tv Morning Joe MSNBC September 26, 2019 3:00am-6:00am PDT
mike pence back in 2016. not basic enough, apparently, for donald trump. good morning and welcome to "morning joe." it is thursday, september 26th along with joe, willie and me we have former chief of staff of the cia and department of defense nbc news national security analysts jeremy bash. political reporter for "the washington post," msnbc political analyst, and moderator of washington week on pbs, robert costa. u.s. national editor at the financial times ed is with us. nbc news and msnbc law analysts and editor and chief of law fair, benjamin whit is. and jonathan lemire or as president trump calls him, a faker. >> we'll be on the air past three hours today as we watch
the acting dni director appear before the house intelligence committee. that will be fascinating. >> hey, willie geist, what an extraordinary 24 hours. you can go to the night before and before we actually got to see what the white house called the trump. people were predicting that it was going to be much ado about nothing. the next morning of course it kploiexplodes and republicans are shocked that the white house released that transcript. and news continued breaking throughout the day and, of course, last night you had the whistleblower report read and apparently so disturbing that republicans on and off the record were saying that it was far worse than what the white house released in the morning. ben sasse who has been strangely silent over the past year, ben sasse coming out and talking about it being very troubling. >> ben sasse was a tell to me saying what he read in that report, which by the way we may
all see at some point today, the whistleblow whistleblower complaint as it has been declassified, he said it was very troubling. he hasn't made a peep, has a primary challenge, doesn't want to cross donald trump, but he's worried about it. we're going to get more of it today. the summary of that phone call, if the white house thought that was going to be exculpatory, they were going to put that out and clear the air and everybody was going to move on, they're living in a bubble where reality is not a part of that bubble. because he says right then and there, not only does he go to this wild contract theory about crowd strike, but he talks about the other thing, and that is joe and hunter biden's work in ukraine. >> you nailed it right there. >> that's what's so fascinating about it. you can actually see, ed, some trumpists diezzy throughout the day. >> twisting themselves into
pretzels. >> and by 4:00 in the afternoon they said, wait a second, the quid pro quo, we're not going to fight on that ground because it's so obviously, as david freund said i could prove this to any jury any time and if i couldn't i should be disbarred that there's a quid pro quo. they retreated from that position and by late afternoon they were saying that the quo was successfully separated from the quid. but of course it wasn't. what was so fascinating, and we always have people talking about how donald trump speaks like a mobster and cohen saying everybody knows how this guys talks, right? so the president says i would like you, after he asks for the javelin, he says i would like you do this favor because our country has -- i would like you do us a favor, though. then what i find so fascinating about it, he throws out crowd strike and then he throws out hillary's emails. it's like three quick smoke screens.. and zelensky picks it up
immediately and he goes oh, yes, yes, looks right past the smoke screen because he knows how thugs talk. and what does he say? he says we're having giuliani come over here and we're going to take care of what he terms as that investigation. he doesn't talk about kraud crowd strike and hillary. >> although those are bad. >> doesn't talk about mueller. he gets the mob talk and says to trump, oh, yes, yes, giuliani, he's going to come over, we're going to cooperate with him and look into that investigation. and that's when trump really let's loose and starts talking about what he needs in exchange for the military support. >> yeah, i mean, you don't need to read into in between the lines much to get a quid pro quo. but crowd strike i think to me rang the loudest alarm, which is a very sort of far out conspiracy theory that the dnc hacked itself rather than by the
russians. >> right. >> and then the internal guy that hacked it was killed by the clintons. it's up there with pizza gate in terms of outright conspiracy theory. >> the president of the united states responds to a request from a dem democratic ally for weapons to push back vladimir putin who has invaded his country by talking about seth rich. >> it's easy reading that transcript to whiince on behalff zelensky. he said i stayed in trump tower, i love you, i agree with you on everything. but if you look at the position he's in, trying to annex the east of its country and being invaded by putin and then by trump on this call saying can you get involved on my side in a campaign that i might lose and you might therefore being severely punished for, this is an extremely difficult condition
for any elected leader of a country to be in. >> it's extraordinary. >> but for a young guy just nau inaugurated, you can understand it. >> what he is doing it is trying to save his country. he's got vladimir putin who is taking over crimea. he's got troops pushing in and have invaped h have invaded his country. you have congress passing out the weapons and donald trump has frozen it. the financial finals and "wall street journal" have been saying that zelensky desperately needed the weapons and desperately needed a meeting with donald trump. that was before all of this whistleblower information came out, that are was being reported in the papers and trump wouldn't do it.
and you even had an aide to zelensky last night saying we weren't going to get the phone call and we weren't going to get the meeting and we weren't going to get anything unless we talked about the biden investigation. >> this was all released to the white house. back up. sources tell nbc news that the whistleblower complaint at the center of the ukraine scandal has been declassified with minimal redactions and is expected to be released this morning. now, to the 30-minute july 25th phone call that sparked the controversy. the memo released by the white house shows president trump discussing joe biden and asking his ukrainian counterpart for a favor. it begins with the president congratulating ukrainian president zelensky on his party's recent parliamentary win and zelensky discussing the reforms he's making. president trump then talks about how much the united states does for ukraine. zelensky agreed and then said,
quote, i would also like to thank you for your great support in the area of defense. we are ready to continue to cooperate for the next steps, specifically we are almost ready to buy more javelins from the united states for defense purposes. trump immediately follows saying, quote, i would like you do us a favor, though, because our country has been through a lot and ukraine knows a lot about it. i would like you to find out what happened with this whole situation with ukraine. they say crowd strike. crowd strike is the name of the cyber agriculture company that investigated the dnc serve hack in 2016. trump continues were you have your serve, he they say ukraine has it, there are a lot of things that went on, the whole situation. i think you're surrounding yourself with some of the same people. i would like to have the attorney general call you or your people and i would like you to get to the bottom of it. the president then brings up robert mueller's testimony
before congress the day before, quote, as you saw yesterday that whole nonsense ended with a very poor performance by a man named robert mueller. an incompetent performance but they say a lot of it started with ukraine. whatever you can do, it's very important that you do it, if that's possible. zelensky follows yes, it's very important for me and everything that you just mentioned earlier. for me, as a president, it's very important and we are open for any future cooperation. >> now, it's very important there, robert, the president zelensky then starts talking about giuliani. we know he's been calling, he's going to come over, and he says without donald trump even talking you about biden, he looks past crowd source, he looks past all the other smoke screens, right? because those were all -- that was just a smoke screen before the ask comes in. and then he goes, we're going to help you with, quote, that
investigation, the giuliani investigation. and that's when trump says, oh, yes, you need to talk not only to giuliani, but you need to talk to the united states attorney general and you need to work together in smearing my domestic political rival. >> it's been fascinating as a reporter to cover president zelensky up close. i was with him in warsaw just a few weeks ago when he met with vice president pence. you see the delegation navigating all these dynamics and you can see the bewilderment on their face when you pull some of the officials aside about what they're trying to deal with here. is rudy giuliani a representative of the trump administration? you see a president operating in his own national interests. he needs these weapons to deal with the russia issue in crimea. he's trying to navigate an issue he doesn't understand but he's not going totally off course because he needs the funds. but he's not sure when he meets with president trump as he did in new york or vice president
pence in warsaw, what do these people need to hear? so again and again he keeps trying to be careful but say he'll nod toward broad themes of corruption. we'll work with you on c corruption but he doesn't want to get pulled into that rip tide. >> willie, it's important for everybody to understand, it was public record, it was reported information that in july and august they were desperate to get the weapons. >> right. >> that congress had approved. that donald trump strangely enough decided just to freeze. and also to get a call and a meeting with the president of the united states to show his people that actually the united states would be a trusted ally in their battle against putin's i gressi aggression. >> that's why there was no explicit quid pro quo in the summary of the phone call doesn't hold up. we know what
was at stake for the ukrainian president. we also know that he had been ha ranged by the united states government and this administration about this question of joe biden and the question of ukraine. from the moment he won his election in april where he got a phone call from the president, that first phone call according to the "new york times," congratulations now get to work on corruption. from that point he was put in touch with mr. giuliani who has been pursuing this line about biden ever since. >> that's right, willie. i think the transcript is not only a smoking gun, it's a smoking javelin. when you look at the defensive weapons that the ukrainians needed in order to defend themselves, it harkens back to the movie where they provide stinger missiles to eject the soviets from afghanistan? that turned the tide ultimately of the war. that's what was at stake. that's what was so desperately needed by the ukrainian
leadership. and here president trump is saying in direct response to a defensive system he's saying i need you do me a favor. i'm one of the people that think that's an explicit quid pro quo, although i don't think that house democrats need to hang the impeachment inquiry on that. i think merely soliciting political help from a foreign government that is enough. >> so chris christie yesterday, before george step no lous asked him to speak, quid pro quo -- >> how bad do this be? >> how bad could this be? chris christie said i think the democrats may be overplaying it. it would only be serious if the president said something like, i need you do me a favor. >> it didn't age well. >> whoops. and chris a former prosecutor knows that's the sort of -- >> he knows. >> this is not a close call. you actually see at some point which people -- who's so deeply in it
for donald trump that they actually there's nothing trump will ever do that will make them worry about this country. i want to ask you really quickly, benjamin, about last night, the whistleblower complaint comes out. were you surprised not only by ben sasse's reaction but by reaction from other republicans on the hill and their staff quietly worried saying, this is worse than even the memo that they released earlier in the day? >> right. so before that happened, we released a piece on law fair that said remember that this memo/transcript is only one piece of the puzzle. and the broader window that it opens up is undoubtedly much worse than the text of the memo itself. because this is only one interaction in what is actually a long pattern that takes place over the summer between the president, giuliani, the ukrainians, the state department, right? there's a lot of different
pieces of this puzzle. the whistleblower complaint outlines apparently a much broader array of activity. so i'm not terribly surprised that if you find the transcript or the memo disturbing, when you see the whole pattern laid out, it's going to be really disturbing. >> yeah. and, again, as we were all reminded every 1.3 seconds on twitter yesterday what the white house released. >> yeah. >> was not a transcript. thank you for that reminder every 1.3 seconds. that's the best the white house had to offer, and it was not good. republicans in the morning were shocked that the white house would release that. >> well, also it all been an incredible 24 hours. let's move on. the president then pivots to the prosecutor general who was fired by the ukrainian government and then to joe biden, trump saying, quote, the other thing. there's a lot of talk about
biden's son, that biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that. so whatever you do with the attorney general would be great. biden went along bragging that he stopped the prosecution. if you can look into it, it sounds horrible to me. zelensky then tells trump that he knows all about the situation and ensures he'll soon have his own hand-picked prosecutor in place promising, quote, he or she will look into the situation specifically to the company that you mentioned in this issue. the issue of the investigation of the case is actually the issue of making sure to restore the honesty. so we will take care of that and we'll work on the investigation of the case. my god. >> the money line in that -- in that section of the memo, willie geist, was where donald trump told the president of a foreign country who he was withholding
defensive weapons from that he needed to coordinate not only with his personal lawyer on digging up dirt on joe biden, but that he needed to coordinate -- really it took my breath away. >> it's incredible. >> it's shocking. you think after all of this time we would all be incapable of being shocked. and, yet, donald trump says talk to my attorney general. talk to attorney general william barr. >> this released by the white house. >> talk to my attorney general. >> what else is there? >> about digging up dirt on a domestic political rival while i'm holding up defensive weapons that are actually probably the only thing that would stop vladimir putin from going all the way to kiev if he chose to. by the way, that's bad. would you like to know what is worse,
willie? >> please. >> i think you already know what's worse. but this is just for the kids at home. it's a romper room thing. it's like i'm looking through a mirror and there's all this suspense building. you know what's worse? that william barr gets this from the dni and what does he say? he doesn't say what every self-respecting lawyer that i've every lawyer wore say, this looks like the president is trying to put me in a conspiracy to smear one of your rivals, i better recuse myself. he doesn't do that. instead, he kills the complaint and says nothing to see here. >> that's right. >> willie, that are takes all of this, like rudy giuliani may remind us of a crazy uncle, when you get the attorney general involved and then the attorney general looks like he's part of
