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tv   Andrea Mitchell Reports  MSNBC  May 2, 2019 9:00am-10:00am PDT

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show. now the house speaker today says his answers to the senators were not truthful. >> he lied to congress. he lied to congress. anybody else did that would be considered a crime. nobody is above the law. the challenger. donald trump trades trash talk with joe biden who is only too happy to ignore his primary opponents and act as though it's a general election match up. >> he's a sleepy man. who knows who can do the best. in many ways i like him. he's not as smart as bernie. he's not as quick. >> folks, you know, i understand the president has been tweeting a lot about me this morning. i wonder why he's doing that. i'm going to be the object of his attention for a while. lost in the system.
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nbc news gets internal dhs e-mails showing the federal government never had a system in place to reunite or even keep track of thousands of migrant children separated from their families along the southern border. >> the reality is because they systematically separated children in a way that had never been done before, the system wasn't designed to put them back together. good day. speaker pelosi is pouring fuel on the fire saying attorney general william barr broke the law in his senate testimony. this is house democrats saying they are giving the attorney general one last chance to deliver the unredacted mueller report to congress before they move to hold barr in contempt. republican leaders gave him a safety net. today barr stood up the
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democratic controlled house committee his absence sparking a partisan sparring match in front of a empty witness chair. >> he has failed to protect the special counsel's investigation from unfair political attacks. he's failed the men and women of the department of justice by placing the needs of the president over the fair ad administration of justice. >> we go back to a circus political stunt. we want it to look like an impeachment hearing because they won't bring impeachment proceedings. that's the reason. the reason bill barr is not here today because is the democrats decided they didn't want him here today. >> joining me now kasie hunt, hallie jackson and phil rutker.
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it was your question to the house speaker. let's play that. >> did the attorney general commit a crime? >> he lied to congress. he lied to congress. anybody else did that, it would be considered a crime. nobody is above the law. >> should he go to jail for it? >> there's a process involved here and as i said, i'll say it again, the committee will act upon how we will proceed. >> i think you almost stumped her. there was quite a pause there. >> reporter: it was pretty remarkable. the house speaker has been very careful to be very measured in how she has approached these investigations and how she's approached this administration
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to try to make sure that the perception was not they were overreaching. clearly, attorney general barr has crossed some sort of line with her and there's been some reporting this is what she said in a private meeting about the exchange specifically that william barr had with charlie crist around questions around robert mueller had any problem with the way that barr has sort of released that summary before he ultimately gave the redacted report to the public. we know because of that letter from mueller which was in march that mueller did have a problem with how that played out and the question from crist was answered by barr as saying he didn't have any problem with this. she was clear in saying he lied to congress and it was in response to the frame of the
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question about a crime. it's different than being president of the united states. her answer reflecting the deep anger inside the democratic caucus toward the attorney general. their options are limited in punishing him, subpoenaing him but they clearly are trying to figure out something to do. this is the highest profile back and forth that we have seen between pelosi and a member of the president's administration. her firing down one way on pennsylvania avenue, the department of justice already firing back at her. they have been fighting with jerry nadler. nancy pelosi is a tough enemy to
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have. >> this comes after the warm gathering where they didn't criticize each other. >> any reaction to the way nancy pelosi took the attorney general on. >> we heard from sarah sanders just prior to interactions with k kasie there. there is the character the white house is going after. jerry nadler is someone the president is trying to fire at. sanders calling it pretty pathetic that what went down with the empty chair. the language we have heard from speaker pelosi is full throated. it's very tough talk from her and i expect that based on past precedent and what we have seen before, he will return fire as will his aids and allies. right now the president is at a national day of prayer service at the white house. it's a beautiful day. he does meet with republican
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senators later on in the afternoon. people that he knows, people that he talks to and i imagine this is something that will come up but as it stands, there are these calls now for attorney general bill barr to resign, to be found in contempt of congress. to be impeached. all of that will just make the president more firm in his conviction that bill barr is the right attorney general for him. this is a president who talked publicly in interviews about he wanted loyalty from the person in that position and there is a sense in and around the president's circle that loyalty is what bill barr demonstrated yesterday. >> there's a reaction from the department of justice reacting to what pelosi said quoting the doj, the baseless attack on the attorney general is reckless, irresponsible and false. phil, this is shaping up as a big showdown but house democrats
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don't have the legal muscle to get cite him in contempt. that has to be referred to the justice department. they will not proceed to a grand jury. then they will try to get a judge. it's rare for a judge to intervene between congress and the executive branch. also to get the unredacted report, they have to get his cooperation. >> that's right. at this point it's a political dispute. there aren't a lot of legal options but we should keep in mind this taking place against the backdrop of so many other disputes. remember the democrats have launched a number of oversight investigations into the trump administration trying to seek the president's personal finances, the trump organization finances bring in, former and current administration officials as witnesses and the white house has been blocking them at every turn.
