tv MSNBC Live MSNBC May 16, 2016 7:00am-8:01am PDT
to you. i am kristen welker in new york, and it is a busy morning on the presidential campaign trail. up next, donald trump starting the week on defense. two months until the gop convention, and the presumptive nominee is taking heat for his business. those still private tax returns and past treatment of women. trump now dismissing a report in "the new york times" on women who say they faced unwanted comments and advances, calling the article nothing more than a, quote, hit piece. but the chairman of the rnc and prominent trump supporters say he will have to answer for his past. >> they will have not expected purity on his part. what they're concerned about, they're deeply concerned about is somebody strong enough to take on washington, will he challenge the establishment, will he end the illegality and immigration, will he insist on trade agreements that lift our economy and increase manufacturing and will he stand up to the elites. and he's doing so. >> and in an interview airing in
the u.k. this morning, trump also hinted as rocky relations with number of the nation's closest allies. >> the british prime minister, david cameron, recently said he stands by his comments that your position on muslims was stupid, divisive and wrong. he wouldn't retract them and he wouldn't apologize for saying that. >> i don't care, it doesn't matter. it's fine. >> would you like him to withdraw the particular comments that you're stupid, divisive and wrong with your view about muslims? >> number one, i'm not stupid, i can tell you that right now. just the opposite. number two, in terms of divisive, i don't think i'm a divisive person. i'm a unifier, unlike our president now, i'm a unifier. >> and trump detractors now using those bad headlines to pounce, and that includes president obama. the president using a commencement speech to slam his would be successor without naming him. among other things, the president said ignorance is not a virtue in politics. our political team is covering all the latest developments in the presidential race this
morning, and i want to start with nbc's katy tur who is live outside trump tower in new york. katy, obviously a lot of talk about this "new york times" report that surfaced over the weekend. donald trump pushing back very hard but this is an optics problem for the campaign. what are they saying there? >> the campaign is not saying anything about this right now, frankly. i've reached out to a few folks and they're just refusing to respond when it comes to it. but donald trump himself is saying something this morning, tweeting a number of times, including one that said "the new york times" is so dishonest. their hit piece cover story on me was just blown up by roseanne brewer who said it was a lie. the woman's name is rowanne brewer and she was a woman who according to the article dated donald trump for quite some time. the writers of this article said that they sbeintended to paint donald trump as more of a complicated figure than maybe he's been seen in the media. somebody that while at times may
have been demeaning towards women was also promoting women to positions of high power when they weren't necessarily being promoted at that time. and miss brewer, frankly, spoke to "fox & friends" this morning rebuking this report. listen to what she had to say. >> it was very upsetting. >> why? >> not not happy to read it at all. they put a negative connotation. they spun it to where it appeared negative. i did not have a negative experience with donald trump, and i don't appreciate them making it look like that i was saying it was a negative experience. >> you knew him very well, right? you dated him for several months? >> that's correct. >> reporter: ms. brewer will be on a number of the cable shows today to rebuke that claim at the behest, frankly, from what we're told of donald trump. but the campaign itself, kristen, is not commenting about this report. >> katy, stunningly over the weekend, or i should say not that surprisingly we saw
president obama come out with some of his strongest comments yet about donald trump. and that was so interesting about that, he keeps inserting himself into this race. so tell us a little bit about that and the impact. >> reporter: you know, it's interesting because he didn't name donald trump in this commencement speech at all, he just alluded to him a number of times, talking about this threat of anti-intellectualism that's going on in the republican party. the popularity of it. hitting donald trump on a number of levels when it came to his rhetoric. but again, never naming him. take a listen to how president obama painted the picture. >> the world is more interconnected than ever before and it's becoming more connected every day. building walls won't change that. if you were listening to today's political debate, you might wonder where this strain of
anti-intellectualism came from. so class of 2016, let me be as enclosu clear as i can be. in politics and in life, ignorance is not a virtue. >> reporter: president obama also said that telling it like it is is not the same as being uninformed, seeming to try and portray donald trump as somebody who is completely uninformed on the issues. many are taking this as a sign of president obama itching to get into the political debate, itching to get out there on the campaign trail to try and defend hillary clinton and take down donald trump. of course he cannot do that until hillary clinton clinches the nomination and bernie sanders bows out of this race. kristen. >> katy tur outside trump tower. my sources at the white house and within the clinton campaign
say that he is very eager to get out onto the campaign trail. we do want to read you a statement just coming in from "the new york times" defending that piece at that they wrote that katy was talking about. they say, quote, miss brewer lane was quoted fairly, ak atly and at length. the story provides context for the reader, including that the swimsuit scene was the start of a whirlwind romance between ms. brewer lane and mr. trump. a lot more about that coming up. as we mentioned, there is just about two months until the start of the republican convention in cleveland. that gathering is the last chance for the shrinking numbers of those so-called trump stop movement. this morning nbc news confirming the party's last nominee, mitt romney, is among those trying to recruit a third-party candidate. here's what the party chairman has to say about that. >> it's a suicide mission for our country because what it means is that you're throwing down not just eight years of the white house, but potentially 100 years on the supreme court and wrecking this country for many