the conspiracy and then he says there's nothing to see here, move along, move along, suddenly this entire crisis is taken to a new level. >> and it calls into question some of attorney general barr's testimony over the summer on the russia matter where he was asked time and again if the president had asked him to do anything inappropriate and he said no. we have some of the details on this. barr and giuliani were mentioned 11 times in this phone call between president trump and president zelensky. in one instance the ukrainian president told trump one of my assistants spoke with giuliani and we're hoping very much that mr. giuliani will be able to travel to ukraine and we will be able to meet once he comes to ukraine. the other mention is by trump telling his counterpart to expect a phone call. the first came after he asked zelensky to investigate crowd strike. the president told zelensky that barr would, quote, call you or your people to get to the bottom
of it. the next mention came when trump told zelensky that giuliani and barr would call to discuss what trump called, quote, bad people involved with the firing of that ukrainian prosecutor in 2016. then, concerning joe biden and his son hunter, whatever you can do with the attorney general would be great. again there, jonathan lemire, talking about a political opponent bringing in the attorney general of the united states on that question with the foreign leader. >> it's an extraordinary thing to read and for the white house to decide this would be something that would help them to put out in public. it's one thing to ask your personal attorney rudy giuliani and there are questions raised there about the appropriateness of his dealing with a foreign government. he has said that the state department was helping coordinate his travel and contacts with the ukrainian officials. the state department has largely denied that. we have the attorney general of the united states being involved with an investigation overseas in a foreign country which goes to show it's not just another norm, another rule, another guardrail this president has
shattered. but do so raises all kinds of questions about the legality. and then to have barr not recuse himself from this matter going forward is extraordinary. it goes to show you the lengths that the president will go to find sort of damaging information about joe biden. even yesterday as this scandal was swirling, after the memo was released i was with part of the press pool that was traveling with the president all day as he had meetings throughout the united nations, including one with the president of ukraine. we pushed him on this and he then at this point still suggested that he felt like there was corruption that zelensky could root out, that he should get to the bottom of the biden matter and it wasn't something he was going to let go. >> jonathan, we watched the press conference. you were there at the press conference. they thought i think putting out the memo was going to be helpful and that it would clarify things and maybe even clear the president of the united states. obviously it's done the opposite of that. is he, when you watched him up
there yesterday just watching on tv, was he tired? rattled? some combination of those? >> tracking his mood the last 24 hours and his demeanor watching him up close and personal it's been interesting. for a long time now people around the president have welcomed the fight of impeachment. they said this would be a winner for him. but personally it is not something he wanted. he knows if he is impeached even if he worked to win re-election this would be the first line of his political obituary. he knows the pressure over the next year will be immense. this is all people am talk abwi about. it will be hard for him to change the subject. he seemed defiant the other night. but yesterday as the day went on he had interactions with smaller leaders and interactions with the press calling us corrupt and fakers at certain times and seemed defensive b.. y
by the time we got to the press conference they say he was tired and worn out and angry. usually we see him angry at loud volume. yesterday you could tell he was upset. as one person told me last night, he's rattled about this. >> the other thing to point out, if you pull back and look at the memo, ask yourself if there's anything in there where the president is advancing national interests? is there anything in there about the country or the crowd strike conspiracy of 2016. ? is it about finding the server of 2016? is it about finding political dirt against someone he may have to run against. it was a window into how the president talks to foreign leaders. >> this according to the white house. >> something that a lot of conservatives yesterday were talking about. they have been a bit more quiet in criticizing the president were talking about how shocking
it was that nothing contained in there had anything to do with the best interests of the united states, that it was all about him. benjamin, i wanted to ask you about the attorney general's name coming up in that conversation. that's a run away truck karinicareening off a cli >> let's say this order never gets conveyed to the justice department. so he genuinely learns about it when he first sees the whistleblower. but what he learns that day sometime in august, right, is that the president of the united states is trading on the name of the justice department that he heads in an interaction with a foreign leader to extort the civil liberties violations of his political opponents. the day you learn that, you
should say, i cannot work, head the justice department under the circumstances -- >> have you ever met a government lawyer in that position that would not recuse himself immediately? because i have never met an attorney that would not immediately recuse himself if the president of the united states suggested that the attorney general was going to be part of this enterprise. >> to me, there's an ant seedent question to recusal the issue is resignation. the day -- you're the attorney general of the united states. and the president of the united states is saying in an interaction with a foreign leader, i am going to deploy the justice department to help you help me electorally by dishing dirt on my political opponents. you should not be attorney general another day after the president has represented you that way. and so i actually get hung up a little bit earlier than the
question that -- >> right. >> but i don't understand how you think you're supposed to engage in honorable service consistent with your own oath once the president has talked about you that way. >> so there's the shock factor there. but there are republicans, there are trump pundits going on television saying there is nothing to see here, literally nothing with. with a legal sigh there nothiey nothing to see here? >> potentially five offensives in that document or things that congress would want to think about in that context of impeachment. in one conversation the president, one, misused, threatened to misuse congressionally appropriated funds to, two, extort from a foreign head of state. three, an intervention in the u.s. political and electoral process. four, through the mechanism of
the gross violation of the civil liberties of two u.s. citizens by, five, dishing dirt or extorting the dishing dirt of his political opponent. >> so you're saying that's bad? >> i would say that there is something to see here. >> okay. >> and, again, that was the best case scenario, ed, the memo that the white house released kind of suggests why republicans were stunned last night after what they saw in the whistleblower complaint. >> that was. and it's pretty clear that trump insisted on releasing this against the advice of all those around him. this joe biden case, i need you to do me a favor, though. if you can look into it, dot, dot, dot, it sounds horrible. those ellipses in this edited transcript suggest that there's a great deal more in that that might come out in the whistleblower complaint later today. >> we'll wait and see. benjamin,
thank you so much. we've got so much more to get to including a full wrap of howl capitol hill is reacting to all of this. >> i think you should ask for vp pence's conversation because had he a couple of conversations also. i can save you a lot of time, they're all perfect. nothing was engsed of any import other than congratulations. >> really? president trump floats the idea of looking into his vice president's phone calls with ukraine. >> i don't know if floats is the operative description. >> why is he throwing that out there? >> he threw the vice president under the bus. yeah, this is going bad for me, you should have seen mike pence's phone calls. >> ads we go to break we want t show you that moment we mentioned involving chris christie's impressed analysis of what spells out trouble for the white house. listen. >> if the president of the united states was encouraging a foreign leader to investigate a political rival, that is arguably an impeachable offense, isn't it?
>> we have to look at the what context is. for instance, if he's saying, listen, do me a favor, you know, go investigate joe biden, that's one thing. president trump says i would like you do us a favor, though, asking for ukraine to investigate matters involving the 2016 election meddling inquiry. ction meddling inquiry. out my medication, my sl tremors would be extreme. without it, i cannot write my name. i was diagnosed with parkinson's. i had to retire from law enforcement. it was devastating. one of my medications is three thousand dollars per month. prescription drugs do not work if you cannot afford them. for sixty years, aarp has been fighting for people like larry. and we won't stop. join us in fighting for what's right. when didwhen i needed ton? jumpstart sales. build attendance for an event. help people find their way. fastsigns designed new directional signage. ...and got them back on track. get started at fastsigns.com.
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i did read the transcript. it remains troubling in the extreme. it's deeply troubling. >> real troubling things here republicans ought not just circle the wagons and democrats ought not have been using words like impeachment before they knew anything about the actual substance. the administration ought not be attacking the whistleblower as some talking points suggest that they plan to do. >> you know, ben sasse went on and called it i think he was right in everything he said. the whistle -- the white house
shouldn't do, what the media shouldn't do, what democrats and republicans shouldn't do. shouldn't leap to conclusions. i was talking about watching a another network a few nights ago of that broke and people were sitting there going so how's the vote going to go in the senate for impeachment? they had not even launched an inquiry yet. everybody needs to take a deep breath. everybody can be very concerned by what they're seeing, it's very troubling, but let's just let the process play out. >> but we're seeing what the white house has released. and the reaction that we're seeing is shock to what has been released by the white house. it's not like we're infearing -- it's an admission. >> but i've heard people saying we must act now and we must strike while the -- no. get the facts, analyze the facts, and make your decision based upon the facts. everybody needs to slow down. which is basically what mitt romney said yesterday. romney taking the lead saying he's very troubled by this but said -- they said what are you
going to do? he said there's a process playing out in the house. there's a whistleblower process playing out in the senate. let's let those processes play out, right? >> yesterday was revealing. i spent the whole day at the capitol in the basement by the trains where they come from their offices over to the capitol. and mitt romney, senator from utah, veteran republican, he's one of the only people early in the day before the senate launch who comes out publicly and says this memo is extremely troubling and he's watching the house carefully. but i pulled aside some republican senators for some background conversations and they were agas at the white house early in the day. they said, what is the white house's strategy in there's no real communication with us about where this is going play out, where the vul neblts anerabilit but they wanted to be publicly with the president he has so much political investment with the party. it was only after they talked more amongst themselves that you saw cracks begin to emerge.
you saw senator sasse stand out there. >> talk about how that was a real tell because he was a primary opponent, he's taken a lot of criticism from -- well, us and others. us being meek and mika and me, bob. taking criticism for being quiet when many believe this guy who his supporters betrayed his consciousness in the senate. he's remained silent. but yesterday it was important because he decided to speak out. and you said that was a quite a tell. >> it was an important moment, based on my reporting, that comment by senator sasse, his statement, it ricocheted around the republican party. he's a representative of what so many republicans have become, captive to president trump politically. they may have their own grievances about him, their complaints, but they keep it quiet. he has president trump's endorsement for his re-election campaign.
he is someone who knows he's in a red state. he needs president trump's support. at the same time for him to come out publicly, amid all of president trump's upon later, you see him giving more room for his colleagues to speak out. romney wasn't really enough for many of them, and you'll have to see more for the crack to become a yawning division, but sass pushed it even further down the field because rahm romnomney is an outlier with his own standing in the party. but sass is someone who is the party of trump. and a lot of our colleagues are telling me late last night he's significant more than romney because he's up for re-election. >> coming up, at the center of the controversy over president trump's dweelealings with ukrais the involvement of the president's personal lawyer. we have new reporting on rudy giuliani's role in this scandal. >> rudy, they asked him about a phone call he says i don't remember that but i have ukrainians calling me all the
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you know, we were just talking about donald trump throwing mike pence's name out at the press conference yesterday. you've spent time with pence, what was -- is that trump saying if i go down everybody's going down? >> it brings up some questions about what president pence -- excuse me, what president trump -- >> it's early in the morning. >> hold on one second. hey, donald, don't do -- >> it's okay. >> donald -- >> vice president pence. >> do not hold that against bob. >> i need this coffee. covering vice president pence in europe, he was there as the messenger for president trump. and he kept telling zelensky you have to fight corruption and go after corruption. i thought as a reporter that when i saw zelensky with pence that they would announce the military aid was going to be
sent. nothing happens, they just have a press conference. >> what was the date of that? >> early september, just two, three weeks ago. you saw pence repeatedly in calls and meetings being the president's messenger with this broad idea of corruption, going after corruption. we asked pence, did he directly discuss biden with zelensky? and he said, no, but he said we did discuss in great detail corruption and the need to go after it. so for president trump to bring up vice president pence, what's the state of that relationship and what is he getting at about what he has told the vp to do? >> a lot of distraction there's, possibly. jeremy, what will we be looking for today with maguire? >> admiral maguire is a career naval officer. he was not looking for this job when he was put in the role. the biggest and hardest question for him is why did you take the matter to the justice department when you knew that the justice
department is head by very political attorney general? he should have asked for forgiveness, not permission. i think he'll get beat up for that. at the end of the day, maguire is not a target here, he's a witness of the justice department's effort to cover this up. >> and of course, willie, maguire, it was released yesterday, story broke yesterday in the "washington post" that maguire said he was going to resign if not allowed to go to the hill and testify openly. the white house, of course, pushed back on that. but, if you look at that story, you also look at what the ic for the dni wrote -- or the ig for the dni wrote, they've been playing this fairly straight other than, of course, as jeremy said, going to justice. going to barr's justice. >> yeah, the acting director of national intelligence denied that story yesterday. but we will hear from him in just over two hours.
