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tv   Deadline White House  MSNBC  October 18, 2019 1:00pm-2:00pm PDT

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500,000 people on the streets that have sometimes turned violent. we are going to continue to keep our eye on it. but that's going to wrap up this hour for me. i'm chris jansing. you can always find me on twitter. have a good weekend, everybody. "deadline: white house" with peter alexander in for nicolle wallace starts right now. ♪ >> it is 4:00 here in new york. i'm peter alexander in today for my friend nicolle wallace. unrelenting news in the impeachment inquiry with donald trump. we are watching capitol hill as the clock ticks down on subpoena deadlines tonight for two top trump administration officials at the heart of this ukraine scandal. trump's energy secretary rick perry who was identified this week as one of the, quote, three amigos tapped with carrying out the president's pressure campaign against ukraine and who incidentally just notified the president that he plans to resign soon. and acting white house chief of staff mick mulvaney who is expected to defy his subpoena as he works to dig himself out from
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under the damage that he did to the president's argument yesterday when he stood there in front of that room full of reporters, myself included, and acknowledged a quid pro quo revealing that nearly $400 million in military aid for ukraine would be paid out if ukraine agreed to investigate mr. trump's political enemies. and despite an attempt to walk that back, that admission back, hours latering claiming, quote, there was absolutely no quid pro quo between ukrainian military aid and any etion investigation into the 2016 election. mulvaney now finds himself facing his own inconvenient truth. he was speaking on live television. and white house reporters in the room gave him multiple opportunities to clarify or even to take back his statements and even tried to make sure that he understood the gravity of what he was revealing that there was in fact a quid pro quo. >> that he also mentioned to me in the past that the corruption related to the dnc server,
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absolutely. no question about that. but that's it, and that's why we held up the money. now there was a report -- >> so the demand for an investigation into the democrats was part of the reason that he -- >> it was -- >> that he wanted to withhold funding to ukraine? >> the lookback to what happened in 2016 certainly was part of the thing that he was worried about in corruption with that nation. and that is absolutely appropriate. >> withholding the funding? >> yeah. and i have news for everybody. get over it. >> what you just described is a quid pro quo. it is funding will not flow unless the investigation into the democrat server happened as well. >> we do that all the time with foreign policy. >> that was mick mulvaney at the podium here yesterday. nbc news reporting today on the scramble behind the scenes in the white house in the wake of what might've been the most bungled day in rapid response yet, two people familiar with the matter saying that mulvaney's admission, quote, angered and confused allies of president trump both inside and outside the administration
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adding one of them called mulvaney's comments an unmitigated disaster. the "new york times" said the comments sent washington into turmoil. and this from "the washington post." quote, one trump adviser calling it totally inexplicable adding he literally said the thing the president and everyone else said did not happen. that gasoline that mick mulvaney poured onto his own west wing's impeachment fire punksating a remarkable week of developments in the inquiry into the president. that is where we start today. joining us here at the table is "associated press" white house reporter jonathan lemire. kimberly atkins senior correspondent for boston's public news station wbur. plus our difference former u.s. attorney joyce vance is here. what we witnessed yesterday was
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remarkable. for one it was the first time in 308 days as acting white house chief of staff that mick mulvaney came to the podium. you don't just say, i'm going to just go and talk to reporters, certainly not in this administration. after the fact we know from the "wall street journal" that the president said he agreed on the need for mulvaney to walk back his comments and personally approved his chief statement, a white house official said. but what happened ahead of time? what happened behind the scenes for mulvaney to walk out there and effectively undercut the president's story? >> there are a few things going on at once yesterday. let's just set the stage a little bit. the president was on his way to texas for an event, a rally in dallas. the vice president and secretary of state were on their way to turkey for a high-level meeting with syria. and the white house wanted to announce that they had picked doral, the president's golf course outside of miami to be the site of next year's g7 which they knew of course would be met with some real criticism and it was. many believe it's a direct
