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tv   MSNBC Live With Craig Melvin  MSNBC  March 28, 2017 10:00am-11:01am PDT

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that's going to do it for "andrea mitchell reports." i'm chris jangsing handing off to my colleague craig melvin. >> from nbc news headquarters in new york, any moment now, we are expecting white house press secretary sean spicer to step to that podium to brief reporters. he is nearly certain to be asked about a new "washington post" report that the trump administration sought to block former acting attorney general sally yates from testifying to congress today. she was set to testify before the house intel committee on the investigation into the trump campaign's ties with russia. that hearing was canceled by house intel chairman devin nunez, under fire for his leadership in that investigation this afternoon. meanwhile, today, the criticism that nunez has been getting continues to mount.
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the house speaker, paul ryan, sticking by his colleague. let's get right to our team of correspondents following the latest developments. peter alexander in the briefing room, kasie hunt is on capitol hill and justice correspondent pete williams is in the washington bureau for us. pete, let's start with you. what do we know about the white house actions as they pertain to sally yates' testimony? >> here's the sequence of events as we understand it. in late january sally yates and another government official went to talk to the white house counsel and said we're concerned that michael flynn may not have been completely candid about his contacts with the russians in the view of sally yates this could open him to possible blackmail by the russians, and then she, as you know, was eventually fired by the president in her position as acting attorney general because she had instruct federal government lawyers not to defend the first executive order on travel. okay. so in march, mid-march, she got a letter from the committee,
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from the nunez/schiff committee asking her to come and testify. her lawyer then wrote a letter to justice and said she's gotten this request, do you have any problems with it. justice department wrote back and said, well, it's likely that there may be a privilege question about her discussions with without counsel, but you need to ask the white house about that. we have no objection. and then her lawyer wrote a letter to the white house saying if we don't hear from you by monday, the 27th, at 10:00 a.m., we'll assume you're not asserting privilege. >> pete. a perfect setup here for sean spicer. >> and the white house says they didn't assert the privilege. >> thank you, sir. let's listen in. >> inner city violence the fraternal order of police the world's largest organization of sworn law enforcement officers with more than 330,000 members. they represent those who dedicate their lives to protecting and serving. they advocate for improved working conditions for law
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enforcement officers and for the safety of our communities. the president thanked the fop leadership and reaffirmed his privilege to have their back. the president remarked his highest duty is the security of our people and pointed to several actions he's already taken to enhance domestic security including the creation of a task force on reducing violent crime and inner agency task force to dismantle criminal cartels and historic action to secure our borders and remove criminals from our country. the group held an in-depth discussion about the rise of violent crime in some parts of the, the disturbing increase in law enforcement being targeted ambush-style attacks and the need to address the country's opioid academic. told the fop leadership he look forward to working closely with them to tackle the challenges facing law enforcement as they work to keep our community safe. this afternoon the president will sign an executive order on energy independence at the environmental protection agency
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headquarters. the president strongly believes that protecting the environment and promoting our economy are not neutrally exclusive goals. this executive order will help to ensure that we have clean air and clean water without sacrificing economic growth and job creation. first, it directs all agencies to conduct a review of all regulation, rules, policies and guidance documents that put up road blocs to domestic energy production and identify the ones that are not either mandated by law or actually contributing to the public good. it also rescinds a number of the previous administration's actions that don't reflect this administration's priorities. the full list is laid out in the executive order which will be provided to you later today after the president signs it. next, the order directs the epa to take several actions to reflect this president's environmental and economic goals, including a review of the new performance standards for coal fired and natural gas fired
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plants that amount to a de facto ban, on new coal plant production in the united states. this is great news for states like wyoming, west virginia, kentucky and others. establishes a directive for agencies to use the best available science and economics in their regulatory analysis moving forward. for too long the federal government has acted like a barrier to energy independence and innovation. by reducing unnecessary regulatory obstacles will free up american energy companies to responsibly use our vast energy resources, protecting the environment while creating well-paying jobs throughout the country. american electricity producers have already done an amazing job of adapting and utilizing new technologies to deliver clean power to the united states. under president trump the federal government is going to acknowledge that that progress and adjust its priorities accordingly. moving on later this afternoon the president will meet with secretary of state tillerson and secretary of homeland security
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kelly. and this evening the president and the first lady will host a reception here in the white house for senators and their spouses. this will be the first time that president trump has invited all current senators to the white house and he looks forward to this opportunity as well as to speak with some of the senators about the places where they can come together and make this country better. one of those places that he hopes to find common ground with senate democrats here tonight is the confirmation of judge neil gorsuch to the supreme court. yesterday many senate democrats began declaring support for senate minority leader chuck's partisan filibuster of judge gorsuch. if these senators get their way this would be the first successful filibuster of a nominee to join the supreme court. as recently as last year, senator schumer, in fact, wrote last year in an op-ed in the "new york daily news" and i quote at a time when americans want to move forward, the last thing we need -- the last thing is a new recipe for gridlock at the supreme court. democrat nominee hillary clinton
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said of the supreme court confirmation process, quote, it should not be an exercise in political brinkmanship and partisan posturing and nominees deserve, quote, a full and fair hearing followed by a vote. senator claire mccaskill of missouri tweeted the constitution says the senate shall advise and consent that means having an up or down vote. who are senate democrats going to enact this on an extraordinary lengths to block? it's an individual frankly who their body, including senator schumer, unanimously confirmed for a seat on the 10th circuit not long ago. this is a judge who received a unanimous well-qualified rating by the american bar association, was a harvard law graduate who received the edward j. randolph award for outstanding service at the department of justice, so it can't be their qualifications they're taking issue with. judge gorsuch is frankly a plain stream judge. here are some figures and stats to point that out. number one in 98% of the cases he issued the opinion he received the unanimous support of all of his colleagues.
