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tv   MTP Daily  MSNBC  August 12, 2019 2:00pm-3:00pm PDT

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my thanks to the truly fantastic panel and that's it for this hour. i'm chris jansing. "mtp daily" starts right now. if it's monday, the white house launches a new immigration crackdown as new reporting highlights the potential dangers of the president's racial rhetoric. plus, democrats putting divisions aside in iowa, uniting against the president on race and demanding tougher gun laws. plus, jeffrey epstein's apparent suicide is sparking a lot of questions and conspiracies. which the president is spreading. if it's monday it's "meet the press daily." good evening.
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i am in for chuck todd in washington. it's been just a week since a gunman echoing the president's anti-immigrant rhetoric targeted immigrants in el paso. in the wage of that tragedy the white house is escalating its hard liner immigration policies. today the president's citizenship chief announced the administration's new efforts seeking to deny citizenship and green cards to immigrants who use public benefits like medicaid, food stamps, or forms of housing assistance. >> critics are saying this policy is unfairly targeting the lower income immigrants. how do you sfond that? >> well, we certainly expect people of any income to stand on their own two feet. so if people are not able to be self-sufficient, this negative factor will bear very heavily against them in a decision about whether they'll be able to become a legal, permanent resident. >> this move which has been decried by some democrats on the campaign trail and is expected
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to face legal challenges also comes just the day after the president's homeland security chief acknowledged regrets over the administration's decision to launch large scale immigration raids in the days after the el paso shooting. >> given the emotions of the country right now, in hindsight, do you wish this raid didn't happen this week? >> the timing was unfortunate. >> today's move to tamp down on legal immigration comes of course as the president has taken a series of actions to stoke racial resentment in this country as he looks to mobilize his base ahead of the election, a strategy that is not without risk. as "the washington post" reports on today's front page the president is struggling to shed the label that he is racist, a term which "the post" reports could come to define his presidency. on the front page of today's "new york times" is a sobering look at the potential dangers of the president's racially charged
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and racist rhetoric. a "times" investigation revealed, quote, a striking degree of overlap between the rhetoric of the president's allies and the right wing media and the language used by the el paso gunman. the reporter who wrote that story noted that the similarities between the gunman's language and what's now considered main stream, conservative rhetoric, will make you stop cold. joining me now are some of the best reporters in the business, nbc news white house correspondent kelly o'donnell. "the washington post" white house bureau chief and msnbc political analyst philip rucker. he was the lead reporter on their front page story about the president being branded a racist. and the "new york times" reporter and msnbc contributor jeremy peters. he was the lead reporter on his paper's front page story we just talked about, about the unsettling overlap between the gunman's rhetoric and what we're hearing now from conservatives. kelly, let me start with you. let's focus in on what we heard
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today from kon this change in p. this has been under consideration for some time. why roll it out now when everything is so heightened? >> well, this has been a long time in the works as you point out and it is different than so much of what we talk about with the trump administration because it is focused on undocumented immigrants in the united states. they are here legally but they don't have full pathway to citizenship yet, they don't have a green card yet, they don't have citizenship yet but they have a right to be in the united states and they're working toward those things. what is different about this is it is tightening around them based on economic matters and that is a different approach and really most about the president's base strategy for his political life. that's where you see the greatest connective tissue
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between what we're talking about with policy today and a lot of the other issues in the larger basket of trump immigration ideas and policies and rhetoric where the president is trying to consolidate his views. by that i mean the wall and talking about that as somehow national security. this is different. this is the president and his administration team saying that they want to prove to the voters that those immigrants who are here can stand on their own two feet economically. that they will not rely on assistance from the state whether that's food stamps or housing assistance or medicaid. and if they use those resources that would count against them toward the path to the green card or citizenship. it's really making a choice for them about whether they can receive those benefits at the risk of not perhaps getting the eventual path toward permanent residence or citizenship. that goes against a lot of the ethos of what it has meant to be
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an immigrant country where many times people come to the u.s. where they may not have economic strength but ultimately sometimes within a few generations build that economic strength, whether it's language barriers, any of the conditions that can be part of the immigrant experience. it is a different and critics say a harsher approach. the trump administration says they want to focus on having immigrants who have more economic abilities and in some cases academic skills, sometimes in the case of the visas that provide for people who have some of the job skills that the u.s. is looking for. a different approach but one that really speaks to the president's base. >> certainly quite different from give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses. phil rucker, let's talk a little bit about this piece that you have to today in "the washington post" which focuses in on this label of racist that many democrats are of course applying to this president.
