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tv   MSNBC Live With Stephanie Ruhle  MSNBC  August 21, 2019 6:00am-7:00am PDT

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flint, michigan, our attention now turns to the east coast and newark, new jersey, and a growing lead contamination crisis. author harry a. washington is out with a new book called "a terrible thing to waste. environmental racism and its assault on the american mind. we're going to bring you that full, very important interview later in the week. it is definitely a story we all want to keep in mind and help address. that does it for us this morning. stephanie ruhle picks up the coverage right now. >> thanks, mirkska. hi there, i'm stephanie ruhle. hopes for new gun legislation is slipping away again. the president backing out on promises, saying he will lead the charge on background checks.
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>> we have strong background checks now, but we have missing areas and areas that don't complete the whole circle. we're looking at different things, and i have to tell you that it is a mental problem, and i've said it a hundred times, it's not the gun that pulls the trigger, it's the person that pulls the trigger. these are sick people. >> president trump did the exact same thing last year following the massacre in parkland, florida. he went on tv, called for new gun control and said the nra would just have to get on board. >> we have to keep the guns out of the hands of those that pose the threat. and this really includes background checks. i'm a big fan of the nra but i admit i had lunch with them, with wayne and chris and david on sunday, and said it's time. >> but the very next day, president trump met with nra members at the white house, and the day after that, the administration signalled the push for gun control was over.
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same thing this time. two weeks ago, president trump said there was great appetite for background checks. but after speaking to nra chief executive wayne lapierre on tuesday, the president made it very clear he's got no intention of challenging the status quo. >> a lot of the people that put me where i am are strong believers in the second amendment, and i am also. we have to be very careful about that. they call it the slippery slope. all of a sudden everything gets taken away. we're not going to let that happen. >> a lot of people who put me where i am. i have two great reporters with me, robert costa, national political reporter for the "washington post," and moderator of washington week on pbs and correspondent jeff mason. roberto, what is your take on what happened over the last two weeks? >> what happened over the last two weeks is the nra made a concerted effort to hold president trump to his pro-gun position, gun rights position. and you had wayne lapierre, despite all of the scandals at
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the nra over personnel and his personal spending having these long phone calls with president trump, underscoring that his political base in the eyes of the nra is the nra, and he better stick with them. >> all right, jeff, let's get a reality check from you. the white house is still saying meaningful background checks are on the table. is that real, or are they just trying to save face here? >> well, i mean, they are saying that, you're absolutely right, steph, and i think it depends on what the definition ends up being of meaningful. gun control advocates would consider meaningful to be a universal background check of some kind, something that is broad and that would affect a lot of people who have the ability to buy a gun. that may not be what the definition is here of meaningful. they continue to say it's something they're looking at, but the president made very clear in his comments yesterday that anything that would be typically aggressive would go against the wishes of the nra, and in his view, and no doubt the nra's view, of the voters who put him here.
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>> bob, i want to play what the president said last year about the influence the nra has. >> the reason i had lunch with the nra on sunday, i called them, i said, you got to come over. i said, fellows, we have to do something. they do have great power. they have great power over you people. they have less power over me. what do i need? some of you are petrified of the nra. you can't be petrified. they want to do what's right and they're going to do what's right. >> the last i checked, the nra has over 500 members. that's a tiny fraction of the number of people who is they want background checks. in fact, there is a lot of nra members who say i want good, safe gun culture, we should have background checks. so why does wayne lapierre keep winning these fights? >> because there is a belief inside the republican party, whether it's merited or not, that the nra is an organizing
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apparatus for republican politicians -- >> is it? >> not in an official way, but so many republicans i cover in congress, especially, stephanie, they say they can't trust the republican national committee to always get out the vote, they don't have union supporters in the same way some democratic politicians have union organizers working alongside them on the campaign trail. they need the nra as an organization to help get out the vote in some of these red states if they want to win. that's why they fear losing its support. >> but let's look at some math here. jeff, the parkland shooting took place in february of 2018. since the day after that happened, there have been 574 mass shootings, killing nearly 600 people. since that day, here's what we know changed. legislation has passed on a state level and a record number of gun safety candidates were voted into office in the 2018 midterms. those two things changed. what hasn't changed is the white house's position.