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violation of the emoluments clause. so he went out there and did it. of course he faced questions of ukraine. people afterwards were stunned that mulvaney sort of freelanced a little bit, whether it was intentionally or simply he had got tripped up. >> mulvaney's a smart guy. that's the tricky part. >> he is not really spoken to the press in the briefing room setting. he is someone who is known as having a good rapport with reporters. he enjoys it. he told people he likes being in front of the cameras. so there are a lot of people really baffled as to what went so wrong yesterday. what we saw was a really unusual amount of pushback from the department of justice which immediately put out a statement saying that they were not sure what he was talking about. >> let me put those up on the screen for a second because you and i both know that you don't hear the justice department pushing was okay this white house almost ever. here's what we heard from the
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justice department. if the white house was withholding aid from ukraine with regard to any investigation by the justice department, that's news to us. they weren't the only ones who were upset or concerned by what they heard. jay sekulow saying the president's legal counsel was not involved in acting chief of staff mick mulvaney's press briefing. >> neither of those places, the personal attorneys or the doj are really ever spoken back to the white house like this. so that was surely jaw-dropping. and the president signed off on the need to clean the statement up yesterday. and i think there's at least some speculation that wondering if mulvaney's position may be in jeopardy. >> i think a lot of people have asked how he remains only an acting chief of staff after this long. joyce, let me ask you about this. the clarification that he tried to put out five hours after he said it in realtime to everybody watching on live tv, does that
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erase his admission in any form? we all watched what he said. >> it doesn't erase it at all. you know, we've got conflicting statements. if this were to become, say, a criminal trial, then it would be up to a jury to decide which statement was more credible. i think you all saw it in the press room. the american people saw it on tv. and that first statement came off as much more credible, which is very disturbing, as you pointed out to doj to jay sekulow because now they would be in the position of having to defend an acknowledged quid pro quo. and the problem with that is that it's core bribery. the president has pushed off other criminal violations or things that shouldn't be crimes. but everyone understands bribery. >> and, joyce, often from this white house and from their legal team we've heard them invoke executive privilege claims to kind of protect any conversations that take place with the president. we heard from mick mulvaney yesterday and we played this quote at the beginning. he said did he also mention to me in the past that the corruption related to the dnc
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server? absolutely. so he acknowledged publicly to us part of his conversations with the president of the united states but later in the same conversation he said i'm not going to address my conversations with the president. >> right. this white house is engaged in a full frontal assault on the rule of law wildly asserting privileges of all types where they don't exist. this case is a little bit closer. the prison would extend to legitimate advisory conversations between the president and key advisers. if you disclose those conversations publicly, you violate the privilege. but mulvaney was on the line here acknowledging that they had had conversations without going into the substance with a normal white house you would expect there to be if this came up some sort of negotiated accommodation about what would and wouldn't be disclosed. but this white house continues to stonewall. they will assert privilege here. >> chris, you don't even need this to be a quid pro quo for it to be illegal, right? for any person to solicit, accept, or receive anything of value from a foreign national to
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benefit a domestic election is illegal, is a violation. >> yeah. what happened yesterday wasn't just brazen. it was actually stupid as well. in addition to everything jonathan mentioned that was happening there are depositions happening on capitol hill including of gordon sondland, the ambassador to the e.u., and the main contention is his text where he said there is no quid pro quo. so during these depositions where republicans are trying to push back as to whether there is a quid pro quo, you've got the white house chief of staff standing in the press briefing room basically admitting it. and that's why people have said it's game over. >> let me walk people through this for a second because you almost didn't need mick mulvaney to say what he said. we are hearing it from behind closed doors and in the opening statements that are provided publicly from a series of key former and current officials of this administration. first fiona hill, this from the "new york times." she said of the e.u. ambassador gordon sondland let out an agreement that there would be a meeting between trump and ukraine's volodymyr zelensky.