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you write, quote, that the president is vexed by a branding crisis of his own. how to shed this label of racist. the risk for trump is the pejorative that has long dogged him becomes defining. how is it that the president's surprised by this label, considering the things that he is willing to say in public? >> yeah, that's a good question. i'm not sure he is so surprised by it as much as he is just angry about it and frustrated that he is being called a racist. it's not just a political label that his democratic opponents are using. it's actually the truth right now. i mean, the tweets that he had, the attacks he had against the four congresswomen of color were plainly racist as have a number of comments that he's made and actions he's taken for decades now in his career as a real estate mogul, as sort of a celebrity, reality television host, and now as a politician and president.
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so the trouble here is that this language continues and it continues in such a sort of heightened way with world focus that this label becomes defining. it becomes part of who he is as he seeks re-election. and that's the challenge he and his advisers are grappling with. >> on friday he talked about how his political opponents were using this word and tried to defend himself. let's take a look. >> for them to throw out the race word again, racist, racist, racist, that's all they use to anybody. they call nancy pelosi a racist. she's not a racist. they call anybody a racist when they run out of cards. i'm winning in the polls. they're desperate. they've got lousy candidates. they got bad candidates. >> phil, i sort of feel the need to fact check that a little bit. this is not, as you point out, there are very specific instances we can point to where the president has said things that are this way.
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>> that's exactly right. and, you know, look. this is the reality because this is the part of a strategy that trump has had to use these sort of racial divisions, to use even overtly racist language at some times to mobilize and galvanize his white supporters to get them to turn out at the polls. it's one of the reasons why he kept hitting those democratic congresswomen so hard. it's one of the reasons why he attacks the city of baltimore over so many days and its congressman elijah cummings who is one of the top ranked black democrats in the house. you know, you talk to the president's advisers and they try to make an argument that this could maybe back fire on the democrats and help trump because some of his supporters could view the label of racist as an attack against themselves but it's unclear how that might work exactly. we've not really had in the modern times somebody who is sort of so identified with racism and as a racist go on to
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win majority support in this country. >> certainly it's also starting to have jeremy peters real world consequences as you point out in a story that helps us explore even further this thesis that ashley and phil have in "the washington post." you found a real connection between the words that are being used among the president's supporters particularly and conservative media and what showed up in that manifesto that is linked to the alleged gunman in the el paso shooting. we pulled together, or i should say the "new york times" video team pulled together some examples of this to underscore your reporting. let's show that and then i'll ask you about it. >> we're being invaded. >> the invasion of illegal immigrants. >> the fact of the matter is this is an attempted invasion of our country. >> you have all these minors from central america flooding the border. >> multi culturalism isn't real. this is really destroying one
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culture and replacing it with a new, foreign culture. >> this is not migrants coming into the country. this is nothing short of an invasion. >> democrats who want to replace you, the american voters, with newly amnesty'd citizens. >> jeremy, what did you find when you lined it up with what we heard from the gunman? >> i think this is really an example of how words on their own can speak volumes. when you take the el paso shooter's manifesto and you lie it side by side with the transcripts from fox news shows, from rush limbaugh's program, from other various conservative news outlets, you see a remarkable degree of overlap in terms of the dehumanizing and demonizing language that they use to describe immigrants. they're called invaders. they are treated like a hostile enemy force. something that, in the words of anne coulter could be shot.
