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tv   Morning Joe  MSNBC  February 15, 2017 3:00am-6:01am PST

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reporting that could be coming any time basically within the week, alex. a lot happening at the white house. we'll be on top of every angle for you. we'll see you later on this morning. >> thank you so much. that's a wrap for us on this we. i'm alex wit. "morning joe" starts right now. good morning. it's wednesday, february 15th. welcome to "morning joe." with us on set, we have veteran columnist and msnbc contributor mike barnicle. political analyst and co-author of "game change," john heilemann and former communications director for ted cruz and now a msnbc political contributor rick tyler. along with joe and me, we have a big show this morning. the pace quickens to "the new york times." you have the head of the special ops command telling "the new york times" our government
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continues to be in unbelievable turmoil. i hope they sort it out soon because we are a nation at war and says he is worried about american in stability. that is where we begin this morning. of course, we have got a lot of people we are going to be talking to today, including my interview with mitch mcconnell yesterday in his offices and paul ryan, the speaker of the house, obviously, going to be with us as well. >> the fallout continues this morning from the resignation of now former national security adviser michael flynn. the age-old question in washington, who knew what and when? vice president mike pence was kept in the dark for weeks over justice department concerns about the national security adviser. on january 15th, pence said this on "face the nation." on christmas day he had sent a text to the russian ambassador to express not only christmas wishes, but sympathy for the loss of life in the airplane
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crash that took place. those conversations that happened to occur around the time that the united states took action to expel diplomats had nothing to do with the conversation. >> that had to do with the sanctions? >> i don't believe there were more coersas. according to the white house they found out abouthen acting attorney sally yates concern about flynn's conversation with the russian ambassador on january 26th. the vice president wasn't looped in on those warnings until february 9th and kept in the dark for 15 days. the only reason pence was informed was because of impending media reports that was going to cast doubt on his own honesty. but here is the president aboard air force one this past friday.
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i don't know about it. i haven't seen that. what report is that? >> they are reporting he talked to the ambassador of russian before you were inaugurated about sanctions. >> immediately after we were notified the white house council briefed the president in a small group of senior advisers. the white house counsel reviewed and determined not a legal issue but rather a trust issue. >> he said i don't know about it. i'll look into that. was he being truthful? >> no. when he was asked specifically was he aware of a "the washington post" story. he hadn't seen that at the time. of course, he was involved. i just said he was aware of the situation right after the white house counsel informed him back in january. >> flynn said the fast pace of events were to blamed for him briefing pence and others with
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incomplete information regarding my phone calls with the russian ambassador. and the white house says, ultimately, it came down to a matter of trust. not legal concerns. still, earlier in the day, there seemed to be a basic disagreement within the administration over whether flynn right hand esigned on his president trump asked for his resignation. >> he knew he had become a lightning rod. he made that decision. >> the evolve and level of trust as a result of this situation in a series of other questionable instances is what led the president to ask for general flynn's resignation. >> and i spoke with the president this morning. he asked me to speak on his behalf and to reiterate that mike flynn had resigned. >> that was ultimately what led to the president asking for and accepting the resignation of general flynn. that's it. pure and simple. it was a matter of trust. >> john heilemann, of course,
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the distraction in that piece, obviously, kellyanne conway out of the loop, once again, and once again, giving misinformation as she had the night before. i think i may have been a little tough on her yesterday. i don't know that she was, quote, lying. i think she is just unaware because reports again last night that she is not in any of the principal meetings so she just goes out and makes things. there are so many questions to address here. we have got the legal questions and the investigations that will come even if the republicans are dragging their feet. let's just talk about the health of this presidency and you start with the president's relationship with a vice president. donald trump knew that his national security adviser lied to mike pence and they continued to allow mike pence to be kept in the dark, that he was lied about. the acting attorney general came over and explained to everybody in the white house but mike pence that mike pence had been
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lied to. and then only told the vice president of the united states what he needed to know when it was coming out in "the washington post." where does mike pence, where does the sitting vice president go from here? >> i have no idea where the sitting vice president goes from here, except i can't imagine this early in this administration this kind of a fundamental breach of trust at the highest level of the white house between the president and the vice president on this matter if the vice president has clear rational sense what is going on around him that this -- maybe not irreparable but close to irreparable and we are 26 days into the presidency. you've also got the question of the account that sean spicer gave yesterday to continue to beg the question of how it kit be that not only was the vice president not told, but how was it that michael flynn was
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allowed to remain in his job for weeks after it was clear that he was lying to the vice president, lying to people in the administration, lying to the american people? and begging the question of whether if this had not come out of the media whether mike flynn would still be in his job today and all of that is all aside from the question of this explosive front page story of "the new york times" about the connections between the trump administration discussions or the trump campaign in discussions with russian intelligence throughout the campaign while russia was trying to destabilize our lex. this is a moment where profound crisis, where the wheels in this administration three and a half weeks in on are very close to coming off the wagon. >> i had more than a few people tell me yesterday, in making calls, that this includes much more than just a christmas call between flynn and the russian ambassador. >> sure.
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>> it extends well into last summer. >> yep. >> but the point raised here by what we were just talking about is the relationship between the vice president of the united states and the trump administration. it's now been separated. it's now been bifurcated because of his lack of knowledge nearly two weeks. the white house counsel knows and the president knows and all of the people around the president knows and the vice president doesn't know and he is sitting out there? that is an issue of competence. >> it is an issue of competence and it's also up to the republicans, mika, on capitol hill to get to the bottom of this and to begin investigating. and how disheartening it was to see several people on the hill and some editorial writers say this isn't about the russian connections. this is about leaks and saying, boy, what is it say, have we become national security state who spies on its own people? that actually is so separated
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from the context of what has happened over the past 18 months where you have people like paul manafort with russian connections running the campaign for donald trump and we have information or the intel community has had information of the connection twon the russi i russians and members of the donald trump campaign at the same time that the russians are trying to fix the united states of america. they cannot be so stupid to pretend they picked on poor michael flynn out of nowhere. michael flynn, a man who visited russia, had dinner with putin, was believed to have received payments from russia. do you think they would have done this to rex tillerson? no. they wouldn't have done it to rex tillerson and would not have done it to james mattis and would not have done it to john kelly and would not have done it to other members of donald trump's cabinet. republicans, you can just stop
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that b.s. and editorial writers, stop shaming yourself. >> if you haven't learned this already and you didn't learn this in the campaign. note to republicans, this only gets worse. this only gets worse for the country and for you and for your party. and, also, bigger picture, willie, not to underestimate the other things that are going on around this russia issue and this is not a flynn issue. this is a russia issue. and all of the dots are leading up to questions about what exactly the relationship is with russia. it's a question that cannot be let go. but you have this kellyanne issue which you're going to get to, willie. little miller on the sunday talk shows mischaracterizing the presidency and you of have this mission information being churned out by the president, himself, sometimes and kellyanne conway. this looks like the steps leading up to a total meltdown.
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>> and they didn't believe that -- we got the answer to the question yesterday of when donald trump knew that the white house council told them in late january about all of this why didn't flynn forced out overnight yesterday? the answer was because they didn't think michael flynn did anything wrong. they genuinely didn't think he broke the law. >> they didn't think anybody would find out. >> everybody talks in there. they don't think lying is wrong, they don't think rifting and just breaking out the rules is wrong, because we are not seeing anybody being held accountable for this. >> they viewed this report from sally yates of the white house council with great skepticism. they didn't think michael flynn did anything wrong and they took him to his word when he said i didn't do anything wrong and why it festered. sean spicer yesterday addressed whether or not anyone in the trump campaign had contact with the russians. >> back in january, the president said that nobody in his campaign had been in touch with the russians.
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now, today, can you still say definitively that nobody on the trump campaign, not even general flynn, had any contact with the russians before the election? >> my understanding is what general flynn has now expressed is that during the transition period -- we were very clear that during the transition period he did speak with the ambassador -- >> i'm talking about during the campaign. >> nothing would conclude me that anything different has changed with respect to that time period. >> but this morning, a front page "the new york times" piece says that is is not the case. the paper claims trump campaign aides are repeated contact with russians intelligence in the last year of the campaign. source in current and former u.s. officials the times reports that the information came from phone records and intercepted phone calls. the russian foreign intelligence service tells interfax that the results are unfounded. nbc news has not independently verified the times is reporting. let's bring in one of the reporters for "the new york times" who broke this story,
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michael schmidt. good morning. flush this out a little more for us. who exactly were members of the trump campaign speaking to and what were they speaking about? >> what happened is last year, as the intelligence and law enforcement community was looking at what was going on in the election and with russia, they saw these connections and saw people around trump that were talking to russian intelligence officials and they said this is really curious. we don't see them doing this with other countries. these are people that have -- that are embedded in the intelligence agency and why is this going on and such an extensive communication here? indeed, some of these guys around trump did business in russia and in that part of the world and a lot of intelligence folks that are part of that. but, at the same time, the level of this and the extent of it was really troubling and was one part of what the fbi has been looking at as they try and understand the connections between trump world and russia which is becoming this sort of sprawling investigation. >> you guys wrote in the story
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that the fbi and intelligence service was looking at whether or not the trump campaign was somehow colluding with russia as it hacked the dnc. did you find any evidence of that? >> they haven't found any evidence that but not just the hacking of the dnc the larger russian campaign to the fake news and other stuff that was being pushed in the u.s. at the time. and was there any type of coordinates. did the trump folks know anything about what was going on or the hack or when the e-mails were going to come out or what other things the russians may have that we didn't see. that is all of the base is try and understand that. the fbi has not given up on that. they have travel records and business records and interviewed people. and i think this is something that will continue to go on for the next several months at least. >> a story people are going to be reading and talking a lot about this morning. "the new york times" reporter michael schmidt is one of the authors of that piece. thanks so much.