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second, in divided cases over the last five years involving republican and democrat appointed judges, judge gorsuch sided with the democrat appointed judge, one in three times. when the shoe is on the other foot, when a supreme court nominee for a democratic president went through the confirmation hearings, and meetings with senators from both parties, neither justices kagan nor sotomayor faced a senate filibuster. both received republican votes in support of their confirmation. during the kagan nomination on the senate floor when senator harry reid planned to file a cloture motion, it was then senator and now current attorney general jeff sessions who stopped him and said, quote, i have a high standard before i would attempt to block an up or down vote and asked senator reid to proceed with a vote without the need for overcoming a republican filibuster. judge gorsuch met with most of the senate democratic caucus, gone through days of hearings and he is imminently qualified and deserves the consideration
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from the minority senate democrats, the president obama selection were given once they had gone through the confirmation process. a few things i want to highlight. last night the president announced his intent to nominate mccann dell rahim to serve as attorney general of the anti-trust division at the department of justice we announced the president's declaration of a major disaster exists in the state of nevada and ordered federal assistance in the areas affected by severe storms, flooding and mudslides this past february. finally this morning the president was pleased to see that ford announced $1.2 billion investment in three manufacturing facilities in michigan, two weeks after automobile executives came to the white house and met with the president. this adds to the growing wave of positive news, jobs news, under the president and continued investment from charter communications, his approval of the permit for keystone xl pipeline on friday and in addition energy transfers partners reported monday that the dakota access pipeline has
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been filled with oil as they enter the final stages of preparation that will finally put this into service. according to data released by the conference board in march consumer confidence, quote, soared to its highest level in 16 years and from individual announcements to significant boost in both consumer and ceo confidence generally it's clear that president's economic agenda is what america's businesses have been waiting for. these businesses have spent years being held back by unnecessary bureaucratic red tape and what we're seeing now is the taste of the heights our economy can reach once those burdens are removed. and lastly, i want to make a comment on a false report regarding former acting attorney general sally yates. as a matter of fact, i would like to walk you through the sequence of events just to make sure everyone is abundantly clear on what happened. on march 14th, chairman nunez and ranking member schiff invited sally yaitss to testify on march 28th. on march 23rd yates' attorney sent a letter to the department of justice asking for their
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consent to testify without constraints. march 24th the department of justice responded the president owns those privileges to discuss the communications they were requesting to talk about and referred them to the white house. also on the 24th, miss yates' attorney sent a letter to the white house counsel requesting that consent specifically stating if they did not receive a response by march 27th at 10:00 a.m. they would, quote, conclude the white house does not assert executive privilege over these matters. the white house did not respond and took no action that prevented miss yaitss from testifying that's the story, that's what the documents show, and with that, i'm glad to take some questions. >> of course you can, john roberts. >> i would like to follow up on that because there are reports that even though the hearing that was set for the 27th was not scheduled, it was canceled by devin nunez to prevent this white house from publicly invoking a claim of executive privilege, could you speak to that? >> i hope she testifies. i look forward to it. let's be honest, the hearing was
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never -- was actually never notified. if they choose to move forward great. we have no problem with her testifying claim and simple the report in "the washington post" is 100% false. the letters that they frankly publish on their website all back up everything i just read. all of the letters are available on their website, i hate to give them the traffic, but the reality is, that they specifically say if you don't respond we're going to go ahead. we didn't respond and we encouraged them to go ahead. to suggest in any way, shape, or form that we stood in the way of that is 100% false. brian? >> couple things you said earlier, couple quick follow-ups. you want the agencies to use best available science. does that mean there's going to be no further scientific research? you don't want to fund additional scientific research? and number two, what other issues do you like to see the president reach out to democrats? >> so on the first one, best science is best science and that's whatever -- >> available what you said.
