tv Deadline White House MSNBC August 14, 2019 1:00pm-2:00pm PDT
three seconds. the dow is 2.96% lower. that wraps up hour for me. i will see you back here tonight with "all in" and 1:00 p.m. tomorrow and 3:00 p.m. eastern. new for watching. "deadline: white house" with nicolle wallace. we just crossed 808 now. "deadline: white house" starts now. hi, everyone, it's 4:00 in new york. with warning signs flashing red that the economy could be heed for turmoil. the dow closing over 800 points down today as donald trump's political weakness, foreign policy cluelessness and abdication of american leadership on the world stage is on full and stark display. the world's eyes on hong kong. pro-democracy protesters spilled the streets on the fourth day of escalating tensions there. the kind of standoff america used to take a clear stand on the side of pro-democracy forces. today it's unclear where the
american president comes down. politico reports this -- lawmakers and government officials across washington, including s including some of president's donald trump's advisers are growing increasingly alarmed with what's dpg going on in hon kong. more than the most, including trump. unlike most presidents he shows fondness for authoritarian leaders and little interest for promoting human rights or democracy. "the new york times" writes, violence case lates and old animosities rekindled across asia, washington has chosen inaction and governments are ignoring the trump administration's mild admonition and calls for calm. the inability or unwillingness of washington to help defuse the flash points is one of the clearest signs yet of the erosion of american power and global influence under mr. trump, who has stuck to his america first idea of disengagement. here's the president's reaction
to what addtration official describes to politico as, quote, as close to a tiananmen square potentially that you're bgoing o get in a modern age. >> it's a very tricky situation. i think it will work out and i hope it works out for liberty. i hope it works out for everybody, including china. i work it works out equally. i hope nobody gets hurt. i hope nobody gets killed. >> very tricky situation. i hope nobody gets killed. my, how far we've come from a shining city on a hill. and yesterday his first public event since tensions in hong kong erupted, the president had a lot of things other than the pro-democracy protest on his mind. >> i think we're looking did all over in ohio, in north carolina, in south carolina, florida. we just got numbers in florida. looking fantastically good. i got sued on a thing called
emoluments. ever heard of it? nobody heard of it before. nobody looks at obama getting $16 million for a book. even though nobody in history got that much for a book. they said don't worry about the rain. do we have umbrellas? umbrellas work very well. especially when they're made in america. i always love trucks. i still do. nothing changes. sometimes you might become president but nothing changes. i still love trucks. >> world is on fire and trump is musing publicly about his poll numbers in battleground states, his love of umbrellas and trucks and president obama's book deal. that's where we start with some of our favorite reporters and friend. the white house reporter for "l.a. times," rick stengel who worked in president obama's state department and former managing editor at "time" magazine, eugene robinson from "the washington post," and also joining us former chief of staff to vice presidents joe biden, al
gore. i have to start with you, rick stengel. so much of what trump does i would put in the category of stupid human tricks. he says such dumb thins but there are not lives at stake or consequences. this is a moment every american president, i would think, if you judge their records and the way they responded, would be standing up more forcefully in the way the other democrats in congress have been doing with the pro-democracy forces. the president would be back in the situation room, not giving a campaign rally. >> yes, you know, political scientists talk about foreign policy along a continuum between realism and idealism. john adams was the original realist. we don't go in search of monsters that destroy. ever since bill wilson was president, every american president had to incorporate idealism in their foreign policy. so when something is happening
in hong kong, every american president until now would say we side with the people of hong kong in the pursuit of liberty and human rights. that was the city on a hill that america represented for people around the world. as my old boss john kerry used to say, people don't wake up at night worried that we're involved. they wake up at night worrying we're not involved. if you look around the world and wherever we leave and withdraw, as we are doing now, they're never replaced by a better actor. >> let me stop you. is that still true? >> i think it is true. there are no other actors, not better acts. when wilbur ross said it's an internal matter the foreign minister of russia and china were dancing up and down. what nobody talks about, because trump doesn't understand t. he's moving us to a sphere of influence world. that's the 19th century where no matter what you did was odious or aggressive, in your sphere of influence, we're not going to mess it. we're not involved in that.