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we have a very adversarial moment here between the hill and the white house and a potential constitutional clash to resolve all of this. >> what is the next step? what we heard from jerry nadler is we'll give him another couple of days to produce the unredacted report. they didn't say to schedule another hearing, did they? >> reporter: that he were talk about renegotiating with him in good faith around the report and there were questions of holding him in contempt. my sense is that they are kind of going to try to hold the possibility of a contempt citation and other potential actions over his head in an attempt to get what they want on the mueller report. that's the road that we seem to be heading down here. nadler was pretty firm in saying he wants it in the next couple of days, maybe by monday. that's a pretty aggressive time line as well.
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i think the events of the past 48 hours have strengthened democrats hand in their view. they feel as though they are in a stronger position now than they were before especially after the release of mueller's letter. they have more ability to put pressure on the ordinary reason genera -- attorney general. they also are in middle of negotiations to get robert mueller to come here and testify. there's been some conversations about him doing it not next week but following week. that's still not been completely resolved. that is what people, at this point, really feel would actually illuminate some new information. >> thanks so much. thank you and hallie jackson at the white house. phil will stay for a little bit. coming up, barr and grill. democrats push the attorney general to admit how little evidence he actually read from the special counsel's investigation. unsel's
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welcome back. nbc news has obtained a letter that senate minority leader chuck schumer is sending to bill barr today. he says if these views are your views, you do not deserve to be attorney general. eric swalwell serves on the
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committee and joins me now. thanks for being with us. >> good afternoon. >> good afternoon. you are having this showdown with the attorney general over his no show. his refusal to appear before your committee. i want to share with senator schumer is saying about what he testified to yesterday. taking a look at the fact he felt if the president feels an investigation is based on false allegations, the president does not have to sit there and constitutional and allow it to run its course. the president could terminate the proceeding, not have it to be corrupt intent because he was being falsely accused. saying it's not part of obstruction of justice if the president tried to get rid of the independent counsel because it's -- if he feels he's falsely accused, he doesn't have to put up with that. you're a lawyer. is that your interpretation of the law? >> it's not. no one in america is above the law. not me, not you, certainly not the president of the united
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states. especially not the president of the united states. in a kingdom that may be the case but there's a lawful investigation sinto the president, his team, his family, the campaign, the administration. he did everything but allow it to proceed. i've given a lot of thought about what we have seen in the last few months with attorney general barr. i've asked myself and my colleagues what do you do when someone pre-judges the investigation before it begins with the letter he sent. what do you do when the attorney general accuses the intelligence community of spying on the trump administration. what do you do when the attorney general misarcharacterizes the report. what do you do when the attorney general does not turn over the documents? i think there's only one thing left to do and that's to commence impeachment proceedings against him. >> do you worry the political
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calculus with re-elect him? it would rebound against democrats. >> well, i'm talking about attorney general barr. i think we should begin the proceedings to remove the attorney general. he is obstructing in realtime right now. the only way to fully understand what the president did and hold him accountable is to see the full mueller report and have an independent attorney, not one who is acting as the attornpress lawyer. if he's not going to turn over information and lie to congress, then he can't be in that position. we need to remove him but not take off the table beginning impeachment proceedings against the president as well. the person obstructing from holding the president accountable is william barr. i'm calling on my colleagues to join me. >> congressman, you're well aware that the senate will never go along with impeaching the attorney general. the house can take action.