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why is that? >> well, that's a good question, and i think it's worth adding to that as well that polls show a majority of americans do support some kind of universal background check, having some sort of stricter laws on gun control. but the president is also right to say that a lot of people who support the second amendment were his backers in 2016. so to answer your question, what has changed? i think the political calculus has changed. it's interesting to watch the president's initial reaction to mass shootings. as hard as it is to watch generally, it seems like initially his heart ends up being around the issue of let's do something. but it doesn't take much, then, more than a conversation with the top officials of the nra for that to change. and we've seen that as you really well demonstrated earlier in the program, both after parkland and after this latest round of mass shootings. >> but jeff, from an appearance
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standpoint, doesn't it make it look like the president says something rational and then wayne lapierre comes in and tightens the leash? >> the president may think he was moving too far in the initial comments, and it's getting him back in line to that place they wanted to see him initially. >> the president is getting a whole lot of backlash after he attacked jewish americans who vote democratic, both for what he said and how he said it. >> where is the democratic party gone? where have they gone that they're defending these two people over the state of israel? i think any jewish people that vote for a democrat, i think it shows either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty. >> this morning the president was back at it, tweeting this. congresswoman tlaib wants to cut off aid to israel. this is the new face of the democratic party?
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read the aoc plus 3 statements on their hatred of juice and israei see d-- israel. remember, the women he is talking about have been in office for a total of seven months. jonathan greenblatt is joining our conversation, the ceo of the anti-defamation league. he said this. it's unclear who potus is claiming jews would be disloyal to, but charges of disloyalty have long been used to attack jews. as we've said before, it's possible to engage in the democratic process without these claims. it's long overdue to stop using jews as a political football. >> right off the bat, the president was surprisingly unclear. i'm not sure who he thinks we're being disloyal to.
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is it to him or the republican party or america or israel? i don't really know. i don't know exactly what he means. >> what do you think? >> i do know what the charge of due loyalty exactly is, it's anti-semitism. it's anti-semitism because there is a long history of jews being marginalized and murdered because of the idea that we're somehow not loyal. in europe, stephanie, for a thousand years in the countries where they lived because jews were perceived as not being loyal to the church or the crown, they were persecuted and murdered. in the mideast in the last 100 years because jews were perceived to be more loyal to israel, in the countries they lived, they were persecuted and murdered. we're almost a year to the murder in pittsburgh. it's almost two years to the day to the rally in charlottesville. the idea that we're talking about the president of the united states using an anti semitic trope sitting in the oval office is absolutely
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mind-boggling. >> but you said it's not the president alone. this morning he is pointing the finger back at these two congresswomen. what's your take? >> well, look, the president does want to put the focus of attention on them, and i strongly disagree with some of the things that they've said and done. just last week, you know, the idea of taking a mission to palestine organized by a group that's trafficked in the blood-liable charge against jews, right, making it a sort of non-good faith effort to understanding the region. that doesn't increase understanding on either side. but today for me the issue is really whether you're a member of congress or you're the president of the united states, jews aren't a political football. we shouldn't be used as if we were a tool in a partisan debate. we're not a monolith. and the loyalty we have as americans is no different than the loyalty of any other american. and, frankly, i'm just sick and tired of having to deal with this kind of bigotry. >> i want to share, actually, some of our exit polls. in 2016, 71% of jewish voters
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backed the democrat hillary clinton. in 2018, 79% of jewish voters backed house democratic candidates. do you believe that the president's attempts to make congresswoman omar and congresswoman tlaib the face of the democratic party are going to work? do you think it's going to impact voters? >> jews, like any other americans, they vote their conscience, they vote based on their wallet, right, they vote based on their concerns. the president isn't going to paint us as a monolith and lead us to the polls one way or the other. i think the way jews vote -- >> he's not doing it by accident. >> no, it's very intentional. it's intentional to say, i'm going to use jews as a political prop to pursue any partisan agenda. it's prejudiced and it's wrong, plain and simple. and again, whether you're the president of the united states or you're a member of congress, i don't want to be a political pinball in someone else's game. >> according to the "new york times," there are some diplomats and analysts accusing the
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president of hurting bipartisan support for israel by doing this. what do you think? >> for 70 years, israel has been a bipartisan issue. leaders on both sides of the aisle appreciate the value, the interests that are aligned between america and the jewish state. i think what's happened over the past few years, even if there are some things the president has done that the community agrees with, politicizing jews, praising anti-semitism, this feels wrong to me. >> that's not the only thing the president is talking about this morning. today his trip to denmark has officially been canceled because the prime minister is not interested in discussing the president's offer to purchase greenland. peter williams joins us at the white house. help us understand this. they thought he was possibly joking when he brought up the idea of buying greenland. please explain this.
