tv MSNBC Live With Ali Velshi MSNBC September 24, 2019 12:00pm-1:00pm PDT
nancy pelosi was in cysistent. it gives you a sense how many democrats want it and the bow has been broken. >> good or bad politically doesn't equal the same as good or bad morally or good or bad for this country. kristin, thank you very much. there will be a lot of folks out there, ali velshi will argue with the democrats going forward, drawing a line, regardless what it does politically in 2020, drawing a clear line to say this is what we will not accept from a president in terms of that person's behavior, >> irrespective of outcome. the fortunes of the country don't rest on what's good for a political party, it rests on whether or not people are looking at the constitution and protecting it. so it is definitely an interesting development. the president talked about
releasing an unredacted transcript of the conversation on the phone, but a lot of experts say it is the whistleblower complaint that's central to this thing and that's what -- don't get caught up in the idea that oh, the president is saying he will release this. there's a lot more to see and learn about. >> a lot more to be transparent about. >> thank you. it is tuesday, the 24th. it is not about that, it is about the constitution. that's what nancy pelosi said to president trump's tweet that he will be releasing the unredacted transcript of his phone call with ukraine's president. speaker pelosi is under extreme pressure from her caucus to pursue impeachment of the president. as we just learned, nancy pelosi will announce a normal impeachment inquiry according to two democratic sources close to her. at this hour, she's meeting with her committee chairs ahead of an announcement that she's expected to make at 5:00 eastern today. in the last hour we have learned that the house will vote on a
resolution condemning president trump over the ukraine allegations, according to two leadership sources, and right now the number of democrats calling for impeachment has reached 165. let me be clear. 165 house democrats are calling for some level of action on impeachment, whether that's an inquiry or pursuing impeachment articles against the president. one of them is congressman john lewis, a man democrats describe as the conscience of their caucus. hear his impassioned plea on the house floor this afternoon. >> there comes a time you have to move to the spirit of history to take action to protect the integrity of our nation. i believe, i truly believe that time to begin impeachment proceedings against this president has come. to delay or to do otherwise
would betray the foundation of our democracy. >> this breaking news, house intelligence chair adam schiff tweeted, quote, we have been informed by the whistleblower's counsel their client would like to speak to our committee and has requested guidance from the acting dni as to how to do so. we're in touch with counsel and look forward to the whistleblower's testimony as soon as this week. dni stands for director of national intelligence. there's a lot to take in here. a lot has happened in the last hour. i want to bring in democratic congressman brad schneider of illinois. this morning, he called for pursuing articles of impeachment against the president. congressman, good to see you. i think it is important to viewers who are not as steeped in this as you are to understand, we watched hearings last week, cory lewandowski, before the house. what does this mean that we now expect speaker pelosi to call
for formal impeachment inquiry? >> thank you, ali, good to be with you this afternoon. in august i called for an impeachment inquiry, i felt we needed to raise the level of investigations. i believe in the process, that's why i defended the mueller investigation, having it go to completion. mueller took it to a point but left loose ends, expecting congress to take the investigation forward and tie off those end. the administration stymied every effort of getting the information. i think impeachment inquiry raises it to the level that brings it to the public's attention. hopefully force the administration to recognize that the congress, the house has a constitutional prerogative, responsibility and right to complete the investigations. that's the first step. but today, i took it a step further because the president took it a step further. the facts are very clear. the president and his personal attorney have said that he spoke
with the president of ukraine, spoke about a political rival, and asked for the initiation of a sham investigation into that political rival. that's putting the president's personal and political interests ahead of the interest of the united states, threatening our national security and compromising foreign policy objectives. this is something to me that's wholly unacceptable, raises it to a new standard and why i made that call this morning. >> there are so many things we learned about in the last few days about the fact that the president called a leader of another country to do his bidding on a political rival, which he has admitted, the fact that there may have been according to reporting in various newspapers some sort of quid pro quo without saying it, the idea that funding was congressionally approved to go to ukraine, the idea we might be fiddling with national security because there's a reason we're sending $400 million to ukraine, and the idea that the president
may have somehow gotten his chief of staff and secretary of state involved in this thing, notwithstanding the idea that rudy giuliani does not work for the united states government, so it is a mystery why he was recruited by the state department to do anything in the ukraine as he said on fox news last night. what part of this is the thing that makes you say let's go to articles of impeachment? >> the first part, the part not in dispute, the president himself and rudy giuliani have stated publicly on camera that they spoke to the president of ukraine, that they tried to get the president to initiate investigations of vice president biden. that in and of itself raises to a level that i think necessitates moving forward. call for impeachment inquiry as we move forward will bring to light all of the other details you just mentioned. as we pull those details together, that will ultimately define what falls within articles of impeachment. in my mind, it is absolutely