that's trump and what russia and china want and wilbur ross say we do today. every american president since wilson was having a heart attack today and it's not what america should represent around the world. there and it ends up in world war i, where it had. and in any other administration, as you said, the administration would have developed a response. first of all, there would have been daily white house briefings. with the briefings the press secretary would have been asked about the hong kong demonstrations. there would have been a carefully written and modulated statement in support of human rights. it would have been considered. it would have been a process. everybody would have known what it was, what the administration's position was. that would have been stated by the press secretary or perhaps by the president himself. this is just, tweet this, babble that. it's incredible. >> it's worse than that. the reporting that i cited sites
pompeo, our country's secretary of state, who should be if nothing else a safety net for other world leaders and countries in crisis, he was, quote, afraid to get ahead of trump. it's not even that. it's accommodating trump's affinity for dictators as the or thing suggests. >> he has an affinity for dictators and seems not to care if johnny comes in and mows down the protesters and generally think that's an internal matter for china to deal with however it chooses. it's a scary thing to think that's what the president of the united states believes and tends to act on but it does seem to be what he believes. >> eli, i'm so reluctant to sort of asking questions in the frame of the lowering of the bar but i'm going to do it anyway. yesterday ostensibly an event about energy, clearly he's not capable of doing anything an event is ostensibly about.
he stands up and opens his mouth and what still is vowed is what's on his mind, poll numbers, obama's big book deal, umbrellas and trucks. is anything else -- am i missing anything? is anything happening back at the white house? >> you know when you talked about everybody that works in the building who is just there to serve at the pleasure of the president. they recognize that and that means not conflicting with him or giving him advice or construction instruction he doesn't want to hear. racks by t remarks by the president on economy and manufacturing, as believable as infrastructure when they threw that terminology around. but that's how the president is, his stream of conscious. it's about him. last week i was on air force one in the pool and we went to dayton and el paso with the president. we didn't see a lot of him until
the end but you could just tell after the fact what he said to us on the plane off the record and for the public comments and reporting that's come out at the end that was a day and what was on the president's mind was not consoling the community as much as how he was received by the communities. that's what he talked about. that's the first thing he said when asked by our reporter, what has today been like? they have a tremendous respect for the presidency. he's always the central character in his drama he's talking about and that's the same way he approaches foreign policy. there's a crisis in kashmir between india and pakistan simmering and the president thinks he can moderate this. he thinks if he's involved, can he solve any global problem, whether it's tensions in that region. whether it's getting kim jong-un to give up his nuclear program. he believes if he's involved, he can fix it like trade wars he said are good and easy to win. if he's not in the middle of it, he doesn't seem that interested
or concerned. yesterday he's saying, why are they blaming me for the crisis in hong kong? he's forgetting just a few weeks ago in late july he spoke about what was going on there and said china's gone easy on them. china could do a lot more. they could be a lot stronger. which a lot of people look as a tacit green light to xi to go in forcefully to these pro-democracy protesters and that's a world view of trump's we've seen that's consistent with what he said for years about autocrats and strength, his idea of strength. it's hard power. doesn't believe in soft power, he believes in hard power. >> ron klain, somebody ran against donald trump in the primaries and said the moment he was most vulnerable when he was outed to have no idea what the nucle nuclear try adwas. to the degree he has no shame on his stunning knowledge on foreign policy, what is it --i e take your source's words for
that. this is someone defeated by donald trump and examining the molts trump is most vulnerable, i accept the conclusion that was one of them. if you take that and take all of the reporting about basically every insult's already been lobbed at donald trump, and he's still standing. you know have pro-democracy forces as everyone has said, any other american would be standing up for because lives are on the line. not just in foreign policy that affect our national security but lives of the pro democracy protesters. what would you advise any critic, not just a democrat, but any critic of donald trump's conduct over the last four days to do and say in. >> look, nicolle, it locks like thoughts and prayers are no longer just the kbun contrgun c policy of the trump administration. he's standing on the tarmac saying i hope it works out okay, peaceful and whatever. for his critics, republican critics and democratic critics,
an america absent from the world stage and absent for standing from democracy goes to rick's point of idealism and realism. there's an idealistic element, americans standing for democracy but realistic element. one country's going to write the rules for the 21st century, either the united states or china. if america doesn't lean forward, we are basically ceding the entire pacific to china. that's not only bad for democracy, it's bad for our allies there and countries like south korean and japan, it's bad for american interests and trade and jobs. i think what trump's critics have to hit on is the pass sievety, ignorance, indifference by trump that is putting our ideals at risk, economy at risk and national security at risk. and i think that's the critique that needs to come at trump. >> elise, let me have you tee up on all of this and give you one more reporting from "the new