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you have people who are saying, like tucker carlson has, that the whole point of this migration is to replace american citizens. by that he means mostly white american citizens. and that i think was the most striking example of how the real fringe white nationalist right thinking has crept into main stream conservative thought. this idea that this conspiracy theory really of white genocide, that there is going to be this great replacement as it's called of migrants from other countries replacing american citizens and here in europe as well, that is not a main stream idea or at least was not until recently. yet, if you turn on fox news primetime, you hear it uttered by their hosts and if you flip to the shooter's manifesto, it's right there in the first paragraph. now, you know, cause and effect
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is a tricky thing but as i said, you lie these things side by side. the manifesto and the transcripts of the shows, and it's -- it is quite chilling. >> well, is it the president who is main streaming it? >> i think it's both. i don't really think it's a one way street here, i think the president sometimes picks up on language that he hears ideas, stories, themes he hears on fox news like, remember the infamous incident that supposedly happened in sweden, no one in sweden could really tell you what it was. so there is that. but then there is also instances of fox news hosts and other conservative media adopting the president's language. i think the best example is fake news. the cumulative result is that there is this toxic language, much of it racially tinged, and it's really created a political discourse that i think most
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people find quite depressing if not dangerous. >> yeah. phil rucker, this of course all -- these stories and this conversation we're having coming as the president is spending a week basically by himself at bedminister or talking with friends on vacation. what are you looking for or potentially expecting from the president considering all of the free time? >> well, stay tuned to twitter i guess. but look. he's in bedminister, new jersey at his golf club for the week. it's sort of his annual summer vacation. he is doing some work. on thursday he'll be going to new hampshire or, excuse me, yeah. new hampshire, to manchester, for a campaign rally that evening. i'm going to be looking to see how much he continues some of these attacks that we saw flare up all throughout last week. it was a week that began with a call for unity and bringing the country together after these mass shootings. and it devolved into one attack after another. and, you know, we know the president likes to be in fighting mode on the campaign
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trail so we'll see how this week goes. >> indeed we will. all right. kelly, phil, jeremy, thank you all very much for starting us off tonight. coming up, the rhetoric over race grows even more divisive and it's making some of president trump's supporters even more loyal. our political experts will be here to weigh in on the potential consequences. plus, biden's blunders on the campaign trail. president trump already taking note. trail president trump already taking note ♪ limu emu & doug look limu. a civilian buying a new car. let's go. limu's right. liberty mutual can save you money by customizing your car insurance, so you only pay for what you need. oh... yeah, i've been a customer for years. huh... only pay for what you need. ♪ liberty. liberty. liberty. liberty. ♪ why accept it frompt an incompyour allergy pills?e else.
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welcome back. one of the biggest questions in politics right now is how the president's strategy to stoke racial resentment, which has some democrats branding him a white supremacist, is playing with voters on the campaign trail. i want to show you an interesting bit of sound that we recently gathered at the iowa state fair when my colleague vaughn hillyard spoke with a voter at the corn kennel straw poll. >> you put in your corn kernel?
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>> yes. >> who did you put it in for? >> i'm white, old. they call me all kinds of names. who do you think i would vote for? come on. you're smarter than that. >> i'll let you fill in the blank. >> yeah. i don't have to fill in the blank. everybody knows. this is where the bad people -- you know, white, male, you know. they don't like us. we like people. they classify us. that's not right. >> what do they call you? >> i'm racist. i went to school. i shared my dorm with a colored guy. i have nothing against them. i grew up in the east. we grew up with people. >> reporter: do you think the president is a racist though? >> no, i don't. i really don't. >> bring in our panel of experts to talk about this. eugene scott, political reporter for "the washington post." he has a piece out today titled "anger at being labeled
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racist is the new cultural anxiety for trump supporters." matt gorman communications director for the nrcc and former aide to jeb bush and mitt romney and former adviser to hillary clinton and msnbc political analyst. i want to start with that stunning sound we heard from vaughn. eugene, this really gets to the heart of the piece that you wrote in "the washington post." what did you take away from the sentiments that voter was expressing there? >> i covered the 2016 election and i remember believing that there were more trump supporters than we knew based off of some people's discomfort with admitting publicly they were backing trump because even in 2016 there was some idea, especially among those on the left, that if you were backing trump you were backing white supremacy. what we saw in this clip, this gentleman, like so many others i've talked to currently, are less uncomfortable with publicly vocalizing their support for
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trump. even going so far as to go on national tv to share that they were backing trump. we also heard in that clip, he didn't give any idea, any sense of reason for supporting trump based on agenda or politics or policies or success. he's backing trump to own the libs. that is something i've seen an increasing amount of support for. >> certainly it is about identity. for him it was all right. okay. i'm the kind of person people are saying is a bad person. i am a white male. >> right. it reminds me after hillary clinton made the comment about deplorables we saw so many people embrace the label of deplorable. >> matt gorman, what did you take away from it? >> to your point, when i was at nrcc in 2017 we had a couple special elections and we found as we polled, we'd ask, what is your age, ethnicity, on and on and who are you going to vote for? then we'd go into the cross tabs. what do you think about president trump, his position on
