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tv   MSNBC Live With Craig Melvin  MSNBC  August 28, 2019 8:00am-9:00am PDT

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>> i'm good. i saw your took your kids first day of school. >> yes. >> fall is here. >> he did well. his mom and dad not so much. thank you, we'll see you tomorrow morning, radford. craig melvin here. msnbc news headquarters in new york city on this busy news wednesday. we just heard the latest forecast from the national hurricane center as puerto rico starts to feel the effects of tropical storm dorian. we will take you live to that still recovering u.s. territory will tens of thousands are still living with tarps as roofs. also, president trump reportedly promised to pardon aides to who break the law in order to fast track his border wall and he wants it done by election day. length that he's going to to deliver on that signature campaign promise to build that wall. we'll dig into that in a moment. but we start with the big news in the democratic primary and the contender era's race for
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president. there is some tough candidates. the results of two new polls out today mean that ten democrats made the cut, no more two-night debates. those still standing, right there on your screen. joe biden, cory booker, pete buttigieg, kamala harris, bernie sanders, elizabeth warren, amy klobuchar, and andrew yang. today's new polls show that joe biden is maintaining that commanding lead, both of the polls show elizabeth warren in second place. for many americans, according to usa today, this election is shaping up as the most important of their lifetimes. we break it all down with nbc news national political correspondent steve kornacki, former deputy assistant secretary of state for hillary clinton, and former director of communications for the hillary clinton campaign and also an msnbc contributor, and
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"washington post" opinion writer also an msnbc contributor. mr. kornacki, let's start with you. run us through the numbers. give it to us on your big board. how do the candidates stand? >> a very suspenseful morning. here's the bottom line. these ten candidates who are highlighted here amidst this field of more than 20 democratic candidates, these ten candidates qualified for the debate in september. what does that mean? you had to hit a donor threshold, 130,000 or more dough nations. plus 2% in at least four polls. these candidates did it. the success spespense this morne were two candidates on the bubble, tulsi gabbard, tom steyer. both of them had reached that donor threshold but steyer, you see he had three polls where he was at 2%, he needed one more. tulsi gabbard, she hit the number in two, she needed two more. guess what, last night we found out there were going to be two
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new polls aannoyanced thnnounce morning. the first poll came out today, usa today suffolk, no. this is everybody 2% and above. you don't see steyer's name and gabbard's name. when this poll came out we knew tulsi gabbard would not make the debate stage in september. this one effectively eliminated her. and then the second pole came out, all of the candidates 2% and above, you don't see gabbard and steyer. steyer had two shots here. he spent $12 million since getting in this race. he had two shots this morning to get 2%. if he had done it in just one of them, not only would he be in that september debate, but, that would mean 11 candidates, that would mean two nights, to stages, two groups of candidates. but steyer did not reach the number, therefore unless there is some surprise mystery, unannounced poll that randomly comes out before midnight tonight, this will be it. it will be those ten candidates, one night of debating.