york times." waning of american power trump struggles of an asia crisis. by failing to act and assume leadership in the region, trump is allowing long, complicated history to fall back as traditional rivals. the more they feel united states is an unreliable partner, the more they will defend themselves. i'm hearing growing calls in south korea for their own nuclear weapons. that is an expert at the wilson center. do you agree? >> i do. and i think that goes to ron's point. it's good to talk about american values and american ideals but this is becoming an issue of national security for the u.s. when india and pakistan are fighting over kashmir, now pack st st pakistan is threatening its support for the afghan deal. now japan and south korea are
rekindling their old trade rivalries. they're talking about ending an yens partner shn that the u.s. needs for surveillance on north korea. you look around and north korea tested five short-range missiles and president trump are talking about how him and kim jong-un love each other. it's not only lack of interest and lack of knowledge, but the more the president retreats, other countries like russia and china, there are countries that are going to fill that vacuum. they're not going to do it in a way that the u.s. wants. president trump does have some advisers, you know, matt pottinger on asia or even john bolton, who behind the scenes are trying to make some maneuvers. but when you fail to see some kind of high-level interest and engagement from the president, a warning, for instance to china, he's saying that he hopes no one gets killed, but he's not making a stark warning to china, you
about better stand down. instead he's saying i hope this works out for china. he does seem a little more interested in the trade deal with china than cracking down on human rights. i think when you talk about the president feels vulnerable about his lack of foreign policy gravitas and be diplomatic about it, if there's a serious tiananmen-type crackdown in hong kong, i think that could be one of president trump's stinging foreign policy legacies. so i think that's one of the reasons that his advisers around him are very concerned. >> and, listen, i don't want to hold the position, rick, that having a learning curve is a political vulnerability. we would never nominate or elect governors. we would not elect half of the people in congress and we would not have elected donald trump. but i guess the toxicity is around the combination, the impulse and instinct as a human
being are told autocracyth there's no intellectual curiosity and no staff. i remember saying -- i think some of you were here the day mattis resigned over his disagreements with donald trump on syria policy, it was a dangerous day not just for this country but for the world. hr mcmaster and dina powell used to be in the sit room every day. who is even there? >> the learning curve for him is just the learning curve about american values. he doesn't know who woodrow wilson is. he doesn't know we have historically stood up for human rights. i remember once having a meeting with an african-american foreign minister -- >> do you think he knows how many democracies there are in the world? >> no, i don't think he even knows democracies are in retreat. you look at the last ten years, fewer countries qualify as a democracy. and there's this rise of autocracy, which he is aiding and abetting. that to me is the worst global affair at all. i had an african-american prime minister say to me, you come and talk to me about human rights and the chinese come and say i
will build you a super highway. who am i going to listen to? of course you're going to listen to the chinese. but those people in hong kong, they need to listen to an american president saying we support your aspirations for human rights and freedom of the press and freedom of speech. that is the thing that american presidents have always stood for and donald trump does not get that and has never learned it. >> listen, that's the other thing too, you asked where is the staff? what difference would it make if they were there? i have been critical of this administration for is hollowness, the fact they're not capable, experienced people at all levels going down and can get stuff done. but the fact is the president -- mike pompeo is not a stupid perfect. i know mike pompeo. he's not a stupid person at all. he understands the history. and so -- as you said, he won't get out in front of the president. because if he says something, it
could be countered by tweet five minutes later. it is this dystopian and other universe we've fallen into. any other administration, everyone in the world would be waiting to hear what's the united states is saying about hong kong. not now. there i don't like to give credit to republicans who helped build frank instein, uh-oh, frank instein doesn't listen to me of the but in that vain, let me say anthony scaramucci saying trump may need to be replaced for 2020. joe walsh, another tea party member, calling for a primary challenge against donald trump. it's a lonely journey though, the people that knew him from birtherism and people that saw him attack nurses and doctors in africa in 2015 to fight ebola. i guess i will take a lake guess at the party -- late guess at
the party over none. but what do you think of -- there never was a foul-mouthed enthusiast than anthony scaramucci. >> i don't want to spend too much time worrying about anthony scaramucci but the point about mike pompeo and politics of the republican party, if mike pompeo is the sebltsz secretary of sta of the few people who has a little to say and not serving in an acting capacity and you're here and i can't get rid of you and don't do anything i don't want you to do or don't like, mike pompeo may have ambitions to do something outside this job in the political space. and if you're interested in being a politician, the republican party at this moment, you recognize this is donald trump's party. and you talk all the time about where the people who are going to put service above am ibition.