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>> right. if it's not available it's tough to use it. as a matter of practicality. >> is that a code? >> it's a code for it has to be available. that's it. plain and simple shouldn't read anything into that and the president will speak more to that at today's signing at 2:00 rather. >> democrats -- >> i think there's a whole host of issues. talked about health care if they want to come together on infrastructure, tax reform, we would love to have as much support as possible. ayman. >> thanks, john. couple questions, one, coal, your actions today the white house is saying they're going to reverse president obama's so-called war on coal. but a lot of people in the coal industry suggest that jobs are just not going to come back in that industry based on the way the industry has changed and technology and other things. does this administration have an estimate of how many jobs would be created as a result of the actions its taken today? >> i'm not aware of one, of an estimate. the president has met with some of the coal miners the other day and senators manchin and capto
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from west virginia and others from kentucky that were here when we did the eo signing a few days ago. from a mining perspective, the miners and the owners are very, very bullish on this. so the people who are actually in the business, applaud this effort, believe that it will do a lot to revive the industry. it's, obviously, a private industry so i'm not going to get into who does what, but i know that the industry itself said so. steve? i'm sorry. >> [ inaudible ] you just said that the announcement today comes two weeks after the automakers met here at the white house. did the white house or the president do anything in that meeting that led to this ford announcement today? >> i think there's been some regulatory effort and some commitments on the regulatory efforts going forward in the future that i think may have played a role. i would ask ford on that. i just think it's a continued side of it. i think we have seen a number of industry leaders, union leaders, truckers, truck companies, come in and talk about burdens and i
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think there's been several cases where meetings in the white house or frankly we went to michigan and held that roundtable out there as well, that meetings that we have, have a very positive follow-up in terms of a commitment from a committee or an industry to create jobs, to invest more in this country, but, you know, in each of these cases -- >> the white house get political credit for this announcement today? >> i would leave it up to ford to make that determination. we're pleased with more americans getting jobs throughout various sectors and i think that we'll continue and the president has made it very clear he continues to fight to bring jobs in manufacturing to the country. steve? >> [ inaudible ] looking seriously at tax reform. could you go through what is the president's bottom line? does it need to have middle-class tax relief, corporate tax relief? can you do it comprehensively or piecemeal? do you add infrastructure spending to it somehow? how do you -- how are you looking at this? >> so on the first two, those
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are both key components. the middle-class individual tax piece of it and then the corporate rate has to come down. i think those are guiding principles that the president has laid out. as far as how the process works, there are -- i think the -- you know, i don't want to get ahead of the folks in the legislative affairs and the guys on capitol hill, but i would suggest to you there's a prevailing attitude out there that the fy 18 reconciliation is probably the most likely vehicle to move some of this. again, i don't -- what we want to do is keep a lot of options on the table in terms of do we put infrastructure in, another vehicle to drive that, but part of gathering folks together now from capitol hill from industry, from groups, is to begin that discussion, to talk about what needs to go in, what the way forward is, and so that -- that conversation has begun and it's continuing. >> when do you think you'll have
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some recommendations to take to the president? >> well, internally the team has been talking to him for a while. i think there's a bigger discussion that has to happen as we branch out with outside groups, industry, members of capitol hill, et cetera, that start to formulate some additional listening that needs to happen on this and again, i think part of it is there's a legislative strategy that needs to tie into this. blake? >> thank you. is the white house involved in current renegotiations of the health care bill and if so, in what manner? >> staff has met with individuals and listened to them. so i don't know how detailed you want -- i mean are we -- have we had some discussions and listened to ideas? yes. are we actively planning an immediate strategy? not at this time. i think there is a discussion that began as i mentioned yesterday of a lot of individuals on both sides of the aisle reaching out to both the president and key staff members
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to share ideas and additional ways forward. so there has been a discussion and i believe there will be several more. >> what would you say to the folks who have a genuine concern that if you could not get health care done, how do you go about getting big ticket items like tax reform and infrastructure done? people say if you can't get one, how are you going to do the next? what would you say to that concern? >> again, i think as i mentioned, i mean we're going to build a coalition for this. i think each of them have different constituencies and i think we're going to work with member es of both sides of the aisle on both of those big ticket issues to see where we can find agreement and move towa forward. i don't want to prejudge the outcome at this point. john? >> thank you, sean. >> we'll do both. >> all right. first. >> i'll stick with and then go [ inaudible ]. sorry, francesca. john. >> thank you, sean. >> and then john and matt.