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joe? >> yeah. you're exactly right. front page of "the new york times" talking about the contacts here. willie, this suggestion that michael flynn was just plucked out of the air and they just decided to pick on this one guy and a take-down of him is so laughable on its face. question is why would the intel community dig into this? the intel community would dig into this because a lot of americans had questions about donald trump's relationship with russia, donald trump's relationship with vladimir putin. i know certainly our eyes were first raised when he came on our show in december of 2015 and refused to criticize vladimir putin and said america does a lot of killing too. he continued that last week. and so of course, when you have the concerns about connections with russia and you also have the concerns about the hacking of the dnc, and you have donald trump seeming to orchestrate
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that, asking the russians to hack other material of hillary clinton's, then, obviously, the intel community, willie, would not be doing their job and, mika, the intel community would not be doing their job if they didn't say we have got to look into this because you and i, we have expressed this not only to donald trump specifically but jared kushner and other people inside the white house. >> yes, we have. >> constantly saying there's something there with russia. we don't get it. what is it? >> we are not comfortable with it. >> there are no answers. there's something out there and, again, republicans saying that the intel community was just on a witch hunt against michael flynn is an insult to americans and that is the sort of wagon circling that will add on top of other problems for the 2018 race and they will be hammered for it. >> we have been talking about michael flynn since he was chosen for this job as a problem and a problem that would end up
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spinning out of control. >> mika, it's very important, mika. also reports this morning that not only we were concerned about flynn and the press was concerned about flynn, but steve bannon had to fly down to washington, d.c. to reassure rex tillerson and james mattis about general flynn because they had deep concerns as well. >> and the response always was he makes -- he's close with trump, he calms him down, he spends a lot of time with trump, which really doesn't help with this story at all. >> no. it actually hurts. >> as joe mentioned, at timtsesn repeat days kellyanne conway has struggled to be on the same page, to say the least, as the rest of the staff in the white house. take a look. >> general flynn does enjoy the full confidence of the president. >> he is speaking to the vice president, to vice president pence relative to the conversation. the vice president had with general flynn and also speaking
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to various other people about what he considers a single most important subject there is, our national security. >> i'm not here to say who knew what when because, first of all, that would be divulging information that is highly sensitive and, secondly, i don't know all of the details. >> immediately after the department of justice notified the white house council of the situation, the white house council briefed the president in a small group of senior advisers. >> the vice president mike pence was misled by general flynn or general flynn could not completely recall what his conversations had been. >> but you knew that. but, kellyanne, the white house knew that almost three weeks ago. >> i think misleading the vice president really was the key here. >> you're saying that was the straw that broke the cackle's back but the white house knew about that last month when the justice department warned the white house that mr. flynn or general flynn had not been completely honest in characterizing that conversation with the russian ambassador and they even went further to say that as a result of that dishonesty, he was at risk for
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blackmailing by the russians. >> well, that's one charktization but the fact that general flynn continued with that and part of the briefing of the leader calls as recently as yesterday. was there for the prime minister's visit from canada yesterday. and as time wore on, obviously, the situation become unsustainable and general flynn -- >> that makes no sense. >> joe is saying she books herself on these shows. we know she tries to book herself on this show. i won't do it because i don't believe in fake news or information that is not true and that is every time i've ever seen her on television, something is askew off or inflect. other piece of news concerning kellyanne conway. the government's top ethics office is urging the white house to investigate the president's counselor for publicly endorsing ivanka trump's clothing line. i still can't believe this happened. in a letter to the white house,
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the director of the office of government ethics wrote there is, quote, strong reason to believe that conway violated rules against misusing her position that, quote, disciplinary action is warranted. the chairman of the house oversight committee who urged the ethics office to investigate has now called on the white house to follow the agency's guidance. joe, you have some reporting on this as well. >> it's actually the same thing i've heard since donald trump was elected by his top aides and, again, confirmed it last night. she's out of the loop. she's in none of the key meetings. she goes out and books herself observe and, you know, i said this morning i saw some of the headlines yesterday and felt badly because the language i used was so harsh. i'm going to take it back about her, quote, lying. i think rick tyler, it is equally as bad that a
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spokesperson in the white house actually goes out and makes things up. she doesn't know. she doesn't have the information. she's not in any of the key meetings. she's not briefed. so she will go out like she did yesterday and she'll hear me say something about her, as parnl what i've heard inside the white house, and she will immediately start calling and she will call people that go on tv and defend herself. so then she goes on the "today" show and gives misinformation as she does on all of these shows. again, i don't think she is saying something knows to be something untrue. she is just saying things just as to get in front of the tv set and prove her relevance because she is not in meeting meetings and any reporter can ask anybody in the white house and they will say the same thing. she is not in the meetings. rick, why does the president allow her to keep going out and spreading false information? >> it's really quite
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unbelievable. i mean, what is happening here is any white house is going to be stress. tested but now we are under a severe stress-test and this is a kris of crisis of incompetence. all of the rest hat hallmarks of a scandal. the reporters in the room seem to know more than the press secretary who is answering their questions. and that there is not a coherent message coming out of the white house and that the people aren't coordinating. this leads to a lot of questions. general flynn was clearly in touch with the russians through the campaign and it's hard for me to believe that the president-elect -- or the candidate didn't know that was going on. during the transition if he was going to call the russian ambassador you would think topic number one would have been the sanctions so he would have been prepared to talk about the sanctions because that would clearly come up. and the president saying he doesn't know -- he didn't know about the reports, a, he talked to the russian ambassador and, b, whether he talked to
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sanctions. it's hard for me to believe the president didn't know and if that is true then the president also misled the vice president. >> really quick. five seconds do you want to wait? >> okay. >> okay. we have so much to get to. i will say kellyanne conway does not need to text our show. at least as long as i'm on it, because it's not happening here. still ahead on "morning joe," two big exclusive interviews. house speaker paul ryan jioins s live and senator dick douchen and senator bob corker and is not chris murphy who among the new administration's toughest. ♪ heigh ho heigh ho ♪ ♪ heigh ho heigh ho it's off to work we go here's to all of you early risers,
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here is what i know. general flynn didn't break the law talking to the russian ambassador. in fact, that is his job. who did break the law is whoever reported his phone call unmasked
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it and leaked it. that is clearly multiple violations. >> national security is perhaps the most important function or responsibility a president has and i think the president made the right decision to ask for his resignation. you cannot have a national security adviser misleading the vice president and others. i think the key to this as soon as this person lost the president's trust, the president asked for his resignation and that was the right thing to do. i'm not going to prejudge any of the circumstances surrounding this until we have all of the information. >> should there be a broader independent investigation into the administration's ties to russia? >> i think that situation has taken care of itself. is your committee going to take any action on this? >> when it gets into the sources and it's the intel committee and not something the oversight committee can actually look at. >> people are talking about the need for investigations and
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blount came out and said there needed to be a strong and vigorous investigation. >> that is happening. >> you still don't think there need to be a select committee? >> no. we know how to do our work and we have an intelligence committee over in the judiciary committee lindsey graham has a subcommittee that is going to take a look at it. i don't think we need to go through setting up a special committee but we are going to look at russia involvement and the u.s. election. question know they were messing around with it and don't think they have any impact on the outcome but, obviously, we are not going to ignore something like that. >> we are going to have more from joe's sit-down interview with mitch mcconnell ahead and speaker paul ryan will join us live. joe? >> mika, it was very interesting. mitchell mcconnell doesn't give up anything he doesn't want to give up. he has been doing this since 1984. there were several times i thought the sentence was going
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to end with a curt sponsor and he get going. whether a twitter feed or the russians how they impacted the outcome of the election. he actually had some things he wanted to say. it was not in a defensive crouch you sometimes see him. i thought it was very, very interesting. you will never see frustration on his face but you certainly saw this was a man who said, i have some things that i wanted to get down on the record. democratic senator chris murphy of connecticut is joining us. very good to have you, senator, on the show. i would take it that we heard some republicans coming into the segment equivocating a little bit about the concept of any type of investigation pertaining to ties with russia. do you agree that the problem is solved with flynn? >> equivocating is a kind word.
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republicans want this to be away and constant drip, drip, of revelations and inability of the white house to keep up with them and making them very uncomfortable. the house committee is more interested in investigating the leaks than the underlying scandal. senator burr who in the senate said the connection of flynn's connections to russia during the campaign is not in his committee's purview. certainly not a satisfactory investigation happening in either intelligence committee. there is a real urgency to getting to the bottom of this. why? because it is potentially affecting u.s. policy. there is no thorough of international relations that explains the positioning that trump has taken on russia and russia is literally, as we speak, on the march, on the march in ukraine, in the balkans and violating nuclear treaties and missile treaties. so an independent nonpartisan commission is the only way to get to the bottom of this and give it subpoena power and allow
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it to do what the republicans have been explicit that the two existing intelligence investigations are not going to do. >> senator murphy, good to see you this morning. you tweeted something last night that we in the press have been looking for almost two years now. you said your nightlily reminder the center of the strength and hurricane are the tax returns. in this investigation that you're talking about, would the senate have subpoena power to get the tax returns and perhaps see if there are, in fact, business ties between donald trump and russia that he has not disclosed? >> legislation establishing a special senate committee could theoretically give it the power to get these tax returns. that is fully within the power of the u.s. congress. i have legislation with senator widen that would would require the disclosure of these returns. a decision congress can make. look. increasingly it's clear that there are some alternative explanation for this bizarre positioning, this softness on russia, this permission slip that trump has given russia to
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act in ways they have not acted in the last 20 years and that explanation is either that the russians have something on trump or their financial ties that are requiring trump to behave in this way or perhaps that the russians helped him in the election and this is sort of a quid pro quo. right now, there doesn't seem to be any sort of normal course of international relations explanation for this and that is why the senate committee has got to be given the power to go after the ultimate reason for this bizarre positioning on russia. >> senator, in this hurricane of duplicity and incompetence coming out of the white house, sometimes things get overlooked. one of the things that we mentioned earlier, but it's kind of overlooked, general tony thomas, he's the head of the special operations command, as you know. he is quoted as saying this. he's in all of the papers today. our government continues to be in unbelievable turmoil. i hope they sort it out soon because we are a nation at war.
