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  The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell  MSNBC  February 22, 2017 7:00pm-8:01pm PST

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let's find out who is making news. i'm about to run to another studio and join brian williams and chris matthews and our msnbc colleagues for an in-depth look at the first month of this new presidency of ours. this is going to be fun. "trump the first month" starts right now. this american carnage stops right now. >> we will fight for what we believe in. >> i'm establishing new vetting to keep radical islamic terrorists out of the united states of america. >> this executive order was mean-spirited and unamerican. >> judge robart's decision puts a halt to president trump's unconstitutional and unlawful executive order. >> courts seem to be so
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political. >> what do you think of reports that general flynn had conversation with the russians about the sanction? >> i don't know about it. i haven't seen it. >> general flynn dozen joy the full confidence of the president. >> the president decided to ask for his resignation, and he got it. >> i think it's very, very unfair what's happened to general flynn, the way he was treated. >> russia is fake news. >> the president is flirting with danger. >> there is zero chaos. this is a fine-tuned machine. ♪ >> chaos or fine-tuned machine? as we take in a live look at the white house tonight. good evening to all. brian williams here with rachel maddow and chris matthews and steve kornacki and a host of others. we have a look at the presidency after a month in office. so what have we learned?
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other than never to expect the expected or the ordinary. our very best in the business television family is here as well as our guests and experts and national security, politics, business. tonight that includes former cia director, former defense secretary leon panetta. let's begin tonight with what is happening right now in a lot of places across this country. during this campaign, we were fond of saying there is something happening here. that something gave us the election of donald trump, as we now know. but now one month in, it's also fair to say right now there is something happening here. something different. it's the people packing into town halls, angry, inquisitive, up on the. >> make no mistake. wanting accountability. and more often than not, their anger has been focused on republican incumbents. it's happening now because congress is in recess. most members are back home in the district, and they are hearing from the people who are both their customers and their bosses. and with no clear visible leader
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in the democratic party, that does not mean there is no leadership. it's just coming from the people at the ground level. a lot of their anger is about health care. and one of the incumbents in their sights late today, arkansas republican senator tom cotton. >> i would like everyone who is affected by the affordable care act and affected by health care to stand up. >> everyone in this room has been hurt or helped -- >> i have only been helped. obamacare saved my life, senator. >> nobody here -- nobody here has not been affected by obamacare? >> yes. it saved my life, senator. >> i could tell you, three members of my family, including me that would be dead, dead and
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homeless if was not for aca. [ cheering ] i'm an angry constituent. you work for us. >> it went on like that. and when one woman rose up and called for a bipartisan inquiry of donald trump, the room exploded. and arkansans are energized and they're angry. they especially were this afternoon. at the top i said something is happening here. what is happening here? >> the amazing thing about this is that it gives such lie to the idea that there is a national politics that you can generalize about that divides the country into red states and blue states. i mean, i just did a whole bunch of coverage on my show in the last hour about protests like that in montana. >> montana. >> yes. we've seen it in arkansas tonight. we've seen it in idaho. we've -- we're going to have one
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of the people who put together the indivisible guide, which has turned out to be a real road map for these people asking for these town halls. we're going have him on the show tonight as part of this program. one of the things that they were able to announce today is they have an indivisible group in every single district in the country now. they've got thousands of these groups sprung up. and you can't have something like that and say oh, this is liberal america. you can't have footage like that from arkansas and say this is a liberal uprising that is happening in the blue states. yeah, we've seen big protests in d.c. and new york and atlanta and chicago. but the stuff that's happening everywhere from south carolina to idaho to montana to utah and all these places, seeing jon chaffetz face this in front of a utah audience, it's real. it's organic. and it is absolutely coast-to-coast and tip to top. >> chris matthews is here with us too. chris, i watched the tom cotton event live today. it was like momentum in a football game. you just can't get it back.