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the white house was seeking. then nbc news reports the headline from sondland's testimony trump pushed giuliani to have ukraine investigate his political opponents and bill taylor he was important. for help with a political campaign. what would investigators do with this revelation? you worked as an attorney. >> well, look. at this point they are trying to build the strongest possible case. you could certainly make the argument based on the release of the transcript of the president and president zelensky. that's enough. you have yesterday's admission by mick mulvaney. but you also have the other testimony. you have fiona hill's testimony that sondland apparently raised this issue twice in the west wing with ukrainian officials. it was so disturbing that the national security adviser john bolton said, hey, you have to go
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report that to the white house lawyers. what they are doing is not just focusing on those couple of lines that are in the transcript. they are trying to tell you a broader story. this was just not a one-off conversation. this was a coordinated action where career diplomats were side-lined. foreign policy was run through rudy giuliani for simply partisan political purposes. >> we've seen a lot of walk-backs and the white house say one thing publicly. they sort of shout out loud sometimes to make it better on ukraine and china. yeah, no, i think they should investigate the bidens. but yesterday felt different even as i was sitting in that briefing room looking around at other reporters we were all making eyes at each other like what are they trying to do here? the thinking was they must be just trying to move the goal post. but then ultimately they said we don't want to do that at all. >> we are assuming that there is some broad strategy. one important thing that mick mulvaney said was, no, we don't have a war room, we don't need a war room. both the reporter and the lawyer in me said, yeah, you really need a war room to figure this
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out to figure out not only particularly things that joyce was talking about but things like privilege. there are important legal landmines that you can very easily step on which we saw mick mulvaney do during the course of that, possibly blowing up privileged claims a lot of the privileged claims have already been blown up by folks including rudy giuliani. and at the same time as you said there are these depositions taking place on the hill. it's a very perilous politically and legally perilous time. and to have someone just out there freelancing and spitballing just seemed really extraordinary. and it also brought to mind one of my favorite judge judy quotes is that if you tell the truth you don't have to have a good memory. it seems that mick mulvaney was just saying it as it was and trying to make the case that it was okay that it was normal when it absolutely is not and it makes it a lot difficult for all these other folks to say, no, there was not a quid pro quo, nobody was talking about these other things. this was just about corruption. >> bonus points for you for
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getting the judge judy reference. as it relates to mick mulvaney, what is his exposure at the end of the day based on what we've heard from him and what we know of him from what's been taking place in terms of testimony? >> it's important to remember that it's only the president who's immune from prosecution under the memo that's been written by the office of legal counsel at doj. so anyone else who's part of a conspiracy or other sort of criminal engagement is theoretically at risk of a criminal prosecution. it seems unlikely that we'll see that from bill barr's justice department. but there is a five-year statute of limitations which means that the clock ticks for a very long time on misconduct including conspiracy to bribe or to violate campaign finance. >> it's worth reminding people, let's go back to november of 2016. this is a sound byte. this is mick mulvaney speaking
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about then candidate trump before he was elected. take a listen. if you're listening to us on sirius xm radio right now, let me just repeat the last half of it because it may not have been here. he said yes i am supporting trump. i am doing so as enthusiastically as i can given the fact that i think he is a terrible human being. that's the man who is serving alongside the president. he has brought people into his inner circle and then found out they said things about him in the past. mulvaney somehow got in there. but do you think mulvaney, john, is willing to sort of put himself on the line for a president that he himself said was a terrible human being? >> we are about to find out. if the president at this point was forgiving or at least willing to overlook those comments, mulvaney has had
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multiple jobs. he's had three i think at this point including perhaps the most prominent one beyond the president himself as acting chief of staff. mulvaney has also taken a very different approach than his predecessor. john kelly came in with trying to impose some discipline and processes. it worked for a time before the president stopped listening to him. mulvaney said trump can be trump and i am going to sort of work elsewhere in the government and try to push through conservative ideals and i am not interested in trying to control what he tweets or who he talks to. with some misentertainments without talking to the president's attorneys without running this by doj, all of that. and now he has deptly increased the hot water. and i think it will be interesting to see in the coming