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you can start action but you're going to have an outcome here where the senate will never go along with that. >> if i was thinking about the political consequences of this, i would never be suggesting this. i believe that once impeachment proceeding begin and the evidence was heard that the american people would be so moved that the pressure of the american people concerned would project onto the senate. i still have faith that good people will do the right thing and it's a chicken and the egg issue where if we assume we know what the senate will do and we don't do anything because we we think know, we'll never do the right thing. if it's past the red line for me, i think it's past the red line for most americans. we have to hold this administration accountable. >> a particular cory booker was asking him about welcoming the russian help and sharing information with russian
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intelligence and he said what did they share? he said, polling data for the battleground states. did you think he actually read the report? i'm not even talking about the underlying evidence which kamala harris but did he read the report before making decisions? >> it didn't look like it. it didn't look like he understood why it was troubling the president was seeking to obstruct the investigation. he said the president fully cooperated when the evidence that mueller showed that he didn't. it's not just about holding accountable the attorney general. i read 200 pages of trump russia contacts even if it didn't violate laws that we have on the books now, i sense a responsibility to put new laws on the books to make sure this doesn't happen again. we introduced earlier a duty to report law. it says if you are offered dirt on your opponent by a foreign agent, you have to tell the fbi. i think we have to learn from the prior abuses that were exposed to make sure this isn't
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our new normal in america. >> do you think you're ever going to get the unredacted report if you're this aggressive against the attorney general? >> the attorney general is out numbered. we have the subpoena power. i still believe the courts are on our side based on the u.s. v nixon precedent. we won't get it as soon as we want. the courts are on our side. the american people voted to put a balance on power on all of these abuses of power. we'll get that report. >> thank you very much. >> joining me now justice and security analysil -- analyst ma miller. you know that eric holder was held in contempt over the gun policy when he was attorney general and nothing ended up happening to him.
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is this an empty threat by the democrats? >> the litigation over that contempt -- the householding contempt and trying to get access continues to this day six years later. i don't think it's an empty threat but it's a threat that will take some time to play out and could take some time to enforce. that's the attorney's general strategy. that's been the administration's strategy is when they have weak legal claims to try to delay and drag things out as long as possible. the question for democrats moving forward is how much time they want to spend on oversight of bill barr. you heard the impeachment being called. after watching the performance over the last month or so sh it's very clear he's not been honest. he's not been transparent. he's been misleading them. they have to make a decision. how much do they want to focus oversight going forward on bill barr and how much do they want to get to their main target, the president of the united states
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and start taking the witnesses in the mueller report and bring them up to hearings rather than talk about the attorney general who is president's defense attorney at this point. >> we saw kamala harris going after bill barr as the prosecutor that she was. maya, i wanted to ask you about that. what is your reaction to it? let's play this. >> attorney general barr has the president or anyone at the white house asked or suggested that you open an investigation of anyone? >> i wouldn't -- >> yes or no. >> could you repeat that question? >> i will repeat it. has the president or anyone at the white house ever asked or suggested that you open an investigation of anyone? yes or no, please sir. >> the president or anybody
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else. >> seems you'd remember something like that and be able to tell us. >> yeah, i'm trying to grapple with the word suggest. >> what do you think is going on there? do you think that makes it very clear he's had imporoper conversations with the president on matters involving these investigations? >> i think what we primarily saw there was why william barr isn't testifying today and why he doesn't want counsel, trained lawyers questioning him. what he just demonstrated to us one was when he is asked a narrow, specific question, where it's very difficult to obfiscate and hide and misdirect, he comes across and stumbles and comes across as not a kredsable witness. the implication was i don't want to answer this question because there's no way for me to answer
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it and spin it in the way i need spun for the american people. just to go back to matt's point. this is outrageous behavior. there's nothing short of outrageous of what we seen yesterday. part of the problem is we're looking at nail. the question is are we going to go after the hammer. >> the performance by bill barr is what some would say is the arrogance in the way he answered the senators. when he talked about robert mueller. play a bit of that as well. >> bob mueller is the equivalent of a u.s. attorney. he was exercising the powers of the attorney general subject to the supervision of the attorney general. he's part of the department of justice. his work concludes when he went his report to the attorney general. at that point, it was my baby. it was my decision how and when to make it public not bob mueller's.