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everyone on the same stage, no more of this two groups. it will be an interesting thing to look for in september. >> what's the biggest surprise to you, steve, when you look at the polls and who is in and out? >> i think that steyer in terms of the money that he put into this to get in here. >> tried to move the money with that money. >> the interesting thing with this with steyer, that 12 million he spent it in the early states. he hasn't spent it nationally. these were national polls. if this had been a new hampshire poll, he might have hit that poll, they could beat him in head to head matchups. according to the polling, analyst mary snow here, quote, in hypothetical matchups between president trump and the top five democratic presidential candidates, one key number is 40. it's the sealing of support for trump no matter the candidate. it hovers close to his job
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approval rating which has stayed in a tight range since being elected. that number, felipe, seems to have been the ceiling for some time now. how would democrats best take advantage of that? are they better off going after the president or are they better going after the rivals for the nomination? >> well, it's first things first. i think the quinthey had polled people instead of five, i imagine they all would be trump. it just basically means everyone's getting sick and tired of him, especially when you look deeper in the poll on how people are feeling about the economy, how people are feeling about trump himself. so these numbers are pretty bad. luckily for him, the election is not tomorrow, it's over a year away. on the flip side, you have polls pretty much consistent with the usa today poll in particular which is a much larger poll than others that have been done with
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5,000 respondents. that's basically confirming yet again that joe biden has a solid lead and that elizabeth warren continues to grow and that bernie sanders is right there in the mix. now, if the election were tomorrow, joe biden would be happiest about that. but unfortunately for him, it's not until january. so there's plenty of time for this to continue to change, although, you know, these lesser candidates, they're just not going to make it. so you really have to start asking, it's not just bullock and steyer. to be honest, steyer and bullock started late and that might have something to do with it and they might make the october debates because the dnc made the criteria the same. but you have a whole series of people, less than 2%, you have to ask what they're doing. >> well, i mean, does there come a point, felipe, where just sticking around in the race hurts the party? >> no, it doesn't hurt the party, except it's just kind of pointless. i mean, look, i think people should do what they want. and in a weird way i wish one more person had qualified for
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the debate because then we would have had six and five. these ten-person debates really are not serving anyone. now the real problem with the way the debates have happened so far is that by luck of the draw elizabeth warren has yet to be on stage with joe biden or kamala harris. and that's just appalling. so thankfully if we stick with ten that won't happen. but you have some candidates, look, if mirrium williamson wants to stay, i don't see a problem with that. gillibrand is spending money on ads trying to get her into a debate that she didn't get into. now she could pull out and give that money to the dnc or the senate arm. so what everyone is telling people you should drop out and steve bullock was just asked on your air whether or not he would drop out and run for senate. there are many ways to help the party, including giving all your cash. and i think that's something senator gillibrand should think about. >> adrian, usa today poll not
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one person literally, not a single person polled said that they were supporting steve bullock, bill de blasio, john delaney, gillibrand or amy klobuchar. klobuchar's already made the next debate stage of course. but this idea that felipe is floating that at many point you are hurting -- the argument could be made you're hurting the party because that's money and resources that could be diverted. what do you make of that? >> i think felipe is exactly right. at a certain point you have to take a long hard look at your campaign and say is it worth to for me to stay in this race? there's been criticism of the candidates running of the dnc for whittling the field and creating thresholds that are to unattainable. the field is starting to whittle itself. people are not supporting people who are polling, i mean, i guess if you're polling at 1% there's one out of one hundred people supporting you. but that's not going to get you
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elected and make you the nominee. at a certain point your money's going to start drying up, your burn rate is going to be out the roof. somebody like senator gillibrand has taken a lot of money from her senate account, transferred that to her presidential account and that's one of the reasons why she's able to stay afloat. but at a certain point i think you have to take a long hard look at your candidacy and decide is it worth it for me reputationwise? is it worth it from the standpoint of being a team player with the democratic party? is it worth it for me to stay? ? a and what you're seeing from these polls is the field is starting to gel. that, you know, there was four to five people who are going to be vying for the nomination. we're starting to see that field be set. sure, there may be somebody that's polling around 4% or 5% who may jump into the top two or three. but it's starting to look highly unlikely. that's why i think it's great to see owl ten candidates on the debate stage.