clear the president violated the law, that he has risen to a standard calling for impeachment by violating his oath to the constitution. >> that's 29 more than this time two days ago. i would assume you had conversations with some fellow members of congress, and it is this that animated them, the same causes that have caused them to say all right, this is the straw that breaks the camel's back? >> i have spoken to many of my colleagues, i don't want to speak for them. i tell you in my mind there's a difference between this and what happened in the previous election. up until this point we have been talking about something that happened in the past. today we're talking about something happening now, currently. the president is saying he is actively engaged with ukraine, trying to force interference in our upcoming election, the 2020 election. the president is putting
american interests at risk, our allies in europe at risk by withholding aid for ukraine to defend itself against aggression on its eastern front with russia. this is wholly unacceptable. i think that raises it to a new standard, which is why you're seeing so many colleagues coming forward, saying it is time for congress to act. if not now, when? >> thank you for joining us, sir. appreciate the conversation. joining me, jeff bend, standing by on capitol hill. what's happening there mechanically, jeff. nancy pelosi is in one of a series of meetings she will have that will take her all the way to 5:00. >> reporter: as a matter of fact, when i was on the way here to talk to you, i passed in the hallway a congressman, jerry nadler, that chairs the house judiciary committee and adam schiff, both of them were on their way to nancy pelosi's office. she has two more meetings before she will meet with members of the caucus down here in the basement of the capitol.
here is what we know. two sources familiar with nancy pelosi's thinking told heidi that she plans to support a formal impeachment inquiry when she addresses the nation sometime in the 5:00 hour. the big question is what process does that proceeding take? what does it really look like? does it move to special committee, akin to watergate special committee? in that instance, she would keep more control over the committee. get to a point, committee chairman. the work would have to be fast and focused. if you think back to the committee hearing that the judiciary committee held with cory lewandowski, that was a circus. democrats feel they can't allow that to happen any more, especially now that you have less than 30 legislative days that remain before beginning of the new year. there was hope for democrats to make some determination on impeachment before we get to the 2020 election and all of that.
there are democrats on the house judiciary committee that make the same argument, say yes, work has to be fast and focused, for that reason you have to keep the work in this committee. it would take too long to stand up an entirely new panel and look into all of these questions we've already been looking into. those are things we're going to watch later today and tomorrow as this plays out. in the immediate future, what we expect to see is members make their way past our position, we'll throw questions their way, try to get as much clarity on what we expect to hear from the speaker and colleagues. >> i'll let you go and continue your reporting. this is a fast moving story. jeff bennett, thank you, in the halls of congress. joining us, former new york congresswoman elizabeth hoelts man that voted to impeach nixon. liz, let's pick up where jeff left off. what form will this take? he said it has to be fast and focused. you and i saw something last
week that looked like testimony having to do with impeachment. and i think a lot of people were left puzzled by what's that versus what this is going to be. >> what happened last week was a typical committee meeting. pretty incoherent, not focused, the difference was you had counsel at the end asking some questions. that's not going to solve the problem of getting the narrative of what happened to the american people. if you go back to watergate, the most successful impeachment process ever brought against a president, before the house acted you had a senate select committee that had seven people. house judiciary committee has over 40. senate select committee had seven senators, four democrats, three republicans, and they had a staff. the way the committee meetings were held, they first had witnesses come before, they interviewed witnesses
beforehand. the staff did. sometimes senators were there. then when they began hearings, the hearings were held with a lawyer, staff lawyer starting it. kind of creating context, getting basic information out. then senators could question. then if there had to be follow-up, the staff could ask additional questions. the problem is on the house judiciary committee, we never had a hearing like this. the only time we did that was at the end of the process when the republicans wanted to hear some live witnesses and they were called and there was opportunity to question them. by then, we had uncovered basically all of the facts, they were trying to tamp a few details down. you cannot have an investigative hearing with 41 people or 48 people asking questions. it is not going to work. they need to develop a process that's going to be concise, small number of members, very focused. i want to say one thing, though, about the time line here. you cannot put a time line on
this process and you can't say it is just on ukraine. the american people have an opportunity here to get the facts out about the pan op lee of wrongdoing with donald trump. we did that with nixon, it wasn't just watergate, it was the illegally wire taps, it was a host of misconduct. that also was important to the american people. they saw this wasn't just a gotcha over one thing, it was a whole presidency of misconduct. and that's what we're seeing now. >> what do you think is broken? we're at 173 house democrats, it is moving so quickly, two days ago it was 140, 130 something. this morning, was 163, then 165, then 167, now at 173. something is breaking.