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>> i think the danes are trying to get a better understanding of this as well. they're acting with fury this morning, effectively saying the president was undiplomatic, juvenile, insulting, pulling up of th some of their quotes. one says, please show respect. another one says, trump lives on another planet here. roll it back 12 hours to what the president tweeted last night. he said, denmark is a very special country with incredible people, but based on prime minister frederick sen's comments, that she would have no interest in discussing the purchase of greenland, i will be postponing our meeting scheduled in two weeks for another time. i thank her for that and look forward to rescheduling sometime in the future. only a couple hours earlier, she said, denmark is ready for the
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president's visit. partner, ally, friends, referring to the fact these two countries are partners. denmark served alongside the u.s. and afghanistan. more than 43 danes lost their lives during the fighting that took place there. here's what sands wrote this morning, updating her tweet in effect, saying, the president values and respects denmark and looks forward to a visit in the future to discuss many important issues in our strong bilateral relationship. allies like the u.s. and denmark should be able to discuss all issues openly and candidly. this does raise a question that remains unanswered at the moment, stephanie, which really is, what is the real reason the president would cancel his trip to denmark? he says it's about greenland, as he had said days earlier it was not on the top of the burner, just floating some other elements out there. president obama is scheduled to head to denmark later next month. >> so president obama is going
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to denmark, president trump is no longer going there. what does this indicate? >> we're trying to figure out if there is another rationale for the president cancelling. right now the danes are across political parties in denmark, very unhappy with the president's decision. even center right and conservative parties are railing against president trump saying he's an embarrassment, he's acting like a child soch. so an uproar for a country that usually doesn't have much drama. >> if you're president trump watching this program in the oval office today, does he actually care if the danes are mad at him? >> he may not care. he seems to have a flippant attitude sometimes about european relations. but if you look at europe in general, he is trying to cut trade deals across the board, not just try to be part of these multilateral deals.
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he tries to have bilateral relations with so many nations, and to cause problems with denmark, unless we figure out another reason, it's hard to see the rationale for why he did this. >> peter alexander, robert costa and jeff mason, we're going to leave it there. the head of the farmers union joins me with how trump's policies are hurting some of the very voters who helped him get elected. elected. worry free. boom! ha.ha. boom! now save $249 on this lenovo ideapad, plus total tech solution at office depot officemax or officedepot.com. when i needed to create a better visitor experience. improve our workflow. attract new customers. that's when fastsigns recommended fleet graphics. yeah, and now business is rolling in. get started at fastsigns.com.
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it appears the president may be more worried about the economy than he's letting on, and the mixed messages the administration is sending could actually make things worse. yesterday in the same breath that he told reporters in the oval office that the united states is far from a recession, he also said he is considering a payroll tax cut. >> payroll tax is something we think about and a lot of people would like to see that. that very much affects the workers of our country. >> but earlier in the day, we heard something very different from the president's own deputy press secretary. >> is a payroll tax cut being considered? >> it's not being considered at this time. >> and this morning the president still seems to have the economy on his mind, taking to twitter to blame the media for, quote, creating a recession, and again blasting his own federal reserve chair for stifling growth. also this morning, politico
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reporting that earlier this week chief of staff mick mulvaney told gop donors that if there was a recession, it would be moderate and short. all of this as the white house faces mounting pressure to reach a deal with china, many pointing to the trade war and uncertainty of potential tariffs as the biggest weights dragging on the u.s. economy. joining me now to weigh in, someone on the front lines of this trade war, gary wordish, president of the farmers union. and chris lu, former labor secretary under president obama. chris, the president said a payroll tax cut would have nothing to do with the tlehreatf a recession. do you buy that? >> no, i don't. he's telling everyone this is the best economy ever. his chief of staff is telling people there might be a moderate risk, a moderate recession. so some get one message, the american people get another. a look at this tax cut is also
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an implicit recognition that the trillion dollars they gave to corporations and executives didn't create the kind of economic growth they were expecting, didn't raise wages, didn't lead to business investments. so they're searching around for anything right now. the problem is they've essentially did you go a $1 trillion whole in the federal deficit, so the amount of leverage they have at their disposal is fairly small and weak at this point. you have the president now just railing on his fed chair trying to search for some economic solution. >> gary, the president said he had no choice but to take on china. let's watch. >> whether it's good for our country or bad for our country short term, long term it's imperative that somebody does this. the fact is somebody had to take china on. my life would be a lot easier if i didn't take china on, but i like doing it because i have to do it, and we're getting great results. >> are we getting great results, gary? the president has received bipartisan support as far as the spirit of aggressively taking on china. but take me to the farming community.
