were thinking about and working in our heads at that time. >> did he present that to other cabinet officials because he had to count heads to see if i have enough votes to remove the president. >> not that i'm aware of. >> what about wearing a wire? >> rod offered to wear a wire, said he could wear one. he was never searched or patted down when he went in and out of the white house. it was a remarkable thing for a deputy attorney general -- >> were you stunned when he made that offer? >> absolutely. >> he claimed later he was joking.
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other people in the room said he was not joking. what was your opinion? >> i never had the sense rod was joking. i didn't take the comment as sarcastic or humorous. it was an offer he made on more than one occasion not one i ever considered taking him up on. >> how many conversations about the 25th amendment? >> at least one. i haven't had an opportunity to look at my notes or memos since that time. i couldn't tell you. >> senator lindsey graham wants to open hearings based on what you disclosed over the past several days, calls this discussion of the removal of a dully elected president attempted bureaucratic coup. he's not alone. the white house believes that and the nut of this book what they want to talk about. a lot of people across this country, 60 million of them, who voted for donald trump, who will look at the ver conversations
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you had about removing him as some kind of coup. what do you say to them? >> i think the word, "coup" and word "treason" are inflammatory are interesting but have nothing to do with what we were doing. >> but the 25th amendment is someone who cannot serve and incapacitated. did you see president trump as -- >> that was not my role, willie. >> did rod rosenstein see it that way? >> did not specify that to me in my conversations. my focus was what we do as the investigators. the issue i was grappling with was not whether or not the president was removed or incapacitated, able to do his job, should he be investigated. >> what was the tone of the conversation? what were you all feeling
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emotionally when this came up? i've heard it discussed in humor, this con settlement has come up at dinner tables in my life or this set. >> and you bring it up everyday. >> very emotionally. i'm just wondering -- >> not that there's anything wrong with that. >> what the context of the conversation was how everybody was feeling emotionally. was it fear? shock? were you joking? what are some other ways to describe how this came up? >> it wasn't a lot of humor. it was an incredibly intense period. we were struggling with things none of us ever confronted or thought about before. the conversations were wide ranging to the point of being hard to follow. the deputy attorney general was emotional. he was oftentimes pacing around the room, speaking very rapidly, jumping from topic to topic. it was just an incredibly trying time. i will say this for the deputy
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attorney general, at the end of that process he made a decision that could rightly be the one that could preserve forever our ability to preserve what was at the heart of this for the country. he ordered a special counsel. >> i can remember the fbi trying to work the pr regarding travel gate. a similar thing happened to you with reince priebus in 2017. did he come to your office or did you go to his office and have a conversation he was trying to get you to push back on a "new york times" article regarding trump officials and contacts with russian intelligence? >> reince and i had a conversation in his office that morning on the outskirts of another pre-planned meeting. over the course of the day, reince reached out to me numerous times asking the fbi to
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publicly deny the existence of fisa in a particular set of circumstances. that is not something we do, we don't confirm or deny the existence of fisa because it leads you down a road you can't come back from. i could not convince him this was a bad thing for the fbi, bad thing for the intelligence community, for those reasons something we don't do. it might cause us static, hard days dealing with the media as we ride out the controversy but that the sort of thing the fbi endures everyday. >> andy, you were deputy director of the fbi, acting director of the fbi for a brief period of time, you handle counter intelligence investigations. you had on your desk everyday you went to work things that would cause most americans to stay in bed they're so scary. >> true. >> now, we're talking about the 25th amendment, you addressing
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the gang of eight about the possible investigation for conspiracy of the president of the united states. we've mentioned the word that the president might be an asset of russia, yet, as you go about your ordinary day today, most americans would say, we got all that. what are you having for lunch? what he's done in terms of labeling things as shocking or stopping you in your tracks, there's none of that. what's your feeling about that? >> it's incredibly concerning to me, one of the reasons i wrote the book. what i saw in my experiences, particularly in the last two years, with the repeated attacks, not just me personally but fbi intelligence community is this persistent effect of the institution we rely on to
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preserve this country as a free and fair democracy. the fact that doesn't seem to be foremost in most people's mind troubles me greatly and one of the reasons i wrote the book. >> wow. going back to priebus, i think he said you claimed it was total b.s., the "new york times" story was total b.s. did you tell him that? >> reince and i had a conversation about that article. i won't relate the substance of that for the same reason i wouldn't talk about that with the media when reince asked me later in the day. >> what happens next? what should we be expecting from this investigation. mueller? what are you looking for? >> the most important thing people should be confident what they ultimately hear from mueller and his team will be the honest investigations they did,
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whether they find the smoking guns you think might be there or nothing at all. i know from working with director mueller over the course of 12 years he is perfectly equipped to do this job, will do it thoroughly, honestly and independently. in terms of my own preference, what i think should happen, i know he will deliver the report due to the attorney general at the end of his work. i think that work should be shared immediately with congress and shared as soon as possible to the american public. the title of the book, "the threat how the fbi protects america in the age of terror and trump." what do you believe is the threat posed by president trump in this country? >> president trump's words and his actions are making it harder everyday for the men and women in law enforcement and the men and women in the intelligence community to do their jobs. their jobs is to keep us safe everyday. that is a threat to the security
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to american people. >> you think he is a national security threat. >> i think what he's doing and saying is making this country less safe. >> what do you have to say to the president? >> he doesn't watch. >> he called you a liar. what do you have to say to president donald trump. >> you know, joe, i can't tell you in a 21 years career in the fbi i never was in trouble for anything more serious than losing my building id. to leave the bureau, organization i love after 21 years after having run it as acting director and deputy director, and to be branded a liar on the way out the door is revolting to me, something that makes me sick to my stomach everyday. i know how i served and served this country honestly with integrity and what i tried to give people an opportunity to see behind the curtain what the fbi is all about, what fbi people are like and why they're
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drawn to this work and most importantly how we do the work we do. not the story of fbi corruption falsely perpetrated by the white house and supporters on the hill. it this is the story of men and women everyday go in to work to keep us all safe, put theirselves at great risk. incredible sacrifices on their family time. it impacts every aspect of your life. they do it day in and day out because they are committed to this country. >> andrew mccabe, thank you very much for being on the show this morning. >> thanks for coming on. >> thank you so much. >> the book is "the threat how the fbi pro-secretary america in the age of terror and trump." coming up, senate minority whip, dic k-dur bk durbin is st by. k durbin is standing by ♪
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show them what you got.