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how does that strike you coming from a general that is very rarely quoted on anything and this quote is just dynamite. >> yeah. this quote is dynamite and not without precedent. i think back to general macarthur or general mcclellan. they come only once or twice a century where high ranking commanding generals are willing to come out and say that their job is being made harder by the president of the united states go on the record and saying that. listen. i think the resignation or the firing of flynn is an opportunity for this white house to reset their international relation strategy to bring in a mainstream experienced hand to the national security operation, to give it some stability. right now, foreign policy is a mess in this administration. nikki haley says one thing about ukraine in the united nations and two days later the president comes out and contradicts her and maybe bringing in somebody with real experience might be able to temporarily right this
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ship. >> senator chris murphy, thank you so much for being on the show. good to see you again. >> thanks, guys. >> this morning we will speak with speak paul ryan and senator dick durbin and senator bob corker and -- >> is there no evidence that enough votes were stolen to change the outcome of the election. i do want to point out, though, joe, the myth that voter fraud is not true but there is no evidence that there was significant enough voter fraud to affect the outcome of the presidential election. >> mitchell mcconnell parts with the president when it comes to claims of widespread voter fraud. more from joe's exclusive sit-down with the majority leader straight ahead. or two about trading. so i trade with e*trade, where true traders trade on a trademarked trade platform that has all the... get off the computer traitor! i won't. (cannon sound) mobility is very important to me. that's why i use e*trade mobile. it's on all my mobile devices, so it suits my mobile lifestyle
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quote
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39 past the hour. the senate is set for a showdown over president trump's pick for the supreme court. majority leader mitch mcconnell has a lead role in that fight. joe sat down yesterday on capitol hill for an exclusive interview where they discussed the balance of power in washington and the president's claim that he was robbed of the popular vote by millions of illegal ballots. >> there is no evidence that
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enough votes were stolen to change the outcome of the election. what i do want to point out, the democratic myth that voter fraud is a fiction is not true. we have had a series of significant cases in kentucky over the years. there is voter fraud in the country. so the notion that something, for example, like photo i.d. at the polls is to suppress the vote is patently absurd. but there is no evidence that there was significant enough voter fraud to affect the outcome of the presidential election. >> any concerns about some of the things coming out of the white house when, for instance, steven miller says that the powers of the president are not to be questioned? do republicans in the senate believe in the importance of judicial review? >> yeah. absolutely. i mean, under the constitution,
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all of our actions are subject to judicial review. >> all of the press's actions? >> yes all of us both the congress and president and that is, of course, is happening. the ninth circuit has spoken on this issue and the white house will respond to it in one of the ways that they have to deal with this, including the possibility that -- a different order. >> you've been around for a very long time and you've been a political junkie for a very long time. and you've seen insurgents get elected to the white house whether jimmy carter or ronald reagan or bill clinton who struggled for the first three to six months as they are making that transition. >> yeah. >> running against washington to actually having to get along with washington. >> yeah. >> it's, obviously, happening again which you probably would have predicted. is it any worse than what you've seen in the past? any more dysfunctional at the white house? >> there is always an adjustment. if you've run against washington to kind of reach an
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understanding that there are a lot of other people who are pretty good at politics too or they wouldn't have gotten elected in the first place. everybody looks at last year's election and say it was a change election. well, it was in the presidential race. but not is in the national race. republicans got re-elected and held the majority and happened in the house as well. the american public was not wanting to change the congress. they wanted a different kind of president and no question that donald trump is a different kind of president. he's about as different -- he is now comparing himself to andrew jackson and i think it's a pretty good comparison. that is how big a change that jackson was from the virginia and massachusetts gentleman who had been president of the united states for the first 40 years. he's different. but i like what he is doing. i like the attack on overregulation. i like the cabinet appointments. i think the supreme court nominee was superb. i think he picked the single most outstanding circuit judge
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in america to be on supreme court. >> will you have to resort to the nuclear option? >> that will depend on the democrats. >> but you, though, one way or another -- >> he'll be confirmed. the issue for your audience, the issue you're raising is will we have to get 60 votes to advance the nomination. senator merkley announced we would have to do that before he knew who the nominee was so we will have to get 60 votes and it's happened in the past. >> do you think you'll get close to 60 votes? >> we will. justice alito had to get 60 votes and he did. i believe that will happen again. in the event, gorsuch is going to get confirmed and an outstanding choice. >> have you spoken to him since he was selected? >> i had a visit. >> did he express to you concerns about what the president said? >> these folks are all trained not to say much. >> but, obviously, he expressed
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some concerns to other senators? >> we didn't talk about his prospects of being confirmed. >> what about what the president had said about judicial review and about -- >> he expressed that to others. >> but not to you? >> not to me. but i happen to agree with what he said. i mean, i think, you know, criticizing members of the judiciary individually is not a good idea. we all get opinions we don't like. >> were you surprised though, that not only the president but also the white house was so shocked by the ninth circuit's ruling when most people in washington knew that when the ninth circumstance -- >> you're absolute right, joe. >> the ninth circuit, i said we know how they are going to rule and now -- just like on the other side, if it goes to the 11th circuit or fifth circuit you know. >> i would agree. i wasn't surprised by anything the ninth circumstance did. we think of it as a bastion of
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lib liberalism and has been for a long tichlt. >> represetime. >> >> it reflects the views of the people that got appointed. i think the white house has a number of different options and strikes me that redrafting the order might be the simplest but that is their call. >> john heilemann, there was an awful lot to unpack there. i didn't even get to the part where he started being critical of donald trump for his tweeter feeds and basically saying it's a distraction. i want to talk about policies, not what he is tweeting. a lot of times he volunteered the information. hey, by the way, i agree with gorsuch, it was disheartening for donald trump to say what about judges. the election wasn't stolen and pushing back on that lie. about three or four other times we know that mitch mcconnell says only what he wants to say and does not feel pcompelled to be liked by reporters but volunteered a good bit there. >> i agree.
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mcconnell has put a little bit of sdaps between himself and trump and did it throughout that interview. it seems to me in the end the main show here continues to be the question of this metastasizing scandal related to the white house and russia, so the question continues to be what is the posture of congress in general and congressional republicans and mitch mcconnell at the top how seriously you take the investigation into all of these matters and i don't know that it's tenable. again, given the way in which this information is coming out, the way in which it appears that the totality of the intelligence community, the fbi, now engaged in what seems like a wide ranging investigation of the sitting president of the united states. i'm not sure how long mitch mcconnell can maintain the posture just doing this through the normal course of business through the intel committee as opposed to moving to a more broad-based effort, i'm not sure how long that is going to be politically tenable for him. >> willie geist, even the intel
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committee is balking in the senate on exactly what they are going to do as far as this investigation goes. marco rubio, a member of the intel committee, said the tough questions are going to be asked and he gets an invitation to the white house with his wife tonight. they are going to be having dinner with the president of the united states. how interesting that is some kind of timing for donald trump to try to patch things up with senate intel committee member marco rube know who is going to have a big say along with the rest of that committee on whether this white house staggers forward or not. >> might be a little late to patch things up with marco after the last year and a half but we will see if he can do something over dinner tonight. listen. this front page story of "the new york times" is just the latest chapter. this is not going away. it's only growing. the question of whether or not there is ties directly between the trump campaign, there were ties and now the trump administration to russia behind the scenes making deals before they came into office, the question raised at least by this piece in "the new york times" is why were they talking so
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frequently with russia and michael schmidt one of the authors of the piece why just russia? why did they talk so often to russia? >> why were they talking so often to the country that was trying to influence the election. >> right. >> by hacking into the democratic national committee? i'm sorry. there are really no good explanations for that. they can say what they want to say but no good explanations. >> on our show, he couldn't criticize vladimir putin, candidate trump. he just couldn't do it. >> he couldn't do it two sundays ago when bill o'rooeilly asked him. >> he has never been able to do it. not once, ever. >> trying to unpack in joe's interview with mitch mcconnell and trying to unpack what we have been talking about all this week, i would one shocking thing -- next monday marks the one month anniversary of this
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presidency. one month. one month. this has all happened. >> alex, pull that interview during the campaign where he talked on this show about russia. you can see our faces fall when we keep pressing him about this because we are incredulous as to the answer of this question. >> mika, you know, just like last week when he was on bill o'reilly during the super bowl, it wasn't enough for him to defend putin and russia. he had to on trash america. >> right. >> donald trump, the president of the united states, trashed america to bill o'rooeilly whene said do you think we are so perfect? then in december of 2015, he trashed america again in defending vladimir putin saying we kill a lot of people too. that was his reaction to my asking the question, but aren't you concerned that vladimir putin kills journalists and political opponents?
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his response was, to trash america, and say, well, we kill a lot of people too. >> we will bring it up and take a look at it again. more from joe's exclusive sit-down with leader mcconnell ahead in our next hour. coming up in our 8:00 hour, another "morning joe" exclusive. we are going to speak live with the speaker of the house paul ryan. we will be right back. ♪
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against the backdrop of everything we have been talking about this morning vladimir putin appears to be testing the new president by reportedly deploying a new cruise missile that officials say violates an arms treaty between the united states and russia. the u.s. has been concerned about the missile program for sometime and have developed several options how to respond including deploying more missile defenses to europe. we will talk about this latest development with senator bob corker and chairman of the foreign relations committee, and
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democratic minority whip dick durbin will join us lay latest in the show. plus, joe's interview with mitchell mcconnell. senator mcconnell outlines republicans plans to replace obamacare. then paul ryan, speaker of the house, will join us when we come back. ♪ ♪ ♪ sfx: engine revving ♪ (silence) ♪ when it comes toor hospital romances, the more complicated, the better. i love you. but i love him.
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welcome back to "morning joe." it's wednesday, february 5th. still with us we have msnbc contributor mike barnicle and political analyst john heilemann and joining the conversation president and ceo of the aspen institute walter isaacson and with us senior write at politico and co-author of the playbook jake sherman. intercepted phone calls show members of donald trump's campaign and other trump associates had multiple communications with senior russian intelligence officials before the election. "the new york times" reports that sourcing four current and former american officials, u.s. law enforcement and intelligence agencies intercepted the communications around the time they found evidence that russia was hacking the dnc. the report also states the intel agencies attempted to learn of the trump campaign colluded with the russians on efforts to influence the election.
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it is worth noting that the times reports this. the officials interview in recent weeks said that, so far, they had seen no evidence of such cooperation. "the times" sources would not disclose the nature of the calls, the identity of the russian intelligence officials who cooperated. but it states paul manafort, along with other associates, he stating the accounts as absurd and knowingly never spoken to russian intelligence officers. yesterday, white house press secretary sean spicer addressed whether anyone in the trump campaign had contact with the russians. >> back in january, the president said that nobody in his campaign had been in touch with the russians. now, today, can you still say definitively that nobody on the
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trump campaign, not even general flynn, had any contact with the russians before the election? >> my understanding is what general flynn has now expressed is that during the transition period -- we were very clear that during the transition period, he did speak with the ambassador -- >> i'm talking about during the campaign. >> is there nothing that would conclude me that anything different has changed with respect to that time period. both the fbi and white house declined to comment on the story. nbc news has not independently verified "the times" reporting and earlier this morning we talked with one of the report's author. >> last year as the intelligence and law enforcement community was looking at what was going on in the election and with russia, they saw these connections. they saw people around trump that were talking to russian intelligence officials. they said this is really curious. we don't see them doing this with other countries. these are people that have, you know, that are embedded in the intelligence agency. and why is this going on and
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such an extensive communication here? indeed, some of these guys around trump did business in russia and in that part of the world and a lot of intelligence folks that are part of that. but, at the same time, the level of this and the extent of it was really troubling and was one part of what the fbi has been looking at as they try and understand the connections between trump world and russia, which is becoming this sort of sprawling investigation. >> joe, the words dishonesty and disinformation seem to be plaguing this white house on all levels. >> what is so fascinating, walter isaacson, the truth always comes out. it's coming out more quickly and rapidly in this administration than any other administration because there are more obvious things to get out there, but also there are many agencies who are deeply concerned and have been deeply concerned for a long time about these connections with russians. multiple contacts with the trump campaign, multiple contacts with
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trump business associates during the campaign. multiple contacts with general flynn. he goes over to russia. he sits with putin. talk about payment that general flynn received. it continues. this is a huge sprawling investigation and republicans suggest this is just about michael flynn and now that flynn is gone and it's all over, they are engaging in some deeply wishful thinking. >> absolute. this is so weird and worthy of a sprawling novel of the type people used to write in the 1950s and '60s at the beginning of the cold war. not even lacure novel, it's simple and straightforward and people bpeople meddling in the election and reporting russians positions and many things an a lot of questions about money and everything else. so the notion that this is just about, you know, within thing and one leak on michael flynn, this is real information and, of
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course, all of this information is going to come out. >> joe? >> walter, you've been around a while. mike barnicle and i have been talking about the front page of "the new york times" article. we had a quote of the commander of special ops saying that washington, it's very disturbing to him. i want to read another quote from here. this is from leon panetta. he served this one for 50 years. we always saw him as very bipartisan, whether he was an elected representative or working in the clinton administration. ed, quote, i've never been so nervous in my lifetime about what may or may not happen in washington, d.c. that is leon panetta who has served 50 years under nine presidents. do you feel the same, walter? >> yeah. we historian who write history say it was just like this or like this, the mccarthy period or the nixon period. this is certainly something the like of which we have never
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seen, and it is, when it's starting to frighten our military commanders, just a real shock. mike? >> joe, could i just add that given the context the times we are living in, the assault on the legitimate media, that what we are seeing playing out on the pages of "the new york times" and "the washington post," that is real journalism. that is real reporting and that is a real public service to this country. >> what i want to point out also is michael schmidt is a guy, if i'm not mistaken, got hammered an awful lot by the clinton campaign. michael schmidt was on the forefront of going after the truth about hillary clinton's server and they can say, well, he shouldn't. yes, he should have. she lied repeatedly. her campaign lied repeatedly. she held u.n. press conference it was, obviously, she was lying at the time. what did michael schmidt of "the new york times" do? they followed the news, followed the facts. who do we find a year and a half later? michael schmidt of "the new york times" and what is he doing now?