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once it turned, everything he said for a time sounded so washington. he was telling arkansans that they would talk with staff, that horrible word that people in washington used. he talked about scheduling. and he just soundly sounded like he could be harry reid, like he has done 40 years in the capitol. this is a guy who has been celebrated for his military service, very much a fellow arkansan. mostly a plainspoken guy. but this went against him today. >> you have to wonder whether there are people who get elected for office and live off public acclaim would rather have harry reid in the old days or now mitch mcconnell or chuck schumer as their best friend, or the support of that last guy talking at the last town meeting they went to. because when you have to stand out there and you have to play establishment politics to people who are not in the establishment, regular people, and you challenge them, everybody in that room is on that person's side. and that woman was not an outside agitator that was not a new york accent. >> right. >> that woman from arkansas.
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>> what do you think is happening here? >> thing is a lot of things going. first of all, the issues he ran on, you might call them the poster issues of donald trump, the wall, the muslim bent, that's not what people are talking about. people are talking about the same issues they used to write their congressman about. they still do. i used to work on the hill. the letters are about i didn't get disability and i really need disability or they cut off my social security or they denied me my survivors rights. these are real kitchen table i might die without this. that won, she said you're going to be dead and homeless. what she is conveying is you're forgotten. you're overlooked. dead or alive. and there was no way he could respond to that. he can't say you're wrong because she is talking about her life there is no argument. once a person says i need aca. by the way, it's great that they're talk about aca now instead of obamacare. it isn't political. it's about need. >> repeal and replace. those two words are breaking through. >> we all know in politics the grass is always greener you. like one party and oh my god. i like this anti-mexican stuff. i sort of like that, or i sort
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of like this anti-the rest of the world stuff. i like the macho. is he going to take away my health care? and all of the sudden the soft underbelly. and that's what the smart politicians and the smart grassroots people are going to go after. the soft underbelly of trumpism which is regular people and their needs. >> it's actually reunites trump and the republican party. so much more happened over the course of the campaign. exactly. it was about how different trump is than republicans and the never trump schism within the republican party and everything. but people are out there right now saying yeah, we are concerned about donald trump and russia. investigate that. but listen, republican member of congress, republican senator, there are 20 million people who have health care right now who you say are going to lose it because of this program. and you don't have anything to replace it with? it doesn't matter who the president is. this is now republican politics on trial all the way across country. >> it's going or the more when they start messing with entitlements and they go after medicare and social security and obamacare. they're going to have so many areas where so many people are
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affected. kellyanne had one great line for the campaign that i really liked. she said people are more influenced by what affects them than what offends them. so all the awful things trump said about women and all the ethnic groups didn't get to them. but when he starts talking about your medicare, if you're working class or working poverty level, just above poverty, that's your life. >> but you always skew towards those people from south jersey, the philly end of new jersey as posed to north jersey. that's just -- >> how did i do that? >> i don't know. we have an empty chair here at our desk. it's no kind of in memoriam exercise. that chair belongs to steve kornacki, which is where he should be and where we love him. he is at the board. >> elijah in the corner. >> steve, this is by the numbers one month into the trump administration. >> yeah, and we've got some great numbers. we'll get to it in a little bit, how americans are responding to all of this. first of all, some basic big picture kwheers about the administration that's taking
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shape, about how washington is reacting to that administration one month in. first, let's look at it this way. how about cabinet appointments? we're talking here these are literally executive level departments, the secretary of state, the secretary of agriculture. this is not the cia director, not the epa director. just the executive level. how much is in place a month in and what does it mean? well, you can see nine have been confirmed for donald trump. nine cabinet secretaries. six are still waiting confirmation. they still have to have hearings or they still have to have a vote. not there yet. and one is picked for secretary of labor, andy puzderpuzder. eight years before that, george bush in 2001 coming off a very contentious election. look, his entire administration was in place a month in. so a much slower process here for donald trump. but how about how washington, how the two parties in