a lot of democrats thought it would be pliolitically harmful. the responsibility of being a member of the house of representatives is a bigger deal than whether or not this helps or hurts the next election. a lot of democrats come out today that won narrowly in their constituencies, they're not part of the squad as some call it. what does this say? >> so in watergate, we had conservative southern democrats whose districts would be pro-nixon, and districts were pro-nixon, who voted their conscience. they were reelected. they were reelected. and some republicans, not all, a handful also voted for kaarticl of impeachment. they took an act of conscience, they were reelected. the important thing is the american people are prepared to accept members of congress
searching their conscience, but it has to be in a process that's fair and thorough and judicious and based on solid evidence. >> stand by. i want to bring in kristin welker. she has been following this closely, in particular response from the white house and how this is playing at the white house. >> that's right. this is from stephanie grisham, press secretary. she says the democrats continue to weaponize politics when they should be working on behalf of constituents which is nothing new. president trump is working hard on behalf of our country here in new york city while they continue to scream the word impeachment. nothing new here. it echos the tweet president trump sent out in which he essentially accused the democrats of being only focused on hurting the republican party and the president and not getting anything done legislatively. bottom line, this is a significant moment, it goes without saying. i think the president's allies are divided. some think this will help him politically, we were discussing this, what are the political implications of this. one said this will assure his
re-election. i think for the president to be attached with the i word is something that he doesn't necessarily welcome. he understands there might be some type of political gain. but this will be a cloud. we saw it unfoamld at the u.n. he is trying to conduct critical diplomatic meetings, having to answer questions about a phone call with the president of ukraine. to underscore that point, it was a year ago we were here covering the u.n. he was answering questions on the russian investigation. i think what you saw today is establishment republicans join some more progressive colleagues. >> democrats. >> democrats, excuse me, joining progressive colleagues to say this cannot stand. >> to the extent the white house says more of the same, wherever you stand on this issue, whatever channel you're watching this on, one can't conclude today is more of the same. something is different today. >> something is different today
because house speaker pelosi held the line, said look, we're not going in that direction. we're not there. we have to continue to investigate, investigate, investigate. as early as sunday i talked to folks close to her said she is just not there yet. i think with each passing day, you have more democrats joining the list. overnight we reported on seven national security freshman members of congress, democrats, who said it is time to move. >> those seven don't come from traditionally democratic districts, they won close elections, it was within a few percent. they're not the ones safe to take any position they want to take. they've said based on national intelligence or defense backgrounds they feel this is serious. >> that's what made today different. that's when you really saw the momentum start to shift. the fact that the russian investigation is over, you heard from special counsel robert mueller, you had a number of
democrats, dozens, said we need to move toward impeachment inquiry. now with the questions swirling around the phone call, i think that's why you're seeing the momentum shift so forcefully in the direction of opening an impeachment inquiry. and just about an hour ago, the president announced he would release the transcripts, but as we've been reporting, ali, for a number of transcripts, the complaint is so much broader than that. >> that's what a lot of experts are saying, don't get caught up with the idea it is they're going to release a transcript, there is a complaint here. that's what congress wanted to see. that's still not being provided. thank you. liz, thank you as well. moments from now, we will hear from former vice president joe biden expected to weigh in on the latest escalation on the controversy in washington. mike memoli joins us from outside the event. mike? >> reporter: ali, we expect to
hear from the vice president any minute now. aides say what to expect to hear is maybe bringing him closer to the line of himself calling for impeachment. he is going to say abuses of power we have been reporting on the last few days go above and beyond anything that the president has been accused of. he will call on the white house and the president himself to fully comply with congressional oversight requests, not just having to do with the ukraine matter but across the board, and if the president continues not to comply with those requests, then yes, he would support impeachment investigation and impeachment by the house. i should note, ali, the vice president doesn't come to this question easily. a few days ago in iowa we asked him about this. he said i'm not ready to come to that judgment just yet. he wanted to see what the house investigation would produce. he was elected to the senate in 1972. he celebrated in this same hotel his first election to the senate, and was in the senate when the house considered impeachment of richard nixon.