we'll see that on msnbc, of course. it's important to see all of this in the context of what came before the july phone call. that call between president trump and ukrainian president zelensky now in question. not the first time, of course, the first time the two men had spoken. ukraine elected its knew leader on april 21st of this year, mr. trump seized on the moment as an opportunity to press his case. within hours of mr. zelensky's victory, mr. trump placed a congratulatory car as he was en route from his mar-a-lago row sort in florida to washington. he urged mr. zelensky in that call to coordinate with rudy giuliani and to pursue investigations of corruption. this is according to people familiar with the call. the details have not previously been reported. all of this in the "new york times." when asked about the april call between trump and zelensky, giuliani told nbc news, quote, i don't have any recollection of anyone reaching out to me in reference to that call. giuliani added, the ukrainian people were calling me all the
time. let's bring in national political reporter for nbc news josh letterman with new reporting on giuliani and another person who played a role in all of this. i guess the first question is why were people from ukraine calling rudy giuliani all the time. but you also in your new reporting introduce a new character into this story. who is mr. volker? >> we're learning more about ambassador kurt volker who was the one who introduced jewgiuli to this aide. and volker had an unusual arrangement because he was brought in from the outside as an outside expert to serve as this ukraine envoy. under special rules called a special government employ tee. that means by law had he to be part time. he couldn't work more than 130 days out of any year on ukraine. in the rest his time he was holding down a number of jobs, including working at a d.c. lobby shopped called the bgr group which continued to work on a credit for the ukrainians nearly two years after volker
took that roll. they also lobby for radeon. there's no end dhation volker did anything unethical or that he was specifically working on ukraine at the lobby shop. but this unusual arrangement is raising questions now that we learn more about the central role he played in introducing giuliani to the ukrainians. >> that's where he fits in here, right? as sort of the go between because he knows people in ukraine and knows the government well. he can connect giuliani to the government so they can talk about corruption or whatever else they wanted to discuss. >> exactly. and he got a phone call from ambassador volker in july that he said is it okay if i give your number to the ukrainians? and then he then went and med met with this aide to zelensky in spain, spoke to him two more times. giuliani telling us that he reported back to volker and the state department after all of those. and he got a text message from
the state department saying thank you so much for all of your help. >> so giuliani of course was brought on to be the president's personal attorney during the robert mueller russia investigation. he clearly plays a central role in all of this with had ukraine mess for lack of a better word. i know you talked to him, you talked to him, reporters talked to him. my sense in the last couple days is the state department and other places in the administration who are really angry at him, who feel he krsed a line and that a lot of this is his doing. what is your sense right now about his -- how safe is his role right now in the trump orbit? are people out to get him? >> his volley as sarole is as s with donald trump. he's going to be decider whether rudy giuliani has any role in that orbit or not. but as far as the rift of the governme rest of the government those are the concerns that people are raising. imagine you're hearing one thing from the state department here's our agenda or economic reform, what we want you do on russia.
on the other hand you're hearing from rudy giuliani who's making clear that the president's priority is can you dig up dirt on the vice president? who are you going to listen to and what challenge does that pose for people that are supposed to be providing a united front around the world? >> josh, good to see you. thanks so much. it goes to show the lengths, again, that donald trump went sending his personal attorney, rudy giuliani, to find connections to the ukrainian government so he could use, let's use the code word, corruption to look into joe biden. >> and how long he's been pressuring him. zelensky's elected in april and he makes a phone call on the way down to mar-a-lago to congratulate him. and then immediately starts talking about these investigations. so, it might explain, jeremy, why he was so upset that he didn't feel like zelensky and ukraine had moved quickly enough in investigating joe biden. really quickly, so volker works
for a d.c. lobbying firm. who's is it? >> he works for haley barber's shop bgr group. he's a highly respected national security official. he start dollars his career at the cia with a foreign service officer, worked in the national security establishment. was very close to john mccain and ran the mccain institute. he's highly capable. the issue is who directed him to put giuliani in touch with the ukrainians? that's the question. according to rudy giuliani on fox, he said this was all done at the behest of the state department. and i think that the transcript released yesterday was made clear was donald trump's idea and nobody else's besides donald trump. >> and the state department denying it all day, they were denying. >> you see the state department trying to put distance between state and rudy giuliani. >> yes. >> when we come back, ed, we need to talk not only about boris johnson. i watched some of the madness yesterday coming from parliament, from the house of commons. but i also, i have a question
about technology lessons that boris johnson -- >> okay. >> -- may have taken. no, this is actually yet another challenge for boris johnson. things are not getting any easier for him. >> i'm not sure this is family viewing, but i'm -- >> it's not family viewing but that is next on "morning joe." >> we'll talk about that next. atth is next on "morning joe." >> we'll talk about that next. johnsbut we're also a cancer fighting, hiv controlling, joint replacing, and depression relieving company.
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so, ed, in the middle of all of this madness in washington i decide to change channels and take in some of the madness that's happening on the other side of the pond, as they say. and a parliament quite a nafta day for boris johnson, the prime minister who has endured one historic loss after another historic loss after another historic loss. this is like you won't remember it but think it's the 1976 buccaneers who went 0-14, he literally loses every game. >> he loses every game and the
bigger he loses the more brazen he becomes about saying i'm sticking in this job and driving us over the cliff. he's, as you were saying earlier, using second world warlaing wa warlaing war language. >> he calls anybody who wants to support the bill or wathts to talk about people in brussels as collaborators. the temperature is extremely high. meanwhile, amongst all of this you've got this investigation into allegations of boris when he was mayor of london directed public funds to this young american lady called jennifer acurry who runs an ethical hacking company and a couple of other very small outfits, he directed funds to her. he used to go and visit her in her apartment in east london during the day and leave parliament, go to her apartment and come back. and apparently these were for technology lessons. >> that's what boris says. >> yes. >> $100,000 of the public's
money for, quote, technology lessons. >> and she would go on all these trips for him. >> ed, on that note, thank you. >> technology does not sleep. you have to -- it's what boris would call continuing education. >> thank you, ed, very much. good to have you on. >> thank you so much. coming up, another busy news day. the whistleblower complaint at the center of this ukraine scandal can be released at any moment now. intel chief's public testimony about the house intelligence committee is set to begin in a few hours. and we're still trying to figure out who in the white house would be vindicated by releasing the memo of his phone call with the president of ukraine. "morning joe" is coming right back. ukraine. "morning joe" is coming right back. johnsbut we're also a cancer fighting, hiv controlling, joint replacing, and depression relieving company. from the day you're born we never stop taking care of you. this fall, book two, separate qualifying stays
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johnsbut we're also a cancer fighting, hiv controlling, joint replacing, and depression relieving company. from the day you're born we never stop taking care of you. he and his family do not deserve these kinds of baseless accusations from donald trump. donald trump is trying to do to joe biden what he did to hillary clinton, to turn somebody who
has given a lifetime of service and done it honorably into the victim of false accusations. i would say to the american people, do not fall for the same donald trump that he tried play on hillary clinton in playing against joe biden. joe biden is an honorable man. i think he's an honest man and his family is honest. i have disagreements with vice president biden on healthcare and healthcare issues, but i don't want to see this election decided by donald trump's usual tearing down of other people with false accusations. we should be above that. >> bringing democrats together, donald j. trump. >> candidate castro was a little bit critical toward joe biden during the debate, got a lot of blowback for that. but this morning, of course, we're showing him standing by joe biden and against the attacks on him and his family. welcome back to "morning joe." >> i'd expect that from all the democrats, right? >> it's the right thing to do. absolutely. it is thursday, september 26th.
we in washington, former chief of staff at the cia and department of defense jeremy bash is with us. political reporter for the "washington post" robert costa. editor and chief of the atlantic magazine, jeffrey goldberg joins us. and along with willie geist in new york, we have white house reporter for "the associated press," jonathan lemire, the faker, founder and director of the group that's bringing democracy together. and editor at large of the bulwark, bill kristol. and host of andrea mitchell reports, andrea mitchell is with us. before we get started, we want to congratulate andrea. earlier this week she was honored with a lifetime achievement emmy award for her ground-breaking 50-year career covering domestic and international affairs. it is an honor to have you on this morning. >> such an honor. >> thank you, guys. thanks so much. >> you know, willie, i think you and i should be insulted, first
of all, nobody gave us that award. >> nobody. >> in fact, they told us if we would get off of television this very day, they would give us an award. >> they would pay you. >> that's as close as we will ever get. >> they will shower us in trophies if we walked away this morning. >> you guys -- >> put our face on the side of buildings and saudi arabia, it would be amazing. >> just leave now, they say. so, willie, what a day, uh? what a day. again, it started with people predicting that the democrats had overreached. and then, of course, the memo came out republicans were shocked on the hill. we had news breaking throughout the day and by the end of the day you had this strange spectacle. one of donald trump's strangest press conferences yet. the tone almost reminded me of nixon's resignation speech. very pitying.
and then at the same time you start hearing from republicans like ben sasse who actually saw the whistleblower complaint. and you nard thunderstood that s not going to die down there are was going to be more because ben sasse saying he saw troubling information there and told republicans to back off and stop circling the wagons because there was a there there. >> and we're in for another day today already. the whistleblower complaint is declassified. it's going to be partially redacted. the public will get to read and see for itself what it things. what the concern was. we'll have the testimony coming fru up from the whistleblower. we'll get an even closer look at what we saw the beginning of
yesterday, which was a summary of the phone call between the president where he asked pretty explicitly, first of all, dove into conspiracy theories about the 2016 campaign but then went right to what he called, quote, the other thing. which is the joe biden story which we now know wasn't an isolated moment. there was a lead-up to that beginning from the moment that president zelensky was elected in april, that president trump called him and began to push this idea of corruption and said i'm going to put you in touch with rudy giuliani, not somebody from the state department, my private lawyer to begin to look into corruption and joe biden who at the time and remains at this moment the chief concern of the trump white house in running for president in 2020. >> then of course he brings in the attorney general of the united states. >> yeah. >> and it was such a fascinating phone call, like you said last hour, where the president's putting out a smoke screen. he says i need you do me a favor. then he throws out a smoke screen of crowd strike and hillary and mueller.