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washington are reacting to this? this is a very interesting part of the story. we know republicans on paper have the votes to confirm every single trump nominee. they have a majority in the senate. if, if they all stick together. look, they have really needed that majority for basically every one of these votes. of all of the cabinet nominations that have come before the senate, 462 yes votes from republicans. just two, two no votes from republican senators on the entire trump cabinet at this point. those two no votes, it was murkowski, it was collins. it was on betsy devos for secretary of education. if one more republican had joined with them, this nomination would have died. these were the only two. that was a confirmed nomination. on the flip side, why has it been this close? this is historic. this is something we have never seen before. this level of opposition from the democratic party to the new republican president and his cabinet picks. look at this. of all the cabinet nominations
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that have come before the senate, more no votes than yes votes. 250 right now and counting. a lot of these confirmation battles have been party line votes. this is a break with history. usually there are a lot more, 96 to 3, 95-5 votes. you're seeing party line vote after party line vote. more democrats voting no at this point than yes that is a historic level of partisanship on these. you can see kirsten gillibrand, democrat from new york, she has the most no votes of any democrat. only one trump nominee has she voted to confirm. that's the v.a. secretary, a holdover whom. has voted with trump the most? not surprisingly the democratic senator from the most pro trump state, joe manchin. also, there have been 12 executive orders. these have been very high profile obviously. in some cases they have led to protests in the street. interestingly, fewer executive orders than we had eight years ago under president obama. but of course president obama
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was not making as much of a pr play on his executive orders early in his term. this is a presidency that has not been in its first month about legislation. it is about executive orders. and we cannot let it go without this. there are two competing twitter accounts when it comes to this president. there is the real donald trump. that's the one we knew during the campaign. that's the one that says the most controversial things. 198 tweets from that twitter account since he became president. the official potus one, a much more sterile twitter account, only 73 tweets. we had to get that one this too. >> it's germane. it is newly germane, the two competing twitter handles. >> the other thing that's interesting to me, i've been trying to not be ping-ponged around in my understanding of the news cycle based on what the president is tweeting about. >> how is that coming? >> it's easier than you might think when you decide to ignore it. some structural stuff which is weird. he does have the split personality on the two accounts. and what happens when he deletes a tweet? some of the stuff he has tweeted
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out is deleted. is that a violation of the presidential records act? to what extent should we take this literally as official communication from the white house? and is the deletion of this stuff, which is something he does as matter of course, either just to correct stuff or to undo things that he thought was controversial, that's also new ground for us. >> if a tweet falls in the woods and no one is there to hear it. >> it doesn't fall in the woods anymore because it leads our coverage. if you look at the last 30 day, look what we have done now. the rabbits that he has released for us to chase. first of all, the size of his inaugural parade there on the mall that day. him against the pictures. of course, we had the fight over these elusive -- >> he denied that it rained during his speak. >> he lost california because of illegal people voting who weren't documented. he lost new hampshire to hillary because they were documented. these are rabbits. whoever thought than? he creates these faux events, and we talk about them. and then of course that headless horseman press conference last week. it was bizarre, but it's all created, con feketed by him to
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create a news event out of nothing. swre to respond because he is president. that's the problem you. don't have to. most people do respond to because somehow because he is president it's still news. even if it's not news, which have to respond to it to a certain extent. we have had quotes -- >> the nordstrom thing. >> kellyanne conway, there is now controversy as to whether or not she should be booked to speak for the administration. and she obviously literally speaks for the administration. that's in her job title and she is available to be booked on any one of our programs. we had to make a decision as an industry as to whether or not we would still allow her to speak purportedly for the administration when she didn't seem to know what they were doing, she didn't seem to speak authoritatively for them. so she is no longer getting booked as much as she did. we're going to have to evolve as a media in response to the way they've tried to manipulate us. it's getting less effective over time. >> we'll see. >> as it's driving us all down these rabbit holes. >> it's a rabbit hole. >> that's right. >> we're joined by two of our regulars. it brings us to family and