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this is where i'm going to disagree with my friend felipe because i think it's important that we see the front runners altogether having a real conversation. and so we will see that in september and it's going to be pretty interesting. >> jonathan, in a recent column that you wrote you cite your colleague jennifer rueben who wrote stop the craziness. does the party need some sort of rallying cry? some sort of catchphrase to motivate its members for this election? >> craig, we all know in talking about it since president trump was elected, the democratic party is energized. it's activated. it's angry and it's been showing up at the polls and special elections since trump was inaugurated. it was almost at presidential year levels. so the party doesn't need activation. but, it does though crystallize
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why president trump needs to be made a one-term president into three words or into a catchy phrase. and so jennifer rueben proposed stop the craziness. and i propose latch on to senator harris's impromptu late night las vegas utterance of dude gotta go. and it crystallizes everything. just judging from my twitter feed, folks not only love it, but they want the t-shirt, as do i in medium in black. >> it needs a -- you can't just do ddg. you need an "o" for dog. >> oh. >> senator, you covered it from the beginning. according to this poll she's at 7%. she hasn't moved a great deal according to most of the major polls over the last month or so. do you think that her moment has passed? >> oh, no, not at all. remember, now former president
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barack obama was senator obama from illinois around this time in 2007 and no one gave him a chance. people thought he was interesting and intelligent and all of that and, hey, let's see what he can do. but no one thought that he was going to win the nomination because hillary clinton was in the race. and we all know how that turned out. and so to adrian's point, i also think it's great that we're going to have all ten on tag, because it takes me back, speaking of the 2008 presidential election, it takes me back to all the debates that happened in 2007 and 2008 when you had at that time ten candidates on the stage. and out of those giant debates, as we thought of them then, came a seasoned candidate in barack obama who went on to win two terms as president of the united states. >> adrienne, the president of course, president trump's been touting the nation's economy. this is what i would contend is probably the most interesting nugget from this poll.
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quote, for the first time since president trump was elected, more voters say that the national economy is getting worse than getting better. 37% say it's getting worse, 31% say it's getting better, 31% say it's staying the same. how do democrats capitalize on that kind of information? >> well, craig, this is a very damaging statistic for president trump because he's been riding high on the economy and saying this is what's going to get me elected, the good economy, and we're already starting to see signs of a recession and people are starting to feel that. what i think, craig, that what matters -- what i'm going to be looking for, rather, is how do democratic party voters respond to this? do they take more of a risk as the economy continues to downturn? do they take more of a risk and support candidates like elizabeth warren and bernie sanders as opposed to joe biden? because that's typically what happens. when the economy's going down when they think the incumbent president, in this case president trump, is not going to
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get re-elected because of the economy on top of everything else, i'm will to take more are of a risk as a voter in terms of who i'm supporting. i think that's going to be the real interesting thing to look at. if you're a candidate running on the democratic side, you make the economic downturn one of your platform issues. you talk about his failed tax cut plan. all the promises he made in 2016 to working-class voters in manufacturing swing states saying i'm going to improve your lives. i'm going to make the economy so much better for you. well it hasn't happened and now they're starting to feel it in their pocketbooks. this is a real opening for democrats, but it's also going to be interesting to see how this particular statistic plays out in a democratic primary. >> felipe, always good to have you. >> jonathan, you could do dugg, dude gotta go. i know he was deflated when i said it didn't work. >> it still works whether an acronym or full out. >> thank you. all of these great political minds, so many in one place.
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president trump so eager to complete his border wall he's reportedly directing aides to take private land to get it done. details on how far he's willing to go to deliver on one of the cornerstones of his campaign. and marianna is live in puerto rico as that island braces for tropical storm dorian's impact. marianna. >> reporter: craig, puerto rico preparing for impact as the tropical storm is expected to make landfall later today. a lot of people in the eastern part of the island caught off guard as the storm shifted track overnight. we'll be talking to a concerned couple seven months pregnant when we come back. concerned couple seven months pregnant when we come back. disease is out there. and the alzheimer's association is going to make it happen. but we won't get there without you. join the fight with the alzheimer's association.