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he is digging deep on this russian connection who, by the way, the times, "the washington post" and other newspapers, mike, were trying to do that during the campaign as well, perhaps michael flynn is the thread that starts the unwinding of the russian connection. >> joe, i'm going to show you something. first, i want to ask you like your candidate running for president how would you characterist chark characterize vladimir putin and what is the correct answer? >> the correct answer is the answer that republican senators and congressmen gave for years until it became politically expedient to become cowards. my view is tom cotton's view of vladimir putin one who is courageous. he kills journalists who write stories that are inconvenient to him. he murders. he assassinates political rivals. john mccain and were i talking
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about this in his office yesterday. he murders and naeassassinates political rivals in the creme l kremlin. he is one of the subsidy stabilizing forces on the planet. >> so here is donald trump on bill o'reilly with the super bowl. and then during the campaign on "morning joe" in 2015. a couple of stabs at the question and sound bites for you. >> do you respect putin? >> i do respect him. >> do you? why? >> well, i respect a lot of people but that doesn't mean i'm going to get along with them. he's a leader of his country. i say it's better to get along with russia than not. and if russia helps us in the fight against isis, which is a major fight, and islamic terrorism all over the world. >> right. >> major fight, that's a good thing. will i get along with him?
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i have no idea. >> reporter: putin is a killer. >> we got a lot of killers. do you think our country is so innocent? do you think our country is so innocent? >> i don't know of any government leaders that are kills in the american -- >> well, take a look what we have done too. we made many mistakes. >> i've been against the iraq war from the beginning. >> reporter: we have made a lot of mistakes. >> a lot of killers around believe me. >> do you like vladimir putin comments about you? >> sure. when people call you brilliant, that is always good, especially when the person heads up russia. >> yeah. >> also a person that kills journalists, political opponents. >> and invades countries. >> and invades countries obviously. that would be a concern, would it not? >> he is running his country and at least he is leader, unlike what we have in this country. >> but, again, he kills journalists that don't agree with him. >> well, i think our country does plenty of killing also,
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joe. so you know? >> what do you mean by that? >> a lot of killing going on in the world going on right now, joe. a lot of killing going on and a lot of stupidity and that is the way it is. but you didn't ask me the question. you asked me a different question, so that's fine. >> i -- i'm confused. so you, obviously, condemn vladimir putin killing journalists and political opponents, right? >> oh, sure. absolutely. >> so how would america's relationship with russia change if you were president? >> well, i think it would be good. i've always felt, you know, fine about putin. i think that he is a strong leader. he's a powerful leader. he has represented his country. that's the way the country is being represented. he has actually got popularity within his country. they respect him as a leader. certainly over the last couple of years, they have respected him as a leader and i think he is up in the '80s. you see where obama is in the 30s and low 40s and he is up in
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the 80s. so i guess -- i don't know who does the polls. maybe he does the polls, but i think -- >> probably. >> -- by american companies, actually. >> the thing that you dig out, mike barnicle, of that interview and the thing you dig out of o'reilly's interview, again, it's not enough that he is object seek weeus of vladimir putin and assassinates anybody that gets in his way. it's he has to trash america. we have got a lot of killers too. a lot of killers. a lot of killers. what? do you think we are so perfect? again, denigrating the united states of america, if this were the 1960s, there would be a lot of republicans with bumper stickers and at least people across the south that would say, hey, trump, america, love it or leave it. this is a sort of language we would never allow.
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>> there is a constant thread. >> any democrat. and why republicans are allowing it from a republican is staggering. >> one of the constant threads in president trump's conversations that we saw there, as well as elsewhere, one of the constant references that he makes is to run down this country in comparison to what he wants to do and what he thinks he stands for. it's more than upsetting. it's more than upsetting. it's deeply -- >> do you guys have a trump tweet? >> the president is weighing on this matter. >> the president is weighing in. >> at this moment. >> right now. >> he begins the fake news media is going crazy with their conspiracy theories and blind hatred. then he says this russian connection nonsense is merely an attempt to cover up the many mistakes made in hillary clinton's losing campaign. >> that's it. the reference to the past, to the obama administration, to hillary clinton, so america has
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killers in its m issuing dst. >> we just played the sound bite. he likes it. but i can't imagine -- i'm trying not to get ahead of my ski but i'm only using his words. >> john heilemann, everybody thinks that vladimir putin and the russian intel agencies, and many people in this country who are in certain positions also believe the russians have something on donald trump and they are blackmailing him. >> millions of people who believe the fbi and james comey are the reason why hillary clinton lost the election. and that comey's intervention in the october of last year had a huge deleterious effect on her
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campaign. the fbi is seen as an opponent to hillary clinton. donald trump saying the russian connection is just an attempt to cover up the mistakes of hillary clinton's campaign. much of this material we are now talking about today is being driven out of the fbi which is investigating this russian connection. the reality here is that as with a lot of important scandals in the past, the threat that the trump administration faces right no the intelligence community probably defined and the fbi are engaged what michael schmidt talked about earlier which is a wide ranging investigation that goes to the very top of the trump administration and the tough we are reading now on the front page of "the new york times" comes basically from career government servants. it's not servants and motivated by it and the reason i mentioned the hillary clinton example is make the same point. the fbi is not acting -- in whatever they are doing right now, they are not acting in a partisan way. so i think that the -- that -- i'm not sure if donald trump believes this they need this
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tweet but if he does, he's got a bigger problem here because he doesn't understand the nature of the threat to his own administration, which is much more significant than anything that is partisan or has niged with conspiracy theories or trying to cover up for hillary clinton. >> it is fair to ask why james comey and the fbi believed it was in public interest to know about the anthony wiener investigation that shed light on hillary clinton and not more detail about this russian investigation. jake sherman, the reason those clips that we just played of donald trump saying nice things about vladimir putin and russia is significant as plays into what we are talking about this morning is the front page report of "the new york times" the red flags were raised because of the nice things he was saying about vladimir putin. they are saying why is the trump campaign speaking to frequently to russia and saying glowing things about vladimir putin? >> i think think what is transpiring in washington the next couple of months. sure to have a senate investigation.
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the house is going to investigate. so people hauled up to capitol hill, build a border wall with mexico. he has a lot of skeptics right now on his policies and you'll have paul ryan on and paul ryan consistently says donald trump's policy to russia is not his policy. so i just think we need to keep this in broad context. that this is going to slow everything on capitol hill and it's going to halt donald trump's entire agenda and that is significant because republicans are up for re-election in the shous next year and so are senators. not a lot of time to get things done and the middle of february. donald trump needs to kind of sew things up really quickly and hope that congress gets past these investigations because they are going to uncover some rocks, turn over some rocks they don't want to uncover at this particular time. >> joining from capitol hill nbc news white house correspondent halllie jackson. what are you learning about a
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replacement for michael flynn? >> reporter: these three candidates we keep talking about. i spoke with a source inside the white house who is familiar with these national security maneuverings who dismiss the idea that petraeus was a serious contender and all signs point to harvard and well known inside the administration and according to a senior administration official just here last week. i am told by one source he was here actually interviewing with mike flynn, with mcfarland and keith kellogg for a different role inside the nsc. when this fallout started to happen at the end of the last week, a different official tells me they looked at harward more seriously as a replacement for mike flynn. it looks as though we should be getting word on this sometime within the week and i wouldn't be surprised to see it come down the next few days. as you know this is a crisis that is frankly consumed the white house the last 72 hours and i think there is a desire to move quickly to try to install
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somebody new to try to calm some of the angst that you're seeing inside the national security community. angst that somebody said to me in the last 12 hours was a little overblown. i'm not sure that is actually the case when you talk to some of the analysts on the ground. yes, there is always turmoil when you have transitions but in this instance there are some serious concerns from people who are looking at this and going we need some clarity here. we need some new leadership. it looks as though that new leadership will end up in place probably sometime within the week. >> nbc news be hallie jackson, thanks for that. senator bob corker and speaker paul ryan and senator dick durbin and more from joe's sit-down with mitch "morning meeting" consequently are all ahead on "morning joe." [vo] quickbooks introduces jeanette
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president trump may have won the state of iowa by nine points in november but he begins his presidency there under water. gnaw poll by the iowa des moines register shows that 42% of eyans
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approve of the job trump is doing as president, while 49% disapprove. those numbers are unprecedented in the history of the iowa poll. no president in the beginning of his first term has ever seen more eyans disproofing thapprov approving. here is a look at the presidential removal ratings in iowa over the past presidents. trump remains strong among iowa republicans with 82% approving of his job performance and that number among iowa independents sit at 50%. new pol jake sherman, what are the new polls showing us? >> bleak numbers for donald trump. 26% actually believe that he is the worst president since world war ii, which quite the feat so early in his administration. then we have some interesting numbers on donald trump and we are going to jump a lot ahead
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here to 2020. generic democrats would beat donald trump 40-45 and 42% to 36% to senator elizabeth warren. the democratic thing they need to lurch to the left and stop donald trump in his tracks. this shows there is peril going too far to the left for the democratic party and could help donald trump. so that is kind of the snapshot. we do these polls every week, so we track these pretty closely. the iowa numbers by the way, do track pretty closely with our numbers nationwide. not good news for donald trump as he sits here four weeks into his administration. >> wow. >> jake, we have a new tweet in from the president of the united states. the president of the united states with the fbi knocking on the white house door, the president just tweets
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information is being illegally given to the failing "the new york times" and "the washington post" by the intelligence community and nsa and fbi, just like russia. that is where we are. >> moral equivalent from russia. >> hold on. >> joe? >> can anybody around the table -- because i don't know. you know? i played football from the time i was 9 to through high school. so my head might have got hit a couple times too hard. but i can't recall a time when donald trump criticized the intel community when they were leaking information about hillary clinton's server investigation. but that may just be me. can you guys remember any time? >> praised wikileaks and praised the leakers for doing that. >> i would define that as hypocrisy. >> i love wikileaks! >> he said that often unless it doesn't serve my purpose and my
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potentially inappropriate relationship with russia. >> to go to joe. i'll raise this question which is on this show from the moment that donald trump decided to go to war with the intelligence community and attack the cia and attack the fbi and others the question just as a matter of pure political calculus how much sense does that make? you and a point you and others made in november and december when he was doing those things. >> yeah. >> now in the middle of this investigation, he is attacking the fbi and the cia right now while his administration is under investigation by them and all of these things are happening just rate that on a scale 1 to 10 in terms of political wisdom? >> it's stupidity. i've said it from the beginning. i said it in november that it was stupidity. i said do not attack the intel agencies. you'll get cut up in a thousand pieces like george w. bush did when he started doing enhanced
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interrogation techniques and people inside the agency were against it and they cut him up bit bit-by-bit and piece-by-piece. donald trump has attacked the cia and intel agencies and the state department. he's attacked everybody. and it is -- of course, he has lied to his vice president. he's allowed his national security adviser to lie to his vice president. and he is digging himself as quickly -- he is digging himself into the same bunker and the same little hole that richard nixon did in 1973 and 1974. >> we are not even a month in. >> most remarkably, mike barnicle, and walter isaacson, i know you guys remember '73 and '74. >> we are the old ones here. >> they are so unnecessary. so unnecessary. but he's doing it. >> you know what is interesting, j joe? the president seems unaware, unaware that the leakers, the