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joining us now, the number two ranked democrat in the senate minority wipe dick durbin of illinois. good to have you on the set here. on the set here must be visiting the grandkids.
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>> exactly right. >> what did you make of the interview? i know you were listening. what stood out to you? >> i listened carefully because you asked questions many of us wanted answered for a while. i wanted to get into this "wall street journal" investigation used to discredit mccabe. i have to say, i'm still struggling with the fact after two decades working in the fbi, taking a close look at the questions and answers and making life and death decisions, that his explanation doesn't really satisfy me as to why he faltered in this moment when he was being asked about his own conduct. >> what do you make of the investigation lindsey graham now wants to launch an investigation? >> it's interesting. i'm the one who believes the senate judiciary kncommittee ha been on the sidelines of the controversy. this used to be the premiere committee that led the
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investigations on the most controversial issues of the day. the last several years we've been awol. i have been making that point in the committee and thought with lindsey coming in, he was an exception in the crimes subcommittee and called pretty important hearing. he has an opportunity if he wishes to open the door of the judiciary subcommittee. i'm wondering if he's open to that door. >> he has one of the most important positions of the united states senate, chairman of the judiciary committee, the tip of the spear for donald trump declaring an unconstitutional emergency. >> that's the problem, joe, because when he opens the door with andrew mccabe there are questions he and others will raise with other witnesses. let's not stop here. let's get the still story before us. does that mean he will call the gang of eight?
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anyone who participated in the intelligence briefing that occurred. >> was that a shock to you andrew mccabe notified mitch mcconnell, devin nunes, chairman burr, paul ryan, how quickly we forget, paul ryan, and let them know the president of the united states was under investigation for possibly nefarious ties to russia and not one of them raised an objection? >> let me put it in context. i haven't been a member of the gang of eight but in some briefings in my capacity of the appropriations committee. it is rare if ever you have that kind of confrontation you say, that's none of your business, overstepping, you're into something you're not legally entitled to do. rare. you try to absorb the information and think, this is a thin slice of reality, i want to absorb it and put it in context
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with my staff. >> wouldn't you pick up the phone and say, tell me more. >> i would be surprised if somebody in the president's party didn't reach out to the administration to let them know what happens. >> what about the center of the 25 amendment, as serious as it gets, impeachment by a name or vote in the house. do you think that's appropriate the duly elected president would be removed under the 25th amendment as to incapacitation. >> you put your finger on it. that is the starting point. is this a question of incapacity or disability? no. from what i heard from mr. mccabe, a question whether mr. trump had been compromised with his relationship with the russians. you think, really, mike pence will start this process and get a majority of the trump process
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to sign on. i didn't know how fit that was. it seemed like a reach way beyond -- >> it's an interesting conversation to have as you look whether he's compromised. a lot of people would look at the facts right now and wonder if he's compromised. >> i think that's a legitimate line of inquiry but doesn't fit in mccabe's book. i think he was working on this counter-intelligence angle and whether he was to be brought up in obstruction of justice by the fbi. >> it was passed really quickly. nobody acted on it. the only real news was rod rosenstein offered to wear a wire. >> even then, i thought mccabe was playing down slightly as he seemed to be saying he suggested that as well as other things. the wire side of it, he
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definitely said he wasn't joking. i was struck by the degree of chaos and emotion in the room and said he could barely follow a chaos as rosenstein was walking back and forward. >> and our intelligence committee appeared to be shaken. >> one of the things mccabe said at the end of that, he hopes the person that gets to the bottom of that is mueller, whether the president ever was an asset, is still an asset. how confident are you after the confirmation of the new attorney general we will see that report? >> you really put your finger on the whole bill barr nomination and why i voted against it. i respect him as an attorney and man a former attorney general. i said to him at the hearing, my first question is, why do you want this job? why are you walking into this department of justice at this moment in history with this
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president? i listened to him at the hearing and afterwards he has an constitutional obligation, he feels it. two things worry me, first, this voluntary 19 page memo to the trump defense team saying under the unitary presidential theory the president should be scared from certain investigations and activities and crimes. second, the whole question whether he will disclose this to the american people, transparency of this report. i think wide transparency and release of it is critical for this nation to come to grips what we faced for two years. >> do you think we'll get to it? >> he's trying to protect sowrngsz methods. i do believe the more released is better for this nation. >> we still need to talk about michael flynn and saudi arabia. that small issue. >> small issue. >> right back. right back.