he was also in the senate when we had the trial of bill clinton. what he said on the campaign trail earlier this cycle is that he knows what a divisive issue impeachment is for the country, what the process itself is in terms of divisiveness. he comes to this in a similar way to house speaker nancy pelosi that wanted to not come forward and support impeachment until there was broad support in the caucus, broader support with the american people for impeachment itself. biden looks at this as something that would be leading the ticket. he doesn't want them to have to differ with the person at the top of the ticket. joe biden wants to defeat donald trump at the ballot box. that's been his consistent message from the beginning. he said a few days ago as the investigation now very much may involve his family, he is not going to take a punch, not deliver a punch as well. we'll hear more from the former
vice president any minute. >> while we have been talking, the count of democrats that are calling for some version of impeachment action has grown to 175. it was 173 just a few moments ago earlier when i took to the air the first time, it was 163. that was 29 more than two days ago. this is moving quickly. coming up, president trump says he will release the transcript of his phone call with the president of ukraine as the controversy grows, following the whistleblower complaint. there's no offer to provide congress with the whistleblower complaint which is what they asked for. we are also watching capitol hill, house leaders meet in less than an hour ahead of nancy pelosi's major announcement on impeachment at 5:00 p.m. eastern. you're watching msnbc. you're wa. i'm still going for my best... even though i live with a higher risk of stroke due to afib not caused by a heart valve problem. so if there's a better treatment than warfarin, i'll go for that.
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now you can take control of your home wifi and get a notification the instant someone new joins your network... only with xfinity xfi. download the xfi app today. which it is constitutionally entitled to obstructing efforts to investigate actions is not the conduct of an american president. it is an abuse of power. it undermines our national security, it violates his oath
of office, and it strikes at the heart of the sworn responsibility of the president, a president has to put national interests before personal interests. i knew when i decided to run this president would attack me and anyone else he thought would be a threat to his winning again. well, that's what he does. that's what he's always done. even though any reputable publication looked at the charge that's been made against me and found them baseless, untrue, and without merit, that's not about to stop him. i can take the political attacks. they'll come and they'll go, and in time they'll soon be for f t forgotten. but if we allow a president to get away with shredding the united states constitution, that will last forever.