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lucky day. >> thank you, sean. just as a follow-up question of blake's, did the president himself have any discussions with speaker ryan or leader mccarthy or anyone over the weekend about health care and making an actual vote on the american health care act? and one got the impression from speaker ryan today that he was going to try to pass this with republican votes. which would contradict some of your statements about reaching out to democrats all along. has any of this come up with discussions between each side of pennsylvania avenue? >> so, i think i talked yesterday they have spoken a few times about different strategies, different idea, different policy aspects to the bill. absolutely, at least on a number of occasions, at least two, maybe three times, they've spoken and i know several of our
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staff members have also engaged in discussions. again, to talk about potential ways forward. so those conversations have occurred. i think that's what i mentioned to blake. i mentioned some of it yesterday. and if we can find a way forward we'll do it. but look, i don't think, just so we're clear, john, to your question, i'm not saying we've picked a strategy and we're going to go with this group or that group. i think the president was -- several people reached out and expressed an interest and the president's view is that he's willing to listen to them and hear what their ideas are. you know, i made a comment yesterday that was -- that just so we're clear, we have -- let's call it, you know, 205, 207, somewhere in there, votes. right. maybe 210 depending on what it is. the point that i made yesterday is, to get to 216, to get to 218 depending on the day of the week, there are certain things that people want that would take what i think the president views as a very good bill that weren't
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worth doing it because they would make the deal bad. and so the question is, can we add the additional votes with -- in ways that enhance the bill or bring people over that have been previous skeptics. there's a way in which people are saying, hey, if you bring me on board with these five provisions, then i'm on board. and which either a, take people off the bill or don't make it as strong and make it a bad deal. i think that's the balancing act that has to happen. one is, can you add additional folks on without pushing additional folks off and two, is that in what you have to add to the bill, does it make it stronger or does it not? because i think there are suggestions by some out there that have said we're willing to come along with the bill but in doing so it would make it a bad deal and that's an important aspect. it's how do you take whatever that number is that we have now, and get it up to 216 to pass without making -- without losing people and/or making it a bad
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deal. hold on. glen. >> with republican votes, not democrats. >> however we get there, john. francesca. >> thank you, sean. yesterday you weren't able to tell us very much about congressman nunez's visit to the white house or white house grounds to view classified information last week. a democrat on the committee today said that the white house would have known that he was here, the same democrat also said that it looked like a criminal coverup to him. my question to you is, have you learned any more information since we had this conversation yesterday about how he would have even gotten in and cleared and do you think that congressman nunez should recuse himself from being in charge of the russian investigation at this point? >> well, number one, on the latter part of that it's not up to me. he's a member of the house appointed by the speaker, that is up to the speaker and the house of representatives. we're not going to start commenting on that kind of stuff. i do think that he is running an investigation which we asked for. and i think the thing that's important to note is there
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somewhat of a double standard when it comes to classified information? when leaks are made illegally to the press, and you all report them, the coverage focuses almost entirely on the substance of the allegation and -- that are part of an illegal leak, not on the illegal nature of the disclosure, the identity of the leaks or their agenda. the information occurring now, two individuals properly cleared or three or whoever he met with, i don't know, that they are sharing stuff that is entirely legal with the appropriate clearances and then there's an obsession on the process. it's sort of an -- it's a backwards way that when you all report on stuff with sources that are leaking illegally leaking classified information, that's appropriate and fine, no one questions that, the substance of the material. when two individuals or however many are engaged in this process, have a discussion that is 100% legal and appropriate and cleared, suddenly the obsession becomes about the
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process and not the substance. i think that it is somewhat reckless in how the conversation over classified information is discussed without while sort of attempting to press a false narrative that exists. so while it is completely appropriate to share classified information, with individuals who are cleared, it is clearly not the case to do that with -- when it is illegally leaked out and i think that's sort of the irony of how this whole conversation has gone. john? >> thanks so much. just following up on your statement in regards to the "washington post" story you say is false. the white house counsel office ever consider invoking privilege as it relates to sally yates testifying before this congressional committee? >> no. >> why? you would be in a position to invoke privilege. these were conversations between the acting attorney general and the office of the president.
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>> i know this would be a shocker, but part of it is, we've been very clear that when you actually get to the bottom of the facts, every single person who has been briefed on this, as i've said ad nauseam from the podium, that they have been very clear that there is no connection between the president or the staff here and anyone doing anything with russia. and i think that the view here was great, go share what you know. so no, and that's why "the washington post" should be ashamed of how it handled this story. it was 100% false. the letters that they actually published back up exactly what we're saying, she was asked about this information, her attorney asked the doj, the doj said you have to ask the white house. they made it clear if you don't respond we are going forward. matt goes next. bit of an order here. >> just quickly, following up on that. two questions. >> must be the -- >> yeah. so we're taking what you're
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saying as assurances that chairman nunez's decision to call off the hearing did not have anything to do with pressure from the white house? >> no. >> thank you. on a different topic, we're seeing more states, maine, virginia and kansas, moving to expand medicaid under the affordable care act joining the 30 plus states that have done that. what is president trump's message to republican legislatures and legislatures generally in those states now that affordable care act's future is uncertain? >> there's a reason he explained to congress and members who have talked about entitlement expansion why we should have passed this bill last week and why we need to address it now. this is a major issue. one of our talking points. i hope they listened. >> expansion -- >> i think he understands that the way that -- the way that it was handled in terms of the abled body provision right now, are leading to an implosion on that piece of the entitlement and there was an opportunity to