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this, his quotes on that? as soon as we started asking about president trump there would be hang-ups. i would say it was a noticeable enough amount where it became a little small segment of the sample. we couldn't explain it. after the georgia 6 special election in june of 2016 there was enough of a number where we were like i think there might be something with frustration of pollsters or media asking trump supporters to answer for president trump and to really explain their support of president trump and it goes to what you were saying. a hidden trump vote sounds very sexy but there is something to that. at least what we've seen at a granular level. you're right. i think when democrats have to be very, very careful about how they talk about trump and racism and white supremacy because it's a virtue signal obviously for their base and speaks their language but it has an equal and opposite reaction when it goes to the republican base. the deplorables is a fantastic example. >> what did you see in that clip? >> i saw somebody who seems like he is offended by being called a racist but then he goes on to use language that, you know, i
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haven't heard in my entire lifetime to describe black people. so i think we need to take a step back here. it is not about whether donald trump is a racist in his heart. i literally do not care. i care about his policies and how they are impacting people who look like me. so does a baby in a cage care that donald trump is racist in his heart? i bet you they do not. and so the problem here is that he seems more offended by the label racist than by the babies in the cages, which is what i think the majority of americans not trump's base are absolutely horrified by. i think that's where our focus should be. it absolutely should be on the policies and the impact on communities of color and also the rhetoric because when he is saying things that are racist, i mean, i don't care if he doesn't like being called a racist. stop acting like one. then i'll stop calling you one. >> do you see a distinction here between the president --
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clearly, the person vaughn talked to was taking on what has been said about the president and his clearly racist language on to himself and saying, you know, i feel like i am being called a racist when the president is being called a racist. how should democrats be dealing with that distinction if there is one? >> they need to speak -- i do not see a distinction. if you are supporting a president caging brown babies and you are okay with that, i'm sorry, that is supporting racist policies. that is not distinct from supporting a racist president. i think that often we try to get into this semantic game because people take the label of racist so personally as if i'm saying you're a terrible human and you are evil. what i am saying is that often white americans need to place themselves in the shoes of people of color and think about how it feels to hear your president say that everyone coming from mexico is a rapist and murderer and that a black person coming from the continent
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of africa is coming from a -- hole country or that black people arrested by the police should not be treated nicely as if eric garner is not dead today because he was choked on camera and no one got in trouble except the person that filmed that. i think that often we get into this game where people act like you are impinging upon their character as opposed to saying, look. i'm saying you voted for somebody who absolutely said many racist things before he was elected. then we had the charlottesville moment where someone died two years ago today because of white supremacist terrorism. additionally you have so many other examples from 2016 to today. i think we have to draw a line in the sand here and make a moral choice to stand on the side of the majority which is people of color because as was said yesterday, a majority of people is not a majority of america. it is not. >> fair enough. now, i will say, this has been
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something that has come under some shall we say it's been the subject of conversation in differing views or perspectives from democratic candidates on the debate stage? take a look at amy klobuchar and how she talked about this during the debate. >> senator klobuchar, what do you say to those trump voters who prioritize the economy over the president's bigotry? >> well, first of all, there are people that voted for donald trump before that aren't racist. they just wanted a better shake in the economy so i would appeal to them. but i don't think anyone can justify what this president is doing. >> eugene, she took some no small amount of heat from progressives and people like zerlina who would say as she just did there is no way to support this president without also taking on those characteristics yourself. what is your take from a reporting perspective? klobuchar clearly is trying to
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thread this needle. is that possible? >> well, one of the challenges is that the economic anxiety narrative is not as supported by the data as the cultural anxiety narrative. we initially said it was economic anxiety but we have data where the white working class voters who backed trump admitted themselves that it was cultural anxiety. so the pushback needs to be ton this idea large amounts of trump supporters were interested in his economic agenda and not the cultural one. the reality is president trump has shined as a cultural warrior. he is at his best and getting most support from his base when he is calling nfl players sons of -- when he is spurring his voters to chants send her back. we know the economic policies have not benefited middle class americans and white working class americans the way he has said. so the whole question i think pretty much set klobuchar up to address something that actually isn't a thing.