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days the republican senators who have been willing to overlook this who hold the president's fate in their hands if he is indeed impeached by the house. they are the ones who will put him on trial. does this year with mulvaney basically admitting to the quid pro quo to an impeachable offense, does that change any of their minds? >> let me ask you about tom bossert. he talked about his frustration that the white house was still pursuing this debunked conspiracy theory. he acknowledged that he told the president as much in the past. let's hear from him. take a listen. >> what the president is referring to there is a debunked conspiracy theory that somehow ukraine not russia hacked the democratic emails in 2016 and the ukraine might have the dnc server or hillary's emails. the details are both convoluted and false. during your time in the white house you explained that to the president, right? >> i did. it's not only a conspiracy
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frustrated with what he and the legal team is doing and repeating that debunked theory to the president. it sticks in his mind when he hears it over and over again. and for clarity here, george, let me just again repeat that it has no validity. >> he said he is frustrated with he and the legal team and mick mulvaney, the guy who basically serves by his side perhaps the second most powerful person in this country. >> yeah. no, this is incredible. this is not just u.s. diplomacy being used to serve partisan purposes, which is improper. it's actually going out there to try to dig out and find conspiracy theories. you've heard this happen, whether it's george kent or fiona hill. the career diplomats have been trying to raise red flags and say, this is crazy. we are trying to maintain relations with ukraine. you are injecting all of these other things. and what happens? they get sidelined, the three amigos, you guys figure it out. >> when we come back, the wave of witnesses on capitol hill a
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week of closed-door testimony and what we are learning about the president's role in pressuring ukraine to do his political dirty work. also taking credit for a crisis of his own making after turning his back on american allies. today president trump said the kurds are very happy with the way things are going in syria. general barry mccaffrey will be here to weigh in on that. and it's almost like they wrote the constitution to handle this type of event. oh, wait, they did. we will be right back. ♪ hour 36 in the stakeout. as soon as the homeowners arrive, we'll inform them that liberty mutual customizes home insurance, so they'll only pay for what they need. your turn to keep watch, limu. wake me up if you see anything. [ snoring ] [ loud squawking and siren blaring ] only pay for what you need. ♪ liberty. liberty. liberty. liberty. ♪
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we're back now on "deadline: white house." the impeachment inquiry started with just two things, a whistle-blower complaint and a rough transcript of a phone call. but in the mere 24 days since then, nonstop closed-door testimony has shown those were just the tip of a very big iceberg. just this week some of the main characters in the ukraine saga have helped fill in the blanks. watch this. we are going to try to walk you through this. they have steadily helped build a body of evidence that increasingly implicates the president. this started on monday with trump's former russia adviser and ukraine adviser fiona hill. she described her initial alarm with the fact that rudy giuliani was essentially running a shadow foreign policy for the president's political gain that bypassed traditional channels and detailed the concerns of her boss john bolton who said he did not want any part of the so-called drug deal, his words that trump's allies were pursuing with ukraine. bolton even told ms. hill to alert white house lawyers. then on tuesday george kent added onto that testimony. he is the deputy assistant
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secretary of state in charge of ukraine. kent told house investigators that he raised early concerns about giuliani and ukraine but says mulvaney told him to, quote, lay low. kent's testimony also introduced us to that group that called itself the three amigos elbowing other officials at the state department out of the waffly. so it makes sense that on wednesday we then heard from a former senior adviser to the form secretary of state. michael mckinley. he has worked for both republicans and democrats. he revealed that he quit out of concern for the mistreatment about diplomats. but it was yesterday that things finally came full circle. gordon sondland, one of those three amigos we just talked about broke with the president insisting it was donald trump who personally directed him to work with giuliani on ukraine. joining us now at the table is reverend al sharpton, our friend, host of "politicsnation"
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and president of the national action network joyce vance. rev, to you quickly, impeachment inquiry shows trump at the center of ukraine efforts against rivals. it all comes back to donald trump himself, doesn't it? >> it all comes back. i think what is amazing, if you start from fiona hill all the way to sondland is that they are all giving complete and direct evidence that this came from the president. and if that wasn't enough and he certainly is enough, you have his own acting chief of staff saying, yes, we did it, and get over it. so i don't know what else the american public needs or the congress needs when you have people saying one right after another that we were directed to do political favors for the president using approved u.s. congress approved funds, military aid to ukraine, and we