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refocus it and push the money and the -- a lot of authority baaing to the states to best determine how to handle issues within their states both in terms of high risk pools and individuals that they wanted to cover. frankly, the bill made it a much more states rights program and a much more states rights decision making process in terms of how to care for the populations they had to address. cecilia. >> couple things on sally yates. how and when did the white house encourage her to testify? >> the letter that her attorney sent literally says, that if we do not receive a response by march 27th at 10:00 a.m., i will conclude that the white house does not assert executive privilege over the matters with respect to hearings or otherwise. i don't think you can be any clearer than that. >> and so you're saying executive privilege does not -- >> i'm not saying anything. i'm literally -- that's what she wrote, the action was, if you
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don't act we will assume the following. great. i don't think that you can read that any other way. it was very -- she's i'm sure a very talented -- he is a very talented lawyer and wrote it specifically for her. we read it that way and chose not to act because we have no problem with her testifying. >> executive privilege is not an issue for sally yates, would not have been an issue for sally yates' testifying. >> that's correct. >> you want to add? >> you're -- i don't, it's interesting. this is very clearly worded and yet somehow you're asking me how to interpret that in any other way than literally reading plain english. >> does the president still believe climate change is a hoax? >> you'll hear more today about the climate and what he believes. i think he understands -- he does not believe that as i mentioned at the outset that there is a binary choice between job creation, economic growth, and caring about the environment and that's what we should be focusing on. at the end of the day, where we
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should be focusing on is making sure that all americans have clean water, clean air and we do what we can to preserve and protect our environment. >> april? >> sorry. >> sean, don't seem so happy, go ahead, anyway, with all of these investigations, questions of what is "is" how does this administration try to revamp its image, two and a half months in, you have the yates story today, you have other things going on, russia, you've got wiretapping. >> we don't have that. you -- >> i know. >> investigations on capitol hill -- >> i get it. you keep -- i've said it from the day that i got here until whatever, that there is no connection. you've got russia. if the president puts russia salad dressing on his salad tonight somehow that's a russian connection. every person -- >> it's not. >> no. well no, that's -- i appreciate your agenda here but the reality
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is -- oh, hold on. at some point report the facts. the facts are that every single person who has been briefed on this subject has come away with the same conclusion, republican, democrat, so i'm sorry that disgusts you. you're shaking your head. i appreciate it but -- >> [ inaudible ]. >> but understand at some point the facts are what they are and every single person who has been briefed on the situation, with respect to the situation with russia, republican, democrat, obama, appointed career, have all come to the same conclusion at some point, april, you're going to have to take no for an answer with respect to whether or not there is collusion. >> how do you change the perception of -- >> we're going to keep doing everything we're doing to make sure that the president's -- what the president told the american people he was going to do to fulfill those mention and promises he -- pledges and promises he made to bring back jobs, to grow the economy, to keep our nation safe, that's what he's been focused on since day one. we're going to keep focusing on that every single day. >> condi rice did not support
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this president, she did not go to the convention, she comes, what is on the agenda and how is their relationship? has it healed since 2006 when he used a very negative word to -- >> it's interesting that you ask those two questions back to back. on the one hand you're saying what are we doing to improve our image, and then here he is once again meeting somebody that hasn't been a big supporter of his. >> negative -- >> no, but april, hold on. you -- you -- it seems like you're hell bent on trying to make sure whatever image you want to tell about this white house, stays. but at the end of the day, let me answer -- i -- >> i am just reporting -- >> you're asking me a question and i'm going to answer it. the president, i'm sorry, please stop shaking your head again, but at some point, the reality is that this president continues to reach out to individuals who have supported him, didn't support him, republicans, democrats, to try to bring the country together and move forward on an agenda that's going to help every american. that's it plain and simple. if you're asking what we're doing we continue to do it, to
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bring groups together that have been supportive of him, that haven't been supportive of him, but to share a goal which is finding common ground on areas of national security, of personal security, of economic security, of job creation, of safer communities, of education, of health care, that can unite us as a country and make the country stronger. >> what about russia and tillerson friday -- >> i'm not ready to -- when we're done with that we'll see if we can have a read out. >> i understand. >> we're not at friday. i will have a read out when that's done. the pool needs to get to the signing. thank you. i will be back tomorrow. five days in a row this week, ladies and gentlemen. thank you. >> [ inaudible ]. >> follow up on who -- [ inaudible ]. >> and there you have it. white house spokesman sean spicer there delivering his daily briefing. a number of highlights so to speak notwithstanding the
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russian salad dressing line we heard at the end. we heard from mr. spicer toward the beginning of the debrief saying he hopes that sally yates does, in fact, testify and also saying that it was 100% false that we stood in the way of ex-acting attorney general yates. rick tyler, political analyst, going to get hooked up and talk to us as well. ari, start with you, we probably need to sift through a little bit of what we're talking about here and go back to friday when reportedly it was sail sally yates' attorney who sent the letter saying she would be testifying about, you know, general flynn and russia but would not be revealing any sort of state secrets so to speak. that same day, congress nan nunez, who runs the intel committee, cancels her hearing. >> that's correct, craig, and raised a lot of questions. there was a lot in this press conference on russia.