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when they look at where we are and the tactics the president has used, a tariff war, are farmers pleased with what the president is doing? >> well, stephanie, earlier you were talking about the recession. i can tell you this, the farmers are facing a depression basically due to the president's policies and how he's trying to take on china. you know, at the farmers union, we agree we have to look at china and try to get some reforms if at all possible, and most of that is set through the intellectual property rights. but taking china on by ourselves, that was a huge mistake. if we're going to do this, we have to have a coalition of countries around the world working on it. the president feels like he's got this big bully pulpit, but china's pulpit is a lot bigger and they've been in power for a long time. the united states, our policies every few years change direction or elections change our
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policies. it's really common. the effect on the farmers in the beginning he said trade wars are easy to win, and we keep hearing farmers are winning all the time. i know a lot of farmers who are losing their farms and a lot of them are getting out of farming. this comes from somebody who does a lot of stuff on tweets, but it's coming from somebody who has never had soil under his fingernails, grease on his hands, and he's never struggled with weather or trying to raise a crop. it's somebody that's really disconnected from the farm and really has no ideas the struggles that the farmers are going through. >> did the farmers union, farming community, support the trans-pacific partnership which president obama put forth working with many of our other allies to try to put pressure on china? because that's what the president tore up. >> yeah, we've always had some concerns of trade agreements,
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and a lot of it goes back to the environme environments in currency manipulation, but at the same time we would have been a whole lot better in that than we are right now. that would have been a lot better than trying to do china by ourselves. the president wants to do all these bilateral agreements in countries all around the world, but our reputation has been destroyed as a reliable trading partner. we need our reputation to be restored. as you're putting negotiators in tough positions, they're trying knotting deals and all of a sudden the whole thing gets blown up by a tweet early in the morning. we need to put that stuff aside and really work together as coalitions and try to work through these issues. it's just devastating the price to the farmer, what the farmer is getting -- take soybeans, for example. right now, and corn, you're raising them for -- the farmers'
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cost of production is a lot higher than the marketplace. you can't survive that way, and it's causing devastating effects to the farmer in rural communities. this all falls back to rural communities, too. >> chris, how damaging is the mixed messaging coming from this administration when it comes to the economy? i spoke to a former aide to the president who said the economy is quite strong. the bigger issue is how the president is articulating the woes or the trade issues. it makes the business community wonder, does he even understand how trade works? >> whether you're talking about farmers, you're talking about businesses, they need certainty. farmers need certainty in terms of what they're planting or who they're going to sell their crops to. businesses need to understand where their supply chains are stable, what markets they're selling to. in this era of uncertainty where one tweet can up people's expectations, it's no way to do business. it's what you start to see right now happening in the economy. it's important to understand, unemployment is still low, but
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there are some serious warning signals on the horizon. you've got job growth slowing, you've got job openings by employers dropping, and what we've seen right now is there are far too many people who are in a pretty precarious financial situation. when you have 45 million americans who can't come up with $45 in an emergency, it doesn't take too much of an uptick in the unemployment rate to create a lot of heartache for millions of americans. >> gary, before we go, there is a big farm aid package out there almost up to $18 billion. what is that doing to minnesota farmers? >> well, it definitely helps, and we're appreciative of it, but it nowhere near comes to the amount weav've lost due to the tariff war. it doesn't nearly cover the farmers' loss of income. politically it's very damaging. there are other segments of the economy, there are other people, other jobs, other industries that are suffering due to the cost of tariffs.