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are going to extract from that we want you to do certain things politically. and when mulvaney says that oh, no, no, we didn't do it for this, we did it for this investigation, we wanted to get into the dnc server, so it's like a bank robber saying we didn't rob wells fargo, we robbed jp morgan. you are still a bank robber. you are supposed to go to jail. >> chris, are you surprised at the pace of this? i think that's what's so striking for all of us who sort of marinated in the mueller evidence and there wasn't any primary evidence. here we are literally hearing day in day out testimony from former and current officials. it's like the blockade has been breached. >> let's go down a little bit of history. the watergate, you will remember, he resigned after he released the smoking gun tape. in clinton he went months saying i did not have relations with that woman. in this case we have essentially taken the smoking gun tape and
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they put it out first. and so basically what is happening now is filling in all the blanks. and what the contrast is to watergate for a long time in watergate it was unclear as whether this was simply the plumbers or all the other people around nixon. what's happening here is this is an effort that's been orchestrated by the president of the united states to push aside career diplomats to put his own political agenda, his own political people. i think at this point the game is over as reverend said. it's just how it ends and how you fill in the blanks. >> the mueller probe, not only was it slow, it wasn't clear what exactly collusion may have occurred. and even when we heard about obstruction of justice, there was a political argument, like, well, can you really get someone for obstruction of justice if you hadn't proven the underlying crime? this one seems pretty to understand and that's what they are worried about is that there might be a moment where and the public pressure is such on not
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just the house democrats, we are already there for that, but potentially even at least some senate republicans where they might feel like they need to start taking this more seriously asking harder questions, perhaps even voting to remove. because we are seeing the impeachment polls. the public has, you know, surged in that direction time and time again pushing towards at least the impeachment inquiry. now a majority of americans want that according to certain polls. and others at least, there is a percentage of people who think he should be removed from office. i think that even if the president were to be survived, think how politically damaging it would be if a number of republican senators broke with him. even if he survived the vote. the but if he was just badly damaged, that's not how you want to go into re-election. >> already break right now are these current and former officials. they try to set up this blockade. they say you have a cascade of chaos, pick your ilit relation here. there are a parade of officials who are detailing their
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experience. these are folks who worked for not just for the president in some cases but for republicans in the past. >> the process here is really dysfunctional. and i have to just briefly disagree with jonathan's characterization of the mueller investigation as slow. it was remarkably fast for a public corruption investigation. that may have been some of the problem with it was the pace it moved at, it really was in many ways ahead of the evidence. they were so far along that some of these warning signs happened much too late for investigators to pick up on. we are seeing sort of the opposite of that here whereas chris said the primary document is up out front. we actually know what the sin, what the high crime and misdemeanor is. and now we are hearing from witnesses who are career people. these are not folks with a political ax to grind. they are what prosecutors would call fact witnesses. but the process is dysfunctional because instead of investigation like we had in watergate or in the clinton case involving doj
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or special prosecutors, congress, congressional committees, are being forced to conduct what would otherwise be a secret grand jury investigation. that's why we are getting access to so many details so quickly. >> and, kim, of course this was a big week for another individual who's not a member of the white house team but has been certainly pointing their finger at them over recent days. that's nancy pelosi. the photograph that the white house posted from that moment inside the cabinet room earlier this week. the president you are still kind of struck as someone who works at the white house thought this reflected well on them. she posted as the banner on twitter. it is another example of her being the sort of leading democrat who has been able to sort of take it to the president repeatedly. think about all the memes that we have now about nancy pelosi, this photograph in itself. time after time after time nancy pelosi has shown that she is a
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brilliant tacktition not just politically but when it comes to messaging. and getting out the message and knowing how to handle this president. she is the only person that the president has not been able to belittle with a nickname to sort of isolate and make ineffective. she's been very effective in this and being the face of this impeachment probe is the biggest problem that the president has. >> and the president was sort of grasping for straws when all of a sudden she said he had a melt down. then he said she had a meltdown. i want to thank you all for being here with us, spending some time with us today. after this break, president trump his latest false comment assessing the situation right now in the middle east claiming the kurds are, quote, very happy about the way things are going. we will fact-check that next. hi. maria ramirez!