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two points jumped out. number one the point you raised of sean spicer saying the president uses russian salad dressing and people call for a russian connection. perhaps a light hearthed point convinces someone of what the white house feels they're asked about this, point two, questions being raised about former acting attorney general sally yates. reminder for everyone who doesn't follow this closer. she was a deputy attorney general under barack obama and under the normal course became acting attorney general as a holdover while sessions was under confirmation review and dramatically ultimately was removed from office because she refused to defend at the time was still the lawful effort by the administration to do a travel ban. something that's been in the courts. the big news today here being well what about the testimony as you asked and sean spicer made a fair point. i want to be clear about that. he said that the text letter from the lawyer representing yates about testifying said we are going to do this unless we
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hear back from you formally not to do it on privileged ground, on executive privilege, something that does exist when there are secretive executive communications and spicer is asserting on behalf of the white house they made no formal effort to intercede. given the question in writing do you want us to stop, they didn't say stop, that doesn't speaks to the other intrigue and chairman nunez, as everyone knows by now, is under intense and bipartisan criticism for the way he's been running the intelligence committee and this investigation and reporting to the white house and all that, but on this narrower question of yates who has become one of the figures caught in between two administrations and debates, spicer made a fair point and in closing her letter said she's willing to appear voluntarily and will not disclose classified information or the content of open inquiries. privilege or not there's a lot of stuff she would never talk about regardless of what the trump white house says because it's not appropriate or lawful to discuss in an open hearing.
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>> the crux or thesis of what mr. spicer said just a few minutes ago, with regards to former acting attorney general sally yates. listen in. >> i hope she testifies. i look forward to it. it was never -- let's be honest, the hearing was never -- was actually never notified. if they choose to move forward, great. we have no problem with her testifying plain and simple. the report in "the washington post" is 100% false. >> our peter ill der inside that briefing room, our man at the white house. peter, we should note that we are expecting to see and hear from the president here at the top of the hour as he signs those executive orders related to climate change. what else stood out from sean spicer during the 30-minute debrief? >> what struck me most was the brevity of this conference here on this day. a lot of questions still unanswered, a lot of things you would think the white house would want to put to rest, sean
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spicer didn't come back and help with some of the information he promised to detail today. one of those items was who it was here at the white house that cleared chairman nunez into the white house exactly a week ago when he came and went into that secret compartmentalized area here on the white house grounds to be able to review the documentation that led him to come back 24 hours and communicate to the president as he did to the press what he had seen. they said they would tell us that and they did not in the course of this conversation on this day. another question i would like to have asked and others would have wanted to hear, if the president as he indicated in his tweet overnight believes that russia story is in his words a, quote, hoax why would he not embrace an independent investigation as being suggested but not just democrats but some republicans right now to try to put this entire story that he says again is a hoax, to rest. those are two of the things that remain unanswered right now. and even as they suggested they want to hear sally yates testify, which is notable on this day, it's not entirely
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clear that as he suggests, sean spicer suggests, why one should believe that there is no evidence of collusion yet. the investigations that even the president helped call for are still continuing right now with jared kushner, among others, the president's own son-in-law, expected to testify before the senate intelligence committee, specifically in that case, about some of the meetings that were not previously commune katsds to the press or to americans about some conversations he had, meetings he had, one of them we had known about was with the russian ambassador to the u.s., a second one not only in about with the head of a russian state-owned bank that took place during the transition process. the white house aides tell me that was all normal for him, as it was simply him doing his job in his role as the sort of primary point person for contacts with foreign governments and foreign officials. nonetheless there's still a lot of questions that remain unanswered. so it's a little bit premature for the white house to suggest there is no there there. >> our man at the white house peter alexander, with perhaps a
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previous of a question he would be asking tomorrow, peter stand by for me. i want to come back and talk a little bit more about what we are expecting at the top of the hour with regards to these executive actions on climate change. kasie hunt, let me come to you, i know that you spent some time this morning talking to the chairman, talking to devin nunez. what did you ask him? what did he tell you? >> craig, devin nunez under increasing pressure as you can see from democrats who are demanding that he recuse on the house side and one democrat demanding he step down as chairman of the committee, and there are some republican senators who have said that nunez needs to come clean. john mccain, republican senator, saying that he's never seen anything like it in his years of service. lindsey graham saying he should be able to explain a little more about where this information came from that he, of course, viewed on the white house grounds and went and held a press conference about. but nunez himself is dismissing calls for his recusal by essentially saying this investigation is going to keep
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proceeding as it had. take a look. >>s the investigation continues. we've had an investigation into russia for many, many years. >> are you going to recuse yourself from this investigation, sir? >> excuse me. >> is that a no? >> not a no, not a yes, but a continued to move forward. i will say, craig, despite the fact that he says that this investigation is ongoing as it had, the reality is, this week it is not continuing that way. the intelligence committee on the house side has canceled all of its even routine meetings. they meet regularly no matter what is going on and those meetings are not occurring. of course that public hearing with sally yates and others, was set for today, canceled last week, the same day that sally yates' attorney sent that letter to the white house talking about what she planned to say at that hearing. nunez had said that they were going to instead hear from jim comey the fbi director and the nast director mike rogers behind closed doors in a closed session and that would replace the hearing, but that didn't come together either.