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people leaking these stories, this is not personally aimed at him. it's aimed at their unrest and lack of credit. >> it's about the underlying information here. he tweeted out yesterday there is an east wind coming. that is a big storm about to brew here. and sherlock holmes novel and we know how that one end. >> the white house wants your ice on the source of the nvergs and not the information itself. general flynn gave a statement to the daily caller before he stepped aside let's talk about the leaks. these are criminal acts. he didn't. to talk about the content what is in the leaks. >> the alternative. all about the leaks. >> here is what is so disturbing. you actually -- you can see it. that's what the republicans, a lot of the republicans are saying on capitol hill. look at the leaks. look at the leaks. when they said nothing about the leaks and the hillary clinton
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investigations. you've got the "the wall street journal." there is no doubt rupert murdoch and donald trump are very close. it's not a coincidence today that the main editorial in "the wall street journal" is criticizing what? not a disturbing russian connection if this were barack obama or another democrat they would cut him in a million pieces. instead, they are talking about the leaks. republicans on the hill. talking about the leaks. the white house talking about the leaks. instead of talking about the bigger story which is, again, a pattern of conduct going back 18 months and remarkable number of connections between the russians and the trump campaign, which they have denied in the past. to try to make this one off on general flynn insults the intelligence of every american. >> you'd expect the white house to spin and avert our eyes but you hope that members of congress, whether they were republican or on democrat on capitol hill, would be concerned about russia's back door relationship with a presidency or a back door relationship with
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a campaign, a back door relationship meddling in a presidential election. that should be their concern. >> mike, play the counterfactual here. if barack obama had just won election and was three weeks into his new administration, and the information that we now have about donald trump and his administration were applied to barack obama. >> are you kidding? >> and republicans were in control in congress. >> oh, my god. >> what would be happening? >> what would mitch mcconnell and paul ryan do right now on capitol hill if the same facts apply to barack obama? >> they would be cozying up to joe biden because he would soon be the next president of the united states. >> would be starting next week? >> careful. >> one point here. because joe made it and then john just did too. one of the things that would be really good in our country right now is for everybody to say what would i be thinking if this were the counterfactual you just talked about? what would i be thinking if this were hillary or barack obama and
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what would i be thinking if trump had done this? we have lost that ability in our society to say, instead of a knee-jerk, oh, it's trump so it's fine that he is doing this, to say what would i be thinking if the guy on the other side or the woman on the other side had been doing it? and that would help us -- >> at the beginning of this conversation, joe, you brought up stupidity. the other day, willie, i said to you i'm banking on stupidity and praying and banking on stupidity. i think i'm going to lose my money. walter isaacson and jake sherman, thank you. still ahead on "morning joe." >> it wasn't all dysfunctional in the last chronic. not at all. >> for our viewers at home, you say it was not dysfunctional in the last kongcongress? >> no, we were not dysfunctional. >> this was a fascinating interview. >> leader mcconnell is the
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player right now. he was very clear in a very steady way in a very smart way that he had things he wanted to say and that he did it precisely. >> we will have more on that interview. ahead, we will speak live with senator bob corker. >> i'm stunned at the number of leaks that are coming out of the white house and, of course, that is something they can deal with internally, but, yeah, it's been amazing to me that in eight years during the obama administration, i mean, a tight ship, very few leaks came out and, yet, during the first few weeks here, seems like every day there is some new leaks. we've done well in life, with help from our advisor, we made it through many market swings.
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now to the second part of joe's interview with senator mitch mcconnell speaking on capitol hill. joe pressed the majority leader on the gridlock in washington and how exactly republicans plan to replace obamacare. >> yeah. let me tell you what is unacceptable and that is the status quo. bill clinton said last year during the elections craziest thing you ever seen. 8 out of 10 americans wanted replace or dramatically tang chang. if hillary had gotten elected and chuck schumer was the mantle leader we would be revisiting
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obamacare and status quo is not accept ble. you ask what is next and it's very implicated. you remember nancy pelosi, i'm not sure if you fully recognize what she was saying when obamacare passed. >> right. >> we need to find out what is in it. >> have to read it. >> inartful way of saying it was a massive punt to the secretary of human and health services which they used very effectively for implementation. we now have secretary of health and human services who has the same kind of latitude to try to settle the markets and get to us a better place. in conjunction with tom price, the new secretary of health and human services, and what we can do laelvegislatively we think wn do better and owe it to the american people to try to do that. >> will you able to keep the parts that are important? i know a lot of republicans in my old district and people from kentucky that voted that trump that wanted to be protected on preexisting conditions and want to have some of the other protections that obamacare has. can you guarantee they are going
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to have that? >> yeah. i think the way to handle preexisting condition americans is state-based risk pools. a number of them already up and running before obamacare that were functioning quite well, a place where people with preexisting conditions could go and get covered. >> take -- >> all done at the state level. was already being done at the state level before the obamacare wiped them all out. so we are sensitive to that. and we are sensitive to things like people being able to stay on the policy. >> would there be a federal guarantee or would it be a state-by-state basis? >> we will let you know. that's what we are in the process of working on. >> and are you -- talk about the coordination with paul ryan. >> good. >> are you guys coordinating closely? >> virtually on a daily basis and coordinating with the white house. we are waiting for the secretary of health and human services and we now have one. >> i know you were loathed to
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make any recommendations to the president on staffing. what about otherwise 0 his twitter feed or on some of the statements exstrainious statements that distract from some of the accomplishments? >> well, i will say this. i think we do end up having a lot of collateral matters to talk about as a result of the president's desire to tweet. and i'm more interested in what he is doing than what he is tweeting. i think that's something he wants to do and will continue to do, but i'm going to focus on what we are trying to accomplish for the american people. repealing and replacing obamacare and comprehensive tax reform for the first time in 30 years so america can be more competitive and more importantly, joe, attacking over regulation. i met the other day with the prime minister of canada. he is supposed to be a liberal. you know what he was talking about? deregulation. i said liberals in canada must be different from liberals in
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america. even a liberal administration in canada understands the way you can slow the economy with overregulation. barack obama didn't have a single year of 3% growth. not one. in eight years. you can't realize the hopes and aspirations of the next generation without more growth and deregulation and tax reform and repealing and replacing obamacare are all related to getting america up and running again. >> final question. obviously, the senate has been extraordinarily dysfunctional over the past decade and seems to get more dysfunctional. >> it wasn't at all dysfunctional in the last congress. not at all. >> for our viewers at home, you say it was not dysfunctional in the last congress? >> no. comprehensive education reform and five-year highway bill and on and on. we were not dysfunctional. the only thing i did that they were unhappy with was we are not going to fill the supreme court
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decision in the middle of a presidential election year for which there was ample precedent and we were not dysfunctional and certainly not keeping at the beginning of the obama administration, the president from even getting his cabinet filled. what we are experiencing in the senate here is delaying the inevitable. >> i was going to ask about that. >> delaying the inevitable. >> you knew it was going to pass and they slofed it dowwed it do. is this impractical fpayback fo? >> demonstrators in front of chuck schumer's house in brooklyn and people taken to the streets and i think playing to the crowd and hopefully at some point the adults over there will sober up and say we actually got to function here as a government. >> up next, we will bring in the chairman of the senate foreign relations committee, bob corker. we will get his take on the incredible amount of news coming out surrounding russia and the trump administration. we are back after this. your insurance company won't replace
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♪ yesterday, the president had an incredibly productive set of meetings and discussions with prime minister trudeau of canadian and focusing our close commitment to cooperation and addressing the challenges facing our two countries and the problems throughout the world. >> it's justin trudeau but that is okay. joining from us capitol hill is the chairman of the foreign relations committee republican senator bob corker of tennessee. great to have you on the show this morning. joe, take it away. >> senator corker, very little to talk to you about. we could talk about tennessee football but, instead, i'll just ask you. a lot to try to digest the past 24 hours. yet another crazy day in the first month of the trump administration. obviously, general flynn's resignation. "the new york times" reports of a lot of contacts between russia and the trump campaign. and even the head of special ops
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saying that this sort of turmoil is very disturbing to him. what are your questions this morning? what are some of the questions you think congress needs to get to the bottom of? >> joe, as you mentioned, it's hard to know where to start. the base issue is getting to the bottom of what the russian interference was and what the relationship was with associates of the trump effort so that is the big elephant in the room that has got to be dealt with in the most appropriate way. the american people need to understand, we need to understand and it needs to be dealt with quickly and we need to get it behind us. so how we go about dealing with that is very important. there's the issue of is the white house going to have the ability to stabilize itself? this affects us not just with international issues that are brewing all around the world and all kinds of problems but the
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domestic agenda here. there is the american people are counting on us to do big things this year and does it distract from that? there are the issues. i know you all have been talking earlier about leaks and no doubt that is a sub issue that needs to be dealt with and we need to make sure that information that bureaus are taking in is being handled in the appropriate manner. the big issue right now is dealing with this russia issue, making sure that it doesn't destabilize our ability to move ahead as a country and deal with important issues. >> chairman corker, it's willie geist. good to see you this morning. we have been wondering sometime on this show at least a year and a half or so while donald trump seems to defer to vladimir putin. he can't seem to say things that are clear to many of us about vladimir putin. do you share concern about his posture, generally, towards vladimir putin? >> i do. i think, you know, of all the foreign policy issues and if you look where they were in the campaign, where they were in
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transition, they have begun to evolve to a better place from my standpoint on most issues. you look at their evolution on china, their evolution on israeli, their evolution on some of the issues in the middle east. the one area where the evolution is not taking place is with russia. russia is not our friend. russia has done nefarious things against our country and against democracy and the west the last three or four years in big ways when they saw weakness and fairness and we have got to push back against that. and i think people like tillerson and mattis and others know that. but this relationship that seems to exist and seems to be preeminent and driving so much of the conversation within the white house, to me, is still not righted itself. i think there are people who know better and hopefully it will change. but, no, it's a problem and, look. people are concerned that he is
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going to, you know, strip away sanctions that are in place. i think that is almost impossible now with everything that has happened, but that is the one area that is hard to understand. >> why, senator, do you suspect donald trump has not evolved in this one area, at least? because as you said, he has come around to a position you probably find better on china and israeli and places like that. what is it about russia? >> i have no idea and i think that is why i think it's important for us to not have suspicions. what you're basically asking is, is there something else there that we don't know? and i think that is why from the standpoint of putting forth great international policies, we need to understand what is happening and get it behind us. from their standpoint, certainly not take any bold steps relative to russia on the front end. that does not need to occur. >> senator, given your concern about our relationship with russia and this story we are