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>> interesting. matt, you were talking about some of the polling and the data you saw around some of these questions in these special elections and obviously we learned a lot from 2018. i mean, from your perspective, to eugene's point, does that group of people exist? is there a group of voters who had economic anxiety who are perhaps turned off by this president's rhetoric, or are they all part of trump's base? >> i think democrats need to decide what avenue they want to focus on. it might depend on who the nominee is to get to 270 electoral votes. do they want it to replicate the obama coalition and really energize african-american turn out or do they twoont try like klobuchar was alluding to there, michigan, pennsylvania, wisconsin, do you try and win back those disaffected trump voters? if you ask someone else, maybe a kamala harris cobbling together the obama coalition sounds like a better more fruitful option. i think democrats need to decide
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which way they're going but the rhetoric right now in the primary seems to be talking about trying to replicate the obama coalition rather than look at the white working class. >> all right. eugene, matt, zerlina you're all sticking around for more great conversation. ahead, president trump is fanning the flames of online conspiracy theories about jeffrey epstein's death. my insurance rates are probably gonna double. but dad, you've got allstate. with accident forgiveness they guarantee your rates won't go up just because of an accident.
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the fbi and the department of justice are investigating how jeffrey epstein died this weekend while in a federal jail in manhattan. authorities tell nbc news that they still believe epstein, a wealthy financeer and accused sex trafficker, took his own life. there are a lot of unanswered questions including why guidelines that could have prevented epstein's apparent suicide weren't followed. among those demanding answers attorney general bill barr. >> we are now learning of serious irregularities at this facility that are deeply concerning and demand a thorough investigation. the fbi and inspector general are doing just that. we will get to the bottom of what happened and there will be accountability. >> those questions combined with epstein's wealth and powerful connections are leading to a flurry of online conspiracy theories. the president promoted one of
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those baseless conspiracies in a retweet this weekend. for more i'm joined by tom winter nbc news investigations correspondent and glenn kirschner former federal prosecutor and msnbc legal analyst. tom, let me start with you. the trump retweet of course talked about bill clinton, who, again, conspiracy theory, zero evidence, that anything like that was involved. i liked rudy guiliani's tweet, the conspiracy theories concerning the epstein death are multiplying. the facts seem unbelievable. but it is best to wait for some key facts like the findings of the autopsy. withholding judgment is the wisest course to follow. you know, when ruledy guiliani is telling you to cool it on the conspiracy theories i think everybody should cool it on the conspiracy theories. what is the latest on what we actually know happened here? >> well, i like to say a conspiracy theory without facts is a fairy tale. we'll move beyond that to the actual facts of the case. as you requested, the latest bit
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of information here in this coming to us within the last hour or so, is that the fbi is currently in the process of executing a court authorized search warrant. this is part of the u.s. attorney's office for the southern district of new york and the task force they have that is looking into jeffrey epstein and this broader conspiracy. they're at his private island in the u.s. virgin islands right now. they're in the process of executing that search warrant. as far as epstein's death what we know is this federal investigation, the fbi investigation out of an abundance of caution into this apparent or presumed suicide continues. still no indication that there is any foul play here at all. still no indication that this is anything other than a suicide. but, you know, with something with this high profile, we've been talking about it all day, i know you discussed it on your program last night, when you have a case like this, i think
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everybody involved really wants to take an extra moment, extra pause to make sure every single little detail of this is accurately recorded, is accurately investigated so the medical examiner here in new york city going to take a little bit more time going to, perhaps, they find something that they can ask law enforcement about or to investigate just to double check something. on the other hand the federal investigation into this might help further inform the medical examiner and assist with their findings. so this is something that is pretty typical. it is not surprising it is going to take a few more days, maybe even a couple weeks just to get this kind of locked in and get it accurate and precise. >> fair enough. i totally understand that. glenn kirschner, what i don't understand is how do we get to the rush of saying already this was a suicide right out of the gate, you know, immediately just apparently potentially moments, not that long amount of time before jeffrey epstein was found dead were we hearing from sources that, hey, this was