too many people, too many good, decent people have taken oaths to this nation and given their lives over the past 243 years to let that happen. too many people are serving this nation right now and honoring the oath they've taken to let that happen. this isn't a democratic issue or republican issue. it is a national issue. it is a security issue. it is time for this administration to stop stonewalling and provide congress with all of the facts it needs, including a copy of the formal complaint made by the whistleblower, and it is time for the congress to fully investigate the conduct of this president. the president should stop stonewalling this investigation and all the other investigations into his alleged wrongdoing, use his full constitutional authority, congress in my view
should demand the information it has a legal right to receive. the congress does not, if the president does not comply with such a request from the congress, he continues to obstruct congress and flaunt the wall. donald trump leaves no choice but to initiate impeachment. that would be a tragedy. but a tragedy of his own making. i've always believed and still do that america is a truly special and unique nation, better than any other nation in history. we have made the experiment of self government work. we've always been a beacon to other countries around the world. we know who donald trump is. it is time to let the world know who we are. thank you very much. >> joe biden, not answering questions, making a very quick statement, weighing in on the
latest controversy surrounding the white house. as he mentioned, congress is asking the white house for the whistleblower complaint. this is an important, important distinction. the president tweeted he will tomorrow release an unredacted transcript of his phone call wi with ukraine's president. that's not the request. the request is for the whistleblower complaint, that covers things more broadly than the conversation. the controversy over the original whistleblower complaint will come to a head thursday when acting director of national intelligence, joseph mcguire, testifies about his decision not to share the complaint. let it sink in. remember this date, look at your watch. understand that. that's going to be important here. why did this man, the director of national intelligence, decided to something other than
what tradition and the law would generally prescribe that he does. a new "the washington post" op-ed calls that refusal a grave mistake, says his decision shows he misunderstands his role. joining me, author of that op-ed and gate keepers, how white house chiefs of staff define every presidency. chris whipple, liz holtsman back with me. chris, this is an important distinction. on one hand, it is legally simple and politically simple, but there are moving parts here. one is that the whistleblower did what the whistleblower should do, and congress was stopped from getting the information by the director of national intelligence and subsequently the justice department. you say that's where the mistake comes from. >> complete ab did i skags of the responsibility of the responsibility of director of national intelligence. i wrote a book on being central
intelligence director and the dni tells the president what he doesn't want to hear, presents hard truths upon which presidents make life and death decisions. he reports to the president, but he answers to congress. there is no choice here. that's part of the deal. this was a flagrant violation of that. when you get a complaint that is validated by the inspector general, you take it to congress, period. there was no choice here. and frankly, it was just a complete failure on the part of the dni. >> this changes the complexion of thursday's hearing which was now scheduled, he was supposed to have a house hearing, now a senate hearing, last i heard closed door with the director of national intelligence. but given that we're standing by for a call by nancy pelosi for impeachment inquiry, the whole flavor of this changes. this becomes part of now what
americans are looking at as donald trump's conduct, dangerous conduct, and what role others in the organization had to do with it. >> right. i think the former vice president joe biden said it very well. if the president continues to stonewall, if he doesn't cooperate with congress and its responsibilities, then he will bring the verdict of impeachment on him seself. that's what this is about. on thursday, if the acting director of national intelligence flim-flames, stonewalls, this will contribute to the impeachment process. it is very simple. the president and his team, the justice department shouldn't have interfered with the legal process which requires the inspector general who is an independent person to turn the material over to congress if it meets the statutory standards, which it did.
>> right. >> but the thing, too, is we have to be a little cynical, suspicious, skeptical about the promise to turn over the transcript. >> sure. >> i remember during watergate, richard nixon stood there with stacks of volumes, giving you the transcripts of white house tapes. and when we went through them, matched them against actual tapes -- >> there were things missing. >> quite a few, and words changed. it was a fraud. so you can't rely on the transcript for a lot of reasons, not only the past. >> chris whipple, in your op-ed for "the washington post," you write about his refusal to deal with this complaint. it violates the dni duty to inform congress of a security issue found to be credible and urgent by the dni's own inspector general. it rewards corrupt politicians, punishes whistleblowers, shutting down official channels from shutting down wrongdoing. most important, mcguire's decision shows he misunderstands his role, dni represents the
thin line between the president and disaster for us all. here's the interesting thing. when the public hears whistleblower complaint, could mean all sorts of thing. this is a complaint about whether or not the president was wheeling and dealing with taxpayer approved money, congressional approved money to go to an ally in the fight against russia in exchange for potentially a political favor. that's a security matter. that's not a dishonesty matter. that's not a moral matter. this is a different issue. >> no, absolutely. and it is just critical that the dni has to be the honest broker of intelligence, not only to the president, but really to the nation. the dni is a recent invention, created in 2004, but for the last ten years, that position has been critical. and when dan coats went before the television cameras in january, raised his hand, testified that well, actually isis has not been defeated and gave the lie to innumerable
other assertions the president made, that's the dni doing his job, being honest broker to the american people. most importantly, he has to do that with congress. i'll give you a quick example from my book, "the spy masters" coming out in april. before the raid that killed osama bin laden, leon panetta went to congress and briefed them in detail on the entire operation prior to the raid. well, when president obama and chief of staff bill daley found out about it, they were sure they would pick up "the washington post" and see raid planned to get bin laden. but guess what, the secret held. panetta did his duty, he did his job. joe mcguire is by all accounts an honorable guy, he was a navy s.e.a.l., defended his country. it is time he defended his country as dni.