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they said they couldn't work it out for scheduling reasons. so clearly this investigation, at least for now, seems to be at a standstill on the house side. >> to be clear, no word on when they're going to reschedule this hearing? >> we have no word on that yet. >> and no reschedule. >> we are understanding that they do plan to reschedule all of the above but at this point we have no word on when that might be. >> all right. kasie hunt for us there on the hill, thank you. rick tyler, msnbc political analyst, also standing by. rick, you heard mr. spicer's daily news briefing there. what jumped out at you? >> the sean spicer is on shaking footing with his relationship with the press but that also goes with the president on shaky ground with the gallup poll of him at 36% and goes to show you if you try to pass legislation that has about 12% support, which is the health care reform act that they tried to pass, you need political capital to do that. so this white house really needs
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a re-set to start to move forward and tax reform is going to be difficult. you're seeing some of the regulations that they're going to do. those are easy. but it's going to be very hard for them to build political capital to get some big things done. >> all right. this was, i believe, what you would consider the highlight from this news conference that wrapped up just a few moments ago. here is the white house press secretary. >> i've said it from the day that i got here until whatever, that there is no connection. you've got russia. if the president puts russian salad dressing on his salad tonight, somehow that's a russian connection. every single person -- >> it's not -- >> well no, that's -- i appreciate your agenda here, but the reality is -- >> hold on. >> at some point report the facts, the facts are that every single person who has been briefed on this subject has come away with the same conclusion, republican, democrat, i'm sorry that disgusts you. you're shaking your head. i appreciate it. but -- >> listening and -- >> but understand at some point the facts are what they are and
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every single person who has been briefed on this situation, with respect to the situation with russia, republican, democrat, obama appointee career, have all come to the same conclusion, some point april, you're going to have to take no for an answer with respect to whether or not there is collusion. >> now, again, all right, it would seem as if listening to sean spicer all of this russia nonsense is much ado about nothing. >> that's his argument. rick tyler was speaking about the math of all of this and the political predix kament of russia is part of that. the problem legally and democratically and politically is what sean spicer said there, both avinces the white house frustration and republicans who say it's unfair to presume guilt in an open inquiry, and that's a fair point but he's presuming something else. he's presuming this inquiry is over and you won't take no for an answer. that is not the current state of play and arguably inappropriate for the representative of the federal government, paid by taxpayer dollars, not a
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political representative of the rnc, to speak as if this is over. what we know, what is news, is not that it's over, but rather, that it's just begun. only last monday that the fbi first confirmed an open inquiry. we don't know where it goes. and so the better posture and the one quite frankly that past administrations of both parties have taken when there's open inquiries is, we'll see where it goes, refer questions to the fbi or doj and leave it there. as everyone knows a more adversarial style from the briefing and lectured that reporter -- >> telling her to stop shaking her head. >> i'm not sure why it's his business, what people say. it's not his job to tell the press what to say or how to look or how to appear. but on the broader substantive legal point this is an open inquiry, far from over. our legal unit looked at this, intelligence investigations sometimes take more than a year to conclude. the better and more appropriate posture is we'll follow the facts and see where they go. they might be better off not commenting on this on a daily basis.
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they would be better not to prejudge open inquiries. >> with politico standing by with us. thanks for your time. i want to play something that we heard from vice president dick cheney yesterday as it pertains to this conversation about russia. take a listen. >> there's no question that there was a very serious effort made by mr. putin and his government and his organization to interfere in major ways with our basic fundamental democratic processes and some quarters that would be considered an act of war. >> that's a pretty bold statement coming from a man like dick cheney, hadas. >> it definitely is. and i think that there's pretty much agreement on all sides that russia definitely tried to influence the election in some way. and ari was saying, that there's the question now of whether there was any sort of action behind the scenes between trump associates and russia and clearly this is a story that
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just continues to badger the administration and there -- it's not going away any time soon because there is an investigation still ongoing, stories coming out, drip drip drip, that keeps coming out about these connections and maybe it would be a favor to maybe lay back on commenting. sean spicer in his briefings has an adversarial tone, battling with reporters and it's obvious it might be because he's speaking for an audience of the president who is known to watch those briefings and probably appreciates the fact that he's getting so bombastic with reporters. >> we'll have to leave it there. hadas, thanks to you, rick thanks to you, ari, always good to have you as well, sir. regulation rollback. president trump ready to overhaul u.s. climate change policies with a new executive order that's set to be signed in roughly 15, 20 minutes. we will break that down. what it really means for job creation, what it really means for the environment as well. manufacturing...