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personnel notes. first of all, lawrence o'donnell and nicole are off tonight. nicole is vacationing. >> what? >> which angers all of us. i know. i didn't know this is possible, and i've got a call in to hr. >> vacay what? >> we have a representative of the trump white house to join us for all or part of tonight's proceedings, but that was turned down. you might have seen these two gentlemen fill your screen. eugene robinson, the guyton left has a pulitzer prize for "the washington post" as a columnist. only because the guyton right hasn't written a column for "the washington post" is he without pulitzer. steve schmid is a veteran republican strategist who worked on mccain's '08 presidential campaign along with eugene robinson, you know them both. you remember them from the campaign season. all right, steve, i'll begin with you. you've been both sad and eloquent on this subject. what have we learned a month in? >> well, this is an administration like no other, democrat or republican that has preceded it. the chaos of the administration is just unprecedented in the
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modern history of the presidency. and let's just go through the bill here. he began with the withdrawal by the united states from the transpacific partnership. geopolitically, it will be a hinge moment where asian country, malaysia, indonesia, the philippines pivot towards china, away from the united states. he is instigated a crisis in relations with mexico, our neighbor to the south. a $500 billion annual trading partner for no good reason. tremendous anxiety in that country. tremendous anxiety in the business community. he had sharp words with one of america's most reliable allies, the australian prime minister, which was leaked out as seems par for the course on this administration. they let loose chaos globally and across the country with the unconstitutional executive order which was thrown out by
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republican and democratic appointees. you have seen scandal descend into the national security council. unprecedented appointment of a political adviser with it u utterly radical views. lying by the national security adviser who has to resign. deception towards the vice president on the question of what the national security adviser said to the russian ambassador. a burgeoning scandal, bipartisan calls for investigation on that front. conflicts of interest on the business side, and i think most importantly, when you look at the agenda, tax reform is nowhere in sight. repeal of health care is nowhere in sight. i think this has been a disastrous 30 days here for this administration. and not to mention the all-out assault on truth that we've seen repeatedly from both the president and white house spokespeople in a disturbing fashion. >> well, gene robinson, you put
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it that way, it sounds a little dark, doesn't it? >> well, it kind of does. you know, brian, these week, eve of them seems about six weeks long. because so much happens, it's hard to -- you feel like you're racing to try to keep up with this administration. and steve schmidt is right. a lot of what it has done has been sort of stumbling and fumbling. clearly, there are a lot of people in key positions never done anything like this before. and so if you -- if you're going to write an executive order that fulfills your muslim ban promise and do that for your base, you know, you should at least do it right. you should do it in a sort of competent way. and the administration failed to do that. the mixed messages that come out day, you know, general flynn ven has -- the president has full confidence in general flynn an hour before the president is still mulling it over, an hour
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before general flynn is fired. this sort of thing happens. steve right that it's like no other administration. but watch out for this health care fight. watch out for what's happening out there right now. this could set a tone for the administration, at least for its first year. >> its theme of our broadcast, at least. and that is there is something happening here. eugene, steve, thanks. we'll be coming back to you. we'll get our first break in. and when we come back on the other side, we'll be joined by tom freedman of "the new york times" that and more when our coverage continues. so how old do you want to be when you retire? uhh, i was thinking around 70. alright, and before that? you mean after that? no, i'm talking before that. do you have things you want to do before you retire? oh yeah sure... ok, like what? but i thought we were supposed to be talking about investing for retirement? we're absolutely doing that. but there's no law you can't make the most of today. what do you want to do? i'd really like to run with the bulls. wow. yea.