and sa linski immediately looks right through it. >> yeah. >> and he says, yes, yes, we're going to do investigations, rudy giuliani's been in touch with us. he's coming over and we're going to work on, quote, that investigation. and that's, of course, when donald trump went in for the -- well, just went in very aggressively. so, i thought ben sasse had a wonderful statement yesterday. and he's been like garba lately. it was sort of a garba -- >> you would be to if you were running for -- >> i wouldn't. by i saw how drapemocrats respod when bill clinton was going through what he went through. i didn't see a lot of profiles encouraged there either. but any way, ben sasse, though, said this. i thought it was -- i thought it was a great statement. democrats ought not to be using the word impeach before they
have the whistleblower complaint or before they read any of the transcript. republicans ought not to be rushing to circle the wagons to say there's no there there when obviously lots that's very troubling there. the administration ought not to be attacking the whistleblower as some talking point suggests they plan do. and the media humbly should not pretend that this story's about something that's going to be resolved in the next two hours. >> i -- this is not a comment on ben sasse particularly, but we've had hot and cold running senators at the atlantic festival for the last few days. i'm picking up cracks. >> yeah. >> as bob has. there really are people who -- i don't think this word is too dramatic. i think there are people of conscious who are tortured by this. they have eyes, they have ears, they see what's going on. they're tortured by the fact that they want to win again. they want to win re-election. they know their numbers in their red states, they know exactly
how popular trump is. and they -- what a lot of people have done until now is say to themselves, i'm talking about republican senators, they said this will pass. and i want to be part of the restoration of the republican party to republican ideals. but it's very hard to live with -- with these contradictions and it's hard -- as the evidence becomes more per rok, it's becoming harder and harder. >> not sure you can do both. >> how disappointing that somebody like jody ernst who first added she was going to make the pigs squeal in washington, d.c. shaend was going to be tou and she was going to be a straight shooter. she said i read this transcript and i see nothing. nobody -- that is straight out of rudy giuliani's speak. nobody could say that. nobody in iowa is thinking that right now. they're thinking that joanie ernest the is basically nothing more than an apologist for donald trump. it's really such a
disappointment. >> the cracks are real. there is a chorus out there, however, that is saying there's nothing to see there. i talked to senator inhofe of oklahoma, yesterday. i said what did you think of the transcript? he said i think it's pretty good for president trump. you see senatoron is on the senator of the homeland security committee is telling his colleagues maybe there's more to be looked into with hunter biden. when i asked them privately what's it going to take for you to step out, they say they're watching the house closely. they say speaker pelosi, if their eyes has to hand this will in a way that's narrow and appears to be mostly nonpartisan. so they have an opportunity to jump on that to that limb and say we're going to take a stand against president trump. >> and andrea mitchell, it appears that that's exactly what in's going to do. she is trying to keep it narrowly focused on ukraine, narrowly focused on national security, narrowly focused on donald trump's role as commander
and chief as it pertains to this weapons transfer and his refusal to transfer the weapons to a democratic ally who's been invaded by vladimir putin until he gets what he wants. which, he's explained very clearly was the ukrainian president working with the attorney general of the united states of america and his person ternl to dig up diattorney to dt on his political rival. >> just in your synopsis is what most democrats and some republicans privately are saying on its face of it is so troubling to have the president of the united states talking to a young foreign leader of a very vulnerable country that has been invaded by russia is fighting this war for five years, needs weapons, did not get offensive weapons shamefully, many say, from barack obama. but didn't break out a lot more than pillows and blankets as donald trump keeps saying at every photo opportunity. but the fact is that just on the face of it, to freeze those
weapons five days or six days before this phone call and then say immediately after the javelin request on the call from zelensky, yes, but i have a favor. and then to bring up crowd strike and the clinton emails which is the whole origin of the mueller probe and segue right into joe biden and speak about the attorney general. the justice department is pushing back he didn't do anything. but the fact is that the president of the united states invoked the attorney general and said that -- >> he implicated him. >> -- said that he should talk to him. >> he implicated the attorney general. >> exactly. >> in a conspiracy to use federal funds to squeeze a foreign leader to dig up dirt on a domestic rival. how could the attorney general of the united states not immediately resign? but if he's not going resign because he's got a christmas party coming up at a trump party, he's already put down the $30,000. if he's not going to resign, at
least recuse himself. >> i mean, that is what is so shocking to so many people. and to say that you need a quid pro quo, which you don't, you know, there doesn't have to be a crime here. but if you're talking about impeachment. but just look on the face of it. take impeachment out of this and removal from office, which is politically toxic and offensive to a lot of people across america. that is a high bar, obviously. but just on the face of it, this is the clearest window we have since, i would say, early february of 2017 when we saw real notes, not just notes but closer to a transcript of the australian call and the mexican call where the president of the united states acknowledged to the mexican leader, you know, you don't have to pay for the wall, but you cannot say i'm not going to pay for the wall because that i can't handle. and that was what mike flynn and the national security adviser
for 28 days perhaps, if i have that correctly, that led mike flynn to say, no more distribution outside of the secretary of state, the secretary of defense and then they have to return the notes. that's when they closed in the wider distribution and the more normal distribution of these phone calls to foreign leaders. >> and we see that again in this phone call, it's all about personal grievance, not the national interests. bill bill, look how clearly he understood what was at stake here. he knew to get money released he went right to giuliani. in fact, when the president starts and says i need a favor from you, he doesn't mention giuliani or joe biden, he talks about the crowd strike conspiracy, find the server, all that. but the answer to that from the president zelensky was, yes, we're going to have those meetings with rudy giuliani. it shows you how long it's been going on and how long he felt
the pressure of this issue. >> trump and giuliani were involved in this for months. giuliani was reporting to trump, that's what giuliani has said. but we're going to find out an awful lot. people are being a little bit oh this document and that document. it's going to be investigated. people are going to have to testify, there will be further documents. i don't believe the house will or should accept the notion that people won't testify. if you're in an impeachment hearing people will have to say. i'm not going to say? why not? attorney/client privilege? he wasn't acting at trump's personal attorney in ukraine, trump didn't have personal business interests that he was representing. he was there as a vague, private envoy allegedly on behalf of the united states. he has to testify to congress and if he doesn't testify and if pompeo doesn't testify, barr will have to testify and say they never asked me do anything or they asked me and i said no, we're going to learn what's happened in the next -- >> it has to be done quickly. >> yes. but the good thing is from the political point of view, the reason this is going to be a
doable as impeachment, in my opinion, is it's discrete and concrete. it's the ukraine, it's a certain number of months, it all happened while he's president in realtime this summer and fall. had is not looking back at 2015 and 16 in a confusing meeting in trump tower and what did trump know when and the kids and all this stuff. this is the president of the united states placing a call from the oval office to the president of another country. it's -- it's not going to be that hard to have a very good timeline of what happened over the last three, four, five months and i think that's going to be pretty bad for the president. and final thing i would say is ironically, the fact that the mueller investigation's over, it wildly increases the chance of impeachment. because in the old days, if this happened a year ago, the house democrats would have said, we'll let mr. mueller look into it, you know. it's kind of -- now they have no excuse to give it to anyone but -- the ball is in congress's lap. if they don't impeach, they're saying this is fine. there's no -- there's no middle ground at that point. >> there are some key differences here. the mueller also reports that
probe operated in total silence and secrecy and it went on for so long with drips and drabs that the public was confused about what was going on. here it's a shorter timeline, it happened while the president was in office. i think it's easier for people to understand. there is concern about this -- from this white house about what do next. rudy giuliani, as you said, is a key figure in this. one would assume that he'll be called to testify at some point, although there are some democrats who worry that it will become such a smoke screen. we thought that the cory lewandowski performance wads out of was out of control. imagine what giuliani could do. >> this is fact finding. it's not a show. it's not to convince people in iowa that they should be more outraged than they are. this is to find out what happened. i think in that respect in will keep the focus on that. i think it's going to be hard for them to -- we'll know what happened, i think. >> this is a white house that is not prepared for a lengthy
all-consuming impeachment finding. the staffing levels are low. the people there are fatigued about the incredible pace of the stories and scandals this white house has had to deal with. as much as they have been talking about they would welcome a impeachment finding, this is something that is going to wear on them day after day after day. and the fact that so many people around the president told me when the mueller probe finally ended they felt like a cloud had been lifted from the white house, they could finally sort of try to get some stuff done, they could start focusing on re-election. and it was the very next day, it was the day after mueller's testimony the president mentio s it in this phone call. he criticizes mueller's performance. he thought it was over and he was emboldened and he did it, democrats believe did he it again. and he asked a foreign power to help. >> you can see how exhausted the -- i believe they sent the talking points to in's office? >> nancy pelosi's office on this? >> it happens. >> at least a remarkable
thing -- >> if you're not the good it happens. >> sticking only to the facts we know. >> i hit reply all? i'm sorry, go ahead. >> yes, you are sorry. the facts that we know right now lead to another remarkable thing that happened yesterday. because if you look at the patterns of this presidency and the reluctance to release anything with the mueller report, to have barr put his version of the mueller report out, to have people refuse to testify due to executive privilege. as jonathan lemire mentioned, cory lieu win women douse ski refused to saying anything with some bogus argument that the president and the executive privilege won't allow him to speak when he doesn't work for the white house, this white house stone walls on everything, fair to say, and then they vomit out this memo yesterday with everything laid out there. >> and probably waived the executive privilege. once they put out this conversation, once they eloallo
giuliani to describe his part on fox news, there's an argument they opened the door. >> and also when rudy says i wasn't going in the capacity as the president's attorney wrars going because the state department asked me to go. >> that's right. >> he ways ives that concern clt privilege. >> he's a president that operates totally sioutside the chain of command. this is a man from the business world to the presidency who operates on his own, not through the usual officials every other president has used. and this is someone who used to sit in the 26th floor of trump tower and run his business by phone person by person. that's how he's governing. and republicans feel like they're disyooriented about howo proceed if he's not keeping anyone in the loop on these issues about ukraine except giuliani. >> but he wants rudy out there.
and so republicans are frustrated, pompeo's frustrated, the state department said, no, he wasn't going at our behest and yet there you look in the -- their summary of the phone call, the white house's summary and there's the president talking about giuliani, giuliani, giuliani, barr. >> this was a sustained campaign launched by the president with rudy giuliani as his side car to extort, extort support from a foreign leader. i actually think that as the house democrats think about this, they should really go for the grande impeachment, not the vente impeachment. they should keep it narrowly tailored and focused only on this matter. how are republicans going to say that solicitation of support from a foreign leader in the u.s. election is somehow -- >> yeah. >> especially when military equipment is being held up. >> and money, yeah. >> absolutely just one small point to add to that. one of the interesting things here is what we really can understand is organically trump's inability to distinguish
between rudy giuliani and barr. his private attorney and the attorney general of the joouts unit united states. when which say manifestation of the largest issue of all, his inability for him to understand where his interest and the national interests begins. that's the seed bed for all of us. an unwillingness or perhaps ann ability to distinguish between his own desires and the national security needs. now we're talking about national security, national security needs of the country. this is incredibly dangerous. >> i talked to bill yesterday, yesterday, bill chris to, many conservatives came out and said that at the root of it is donald trump's problem because he never knew when his personal interests ended and his national interests began. too focussed on personal. >> i wish you were right. many did, a couple did. i'm really ail little tired, the republicans are anguished, they don't like his governing style.
he did make a transition from trump tower. maybe they could just try to discover the truth and not rally to trump's defense. they don't have to say he should be impeached tomorrow. how could mitch mcconnell say yesterday there's no grounds for impeachment? how does he know? could we have them investigate? nancy pelosi has set up a situation where there could be a serious responsible investigation. it would be more serious and responsible if the republicans joined in the conversation as with white water. i'm tired of the republican hand ringing and if only he just understood better how government works. he did dwhae. we' what he did. people are going to be required to testify. the bogus claims of attorney-client privilege, you don't get to talk about what the president said. that's what's at issue, what the president said. >> exactly. >> so if only republicans just decided they wanted to hear the truth instead of, you know, worrying -- finding different kinds of excuses for the
president in public and in private. >> but, bill are they're still operating in fear. they think he's the head of the party. they need him and his political capital to win re-election in 2020. >> really? >> that's what they're saying. >> 180 of those 200 house members are going to win re-election anyway. >> let's go back to nebraska for a minute, bill. ben sasse is putting his re-election in doubt by saying anything. it's true, the numbers are the numbers. >> really? against who? against a democrat. >> ask -- [ multiple conversations ]. >> he's been a senator for six years he might have a tough primary challenge. i don't mind him being quiet and i think what he said was good incident diplomatic what i mind is the people who were just total trump enablers, some are true believers, but the ones that annoy me most at this point are the ones in private who privately, jeff, off the record. it's really, god, what a white house where are what a mess, what a this, what a that. publicly i don't see any grounds
for anything here. they should endorse an investigation. here's the question they need to ask. are you for discovering the facts or not? >> right. especially given the white house memo that is definitely questionable. >> and aren't there -- >> andrea. >> i was going to say, there are some things larger than hold tong that congressional seat or that senate seat. >> correct. >> we are at an infection point in america and they have to ask themselves, you know, whom i serve something what oath did i take? you know, joe, you were in congress. you know what the stakes are here. and, you know, when you think about the way mitch mcconnell and other republicans in the senate have just ignored offense after offense for 2 1/2 years because they're afraid of being primaried, i think i'm reflecting some of bill's frustration with what they told me yesterday, some 30 some republican senators might tell you how privately concerned they
are but not publicly. >> the thing is nobody's ever tested what happens when you take it to your constituents. i mean. >> and tell the truth. >> i know it's different, but, you know, when newt gingrich was times' person of the year and koould called the most powerful speaker in years, i went after newt gingrich and i went after bill clinton and i went to my district and i explained to them why we were running newt gingrich out of town. and i got 80% of the vote in the republican primary. you can actually trust the people in your district to understand why. you don't want a commander and chief holding up military aid to a democratic ally who was invaded by vladimir putin and holding that up until such time that he agrees to investigate your domestic political rival. they will understand that. and that's what -- nobody's tried it, though. that's what frustrates me so much. the thing about sanford losing is sanford went halfway.