generations. and so i think that's the legacy these folks will leave behind. >> nbc's hallie jackson is following this from washington. so, hallie, is this really viable? what are you hearing about this potential third-party candidate? >> it is such a long shot, kristen. even when there were other candidates in the race, the ability for example, of john kasich to be able to overtake donald trump, let's say at a contested convention, was really considered a long shot so this is even more of a concern. you've got places like texas where the balloting rules, you just can't get on the ballot. it would have to be some kind of a write-in campaign. but, kristen, what i think this shows is that within a certain strain of the republican party a very deep sensibility, a core sensibility that donald trump is wrong for the party and wrong for america. it's these never trump folks that are insistent that trump cannot and should not be the nominee. but at this point it looks incredibly late to be recruiting people into the system. for example, nbc news confirming that mitt romney has reached out to people like ben sasse, people
like john kasich to see if they would be interested in mounting this independent effort. sources close to sasse telling me, no, he's not interested. sources close to kasich telling us, no, he's not interested in. the response from them is where was all of this back when kasich was actually in the race when he could have taken on donald trump and in less of a long-shot way. so the viability question is a big one, but again it depogoes show that there are those within the republican party who seize donald trump's vulnerabilities with women, like that "new york times" piece as a potential opening to launch this effort. but who's going to be the face of it? mark cuban was floated out there. he says no too. so the question is who is going to lead this movement, if in fact it is a real movement and not just speculation from people who are upset that donald trump is the presumptive nominee. >> i want to talk about the fact
that this underscores the challenges, as you said, hallie, in unifying the republican party. obviously donald trump on capitol hill last week meeting with house speaker paul ryan. what are you hearing about that? is speaker ryan getting any closer to actually endorsing trump and does it matter when he does? >> well, i think it matters when he does, kristen, because i think there's a sense on capitol hill that the longer ryan waits to endorse, the more difficult it will be to say, look, we are a united party, we have come together and can stand up to hillary clinton in the fall. he does have some fall. if we're talking at this time next month then it may be a concern at that point if ryan hasn't come out and more definitively said where he stands with donald trump. but the response today, listen, on this monday, it's sort of no change. listen to what speaker ryan said over the weekend. he was in wisconsin and he was asked about donald trump. here's his answer. >> we are beginning the process of discussing what unity looks like in the republican party. as i said before, this takes some time. this isn't done with a couple of
meetings. this takes some time. our teams are meeting next week to go over the deeper meaning of the policies that we have been talking about, which come from the principles that we universally share as republicans. >> and that is important, kristen, because that is a signal of what happens next. we saw in a meeting last week as we've been talking about ryan and trump discussing these broad conservative principles. now is the time when the two will drill down into policies, places where admittedly they are very far apart. ryan himself points out we are from different wings of the republican party, but at this point you're going to see their teams meeting not just this week but in the future to talk about, hey, where do you stand on this particular trade policy. when we talk about nato, what does this mean to you? when we talk about entitlement reforms, how much are you willing to give? i think that's where you'll see some of the drill down over the next weeks. >> hallie jackson in washington, thanks for your great reporting, as always. let me now bring in j. newton small of "time" magazine along with se breena sidiqi from
the guardian. i want to start about this article that looks into donald trump's past relationships with women. he's pushing back hard but this is an optics problem and feeds into the narrative that donald trump has a woman's issue. now, in the primary, these types of things didn't really hurt him. is it going to be different in the general election? >> absolutely, kristen, it's a huge problem for donald trump in the general election. you can win republican primaries, especially when you have a divided field with different candidates. that's not to say donald trump hasn't drop some women. in fact he's drawn in some primaries upwards of half of republican women overall, but republican women make up a relatively small percentage of the electorate overall. so women are the single largest voting block in america. they make up 53% of the electorate. but -- and they tend to vote 10% more than men do in general elections. so they're a huge swing vote,
riot? but most of those voters are not republican women, they're independents and they're democratic women. overall, polls show donald trump is underwater with women anywhere from 50% to 70% or more and that's problematic since a republican has not won the women's vote since 1988. in order to win the white house, he has to mitigate the loss of women to at least less than ten percentage points, which is a huge lift for him. that's a 40% to 60% lift for him at this point. and these stories do not help him at all. he needs to start courting women, start appealing especially to independent women and particularly democratic women if he has any hope whatsoever of winning the white house. >> and hillary clinton courting those independent and swing voters very aggressively. sebrina, i want to get your take. one of donald trump's key points is that, hey, i'm not a politician and his past can be a little different than someone who is a career politician.