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the emergency declaration unconstitutional? >> i believe it is. i can't tail light you what the supreme court will do. it's in trump's favor on most issues. that's what et he said. we'll go through the ninth circuit and lose a few times and then win it at the supreme court. i think it is a gross overstep in terms of the emergency powers. take a look at history. how presidents used it. it's for specific circumstances and hardly with a whimper of resistance from congress. the last time for a military person, 9/11. >> there's a vote on the new green deal, whatever they call it. i sound like nancy pelosi now. how will you vote on that? >> at this point i can't tell you. i have read it and i have reread
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it. and i asked, what in the heck is this? >> you sound like nancy. >> it's an aspiration. it's a resolution. we're going to ask the republican leader what's your position on global warming while we're at it. should he come out on the record and say if human activity is having an impact on the environment. get on the record on both sides. >> you wouldn't vote for it in its current form? >> it's long. >> what is that? >> i look for it and there's nowhere for. i will tell you i certainly agree with the premise that globl warming is a threat to the planet and we're not doing enough. >> sorry to jump around. but on the national emergency, some democrats is have said donald trump gets away with this. supreme court rules in his favor.
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that's a power the president should use, even a democratic president. would you be in favor using an emergency deck ha ration for climate change? >> when you create this power through a supreme court decision, a precedent, a president would be a fool to i guess norse it when he considers it something to be critically important. i don't think an extra hundred miles of wall would justify this decision. but i could see where some other president if he had that authority would use it. >> is it your understanding that the white house and people around the president are still trying to sell nuclear technology to saudi arabia, even possibly to law? >> the first visit was saudi arabia. i think there's a special relationship between the president and saudi arabia. >> is this still happening? >> the nuclear part i can't speak to. >> we have to go to break.
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i'm getting yelled at. are you concerned about some of the antise m-semitic remarks ou house members? >> yes, absolutely. and i think schumer and plost and others have joined in condemning them across the board. we don't have problem when it comes to this. steve king on the republican side, they anguished over what to say talking about white nationalism. there was a clear statement by our leaders. this is unep sbl. >> senator durbin, good to have you on. still ahead, more on the new reporting that the president tried to get an ally put in charge of the probe that resulted in trump being imi poli implicated in campaign finance. plus andrew mccabe, "morning joe" is coming right back. w mccg joe" is coming right back.
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only tylenol® rapid release gels have laser drilled holes. they release medicine fast, for fast pain relief. tylenol® president trump if "the new york times" is correct wanted his ally to be in charge of both of those investigations. and matt whitaker apparent lu did not execute that command. >> that phone call you said that's evident of corrupt intent. >> on the part of the president. he's making -- >> would that be obstruction? >> yes, it would be attempted obstruction. it would only be obstruction if it succeeded. but if you try to interfere with a criminal prosecution that may, knock at your own door but putting your ally in there, that's clearly an attempt to
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obstruct justice. >> that it guy has been throwing 99 miles an hour fastballs. >> on fox. >> for months. >> the president might not have wanted to see or retweet yesterday. we'll go in depth on the sweeping "new york times" piece. good morning, welcome to "morning joe." it's wednesday, february 20th along with joe, willy and me, we have contributor mike barnacle, katy cay is here and intelligence and national security reporter ken delaney. let's start with the exhaustive review the "new york times" published yesterday detalg the president's effort s s to intere in the russia investigation. in one instance last year the paper reports that the president called his newly installed acting attorney general matthew whitaker and described by the
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times as a trump ally could take charge of the criminal investigation that resulted in the president being implicated in campaign finance violations. the paper cites u.s. officials with direct knowledge of the call. the paper says whitaker privately told us part of his role at the justice department was to, quote, jump on a degrgre for the president. he couldn't put furman in charge because rudy giuliani was recused from the investigation. target the times, the president soon soured on whitaker, as he often does with his aids, and complained about his inability to pull levers at the justice department that could make the president's many legal problems go away. "the times" reports that whitaker told some doj associates that prosecutors required adult supervision.