>> let's remember that all these reforms to the cia grew out of the misuse of the cia by richard nixon during watergate. that's really the effort to make the intelligence community professional, not political, protected from politics, and if there's something going wrong, to ensure a whistle is blown and congress can find out to do something about it. when you start to interfere with that, you're attacking the integrity of the intelligence system, and our country's security is based on that. so what donald trump has done here and the actions of mcguire undermine the security of the united states and also effect our ability to protect ourselves all over the world and our allies and others' ability to rely on us. >> one of the arguments i heard from people that did not believe there should be any consequence to the mueller investigation or
findings is that no outcomes were effected by what occurred. one can argue that, the evidence doesn't support that, but this is one of the cases where our relationship with ukraine is strategically remarkably important. this wasn't a favor to a country. donald trump says it was about watching for corruption. he demonstrated no interest in rooting out corruption in other countries before. is that impactful in how we need to look at this? >> of course it is. it impacts our national security, our safety, and the critical thing here as kristin welker was saying before, i want to underline, keep our eye on the ball. the ball is the complaint, not the transcript of the phone call. the complaint evidently goes well beyond the transcript of the phone call, shows a pattern of behavior, shows evidently a promise, it is not clear that the promise was made on the phone call. we have to make sure we keep our eye on the ball here. that's the critical thing. as i say, can't overstate,
completely agree with liz, dni has for the last ten years been the key to this. you know, everything depends on the dni telling the truth to the american people. it is the only protection against rogue cia operatives and presidents. >> and another thing, congress should immediately ask ukraine to provide tape recordings, for sure they have a tape recording, transcript of the conversation, plus they must have notes of conversations that took place with guilliani and anyone else about this. that material ought to be supplied to us as well. >> a whole other discussion, why rudy giuliani, his personally attorney was called by the state department to go on this. thanks for coming back for the conversation. chris, author of "the gatekeepers."
up next, in a half hour, the democratic caucus set to meet about next steps in a normal impeachment inquiry. live on capitol hill. and we expect to hear from president trump as he meets with the president of iraq. you're watching msnbc. watching. ♪ big dreams start with small steps... ...but dedication can get you there. so just start small... start saving. easily set, track and control your goals right from the chase mobile® app. ♪ ♪ chase. make more of what's yours®. - [woman] with my shark, i deep clean messes like this, this, and even this. but i don't have to clean this, because the self-cleaning brush roll removes hair while i clean. - [announcer] shark, the vacuum that deep cleans now cleans itself.
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meeting with the full caucus, after which she's set to announce a fully impeachment inquiry. jeff bennett joins me with more. he has been talking to everybody to find out what's going on, what's under way in the meetings, and are we on schedule. >> reporter: and ali, since we last talked, here's a lot of here they come, there they go. members filed into various meetings. we expect to see around 5:00, the house speaker is expected to address the nation. she will speak from the speaker's balcony. and unlike a typical press conference where you see reporters lined up in one of the studios here, we expect her to speak from prepared remarks from a teleprompter, given the gravity, historical nature of what she's talking about. you can understand why she doesn't want to risk deviating from prepared remarks. following that, we expect we could potentially see response from republican lawmakers.