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witnessing and your concern about getting to the bottom of it quickly as you just said, would you be at all curious about knowing whether or not mr. flynn kept the kept the president-elect of the united states in the loop about his conversations with the russian ambassador prior to the inauguration? >> i think we -- i think it would be very good. i think based on reading publications, i understand there may be an fbi investigation under way, and i would hope that general flynn, who, by the way, was setting up the interagency process in an appropriate way and i was heartened by that, and now that he is gone and now that this issue has occurred, and him coming before us and testifying, if that can be done, it would be an appropriate thing for us to have happen. i don't know that i want to get into the intrigue of the daily
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blows, but i want to understand what has happened here. if i were them, by the way, if i were the people leading the trump effort at the white house, i would want to make sure with all of the suspicion that everybody fully understood what has taken place, otherwise maybe there's a problem that obviously goes much deeper than what we now suspect. >> you know, we really -- we plan to and will get to what you are doing in terms of creating policy, because i have heard from a lot of republicans fairly, and i would say the same applies to democrats, like elizabeth warren and others who are working all day in washington like senator bob corker to, try and make this country even better every day, and corker is working on the end modern slavery initiative act which we would like you to talk about, and we apologize, there are pressing questions swirling around the white house, and we
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even had, bob, the president tweeting at us this morning for asking questions, and you said not to have suspicion, and we don't have suspicion, we just have eyes, we just have eyes, and what we see seems to be leading to a troubling conclusion. the president tweeting at us and accusing us of misinformation, when you have white house spokes people going out, some of them spreading misinformation, where does that lead us with our conclusions about russia? what are we supposed to do? >> again, you know, we have got an investigation, and i guess we will call it that, that is taking place through the intelligence committee, and i know the judiciary committee is doing the same. look, over the course of the next couple months i think we will know a lot more of what has occurred. if i were at the white house
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right now i would want to be having a meeting right now, let's get ourselves organized. it's not just what is being leaked out through intelligence agencies, and i am not trying to distract the big issue of what has happened with russia, but it's also happening what is internally at the white house where there's so much back biting, and i would want to get organized and let's get everything out as quickly as possible on this russia issue because otherwise it is going to distract from the first six or seven months of this presidency where the american people are counting on huge things occurring. it's out of control today and hard to know where to start with issues around the world and here domestically, and that's where i would start, and getting things organized and buttoned up and everybody moving in the same direction, it's a big problem for them and a big problem for our country. how does a president lead on tax
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reform? how does he lead on health care replacement and on other issues when this big distraction is here before us. >> let me ask about a piece of policy, and one of the facts here that jumped off the page to awful us is today more than 27 million people are enslaved around the world and that's more than anytime in the history of the world. >> yeah. so it's illegal in every country in the world including ours, but today 27 million people as we speak on this program are enclaieven slaved. we have appropriates to end it, like we did with hiv around the world and it's a big day for us to begin making awareness -- making even greater awareness to people around the world, but we have an initiative that we think that we can build on, and prime minister may, as you know, is interested in this, and we have
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other countries and it's a public parted innnership. 24% of that is sexual serve taod, and other is hard labor, and this is a plague, a scourge on mankind, and the united states needs to be in leadership making it end. >> thank you so much for being on the show this morning. still ahead, the latest tick-tock about who knew what when about flynn's discussions with the russian ambassador. plus -- >> what we have here is failure to communicate. >> one of the white house's top spokes people seems to be out of the loop much of the time. we'll talk about how it's muddling the white house message at this time of deep turmoil. and house speaker paul ryan will
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good morning. it's wednesday, february 15th. welcome to "morning joe." with us on set, we have veteran columni columnist, mike barnicle, and co-author of "game change," john heilman, and an msnbc contributor, rick tyler, along
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with willy, joe and me. we have a big show this morning. >> it's a big show. the pace just continues to quicken in the "new york times" this morning, and you actually have the head of the special opposite command telling "the new york times," our government continues to be in unbelievable turmoil. i hope they sort it out soon because we are a nation at war and says he is worried about american instability. >> the fallout continues this morning from the resignation of now former national security adviser, michael flynn. the age-old question in washington, who knew what and when? mike pence was kept in the dark for weeks over justice department concerns over the national security adviser, and on january 15th pence said this on "face the nation." >> on christmas day he sent a
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text to the russian ambassador to express sympathy for the loss of live in the plane crash, and that occurred over the time with the diplomats and had nothing to do with the sanctions. >> but that leaves open the possibility there could have been other possibilities about other sanctions. >> i don't believe there were more. >> and then they found out about sallia sal s sally yates' concerns, and then kept in the dark for 15 days. the only reason pence was informed was because of impending media reports that was going to cast doubt on his own hone honesty. here's the president aboard air
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force one this past friday. >> what do you make of the reports that general flynn had conversations about sanctions with the russians. >> i don't know. i have not seen it. what report is that? >> he talked to the ambassador of russia before you were inaugurated -- >> i have not seen that and i will look at that. >> immediately after the department of justice notified the white house council of the situation, the white house council briefed the president in a small group of advisers, and they reviewed and determined it was not a legal issue but a trust issue. >> he said i don't know about it and i will look into that. was he being truthful? >> he was asked if he was aware of a washingt"washington post" . of course he was involved, and i said he was aware of the situation back in january. >> in his resignation letter flynn said the fast pace of
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events was to blame for his inaina inadvertently briefing pence and others, and the white house said it came down to a matter of trust and not legal concerns. still earlier in the day there seemed to be a basic disagreement within the administration over whether flynn resigned on his own. >> mike flynn had decided it was best to re-synsign. >> the evolving and eroding level of trust in this situation and a series of other questionable instances is what led the president to ask for general flynn's resignation. >> i spoke with the president this morning and he asked me to speak on his behalf, and to reiterate that mike flynn had resigned. >> that was ultimately led to the president asking for and accepting the resignation of general flynn. that's it. pure and simple. it was a matter of trust.
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>> john heilman, of course, the distraction in that piece obviously, kellyanne conway out of the loop once again, and once again giving misinformation that she had the night before, and i think we may have been tough on her yesterday, and i don't know that she was quote, lying, but i think she was unaware. the reports last night, she's not in any of the principles meetings so she goes out and makes things up. there are many questions to address here. we have the legal questions and investigations that will come even if the republicans are dragging their feet, but let's just talk about the health of this presidency. you start with the president's relationship, with the vice president. donald trump knew that his national security adviser lied to mike pence, and they continued to allow mike pence to be kept in the dark, that he was lied about, and the acting attorney general came over and
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explained to everybody in the white house but mike pence that mike pence had been lied to, and then only told the vice president of the united states what he needed to know when it was coming out in the "washington post." where does the sitting vice president go from here? >> i have no idea where the sitting vice president goes from here. i can't imagine this early in this administration this kind of a fundamental breach of trust at the highest level of the white house between the president and the vice president on this matter, and the vice president has a clear rational sense of what is going on around him, and maybe not irreparable, and we are 26 days into the presidency, and you also have the question of the account of what sean spicer gave yesterday, continues
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to question how was the vice president not told and how was michael flynn able to remain in his job for weeks after it was clear he was lying to the vice president and administration and the american people, and begging the question, if it had not come out in the media if mike flynn would still be in his job today, and that's aside from the question from the explosive front page story about the possibility of the trump campaign with russian intelligence throughout the campaign while russia was trying to destabilize our election. this is a moment where profound crisis -- where the wheels in this administration, thr3 1/2 ws in are close to coming off the wagon. >> i had more than a few people tell me yesterday in making calls that this includes much more than a christmas call
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between flynn and the russian ambassador, and it extends well into last summer, but the point raised here about what we were just talking about was the relationship between the vice president of the united states and the trump administration, and it's now separated because of his lack of knowledge for two weeks, and the white house council knows and the president knows and other people around the president knows and the vice president doesn't know and he's sitting out there? that's an issue of competence. >> it is an issue of competence, and for those on capitol hill to get to the bottom of this and begin investigating this, and to see how hardening this is saying this is not about the russian connection and this is about leaks, and what does it say? have we become a national security state that spies on its own people? that actually is so separated
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from the context of what has happened over the past 18 months, where you have people like paul manafort with russian connections running the campaign for donald trump, and we have information and the intel community has had information of connections between the russians and members of donald trump's campaign at the very same time that the russians are trying to fix the united states of america's election for president of the united states. >> yeah. >> republicans and editorial writers cannot be so stupid as to pretend they just picked on poor michael flynn out of nowhere. michael flynn had visited russia and had dinner with putin, and do you think they would have done it to rex tillerson or james mattis, and they would not have done it to john kelly, and they would not have done it to other members of donald trump's cabinet, so republicans just
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stop that bs. >> if you have not learned this already, you did not learn this in the campaign. note to republicans, this only gets worse. it only gets worse for the country and for you and your party, and also bigger picture, willy, not to underestimate the other things going on around this russia issue, and this is not a flynn issue, this is a russia issue. all the dots are leading up to questions about what the relationship is with russia and it's a question that cannot be let go. you have miller going on the talk shows mischaracterizing the powers of the presidency and you have the president undermining the judiciary, and you have all the information being churned out by the president himself sometimes and kellyanne conway, and this looks like the steps leading up to a total meltdown.
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>> we got the question yesterday when donald trump knew what the council told him in late january, why wasn't flynn forced out until yesterday, and the answer was they did not think he did anything wrong. >> they didn't think anybody would find out. >> right. >> they don't think lying is wrong, and they don't think breaking ethical rules is wrong because we are not seeing anybody being held accountable for this. >> they read this report from yates with skepticism. they took his word when he said i did not do anything wrong. the white house press secretary, sean spicer, addressed whether or not anybody in the trump campaign had contact with the russians. >> back in january the president said that nobody in his campaign had been in touch with the russians. now, today, can you still say e
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definiti definitively, nobody on the trump campaign, not even flynn had contact with the russians. >> my understanding what general flynn expressed -- we were clear during the transition period he did speak with the ambassador -- >> i am talking about during the campaign? >> there is nothing that would conclude me that anything has changed with respect to that time period. >> but this morning a front page "new york times" piece says that is not the case. sourcing current and former u.s. officials, "the times" reports that there was phone records and intercepted phone calls and the foreign international service says the facts are unfounded. both the fbi and white house decline to comment on the story, and nbc news have not independently verified what "the times" is reporting.