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according to the review, democrats are hooking into whether whitaker perjuried himself when he told the et committee earlier this month that the president never pressured him over the investigations. >> at no time has the white house asked for, nor have i provided, any promises or commitments concerning the special council's investigation or any other investigation. >> did you ever have any conversations with the president about firing or reassigning any personnel, u.s. attorneys or other os who were with the southern district of new york. would the president or anybody at the all? you want to know whether you talked to president trump at all about the southern district of new york's case involving michael cohen. >> i'm not going to discuss my private discussions with the president of the united states. >> mr. whitaker, did the president president lash out to you on december 8th, 2018, to discuss a case before the
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southern district in new york where he was identified as individual one? >> no, congressman. >> did any on the president's behalf either inside the white house or outside the white house contact you to lash out o or, press dissatisfaction? >> did they contact me? >> did they reach out to express dissatisfaction? >> no. >> did you ask acting tender general matthew whitaker to change the leadership of the investigation into your former personal attorney michael cohen? >> no, not at all. that's more fake news. a lot of fake news out there. no, i didn't. >> he's not even trying anymore. >> they reviewed documents and conducted interviews with current and former government officials, members of congress, legal experts and more. >> so first of all, it looks like whitaker may have a problem with his testimony before
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congress. he's possibly perjuriered himself. but we can go back to what the judge said on fox news yesterday afternoon. the bigger story is it looks like based on "the new york times" reports the president actually may have engaged in a very active attempt to obstruct justice. >> yeah, this "new york times" story did a great public service, i think, because it puts the focus back perhaps where it belongs in terms of this president and his alleged misconduct. and essentially, when they summed up by saying a lot of this conduct has been reported, but the public has grown to it because it's a daily occurrence. i want to read this sentence to you. but fuse iing the strands revea an extraordinary story of a president who has attacked the law enforcement of his own government like no other president in history and who has turned the effort into an b obsession. and i think that's the key here. what we have seen from donald trump is not necessarily what richard nixon did, which was to order the cia to tell the fbi to
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stop investigating on the grounds of national security. he hasn't necessarily used the levers of his power. what he's done is used the bully pulpit, made private calls, made requests of people, intimidate people, all of which in isolation may be legally, but together it's a pattern that i think you're going to see in robert mueller's report described as obstruction of justice. we'll see what mueller says about it, but this is a powerful case and the "the times" offered new information. other information we have known for a long time. it's a powerful case that the president has behaved in a way that no other president has behaved and potentially has obstructed. >> as the "the times" lays out, this was a pattern. jeff sessions recused himself from the russia investigation. he saw people within the justice department as working for him and they are to defend him. it's important to identify
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people at home who may not be familiar with jeffrey berman and why president trump would want him at the head of this investigation as some kind of a guardrail against what he thought was coming down the pike in the cohen investigation. >> well, he was donald trump's appointee to be the u.s. attorney. that's really all you need to know about it. but he had recused, and the way it works they ask permission to recuse. he doesn't make that decision on his own. the justice department granted that recusal. he knew there was no way that was going to happen. it didn't happen. and my reporting suggests to me that whitaker knew he was under a microscope in this job and walking a very fine line. he knew that whatever he did he was going to be accountable for to congress. and i think we're seeing that play out. so it doesn't surprise me that this ultimately did not happen. >> and he's pulled no punches at all in the southern district of
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new york since he's been down there. so i think donald trump is misleading berman and his character anymo way, progressin his own at the collapses on somebody else because from everything i have heard, jeffrey berman doesn't look like the type of guy that would pull punches. but yesterday as we were reading this story, just one of these stories, if that story had dropped in the middle of the obama administration with nothing before it or nothing after it, there would be immediate investigations and calls for impeachment. if it had dropped in the middle of the george w. bush administration, if it dropped in the middle of bill clinton administration, you could go back to every single administration. there would be immediate calls if the president went to the
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acting justice department, had head of the justice department and said, hey, i want you to put pressure on the southern district of new york and get that guy back in there because they are investigating me and the heat is on. but again, we have gotten so used to it that it's just another day. >> there were two big stories yesterday where i had exactly the response you outoutlined. one was this one and how that could have been head line news for weeks in the obama administration. and there would have been calls tr republicans to step down immediately if it was in the obama administration. the other one is the story that there were attempts from want top trump administration officials during the transition and after the transition to give nuclear technology to the saudis. that's also being investigated by congress. it also would have been the
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major news of the obama administration. imagine it could come out that obama had been trying to get nuclear technology to the saudis, it would have been up in arms. >> skpefrg else that's going on with the saudis and happened in the beginning of this presidency with his visit, it's incredible. >> they wanted to profit off it. flynn want ed to make a quick buck off it. >> you raised what i view as the ultimate damage to institutions in this country. the fact that you have a series of stories in 48 to 72 hours, the saudi story, the rosenstein 25th amendment stour, story, the gang of eight, intelligence kmeess about the president being under investigation for potentially with russia. you have all of that and now you have this story about whitaker being the lead of the story.