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presumed to be a suicide. that struck me as something that normally law enforcement sources are more careful about describing how these things happen. how do you explain how quickly that unfolded? >> that was yet another misstep whether intentional or unintentional by attorney general bill barr, and we've seen him do this before. we saw him do it with the mueller report. he had it a matter of days, announced no collusion, no obstruction, basically full exoneration, then we learned that was not the case, that was untrue. here we go again. with attorney general barr, i mean, epstein's body is barely cool and he is standing up in froch front of the cameras saying this is apparent suicide. today he says these failures by the mcc are abhorrent and there will be accountability. you know, none of that should be said by an attorney general at this stage. the only thing he should have said and what an attorney
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general ordinarily would say is, jeffrey epstein was found dead in his cell. pending an autopsy and a complete, thorough investigation we have no further comment. but this is bill barr for whatever reason wanting to get the public narrative out before the investigation has even commenced. and i am not going to feed into conspiracy theories but that is at a minimum problematic. it should not go on. we have to wait for the autopsy results. i will tell you that an autopsy, itself, tells us something but it doesn't tell us everything. the medical examiner will want to hear about the other information that was gathered as a result of an investigation with feet on the scene at the mcc. >> tom winter, what unfolds from here? obviously you mentioned they are currently looking at his house on his private island. i heard you mentioning earlier today that there was a
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possibility that his lawyers could actually sue mcc. how do you see these screws turning? >> there's a number of different things that are going to happen going forward. let's look at the criminal side as you heard from the u.s. attorney here on the weekend on saturday afternoon in a statement. the conspiracy component of this. that investigation moves forward. they're asking for any additional victims who have not yet come forward to continue to come forward. they'll look in to see whether there are any other coconspirators. we've talked here today about some other individuals that were close to jeffrey epstein. >> some information that came out in papers on friday involving one of his former kind of top associates in ghislain maxwell, not charged with anything, but certainly some information in those documents that if proven true would be problematic for her from a criminal standpoint. there would have to be a nexus to new york. this can't all be florida because that is where the u.s. attorney's office is that's prosecuting it. on the civil side there are two things at play.
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one, ongoing lawsuits that may involve jeffrey epstein and ongoing arrangements and agreements and settlements, many we don't have the terms or know what has been settled as far as a monetary arrangement if there is any. so the estate will now have to execute that. in addition, it is possible the estate could sue mcc if it was found out that they didn't do and the attorney general has already said this, that there were steps that were missed and there were some errors made and we know that from our own reporting. so kind of two prongs to this that we'll have to watch going forward. >> for sure. let's work ahead of you, tom winter, glenn kirschner, thank you very much for your insights on this. ahead, emotions ran high in iowa as democrats unite for stronger gun laws calling out president trump and congress. will anything change this time? oh, come on. flo: don't worry. you're covered. (dramatic music)
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40,000 americans died last year from gun violence. so here's my commitment as president. i will reduce that number by 80%. >> i will put in place a comprehensive background check requirement, require the atf to take the licenses of dealers who violate the law, and put in place by executive action a ban on the importation of assault weapons into our country because we need action. >> who in god's name needs a weapon that can handle a hundred rounds? for god's sake. >> i have a 6 and 3-year-old boy. i was imagining -- i was imagining it was one of them that got shot and the other saw it. i'm so sorry. >> those were some of the 16
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democratic presidential candidates who spoke at a forum on gun violence this weekend in iowa. after last weekend's mass shootings in el paso and dayton put the issue front and center in the presidential campaign. we'll have a lot more with our experts coming up after the break. ! liberty mutual customizes your car insurance, so you only pay for what you need. nice! but uh, what's up with your partner? oh! we just spend all day telling everyone how we customize car insurance because no two people are alike, so... limu gets a little confused when he sees another bird that looks exactly like him. ya... he'll figure it out. only pay for what you need. ♪ liberty. liberty. liberty. liberty. ♪ if you have moderate to thsevere rheumatoid arthritis, month after month, the clock is ticking on irreversible joint damage. ongoing pain and stiffness are signs of joint erosion. humira can help stop the clock.