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we continue to follow this breaking news right now, puerto rico bracing for tropical storm dorian as it churns southeast of the coast there. it's expected to make landfall today. could become a hurricane by this weekend and it's bringing with it some dangerous rain, strong winds to an area that is very much still in recovery. nbc meteorologist michelle grossman is with me now. she has an update that we just received from the national hurricane center a few minutes ago. and marianna is live in puerto rico with people are being told to get shelter. michelle, let me start with you. what did we learn in that new update from the national hurricane center? >> pretty big updates. this has been a storm that's been very unpredict able and it
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will continue to be unpredictable over the next couple days. we're expecting a category three storm over the next couple days. this is the enhanced satellite. we're impacting the virgin islands, the eastern part of puerto rico. this is the key. when it passes over this land is it going to kind of decrease it a bit or is it going to maintain its strength in that's what we'll watch over the next several days. and they're another big, big update as of the 11:00 advisory, 70-mile-per-hour winds, it jumped up 10 miles per hour. that's very, very close to a category one hurricane storm. we're going to see this increase over the next several days. so we could see hurricane storm force winds as we approach puerto rico. right now the location is 25 miles south of the saint croix. we're moving pretty quickly, that's the good news. we'll go over puerto rico pretty quickly. i anticipate the strength or at least the speed to maintain itself over the next several days and then it may stall as it gets closer to the u.s. coast. here fortunate watches and
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warnings. we have a hurricane watch in puerto rico. we're anticipating it to pass over as a tropical storm, but we could see gusts higher than 74 miles per hour, so we could see those conditions really picking up. then as it passes north of the dominican republic, we do have a tropical storm watch. this is the big key, and this is the big change as of the 11:00 advisory. we're going to watch this all day long because we'll see this jog back and forth. the biggest difference is we're seeing a northern path. and that only allows it to strengthen. it's going to take all that fuel and hot air from the caribbean and it's going to give it the umpff that it needs. as it goes over puerto rico, this is the key. category one storm as early as tomorrow. we'll see that strengthening happening over the next 24 hours. category 2 tax reform. that's a big difference too by saturday. 105 miles per hour winds. and then this is what we do not like to see, especially on a holiday weekend besides the weather we're talking businesses, vacations being impacted by monday, sunday/monday labor day weekend.
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category three storm at 115 miles per hour winds. those are sustained winds. we're going to see gusts higher than that. we'll see live-threatening flash flooding especially in puerto rico. we have a drought situation in a lot of puerto rico, but we also have some land that doesn't have a lot of vegetation so we could see mudslides as well. as this approaches the eastern coast of florida, we are anticipating category 3. anywhere from central to northern florida. but i wouldn't be surprised if we even see this jog up a little bit further to the north. so, again, we're going to watch this very, very closely over the next 24 hours. and this could change. we're going to see the next advisory at 2:00 so we'll keep you posted. >> all right. michelle grossman there, we will check in with you very shortly. marianna, let me turn to you for a moment on the ground in puerto rico. what are you seeing? what are people telling you? >> reporter: we heard it from initial, craig, this is a very unpredictable storm and that has people here on edge. cities like uma in the eastern
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part of the island, you can see it's being boarded up. locals making quick preparations this morning as the storm's track shifted overnight. those who can are heading out and those who are staying making preparations. that's the case of this couple here. how are you preparing? >> well, we learned our lessons pretty well from hurricane maria. we have say generator, we talked up on gas in the weekend when we first noticed the storm in the general vicinity. and we were expecting to go further west, but we're prepared. we stocked up on water and hopefully i think most people have been taught a hard lesson, but one we needed. >> and you're seven months pregnant. >> i am. >> i know that. so i'm happy that you're prepared well, both of you. how ironic is it, craig, this is exactly where hurricane maria came through in 2017. >> it's -- it's almost like we have a magnet. it's very stressful and especially considering the fact that our insurance companies haven't paid out money, our
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houses haven't been fixed in two years. many people have tarps and it's not just us, plenty of people on the island are struggling with the same problems of, you know, not knowing where the storm is going and then now it's coming here and just -- you're just trying to be as prepared as possible but with whatever resources you have, i guess, at this point. >> reporter: thank you both for taking the time to speak with us this morning. and, craig, we heard it from victoria are, there are an estimated 30,000 people still living in houses with tarps here in puerto rico. the mayor here telling me today that the power grid isn't as strong as he would like. and you heard it from those folks, they're just basically bracing for the worst as the storm very unpredictable keeps changing track and is expected to make landfall later on today in the eastern part of the island exactly the same path as hurricane maria took in 2017. craig. >> marianna, thank you.