national security above political advantage. i don't know where they are. but we have not seen too many people in those important positions actually step up and say the things that are basically self-evident at this point. you see people like anthony scaramucci on the sidelines who may be able to get an op ed in the paper, get an interview on tv and come forward after the fact and recognize what's been recognizable for a long, long time. but the people who are serving in this party who want to stay in this party, they are falling in line behind this president because that's the political reality if you want to have a place in the republican party of 2019. >> elise, i want to give you the last word on this. i guess my question is to underscore and ask your thoughts, john mccain used to be another number that world leaders could call, especially russia's neighbors who felt threatened. when i worked on his campaign, he was often on the phone with foreign leaders about u.s. foreign policy.
frankly, hillary clinton as secretary of state and u.s. senator was the same kind of american leader. john kerry in the senate. obviously later as secretary of state. who would that even be? like if you have a cell phone and you want to call somebody in america and say, kids are about to die here in hong kong at the airport. it's getting ugly. who do you call? who do you even dial? >> i think and hoped it would be lindsey graham. and when you look at some of the issues of national security, lindsey graham is speaking out. >> between the president and -- i wouldn't call lindsey graham. >> i wouldn't call lindsey graham either. even though his rhetoric talks in favor of the demonstrators, it's falling on nancy pelosi. she said she's willing to put forward legislation that would sanction chinese officials cracking down on hong kong. the question is what impact is
that going to be? i think if you look at a case such as russia, there were officials around president trump that gave him some sanctions on ukraine, other issues. president trump didn't dispute it. he let it go ahead. i think if officials were brave enough to bring something to president trump, he wouldn't say no. but again with the absence of some kind of presidential declaration, warning against china in support of hong kong, i think it's going to fall on congress and the question is what impact is it going have? >> you want to try to answer that, what impact, sflik. >> it's going to have a negative impact. he's giving them a pass to protesters in hong kong. that's the reality of it. when we come back, one of the democratic party's rising stars said she has more important works to do in 2020
than republic for president. she sat down with rachel maddow to explain. and more on the sex offender jeffrey epstein and the call for attorney general william barr to recuse himself from that situation. we'll bring you that story. and if the shoe fits, moscow mitch woke up to a new investigation in "the washington post" that will make it tough to shake his new nickname. the report suggests mcconnell worked to blank sanctions against the russian aluminum company, and that very same russian aluminum kentucky was setting up shot in mcconnell's home state of kentucky.