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enjoy every moment-and help protect yourself from an unexpected one, like a cardiovascular event. are you doing enough? ask your doctor if it's time for xarelto®. to learn more about cost and how janssen can help, visit xarelto.com. most people think a button is just a button. ♪ that a speaker is just a speaker. ♪ or - that the journey can't be the destination. most people haven't driven a lincoln. discover the lincoln approach to craftsmanship at the lincoln summer invitation. right now, get 0% apr on all 2019 lincoln vehicles plus no payments for up to 90 days. only at your lincoln dealer. welcome back. after last weekend's mass shootings, gun violence is at the forefront of the conversation on the campaign trail. let's bring back our group of
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experts, eugene, matt, and zerlina to talk about all of this. we had some real emotional moments obviously in iowa over the weekend as this was front and center. typically the iowa state fair more of a fun, political event but, clearly, the events really cast a pall. this was honestly a place where democrats now were united against president trump which is a really significant shift. >> yeah, i think that after a national tragedy some of that partisan contrasting or at least on the democratic side that contrasting between the candidates you saw at the debate went away. i think that's good because i think on an issue like gun safety, while the nuance of particular policy positions may differ between the democratic candidates i think all of us can agree that we are living through a moment where there are far too many mass shootings and that there needs to be something legislatively -- they need to do something in congress to tackle
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the issue. now, certainly americans understand that this is a difficult issue. there are a lot of special interests like the nra that impact whether or not congress can do something. but i think after the parkland that, you know, cynicism, sure, that's maybe nothing will happen tomorrow, but cynicism is actually the lazy position to taken stead of saying, look, i'm going to organize my friends and my community and fellow students and class matmates to get somet done at least on the local level. i think the democratic candidates running for president are essentially stepping in line with the growing intersectional movement we've seen since the new town shooting with moms demand in every town and the parkland students for march for our lives, post that shooting. this is a good moment and that shows progress. >> to serlina's point, we are in something of a different era in terms of organizing on the gun
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reform side as opposed to simply gun rights and the nra. do you see this being an issue that carries through and that republicans actually have to make a shift around? i mean, i was surprised to hear mitch mcconnell saying it is unacceptable for us to do anything because on the one hand we're seeing the same play book play out, punt things off, typically how the gun lobby operates. on the other hand, it feels like this may start to have staying power. >> i think she's right to a point. i think you're going to see something get done in the very least. this is a shift in tone among our party from where it's been. parkland changed a lot of things. the first thing it changed was you had kids coming out from the school onto cable news and saying -- demanding action. it's different from past shoot ogser past incidents like this. in a month they had a march, major cities across the country. when i was working at the nrcc house races, we saw blue suburban districts in red states, places like houston or
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the atlanta suburbs, this issue really popped. and even in more conservative parts of blue states like states in new jersey or new york, this became an issue. it wasn't the number one issue, but in the top three especially among suburban women we needed to win. >> i think that could possibly be because at this point, voters realize that if nothing is done, it can eventually be them. we're at churches. we're at schools. we're at shopping centers. the reality is that no place right now is safe from guns as people would like them to be. and if nothing changes policy wise, this is going to continue. i think we see some voters who are more conservative on many other issues saying leaving things as they are is insufficient. >> republicans need to be able to go to voters next fall and say, we did something to address it. whether voters or democrats say that's enough, they might -- democrats at least won't, but republicans need to have something in their pocket. >> is there a difference, matt, between -- is the split real among republicans? john baraso from wyoming, a very