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fight a little while. sometimes you have to let them fight. it's like two kids in a lot you got to let them fight and then you pull them apart. >> that was the president in dallas last night suggesting that turkey's military assault on the kurds was a good thing. and here is how the president's former envoy overseeing the fight against isis reacted. brett mcgurk tweeting this is an obscene and ignorant statement. 200,000 innocent people displaced, hundreds dead, credible reports of war crimes, isis prisoners escaping, u.s. evacuating and bombing its own positions. two kids in a lot he asked? the kurdish forces, america's biggest allies in the fight against isis given five days to leave their land or else turkey will resume its military operation against them. here's how the president characterized that situation today. >> we have isis totally under guard, turkey is also guarding separately. they are watching over
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everything. so you have the kurds who we are dealing with and are very happy about the way things are going, i must say. the kurds, sometimes you have to go through some pain before you can get a good solution. but the kurds are very happy about it. president erdogan in turkey is satisfied with it. and we are in a very strong position. >> joining this conversation retired four-star general barry mccaffrey and at the table here in new york doug thornell. general mccaffrey, let me get to you quickly, if i can. we just heard the president of the united states insist that the kurds were very happy here. we know that is not true. what is your reaction to the president making that false claim before america? >> well, it's simply absurd, it's cruel. it makes him look stupid. it makes him look as if he completely misses the point of ethnic cleansing of the kurds by the hundreds of thousands
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fleeing what will turn into a massacre at the hands of arab militias if they don't run for it. it ignores the fact we abandon our allies who fought for our purpose against isis and syria. it's simply an appalling stat the kurds gain anything? is there any positive in this for the kurds, one simple item that they benefit by here? can you name one? >> not a one. they got turned over to their enemies by the united states with no notice. and by the way the united states forces on the ground didn't know this was coming either. you know, the real question in my mind, you look at that letter that the president sent erdogan. >> don't be a tough guy, don't be a fool, he wrote. >> yeah. i mean, what was going on? what did he actually think he was achieving? what is the motivation for turning our back on people that contributed enormously to our
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own national security structure? i don't know. i think it deserves a careful analysis by congress. this appears to be essentially a rogue presidency. >> a rogue presidency. rev, how do you combat a president who is unapologetic about saying things that are demonstrably false again and again? this may be the most clear example yet. >> the only way is to remove him. and i think that that may end up happening. when you look at the bases of this whole fight, you are talking about ethnic cleansing. you are talking about people that are fighting that was our greatest allies in the region. you are talking about now this president has delivered a foothold, a strong one at that for russia, and he's helped assad who is an ally of russia. so this is no little thing to compare that to some kids
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fighting in the school yard, let them fight it out when you're talking about ethnic cleansing and having the enemy adversaries of this country get a real foothold in the middle east is absurd by anybody's standards. and i think that anybody that even acts like you can't even joke about this. i mean, we all sometimes do sound bytes. there is no sound byte. the seriousness of this i think really is appalling. >> and you talk about the impulsivity of this president, the lack of strategy as we talked about as it relates to ukraine, the defense there as it relates to syria here. you heard the president saying basically, yeah, sometimes you got to let them fight it out. 24 hours earlier this is what he said. >> and president obama was pure and simply outsmarted. they took crimea during his term. that was not a good thing. it could've been stopped. but more importantly i didn't
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give them a green light. if anybody saw the letter which can be released very easily if you'd like, i can certainly release it. but i wrote a letter right after that conversation, a very powerful letter that was never given a green light. frankly they have been fighting for many, many years. >> the president of the united states said i didn't give him referring to erdogan a green light. that was wednesday. on thursday he said it's an unconventional strategy, sometimes you have to let them fight it out. so he said he didn't do it and then he said he did do it. there is literally no strategy and it appears that there wasn't one in the beginning. >> in that letter he sent to erdogan is sitting in erdogan's trash can right now. that's where he threw it because it was so ridiculous. and i think that is the foreign policy. it's all being run by donald trump. he's not listening to folks on the military on the ground. he's not listening to the state department. and he has made this country weaker and has undermined our national security.