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the letter is a bit snitty and i think it was probably written by one of his staff people. >> your reaction to that. >> it was striking to see the comments but also throughout the entire testimony he kept referring to special counsel mueller as bob. just by his first name. i understand they are friends and have a relationship. >> or they were friends. >> that goes back many years but it was a real sign of disrespect not only for mueller given his track record in the government as a marine, as a veteran fbi director but respect for the role of the special counsel through this two year investigation that we have been to be so dismissive of him. the point about the investigations whether the white house or the president never asked him about investigating a person, trump almost every day says publicly that he wants the department of justice and the attorney general to go after hillary clinton, to go after the democrats, to go after comey. the idea he never once said something like that in private
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to the attorney general is really kind of probably why the attorney general didn't give a direct answer to senator harris' question. >> i guess it depends on the meaning of the word suggest. maya, your comments on that. the way he responded on bob mueller. >> yeah. i actually think his using bob muell mueller's first name, "bob" warks wwas away to assert his authority and hierarchy. my 15-year-old could tell you what it meant and what the question was. i think it just doesn't come across as kredsabcredible to th american people. it's shocking. >> thanks so ato all. president trump ramps up his attacks against joe biden. treating the former vice president as the front-runner. you're watching andrea mitchell reports on msnbc. mitchell reports on msnbc
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history as an abherrent hoemtmo in time. we have to defeat him in 2020. >> she's a sleepy guy. the firearm love trump. the police love trump. they always do. they have for many, many years. they go with the democrat, with joe. and the firemen and women they went crazy when they saw that. they went absolutely crazy. because they will be voting for me. >> the gloves are off. joe biden, trump trading barbs, slugging it out. the president clearly irked after the fiesrefighters came o and backed biden.
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we have some breaking news. steve moore, this is the president's tweet. steve moore has decided to withdraw from the fed process. steve won the battle of ideas including et cetera, et cetera. he goes onto praise tax cut, deregulation, et cetera. the bottom line is that steve moore, a very controversial economist even before people started digging into his background would change his economic views depending on who is in the white house and not always in sync with where the economy was going had a lot of problems. this is another case where they spill -- where the president
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nominate someone without sending the paper work up. says he will nominate someone before they vet the person. it's inexplicable why he would do this again. >> maybe they will get through. no harm. they are withdrawn. he may have intimidated the fed a little bit. >> i would bet on jay powell ignoring all of this. >> i hope so. we're depending on people to be tough. in that respect trump has a method to his madness. there are other people on the board and can make nominations through. i think he is sort of
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relentless. he seems never to pay much of a price. >> what stephen moore said on cnbc yesterday may have been the final blow. after that ernst and other republicans said they won't count on this. as far as he was concerned -- we have that sound. let's play it. >> the biggest problem i see in economy over the last 25 years is what has happened to male earnings. i want everybody's wages to rise but people are talk about women's earnings. they have risen. the problem has been the steady decline in male earnings. i think we should pay attention to that. i think that has very negative consequences for the economy and for society. >> nothing like saying the problem in the economy is that men aren't being paid enough. >> exactly although there's still a huge wage gap for women. the problem is this was not a one off.