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keep us posted. we'll be checking with you a lot over the next few days. as dorian continues to barrel toward puerto rico, nbc news has learned president trump is pulling millions of dollars in fema disaster funding to send to the southern border. how the white house is justifying the move. w the whites justifying t mheove. chair is just a chair. that a handle is just a handle. or... that you can't be both inside and outside. most people haven't driven a lincoln. it's the final days of the lincoln summer invitation event. right now get 0% apr on all lincoln vehicles plus no payments for up to 90 days. only at your lincoln dealer.
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two big headlines indicating president trump is prioritizing the border ahead of 2020 at all costs. as a new storm barrels toward puerto rico, nbc news has learned that the trump administration is immediately redirecting millions of dollars from fema's disaster relief fund to send to the border. and when it comes to a signature promise of a border wall, "the washington post" reports the president is so eager to complete it he has, quote, direct directed aides to fast track construction contracts aggressively seize private land and disregard environmental
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rules. he also has told worried subordinates that he will pardon them of any potential wrongdoing should they have to break laws to get the barriers built quickly. nbc news correspondent julia ainslie is with me, philip rucker also with me, former foreign disaster assistance chief under president obama, and reason magazine editor at large also with me. phil, the post reporting strong words here, president trump suggesting aides ignore the law. what more can you tell us about what the president's telling his aides and how the white house is responding to all of this? >> well, craig, it's a pretty extraordinary example of how obsessed, really, the president is with getting this border wall built if the was, as you noted, his signature campaign promise in 2016 and is he frankly afraid to go into the 2020 re-election
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campaign season without having demonstrable progress on building that wall. he has wanted to get 500 miles or so new wall built, they've only built about 60 miles of new wall. and that's not new border, that's replacing sort of existing border structures that were there. this is a very complicated process, as everybody well knows. there are environmental rules, they have to take land in some cases. and the law is protective of a lot of those steps. and so trump is telling his administration officials go ahead, break the law, do whatever you have to do to get this wall built fast and i will even pardon you if it comes to that. >> julia, we're talking about a lot of money here in your reporting. what more can you tell us about how that large sum of money's going to be used? >> so it's going to be used in two ways, craig. first of all, there's 116 million that's coming from across dhs they're pulling from fema, tsa, cybersecurity, basically everywhere except the secret service to go down and
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expand detention space at the southern border that i.c.e. wants. they want to be able to expand it beyond what congress gave them funding to do. and then there's 155 million specifically just from the fema disaster fund that is going to -- disaster relief fund that would go toward temporary hearing locations on the border for asylum seekers. the reason these asylum seekers need these locations is because of a trump administration policy where they send asylum seekers back into mexico to wait for their hearings. and so rather than bringing those people all the way in to someplace like denver or arlington, virginia every time they need a hearing, they want to set these up so they don't have to escort them across the border to wait for that decision. but that's 155 million in the justification for this because they had to tell congress they're doing it. they don't need congress to sign off. they said absent new catastrophic events, they foresee that the fema disaster
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relief fund will be okay. but it's hard to use those words absent new catastrophic events when you see what's happening with tropical storm dorian and as we head into hurricane season overall. >> it really is a head scratcher on so many levels, matt welch. but for me, i've said this from the beginning i've contended that one of the biggest problems of the administration was going to have with constructing with wall, eminent domain. the fact that the administration is now openly advocating snatching private land. >> yeah. take the land isn't a word you want to see in a headline about a president saying anything. the thing is we knew this about donald trump. republicans specifically knew this about donald trump in 2015. not only was he going to build the wall, but he was incredibly flippant about and in favor of the use of eminent domain. conservatives are supposed to be about protecting private property and property rights. that's a big element of a lot of conservative thought. he went out there and said, no, kilo versus the city of new london was rightly decided. we should be able to use eminent
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domain for these things. and we have will herd, congressman who has a biggest share of land on the border fighting for this. but congress doesn't do anything. justin amash introduced a bill to stop the president from using eminent domain to seize private property on the border. is that bill going to get introduced on the floor? no, it's not because the legislative branch doesn't thwart the president at any step, at any step at all, it's terrified of it. and we have a succession of presidents who are diverting money all the time. bush did this, obama did this too. when congress doesn't do what they want, whether it's bailing out the auto kpds or whatever, they say okay, you didn't pass it but we're going to divert tarp money in the is how we do in a system where all of the por is going to the executive branch and everything depends on who wins it and they get to do what they want. this is a bad kind of pathology we're living through. >> you could make the argument that congress has been everyone tent for some time. they've failed to legislate.