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michael, who exactly were members of the trump campaign speaking to and what were they speaking about? >> what happened was last year as the intelligence and law enforcement community was looking at what was going on in the election with russia, they saw these connections, and they saw people around trump that were talking to russian intelligence officials, and they said this is really curious. we don't see them doing this with other countries and these are people that are embedded in the intelligence agency there, and why is this going on? why is there such extensive communication here? indeed, some of the guys around trump did business with russia in that part of the world and there are a lot of intelligence folks part of that, and at the same time the level of this and the extent of it was troubling and was one part of what the fbi has been looking at as they try and understand the connections between trump world and russia, which is becoming the sprawling investigation. >> you guys wrote in the story that the fbi and intelligence
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services were looking at whether or not the trump campaign was k kau lewding with russia. >> it's not just the hacking of the dnc, but the larger campaign to influence the election, the fake news and the other stuff being pushed in the u.s. at the time. was there any type of coordination? did the trump folks know anything about what was going on? did they know anything about the hack or when the e-mails were going to come out or what other things the russians may have that we did not see? that's all the basis is to try and understand that. the fbi has not given up on that and they continue to push. they have travel and business records and they have interviewed people and i think this is something that will continue to go on for the next several months at least. >> a story people will be reading and talking a lot this morning, and michael schmitt, one of the authors of the piece. thank you very much. still ahead on "morning joe," the speaker of the house,
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paul ryan joins us. and also chris murphy and dick durbin. you are watching "morning joe" and we'll be right back. says it won't let up for a while. the cadillac xt5... what should we do? ...tailored to you. wait it out. equipped with apple carplay compatibility. ♪ get this low mileage lease on this cadillac xt5 from around $439 per month, or purchase with 1.9% apr financing. when i was too busy with the kids to get a repair estimate. i just snapped a photo and got an estimate in 24 hours. my insurance company definitely doesn't have that... you can leave worry behind when liberty stands with you™ liberty mutual insurance tech: at safelite, we know how busy your life can be. mom: oh no... tech: this mom didn't have time to worry about a cracked windshield. so she scheduled at safelite.com
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flynn did not break the law talking to the russian ambassad ambassador, and that's his job, and whoever recorded his phone call and leaked it, that's clearly multiple vie legs. >> national security is perhaps the most important function or responsibility a president has, and i think the president made the right decision to ask for his resignation. you cannot have a national security adviser misleading the vice president and others. the key is that as soon as this person lost the president's trust, the president asked for his resignation and that was the right thing to do. i am not going to prejudge any of the circumstances surrounding this until we have the information. >> should there be a broader
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bipartisan investigation into the ties to russia? >> i think that situation has taken care of itself. >> is your committee going to take any action on this? >> well, when you get into sources and methods, it's the purview of the intel committee and it's not something the oversight committee can look at. >> obviously a lot of people are talking about the need for investigations, and blunt came out and said there needs to be a strong and vigorous investigation. >> that's happening. >> you still don't think that there needs to be a select committee -- >> no, we have an intelligence committee ov in the judiciary committee, and lindsay graham has a committee that will take a look at it, and we are going to look at russian involvement and the u.s. election, and we know they were messing around with it and don't think they had impact on the outcome but we are not going to ignore something like that. >> let's bring in a member of the foreign relations committee,
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and senator, it's very good to have you on the show. i would take it that we heard from republicans coming into this segment ae kweuf indicating some of the investigation of the ties with russia. do you agree the problem is solved with flynn? >> ae kweuf indicating is a kind word. this drip, drip, drip of revelations of the white house is making them uncomfortable. you heard the house intelligence committee is more interested invest tkpwaei investigating the leaks than the russian scandal, and so clearly there's not a satisfactory investigation happening in either intelligence committee, and there's a real urgency to getting to the bottom of this. why?
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because it's potentially affecting u.s. policy, and there's no theory of international policies that explain this, and so an independent nonpartisan commission is the only way to really get to the bottom of this and give it subpoena power and allow it to do what the republicans have been explicit of what they are not going to do. >> you tweeted something last night that we have been looking for in the press for two years now, and you talked about the tax returns. in the investigation that you are talking about, would the senate have subpoena power to get the tax returns and see if there are business ties between donald trump and russia that he has not disclosed? >> legislation establishing a special senate committee could theoretically give the power to
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get these tax returns, right? that is fully within the power of the united states congress, and i hathat's a decision that congress can make. i think increasingly it's clear that there's alternative explanations for this bizarre positioning and the softness on russia, the permission slip r h trump has given russia to act a way they have not in years, and the explanation is either russia has something on trump or there are financial ties or perhaps russians helped him in the election and it's a quid pro quo. right now there's no course of explanation for this, and that's why the senate committee has to be given the power to go after the ultimate reason for this bizarre positioning on russia. and then coming up on
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"morning joe," paul ryan talking about efforts to reset the relationship with israel, and reports this morning a two-state solution may not be a top priority for this administration. you are watching "morning joe," and we'll be right back. with every early morning... every late night... and moment away... with every click...call...punch... and paycheck... you've earned your medicare. it was a deal that was made long ago, and aarp believes it should be honored. thankfully, president trump does too. "i am going to protect and save your social security and your medicare. you made a deal a long time ago." now, it's congress' turn. ll tm to proct medicare. except when it comes to retirement.
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joe." we will talk to paul ryan soon, but first let's get to the weather and bring in meteorologist, bill karins. >> let's update you with yesterday, this was southwest of houston and we were afraid of tornadoes and we did have a couple, and six injuries and numerous homes were destroyed, or at least partially destroyed. no fatalities. today we are still watching the same storm system heading into the southeast and we have a line of storms that are not severe, and we may have about 1.5 million people in the slight risk between savannah and i don't think too many tornadoes, but wind damage. and then in maine the third snowstorm they have dealt with
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in the last few days, and that's significant, and we are watching the story with the dam and all the wet weather this winter in the west. the atmospheric river, 6,000 miles in the pacific, and this is going to be three or four storms in seven days for the west coast, and this is a significant amount of rain. the dam spillway looks like it should hold this rain, and we are going to see a lot of other issues with flooding on rivers, and second storm about one to two inches, and again in the mountains, that's four to five, and then how about friday and saturday? this is very rare. forecast for los angeles, four inches of rain and it's going to be a big storm with a lot of problems as we go throughout friday into saturday right into the heart of the weekend. we will continue to update you on the stories for the west and that's where the weather is going to be the worst in the days ahead. speaker of the house is standing by for an exclusive interview, and more on morning
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joe scarborouback in a moment. we have a question about your brokerage fees. fees? what did you have in mind? i don't know. $6.95 per trade? uhhh- and i was wondering if your brokerage offers some sort of guarantee? guarantee? where we can get our fees and commissions back if we're not happy. so can you offer me what schwab is offering? what's with all the questions? ask your broker if they're offering $6.95 online equity trades and a satisfaction guarantee. if you don't like their answer, ask again at schwab.
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33 past the hour, and time for our second exclusive interview of the morning, and joining us now from capitol hill, the speaker of the house, republican congressman, paul ryan, and great to have you on the show, mr. speaker. what is your reaction to the resignation of michael flynn and do you think there should be more from here? >> say it again? do i think there should be more from him? >> do you think there should be more from here? >> sorry, you cut out. if that person has lost the trust of the president, the president should ask for his resignation, and i think that was the right thing to do. with respect to michael flynn talking to other governments in
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the transition, that's what he is supposed to be doing, and it's the job description for incoming national security advisers to talk to other nations and talk to ambassadors and start beginning relationships, and that's very much appropriatesh. but the story here is he was not candid or honest with his superiors and that's ground for dismissal, as far as i am concerned. >> i look forward to talking policy with you in just a few minutes, but the trump administration seems to always get in the way. the intel community is concerned not just because the one phone call of michael flynn but something over the course of the campaign, and some onerous connection between russia and the united states. mitch mcconnell told me their intel committee was going to be acting that active investigation and it was going to be
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aggressive. who in the house will be in charge of investigating? >> we already have been doing this. it's not as if the intelligence committee has been already investigating this. they have been and will continue to do that. it's important that it's the intelligence committee because they are the ones that have access to classified information, and they have access to our intelligence community. remember, joe, the intelligence community from the obama administration did a community-wide search of all the evidence, and they packaged it up in a document and briefed us in congress and sent it to us a little over a month ago, and we will keep looking at this. there's no secret here, russia tried to meddle with the elections, and this is why i am in favor of the sanctions, and their interests don't go with our interests.