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and i think if you're democrats and you are looking at prosecuting this argument in an election, this is the first time in years where you have an opportunity to actually go on the offense against a republican on national security and foreign policy because there are countless examples of him selling this country out to our enemies. >> mitch mcconnell in an op ed that published while we were sitting at this table for "the washington post" writes, withdrawing from syria is a grave mistake. he had been critical before the ceasefire. this is his new statement after the ceasefire. he's no more satisfied with this. we heard from the president earlier this week. he said the situation at the syrian border was, quote, strategically brilliant. so if it was strategically brilliant, then why was there a need to sanction turkey and to send the vice president and the secretary of state to rush over to ankara to try to work on a
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ceasefire? >> well, peter, there is not a shred of coherence to any of this stuff. he is making it up. you had a phone call. he absolutely directly allowed the turks to start their offensive. had he said i am going to send 200 more soldiers to the border, u.s. troops, i am going to mass air power, they wouldn't have done it. so he green-lighted the thing. it happened. now these statements are coming out that literally have no bearing on reality. >> general, he calls them my generals, everybody is his, in effect. you know a lot of these people that now presently serve the president in one form or another. what are they saying to each other, if not publicly, privately about their concerns about the president's decision-making process as it relates to national security and foreign policy of this kind? >> well, i wouldn't dream of speaking for the active duty military. they are being extremely focused on not looking as if they are
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being disloyal under the constitution of the united states to the actual commander in chief. and as long as he has given them legal orders they are going to follow them. they are trying to not leak out statements like with tillerson "he is a blanking moron." that the defense establishment, state, treasury, ciadod are appalled. there is no process any longer. the national security council has gone dark. they are cutting the staff. there is nobody there that even checked the grammar of a letter from one head of state to another about a national security issue. the thing read like it was a fifth-grade letter. so, again, the process is gone. and you can take a look at that photo of the cabinet meeting with the press pool and look at the chairman of the jcs with a thundercloud face and his face looking down toward the table.
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it's unprecedented. >> that was as remarkable in that picture. you saw nancy pelosi on one side, the president on the other and all those members of the military community with their eyes sort of focused on their hands below there. up next, what "the washington post" calls the
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lifetime retirement income from tiaa doesn't. guaranteed monthly income for life. nooooo! i'm not just an overrated general. i am the greatest, the world's most overrated. [ laughter ] some of you were kind during the reception and asked me, you know, if this bothered me to have been rated this way based on what donald trump said. i said of course not. i earned my spurs on the battlefield, martin as you pointed out and donald trump earned his spurs in the letter from a doctor. >> that was president trump's former defense secretary general james mattis with a rare jab at his former boss at what they call the al smith dinner here in new york city last night. general mattis has refrained from speaking out against
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president trump saying when you leave an administration you owe some silence. that silence in contrast to a scathing op ed in the "new york times" by another top military officer. his name is admirable william mcraven. he was the man who oversaw that raid that killed osama bin laden. he writes that the country is under attack from within. he writes, quote, if this president does not demonstrate the leadership that america needs both domestically and abroad, then it is time for a new person in the oval office. republican, democrat, or independent he writes the sooner the better the fate of our republic depends upon it. general mccaffrey is back, as is our table here. general, your reaction to those words from admirable mcraven. harsh words for the commander in chief. >> well, i know both mattis and mcraven, mattis the warrior monk defense intellectual very cerebral guy. the mad dog, he is a very
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aggressive commander, but basically he's a defense intellectual. mcraven, again, these two guys probably have the best reputation of any two senior military officers who we have produced since world war ii. mcraven's very high integrity, very much focused on doing what's right, patriotism, chancellor university of texas, just a remarkable man. so i think mattis is reluctant to get down in the mud with his former boss the commander in chief and is trying to stay out of the fray. but mckrachb looks back at it as an american patriot and says we are in serious trouble. by the way we think i are in syria's trouble with the president of the united states. >> yeah, doug, obviously that doesn't satisfy a lot of critics that james mattis hasn't gone further on this. they think he's uniquely positioned to sort of criticize this president. he left because of this syria