i take it this announcement means you're not bog to going t mounting a bid for president yourself? >> that is correct. my addition to this campaign is making certain whoever the nominee is we have a fair fight in 2020. that's what i will focus on. part of my responsibility as citizen and somebody who has the opportunity to stand for the highest office is to make sure i'm the right person and it's the right time. but it's also to make sure i'm doing the best i can do to make sure we have someone that beats donald trump and win back the senate. as i looked at the candidates and watched the debates, i think we have a robust number of candidates that can move forward. so for me how can i be of best service? >> that was stacey abrams, a point away from a monumental upset in the state of georgia in
the governor's race. she said she will not enter into the presidential 2020 contest, despite many calls to do so. she did, however, vereveal she would be honored to be considered vice president by any nominee. abrams isn't the only star to get that palpable but, beto o'rouke did too. but he's going the other way. beto o'rouke is set to deliver a speech from el paso, texas tomorrow that follows taking last week off to respond to the tragedy in his hometown. squoiping the conversation, eddie glide from african-american studies at princeton university. you were my wingman last week. you stole the show and i was happy to give it to you. we covered beto last week. he was the voice of his town's pain.
he was the voice connecting donald trump's rhetoric to the violent massacre at walmart. and he was the first voice in the field of 2020 democratic candidates to just say out loud what i heard a lot of people say frankly in both parties that donald trump walks and talks and sounds and, therefore, must be a white supremacist. >> right. i think beto demonstrated very clearly that there is a substantive judgment among all americans that president trump is a toxic force in our body politics. remember the excitement around joe biden's announcement that he linked explicitly donald trump to charlottesville and people are like this powerful. folks are open to the truth. they want folks to say what donald trump is and beto is good at that of the but you can't just do that. you have to lay out substantive policies about what you're going to do, how you will in some ways
change the direction of the country. it's not just naming donald trump and described what he's doing but what are you going to do the change the circumstances of ordinary, everyday people? and what i love about what stacey abrams said, would other candidates decide to serve and understand what would be their best lane? and understand the problem we face as a country extends beyond just simply the white house. we need folks in every area, in every domain. >> we also need somebody in the georgia senate. i wish -- you know, she can do what she's doing and run in georgia and maybe -- just because i think she would be a good senator, but i also think her brothers on the ticket would help put georgia in play. i understand what she's doing. it and cot beit couldn't be a m important project. the willingness to participate
is the faultline. >> and what she's doing now. >> ron klain, i want to get to you on these two 2020 stories and also on eddie's broader point on i think the democratic primary contest the way it was before el paso and i think the democratic primary contest after el paso. i wonder if you agree. >> i do. let's talk about stacey abrams a second, about she's not running for president or senate, but let's talk about what she is doing, fair fight.com. fair fight, the organization she's building, is a critical element of what it's going to take to defeat donald trump in 2020. if we don't reverse the kind of voter suppression we've seen all oaf the country, closing of polling places, purging of voter rolls, the various efforts to keep people that have a lawful right to vote from voting, our democracy isn't really going to
live up to its name and donald trump will vote suppress his way to a second term. what she's doing is incred aiblely important. she's a great leader for that organization. i know people will check out fairfight.com and learn more about what stacey's doing. el paso is a turning point. sadly, we had too many incidents but the combination of the toxic anti-immigrant hatred fueled by trump and his rhetoric and continued problem of mass shootings fueled by the nra's control over our politics is really coming together to shape what voters want to see the next president address. obviously i'm a biden supporter. i work for vice president biden, i'm on his team. i think he made powerful statements and others have as well. congresswoman warren spoke powerfully. but this is issue number one in the democratic party and should be in the country too. i think seeing candidates step up and address that is very
important. >> it could be the beginning of any joke, two political operatives walk into a bar. that's how i feel whenever you come in. from political operative to political operative, i watched ken cuccinelli really debate the language on the statue of liberty by saying don't give me your poor, your tired -- only people who could support themselves from europe. his statements about treating legal immigrants the way the trump administration envisions to treat them sort of got worse as the day went on yesterday. i don't want to am mr. pamplify big bigotry or hatred. but it seems to me if i was an operative and worked at the democratic party, which i have never been and can't imagine ever being, but i would take the structure that united all americans, patriots act passed 99 to -- it was a moment of national unity. if we really believe donald
trump's hand-picked fbi director chris wray the greatest risk to the homeland security is white supremacist-inspired domestic terrorism or at left on the rise, how do democrats tie that threat to national security to the president's rhetoric? >> look, hatred and division is the number one threat to americans' domestic security. it is what is fueling mass shootings. it is what the hey dread division, powered also with assault weapons, is what makes us scared every morning when our children go off to school. it's what makes us scared when our kids go to concerts or we go shopping in walmarts or whatever. i think democrats should definitely speak about it. it's time for republicans to speak up about it too. and to make the case that we're living in a country that is needlessly at risk, it's needlessly in danger because we're being threatened by a force in our country the president fuels every dare and nra refuses to allow us to
address. i think if we can step up and tackle those things, we can make the country a safer place. >> ron klain, thank you. always great to talk to you. >> after the break, should attorney general william barr recuse himself in the politically charged investigation into jeffrey epstein's death in our friend joyce vance thinks so. she makes her case in a new op-ed and we will talk to her next. o her next ation is going to make it happen. but we won't get there without you. join the fight with the alzheimer's association.