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nobody has made the claim that evidence exists that donald trump or his people were in on it, were involved in that. i sent a letter with other leaders of congress to the states before the election saying heads up, make sure that your voting machines are intact and make sure you are guarding against these hacks because we have credible intelligence this is happening, and this is not a surprise to everybody, and the question is can we trust russia, and i say no. and remember he told vladimir putin, i could see into his soul, and then hillary clinton and barack obama did the reset, and new administrations for reasonable and practical reasons try to improve the relationship with russia because it would be nice if their interests aligns with ours, and i don't think it's going to happen or work because the way russia conducts itself, and this ongoing story is a perfect piece of evidence as to why we should not trust russia. >> there's word john mccain may
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be considering kud tpaoeuing the sanctions against russia, and is that something you can take up in the house so the president can't -- >> i was frustrated the obama administration took so long to put sanctions in place, and if the sanctions were watered down, i would be in favor of making sure they cannot be watered down, because maybe in syria our interests can intersect for a period of time but that's all about anything possibly good i can see with russia going forward. >> it's willie geist. let me ask you a question i put to bob corker, and that's the posture of donald trump toward vladimir putin and russia, and outside the allegations being made and the leaks coming out of the intelligence community, comments he's made saying he's a strong leader, unlike what we
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have in america, and talking about president obama, and saying, yes, we kill people too, so what? do those views bother you? >> yeah, comments of moral equivalency do bother me, and i don't want to practice relativism in life, and i don't descri subscribe to the moral equivalency idea is a notion i don't like. willie, this president believes it would be better for american national security if russia started growing in the same direction if instead of against us, and it would be great if it happened, and i do believe that donald trump is a guy that has good relationships and knows how to get deals done and maybe could do what hillary clinton failed to do, what george bush failed to do, so it's rational that administrations come and
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they look at the globe and they say russia is frustrating us here, and here and here and it would be nice if we could get them onboard with us and i don't think it's going to happen because of that past conduct, but it's not unreasonable to think we could change them because that's what the last two administrations thought as well. >> you have been saying it's naive to think we are going to change russia, and -- >> that's what i think. >> is it naive for trump to think the same thing? >> yeah, i think obama was wrong to do the reset and give away the defense. i don't buy that we can change these people. i just don't. but it's reasonable and rational -- a lot of national security people disagree what i think, and they think give putin the respect and he will help us and stop at the line of nato, and i am going to nato in the
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fall to buttress nato, and i come at this from a hawk's point of view, but it's an entirely reasonable and rational school of thought to think we can get them to be more cooperative, but i don't think it's going to happen. that's all. >> i understand completely. we will get to policy in just a moment but to paout a period at the end of the flynn sentence, does it concern you at all that flynn felt the need to lie to the vice president about it? >> yeah, and that's why i think it was right for the president to ask for his resignation. you want your national security adviser talking to other countries. that's their job. especially if it's an incoming national security -- is he
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supposed to pick up the phone after the inauguration and make that the first contact with other countries? come on. >> and tax policy right after this, or obamacare after this, but what about him -- what troubles me is mike pence being kept in the dark and being lied to and the president and the white house keeping the vice president of the united states a. good friends of yours and mine in the dark for so long. are you concerned about that? >> i can't speak to the chronology of the timeline. i think spicer went through that yesterday and i didn't watch that because i was pretty busy, but what happened here is the president backed up the vice president, and the president said if he was misleading to mike pence, he's got to go. that's what counts here, i think. >> let's get to policy and start with the affordable care act and obamacare and yesterday mitch mcconnell told me he believed pre-existing conditions and being able to stay on your parents' health insurance policy
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until you are 24, 25 or 26 should rest primarily with the states, and you guys are still working that out. where do you staptkaodo you sta? are those two things that will be guaranteed by the federal government? >> on the plan we ran on and all the senate republican replacement plans that have been offered, we have long said children should stay on their parents' plan until 26 years of age, and so i see sort of a cooperation between the federal government and the state government. we don't want to have the federal government over regulate all of health insurance. that's why we have one plan left in five states and one plan left in 33% of the counties in america, and so more plans and more competition, that's a good thing. choice and competition brings down cost and the lack of it raises cost. on the pre-existing condition,
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we had a good risk pool in wisconsin and it worked well. i want to go back and reconstitute the risk pools, and it's another way of saying taxpayers will subsidize the cost of the care for people with pre-existing conditions and we are working on financing to supplement those high-risk pools. >> will there be a guarantee of that? >> the government will say states you set up your ways to finance people with pre-existing conditions, and then the earlier point, the law we passed last year that obama vetoed, that maintained the pre-existing policy. we intend to the the same thing. >> do you plan to get a bill together that will pass the senate also for substantial tax reforms, which has been your dream for quite sometime?
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>> my dream for a long time. we had not done tax reform since the year i got my driver's license, so it has been a long time and it's high time we have done it. we have a timeline for doing this and we have not changed that and we are on schedule, and we have to do obamacare first because the law is collapsing so fast, and the insurance companies need to know what the lay of the land is going to look like in 2018, and if we waited to end obama in the summer, you would have people with zero plans left. we feel because the law is collapsing, there's an urgent nature and that's why obamacare is first. then in the second budget, which you need budget to do tax reform n. our spring budget, that's where we do tax reform. the way our budget process works, we pass the budget and we go to the policy and that takes you into summer, and spring and summer is tax reform, and winter and spring is obamacare, just to give a thumbnail sketch of the
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plan. >> when you go to a town hall meeting about the people that enjoy the benefits of the affordable care act and they are covered by it, and what do you say to those people that are nervous it's going to be revealed? >> 4% of the population is who are on subsidies, and they are getting huge premium increases and their choices down to one in many cases, and they are not saying they love it, and what i am hearing is people with pre-existing conditions, and i have a guy waiting for a heart transplant and he is my age, and i met with a little girl who was about 12 years old and a leukemia survivor, and they are concerned about getting affordable health insurance and we totally agree with that, and those people are on obamacare because they have no choice and
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they have to have health insurance because they have serious problems, and that's the pre-existing condition person that we are talking about, and then we have people who will have deductibles so high it is not like they have insurance in the first place. assuming the status quo can stay with obamacare is wrong, and it's collapsing while we speak, and humana announced yesterday is pulling out, we have human tphau and aetna is pulling out. the status quo is not staying put, it's collapsing. that's one of the reasons why we are doing obamacare first because we have to rescue people from this collapse. we feel an obligation to do that. >> you have a lot on your plate. speaker paul ryan, thank you very much. joe, he says he has been dreaming about tax reform since
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he got his lanicense, and that' about three years, right? >> every since i was working for jack kemp i have been thinking about it. >> you are a young man. great talking to you. >> if you didn't say that, mika, i would have said that. >> we have been following him for years and he has been fighting the good fight. >> yes, he has. next, we are going to speak with the senate's number two democrat, dick durbin. keep it right here on "morning joe." ♪ heigh ho heigh ho ♪ ♪ heigh ho heigh ho it's off to work we go here's to all of you early risers, what's up man? go-getters, and should-be sleepers. from all of us at delta, because the ones who truly change the world, are the ones who can't wait to get out in it.
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this is the story of green mountain coffee and fair trade, told in the time it takes to brew your cup. let's take a trip to la plata, colombia. this is boris calvo. that's pepe. boris doesn't just grow good coffee, boris grows mind-blowing coffee. and because we pay him a fair price, he improves his farm to grow even better coffee and invest in his community, which makes his neighbor, gustavo, happy. that's blanca. yup, pepe and blanca got together. things happen. all this for a smoother tasting cup of coffee. green mountain coffee. packed with goodness.
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bring in the number two democrat in the senate, dick durbin, but first some of the ground we have covered, and it's been a lot this morning. >> the fallout continues this morning for the resignation of michael flynn. >> where does the sitting president go from here? >> if it had not come out in the media he still would be in his seat today. >> they took general flynn at his word when he came in and said i didn't do anything wrong. >> nobody is making the claim that donald trump and his people were in on it. >> it's clear there's some alternative reason for this position of russia.
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>> there's an issue of is the white house going to have the ability to stabilize itself? >> the paper claim trump aide campaigns had repeated contact with russian intelligence. >> did the trump folks know anything about what was going on? >> we expressed this to donald trump and jared kushner. >> there are no answers. >> the top ethics office is urging the white house to investigate the president's counselor. >> the reporters in the room seem to know more than the press secretary. joining us now from capitol hill, a member of the senate judiciary committee, democratic whip, and we understand in a couple hours the democratic senate will caucus and have a
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meeting at 11:30 to talk about the investigation into russia. paul ryan and mitch mcconnell both saying there's no need for an independent investigation and those will take place in a intelligence committee. >> there's excellent members of the senate house who are members of the committee, and the intelligence committee is a graveyard for investigations. let me tell you why. their hearings are largely in secret. the public will not have access to the testimony. when it came to benghazi, the republicans couldn't wait to investigate benghazi over and over again. and the intelligence committee report will be highly redacted and sensored. it's incredible to think that that's where the president will
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have the final word on what the american people will learn. >> there's one transcript and possibly more of the calls that michael flynn made to the russian ambassador, and news organizations have them, and it seems to me there are public interests in having those transcripts become public, and what can be done to make that happen? >> i don't know if there's any classified information here that needs to be protected, and we have to be careful to make sure we are not doing something that could harm somebody that is helpful to the united states, but the public has a right to know. not a single republican senator has come to the floor of the senate since this scandal involving the russians has been unfolding to say anything about the need for an investigation. we are waiting for bipartisan cooperation and support for an independent commission to take on this investigation. a credible commission. i suggested general colin powell as one of the cochair, and
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sandra day o'connell to cochair, and let's get to the bottom of the russian connection. >> this co-commission you are just mentioning, would it have the subpoena power to get trump's taxes? >> it would have the subpoena power necessary to complete the investigation, and we would create it by law, and we frankly need to work together in both parties to get that done. if it's an independent commission modeled after others in the past, it could the have the subpoena power to bring in this necessary information. >> senator, how much do you think democrats will overreach in terms of all foreign ministries test new administrations, and how much do the democrats risk national security by overreaching on these investigations? >> overreaching? >> or calls for investigations? >> this is the first time in the
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history of the united states of america that a foreign power in this case, an enemy of the united states, has tried to influence the outcome of an election, and every intelligence agency verified what i just said, and now we know the president's national security adviser, 24 days into his administration was forced to resign because he clearly misled the president and vice president about conversations he had with the russian ambassador. we're waiting for republican senators and congressmen to step up and join us in the call for an independent commission. >> speaking of matters of seriousness and gravity happening in your state of illinois, a 2-year-old and an 11-year-old, and a 12-year-old. the first two, a 2-year-old and an 11-year-old died yesterday in
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chicago from gunshot wounds, and the third is on life support. here's a report from our affiliate in chicago. >> he's the third child shot in chicago in the last week. >> we just cannot afford to continue to see our children being shot down for things they have no involvement in. >> this triple shooting tuesday afternoon ended with 2-year-old l white and a man dead. >> and as we were speaking, bowers just died, and that's three children in two days, a 2-year-old, an 11-year-old and a 12-year-old. we have had some mitummits and s and town halls, and what is going on in the city? >> heartbreaking gun violence that claimed hundreds of lives already this year, and breaking records of cities of our size across the united states. i am proud to represent the city
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of chicago, but what we have there with the gun violence and death is unacceptable. for the president to say i am going to send in the feds is one thing, and we need more than that. we need to work in the neighborhoods to deal with the violence. do you know why these children are being shot? because kids that are 13 and 14-year-old have access to semiautomatic weapons and spraying and killing so many innocent people. it calls for all the resources we can muster. >> i don't know what weapons were used, but two children were sitting in cars with their families when they were shot and caught in the cross fire. what is it about chicago, the murder rate and crime levels are at historic lows, and what is happening in chicago specifically? >> you can pinpoint half of the gun violence deaths to two or three specific sections in the
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city. they are just areas of devastation economically and otherwise. the young black men in most cases that are involved in these crimes are in distysfunctional family situations, and they get access to weapons as easily as cell phones, and they fire wildly at other gang members and kill innocent children and others, grandmothers in the process. it's an outrageous situation. we need to focus the resources at every level to give the police training and authority and resources they need to deal with this and to bring the courts in the picture and make sure those guilty of gun crimes are held accountable, and work the neighborhoods house by house and block by block to bring peace in the city. >> thank you very much for being on the show. >> thank you, too. incredible. joe, final thoughts? >> there's going to be a push for an independent
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investigation, not just by democrats or liberal editorial boards but by an awful lot of americans and the republicans are going to have to do that at some point and need to do that. >> we need to get to policy at some point and move forward. that's going to do it for us. stephanie ruhle picks it up here. breaking overnight, that bombshell new report alleging members of the trump campaign were in repeated contact with russian intelligence before the election. >> the amount of the contacts that was going on during this period of time was enough to raise some alarms. >> while mike pence was in the dark, nbc the first to report that the president knew about general flynn for two weeks before telling the vice president, and democrats and some republicans are now demanding an independent investigation. >> there needs to be an independent and transparent investigation.

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