how does he separate his past as a businessman versus who he is right now, someone who is now the standard bearer for the gop? >> well, i think the problem is that there's decades worth of material where donald trump has made gendered comments about women. in this election cycle alone he has made gender specific attacks against carly fiorina, megyn kelly, heidi cruz and now hillary clinton. it was that she has nothing else going for her other than to play the woman card. we know that the hillary clinton campaign really engaged on that front. they ratzed a lot of money off of those comments. you can expect this will continue over the next six months. back to jay's point, i think one of the important challenges to point out is the republican party already faces a deficit when it comes to women voters. barack obama would have women's votes by 11 points. he only lost married women narrowly.
they voted more republican in recent elections. the problem with donald trump now there's a presumptive nominee who married women say, a majority of married women say they can't vote for. hillary clinton also has an opportunity here to court not just independent women voters, but also potentially some republican women voters, as jay said, donald trump is underwater anywhere from 60 to 70 points. >> that is a really interesting point. jay, i want to get your take on this broader issue for the republican party. reince priebus right now in the position of having to defend donald trump on this issue but also over his taxes. how frustrated, based on your conversations with your sources, is he getting right now? and also how concerned is he about those down ballot races? >> there is a lot of concern in the republican party for down ballot races and donald trump's potential effect on it. you see that already with a large number of vulnerable republicans up for re-election opting not to go to the convention. offering kind of half-hearted endorsements. someone like kelly ayotte who's
facing a very steep challenge in new hampshire for her senate seat saying she's not endorsing donald trump but she's supporting him, which is really splitting hairs at that point. but there is a huge amount of concern with the party especially because if this ends up being a year like 2012 where it's a war on women, the democrats go around to every candidate and say for the next six months do you believe what donald trump said here about women, do you believe what donald trump said there about women, that becomes incredibly damaging and that was the formula democrats used to win barack obama's re-election in 2012 and also they did very well down ballot in 2012 so there's a huge risk for republicans that they're very, very aware of and being very careful to separate out the down ballot tickets, giving them a lot of space to make distance from donald trump from the top of the ticket. >> sabrina, very quickly, your final thoughts on all of this and how it could impact the gop more broadly. >> i think the down ballot question is one of the more undercovered stories here. because as much as jay said some
of these candidates for the senate who are facing tough re-elections, like kelly ayotte, like rob portman, like mark kirk in illinois, they'll try to separate their own campaigns from donald trump. democrats are going to essentially tie all of the republican candidates to his candidacy. you've seen the dscc who is working to retake the senate from republican hands unveil what they're calling trump cards where they're trying to line up on policy where a lot of these candidates have matched up to some of what donald trump has said on the campaign trail. so i think you're going to expect down the road to see democrats paint the entire party, republican party as a party of trump. that's going to be one of the key lines that we hear moving forward. certainly in a presidential year, they stand to do better, especially where the map is in their favor. >> all right, jay newton-small and sabrina sidiqi, great conversation. appreciate it. up next, we turn to the democratic race.
hillary clinton and bernie sanders making last-minute pitches in kentucky loading into tomorrow's big primary. >> on tuesday, i would be honored to have your support in this primary. i would be deeply, deeply honored. >> and what we are going to tell those superdelegates is that if they want the strongest candidate to defeat donald trump, bernie sanders is that candidate. >> and as clinton hopes tomorrow's kentucky and oregon primaries will help her get closer to clinching the democratic nomination, bernie sanders gets a vote of support from the presumptive republican nomin nominee. we'll explain next. hmmmmm... hmmmmm...