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we should have kept the oil, but okay. maybe we'll have another chance. >> we're not in iraq to seize anybody's oil. >> i am looking at two state and one state, and i like the one
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that both parties like. >> the administration and the united states supports a two-state solution. >> the news is fake because so much of the news is fake. >> both the president and i strongly support a free and independent press. >> that very dynamic there is spoken of and written about today in "the new york times." columnist tom freedman wrote about the five administrations of donald trump, saying in part, and this is his lead paragraph, shld it be clear by now that ther are five different trump administrations swirling before our eyes -- trump entertainment, trump cleanup, trump crazy, trump gop, and the essential trump. and no one can predict which will define this presidency, lot alone make a success of it. tom friedman is with us tonight. we should also mention he is the author of a book on a lot of our nightstands. "thank you for being late: an
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optist's guide to surviving in an age of accelerations." the secretary in that bailiwick had to correct and expand on this because it is one of the points you make. >> well, it is, brian, one of the beguiling things about this administration. i think it goes back to the fact that trump really came with no defined philosophy or no real coterie of colleagues who shared his views. his administration is really a pickup basketball team. and therefore it's this very odd am amalgam of traditional republicans, idea logs, competent businessmen and competent business people. one sees them contradicting one another. it's very hard to predict as an american citizen which trend will predominate. it must be extremely beguiling to allies abroad and probably even our enemy. >> how much of the dark talk do
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you buy into? and by that i mean the guest columnist this week in "the new york times" reminding everyone that fascism begins with a central argument that the world is broken. everything out there is a mess. at minimum, the talk of authoritarianism. how much of that do you fear? how much of that do you buy into? >> brian, there has been so much truly unusua rtoric out of this administrion that you can lose sight of the fact of just how aberrant it is. when you have a president calling the american media enemies of the american people, when you have him suggesting or comparing the intelligence community to nazis, it has the feel of someone who is trying to delegitimize all other sources of independent authority so he alone can tweet information directly into the bloodstream of the american body politic.
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i find that very, very worrisome. >> in the old day, tom -- it's chris -- in the old days don regan got in trouble saying he was the cleanup crew coming behind the elephant, meaning ronald reagan, the president. in this case it seems like the cleanup crew is open about it. they correct him, as we just show you'd with those pictures. they don't seem to be at all held back by the fact that they just contradicted the guy who appointed them. explain. >> it's true, chris. and again, it gets to the larger concern about it is that we have big hard things to do. if we do want to defight isis in iraq, if we do want to make peace in the middle east, if we want to change the course of u.s.-china policy. these are big, hard projects. and big, hard things can only be done together. i covered secretary of state baker over his four years when he was secretary of state with president george h.w. bush. and one thing i learned from that experience is that a secretary of state is only as influential as he seen as being
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close and in partnership with his president. and if foreign leaders think that you're going one way and the president is going another, as secretary of state, that can be incredibly debilitating. >> how do you explain it going on already? rex tillerson correcting e president on important matters, i mean, on everything. especially the role we have with our allies. the very point you're making telling the allies we need them. trump saying well, if you pay your due, we'll pay attention to you. >> i think, chris, it has to do with the fact that we have a president who will say anything at any time. and that's one of the reasons it is so quote/unquote entertaining in the sense that you can't take your eyes off him in the same way that it's like watching a horse that talks or an elephant that flies. you've just never seen this kind of rhetoric before out of a president. but at the end of the day, you know, we will have to decide what is our policy in the middle east. what is our policy on iraq? and then it will have to be executed. and it's very troubling. chris, you and i talked the
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other day about a point with the people in my book about the difference between formal authority and moral authority. one of the things that kellyanne conway and the trump people were very fond of saying after the election was we won. get over it. well, they had formal authority. but they have no moral authority. because everything they've done so far has undercut their moral authority. and at some point here we are going to have a crisis where trump, president trump is going to have to look into the eyes of the american people and say trust me on this. i had to do this vis-a-vis north korea. i had to do this vis-a-vis china. the intelligence community said this was their best advice. and when he comes to that point, he is going to discover how much he has eroded his moral authority, and how damaging that can be to a president. >> tom, it's brian again. how much of this, even in light of "the washington post" piece yesterday that points out i'm sure to the president's disgust