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this was part of a pattern of moore making comments about women and actually women and wages saying that it was a real problem that black men didn't make more than black women because it was breaking a part families. this is part of a pattern. the thing surprising is we had a number of failed nominations but it was a two fer. he had a controversial background in terms of statements he's made but in terms of fitness for the office. he is a fiscal policy expert. not a monetary policy expert. he was getting dinged left and right by people who are experts about not understanding some pretty basic fundamental concepts such as the difference between hyper inflation and deflation. he had two things going against him here. probably in the long run it just is part of a whole long list of examples. >> republican senators hold trump accountable would they be
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more resistance to his next nominees. will they say we can't live with it. i was talking to some sophisticated business types that i understand were rolling their eyes about herman cain and steve moore. i said do this make you rethink. that say no, not really. >> he also made a racist joke about the obamas getting out of public housing. to joe biden. you were in ie waowa. >> as recently as this morning. >> he did not do well in iowa the two previous times he tried to run. was it any better yesterday in. >> i think what the biden campaign sentcentered on, the m donald trump is imposing as a real threat, the better he will perform. the biggest applause lines were
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all talking about donald trump. joke about those tweets that the president has been firing off. very sensitive to firefighters endorsement. what's interesting about the firefighters endorsement, we spoke to the president as well, i don't think people realize is they have polled their numbers. the firefighters union is one of the more diverse of the unions as party of traditionally democratic coalition. i think that endorsement is stinging the president. he knows there were a lot of members that were the obama voters last time and he sees them slipping away. we'll continue do see this campaign evolve. >> it's clearly getting under the president's skin and it's helping biden and some of the president's own add visors thinks she should not be dwellig and tweeting.
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he's helping biden make this a general election kind of race. >> his own son-in-law said lay off. you're elevating the man. if you look at polling right now, what is driving joe biden is a fear and anxiety in the democratic party that this is not an election where you don't play it safe. you go with somebody who is electable above all else. if you look at polling, that's the number one issue for democrats now. 46% say electability above issues. the more trump attacks him, the more power he gives to joe biden candidacy. >> who has bumped up in the polls. i want to share first family and it is pete buttigieg and his
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husband. that's a first for time magazine and presidential campaign. >> he's done real well too. biden and buttigieg are about the first run. >> elizabeth warren. >> she has come up. >> this is wide open. >> it is wide open. i was talking to a lot of democrats. biden has had a very good run. i'd say there's an awful lot of doubt that he can sustain it. there's a lot of biden skepticism. he may prove them wrong. the respected senator from colorado says he's a savvy guy and said there's chance the moderate lane will open up. >> we'll have to leave it there. mike, welcome home. coming up, family matters. exclusive reporting on the trump
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the southern border. despite the trump administration saying it would reunite families with the help of a central database. the government only had enough information to reconnect 60 parents out of thousands separated from their children. jacob, this is just beyond shocking. >> it's not only shocking, it's incompetence and untruthfulness that we suspected but never had the documentary evidence to understand. now we do. we have obtained these e-mails from house sjudiciary committee and they state when the president and his administration were publicly saying on june 23rd of last summer, just days after he ended the separation policy by executive order that we were on a road to reuniting these thousands of children. behind the scenes it was sheer
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scrambling with the acting head of i.c.e. and an andist from hhs. he writes back, we don't have that information. to which hhs says we only have 60. 60 of over 2,000 separated parents and children. it is like, you said, shocking. it's extraordinary. i hate to say it, it's not surprising based on everything we know how the trump administration handled this crisis. >> it was hhs that was supposed to track the children, not dhs or a combination of the two agencies? >> i got a statement from hhs saying we always knew where the children were. that is actually factually accurate. dhs knew where the parents were at all times. it doesn't make a difference if you can't put the two together. if you can't put children with
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parents, what's the point of knowing where either is. the idea is you took them away from each other without a system to put them back together. dhs has pushed back on me and other colleagues here at nbc news saying we did have a database. well, what do you call a database that doesn't have data in it. i'd call it an empty spreadsheet. if the administration wants to stand up and call that a database then that's on them. >> indeed. extraordinary reporting from you. stay with it. i know you will. coming up next, china, can you hear me? hillary clinton mocking donald trump's favorite line from 2016. you're watching andrea mitchell reports on msnbc. chell reports on msnbc tion. introducing... smartdogs. the first dogs trained to train humans. stopping drivers from: liking. selfie-ing. and whatever this is.