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fight with bernie sanders, her super pac is moving on, and this morning we're learning it's launching its first battleground state ad blitz against donald trump. starting wednesday, priorities usa will air a $6 million ad campaign targeting trump in the crucial battleground states of florida, ohio, nevada and virginia. also new details against trump campaign against hillary clinton. the headline in "the new york times," little is off limits as donald trump plans attacks on hillary clinton. so let's start with kasie hunt in bowling green, kentucky. kasie, no surprise there that it is going to be a full-throat attack on hillary clinton by donald trump. what is the clinton campaign saying? how are they bracing for that? >> reporter: kristen, good morning. the clinton campaign at this point i think, and you talked to many of her top advisers every day. they know that this is going to be essentially a kitchen sink campaign, and i think the question is, you know, how
nervous are they about whether or not they're going to have more success in combatting this than all of the republicans that tried to take him on one at a time. the primary campaign enclosurely proved that he is teflon in ways that more traditional candidates aren't. that really presents a major challenge. i think that's part of why you're seeing priorities usa decide to dispense with the notion that they're going to stay out of this until the primary is over. originally that ad campaign wasn't supposed to really ramp up until after voting in california on june 7th. instead deciding that they need to start as early as possible in trying to potentially define donald trump. now, we don't know what their first ad is going to look like out of the gate, but some of the themes are similar to what we're hearing from the clinton campaign. of course their main attack line against donald trump right now, that he's too risky of a choice to bet america's national security, among other things. i think that's something that you could see from pry oir tioi usa as well. the challenge that these more
personal attacks are difficult for the clinton campaign to grapple with. you saw this earlier when donald trump made reference to bill clinton's own personal issues in the past and i think you've seen them sort of be hands-off with "the new york times" story this morning, kristen. >> kasie hunt, thank you very much. we are going to get more on the democrats in just a moment, but first some breaking news from the supreme court. a ruling on the religious exception to contraception case. let's go right to nbc's pete williams. so, pete, what can you tell us? what happened there. >> reporter: well, it's a very unusual decision here. what the supreme court has basically said is we're not going to get into the weeds of who has the better legal argument here, we're just going to blow the whistle on this dispute. what the supreme court has said is that religiously affiliated institutions, now let's back up here and recall that churches, mosques, temples, houses of worship, are completely exempt from this provision of obamacare that requires employers to arrange for contraceptive coverage for their employees. so the question in this case was
what about religiously affiliated organizations, charities, seminaries, colleges and universities. they said they too should be exempt. the supreme court didn't answer that question today. but what it said is here is what should happen going forward. number one, we want to make certain that the employees of these religiously affiliated organizations get the contraceptive coverage they should, but number two, we believe that if the religious affiliated institutions simply tell their insurance companies that they don't want to provide it, that's good enough. that should be notice that the government should take it from there. number three, the government said when these organizations do that, the government should not fine them. so it's sort of a victory for both sides. it says that women must be covered, they must be covered in a way that's the most convenient for them so they don't have to go searching out for other insurance companies to provide this coverage, but the religious affiliated organizations shouldn't have any involvement
at all in providing it to them. that was their -- that was the organization's claim here, that if they took the steps the government required them to take of sort of filling out a form and telling the department of health and human services that they couldn't provide this coverage, that in essence made them complicit in it. because they don't agree with the use of contraceptive, that made complicit in a sin. everybody wins here, although i think it's a better outcome for the religious affiliated organizations. it's a very brief opinion. it's just about three pages. the court specifically says we are not going to decide the merits, we are not going to say whether we think this law burdens religious exercise, we're just not going to do that. and remember that the supreme court after hearing this argument and appearing to be tied 4-4 took the very unusual step of issuing an order saying, well, what if we did this, would that be okay. after hearing from both sides that's basically what the decision says. the supreme court says this may be a little strange but we've done something like this in the
past. so they basically send these cases back to the appeals courts to put into effect the solution the supreme court came up with today. so the supreme court sort of acting as arbiter here and not deciding the down in the weeds legal questions. >> pete williams breaking down a very complicated legal decision for us. thank you, pete. appreciate it. we want to go back out to the campaign trail and the democrats. chris jansing is actually here in new york with me. great to see you. >> good to see you, kristen. >> i want to start with donald trump. not surprisingly, as democrats have suggested he might do, he's trying to rally sanders supporters with this tweet. i'm going to read you a little bit of it. it says bernie sanders is being treated very badly by the dems. the system is rigged against him. he should run as an independent. run bernie run. of course we heard bernie sanders complaining about the fairness of the system this weekend. so what are you hearing, chris? what is the sanders saying about that? >> he's not going to run as an independent, i think that's pretty clear.