with moderate to severe ulcerative colitis or crohn's, your plans can change in minutes. your head wants to do one thing, but your gut says, "not today." if your current treatment isn't working, ask your doctor about entyvio. entyvio acts specifically in the gi tract to prevent an excess of white blood cells from entering and causing damaging inflammation. entyvio has helped many patients achieve long-term relief and remission. infusion and serious allergic reactions can happen during or after treatment. entyvio may increase risk of infection, which can be serious. pml, a rare, serious, potentially fatal brain infection caused by a virus may be possible. tell your doctor if you have an infection,
investigation staying he's the same person who gave him a deal a decade ago are cause for barr to step back now. writing the appearance of impropriety with epstein considering barr acted as the president's lawyer instead of the people's regarding the russia situation and he should recuse himself from the epstein investigation. it's like a reservoir that's recently filled and leaking. we're in a dangerous place that no longer trusts the justice department is doing justice. joining us joyce vance in the flesh. joyce, take us through the argument you made in your piece and have you heard anything from the justice department in response? >> you know, i have not heard anything, nicolle and i don't think this attorney general will recuse. but one of your most important jobs if you're the attorney general of the united states is
protect the integrity of the justice department. if republicans don't believe justice is being done by the department, then the entire system starts to ee rote. prosecutors depend on juries, juries and judges have to be able to trust prosecutors. when you have such a high-profile investigation, being led by someone who is arguably not objective about the matter, it really taints people's view of doj and barr should step away out of a sense of respect and love for the institution that he leads. >> so eli, i'm not going to play it again, but here's what barr said on monday. he said, i was appalled and indeed the whole department was and frankly angry in learning the meant correctional center failure to adequately protect this prisoner. we're learning of serious irregularities at this facility that are deeply concerning. that's what you say when you
watch a sports team lose. i hate it. he's in charge! this is him criticizing stuff he's in charge of. this is donald trump standing there saying, i hope china works it out. he's the leader -- what is it? what gets in the mind of these men that are so impotent and powerless they can't fifl tx th things they're in charge of? >> you ignore the inconvenient part of the reality that this happened on your watch and issue statement like that that sounds fine, right? there were problems. >> sounds weak. >> what he's saying is things that are basically true and ignoring the facts this is his justice department. there are a lot of people that will hear that and not ask the questions you're asking. you're asking a smart question but we're in this moment. that's the behavior as you pointed out you see from the president. we're in this moment where everything is so intensely tribal. you have the president who's unabashed about pushing out conspiracy theories if his
twitter account of 63 million followers and ignoring the fact he had railingship wia relation guy and focus on bill clinton went to these parties. so you focus on the convenient part and ignore the reality. >> to your point a source close to barr on the record described him as most similar to dick cheney. i thought i could see that. but let me tell you this about dick cheney. william barr, you're no dick cheney. he would never read about something that happened on his watch and say, i don't approve. he would say i would will get to the bottom of it and fix it. he might water board them or take it too far but barr is like i will tell some stupid spin about not being responsible. >> people would be flayed alive if dick cheney were in charge of
this. this administration will never take responsibility for anything. but in fact this is the responsibility of the attorney general, it is. they report to him. and the administration couldn't be bothered to install permanent, competent leader at the bureau of prisons and people at the other levels who surfaced and would fix the problems we're learning about now at the metropolitan correction centers. that's why you hire good people. you pay attention and have systems. that's why you do that. >> joyce, i want to come back to this question. when you have incompetent people, and i'm not sure if barr is competent or not, but when you have the combination of incompetence and politically arrogant people, things like this happen because anyone politically and astute in barr's circle would have said the