you can't go halfway. you're all in. and you've got to say, when he does, i'm going vote for him. when he doesn't, i'm not. and on something like this, jarm minu jeremy, this is open and shut, it seems to me. and mitch mcconnell, my god, how could mitch mcconnell do this in the same way he could ignore every attempt to protect american democracy, it's why the kids are calling him moscow mitch. >> we've had two impeachments in our history but only this one centers around national security, the sovereignty of the united states and the defense of our nation and everything we value. the stakes are much higher, they're not political, they're foundational. >> we don't have to say what happened in the trump tower meeting with 12 russian translators or who was there and who wasn't there and who got up and when did they get schnupp this is all narrowly focused.
>> it's just "x." >> this is -- >> right from the white house. >> this is the end. >> hopefully, yes. >> but this is much easier, also, for americanstor understand. >> mueller is confusing with a lot of russian names. this is vifrm picked a phone call, subordinated a national interest, to his own interest, that's not hard to explain if that's what's happened. >> yeah. bill, thank you very much. still ahead on "morning joe," the prime minister of pakistan will be our guest. plus, we mentioned joe who says, quote, i've looked at the transcript, i don't see anything there. >> she should buy some glasses. >> she did, however, see something back in 2014 when she floated the idea of impeaching president obama over his executive actions. "morning joe" is back in a moment. executive actions. "morning joe" is back in a moment. >> so, yes, absolutely is he overtepping his bounds and he
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they measurably get more than i ever got. and i get to do that. i get to provide that for them. well, they've been having these talks for hundreds of years, even under different names. but this is cashmere and it's a complicated place. you have the indues and the muslims. with respect toss pakistan and india, we talked about kashmir and whatever help i can be, i said i offered whether it's arbitration or mediation or whatever it has to be, i'll do whatever i can because they're at very serious odds right now. and hopefully that will get better. you look at the two gentlemen
heading those two countries, two good frens eviends of mine. i said fellows, work it out. just work it out. >> the situation took a serious downturn in early august when india revoked the special status for the disputed region causing relations between india and pakistan, two nuclear countries, to fall deep near chaos and uncertainty. tomorrow, pakistani prime minister who met with president trump in new york on monday will speak before the u.n. and kashmir is set to be front and center. and prime minister khan of pakistan joins us now. mr. prime minister, thank you very much for joining us this morning. andrea mitchell has the first question. andrea. >> thank you very much, mika. mr. prime minister, the president's offered to mediate.
would you like to see him mediate between you and prime minister modi and try to resolve this kashmir issue? >> andrea, definitely. we feel that the u.s. president, head of the most powerful country of the world, the only person actually who could make a difference right now is president trump if he can mediate between us. because there is, as you report mentioned, there's a huge humanitarian crisis. people have been locked up in kashmir now for almost 53 days. and so we hope that the u.s. president intervenes. >> there are concerns, of course, you're both nuclear states. are the tactical nuclear weapons forward-based at this point? can you reassure americans that
what used to be anyone to as the triple key to make sure that the u.s. also had oversight over any potential use of nuclear forces is still in place? >> andrea, no sane mind can think of nuclear war or nuclear weapons. what needs to be done is that this thing should be immediately nipped in the bud. where it is heading right now, my fear is that there are 900,000 troops in the valley and there are -- they've locked in 8 million people. now the fear is that once they lift the curfew, there's going to be blood shed. and that's why we want the president to intervene before things go a step further. and that's really my concern right now. and i want -- i mainly came to the u.n. to raise this with the
world leaders. >> mr. prime minister, this is ayman and ways curious to pick up on your point wanting the united states to mediate. you've sat next to president trump and you've been dealing with this administration. has this administration in any way, shape, or form asked you for any type of quid pro quo in exchange for mediating? and if so, what might that snb what does the u.s. want from pakistan in order to try mediate this conflict? >> this is a completely separate issue. it concerns one or 1 billion people of the indian subcontinent. so this -- the united states number one, but united nations security council is the other option. or the u.s. cooperate through the u.n. security council because there are 11 resolutions by the security council on kashmir. so that's one area. but, quite separately, the other
two neighbors of pakistan, one is afghanistan, the other is iran, we are trying our best. we are speaking to iran. i spoke to president trump and he thought i should try to mediate between the u.s. and iran a new nuclear deal. and the other is in the interest of pakistan that there's peace there. there's four decades of conflict. people of afghanistan are suffering. there's no quid pro quo. i mean, it's in our interest that there's peace there. we were sad that just when the deal was about to be signed it was broken up because dialogue and fighting are going on simultaneously. and this was always going to happen. but there is no military solution in afghanistan, and that should be obvious after 19 years. so it is in our interest that there's peace in both afghanistan and iran. the problem with iran is that if there's a conflict, our
country's developing world is going to take a real beating because the oil prices are going to shoot up. and we are frying to manage our -- balancing our budgets. and this will just throw us off. so it's in the interest of actually the world that this iran conflict does not take place. >> mr. prime minister, jeff goldberg from the atlantic. just to follow on your statement that donald trump would be the best mediator for you. two related questions. one is what specific skills do you think he brings to mediating the kashmir dispute? the second related question is how do you assess his handling of the iran files so far if his presidency? >> well, u.s. is, again, i repeat, the most powerful country in the world. and the u.s. can mediate. the u.s. has the clout.
problem i'm facing right now is unfortunately, and it's unfortunate and it's being realistic, countries look upon india as a market of 1.2 billion people. and that's what i'm sad to say that's what the indian prime minister -- that's his leverage. and that's why he's done something so incredible, revoking the constitution, going against u.n. resolutions, and he's actually boxed in these people. and so u.n. -- u.s. being the strongest country in the world would leverage the u.n. security council and just as the biggest trading partner of india, u.s. has the best leverage and that's what mr. trump has at his hands. about iran, i just -- this is a very difficult situation. it's brewing up for a while. but, you know, i am an antiwar
person. i do not believe war solves problems. i mean, you go after one problem and it gives birth to five other different problems. and therefore, i don't believe that these -- because, you see, it has unintended consequences. you know, every war which i know of, pakistan joining the u.s. war in afghanistan, each time we were told this is a matter of weeks and, you know, pakistan we lost 70,000 people died in this war on terror when we participated. and our general, said it's only a matter of weeks. war with iran is very complex. once it starts, you know, no one knows where it's going to go. and so therefore, always, always conflicts should be avoided. always. >> mr. prime minister, joe
scarborough borrow hehere. the united states and pakistan of course as you know better than everybody, we've had at times a tur murough relationshi we have not followed through on weapons stills at times the pakistanis believe we have push them in directions that are not in their national interests. and, of course, americans have had concerns with the pakistanis now. just pulling back from the events of this week, even this month, give us, if you will, your best read on u.s./pakistani relations right now. are we in a better place today than we were, say, five, ten years ago? >> definitely. this is the best relationship pakistan had with the u.s. in almost two decades. but let me just give you brief history. pakistan joined -- u.s. and pakistan got together against the sof yents jetse had they
invaded afghanistan. and so pakistan trained militants to fight jihad. they fought against the soviets. and so these groups came and they operatesed fr they operated from pakistan in the '80s. the u.s. backs up and leaves and in '91, we were slapped with sanctions. so that was a shock because pakistan had by this time 4 million refugees. we were left with these militant groups, and sectarian terrorism started in pakistan. come 9/11, we again joined the u.s. and i remember george bush saying, look, this time it will be different. we are not going to abandon you. because pakistan was skeptical, we had been abandoned. this time we joined again and i opposed it. i'll tell you why i oppose pakistan joining the u.s. because when he trained these
groups to do jihad against foreign occupation. now when the americans turned up there, how we are going to explain to them that now it's no longer jihad, it's terrorism? so when pakistan joined the u.s., the same groups turned against pakistan. and the fundamental mistake pakistan's leadership made at the time is that it tried to tell the u.s., don't worry, we'll be able to deal with it. they couldn't deal with it. i mean, there was suicide bombings going on in pakistan, ghq was attacked, army, commandos. at one point we actually thought we were going down. and so u.s. kept putting pressure on pakistan to help them more. pakistan could not deliver more. there were 150,000 nato troops and if they couldn't win in afghanistan, how was pakistan going to help them? and so we were then accused of playing a double game because we couldn't deliver. there were 50 different groups
operating in pakistan, militant frips groups groups. and so this mistrust began. now our precip relationship is n truth and trust. we are part of peace and so there's trust. that's how the relationship should have been. if i was the prime minister i would have said, look, mr. bush, we cannot deliver. we have these groups trained and how are we -- the moment we join them we lose leverage on them and then turn against us. so i think that's the mistake where our leadership made. >> and what advice have you given president trump about afghanistan, a twhwar that many americans have grown tired of 18 years later? >> you know, i kept opposing. i kept saying there is no military solution, only because you only have to know the history of afghanistan. i mean, the british has a super power went in three times, failed. soviets killed 1 million in the
'80s, failed. and how -- you knew that this was going to be a war that is just would not have achieved any results. someone should ask, i mean, if i was an american i would ask that we -- $1.5 trillion at least have been spent in afghanistan. what have we achieved in this? and then i hear some people saying that, you know, actually, no, we should keep the military or keep this going. this will go on for another 19 years, the taxpayer in u.s. is going to keep pouring in money in there. while the u.s. was pouring money in afghanistan in this futile war, the chinese were developing first world infrastructure and you just have to go to china to see the way their infrastructure is. i'm in new york and i'm watching the car bumping around here [ laughter ] >> that money was wasted. >> you do not sound --
>> that money was wasted. >> you do not sound right now like a prime minister from pakistan, you sound like a voter from the bronx who would complain about the infrastructure or money being spent on wars in afghanistan instead of on fixing laguardia and the other infrastructure there. mr. prime minister, thank you so much for being with us. we greet greatatly appreciate i >> we are about an hour and a half away from joseph maguire testifying on capitol hill. president trump tweeted the greatest scam in the history of american politics. >> boy, that's confessional, isn't it. >> former senator claire mccaskill joins the discussion. "morning joe" is back in a moment. e discussion. "morningoe j" is back in a moment. deep clean messes like this, this, and even this. but i don't have to clean this, because the self-cleaning brush roll
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public at large this phone call is not an impeachable offense. and if it becomes an impeachable offense, gotd help the next president and the ones beyond. >> so lindsey's considerably since 1998, 1999. also, lindsey, we were there together. i don't know if you remember, but george w. bush got elected the next year, and republicans controlled washington, d.c. for the most part for the next six years. so you define republicans taking over washington as, quote, getting your -- kicked? i think most republicans would look at that differently. >> this is a strange time. joining us now, former u.s. senator, now an nbc news and msnbc political analyst, claire mcca mccaskill. let's stick to what the white house has so far. we will hear more about the
report, the whistle-blower report later today. of course, acting dni director maguire will be testifying shortly on capitol hill, but we know what the white house has released. is there anything to see there with the legal point of view, with the legal eye? >> oh, absolutely. you have to remember there's two laws here at play. one is that it is a crime to solicit any help from a foreign government in an american election. that's a crime. the second one is it is illegal for someone in government to use the power of government to facilitate something of value for themselves, either personally or politically. so i think it is really important for us to step back a minute and look at who this "i" g is. this inspector general in the intelligence community -- by the way, we only had one there since 2010. he is a 15-year-plus veteran of the department of judge advertise. he is a prosecutor.