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backing republicans, why don't we ask china to back us? >> i hereby tonight ask china -- >> that's right. not only that, china, if you're listening, why don't you get trump's tax returns. i'm our media would richly reward you. >> clinton remixing that donald trump line when he was asking russia to hack her e-mails. he claimed he was joking, but the mueller report found that hours of that remark, russian hackers targeted clinton's e-mails for the first time. jeanne shaheen joins me now from capitol hill. what was your reaction to the performance yesterday and now his refusal to show up to the house side? >> well i didn't vote for mr. barr to be attorney general. i was very concerned about whether he would actually release the mueller report to the public in full. there's been shown to be good
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reason he has not done that. i disappointed that he has really gone against all of the norms that we have, how we operate government, you know, our founding fathers said we should have equal, co-equal branches of government between the administration and congress and he has totally flouting that by refusing to appear before the house. >> senator coons was questioning him yesterday and asked barr whether campaigns offered dirt by foreign governments should report that to the fbi. he said only if it's a foreign intelligence service. when you're dealing russia, you're dealing with oligarchs, with putin. >> i don't think we can allow hostile foreign powers to interfere in our politics and certainly not in our elections. that was the first number one conclusion of the mueller report was that russia interfered in
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our elections. we need a bipartisan, very strong response to any potential interference. that's what we had in congress when we passed the sanctions on russia for interfering. so i think that's a fundamental tenant. we can't allow outside countries to interfere in our democracy. >> now i wanted to ask you about your trip to afghanistan. you recently returned. what do you see there and how did officials there respond? one of your issues has been that afghan women who were supposed to be by constitution, part of a constitutional process, part of the parliament there, have been shut out from the negotiations with the taliban. you pressed secretary pompeo b about this at a hearing not too long ago and we're not satisfied with his response. what is is the afghan government telling you? >> well, the afghan government hasn't been at the table for those negotiations and i had a
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chance to meet with a group of afghan women leaders. they really said two things that made an impression on me. first, they said we want the war to end. we're tired of war. they've had 340 years of war in afghanistan. but they also said we don't want to lose our rights. we want any negotiation to be based on the afghan constitution that we developed in this country. after the taliban was overthrown. we want to be at the table and we have pennsylvania passed a lew in the united states signed by the president that says in negotiations like this at the end of the conflict that women should be at the table. and we know from research that those conflict negotiations are much more likely to last longer than 15 years. there's a 35% chance that they will last longer if women are at the table. so it should be done because it's the right thing to do. but also, it makes sense in terms of our ability to see a
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longer lasting peace agreement. >> is the administration selling the women out? is that your concern? >> it is. i don't think we know the answer to that yet. but i want, that's why i'm continuing to raise the issue. that's why i wanted to meet with the women in afghanistan to hear what they had to say. it's a concern they share. it's a concern that the afghan government shares. so we need to make sure that the negotiations that happen between the taliban include the afghan government, include a representative sample of the afghan people and include women. they are half the country. they want to see that their future continues with rights and the ability to work and contribute to their country that they've enjoyed. >> and this has always been a bipartisan policy for years. laura bush, madeleinal bright, strong leadership for afghan
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people. thanks so much for carrying this on. senator jeanne shaheen and coming up, democratic member of the house judiciary committee, sheila jackson lee, on attorney general's bill barr's no show at this morning's hearing. stay with us here on msnbc. thisg stay with us here on msnbc ancestry is celebrating all the one-of-a-kind women we call "mom." with an engaging new experience... ...ancestrydna can help her uncover her history... tell a story as unique as she is. order a kit for mom (or dad) at
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and thanks for being with us. that does it for today. remember, follow the sthhow onle on facebook and twitter at mitchell reports and here is ali and stephanie.
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>> have a good afternoon. thank you. >> i'm stephanie ruhle. let's get smarter. >> steve moore, a great pro growth economist and truly fine person has decide d to withdraw from the fed process. steve moore, a very controversial economist, even before people started digging into his background. >> while wednesday was the bill barr show, today was the bill barr no show. >> failure of bill barr to come to the hearing today is simply another step in the administration's growing attack on american democracy. >> attorney general apparently is afraid of cross-examination. >> as the president told bill barr what he should do, sarah? >> i'm not aware that he's instructed him to do anything. what i am aware of is how much the democrats embarrassed themselves yesterday. i lost confidence in jerry nadler a long time ago. >>