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thank god for newspapers. you have all of that and the attitude out in the country, the reaction out in the country is, okay, pass the salt. that's what he has done. >> still ahead on "morning joe," key moments from our interview last hour with former fbi deputy director andrew mccabe who says he believes it's possible that donald trump is a russian asset. that's next. but first, bill karins with a check on the snowy forecast. >> it looks like a snow globe, schools are cancelled, federal offices are cancelled in most cases. looking gorgeous at white house. the lawn is covered. roads are holding up okay rugt now as the temperature is holding around 31 degrees. so this is one of our biggest impacting days for winter weather. population wise, 132 million people under advisories or warnings from the northeast to ohio valley and great lakes and through the midwest. we have a big snowstorm coming for you in arizona in the high
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country in the days ahead. so washington, d.c., we just showed you the snow now starting to move towards baltimore. new york city right around 1:00. we're not talking blockbuster amounts. philly snow total around 2 to 3 inches. boston only around 3. the high country will do better. also a lot of ice will happen in west virginia today. then don't forget our friends in the midwest. snowing fret pretty good in minneapolis. we're going to have another 4 to 6 inches of snow in areas in northern portions of minnesota, wisconsin and great lakes. so once again, high impact delays on the travel. right now the airports are doing okay in the northeast. even dulles and reagan are doing all right. an inch and a half reported at dulles. you're watching "morning joe." we'll be right back. hear it in d she's watching too, saying [indistinct conversation]
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welcome back to "morning joe." last hour we sat down with andrew mccabe, whose new book "the threat" details his interactions with donald trump before being fired last year are from the fbi. among the many topics, why he opened a counterintelligence investigation into the president of the united states. >> what shocks me the most is is, and i shouldn't be shocked anymore, is that mitch mcconnell and the gang of eight were told a long time ago that you had concerns, not only the fbi ask you had concerns about donald trump's ties to russia, but that you were investigating him. what can can you tell us about that? >> that's right. an important port of that dramatic step of initiating that investigation, getting the recommendation from my team, approving it for the reasons i detailed, we had observable facts that indicates that a
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threat to national security may exist and a crime may have been committed. talked that through with the deputy attorney general. >> what was the most compelling -- there's so many things. for us, we talk about when he was bragging about firing comey. no more than reporters in there and the russian investigation. what was the tipping point for the fbi where they said this is something we have to look into. if we don't, we won't be doing our jobs. >> that concern, those concerns had been building as our investigation had gone forward. we had been through a series of really strange and troubling interactions between the president and jim comey. then there's the water shed moment where he asks jim comey to drop the michael flinn case. something we would never do. in the wake of that ask, we were all stepping back and realizing, this is not just an experience talking. this is not just a lack of knowledge about how the fbi works and how the department of
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justice, where do we fit in in this town. this was an actual attempt to put a thumb on the scales and impact the work that we were doing for their benefit. then he fires the director. >> so going back to the initial question, that was the triggering point in the investigation. when you went and talked to the gang of eight, when you talked to mitch mcconnell, when you talked to nunes, any concerns from nunes, ryan or mcconnell, the republicans there? >> no concerns. >> did they say you're doing what? you're investigating the president? >> no pushback whatsoever. i walked through a detailed brief, which i won't share the details, of course. there was resignation at the table. there were a few nodding heads. >> but you were specific. we are investigating the president of the united states because we are concerned that there may be something in this
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regarding his relationship with russia. >> i was per tefectly cheer wal. >> any response from them? that you can tell us here? >> there was not a discussion after my presentation. >> did you get a call after from one of those four members, nunes, mitch mcconnell, going, my god, what are you talking about? hey wharks are you talking about? did they call you and ask you about the investigation? >> no call. no questions. the basis upon which we made that decision was perfectly clear. we were in possession of facts that made it abundantly clear that we had a basis to believe that that threat might exist. and under those circumstances, the fbi is obligated to open a case. don't open a case because the
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subject happens to be the president of the the united states. we're not doing our job. we have been undermined and motivated by politics. that was not the case here. we went forward and made that tough decision. announced it to the deputy attorney general and congress in the way we're supposed to. and then we moved forward. >> can you tell us what the facts were that led you to believe there should be an investigation? >> i can -- some of those things that were adding to the conclusion. at the very first mark, the president made it perfectly clear publicly, as you said, joe, that he did not like what we were doing. he had been undermining the case, referring to it as a hoax, constantly communicating that he was not happy with the investigation we were pursuing. he then talked to director comey about want dropping the flynn case, which was concerning to us. he repeatedly -- >> how long were you in the fbi? >> had 21 years. >> did you ever have a public official ask you to drop a case for somebody that worked on
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their staff, work ed closely wih them? >> not once, not ever in the 21 years. >> anybody come to you and go this reminds me of '86 when the mayor of providence, rhode island, that's a pretty big bulls eye, ask me to want drop a case. by the way, i apologize if it was you. so has anybody in the fbi ever had a public official ever pressure them to drop a case? an investigation of somebody that worked under them? >> i can't speak for everyone, but in my experience across 21 years, serving in this field office in new york city, serving at headquarters, running the washington field office, i have had a lot of exposure to corruption cases over the years.
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i have never seen or heard anything quite like this. >> we'll show you more of the conversation this morning with andrew mccabe. we covered a lot of ground with the former acting fbi director. we'll et show you the other top takeaways, next on "morning joe." it's you and me bud, always. wow! it's a hidden dragon world. ♪ show them what you got. because they let me to customize my insurance, and as a fitness junkie, i customize everything. like my bike and my calves. liberty mutual customizes your car insurance so you only pay for what you need. ♪ liberty. liberty. liberty. liberty. ♪ investment opportunities beyfirsthand, like biotech.ne because your investments deserve the full story. t. rowe price invest with confidence.