everyone has described him as non-partisan. he did an investigation of this whistle-blower complaint. he interviewed witnesses in the white house. he did it like a prosecutor would do it, and then, importantly, he sent the file to the criminal division of doj where he used to work. so he knows the elements of these crimes. he understands what's in this file and he sent it to doj, and what did they do? that's where we really need to get to the facts here. bill barr said, oh, there's nothing of value here. are you kidding? do we remember hillary clinton and her e-mails? do we remember benghazi? just the whiff of an investigation from a foreign power would be incredibly potent for a candidate for the president of the united states. so i think this ig may end up being the unsung hero here because he knows what he's talking about and there's no way that trump can call him a partisan. he appointed him. >> i was going to say michael
atkinson is a trump appointee. >> exactly. >> not only did he refer it to the doj but he believed it met the threshold of urgent concern which is not something taken lightly because it has legal implications. >> it is our understanding this is the first time he has done that in this administration. the other question -- and he will be appearing on the senate side behind closed doors later this afternoon, but this morning we have joe maguire, admiral maguire, formerly in jsoc, worked under mccraven, very close to him. was down in tampa at sentcentco having retired out and was running the foundation for survivors and then is called up to take over the counterterrorism center, is held up for months and months. his family moved and all of the
uncertainty, he takes over the counterterrorism center and is plucked after the disastrous radcliff that was floated and is picked for dni. there is confusion over whether he threatened to resign or not. i suspect it is a tug-of-war, that he basically is telling the white house he will not take a dive for anybody. this is a man with a military career. he has nothing to lose here and he does not have political ambition, and is being criticized for having, you know, checked in with doj. he is going to take some heat for that today, but this -- this is a guy with a military record who is going to be down the line. >> and he is used to commanding officer, andrea. one of the things i think he checked with doj is because when you do something this big in the military, it goes up the chain. i think he probably thought just to be careful, even though he
had determined -- the whistle-blower determined under the statute it was urgent, so it is interesting. >> uh-huh. >> one of the things we've been talking about all morning is the difference between what is happening now and the mueller probe, and that investigation stretched out over nearly two years, one of the slow-moving drips and drabs. one of the things that struck me is the pace of this, how quickly it is going. my question is things are going rapidly. let's focus on today. what are you looking to see from today and also how it plays out? what tells are you looking for in how the white house respond and both parties on capitol hill? >> right. well, obviously the key -- look, stepping all the way back, the key to understanding or understanding the direction of this administration, of this presidency is not just what donald trump says and obviously people will be watching to see the level of ferocity of the tweets and looking to see rudy guilliani's reaction and all of the rest. but the interesting thing and what i encourage everyone to
watch are the cracks or nonexistent cracks, if you will, in the republican caucus in the house and republicans in the senate. i think -- i mean, you know, at a certainly level, right, the secret of the scandals of the trump administration is that they're not secret. i mean these are not. i mean it is all -- it is all just air. the transcript is there to read. >> yeah. >> i mean it is as if nixon were releasing the tapes. >> or as if somebody just shot somebody on fifth avenue. >> yeah, well, we're heading toward that fifth avenue moment. that's the exact way to put it. we are heading toward that fifth avenue moment. we are never going to get -- >> think we're there. he has done it in broad daylight. >> i don't know. maybe the question is a lot of people are there. the question is to watch republican leadership get closer to that realization, that what is actually going on here. >> you are actually talking about life and death. >> yes. >> you are talking about a democratic country being invaded by russia, and you are talking
about the president of the united states not meeting with leader and freezing military funding given to the ukrainians. >> tom cotton and people who are national security republicans -- >> you know what they're saying? >> he just shot somebody on fifth avenue. >> no, it is worse. >> trump spent the last two years making clear he is shoulder to shoulder with vladimir putin. when he wheels around and says to zelensky, hey, it is a nice country you have, it would be a shame if anything happened to it. >> way worse. >> guess what? when moscow mitch says nothing to see here, it is the same moscow mitch who ignored warning from the fbi, the cia, the united states military, and has continually allowed vladimir putin to threaten american democracy according to the intel community. >> it is why the name sticks. jeffrey goldberg, thank you very much. the atlantic festival concludes today in washington, d.c. >> it has been huge, huge. the woodstock for real smart folk. >> yes. we're excited. >> we are going to workshop that
description, but i think you are on to something. >> andrea mitchell, thank you so much. we will be watching andrea mitchell reports at noon here on msnbc. once again, congratulations. claire, stay with us. you will be back next hour and we build up today's testimony by the acting director of national intelligence before the house intelligence community. msnbc's chris matthews and nicolle wallace will join us for that as well. plus, we are learning about the approach nancy please wants to take in the push for impeachment, and it centers squarely on ukraine. "morning joe" is back in a moment. ♪ "morning joe" is back in a moment ♪ clean this, because the self-cleaning brush roll clean this, removes hair while i clean. - [announcer] shark, the vacuum that deep cleans now cleans itself.
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"morning joe". it is thursday, september 26th. along with joe, willie and me, we have former chief of staff at the cia and department of defense, nbc news national security analyst jeremy bash. political reporter for "the washington post", msnbc political analyst and moderator of "washington week" on pbs, robert costa. u.s. national editor at "the financial times" ed luce is with us. nbc news and msnbc law analyst and editor and chief of "law fair" benjamin wittis. benjamin lamire is with us, white house reporter for "the "associated press"" or as president trump calls him, a faker. >> you and all of the people around us, all fakers. >> we will be on the air past three hours today as we watching the acting dni director appear before the house intelligence committee. that will be fascinating. >> willie geist, what an
extraordinary 24 hours. you can go to the night before, before we actually got to see what the white house called the transcript. with people predicting it would be much ado about nothing, the next morning, of course, it explodes and a lot of republicans are shocked that actually the white house released that transcript. news continued breaking throughout the day and, of course, last night you had the whistle-blower report red. apparently it is so disturbing republicans on and off the record were saying it was far worse than what the white house released in the morning with ben sasse, actually who has been strangely silent over the past year, ben sasse coming out and talking about it being very troubling. >> yes, ben sasse was a tell to me last night, saying what he read in the report -- which by the way we may all see at some point today, the whistle-blower complaint as it has been classified. he said it was very troubling. so he has been a guy who hasn't said a word, hasn't made a peep.
he has a primary challenge. he doesn't want to cross donald trump, but he is worried about it. we will get more today. the transcript, the memo -- it wasn't a transcript. the memo, the summary of that phone call, if the white house thought that was going to be exculpatory, they would put it out and that would clear the air and everybody was going to move on, they're clearly living in a bubble where reality is not a part of the bubble. because he says right then and there, not only does he go to this wild conspiracy theory with a foreign leader about cloud strike but he talks about the other thing, and that is joe and hunter biden's work in ukraine. >> you nailed it right there. >> you know, that's what is so fascinating about it. you could actually see, ed luce, some trumpists dizzy throughout the day. >> twisting themselves into pretzels. finally about 4:00 yesterday afternoon they said, wait a second, the quid pro quo we're not going to fight on that
ground because as it was said, i can prove it to any jury any time, and if i couldn't i should be disbarred that there's a quid pro quo. they retreated from that position. by late afternoon they were saying that the quo was sufficiently separated from the quid. but of course it wasn't. what was so fascinating, and we always have people talking about how donald trump speaks like a mobster. you had cohen saying, everybody knows how this guy talks. so the president says, i would like you -- though after he asks for the javelin, i would like you to do us a favor because our country has -- i would like you to do us a favor though. then what i find so fascinating about it is he throws out crowdstrike and then he throws out hillary's e-mails. it is like three quick smoke screens and zenl sske zelensky p immediately and looks right past the smoke screen because he knows how thugs talk. what does he say?
we're having guilliani come over here and we're going to take care of what he terms as that investigation. he doesn't know about crowdstrike, he doesn't talk about hillary. >> although those are bad. >> he doesn't talk about mueller. he gets the mob talk. he looks right past it and says to trump, oh, yes, yes, guilliani. we have spoken to him, he is coming over and we're going to cooperate with him and look into the investigation, and that's when trump lets loose and starts talking about what he needs in exchange for the military support. >> yeah, i mean you don't need to read in between the lines much to get a quid pro quo. >> right. >> some of the smoke screens, crowdstrike to me i think rang the loudest alarm, which is a very sort of far-out conspiracy theory that the dnc hack edit self rather than was hacked by the russians. >> right. and the internal guy who hacked it, seth rich, was then killed by the clintons. it is up there with pizza gate in terms of the conspiracy
theory. >> you got. you nailed it. >> the president of the united states responds to a request from a democratic ally for weapons to push back vladimir putin who has invaded his country, but talking about seth rich. >> it is easy to sort of wince on behalf of zelensky. he is saying, i stayed in trump tower, i love you, i agree with you 100% on everything, but if you think of the context he's in, be bisected from the east by vladimir putin's forces, trying to annex the east of his country and trump on this call saying can you get involved on my side in a campaign that i might lose and that you might be severely punished for, this is an extremely difficult condition for any elected leader for any other country to be in. >> extraordinary. >> but for a young guy just inaugurated, you can understand where he's coming from.