you don't have to dig too deep to know what donald's motivations are. there is no doubt that the sanders camp feels like they're not being treated well. we saw it in nevada over the weekend. barbara boxer got shouted down by bernie sanders' supporters who felt like they weren't getting a fair shake there. when i talked to campaign manager, jeff weaver, he said there's no doubt that state officials in nevada sort of had their finger on the scale for hillary clinton. they feel that way nationally too with the dnc, there's this ongoing fight about the various committees. for the first time the camp is talking very clearly about what they could do at the convention. that they could bring some of these fights to the floor, that they would make them very public if they feel like they're not being treated fairly. so there are discussions that are ongoing right now between the dnc and folks in the sanders camp. just as hillary clinton is running this primary campaign and this general election campaign, in many ways the sanders camp is doing the same
thing. he still believes this narrow path is worth pursuing. on the other hand they're trying to put things in place so if he doesn't win, they have put themselves in the strongest possible position as that platform and the rest of the convention comes together. >> speaking of which, we have another primary tomorrow, kentucky. senator sanders is in puerto rico. we're actually anticipating we'll hear from him soon. so why is he in puerto rico? talk about this strategy and what do you think we'll hear from him? >> the simple answer that i get from senior staff on the sanders campaign is because there are delegates there. it just shows you how every single delegate is important to them. he was in kentucky a lot. i don't think in any way, shape or form they anticipated that hillary clinton would go all in and do five events in two days in kentucky. she probably didn't anticipate doing that a few weeks ago. i'm told that the internal polls, there's not great public polling there, but i'm told they're within two or three points, which would be in the margin of error. bottom line is oregon is the
stronger state for bernie sanders. not so much so in kentucky. as i said, it's close. hillary clinton obviously does not want to come out of this with the headline that she's lost two more primaries after having lost the last two. in terms of the numbers game, in terms of pure delegates, it's not going to alter the race one way or another. the trajectory is still going to be pretty much the same. we're not expecting overwhelming wins by bernie sanders, but it really is about the momentum and the headheadlines, so that's something both sides have a close eye on. >> and the focus on that platform, as you say. chris jansing, thank you so much. appreciate that. we're looking at a live shot of puerto rico. we will bring you senator sanders comments once he does come to the microphone. but now, is there room for another presidential candidate come november? that's the preference for some on both sides of the aisle. not only is trump trying to recruit bernie sanders for an independent run, but republicans are still holding out hope of a third-party candidate. according to "the washington post" they have reached out from everyone from john kasich to
mark cuban. but as "the washington post" says over the weekend, again and again, these anti-trump republicans have heard the same tepid response. thanks, but no thanks. joining me now to break this all down, nbc news senior political editor mark murray. mark, thanks for joining me. >> hey, kristen. >> let's talk about this stop trump movement. you and i were talking about it back in new york after donald trump won new york by a huge margin and a lot of folks thought this could be the end of the stop trump movement. is there still a stop trump movement or does it exist in name only? >> it depends on how you end up defining it. on the one hand we've seen a sizeable opposition to donald trump from republicans. republicans who haven't got on board. whether it's mitt romney or the bush clan, even paul ryan still hasn't endorsed donald trump, although you think that's going to be coming along. but if you actually want to define stop trump as actually having a third-party person being able to get in, the chances aren't very likely at all.