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there are a number of legislations, both republican and democrat. jeremy, over the past few minutes or so the president has decided to take to twitter to take shots at puerto rico as the hurricane barrels toward the island. the president just tweet, quote, puerto rico, one of the most corrupt places on earth. i'm not going to read the whole tweet. you can read it on your screen there and for the folks who are listening on sirius satellite radio, i'll just -- it ends with the president saying i'm the best thing that's ever happened to puerto rico. as a former official in charge of disaster assistance, jeremy, what message does that sendmess sending. he should be sending a message that -- that he has their back and that they can expect a more competent response than they got from him the last time. this, instead, suggests that he hasn't learned very much from the mistakes in 2017. >> you were the director for disaster assistance under president obama dealing with other countries. what do you make of thezati
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administration taking money from the disaster relief as a storm barrels towards puerto rico? >> it's not a slush fund for policies that they can't get congress to pay for. this literally the administration taking money from actual crisis programs to fund a crisis of its own making, which is its remain in mexico policy and the extra burden that's created needlessly. >> phil, the rush to finish this border wall, it is a crisis of the president's own making. he promises to deliver this wall over and over throughout the campaign. president trump has promised, again, as you pointed out, 500 miles, 60 miles or so is completed so far. that's replacement fencing. is this -- i mean, how much of this is actually about just the pr of it and how much of this is about actually getting the wall built? >> well, i think it's a little bit of both, craig. certainly it's a pr move. that's why the president wants
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this wall built before the re-election in november of 2020, because he wants to have a sort of physical manifestation of his ability to deliver on his campaign promise. but there's a policy component too. he's a believer that the wall will somehow keep migrants from coming to the border from seeking asylum and there is -- there has been for many months now humanitarian crisis at the border. we've seen that with the detention of these migrant families. we've seen them with the separation of children from their parents at the border. i mean, these are all policy dilemmas that this administration has been faced with. but the president, i think, more than anything wants that wall constructed. he wants to be able to effectively cut the ribbon on the big beautiful wall that he had promised at rally after rally after rally. >> "the washington post" is also reporting that the attorney general of the united states william barr booked a, quote, family holiday party, $30,000 party, and they booked it at president trump's washington,
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d.c. hotel in the presidential ballroom. it's -- it's coming directly out of barr's pocket, apparently, but does it -- does it -- the attorney general of the united states, one would assume that even the appearance of impropriety might prevent him from doing that. of all of the hotels, why would you book -- >> of all of the cabinet positions. >> right. >> he's supposed to enforce the law. you know, when we have a president who swears to faithfully execute the laws announcing go ahead and break it when you have this type of corruption on a daily basis and it's greeted mostly with a national shrug by a lot of people, it shows both our kmauflti exhaustion but the degradation of our society. if people said stop it, he might. >> we'll leave it there. jeremy, thank you. thank you, jeremy. it was the first time on this broadcast. we hope you'll come back. and julia ainslie, philip rucker, always a pleasure. democratic front runner joe biden back on the trail today.