epstein's guy a really bad guy, whole lot of victims and sdny finally got him. he's in position to clean up the injustices fs this other guy who was in donald trump's cabinet, a political liability for donald trump. let's make sure justice is served this time. it would be good for justice, it would be good, frankly, for the president to finally get epstein. how does all of that fall apart under william barr? >> you know, ininexplicably falls apart. here's the reality, barr testified on capitol hill four months ago. not only does he run the bureau of prisons, he was on notice they were short-staffed. he was questioned about the circumstances that led to whitey bulger's murder in prison. he knew the bureau of prisons, which takes a big chunk of doj's budget up because it's very expensive to run, they were understaffed. he likely knew there were people working more shifts than they should be working. he should have been aware that could become a problem with jeffrey epstein and directed
that they take special steps at mcc to ensure he's being properly supervised. >> i guess it just doesn't reason out. if you've got the hand size to say i'm going to stidecide what mueller couldn't on obstruction, you know the happened size to see it brought to justice. >> all of that makes absolutely no sense to me. but i will pan out quickly, the key to joyce's piece is the integrity of the justice department is being fundamentally undermined. what we have been talking about is the danger to our democracy, asking the questions, will our institutions hold, degreated, donald trump, broken, mitch mcconnell. now the justice department and what will happen downstream? so we're talking about not just simply barr's hands and whatever fair in but what are the long-term implications for democratic institutions?
can we bounce back from all of this? >> that's an open question. joyce vance, thank you for the piece and thank you for spending some time with us to talk about it. coming up -- a deal that the governor of kentucky described this way, quote, as significant as any economic deal ever made in the history of kentucky. and it involves the russian company setting up shop there after dodging sanctions by the hair of its chiney-chin-chin and help from mitch mcconnell. the story you have to hear to believe and it's next. windshiel. with safelite, you can see exactly when we'll be there. saving you time for what you love most. >> kids: whoa! >> kids vo: ♪ safelite repair, safelite replace ♪
mitch won't even let the senate take a vote on it! that is un-american! >> wow, that was my colleague joe scarborough, branding the senate majority leader moscow mitch after his effort to block the senate from voting on election security bills last month. today there's more. mitch mcconnell underony over a brand-new story. it details how an aluminum plant in kentucky was built with the financial backing of a russian company, the same company. coincidence, maybe. the "post" spoke with critics saying it is shocking how blatantly transactional this arrangement looks. mcconnell's spokesman said mcconnell is not aware of any potential russian investor before the sanctions vote. but it's just one more example of the senate majority leader's promoscow policy inclinations. the post adding this, quote, in
2016, mcconnell privately expressed skepticism about the intelligence reports on russia's activities in the election and resisted a push by the obama administration to issue a bipartisan statement condemning the kremlin. last month he blocked consideration of election security bills that have bipartisan support. joining this conversation former assistant director for counter intelligence with the fbi, frank figliuzzi. frank figliuzzi, what say you? >> well, i'm glad you included, nicole, this issue of way back mcconnell attacking the intelligence community for simply reporting what russia was doing to the election. that is an alarm bell that someone doesn't want to hear the truth. now we fast forward to the reporting regarding the aluminum processing facility in kentucky, and there are just too many things that don't ring true about this story. so here's a few of them. first, the concept that you
would say i'm building an aluminum sheet metal processing plant, but i have no idea where i'm going to get my raw aluminum from. i had no idea that the russians might be the supply chain for that at oleg would be involved in the deal, someone that's been targeted on and on that we've heard about in the mueller report and the subject of sanctions. and then the other thing, mysteriously, here come the lifted sanctions, reduced sanctions and, boom, right after that happens right after we get approval of the aluminum factory in kentucky that reportedly will bring 600 or more jobs to kentucky. it looks a lot like mitch mcconnell will do just about anything to get re-elected, even if it's counter to national security. and i want to put this in context if i can because i'm all about the counterintelligence aspects here. there are two things happening in the world that just aren't getting enough attention. and the first is russia. the first is involving a nuclear