already an important filing dead loin has passed in texas for an independent bid. you know, there's another one that's upcoming in north carolina. and on top of it, it takes millions of dollars to be able to get enough signatures to be able to be on the ballot. so if mitt romney wants somebody like ben sasse, the republican senator from nebraska, or john kasich, the ohio governor, to run as an independent, time is running out. time might have already run out in some states. >> mark, i want to play a little bit of what rnc chairman reince priebus had to say about all of this over the weekend. take a listen and i'll get your reaction on the other side. >> they can try to hijack another party and get on the ballot, but look, it's a suicide mission for our country because what it means is that you're throwing down not just eight years of the white house, but potentially 100 years on the supreme court and wrecking this country for many generations. >> mark, is that more broadly the perspective within the gop and the democratic party, that a third-party candidate hands this
to hillary clinton? >> well, there are two ways to look at it. if you end up getting a john kasich to mount a third-party bid and got him on the ballot in ohio, yes, that would pretty much gift wrap ohio, a crucial battleground state, to hillary clinton. but other republicans are looking at it beyond just the presidential contest. they want to look down the ballot. there is a theory to the case that if you put another republican who actually might want to bring out other republicans, more evangelical republicans, more establishment republicans, to be able to help the down ballots, the republicans running for senate, for house, state legislature, that those are the people to actually say according to these other people that donald trump might be a lost cause. it's time to focus on the down ballot. >> chris jansing says bernie sanders no way he's going to run as a third-party candidate. what is your sense about that and how much pressure is he getting from democrats?
>> more and more bernie sanders' rhetoric on the campaign trail is devoted to donald trump. i fully expect when the democratic race is over, and whether that's on june 7th after the california, new jersey, other states having their primaries, or a few weeks later, that the democratic party will unify. there still has been been a tremendous amount of disagreement in some quarters. we saw a lot of chaos and tension in nevada at a state convention between clinton supporters and bernie sanders supporters, but still once the principal ends up saying, hey, i'm going to get on board, usually their followers do the same. it's a story worth looking at, but bernie sanders, as chris jansing was telling you, i don't think in any way that he wants to do anything that's going to help donald trump. >> mark murray, great conversation. thanks so much. great to see you. >> thanks, kristen. shifting now to texas where the governor there, greg abbott, is challenging president obama's transgender bathroom directive head on. the republican saying just this morning his state will fight the directive that calls on all public schools to allow students to use the bathroom that aligns
with their gender identity. the obama administration is threatening to pull federal education funding from districts that don't comply. >> we have a president who decided, well, if congress is not going to pass a law, he is going to impose the law. and so the president is turning the constitution on its head and that is why i fought back. when the president did the very same thing with regard to the immigration law, that's why we fought back when the president did the same thing with the obamacare law and now he's trying to do it with regard to the transgender law. so we are fighting back. we are demanding that the president and the united states hue to the line of the united states constitution. >> tony dokoupil is live in the suburban chicago school district where this fight first began. i know you've been digging in and talking to students and parents in the school community there, tony. what are they telling you about this fight? >> reporter: good morning, kristen. that's right, this fight began two years ago when a transgender student filed a complaint with
the obama administration requesting access to the bathroom and locker room facility of her choice. it took two years to investigate the claim, but last year the obama administration said, yes, it would be a form of discrimination to prevent this kid from going to the bathroom and locker room of her choice. now, that wasn't the end of the story, however. in january, the access was granted but the community continues to be divided over it. just this month 19 girls and their parents from the school behind me, fremd high school, one of the best in the high school according to various rankings, filed a lawsuit challenging the department of education saying it's discrimination against their kids, an invasion of their children's privacy to force them to share a locker room and bathroom facility with a biological male. while the parents and school board and politicians battle over this, students seem to be well on the way of the acceptance, not only of the student herself but of the policy. we caught up with some of them this morning in the student parking lot and here's what they had to say. >> this has been as long as we've known him or her for like since seventh grade, so this is
obviously like something major for her in her life, so we should support it. >> the reality is we live in a society where it's all binaries and gender is not a binary thing, it's a very fluid -- fluid idea. so by keeping it in a binary system, that's not going to help people in the end, it's going to limit people and how they can express themselves and be as a person. it's really about how people -- people's rights and people's hearts as humans. like by telling them they can't be who they are, that's just -- that's just not right. >> reporter: so, kristen, you hear there students seem to be on the way to accepting the student and the policy. however, the parents not so much, not in every case at least. i exchanged some messages this morning with a mother who's part of the lawsuit challenging this new policy, wants the bathrooms to be defined strictly based on birth sex. she says we're not discriminating against somebody, we are open and tolerant
community. however, we've got to also take into consideration the proivacy of girls who want to only take care of their changing in a space exclusively for girls as they define it. so this fight is far from over. we'll see the same fight we're seeing here spread to texas and other states before this is resolved, no doubt about that, kristen. >> far from over indeed. those were some fantastic sup interviews you did there. americans turned jihadist. new details about americans who have left this country to fight for isis. our own richard engle joins us right after a quick break. stay with us. is growi at an alarming rate. growing fast, you say? we can't contain it any long... oh! you know, that reminds me of how geico's been the fastest-growing auto insurer for over 10 years straight. over ten years? mhm, geico's the company your friends and neighbors trust. and deservedly so. indeed.