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politically it's not very smart, and the farmers, we just want our markets back. we spent millions of our own dollars developing these relationships with other countries and building those markets up. we just want our markets back, and the uncertainty is that all of that, that's a huge problem. farmers are very stoic people. we don't want handouts. we want the price from the marketplace, and that's very unfortunate. we appreciate it in the short term, but it's not a very thought-out policy. >> thank you both so much, gary wertish and chris lu. a crucial voting block for president trump. candidates who are working very hard to find out that doesn't happen again in 2020. are they making an impact? g an ? only pay for what you need. ♪ liberty. liberty. liberty. liberty. ♪
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one voting block crucial to president trump's win in 2016 was union members. the president doing better with these voters than any republican since ronald reagan. well today nearly all the 2020 democratic contenders are in the state of iowa trying to win back some of those votes. 16 candidates will be at the state's annual federation of
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labor convention which represents nearly 100,000 iowa union members. nbc's garrett haake is in iowa at the convention. garrett, what do you ever yohav eyes on today? >> reporter: hi, steph. you argue that the union members are important in the primary. but they bring their friends and family to the polls, both in places like iowa where you have 100,000 voters, and to other states where you have probably 100 million voters. i'm here with joe biden who connects with union members both socially and culturally. elizabeth warren gets coverage with some of them because she's been part of the union for so
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long. bernie sanders connects with voters. i'm curious to see how beto o'rourke, who says he plans to spend less time in iowa and more time in the cattle country, how he spends his time to deemphasize voters like this. >> give us bernie's plan. >> bernie wants to double the amount of union workers in this country in his first four years. there's a lot of interesting things in this plan. he wants to roll back certain right to work laws that have been rolled back, limiting union power. particularly here in iowa where collective bargaining rights have been rolled way back. he wants to negotiate for union workers' money here. he wants to make sure striking
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workers can't be replaced. a lot of these unions have their own health care plans. sanders said he would require renegotiation of some of these union contracts to take out some of those health care plans and go medicare for all. i'm curious if he carries out that plan today. >> joining us now, victoria defrancesco, professor at university of texas and msnbc contributor, susan dell percent -- del percio, msnbc analyst. many and chris lu is back. do democrats actually have a chance to bring them back? >> oh, i think so. in the past two and a half years, this president has shown the most anti-worker agenda than any president in 80 years, and i think these union members will want to hear three things from the candidates, one, about how
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you're going to help union workers, whether that's increasing minimum wage, pushing for paid leave. they're also going to want to hear how a president is going to make it easier for unions to organize and bargain over a variety of issues. but as importantly, we need to have a discussion in this country about how work is being transformed in the 20th century by automation and globalization and what role unions play in that. that's an obvious conversation i think democrats need to have with these union members. >> susan, in your mind, which candidate is up to the task? >> joe biden at this point. joe biden not only connects with them on the issues and his background, but it's also that cultural issue that garrett brought up. they can relate to him, again, like you said, a lot of union members went with president trump even though the union went with hillary clinton. in order to get those back, there needs to be some kind of authenticity connection, if you will. the other candidates to watch,
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though, are elizabeth warren. her narrative over time has gotten stronger and stronger, and she's very comfortable going out and speaking with people and telling them, yeah, i have a plan for that and this is bha i -- what i'm going to do. >> but didn't a lot of those voters go for president trump because they said the system isn't working for them and they're sick of it. if the system wasn't working for them, wasn't that the system when joe biden was vice president? >> it was, but at the same time i think joe biden is someone they can relate to. i think most of what you saw with union workers in 2016 was more of the cultural phenomenon than anything else with them going with donald trump versus hillary clinton. >> victoria, we heard garrett mention that -- he was talking about electability and someone who could connect with those union members, and i want to share for a moment thoughts on why he believes he's the most qualified for the job. >> there are a lot of really good people, qualified people. but the things -- i don't know anybody who knows -- and almost
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every other world leader -- i don't know people who have negotiated like i have. there may be and they may rise to the occasion. i'm not suggesting they're not. they're really good people. but i think at this moment in time, i'm the most qualified person to do it. could i die happily not having heard "hail to the chief" played for me? yeah, i could. that's not why i'm running. >> this comes a day after his wife, dr. jill biden, basically said there may be some new and improved candidates, but if it's all about beating trump, my husband is the guy who can do it. what do you make of this argument? >> she just put it out there, stephanie, and this comes on the heels of the ad that joe biden put out. it's a great ad, because really, what i came away from that ad was, after a minute, was make america boring again, but in a good way. we want stability, we want continuity, we want to go back to normalcy. so you have the joe biden ad kind of queueing those sentiments in the ad in terms of