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policy, in effect. >> i think he's probably going a little bit slow. but what he said at the al smith dinner i think really touched a nerve. i think a lot of what trump's mentality is when it comes to the chest thumping and the tough language on military issues when he's actually weak comes from the fact that he's deeply insecure about the fact that he did not go to vietnam. and he used bone spurs as an excuse. and so he is covering that shameful period in his life with this tough talk about, you know, you name it. and so i actually think what mattis said really touched a nerve. you know, he didn't get into, first of all, that dinner is -- it's not exactly the place where you are going to give a real long critique on foreign policy. but he touched a nerve. and i appreciate him saying what he said. hopefully he says more. i'd love to hear some of the senate republicans and house
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republicans come out too. >> john? >> when mattis was doing his book tour in the last few weeks, he would not criticize the president. but of let word out that at some point, he would be heard from again. and the question is when? many think this should be that moment. this is the very policy he resigned over. decision about syria. there are people who have died. hundreds of people who have died in recent days. so i do think, yes, there are people who believe this is the moment where mattis should do it. at the dinner, i might remind you, it's hard to lose that room. let's remember 2016. donald trump and hillary clinton both appeared before that. he went on a creed against clinton and got booed. one of the many norms and guard rails this president has shattered. but this is far more serious. it's about lives and i do think there is going to be a growing call for mattis and others to speak up. >> little catharsis for some in that room to hear him criticize
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the president last night. general mccaffrey joining us from out west. general, thank you for spending time with us here. we're very appreciate for your time and expertise. when we come back, how to hide a scandal in plain sight. scandal in plain sight ♪ applebee's new pasta and grill combos. choose from up to 12 combinations starting at $9.99. liberty mutual customizes your car insurance, so you only pay for what you need. i wish i could shake your hand. granted. only pay for what you need. ♪ liberty. liberty. liberty. liberty. ♪
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in fact, i was talking to one of the teams when i came back and i said what was it like? he said you're not going to believe this but it's almost like they built this facility to host this type of event. >> nothing to see here says acting chief of staff mic mull v mullvainy. in the past, he said it's because they never looked at it before. this was his announcement that donald trump had rewarded his own golf resort and all the business that comes with it last year. the latest of what axios calls the shout it out loud strategy. to make them seem normal. good example last week saying china and ukraine, they should investigate the president. this time, saying, no we've decided the g7 summit should host this place. jonathan, can you pull back the curtain for a second? inside the white house, what people were thinking. he acknowledged this was the president's idea. the president's been promoting his property for weeks. it's worth noting they say he won't profit by it. but in june of 2017, it had a 38% occupancy. so the guy obviously -- it's
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june in miami -- is trying to fill rooms. >> june in miami is hot. it's beginning of hurricane season down there. it has a lower occupancy rate. i believe it's the second lowest of any month during the year. you know, which we point out as we were discussing here at the table, the president spends time at his mar-a-lago resort. it's also in south florida. he spends time there from november to april. he doesn't go there in june because it's too hot. this is something he's pushed for a while. he misses no opportunity to promote his brands. >> again, he's unapologetic about it. >> yes, because he hasn't had to face the consequence. remember when kelly ann conway was admonished for pushing ivanka trump's clothing? so now you have mick mulvaney clearly violating the -- you have the president violating the amol yumts clause. he's doing it in plain sietd. >> this is sort of a remarkable
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moment. we've got to squeeze in a quick last break. we're going to be right back. k last break we're going to be right back eics pretty fun too. ahhhh, it's a tiny dancer. they left a ton of stuff up here. welp, enjoy your house. nope. no thank you. geico could help you save on homeowners and renters insurance.
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my thanks to doug thornell. reverend al, jonathan la mere and kim atkins. "mtp daily" with chuck todd starts right now. if it's friday, president trump is pushing the country and his party to its limits after a wild week with the president is putting his own interests and maybe the interests of mr. putin at -- ahead of everything else. how much more can republicans take? plus the latest on the syria peace deal that is not a deal and is not making peace. as the president compares the deadly conflict to a schoolyard fight. and new reporting tonight on the latest unbelievable, unprecedented move by

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