welcome back. heading overseas now, at least 14 people are dead after an isis bomb attack on a natural gas plant north of baghdad. several suicide bombers and militants broke into the plant and clashed with iraqi security forces on sunday. three gas storage units exploded and burst into flames. iraq's deputy oil minister said firefighters managed to
extinguish the fire. nbc chief foreign correspondent richard engle joins me live. >> nice to see you in person. >> nice to see you in person as well. let's talk about this attack in iraq. why is isis so focused on iraq right now? >> well, in many ways iraq has always been the focus of the group that became isis. iraq -- the iraqi insurgency was the group that became isis and they are fighting in baghdad. they are fighting against the iraqi government. they are fighting against what they still think is an iranian-backed government. and i think the more that they can carry out attacks in baghdad, the more they will. so this is what isis does. we talk about them as a foreign terrorist group, and they do that as well, that wants to carry out attacks in europe or even in the united states, but at their core, they remain focused on toppling the government of baghdad. >> and obviously a key focus for the obama administration as is, and when you talk to intelligence officials, white
house officials, one of the things they worry about most, americans going overseas to join isis. you have some exclusive new reporting about this. tell me about it. >> it's a relatively small number compared to the population, according to u.s. officials about 250 americans have either tried or succeeded to join isis. we found -- we were given by someone who said he was an isis defector a list of names, of isis personnel files. over 4,000 files. when we culled through that list, we found 15 americans listed. so then we started going around the country, trying to identify who knethese people are, can we talk to their families, friends, teachers, et cetera. and we put together a report, it aired last night. it's online now, describing who these 15 are. among them, we focused on three because three people knew each other. they were related by marriage, so it was a small cell that formed in this country and then went overseas to sear i can't be
and became part of isis. >> and i think we have a look at your exclusive reporting. let's show it. >> we found this youtube video of jaffery goofing around with his cousin. that cousin, ahmed, agreed to meet with us in the park where he and jaffery used to hang out. >> nobody was that close to me. >> ahmed said jaffery was into rap music, marijuana and the internet, until he started watching propaganda videos. >> he was getting angry. he said we're surrounded by a bunch of sinful people and we should move to a muslim country. >> he was getting more angry? >> more hateful towards americans. >> it was around that time, he says, that jaffery met and quickly married zakia. >> how did they meet? >> online. like a matrimonial website. >> was she religious at the
time? >> she was too. she wore the hijab and covered her face. >> the newlyweds settled in ohio and she enrolled at ohio state university. of all places, they chose to move into this building where an al qaeda member, christopher paul, was arrested in 2007. paul is searching a long prison sentence for plotting attacks, but his wife lived right next door to zakia and jaffery. we went to a nearby mosque where paul used to pray, to see if anyone there knew jaffery, zakia or rasol. >> i had met jaffery. >> this is the mosque's board president. >> there have been a number of people who have passed through these doors who have ended up being associated with extremist groups. >> there have been a few. >> how do you explain that? >> they were not actually involved in the mosque too much. if someone wants to come and worship, they're welcome to. what they do outside of their
life is their own business. violence, terrorism, these are in direct contradiction with the teachings of islam. the fact that they were living on this street concerns me. the fact that they were attending the mosque concerns me. >> did you miss something? >> i don't know. i don't think so. >> richard, incredible reporting. a lot of people will look at that and wonder how could authorities, the fbi, have missed this. they were living so close together. a lot of red flags. >> there were red flags. there was even a tip about one of the young men sent to the fbi. the tip was followed up. we saw the tip, we saw the response by an automated response from the fbi, thank you for sending in your tip. a couple more e-mails, but clearly there were holes in this net and they got through. the fbi and justice department say they are doing a better job now and closed a number of loopholes and the number of people going overseas to join isis has gone down, but these people made it. >> if you haven't seen richard's report, check it out online. isis as released a new
recruitment video that shows young boys pledging their loyalty to the terror group in french. cal perry has that part of our report. cal, great to see you. what's this new video? >> scary stuff. two videos over the weekend have appeared online in the digital realm and they're recruiting vide videos. the first one two kids speaking in french. this is propaganda isis is putting out. the kids tell the story. the story is called father's path. allegedly these kids came to syria about four years earlier with their father and then joined isis, the army of the caliphate. what makes this scary especially on the back of richard's reporting, you see isis targeting individual societies, french being one of them, the nation of france. the second video we have is aimed more at southeast asia. it's kids allegedly from malaysia, indonesia and the philippines receiving training. you see this video of them burning their passports, sort of symbolic of joining the caliphate, joining the nation of the caliphate, giving up their
former homes. this is obviously concerning to officials in both these countries. >> what are the french doing to try to curb some of this recruitment? >> they have dedicated more than 425 million euros to a digital campaign and you can see it here. they have websites dedicated to this where they put up interviews with former fighters that have returned to france telling, as they put it, the reality of what's happening there on the ground. not this slickly produced, this sort of very dramatic movie type atmosphere that isis puts out, but the reality of what goes on there. >> and this type of counter programming is so critical not just overseas but the u.s. as well. >> this is something the u.s. government is doing as well online. trying to get the actual stories of what happens to you when you go to a place like raqqah. it's not this glorified idea of war. horrible, horrible things go on there and they try to get those stories out. >> cal perry, thank you for your great reporting. appreciate it. ahead, more on the supreme court's decision on religious exemptions contraception coverage. stay with us.