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let's put down the racial discord, let's extend obamacare, let's have an adult in the white house, and then jill biden just comes out and says it. she says, elect my husband even though you don't love him. he's the one that will get the job done. in terms of union membership, i think he's the guy. echoing susan's sentiment about the community. where bernie sanders can appeal to a whole lot of people on the medicare for all, union members really like their health care, and they fought for it for a very long time. so when joe biden says you can keep your health care, we'll extend it as opposed to bernie sanders who says, we're going to scrap the health care you like and you're going to be stuck with this. that, i think, will be a really interesting point with the union members this afternoon. >> susan, you're nodding your head. we actually heard john delaney say the same thing. his father was a union member, and he may not have loved his health care, but if you said
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we're going to tear it up and give you something new, he would have said no way, jose. >> don't forget, as part o union members gave up salary for their issue. so i think that's an excellent point that victoria brought up. >> let's talk guns for a moment. joe biden is out with a new ad today taking direct aim at the president backing off on gun safety. let's take a look. >> we have to keep the guns out of the hands of those that pose the threat. and this really includes background checks. >> so after saying we need strong background checks, the president says we already have them. remember, after the slaughter of innocent children in parkland, florida, it was call for change, the president says we need change, phone call from the nra, then nothing happened. >> using the president's own words against him, chris,
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president trump making the argument, it's not the gun, it's the person firing it. could joe biden not turn this on the president and say, well, then why are you doing so much and giving so much money to the opioid crisis? it's the people taking the drugs. >> you know, what's fascinating here is you have 90% of americans that supported background checks according to the fox news poll, that's 90% including republicans and gun owners. it's hard to think of a legislative proposal that has not been implemented that's more popular than those, 90%. on this issue it's a very stark contrast between democrats and trump and his allies in congress right now. joe biden has struggled to defend a lot of parts of his legislative record, but he can proudly take credit for helping to get the assault weapon ban for congress in 1994. so as trump continues to back away from this yet again, this becomes a political problem not only for him but for his allies in congress. you're going to see this play out even more dramatically this
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fall, because we have legislative elections in the state of virginia. the state of virginia has had its share of mass shootings as well, and the republican-held legislature has effectively shut down any efforts to deal with this issue also. >> there's more and more americans voting for more safety. victoria, susan, chris, thank you, all. when we come back, the trump administration just announced another major change to immigration policy. we'll show that on the other side. or any of the other hundreds of john smiths that are humana medicare advantage members. no, it's this john smith, who met with humana to create a personalized care plan. at humana, we have more ways to care for your health, and we find one that works just for you. no matter what your name is. it opened up so dnmany doors. it's a lifelong adventure finding all
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right now, acting homeland security secretary kevin mcaleenan is announcing a new policy. this policy will overrule what is known as the flores settlement agreement. the new policy would allow for longer detention of migrant families at the southern border. joining me now, julia ainsley. what's going on? >> we evhave the settlement agreement, and that is the court ruling telling the administration they cannot hold children longer than 20 days. and that is with their parents. they said, we can hold the parents longer and separate the children out. now they're saying this is their way of keeping families together, but really what it is, it's their strongest deterrent to cry to keep families -- there have been over 475,000 families
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whovr cross who have crossed the border this year, and they say there is a drawback to them being released. so what they want to do is hold these families until their court dates, until it's decided by a judge that they have asylum and a right to be in the united states or they have to be deported. i pressed officials on this, stephanie, and i said, what is the timeline? if not 20 days, how long can you hold them? and they said there is no cutoff. so in other words, they can hold families here indefinitely. >> got it. julia ainsley, thank you so much. when we come back, you thought the jeffrey epstein story was over? think again. new lawsuits filed yesterday tell us even more about his associates and how far they went to help epstein abuse his victims, even when he was in jail. don't go anywhere. t go anywhere, expert tech advice and one-on-one partnership. call an advisor today at 877-buy-dell. ♪
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modernized comfort inns and suites have been refreshed because when your business keeps going, our business is you. get the lowest price guaranteed on all choice hotels when you book direct at choicehotels.com. and it only gets more twisted. through a complex network of associates, jeffrey epstein abused girls and young women for years. but here's the thing. some of them were being abused while he was in jail. that is according to lawsuits filed on tuesday by three women against the epstein estate and entities suspected of helping him. one of the alleged victims claims epstein abused her at his
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foundation where he was allowed to work six days a week while he was serving time in prison. epstein's 13-month sentence was part of a nonprosecution agreement. joining me now tom winter, nbc news investigative correspondent. what in the world is going on here? >> well, what you are seeing here is three lawsuits filed in federal court here in new york. it ranges -- there are three women that have filed them. they are under pseudonyms. the alleged sexual activity occurred when they were 17 years old in new york, which is of the time of age of consent. so it is not underage. but in all of those instances the victims allege -- the other 20 years old -- that they were being paid to perform the sexual acts, forced to perform them because he dangled gifts in front of them or manipulated them or put pressure on them in numerous entrances.