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we are back with more of our interview with andrew mccabe. another portion important from that conversation. >> i was confident in may of 2017 that we had ample facts to indicate the president may have committed obstruction of justice. that's the point that the fbi made. we decide what and when we investigate. not because we like the guy or don't like the guy or think this case would be interesting or fun. and at that time, it was clear to me that we had enough facts to indicate that crime may have been committed. >> enough to feel confident to
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have the u.s. attorney pursue it? and your response was we don't know. absolu absolutely. >> that's the possibility that exists. >> do you believe that the president of the united states is a russian asset? i though we had goods reason to open that investigation. i'm quite confident that director mooul mueller and his team will get to the bottom of it. >> you have stepped outside and written this book. you put a lot of it in the book. what's your explanation for why the president has leaned towards
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the russian, defend putin in cases no one else would? >> i wish i could explain that for you this morning. that something that i think anyone either involved in this investigation or simply watching the results of what director mueller is doing, sits back and scratches their head day over day. the facts are it did you want take a recording. you kaeblt help but escape those questions. >> it's not a koins dins he's defending russia. >> it seems hard to imagine it's a coin dense. we have never seen this before. >> what's your best explanation for the president's private conversations with putin? where no note taker was translaters and nothing else. >> i can't possibly explain that. it's a complete departure from
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the processes i'm familiar with. >> three questions all related to the same thing. what mistakes do you think you made in your role in investigating trump? what mistakes do you think jim comey made and what about the fbi overall? >> that's a big question. >> not just you. what mistakes did you make over the last two years? man, i'd like to get a chance to get a doover on that one. >> i have spent a lot of time thinking about the decisions that jim and i and the team went through going back all the way to the the clinton e-mail case and our investigation of russia. and there were some momentous decisions, some that may have had an impact on politics far beyond we ever intended. i'm pretty candid in the book about rethinking our decision, even to announce our results in the beginning of july.
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>> i was going to ask about that. that was such a departure from precedent. did jim comey make a mistake while not indicting, saying we're not going to indict hillary clinton, but basically then holding a press conference and indicting her politically? >> joe, i think in retrospect, i supported jim's decision to make the announcement at the time. >> was anybody telling him not to do that? >> no, it wasn't. >> it was such a departure. isn't it strange saying, director, we don't do this. you either indict or don't indict and then go away. >> we had those conversations want wp perp aware of the departure of precedent. but we banked very heavily and we were incredibly confident in jim's ability as a communicator. i think we were overconfident. we put too much stock in our hope and belief that jim could communicate to people not just the extensive investigation that we had done. >> wasn't he grand stand iing?
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>> we felt it was essential to explain to people what we had done and concluded and what we thought about? >> was it done because you and jim comey and the fbi, everybody else in the media except for two or three people thought hillary clinton was going to behind win the election and everybody wanted their hands clean so you wouldn't be p having hearings nine months into the clinton administration why you weren't more aggressive? >> absolutely not. it was done because we received this investigation in a public way. >> that was our interview with andrew mccabe just last hour. next, our legal panel breaks down what it all means for the mueller probe. "morning joe" is coming right back.
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it has been nearly three weeks since the political turmoil in virginia. it began with a governor northment that admitting they wore blackface as young man and the lieutenant governor akuszed of sexual assault by two women, which he denies. new polling relowsed this morning shows virginia is divided. but leaning against their removal. the poll finds 42% of voters say he should resign. 43% against. majorities in both polls are against him resigning. the divide is is closer for lieutenant governor justin fairfax, with 36% to 36% on resignation. about 3 in 10 are undecided.
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voters are opposed to the legislature impeaching fairfax. only 24% and 28% favor iing it each poll. the desire of northam is weaker in the poll. 26% in favor. 65% against. any thoughts? >> i haven't seen tabs for these? >> overwhelming majority of black virginians that were polled wanted northam to stay. it was republicans saying they wanted him out. >> interesting difference there in the spread between the governor northam and attorney general. he handled it differently than the governor. i think they are aware of that in the polls. in the case of the lieutenant governor, i would argue that category of unsure we saw, can which is about 35%, probably has it right. let's see what happened.
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let's see what the facts are in that case. now to our legal panel. joining us we have former justice department spokesman and now an msnbc security analyst matt miller. state attorney for palm beach county dave airenburg. and host of "the beat" ari melber. >> the current state attorney for palm beach county, i was just talking about what would have happened to a client when i was in northwest florida if they put up a picture of a federal judge with a target by that federal judge and i speculated that that person might immediately be sent to be buried beneath the penitentiary in atlanta, georgia. i'm curious what would happen in your jurisdiction if somebody did the same thing with a judge, with a target next to them.
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>> roger stone clearly thought he was going after a political opponent. when you do that to a political opponent, you score political points. you do that to a federal judge and you could score federal prison. here's a guy with a tattoo of nixon on his back. nobody as has accused him of having excellent judgment. so the federal judge will probably give him a stern talking to. probably broaden the gag order and restrict his conditions of release. but i don't think in this particular matter he'll go right to prison. if he does it again, he will be staring at the a jail cell. >> what do you think? >> the judge is in a bad position here. do you send somebody to jail for making a threat against you personally? it would be easier if you're a judge if p you make a threat against another judge. that's easy. maybe you give them a stern warning. >> this is serious business. >> oh, my god, yeah. >> anyone who has seen "the dark
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knight" movies, a threat on the judge is real. roger stone is in way over his head. he's been treating this like a public relations circus. he's clearly enb joyed aspects of that. what i'm saying sounds like a criticism and it's just a true thing about roger. the judge is going to try to use the letter of the law, which in this case is the definition to the gag order. did this type of -- >> did it? did he violate it? >> probably. the judge worded the gag order as partial and said i don't want anything to prejudice the potential jurors. going at the system like this in a specific way like going after the judge will be the arbiter of the case would prejudice him. them. whether he gets a warning or jail will be decided tomorrow. >> i think the tattoos are not disqualifying because your warren harding tat is so well done. >> i standby warren. >> it's bigger than i would have gotten. >> it's fantastic.