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we have more now on the breaking news at this hour. the supreme court's decision on religious exceptions to contraception coverage. let's turn to msnbc's legal correspondent, ari melber. you're calling this a compromise. what does that mean? why are you saying that? >> this is somewhat unusual and obviously significant. people may remember the little sisters of the poor case cited by republican candidates was all about contraception under obamacare and whether it was an infringement on the religious rights of nonprofit or religious organizations to have to basically submit a form to explicitly opt out of contraception coverage for women under their employer plans. and so this went all the way up to the supreme court and was expected to be the kind of debate that we see at the court, where one side wins or loses. that is not what's happening today. the breaking news we can tell you right now is the court has basically sent this entire case back to the lower courts, not siding with one side or the other, and instead saying that in the court's view, this can be dealt with by, as you say,
kristen, a compromise. let me read briefly from this order. it is not a decision on the merits. that means not a decision for one or the other side but rather a request for compromise. here's what the court says. at the lower courts, both sides should be afforded an opportunity to arrive at an approach going forward that accommodates religious exercise while at the same time ensuring that women covered by health plans, quote, receive full and equal health coverage, including contraception coverage. translation, they're looking for a door here where the groups that don't want to explicitly submit a form or announce how they feel about contraception can opt out of that part, of the communication part, while women who work there would still get insurance coverage, including contraception. >> let's break this down a little bit further, ari. if you are a woman for works for one of these companies claiming a religious exception, what does this decision mean to you? >> does this change anything? the answer is essentially no, you are continuing to get your
health coverage through an insurance provider. so if you are a woman working at one of these companies, i would say if you wanted the maximum options available, this for you is a victory because from today forward, you have that. now, legally, they are still asking, the court is asking for lower courts to work on this so we don't have a final decision. but today that would be maximum options for people who work at one of these entities. >> ari melber, thank you so much for helping us understand today's ruling out of the supreme court. we'll be right back after a quick break. ♪ you should hire stacy drew. ♪ ♪ she wants to change the world with you. ♪ ♪ she can program jet engines to talk and such. ♪ ♪ her biggest weakness is she cares too much. ♪ thank you. my friend really wants a job at ge. mine too. ♪ i'm a wise elf from a far off shire. ♪ and sanjay patel is who you should hire. ♪ thank you. seriously though, stacy went to a great school and she's really loyal. you should give her a shot. sanjay's a team player and uh...
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obamacare legislation. right now what we know is the court has asked the lower courts to take another look at this issue in search of, perhaps, a compromise. as you well know this has been a major confrontation between the obama administration and the health care law and some religious organizations. we'll continue to follow the developments and find out what this means, this decision as it appears that a compromise may now be the focus and it goes to the lower courts. and to the battle between donald trump and "the new york times" this morning. after the newspaper's front page report on his treatment of women. this morning trump tweeting out just a couple of hours ago "the new york times" is so dishonest. their hit piece cover story on me yesterday was just blown up by rowanne brewer who said it was a lie. rowanne brewer was one of the women featured in the article. it featured several interviews, detailing what many described as unwelcome advances and