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trump wasn't a real ceo in quotes, starting with the fact it wasn't ever a publicly held coany that he ran. how much of this was foreshadowed in the mystique of all things trump, the art of the deal donald trump where he lays out if you have a goal, go for something else? >> yeah, i think it was all laid out before. we in the press raised all these issues. where are your tax returns. if you're such a billionaire, why don't you show it? if you don't really have russian money, why don't you let us see that? but, you know, one of the things that strikes me right now, brian, is the fact that what a wasted opportunity. from his point of view, what if he had come in and said you know what? i'm going to appoint two democrats to my cabinet. let's have mark warner, who has spent a lot of time working on the pipeline from education to work. let's make him labor secretary. let's make john lewis head of housing. let's on obamacare call up the democratic leader chuck schumer and say chuck, send your three
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best health care experts. i'll send my three best. let's send them up to camp david and let's figure out a proper way forward on this. can you imagine how popular he would be today? what a wasted opportunity not just for him, but much more importantly for the country. >> tom friedman of "the new york times." and your favorite book retailer. tom, always a pleasure. thank you for stopping by tonight the. another break for us. and when we come back, this issue, this nation that found its way in our campaign, into american politics and now some say into the white house, and that is russia, all things russia, when we come right back. if you have moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis like me,
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do you respect putin? >> i do respect him. >> putin is a killer. >> there are a lot of killers. we've got a lot of killers. you think our country is so innocent? you think our country is so innocent? >> did anyone from your team communicate with members of the russian government or russian intelligence? >> russia is fake news. russia -- this is fake news put out by the media. >> you're not aware of any contacts during the course of the election? >> how many times do i have to answer this question? >> can you just s yes or no on this? >> i know you have to get up and ask a question. russia is a ruse. have i nothing to do with russia. to the best of my knowledge, no person that i deal with this. >> have i nothing to do with russia. national security adviser has
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since been fired because of his contacts with the russian government and the lies he told about them. the fbi is reportedly investigating the former trump campaign manager, a trump campaign foreign policy adviser, that former national security adviser, the president's personal lawyer, and others in terms of their contacts with the russian government, including at the time while our intelligence community says russia was playing our presidential election as an op, influencing and hacking our political system to try to elect donald trump, president of the united states. no, nothing like this has ever happened before in the history of our country. but when the president says i have nothing to do with russia, that is a simple assertion. but there is no sense in which that is a simple fact. joining me is jeremy bash, former chief of staff to leon panetta, cia and department of defense. also joining us former u.s. ambassador to russia, msnbc contributor michael mcfaul, and also malcolm nance,
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counterterrorism and intelligence analyst, the author of the plot to act america. gentlemen, thank you all for being with us tonight. it's good to have you here. jeremy, let me start with you. we're talking big picture, what this first month of the trump administration means. from your perspective, with your background in terms of intelligence and national security matters, how large does the russia factor loom in terms of us understanding what's different and what's important about this presidency? >> it's enormous and it's unprecedented. russia sought something in this election, rachel. they sought a total american capitulation on ukraine, on nato and on syria. and fundamentally, they're getting it. they did a deal to try to influence what the outcome of u.s. policy would be, and it has worked. >> michael mcfaul, former u.s. ambassador to russia, in terms of what jeremy just said and in terms of your own assessment from your time spent in moscow, what is the russian aim? why would they want donald trump
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to win the election? what would they want from him if they had something they could lord over him to control him as president? what do you see from their perspective? what's their end game here? >> so rachel, i'm going to answer your question. but i have to underscore what you started with, because i think a lot of americans are forgetting. russia intervened in our presidential election. they stole data to influence the outcome of that election. and i'm worried that we're just moving on, that we just forgot about that. that's a violation of our sovereignty. and the thing that bothers me, nobody seems to be that concerned about it. i'm still concerned. so i want to say that first. second, to your question, it was clear as day that they had a choice that they preferred in that election. they preferred donald trump because he said those things in part that you just mentioned in the run-up to this -- our interview, right? he said other things like he would look into crimea. he hinted about lifting sanctions. he said very nice things.