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what i think is most interesting about these three particular cases is that the activity that's alleged either occurs while there is now a federal criminal investigation into "the conspirator"s in new york. so pack in the early 2000s. or it occurs in 2006 to 2012, another it occurs around 2007. when is that and why is that so important? that's the time period he is under investigation in florida. that's the time period that that nonprosecution agreement that you referenced involving the former secretary of labor alex acosta, then u.s. attorney, that was the time period he was looking into it. so if he is violating the law, whether underage or not, he is paying for them sex, he is sraoeuplting the l violating the law, violating his npa. >> but he's dead now. what is the outcome? >> well, the outcome here is two-fold. one, it is possible that they could get money from jeffrey epstein's estate.
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>> but why would they get money from his estate if they were of age and receiving money from him or gifts from him? how do they claim they should get something. i get why the state is mad. >> really great question. there are times, and this goes to the sex trafficking component of the case. there were times when you could say, look, i was coerced, forced. even though they received money for the alleged acts that occurred here, even though they were had he of age, you can still be forced into it. it is sex trafficking at that point. that is the heart of the cases. i think, you know, from a legal perspective on the criminal side, to the extent they know about other individuals and ga lane maxwell with was referenced. to the extent they know of other individuals or other individuals took part to ferry them back to new york and florida and other places, to the extent that that occurs, the allegations they have and having them come forward, we don't know who the
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individuals are yet. we don't know whether or not they have gone to the fbior u.s. attorneys office here in new york. but to the extent they have that, that may be helpful. would it have been helpful them? >> but they are civil, not criminal. >> that's right. >> we have heard maxwell say i was just organizing for the friends to come visit him. the criminality, wouldn't that be the issue? >> it has to be the issue. so basically we need more detail. the fact that the suits are filed is news worthy. the fact that the allegations contained within the lawsuit is interesting. it solidifies some of the things other victims brought. we need the nexus of a federal crime to impact the federal investigation. . >> this story not going away. >> no. >> tom winter, thank you so much. >> next, much more reaction to president trump's comments saying american jewish voters supporting democrats are being disloyal. one of the 32 jewish democratic
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that wraps up this hour. i'm stephanie ruhle. i will see you at 1:00 p.m. with my partner ali velshi. you can find us on twitter and instagram. coming up, more news with hallie jackson in washington, d.c. >> stephanie, thank you much, my friend. if your neck is feeling a little sore, it might have something to do with all the whiplash from the west wing. that is where we start today. with the backtracks and backlash
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over the president's shifts on guns, on taxes, and the latest on a trip to denmark after talking of buying greenland. >> essentially it's a large real estate deal. >> this morning president trump is putting the trip to denmark on ice after the prime minister brushed off his desire to buy greenland. >> is a payroll cut being considered? >> it is not being considered at this time. >> payroll taxes. i have been thinking about payroll taxes for a long time. . >> we can bring up background checks like we have never had before. >> we have very strong background checks right now. >> our team covering the developments and the rest of the day's stories at this hour in what is turning out to be a busy morning. peter alexander at the white house. we have heard from the danish prime minister. she is responding to this back and forth from president trump. i want to play a little bit of that. >> it is with regret and

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