we're tracking all of that. and the thing i have been talking to lawmakers about is how we got to this moment. there seems to be a sense that there are three groups of democratic members of the caucus that really gave nancy pelosi the sense that the tide had shifted. yes, it was front line members that won districts in 2018 that donald trump flipped in 2016, or won rather in 2016, but people like debbie dingell, who felt like this was a different kind of moment. if the president of the united states were to use his presidential powers to incite collusion with a foreign power for dirt on a domestic political rival, that was the sort of behavior that could not go unmet with appropriate response. and the only real remedy for that kind of thing is impeachment, ali. >> i was on tv last night, in for lawrence o'donnell, she was on air with me when she
announced she changed her mind about this, and evolved into the idea that we should look toward an investigation. i clarified with her. by investigation, do you mean impeachment inquiry? she said yes. that's what i mean. what has happened to so many of these establishment democrats that felt that there was no political gain in this, given that we were coming up to election in a year, little over a year, that would be where the effort would be spent. what changed to say forget it, maybe there's political cost, this is the road we have to go down. >> reporter: a couple of things. on the substance of the issue, there was a sense that if a president can't be held to account for this kind of perceived bad act, then that really fundamentally changes the relationship between the legislative and executive branch for potentially permanently, it is not just about holding this president to account, it is preserving the system of checks
and balances for future presidents, and a sense politically in the 2018 election, house democrats, nancy pelosi, as leader of house democrats, they have a lot of power. they had a mandate. the sense is nancy pelosi should use that power to hold this president to account. also a sense that even though democrats know the republican led senate would never vote to convict president trump, it could be worthwhile politically speaking to force that to the senate side, force republican members up for re-election to get on the record about where they stand, especially as democrats hope to build the public case against president trump. >> the next meeting is in 15 minutes. nancy pelosi with her full caucus. we'll stay close to you. geoff bennett on capitol hill. and the president is speaking now about the news that speaker pelosi is going to announce formal inquiry at 5:00 p.m. tell you what he is saying after the break. you're watching msnbc. after
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that's what i should do. you see kristin welker walking in, everything stops. kristin, what have you got? >> we know that president trump is responding. he's still at the u.n., holding bilateral meetings with the leader of he was just asked abo impeachment. he responded defiantly as you would expect, sort of echoed some of the themes we heard him talk about in his tweet which is essentially democrats are focused on him instead of doing their jobs. and so we're going to play that as soon as we actually get a readout of what specifically he said. he also said, it's a continuation of the witch hunt. not surprising, he's been talking about the witch hunt, of course, as it relates to the former special counsel investigation into russian meddling for the past two-plus years. and so this is the talking point that he's using as well to respond to now what is this very significant development. he says, "they say it's positive for me." this is -- >> you mentioned this earlier.
>> -- something we'd been talking about earlier. >> you heard from the white house. >> the trump world. the fact that you have some allies and officials saying, look, this could essentially reassure his re-election. there's no guarantee of that. he knows that, but will it energize his base? >> uh-huh. >> what is going to happen if, in fact, the house does impeach him and goes to a senate trial? there's no indication republicans at this point in time are going to break with him, but obviously we're talking about things that would happen far down the road. >> what's your sense from covering the white house about whether or not the concept of being impeached even if the senate doesn't vote to remove the president from office, how does that sit with the president? one of the things he doesn't care about, within of thoone of he's energized by, rather not be associated with? >> i think he's divided. i think the white house's divided. some officials think, hey, it's a good thing. i think for this president, former reality tv star. who knows the importance of optics, that being associated with the "i" word to go down in
history with your name attached to that as a president is not something that he wants. i think that bothers him. i think that gets under his skin. again, at the same time, there are those around him who are saying, look, let's turn this into a politically emboldiening moment. we'll have to see, though, because if republicans do start to break with this president depending on what happens in these investigations, that could change the calculation pretty significantly. think about running a campaign, ali b ev ali, even if it energizes your base, having to answer questions about an impeachment inquiry day after day, that takes a toll, too. >> kristen, thank you. >> thank you. joining us now for a closer look at the international implications of this is higar shamali, former spokesperson for the the united states mission to the united nations and former treasury department spokesperson on terrorism and financial intelligence. there are so many elements to this saga that are playing out, but one of them is the country that's involved. ukraine. this is a country that has been at the forefront of russia's tendency to want to expand and