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candidate clinton did not. i'm not so sure they're getting the payoff, however, because as he's still said some of those things, every single senior member of his cabinet and now his new national security adviser, h.r. mcmaster, who i know well, do not agree with him. so i'm not so sure they're going get the payoffs they wanted to in supporting trump. >> malcolm nance, let me ask you on that first point that ambassador mcfaul made there which the subject of your book, the plot to hack america. how do you assess the overall effectiveness of the russian intervention in our election? i mean, there is a number of different ways to look at this. one of the things that we're considering in the trump administration is whether or not there will be any cost, whether there will be any justice, whether there will be real investigations of this, whether there will be real prostitutipr. what they might want out of a new administration if they have the ability to control this administration to some certain
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extent. but how much do you assess, having looked into the hacking, looked into the intervention? how much do you assess that they actually did influence the outcome of who we picked to be our president? >> well, i think they had phenomenal success in picking who was president of the united states. they didn't hack the voting machines. they didn't actually have to hack the electoral process results. they hack the mind-set of the american public. they hack the news media. if you look at it that way. this is going to be, i know in the back halls of moscow considered one of the greatest, if not the greatest intelligence operation that they have ever done. they have gotten into power, into the white house the preferred candidate of their choice by simply giving the american news media what they wanted. the republicans what they wanted, which was a massive quantity of e-mails to bash hillary clinton over the head. they've gotten everything they wanted this thus far, and it
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remains to be seen whether they'll continue to have influence and get their sanctions lifted the way they want from donald trump. >> ambassador mcfaul, it's brian. i share your frustration and your surprise that as many americans are somehow okay with this, as seem to be, especially if they're citizens who came up generally in an uber sense the way we all came up and the time we all came up. if we had called it somethi else, an act of outright electronic warfare, if we had illustrated it some other way, would we be having a different kind of conversation? >> it's a great question, brian. i have thought about it myself, because i talked about it in realtime with all of you during the campaign. that's why i use the word "sovereignty", violation of our sovereignty to get people to think about it differently. hacking doesn't quite get it. but let's add one more dimension. we're not done with this, in my opinion. we still need a real investigation of what happened. because we still don't know a
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very important question, was some kind of coordination between the trump campaign and the russians? right now the evidence that i've seen says no. and i want to underscore that. we don't know that, but we most certainly need to know that before we move forward. and i'm disappointed that more republicans don't care more about our national security that they haven't joined that are calling for a bipartisan independent commission, like we had after 9/11, another incredibly awful violation of our sovereignty, much more worse than this. but still, it's in the same magnitude. if we can't protect the integrity of our elections, we ele let foreigners determine who is our president, what is more important than that? we need the investigation. i really hope that people will come to terms with the fact that we need an independent investigation. >> ambassador, let me ask you about this mistake three presidents in a row seem to be making. first of all b., george w. bush was talking about looking into
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putin's eyes and seeing his soul. well, that's a profound statement. >> yep. >> and hillary went up and hit the reset button and made it a fun thing, we're in this together. >> yep, i was there for that. >> why do americans continue to believe that they can establish even a whimscally fun positive relationship with this president over there who seems to have no interest in such a union? >> that's exactly right, chris. >> why are they all wrong? all three in a row? >> those earlier periods of putin were different, you know. it's one thing to be in competition over certain issues. it's another thing to invade a country to annex territory. that violates one of the most important principles of the international system. so just to go back and to try to reset or have a detente with putin i think is unwise at this stage. and number two, you pointed out something very important. president putin doesn't want that. i was just at the munich security conference where the foreign minister lavrov spoke. if you listen to his words, he