>> by the way, mika, for people that even look at his language and question what he's doing, what he is doing is trying to save his country. he has vladimir putin who has already invaded and taken over crimea. he has russian-backed troops that are pushing in and have invaded his country. >> uh-huh. >> you have congress who has already approved the weapons that they have been asking for for years, and donald trump is president. the financial times and the "wall street journal" for perspective have been saying since i think early august that zelensky desperately needed the weapons and desperately needed a meeting with donald trump. that was before all of this whistle-blower information came out, that was being reported in the papers and trump wouldn't do it. you even had an aide to zelensky last night telling abc news we knew we weren't going to get the phone call and we weren't going to get the meeting and we
weren't going to get anything unless we talked about the biden investigation. >> and this is all stuff released from the white house. let's back up. sources tell nbc news that the whistle-blower complaint at the center of the ukraine scandal has been declassified with minimal redactions and is expected to be released this morning. now to the 30-minute july 25th phone call that sparked the controversy. the memo released by the white house shows president trump discussing joe biden and asking his ukrainian counterpart for a favor. it begins with the president congratulating ukrainian president zelensky on his party's recent parliamentary win and zelensky discussing the reforms he is making. president trump talks about how much the united states does for ukraine. zelensky agrees and said, thank you, i would like to thank you for your support in the area of defense. we are ready to cooperate with
the next steps, specifically we are almost ready to buy more javelins for defense purposes. trump respond, i would like you to do us a favor though because our country has been through a lot and ukraine knows a lot about it. i would like you to find out what happened with the situation with ukraine. they say crowdstrike -- crowdstrike is the name of the company that investigated the dnc server hack. trump continues. i guess you have one of our wealthy people -- the server, they say ukraine has it. there are a lot of things that went on, the whole situation. i think you are surrounding yourself with some of the same people. i would like to have the attorney general call you or your people and i would like you to get to the bottom of it. the president then brings up robert mule peller's testimony before congress the day before. as you saw yesterday that whole nonsense ended with a very poor
performance by a man named robert mueller, an incompetent performance, but they say a lot of it started with ukraine. whatever you can do, it is very important that you do it if that's possible. zelensky follows, yes, it is very important for me and everything that you just mentioned earlier, for me as a president it is very important and we are open for any future cooperation. >> now, now, it is very important there, robert, the president -- zelensky then starts talking about guilliani. we know he has been calling, he is going to come over. he says without donald trump even talking about biden, he looks past crowdstrike, he looks past the other smoke screens because that was a smoke screen before the ask comes in and then he goes, we're going to help you with, quote, that investigation, the guilliani investigation. that's when trump says, oh, yes, you need to talk not only to guilliani but you need to talk to the united states attorney
general and you all need to work together in smearing my domestic political rival. >> it has been fascinating as a reporter to cover president zelensky up close. i was with him in warsaw a few weeks ago when he met with vice president pence. you see the ukrainian delegation and president zelensky navigating the dynamics. you see the bewilderment on their face when you pull them aside about what they're trying to deal with here. rudy guilliani, a representative of the trump administration. you see a president who needs these weapons to deal with the russian issue in crimea. he is trying to navigate an administration he doesn't fully understand, but he is not going totally off course because he needs the funds yet he is just not sure exactly when he meets with president trump as he did in new york or as he did with vice president pence in wrar ar what do these people need to hear. again and again in maeg after meeting he keeps being careful,
nodding toward broad themes of corruption. we will work with you on corruption but he doesn't make many promises because you doesn't want to be pulled into the rip tide. >> still ahead, ben sasse speaks up and tells everyone to slow down, his words to democrats racing towards impeachment and republicans circling the wagons. >> and the press jumping to conclusions. >> that's next on "morning joe". . 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. it's how we care for our cancer patients- like job. when he was diagnosed with cancer, his team at ctca created a personalized care plan to treat his cancer and side effects. so job could continue to work and stay strong for his family. this is how we inspire hope. this is how we heal.
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i did read the transcript. it remains troubling in the extreme. it is deeply troubling. >> really troubling things here. republicans ought not just circle the wagons and democrats ought not have been using words like impeachment before they knew anything about the actual substance. the administration ought not be attacking the whistle-blower as some talking points suggest they plan to do. >> you know, ben sasse went on and called it -- i think he was right in everything he said,
what the white house shouldn't do, what the media shouldn't do, what democrats and republicans shouldn't do. you shouldn't leap to conclusions. talked about watching another network a few nights ago after this broke and people were sitting there going, how is the vote to go in the senate for impeachment. they've not even launched an inquiry yet. everybody needs to take a deep breath, slow down. we all can be very concerned by what we're seeing, it is very troubling, but let's just let the process play out. >> we are seeing what the white house has released and the reaction that we're seeing is shock to what has been released by the white house. it is not like we're trying to infer what they -- >> for good reason. >> -- had as an admission -- >> i've heard people saying we must act now, strike now. no, get the facts, analyze the facts and make your decision based upon the facts. everybody needs to slow down, which is basically what mitt romney said yesterday. romney taking the lead, saying
he is very troubled by this. they said, what are you going to do? he said, well, there's a process playing out in the house. there's a whistle-blower process playing out in the senate. let's let the processes play out, right? >> yesterday was revealing. i spent the whole day in the capital at the basement by the senate train where the senators come to the capital. mitt romney, veteran republican, senator from utah, he is one before the senate lunch who comes out and says the memo is extremely troubling and he can watching the house carefully. i pulled aside republican senators for background conversation and they were aghast at the white house earlier in the day. they said, what is the white house's strategy. there's no real communication about where it is going to play out, where the vulnerabilities are. but they wanted to be publicly with the president, he has so much political capital in the party. it was only after the senate lunches later in the day, after they talked more amongst
themselves you saw cracks beginning to emerge. you saw senator sass stand out there. >> talk about how you said yesterday it was a real tell because sasse is a primary opponent. he has taken a lot of criticism from, well, us and others -- us being mika and me, not you, bob. taken criticism for being quiet when many believe that this guy who at least his supporters portrayed as the conscience of the republican senate, he remained silent. yet it was surprising because he decided to speak out, and you say it was quite a tell. >> it was an important moment based on my reporting. that comment by senator sasse, his statement ricocheted around the republican party because he is a representative of what so many republicans have become, captive to president trump politically. they may have their own grievances about him, their complaints, but they keep it
quiet. >> quiet. >> he has president trump's endorsement for his reelection campaign. he is someone who knows he is in a red state. he need's president trump's support. at the same time for him to come out publicly amid all of president trump's popularity in the republican party, you see senator sasse giving more room to his colleagues to speak out. romney wasn't really enough for many of them and you will have to see more for the cracks to become a yawning division, but sasse pushed it even further down the field because romney is seen as an outliar who has his own standings in the party, but sasse is one who is really part of the party of trump. a lot of his colleagues were telling me late last night he is significant, more than romney because he is up for reelection. coming up on "morning joe", rudy guilliani says he's proud to have urged ukraine to investigate corruption. there's new details about rudy's role in all of this, and that's part -- and that part of the story is next on "morning joe". ♪ ♪
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deeply disturbing. it reinforces the concerns that what we previously learned -- >> the complaint itself is a five alarm concern for me. >> that call between president trump and ukrainian president zelensky now in question. not the first time the two men had spoken. according to "the new york times", when ukraine elected its new leader on april 21st of this year mr. trump seized on the moment as an opportunity to press his case. when hours of mr. zelensky's victory, mr. trump placed a congratulatory call. he urged mr. zelensky in that call to coordinate with rudy guilliani and pursue investigations of corruption. this is according to people familiar with the call, the details of which have not previously been reported. all of this in "the new york times". when asked about the april call between trump and zelensky, guilliani told nbc news, quote, i don't have any recollection of
anyone reaching out to me in reference to that call. guilliani added, the ukrainian people were calling me all the time. let's bring in national political reporter for nbc news, josh letterman, with new reporting on guilliani and another person who played a role in all of this. i guess the first question is why were people from ukraine calling rudy guilliani all the time, but you also in your new reporting introduce a new character into the story. who is mr. volker. >> we are learning more about ambassador curt volker is the one who introduced mr. guilliani to this aide to president zelensky. he had an unusual arrangement because he was brought in from the outside as an outside expert to serve as a ukraine envoy under special rules called a special employee which by law he had to be part time. he wouldn't work more than 120 days out of any year on ukraine. in the rest of his time he held down a number of jobs including
working at a d.c. lobby shop called the bcr group which continued to work on a contract for ukrainians for nearly two years after he took that role. they also lobbied for raytheon which makes the javelin missiles which trump in the call seemed to tie to whether or not trump would do him a favor. there's no indication volker did anything unethical or he was specifically working on ukraine at the lobby shop, but it is raising more questions now that we learn about the central role he played to introducing guilliani to the ukrainian. >> that's the go between, he knows the people well and he can connect guilliani to them so they can talk about corruption or whatever they want to discuss. >> exactly. and he got a phone call from the ambassador in july that said, is it okay if i give your number to the ukrainians and he met with the aide to zelensky in spain, spoke to him two more times.
guilliani reportitelling us he d back and at the end of the communication he got a text from the state department saying thank you for all of your help. >> guilliani, of course, wars brought on to be the president's personal attorney during the robert mueller russia investigation. he clearly plays a central role in all of this with the ukraine mess for lack of a better word. i talk to him, you talk to him, i know reporters talk to him. my sense is that there are some in the administration who are really angry at him, that feel he crossed a line and a lot is his doing. what is your sense about how safe is his role right now in the trump orbit? are people out to get him? >> his role is as safe as it is with donald trump. he will be the decider about whether or not rudy guilliani has any role in that orbit or not. as far as the rest of the government, those are exactly the concerns people raised. imagine you are the ukrainian government and on the one hand you are hearing from u.s.
diplomats from the state department about here is our agenda on economic reform, what we want you to do, and on the other hand you are hearing from rudy guilliani who is making clear that the president's priority is can you please dig up dirt on the vice pit. who are you going to listen to and what kind of challenge does it pose for the people supposed to present a united front of u.s. diplomacy around the world. >> nbc's josh letterman with new reporting on the story. good to see you. thanks so much. coming up on "morning joe", we will be staying live on the air as the director of acting national intelligence, joseph maguire, prepares to testify on capitol hill. msnbc will have continuing coverage but we will kick things off for you straight ahead. chris matthews joins the table as well. ♪ ♪
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couple of quid pro quos. >> i would like to have the attorney general call you or your people, and i would like you to get to the bottom of it. >> you scratch our backs, we'll scratch yours. >> there's a lot of talk about biden's son, that biden stopped the prosecution and people want to find out about it. >> i tell you things. >> rudy knows what is happening and he is a capable guy. if you could speak to him, that would be great. >> that would be great. >> okay. >> the united states has been very good to ukraine. >> how about a little something, you know, for the effort. >> okay. >> wow. we're back with the host of msnbc's "hardball" chris matthews, former chief of staff for the cia and department of defense, jeremy bash. pull its your columnist and associate editor of "the washington post" eugene robinson is with us. the host of deadline, former communications director for george w. bush, nicolle wallace is back. claire mccaskill.
former justice department spokesman, and jeremy lamire. we have a lot going on as we countdown to acting dni director's testimony. >> what a day yesterday. remarkable. >> it is a moment. >> what's your takeaway? >> it is a moment. democrats if they have brains and political savvy will grab this moment. no more hearings, no more subpoenas, no more contempt citations, no more process. they've got him. imagine this is a high crime, not something in the statutes. imagine if in the summer of 1940 churchill facing the nazis all alone said i need some destroyers mr. president and the president says instead of, you'll get them, said, i have something i want from you though. can you get me some dirt on wilke? it is unimaginable. unimaginable in american history a president would misuse a
national security position which he held. uniquely, only he could get them the weapons. only he could get them the javelin missiles to stop the russian tanks. he said, you'll get them only if i -- imagine. my question, this is it. when do you think they will have articles of impeachment on the house floor? 2019, 2020 or never? the best bet is 2019, they'll vote this fall. if they diddle this away until next year they're not going to vote. they will lose it because it is like the o.j. trial. you get the focus on who killed the woman, who killed the other guy, who did it. a year later the focus is all over the place. they don't need more hearings. they don't need more evidence. they got him. >> the white house gave it to us. >> gene, some may think it is hyperbole to conflate this with world war ii or o.j., but let's just stick with world war ii for a second because it is important. >> yes, it is. >> not so much because of how we
viewed things in 1940. fdr knew he was going to be involved. but zelensky in a churchillan position, and what we need to understand to really put these conversations in proper context is what zelensky is going through. >> exactly. >> while he is talking to donald trump, while his aides are fretting for months that donald trump will not call him, will not meet with him. >> exactly. >> will not unfreeze the aide. >> unfreeze the aid. >> zelensky has vladimir putin and russian troops that have already taken over crimea. they're moving towards kiev. they've already invaded his country. for zelensky it is every bit as mump of an existential crisis as churchill. his country is under attack. >> absolutely. his country is under attack. his country is partly occupied by his aggressive neighbor, and
so this is the most important conversation for him because he needs that aid. you know, one thing i'm curious about, this was -- for the president this was a situation room conversation with note takers and everything like that. so it seems to me -- i mean jeremy knows more about this than i do. but there had to be a conversation about the conversation before between staff to set it up, right, and to talk about what they were going to talk about. they talk about the fact that the president was going to raise the bidens, you know, i'll bet they did actually because they sort of lay cards on the table in those preconversations so everybody is prepared. this is, as chris said -- >> right. >> -- this is simple and it is laid out in the document that we got yesterday. >> by the white house. so as chris pointed out -- and i was saying to gene before we started the show, restarted the show here, it is like you asked meatball the cat if he ate a
lizard and he vomits out a l lizard. that's what the memo looks like. nicolle wallace, i will continue this. >> we have -- >> i will continue this. >> please don't. >> you have republicans and trump on tv saying, there is no lizard. how is this possible? we are in a battle for the truth here and it seems there are those that do not see what is plainly on paper delivered to the republicans and the democrats by the white house. >> you know what i keep thinking of? you know, there was a real feeling by the folks you just described, his allies, his sort of propagandists. he calls the republicans running against him the three stooges. i think the folks that showed up on the sunday shows fit that bill a lot better, mnuchen, pompeo and rudy got this all going for him of course. but i think the idea that mueller didn't get him may have been a premature analysis. mueller may have gotten him by emboldening him, by getting him to do something so flagrant, so
blatant, so simple, so obvious. >> so wrong. >> and something that he's so culpable of in full view that it ends up being the thing that gets him impeached. >> will, you know, it is fascinating. we are moving into a new phase now, the white house thinking they can control thing, the president thinking he can control the narrative. we saw last night we are moving well beyond operators inside the white house. now we have aides for zelensky coming out saying we understood all along. we were not going to get our meeting with donald trump. we were not going to get help from donald trump unless we talked to him about investigating joe biden's son. >> well, i don't have any metaphors about cats, lizards or o.j., but i will say this, if that's the strategy from the president, the brilliant strategy of the white house is to be transparent and put out the call and think it is exculpatory, i think they're in more trouble than we even know.