explosion in russia. the sides, nicole, are increasingly pointing to the theory that this was a nuclear powered missile, not a missile to deliver a nuclear weapon but rather a missile that in itself is powered by its own nuclear reactor within the missile. what's the big deal there? first of all, incredibly dangerous situation. but what you can do with that missile is power it endlessly if it has its own reactor. why are they building that? because they are not our friend. they want to get ahead of us. and then just reporting today, nicole, that reuters has out that the russians are now admitting and bragging that they parked two jets that are capable -- two bombers that are capable of carrying multiple nuclear missiles in the farthest most part of russia that is exactly opposite alaska. they are telling us we have the ability and capability to right off alaska to send and deliver
nuclear missiles. and in that context, we have mitch mcconnell, the senate majority leader, cozied up joined at the hip with russia, something is wrong and needs to be investigated. and don't surprised if the fbi counterintelligence division is looking at that aluminum factory deal in kentucky. >> let me ask you, let me dumb this down for my purposes here. if i were just the communications person working on mcconnell's staff and i got this press call, and i was presented with some of the basic facts of "the washington post" story that mcconnell didn't fight just democrats. he fought 11 republican senators on this who were for sanctions. you've also got the governor of his state talking about all the jobs. i mean, this was sort of old-fashioned pork, right, delivered to his state. you've got this record now, this legacy, everybody knows that it was mitch mcconnell who didn't want to take the obama national security team's warning about
election interference public before the elections. and you've also got in mitch mcconnell someone who is so -- working so closely with donald trump that any questions about donald trump's allegiances to russia just attach themselves to mcconnell politically. what is the possible innocent explanation for this, frank? >> well, look. we elect our representatives to do their very best for our states' economy, our districts' economy. it's a great thing if he really can bring over 600 jobs to his home state. but at what expense? and why does he treat russia like anybody else? this is not like anybody else. this is oleg darapasca, this is vladimir putin. why do you want to do this when you can get your raw aluminum from somewhere else? why would he consistently, over recent years, just not want to
hear the truth about russia? so it just begs the question is there a flow of money? is there a compromise? what's going on with it. and, again, i'm hoping it's going to get investigated. >> frank figliuzzi, thank you for spending some time with us on that story. we're going to sneak in a break. we'll be right back. we'll be ri. grab some pens.
...and it's now on sale fors and just $59.ories. it can lead you on an unexpected journey... ...to discover your heritage. get your dna kit (now) for just $59 at ancestry.com. don't you get the one of those travel sites?t they tell you that, but when you book at hilton.com, you get the price match guarantee. so if you find your room at a lower rate, hilton is like... we're gonna match that rate and give you an extra 25% off. what would travel sites do if you found a better price?
that's not my problem, it's your problem. get outta here! whoa, i really felt that performance. it's just acting, i'm really good at it. book at hilton.com and get the hilton price match guarantee. if you find a lower rate, we match it and give you 25% off that stay. you need hours, not seconds. i've only got seconds. where do we go from here? >> i don't know. i think we just need to be deliberate and pay attention. there's a wonderful quote by t.s. elliot, not to be distracted from distractions by
distractions. >> thank you for getting us through it. thank both of you. we're out of time, but thank you so much for watching today and every day that. does it for our hour. i'm nicolle wallace. "mtp daily" with my friend chuck todd starts now. ♪ if it's wednesday, where on earth is american leadership as international hot spots get hotter and pro-democracy protests get bigger? the calls for president trump to say something let alone act get louder. plus, from turmoil abroad to economic fears at home, recession fears field a stock market route today. and the president is, of course, lashing out at others to blame. plus, could this be the moment where there is movement in washington on guns? why there's reason to believe the white house and congress might actually reach some sort