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>> come on. >> you hung in with him. >> that was my fault. >> i regret it. >> matt miller, let's talk about this "new york times" reporting that says the president of the united states asked the acting attorney general matt whitaker to have a change of leadership to talk to jeffrey berman, the u.s. attorney in the the southern district of new york and asked him to unrecuse himself to oversee the investigation into michael cohen. how extraordinary is that and when do you make of whitaker pushing back and not carrying out that order? >> first of all, unrecused is a team i never heard before. when i worked at the justice department, that meant you stayed recused p there's no possibility of unrecusing yourself and inserting yourself into a case you weren't supposed to be involved this. >> it was the first time we heard that term. >> that's right. and obviously, when the president does that, it's for a
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reason. it shouldn't matter who is is overseeing a case because the justice department proceeds on the facts and the lu waaw. if you were asking someone to intervene, you're doing it because you think you'll get special treatment for it. it's obviously an extraordinary breach of the red line. and i say that -- we have gotten so used to the president doing this. we can go back in time to two years ago when he first took office and he would do this and we'd think it's so unbelievable he would interview. if it happened when i was at the justice department, the attorney general would have pushed back immediately. it probably would have led to hearings on the hill and been an enormous scandal. but he's done it so much we have gotten used to it. because he's asking him to in r interview in a case where he's the subject of the investigation. hast the key point here. the justice department already said in public court filings
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that the president basically committed a crime in this case. he directed someone else to commit a crime, which would be a crime. for him to ask the attorney general to get involved and remember there's another report that when he asked him to get involved in this, he etc. expressed displeasure that more wasn't being done it reign in the prosecutors in new york. i think raises the question whether he obstructed justice under the same theory that bob mueller has. and i can't sigh seethe why they wouldn't et ex-tend the inquiry to include obstruction. >> what matt say iing is important. there's no backsies under recusal rules. so what he's asking for is improper. in fairness to the president as a potential defendant, if you want to call it that, i don't think the doj in new york said he committed a crime. they said he directed activity, which in michael cohen east case was a crime. we have to reserve judgment and wait whether they say he was a conspirator or not.
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but it's a huge bomb shell and it comes as a deputy has no doj experience is going to be a strong attorney general. how is he going to respond if he gets the request. >> matt, the justice department is made up largely of career employees. people who have been there for years who are dedicated to the justice department. dedicated to enforcing the law. where do they go now after all of these things happening with the latest being the bomb shell "times" story. who do they go to within the justice department to get their jobs done, no matter who they are pursuing and why they are pursuing him or her without fear of, uh-oh, someone upstairs is going to hear about this. >> they have to go to the new attorney general. they have to put faith in the new attorney general to be the man he promised he would be in his confirmation hearing. that he's going to pursue cases without fear or favor. that he's going to resist pressure from the president.
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he really faces a big test. it you lock at everyone else at the justice department, they have eventually fallen under president trump's disfavor. and the president has eventually attacked them privately and publicly on twitter. i don't think there's any way for bill barr to do his job and the people inside the justice department and the political appointees there to have faith that he's doing his job impartially and still remain in the president's favor. there's just no in between with this president in this job. you have to either pursue cases without worrying about what the president thinks about it. if you do that, you're going to make him angry. if you try to curry his favor, you're going to lose the building. i don't think there's really any in between. and i think until he shows there's some reason to doubt him, i think the officials there have to put faith in the new attorney general. >> unfortunately, the president of the united states makes everybody that works in the justice department make a choice. follow the law or follow the
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president. it's untenable for anyone who takes their job seriously in the justice department. so dave, you're a prosecutor. i guess i should ask you how unusual is it for an elected politician to try to get involved with one of your prosecutions, especially when the prosecution has to do with their activities? because that's exactly what this "new york times" story is revealing. and is is that obstruction of justice? >> yeah, it is unusual because if it's obstruction, it's obstruction in plain sight. and the very act that mueller may use to justify an obstruction claim may also be used by the defense for trump to say, hey, it can't be obstruction because he's doing it out in the open. because you need corrupt intent. this is just trump being trump. the problem with that is that there's no secrecy requirement for an obstruction claim. so you could have obstruction
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whether it's in a back ally or in broad daylight. it's still obstruction. >> is this objestruction? if the facts of the "new york times" story are accurate, is this obstruction? >> this is very clearly obstruction if anyone else did it. and the more difficult question to doj is if the president did only this but no other overt act, do you want to hand that off to congress because it's a case of abuse of power? or was it something that's covering up an underlying crime? the worst thing you could say about donald trump is he's worse than nixon in public. i think that's obvious. the best thing his folks can argue is if they it don't prove conspiracy on the other stuff, what is this? this is only a cover up. who covers up no p crime? again, that argument runs back into the reporting out of new york. it locks like he's acting like he has a lot to hide. we don't know what it is.