because it was not a nato country, it was open for russian expansion. and there are some who say that the united states did not have a strong enough response when that first started happening. but the idea that we were providing ukraine with $400 million was purposeful. that was congressionally approved money because we thought it important in the fight. if that was part of any quid pro q quo, that's problematic from a national security perspective. >> right. and it's not to say that aid isn't always given, is always given altruistically. there's always a goal. quid pro quo as much as it's tied to specific deliverables and outcomes, right? but when that aid was given, i was at the treasury department at the time and there was a sentiment certainly among the white house treasury, state, and certainly capitol hill, they have, i mean, a piece of legislation based on supporting ukraine. >> right. >> that that aid was critical, that there was a reason we were giving that aid. we had to have this balance, right, in the face of russia,
which had by that point annexed crimea and was supporting separatists in eastern ukraine. one of the things that's very interesting, though, is that the criticism that -- at that time under the obama administration, there wasn't enough support for ukraine, certainly came from republicans and president trump carried that -- that tone when he became president and was -- he gave the -- he authorized the largest sale of lethal aid to ukraine -- >> right. >> -- when he became president. all of this is inconsistent. none of it makes any sense. >> right. consistent and inconsistent is one thing, but the idea is strategically, as you said, there was a reason for that aid. it wasn't charity. >> right. >> there was -- there was some determination by the united states and congress that it was important to shore up ukraine in the face of russian aggression. so the idea that for political gain, that aid might have been pulled back, that's not what the white house is saying, by the way, that's not the official -- their story is it was about corruption and other things. >> right. >> but that -- that is
dangerous. when you play with aid that's, therefore, a security imperative, it's sort of not a political thing. >> no. it's a theme for this administration. i mean, you've seen this in central america, you saw it with pakistan, you've seen it with the palestinians, right? this theme of using aid as a lever. as, now, again, like i said, i don't want to be -- >> right. it is often a lever. it's a lever for different things. in this case, it was a lever for a security issue with an adversary of america's. >> that's right. exactly. that's one of the reasons why it's so critical that aid is so important because you're not just talking about a balance of power between the united states and russia, you're talking about propping up a government. you're talking about democracy. you're talking about supporting economy, about getting a nation state working again. >> right. >> the argument about corruption is not one i buy just yet when it comes to ukraine because we give aid to a lot of countries that are corrupt. >> correct. that has not been a priority of this administration. >> right. no. and that -- no. it's -- i would divide int into
two. one hand through magnitsky sanctions, they targeted corrupt actors i don't think the obama administration would have. that's a digfferent baby. giving aid to corrupt countries, the united states has done that for years. it's tied -- either aid in kind or tied to certain deliverens a and outcomes. >> hagar, good to jsee you. we're watching capitol hill. minutes from now house democratic caucus will meet to discuss speaker pelosi's plan for a formal impeachment inquiry. you are watching msnbc. brain freeze! no, it's my teeth. your teeth hurt? just sensitivity. i should see my dentist. my teeth have been feeling really sensitive lately. well 80% of sensitivity starts at the gum line, so treat sensitivity at the source. new crest gum and sensitivity starts treating sensitivity immediately, at the gum line, for relief within days and wraps your teeth in sensitivity protection. ohh your teeth? no, it's brain freeze! new gum and sensitivity from crest.
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zblmp all right. we're now about a minute away from nancy pelosi ee's meeting h the democratic caucus. on your screen the current count of democrats calling for impeachment action. 175 out of 235. "deadline: white house" with nicolle wallace begins right now. hi, everyone. it's 4:00 in new york. breaking news from capitol hill. nbc news is reporting that one hour from now, house speaker nancy pelosi will announce a im donald trump. the move toward impeachment is a dramatic one for speaker pelosi who was unmoved by the mueller report, but who has taken this extraordinary step in the wake of a whistle-blower complaint regarding the president's conduct with the leader of ukraine and his demand that a foreign government investigate the biden family for the express purpose of dg