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he is in god's country. some people is all it south carolina. he's in the palmetto state right now. what he is doing to fortify his support among african-american voters specifically. i believe this is a live picture right now. this is a live picture? no, that was not a live picture, never mind. he's in south carolina. meanwhile, the new evidence indicating kim jong-un may be building a submarine capable of launching ballistic missiles that could threaten the united states. tic missiles that could threaten the united states count on... count on... is boost® delicious boost® high protein nutritional drink has 20 grams of protein, along with 26 essential vitamins and minerals. boost® high protein. be up for life. so chantix can help you quit slow turkey.rkey. along with support, chantix is proven to help you quit. with chantix you can keep smoking at first and ease into quitting so when the day arrives, you'll be more ready to kiss cigarettes goodbye. when you try to quit smoking, with or without chantix, you may have nicotine withdrawal symptoms. stop chantix and get help right away
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any moment now joe biden
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will start a town hall in south carolina. while he's on the east coast, many of his 2020 democratic rivals are turning their attention to nevada speaking at the aflcio constitutional convention in las vegas today. biden is skipping that stage to focus on healthcare and also fortifying his coalition of african-american supporters in the palmetto state. this is a live look there. that was part istonburg, south carolina, and that's where nbc road warrior garrett haake is. he is in spartan city. also from msnbc contributor john ralston and "the washington post" jonathan is back with me as well. garrett, let me start with you, biden focusing on healthcare today. what has been his message to voters there so far as you've seen? >> reporter: look, biden is doubling, tripling down on the idea that he will build upon and
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defend obamacare. this does two things for him. number one, it sets it on a path largely separate from the other front runners this race who talk about medicare for all. biden is building on the affordable care act. he sees that as a path to bring in a broader coalition of grattic voters, not just liberals, but some of the other folks who are worried about what medicare for all would mean for their private healthcare. second, it allows him to position himself in a place where there is no daylight between him and barack obama. it's another part of how he keeps his coalition together. it's part of his appeal to african-american voters particularly down here in south carolina where they are such an important voting block. and, craig, unless and it will somebody makes a dment bidenents support in african-american voters, even in a field this big, almost everything else we talk about in this race is going to be academic because african-american voters are going to be a huge part of deciding who the nominee is. and right now they remain firmly lined up behind the vice
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president in poll after poll. >> you're like a mile and a half from where i went to college. >> reporter: can't get a cup of coffee down here without somebody telling me they knew craig melvin. >> hopefully they're not telling you other stories. garrett ach traveling with the campaign. thank you, garrett. so jonathan, the latest polling, as garrett just indicated there, biden sitting at the top of the pack? just about every major poll we have seen so far. but among african-american voters specifically, those numbers especially high, 46% practically unchanged. is this a sign, the fact that he's there in south carolina, the fact that he sat down we'll get to this in a moment, but the fact that he sat down with african-american journalists specifically yesterday for about an hour and a half, is this all a sign that joe biden is not taking that support for granted? >> exactly. he is letting the
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african-american community know he's not taking their votes for granted. he's asking for their votes and he's telling them what he's going to do. the healthcare ad that came out yesterday is sort of the beginning from what i'm told by the biden campaign of the vice president talking about policy and specifically talking about healthcare. and i think garrett hit the nail on the head that it does a couple of things for vice president biden. puts no daylight between himself and president obama who remains very popular within the democratic party overall and aamo among african americans in particular. but also it speaks to an issue that resonates very strongly with the american people overall and the democratic party in particular. remember, when candidates for the house in 2018 were running in the midterm elections, they weren't talking about impeachment, they weren't talking about trump, they were talking about healthcare and defending people's right to
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healthcare. and so that the vice president is taking this on shows that he's fighting for the african-american vote, but he's also fighting for a policy that remains popular among the american people. >> again, i know you're interviewing mr. biden tomorrow, as i understand it. >> right. >> "politico" reporting that yesterday he sat down with a group of african-american american journalists, 90 minutes private sit-down which is a lot of time for a major party candidate. >> yeah. >> he said something that caught my attention, i'm pretty sure caught yours as well. biden said, it's important to choose a number two who reflects the nation's growing diversity indicating he would choose a running mate who's either a woman, a person of color, if not both. it's -- it sounds like he's probably got a pretty short list of a vice-presidential candidate already, is that the sense you get? >> i don't know if he has a pretty short list.