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rural state, seems to be saying different things from his colleagues where there are major suburban voting populations. john cornyn in texas, for example, is up for reelection. are you going to see a split between the rural and suburban republican parties in this case? >> i don't know that that -- claim, but you're not going to get 95 votes for gun reforms in the senate -- excuse me, let's say 55 votes or something like that. a vast majority of republicans. but take someone like rob portman who voted against it last time, seems like he might be inclined to support it this time. a baraso versus a cornyn. >> serlina, how different should democrats be confronts thing issue if, in fact, mitch mcconnell brings something up, a background check bill or something like that? there's been some division around do you take a half measure if you're a democrat, or if it can pass mitch mcconnell's senate, is it possibly good enough for democrats who want to
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see more than that done? >> i think that for democrats that want to see more than that done, you have to start somewhere. i think if you can get something passed through mitch mcconnell's senate, that is a good thing because that shows that it's not completely broken, our congress. and that if there is an issue that needs to be addressed by our legislators, that they are equipped to deal with it because if they don't do anything, then it shows that really our system is essentially broken because they're not responding to the 90%-plus support that the american people have for at least background checks or something more incremental in terms of gun safety reform. and i think that, you know, look, you know, our elected officials, they represent us and they are sworn in to do what the people want them to do. and i think that a lot of americans are absolutely fed up with seeing massacres every single dayton their television. and i keep reading stories about folks who survived the vegas shooting and then they survived the gilroy shooting most
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recently. people who are surviving more than one mass shooting -- can you even imagine that? surviving more than one massacre, that's complete unacceptable in the year 2019. we can live better than this. and i think that if i wanted to live in the wild, wild west i'd go there, but i do not want to live there. >> eugene scott, last words here. president trump has said that he wants to do something on expanded background checks. we did hear him make some similar comments in the wake of parkland and obviously nothing happened. but he does seem to be in this mode where you reference, that there really is some change here that he's picking up on. >> i think it's because he's noticing that some people who supported him want something different. i know he met with the nra president lisa who pushed back and said this is not the direction you want to go in. but i think when the president notices that there are people among his base that may be looking at something a bit
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differently that causes him to look at it differently. and we tend to think of the base as just being as far-right as possible on all things. i think this is one of the areas some of them are saying, maybe we should reconsider how we view this because it's a serious issue that is affecting us. and if we want this to change, we have to change how we view it. >> all right. eugene, matt, serlina, thank you all for being on today. we'll be right back. l for beingy we'll be right back. earn unlimis on every purchase, plus we'll match your miles at the end of your first year. you'll match my miles? yeah! mile for mile! and no blackout dates or annual fee. nice! i was thinking about taking a scuba diving trip! i love that. or maybe go surfing... or not. ok. maybe somewhere else. maybe a petting zoo. can't go wrong. can't get eaten. earn miles. we'll match 'em at the end of your first year. plus no annual fee or blackouts. the discover it® miles card. 'cause crabfest is on geat red lobster.ns with nine craveable crab creations. like our new crab imperial. now just $15.99.
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we're going to be back tomorrow with much more "meet the press" daily, and you can catch me every weekend on "kasie d.c." do join me sunday nights 7:00 p.m. eastern right here on msnbc. the beat with ari melber starts right now. good evening, ari. >> good evening, kasie. thanks so much for you joining us at home. we have a lot planned tonight. donald trump under fire again in the case of sex offender jeffrey epstein. how trump administration policy increased the risk this notorious prisoner died in custody. why congress could be closer to acting on both climate change and gun control. it's a story you might not hear anywhere else. i have a special report tonight. we have a story on crackdown on immigrants, even legal residents of the united states. they launched a new rule for people to pick between food and their working status because these new rule punishes people who get government food support or health care with a tough

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