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trust #1 doctor recommended dulcolax. use dulcolax tablets for gentle dependable relief. suppositories for relief in minutes. and dulcoease for comfortable relief of hard stools. dulcolax. designed for dependable relief. in the next hour president donald trump is expecting to sign a sweeping executive order that will roll back a range of environmental regulations set during president obama's administration. it is being billed as a measure
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to increase this country's energy independent and restore jobs lost by the coal mining industry. epa administrator scott pruitt talked about it a short time ago. >> it's good to see the president coming to the epa to set a new course to say we're going to be about pro growth, pro jobs and pro environment. >> in fact, however, the order includes an initiative to review president obama's clean power plan, rescind the moratorium on kwo coal mining on federal lands and urge agencies to identify all regulations that may block domestic energy production. msnbc's cal perry is here to take a look at what all of this means. so is nbc's chief environmental correspondent, anne thompson who joins me from portland, maine. and a picturesque backdrop. cal, let me start with you. how much do we really rely on coal in this country right now? >> we don't. we used to rely on it as our
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number one source of energy. right now it is ped yum, followed by natural gas. coal comes in at three. what's it going to do for jobs? this is what you'll hear from president notice next hour. coal is going to create jobs, we're bringing coal back. i'm not sure coal wants to come back. right now coal accounts for less than 70,000 jobs in this country, compared to renewable energy that accounts for 650,000. this is your timeline of what's happened to jobs in the coal industry over time. this was the oil and gas crisis in the '80s. that's why that spiked. i want to leave you because you talked about this earlier, craig. look at west virginia. here are health care jobs. over time. here are coal jobs over time. it is not even close. we're headed the other direction with coal. coal is no longer a big-time employer in this country. >> cal perry sifting fact from friction. anne thompson standing by in portland, maine. anne, i understand that you are standing in front of a body of water that could be impacted by
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what we hear from trt nepreside trump next hour. how so? >> reporter: well, portland is on the gulf of maine and the gulf of maine is one of the fastest warming bodies of water, scientists say because of climate change. the iconic fish that are identified with maine such as lobster and cod and pollack, they're all moving north to find colder waters. so what's the connection between what the president is about to do and what's happening here in the gulf of maine? well, if he rolls back the climate change initiative started under the last administration, that means more greenhouse gases will go in the air. that means more climate change will happen. and we know that because of all the greenhouse gases that go in the air we are literally changing the chemistry of the oceans on land, we're growing zones or moving north. impacts are far and wide. what does it mean for jobs? as cal pointed out, coal now has
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serious competition from natural gas because of fracking. natural gas is less polluting. fracking has increased the abundance of natural gas. it's cheaper than coal. and so utility companies are moving away from coal plants as they age because they're more expensive to replace and they come with all these virenvironm regulations and opting for natural gas because it is cheaper. they're also opting for renewables because the cost of wind and solar has fallen so dramatically in the past couple of years. as for job creation, when it comes to electric power generation, where the jobs are being created are in the solar and wind industries. that's according to the department of energy. solar in fact last year had over 300,000 jobs whereas fossil fuel generation had just under 200,000 jobs. craig? >> nbc news environmental correspondent, chief environmental correspondent, anne thompson for us in portland, maine this afternoon. explaining precisely how all of
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this might be affecting the environment. anne, thanks so much, as always, for that insight. we are waiting for president trump to sign that aforementioned executive order on climate change. when it happens we will bring it to you live.
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that's going to wrap up this hour of msnbc live. i'll see you back here tomorrow morning at 9:00 a.m. my colleague katy tur picking things up now. >> hey, craig.
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100% false. that's what the white house is saying in response to a "washington post" report alleging the trump administration tried to block a former acting attorney general from testifying on russia. that "post" report claims the attorneys for sally yates notified the white house she's testify before the house intel committee that the head of the committee canceled the hearing. the white house is now calling that claim a flat-out lie. >> "the washington post" should be ashamed of how it handled this story. it was 100% false. the letters that they actually published back up exactly what we're saying. that she was asked about this information. that her attorney asked the doj. the doj said that she had -- on capitol hill, mounting calls for devon -- devin nunes. >> if the president puts russian salad dressing on his salad tonight, somehow that's a russian connection.
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>> our team of correspondents and analysts are standing by. but let's start with april ryan who was just in that white house press briefing. april, you had a pretty testy exchange there with sean spicer. i want to replay it now and get your reaction to it in just a moment. >> i've said it from the day that i got here until whenever that there is no connection. you have got russia. if the president puts russian salad dressing on his salad tonight, somehow that's a russian connection. but every single person -- i appreciate your agenda here but the reality is -- no, no, hold on. no. at some point report the facts. the facts are that every single person who has been briefed on this subject has come away with the same conclusion. republican, democrat. so i'm sorry that that disgusts you. you're shaking your head. i appreciate it. >> i'm listening. >> but understand this. at some point the facts are what they are and every single person who has been briefed on this situation with respect to the situation with russia,

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