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when i read that, to me, what came across was he's bowing to the reality that the democratic party is moving very fast. it is the coalition, as we've been talking about it, is not old, white, straight, and maile. it's young, latino, african-american people of color. if he's going to reflect the country and where the country is going, he should choose someone who's a woman, who's a person of color, and i think for a lot of people watching preferably both. and as you said, the number of people who could fit that mold, only two come to mind right now. stacey abrams and senator kamala harris. >> mr. ralston, biden of course is in south carolina right now, nevada's primary not far behind. as we move toward this third
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debate in texas, how should candidates adjust as they prepared a campaign in states that are more diverse than iowa and new hampshire? states like nevada. >> i appreciate that introduction to nevada, which of course, as you know, craig, comes before south carolina despite your well-known bias towards south carolina on this program today. but i really do think that the point of nevada being more representative of the nation's demographics than iowa and new hampshire, which are overwhelmingly white. cory booker right now as i'm talking to you is talking to the oldest hispanic group in nevada politics. it's called hispanics in politics. it's the first time i've ever gotten the message from them sold out, they weren't going to let anybody else in. they get it. cory booker gets it. there's four of the candidates that get it it's a caucus.
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you have to organize. hispanics and african-americans are going to be a huge part of that. they've been to black churnls to campaign and now they're going to a labor convention, as you mentioned, because it's the ground forces in a caucus that are going to huge difference. it's interesting, although i think jonathan is absolutely right, health care is the issue that biden should be talking about and the issue that people care about, the democrats care most about. it's interesting that biden has yet to really form a ground game here in nevada, which he's going to need to do well here. >> is there a candidate that's surging right now there in nevada, jon? >> warren has the biggest operation, but she followed fairly closely by senator kamala harris, but again, craig, and you know this, and everybody listening here knows this, it's august 28th of 2019. a lot can change between now and february 22nd, when nevada votes, but warren and harris clearly have made the biggest early commitment to nevada.
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>> jon ralston, we'll leave it there. from pl capehart, good luck with the interview tomorrow. thank you for double duty today. north korea, new evidence raising alarm sirens in the intelligence community as analysts scramble to figure out if north korea is building a submarine, capable of launching numbering clear missiles. are a never-ending montage of comfort. [where have you been all my life?] namaste? namaste right here on the couch. but then, anne laid on a serta perfect sleeper. and realized her life was only just... sorta comfortable. where have you been all my life? not just sorta comfortable. serta comfortable. save on the pressure-relieving serta perfect sleeper at the labor day sale.
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we're seeing new signs this morning that north korea may be taking big steps in its nuclear weapons program.
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nbc news correspondent courtney qubit covers this. what are we finding out? >> this is more work from victor kha and the group beyond parallel, a washington-based think tank. they frequently examine satellite images and look for differences in any potential for where north korea may be moving in their nuclear program, their ballistic missiles and a number of other areas. in this case they looked at the sinpo shipyard, where north korea has been trying to develop ballistic missile subs, trying to develop submarine launch ballistic missiles. they have tested some slbms, sublaunch ballistic missiles from this site in the past. the concern here is we saw some recent photos that north korea released of kim jong-un touring what they said is a new submarine. the concern is in fact this sub may be close to potentially being operational and if that's the case, that would present a new potential asset and
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potential threat from north korea. if in fact they have a sub that gives them the ability to be more covert, if they can launch a ballistic missile from a sub, that gives them the potential to create just another potential of the nuclear triad, so air launched, ground launch, sea launch, this would give them the second location, craig. >> courtney kube, keep us posted. thank you so much for that. >> sure. in the last hour, republican u.s. senator from georgia, johnny isakson announced he will resign at the end of this year, three years early. you might remember the 74-year-old was diagnosed with parkinson's disease in 2013. he underwent surgery on monday to remove a carcinoma from one of his kidneys. it means georgia will likely have two senate races on the ballot next year. as for the state's former democrat us house minority leader stacy abrams, she is still not planning to run. we'll be right back.
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i'll see you tomorrow morning on "today." "andrea mitchell reports" starts now. >> right now on "andrea mitchell reports" the debate of the top ten, including joe biden's first face-off with elizabeth warren. unless a miracle poll turns up before midnight tonight. >> if this holds, one night, one stage, one debate, ten candidates, all going head to head. >> steve kornacki joins us in a moment with the

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