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is not looking to get along with us. he wants a different world order where we are not at the heart of it. >> i'm sorry there is so much competition to get at you guys. but you're regular guests on all of our brdcasts. now we have you this one concentrated place. same question for jeremy and then malcolm. what are they saying about us? what are they seeing and hearing about us in russia? >> well, you think they believe that they've got sway in the white house, and though they're probably disappointed that mike flynn was fired because he stumbled in concealing his conversations with the russian ambassador, i think they do believe that the commander in chief is much more aligned with their interests than any previous president. >> malcolm? >> well, i think ambassador mcfaul is absolutely right about the comments made by lavrov. he is expressing an opinion that is very widespread in the kremlin, and certainly in the mind of the former kgb director vladimir putin. they have a strategic mind-set what they want to do to the
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west. and the elimination of liberal democracy and bringing in autocratic totalitarian regimes is right in line with what they want to see for us. lavrov called it the anti-western -- the end of the western hegemony, so to speak. it's going to be very recognize the see whether trump has any capacity to respond to that, or if he just goes along with it. >> to our viewers, whenever we have these guests on, we have learned to listen very carefully to what these three experienced experts have to say. and by the way, if you missed malcolm nance on bill maher, you really missed something. what that was to witness. gentlemen, thank you all very much. >> thank you. >> for joining in our mixed doubles conversation tonight. another break for us. when we come back, we talk about the new president's face.
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we are back. and of the clykaleidoscopic iss, one we have not heard about of late, one he lives and dies by, or used to, is the polls. the polls have not been on his side since taking the oath of office. steve kornacki is at the wall with the very latest numbers. steve? >> let's take a look. donald trump one month in. what do the polls say? i think this is actually a more complicated story than the headline. the headline here is damning for trump. 42% in the current gallup poll. they track this every day. that's his approval rating. you stack this up against any modern president, this is an objectively terrible number compared to any modern president. however, here is the big but on this. donald trump at 42% right now. think back to the campgn. he had record shatteringly terrible numbers in every poll throughout the general election campaign. this from our final two nbc
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news/wall street journal news before the election. 3%, historically dreadful. are you prepared to support him if he becomes president? only 43% said they were to
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go he gets 46%. 90% of republicans support him now. the 84% includes leaning republican. but actually self-identified 90% right now. and his numbers are better now, 42% than they were when people elected him president. so i don't understand all this hand-wringing here. it seems like the base, despite
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the hell that is going on, the craziness are still with him. and i want to know why they're sticking with him despite all the bad news. >> first of all, the supreme court, you can not overstate how big that was. they very much like gorsuch. >> christian conservative? is that what they like about him? >> i think shea solid choice. this is the big question. was he going to actually name a real conservative? this was a huge issue in the november election. this was huge for them. the cabinet gets high marks. some of the optics again. donald trump has understd in order to play to the base he has to pick his enemies. husband attacks on the media are playing to the base. but on the other hand, look, this one month is not sustainable. it is not sustainable. donald trump is not going to change. and yes, you can look the things that are positive and the cabinet is i think relatively solid. but there is chaos in the white house. >> last week's press conference was good or bad for him with the base? >> oh, the base loved it. but at some point he's got to expand beyond the base. >> hugh, do you agree about last thursday? there was two ways to look at that. the mirror had two faces.
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a lot of us thought it was the mad hatter's tea party, or the headless horseman. pick your metaphor. but obviously his peeps liked it. >> when he leaned forward and said nobody believes you speaking generally about the american media, he said the people don't believe you anymore. the only people with higher negatives than donald trump among the general public is us. and i look at the map over the left shoulder -- >> i -- i -- if the american people had to rescue us or congress out of a pit of quicksand, i actually think our chances would be pretty good. >> how much time you got? >> exactly. >> speaking of that, we ain't got any more left in this segment. our thanks to charles and hugh. when we come back, we'll talk a bit about rachel's garment. we're also going to continue to talk -- >> garment. >> -- to talk politics at the top of the hour. >> it's not a religious thing.
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>> i know, i know there have been, there have