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>> all right, thank you very much. we'll be watching "the beat" at 6:00 p.m. here on msnbc. coming up, our next guest says there's reason for cautious o optimism when it just one but sulfur skies. a look at campaigning in iowa when you simply want a little ranch dressing with your politics. >> i don't think you should back away from the bold ideas that the base and the grassroots care about. >> i'm just trying to get some ranch. >> go ahead. t trying to get some ranch. >> go ahead. >> i don't think you -- >> very iowa. >> i don't think you - >> very iowa
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what about this? changing your plans. yeah. run with us. search "john deere 1 series" for more. do you still think that climate change is a hoax? >> look, i think something's happening, something's changing. it will change back again. i don't think it's a hoax. i think there's probably a difference but i don't know that it's manmade. i will say this. i don't want to give trillions and trillions of dollars, i don't want to lose millions and millions of jobs. i don't want to be put at a disadvantage. >> it could be a world of extreme drought and rising oceans, mass extinctions and economic calamity. our next guest argues fear may be the only thing that saves us from climate change. columnist and deputy editor at new york magazine david wallace wells joins us now. he's out with a new book, "the
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uninhabitable earth, life after warming." with us for this conversation is distinguished professor of atmospheric science at penn state university michael mann. >> david, how dire is it? >> it looks pretty bleak. extreme weather we're seeing now is quite terrifying but it's going to get considerably worse and if we don't change course rapidly, dramatically worse. if we get to the path we're on by the end of the century 4 degrees of warming, probably hundreds of millions of climate refugees, a global gdp20% smaller. the melting of ice sheets and all that means for sea level rise. it's bad. >> so what are three steps that you would -- what are three tangible steps that you would tell every presidential candidate that cares about this issue they should be talking about? one, two, three. >> i think it's sort of all hands on deck, all solutions are necessary. i think a dramatic carbon tax
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that probably approaches the scale of a ban on much carbon use. i think a really aggressive investment in green energy and major investment in rebuilding our infrastructure so it is less carbon intensive. there's also agriculture. there's air travel. so many things. every aspect of our life in the modern world has a carbon footprint and we need to cut that foot print everywhere. >> michael. >> there are things we can do as individuals that reduce carbon emissions and there are no regrets actions. they make us feel better, save us money. but personal action alone won't get us where we feed to be. we need policies to incentivize the shift away from fossil fuels to renewable energy. only our policymakers acting on our behalf rather than the polluting interests can make it happen. >> how do you address the false binary set up by the president that we can fix climate change
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or lose jobs? ? >> we stop coal production, we're going to lose so many jobs it's not worth it and not competitive in the world anymore. what do you say? >> it's an ironic fallacy. just the opposite is true which is true with many of donald trump's claims. the fact is that the cost of inaction of not doing something about this problem greatly outweighs the cost of taking action. and we saw that writ large this summer with unprecedented devastating costly, deadly extreme weather events that are being made worse by client change and will get worse if we don't act. >> it's interesting. i was out golfing, i golf once every three years or try to. i was golfing with a republican, a very republican guy. voted for republicans his entire life. he also happens to work for insurance companies. you talk about all of these natural disasters. he's the one that's got to tell the insurance companies this is how much we're going to be paying out over the next 20 years. he said, i'm a republican.
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i'm conservative. i look at the charts. i look at the data. you would have to be a fool to not believe that climate change is happening and it's all only, he said it's only getting worse. >> i think what we're looking at a decade or two down the road is terrifying. the impacts in the u.s. are horrifying enough but around the world it's more dramatic. many of the biggest cities in the middle east and india could be lethally hot in summer. it could be hard to go outside without suffering a risking. > how far is that off? >> a couple decades. 2050. there's uncertainty in all the predictions. they may be a little off. we're entering into an unprecedented climate and that all of the ways that that will transform how we live on this earth, it's unen innumerable list. public health, economic growth, conflict. for every half a degree of
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warming we're expected to see a increase in conflicts. we could have twice as much war as we have today. and that conflict happens even at the individual levels, rises in murder rates and rape, domestic assault. it spikes the rates at which people are admitted to mental hospitals. every aspect of life on this earth is scheduled to be transformed by climate change and that's what my book is about, not just what the science tells us what's going to happen but the way we'll be changed by these forces. >> professor, there's hope in the book. you have to hang in and wait till the end to get to it. >> we didn't get to it. >> climate change as an issue has risen in the polls considerably owing some to generational change but also to awareness i think of people. what's the good news you can tell people about climate change right now? >> there is urgency but also agency. our actions make a difference. we're already seeing that. we're seeing the conversation transformed in realtime where
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republicans are now starting to come on board and say let's get past the fake debate whether the problem exists and have the worthy conversation what to do about it. >> david wallace-wells thank you very much. the new book is "under the inhabitable earth." thank you both for being on. that does did for us this is morning. stephanie rhule picks up coverage right now. >> hi there. a lot to cover this morning starting with undermining the investigations. bombshell reporting from "the new york times" detailing the president's scorched earth strategy about the investigations surrounding him. including that he asked his hand picked ag to put an ally in charge of the michael cohen case and the president, he is firing back. >> no, not at all. i don't know who gave you that. that's more fake news. no, i didn't.

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