matt, if you look at -- we've been talking about the memo, the summary of the phone call with president trump and zelensky. zelensky knew exactly what was at stake in that phone call. as i said earlier in the show, when he was asked in the beginning, trump brought out the idea of crowdstrike, this wild conspiracy theory. he brought out the server and hillary and it was all about 2016. but zelensky's answer because he knew what he had to do to get his weapons against russia, went right to rudy guilliani. he knew. he read the sub text. trump didn't have to explicitly say it. he knew what the phone call was about. >> he knew what the phone call was about because it wasn't the first conversation he had or his aides had. when trump had the first phone call in april, he asked him to work with rudy guilliani to discuss corruption issues. you don't have to be a genius to figure out if the request is coming from the president's private attorney, it is not with how the state department yususuy
addresses corruption, it is something else. you had rudy guilliani running around trying to push them to investigate joe biden. by the time they had the call, you have a former aide to the ukrainean president, they knew even to get the call scheduled let alone the aid released they had to make some signals that they would do what the president wanted and relaunch this investigation. they knew exactly what was happening here, and it is kind of remarkable that republicans will pretend it is not obvious when it is obvious to everyone else. >> joe and mika, even as matt has been talking we have word we have the whistle-blower complaint. it has been released to the public. it has been declassified. it has been partially redacted. we will get it in our hands and sift through it. extraordinary timing, 17 minutes before the acting director of national intelligence sits in a public hearing we will all see before the intel committee. they will be able to ask direct questions of what the public can see in the whistle-blower complaint that was raised with,
quote, urgent colonel. >> urgent concern. that's the important thing to remember. they looked at it and the ig said there was urgent concern. the white house tried to do a slow roll, barr tried to do a slow roll, despite the fact donald trump tried to throw him in the middle of this. >> barr covered it up because barr was implicated. he was part of the plot the president referenced to zelensky. but in some way i think we are beyond the whistle-blower complaint because to chris's point the four corners of the transcript of the phone call effectively indict the president by his own word. in iran-contra, if you recall, the president wrote one page in violation of the amendment, poindexter shredded it. here we have the document in plain text. >> jonathan lemire. >> we are going through it another obviously, but it is certainly a significant moment
for the administration. the white house, you know, we have seen hef-it -- it is a fig we claimed to welcome the idea he have impeachment. we will see how it plays out time and time again. it was speaker pelosi committing towards impeachment at the beginning of the week pushed them to release the transcript, if you will, of the phone call yesterday and cooperating to get this out as well. this is a time they feel they have to make this play. it is not something they wanted to do but they are here. it speaks to the urgency of the moment and it speaks to where, you know, how serious this is. they feel it comes on the heels of the mueller probe but something they have less ability to control. we have been talk bing this, the idea that as much as the strategy is to cloud and smoke and really guilliani to dispute. this is a credible person laying out the facts. >> here is the other problem.
none of donald trump teflon-like capabilities with his base transfer, my understanding is once it was declassified a congressional source told me there are not white house staff names in the whistle-blower complaint. what atkinson did, the ig, was to corroborate it with a sizable number of white house staffers. their tushies are on the line, too. this is the first scandal that ensnares and exposes legal -- i guess the mueller probe did as well. it is a world he have pain for all of the trump enablers. this is now in black and white and in public. the fact where the mueller probe was opaque, where witnesses were shuttled into back door entrances and delivery doors, this will happen in full view and it is part of the scandal of donald trump's making. >> really as we look through the report, as we look through the letter to chairman bure and chairman schiff, mr. rudy guilliani is a central figure in
the effort. attorney general barr appears to be involved as well. over the past four months more than half a dozen u.s. officials have informed me of various facts related in this effort. and then he goes on to talk about the information that is provided herein. it is remarkable again in this letter that attorney general barr is mentioned as being involved. as jeremy said cover it up, however you want to describe it, chooses to not let the acting dni go to the hill to reveal the whistle-blower report that says right here attorney general barr appears to be involved in it as well. mika, what are you reading? >> i will jump to seven pages in. during the same time frame multiple u.s. officials told me that the ukrainian leadership
was led to believe that a meeting or phone call between the president and president zelensky would depend on whether zelensky showed a willingness to, quote, play ball on the issues that had been publicly aired by mr. lintc ro and mr. guilliani. it goes on. pretty -- >> namely, he sought the pressure of the ukrainian leader to take action in the presidential bid. there it is, that line. he did what he has been accused of doing. >> there are redactions. >> there are redactions, but you look at the language and it involves getting him involved in the 2020 election, dig up dirt on joe biden. also, of course, that the president has involved -- it appears that the president has involved attorney general barr in this as well in the letter
that went to bure and schiff. of course, it is extraordinarily damning that the ukrainians were led to believe they would only get cooperation from donald trump and the united states of america if they, quote, played ball and helped dig up dirt on joe biden. >> and really, claire, this underlines in more specific detail because there's follow-on investigation of what we read in the summary of the phone call. this gives us much more detail. >> what is really interesting is the white house distributed talking points, ham handedly i might add because they sent them to the democrats too. part of the talking point was that zelensky brought up guilliani first. >> right. >> well, let's look at this document in this context and let's go back to april when the president called him first after the election, as matt referenced, and started talking about how you have to work with guilliani. then guilliani announced he was going to the ukraine.
now, wait a minute. what is guilliani going to the ukraine? >> and he says that the state department sent him. talk about ensnaring a lot of people. >> so pompeo now has some explaining to do. >> exactly. >> obviously they knew -- they brought up guilliani because guilliani had been epicenter of this whole effort by trump to figure out a way to make joe biden's son the focus of his reelection effort. >> and if you go to roman numeral ii on page three, efforts to restrict access to records related to the call. in the days following the phone call i learned from multiple u.s. officials that senior white house officials had intervened to, quote, lockdown all records of the phone call, especially the official word-for-word transcript of the call that was produced as is customary by the white house situation room. the set of actions underscored to me that white house officials understood the gravity of what
conspired in the call. let me continue. >> oh, my god. wow. >> white house officials told me that they were directed by white house lawyers to remove the electronic transcript from the computerelectronic transcript from the computer system in which transcripts are stored for coordination, finalization, and distribution." >> instead the stratranscript w loaded into a separate system used to store and handle classified information of an especially sensitive nation. an act of the abuse of this electronic system. >> it's covering it up, it's consciousness of guilt. they knew at the time what the president was doing. they heard this call and they said, you know, holy bleep. >> an official described this
act as an abuse of the electronic system because the call did not contain anything remotely sensitive from a national security perspective. >> this is not good for the president, it had to be squashed and covered up, matt miller all of this coming from time and again white house officials, people in the white house who listened to that call, thought enough to raise concern as whistle-blowers. >> it tells me they covered it up immediately. he says this was a perfect call where nothing inappropriate happened and it raises a very significant question for me. it was involved that the white house was involved in the decision not to send this whistle-blower complaint to the hill, as is barr. when they are complaining about actions by the attorney general and white house officials and the same white house officials intervene to block this complaint from being sent to the hill, it is a clear and
deliberate cover up of what happened. >> and we learned that this was referred to doj for general investigation. >> i don't know how that decision was made. if this information was available to them. it is as everyone there say consciousness of guilty. it is way outside of the norms for how to do it. and it speaks to the other -- remember the referral. >> and here we are again, and i'm reporting an urgent concern, remember the language here. and in the course of my official duties i have received
information from multiple officials that the president is using the power of his office to solicit interference in the 2020 election. >> let me go back to this language. the interference includes among other things pressuring a foreign country to ngt oinvesti one of the president's main rivals. attorney general barr appears to be involved as well. and despite that, despite the attorney general of the united states seeing that the inspector general for the intelligence community says that he is involved, and this investigation, and this whistle-blower complaint. he still tells the acting dni that he cannot follow this statute and transmit this to elected leaders on the hill.
>> i see a lot of henchman behavior here. it is like -- nixon's way. he interposed his own team of plumbers. i have people to operate outside of the state department. i'm going to get what i want. and he thought biden was his number one threat. biden was beating him in all of the polls, he had to stop him and that's where his focus was. it is clear this is so nixonian. >> people are going to get scared. there was a dozen white house officials listening to this phone call, they're all going to stand with trump on this?
>> we also have the inspector general's letter. i believe the complain appears credible. it appears credible. they have official and authorized access to the information and sources referenced in want complaintants letter. they have official access. it is not just the president of the united states that is implicated deeply by this expecter generals report. it is the attorney general of the united states who circumvented normal procedure for the intell community and actually stopped the whist whistle-blower complaint from
taking their regular course coming from the inspector general of the community. it was attorney general barr that the inspector general said from this understanding that was also involved. who killed that? >> i think we're seeing why ben sass, a republican senator who has not crossed the president in a long time is calling this very troubling. you have been reading through, what jumps out at you? >> there is direct evidence of kwid p quid pro quo. they said it would depend on whether or not he showed willingness to play ball on the issues pub liblicly aired.
they have testified at committees -- >> they have been identified, atkinson, they have corroborated this account. they know who these white house officials are, they have been interviewed by the inspector general. >> and the appendix points out that they won in instead. it was made clear that the president did not want to meet we him until he saw how he chose to act in congress. and it is my understanding that it would depend on if there was willingness to play ball. >> what don mcgann was unable to do was keep him on this side of
criminali criminality. what has not happened is these people helped him break the law and they may have general exposure themselves. >> on page five, what is really important here is the ig, a trained federal prosecutor knew there could be push back, and he included adan coats quote. they are undermining the core of our democratic process. barr had the lawyers and the d.o.j. say nevermind this is not in your jurisdiction. even though in the report, it said -- >> a trump appointee, it says
this is clearly election security. >> we are going over the inspector general's letter. and it is important to know that the ig of the intel community is a trump appointee. one of the more revealing things, and one of the reasons that they may not move quite as quickly, there was approximately a dozen of officials that listened to the call. as is customary. they said participation in the call was not restricted in advance because everyone wanted it would be a row te routine ca
a foreign lead er soft take the dozen white house officials and the people around pompeo that knew about it, the people around bar that knew about this, the people around the white house that knew about this. the people around zolinski that knew about this. suddenly this little conspiracy expands. and it is something that cannot be contained and barr knows he is on the hot seat now. he can play it cool if he wants to, but a $30,000 christmas party at the trump appropriate is not going to protect him, zolinski will have to explain this as well. the you trainians are saying we knew if we didn't play ball that we were not going